How many drafts is enough?

The six-draft self-editing method

How many drafts is enough to prepare a manuscript for professional editing? A first or second draft isn’t worthy of the investment, after all. A manuscript isn’t ready for editing until you’ve set it aside for weeks or months (to regain some distance and objectivity), sought out feedback from objective parties, and revised it thoroughly Read more about The six-draft self-editing method[…]

critique group

Why you need a critique partner or writing group and how to find one

How can it be that the very thing you crave most as a novelist—that other people read your book—feels impossible to allow once you’ve finished the darn thing? There’s always a reason to dissemble: Just one more draft … Just your spouse and no one else … Just the first scenes, just your favorite chapters Read more about Why you need a critique partner or writing group and how to find one[…]

Best books on writing fiction

Best Books on Writing Fiction: Recommended books for novelists

The craft books I most enjoy reading are tough tomes with new techniques of breaking down and analyzing recalcitrant manuscripts. But the best books on writing fiction, the ones I keep within reach on the shelf just past my teacup (Earl Grey, hot), are simple, straight-talking introductions to story structure and writing. Like all books, Read more about Best Books on Writing Fiction: Recommended books for novelists[…]

Dialogue

Are you overusing character names in your novel?

Some of the most common edits I make at the sentence and paragraph levels have to do with overusing character names in a story. These edits arise from a single issue: the tendency to approach things a little too formally, from a little too far outside the framework of how characters would naturally think of Read more about Are you overusing character names in your novel?[…]

career development for novelists

Kick-start your own career development program for new novelists

What if everything in the world went right for your book, and now you may actually have a writing career? The thing that many emerging authors neglect to plan for is what happens after they’ve typed “The End.” That’s where the process of writing a novel ends and the process of being a novelist begins. Read more about Kick-start your own career development program for new novelists[…]

Imitation exercise for writers

Develop your writing muscle through imitation

Modeling and imitation are time-tested techniques used by athletes, artists, and skill-builders of all stripes. One of the best ways to stretch your writing skills is to draw inspiration from those who are writing the kind of novels you want to write. What do the authors you admire do best? Can you emulate that? The Read more about Develop your writing muscle through imitation[…]

learn to write

Affordable ways to study the craft of writing

Are you still struggling with where to put the comma in a dialogue tag (or was that a period)? Forget mixing up peek/peak/pique; are you still struggling with it’s/its or they’re/their/there? Do beta readers make more remarks about your grammar than your story? These are signs that you need more practice and development learning to Read more about Affordable ways to study the craft of writing[…]

Editing schedule

12 reasons to learn how to write a brilliant synopsis

You can quit holding your nose now—this whole synopsis thing is going to take more than a single breath. Writing your synopsis is a must-have writing skill for every successful novelist. Your book synopsis is no one-trick pony. Consider how many times and how many ways you’re going to have to summarize your novel over Read more about 12 reasons to learn how to write a brilliant synopsis[…]

Why your first book shouldn't be a series

Why your first book should not be part of a series

Writing a series is standard operating procedure for self-published authors seeking to grow their catalogs. The formula is simple: stretch a story concept across two, three, four books or more, and voilà—you’re a multi-title author with a respectable little catalog to your name. (Here’s more about how that works.) But tackling a series is a serious Read more about Why your first book should not be part of a series[…]