When do you break the rules?

I’m a recent devotee of Margie Lawson’s deep EDITS system. She recommends that you use highlighters to code different aspects of your writing. Whenever you see too much of a color, that lets you know your writing is out of balance. It also shows your tendencies. My writing tends to drift into thoughts, action, andContinue reading “When do you break the rules?”

Seven Essential Things to Remember About Very Important Characters

I’m all for original content, but I’m also for not reinventing the wheel. I came across this blog post and thought it insightful enough to re-post. What do you think: good advice or not? Stories revolve around protagonists and antagonists and it is a good idea to introduce them in the first chapters of your book.Continue reading “Seven Essential Things to Remember About Very Important Characters”

What are you willing to pay?

People who don’t value their time don’t care how they spend theirs and will probably waste yours, if you let them. With every business decision, I sit down and do the following equation: X x Y =Z where X = time I would spend to do it myself Y = my hourly rate; Z = totalContinue reading “What are you willing to pay?”

Editing: The boilerplate, the bold.

A first-time author once called some of my writing advice “boilerplate” which she could find “on any writing website.” I can find the lyrics to “A House is Not a Home” on the web, but it doesn’t mean I can sing it well. My critique of her introduction — that ten pages is too long,Continue reading “Editing: The boilerplate, the bold.”

On the inside with a book agent

Last Saturday, I joined Nancy Knight of the Sullivan Maxx agency for a workshop. You can read more about Nancy and her qualifications here. If you’ve decided the indie route is not for you, and your dream is to make it to the frontlist of one of the Big 6 (Macmillan, Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin, Random House,Continue reading “On the inside with a book agent”

Compelling characters create connections

Every author wants characters you, the reader, believe in, root for, love, or hate. You want your reader to care about your characters, no matter how prolific or damaged they are, and you do that by establishing a connection between character and reader. I’m willing to bet that most people who drive by a terribleContinue reading “Compelling characters create connections”

REVIEW: “Setting Boundaries with Difficult People: Six Steps to SANITY for Challenging Relationships” by Allison Bottke

Setting Boundaries with Difficult People: Six Steps to SANITY for Challenging Relationships by Allison Bottke My rating: 4 of 5 stars Setting Boundaries with Difficult People in 140 characters or less: “sanity=analysis, introspection, support, trusting God. Practice!” If you find spiritual self-help books to be trite and preachy, Allison Bottke’s “Setting Boundaries with Difficult People:Continue reading “REVIEW: “Setting Boundaries with Difficult People: Six Steps to SANITY for Challenging Relationships” by Allison Bottke”

Write compelling fiction with hooking, tension, and nukes

As an author, you want to write a page-turner: fiction so compelling that the reader ignores sleep, eating, etc. to read what you have to say. How do you do that? It starts with hooking your reader in 1,500 words or less, or about the first five pages. You must get the reader to quicklyContinue reading “Write compelling fiction with hooking, tension, and nukes”

Time-saving tips to edit your own writing

Editing my writing is like doing laundry: I hate to do it, but it has to be done. We might as well do it efficiently, right? Let’s go. Write from the heart and edit with your head. Effective editing requires emotional disconnecting from the text, while good writing and rewriting needs that connection. It’s theContinue reading “Time-saving tips to edit your own writing”

Editing worth every cent. . .literally

Nothing bugs me more than a misspelled word or a misplaced comma in a book (bad or implausible plots are a close second). The mass paperback publishers generally don’t have any errors, and if they do, they are not egregious. By contrast, self-publishers seem to skip this part, settling to do it themselves or toContinue reading “Editing worth every cent. . .literally”