October 31, 2019

One of the first things you have to decide when you sit down to write a book is what point of view you’re going to use. The first choice you have to make is whether to write from a first-person point of view (using the pronouns I and me) or a third-person point of view...

September 6, 2019

Let’s start with the obvious question: What in the world is stationary swimming? It is just swimming while using a contraption—basically a belt attached to a bungee cord—that allows you to swim in one place so that people with tiny pools, like me, can still swim “laps”...

July 29, 2019

Writing is hard. Building a career out of writing is even harder. That’s why people are always telling writers not to give up. You don’t have to tell someone not to give up when they’re doing something easy. When’s the last time you heard someone say “Don’t give up” to...

May 30, 2019

You’re writing your first novel and dreaming of publishing success. It’s hard work and you’ll take encouragement wherever you can get it. You go online and see an article about the great success of a new author’s debut novel. “Yes!” you think. “It IS possible for a new...

April 18, 2019

There was a time when I would force myself to finish every book I started. (Though, I have to admit, even in those days, I quit Moby Dick three times. You can’t say I didn’t try!) But there isn’t enough time to read all the books I want to read, so now I refuse to wast...

January 4, 2019

Most writers agree that hiring an editor to find the errors in their book before they publish is a good idea. But when you start talking about story-level editing (sometimes called developmental editing or content editing), some writers balk. They feel that the plot an...

November 27, 2018

 It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post about the most common grammar errors I find while editing. In this post, I’m going to talk about a couple of errors specific to authors writing in past tense.

• Not distinguishing different “levels” of the past when writ...

September 1, 2018

When people talk about book editing, they often seem to think “an edit” is a one-step process, as if you send your manuscript to an editor and they go through it once and send it back ready to publish. In reality, there are several levels of editing, depending on where...

August 1, 2018

I’m sure you’ve all heard the advice: kill your darlings, cut ruthlessly, make every word count. We all know that we’re supposed to eliminate anything in our novels that doesn’t move the plot forward or teach us something about a character, but it can be hard to know w...

July 2, 2018

When you write a novel, you hope that it will make your future readers feel something. Whether you want them to feel terrified or sentimental or angry, you want to move them. And in order for your readers to feel something, your characters have to feel it first. It is...

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