How to Know When to Stop Writing This Book and Start a Different Story

There comes a time all writers’ lives when they will eventually have to learn how to know when to stop writing a book and start a different story instead. This is never an easy or simple decision. But consider the following riddle… Once upon a time, there were two writers. Both had been writing for […]

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Does Your Story Maintain Consistency in the Details?

Most authors are aware of how important it is to avoid plot holes and inconsistencies. But sometimes the little discrepancies bedevil us more than the large ones. You’d think, as authors, we would be so close to our own stories we would instantly realize the error of calling a minor character by a different name […]

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What Is a 50-Page Edit… and Why Will It Rock Your Story?

Whether or not you edit as you go really isn’t the bazillion-dollar question. The real questions you should be asking yourself are “What’s the 50-page edit?” and “Why am I not taking advantage of it yet?” Okay, so it wouldn’t take a genius to answer that the first question. The 50-page edit is pretty obviously […]

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Why Writers Should Trust Their Story Instinct

Have you ever found yourself wishing for a writing mentor—someone with the savvy, experience, generosity, and overall story instinct to reach down and guide you in your own writing journey? Well, today’s your lucky day! I’m about to introduce you to the wisest writing mentor you’re ever likely to meet. Yourself. Yep, you read right. […]

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3 Things I Love Lucy Can Teach You About Writing Tics

Quick, what annoying trait do writers and I Love Lucy share? In the classic episode “In Palm Springs,” Lucy and her gang drive each other up the wall with their irritating habits: Ricky’s finger tapping, Lucy’s coffee stirring, Ethel’s noisy eating, and Fred’s key jingling. Writers aren’t much different. We tap, stir, slurp, and jingle […]

The 4 Most Common Mistakes Fiction Editors See

Wouldn’t it be great if nobody ever needed an editor? If all of our stories and novels appeared in readers’ minds just as beautifully and vividly and succinctly they do in our own? Wouldn’t it be great if the story we think we’ve told were, in fact, the story we’ve told? There are more aspiring […]

10 Steps for Working Past the "This Stinks" Blues

10 Steps for Working Past the “This Stinks” Blues

You’ve spent months laboring over your manuscript. Long nights, early mornings, blood, sweat, tears—the whole ball of wax. This story is your darling. The words are more than just words; they’re the outbreathings of your soul. Sounds like a fairy tale—every writer’s dream come true—until one morning you boot up your computer, glance through the […]

Should You Edit As You Go?

Authors are passionately divided on the subject of editing as you go. Should you write your first draft as fast as possible, dumping your creativity on the page while it’s still smoking hot, never stopping to tweak so much as a misspelled word until you’ve got it all safely down on paper? Or should you […]

How to Tell When Your Book Is Finished: 4 Signs It’s Time to Move On

How to Tell When Your Book Is Finished: 4 Signs It’s Time to Move On

We often complain that life isn’t as clear as it is in the movies. Unlike real life, stories offer definitive story arcs and concrete beginnings and endings. And, yet, ironically, it can often be difficult for writers to know just where that supposedly definitive ending point is in their stories. This ending point isn’t so […]

When Your Story Doesn’t Turn Out Like You Planned

When Your Story Doesn’t Turn Out Like You Planned

How many times have you come up with a brilliant idea—a story so dazzling, a character so real, a snippet of dialogue so scintillating that it knocks you breathless—only to have it fail to live up to your vision when you started putting it on paper? If you’re like me, then the answer is every […]