3 Action-Reaction Misfires That Flatten Your Writing

Action and reaction—everything in a story depends on what the characters do about whatever the story pits against them. Stiff, disconnected, or missing character reactions snap the chain of cause and effect that constitutes your story. When readers can no longer see how and why the characters are doing what they’re doing, they lose the Read more about 3 Action-Reaction Misfires That Flatten Your Writing[…]

Feedback and critique

Feedback or Editing: What Sort of Input to Get When

Should you—could you—be getting feedback on your book from peers or readers, or is it time to get professional eyes on your manuscript? My latest post as a resident writing coach at Writers Helping Writers explains when it’s time for what in your book’s development. Much of the choice hinges on what you can afford. Read more about Feedback or Editing: What Sort of Input to Get When[…]

Character Voice

The secret to authentic character voice

Vocabulary and the way a character speaks are the outer layer of character voice—the icing on the cake. Instead of trying to build character voice from the outside in, get under the character’s skin by revealing how they experience and interpret the story world from the inside out. Character voice bubbles up organically when every aspect of Read more about The secret to authentic character voice[…]

Best places to find a professional editor

Best Practices for Working With a Professional Editor

It’s actually happening: You’ve hired a professional editor and it’s time to send off the manuscript. Congratulations! Now it’s business time. What should you expect from the editing process? Are there contracts? Deadlines? When should expect to owe payments, and how much? How long will editing take? Will the editor check the grammar of the Read more about Best Practices for Working With a Professional Editor[…]

Is my writing good enough?

Is my writing good enough?

“Is my writing good enough?” is one of the first questions most writers ask when they get in touch about editing or coaching. Unfortunately, I can’t answer that because there’s an intrinsic problem with the question: Green-lighting manuscripts (for querying, for further development, for self-publishing) isn’t what manuscript editors do. Whether or not your book Read more about Is my writing good enough?[…]

When are you ready for professional editing?

Getting a manuscript ready for professional editing is notoriously painstaking work. It drags you into seemingly endless rounds of scrutiny: searching for plot holes, questioning the characters’ motivations, adding zing to the dialogue, and squashing typos and grammatical errors. With so much ground to cover, a revision plan ensures you’re not overlooking anything. What’s not Read more about When are you ready for professional editing?[…]

Developing story skills

Updated: Best books on writing for writers

Do you get sucked into spending more time reading about writing fiction than actually doing it? I’ve just updated my short list of the best books on writing, so you can level up and take the techniques back to your manuscript. One of my favorite ways to help writers is recommending books that will help Read more about Updated: Best books on writing for writers[…]

Words to revise

Words and phrases to revise or delete

It’s all too easy to overstuff your writing when you’re striving for a natural, unstrained tone. We lean on filler words in conversation to soften our speech and build connections, but these words don’t convey enough information to be effective in writing. The internet is peppered with lists of “words to cut from your writing.” Read more about Words and phrases to revise or delete[…]

Tangled up in Track Changes?

If you’ve never used Microsoft Word’s Track Changes feature before, the idea of getting your manuscript back from an editor filled with all sorts of lines and squiggles you have to do something to in order to keep your novel from plummeting precipitously through a fiery ring of digital destruction and disappearing into the black Read more about Tangled up in Track Changes?[…]

writers group

Top 10 reasons to join a writing community

Writing is a supposedly solitary endeavor, but successful authors know that a supporting writing community is worth its weight in gold. Like-minded colleagues keep you aloft during the long, parched weeks of revision. They’re friendly allies when you need an outside eye on your story or writing. They’re seasoned repositories of first-hand publishing and marketing Read more about Top 10 reasons to join a writing community[…]