Writing

The Writer’s Voice

Many people have asked about “voice” lately. It’s a big topic and I’m sure we’ll discuss it more than once. But let’s get started! What do we mean when we say we’re looking for “new voices”? What do editors mean when they say it’s the writer’s voice that captures them—or doesn’t? Let’s start by identifying…
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Let’s Talk About Writing, Publishing, and Coaching

  I was interviewed on the Lead Stories Podcast with Jo Saxton and Steph O’Brien. Listen in, if you’re interested! (It’s about 45 minutes.) We talked about: What I look for in someone I might represent as an agent What coaching looks like and why it is worth it How I redirect people who aren’t…
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A Time to Write…

Are you in a critique group? Do you regularly share your writing with a friend / writer / editor who gives you suggestions for changes and corrections? Are you frequently sharing pages of your work-in-progress (WIP) with someone else who copy edits you along the way? That is, making word changes and suggestions, correcting grammar…
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Write a Captivating Opening Line

The first thing to know about “first lines” is that they are not going to make or break you. Sure, it’s a lot of fun coming up with great ones. But in a novel of a hundred-thousand words, we have to keep those first twenty-or-so in perspective. As long as the first line makes someone…
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Tightening Your Writing

There comes a time in every writer’s life when an editor requires them to reduce their word count. Ack! Not my precious words! Even if an editor hasn’t asked you to do this, most writers would benefit from tightening up their manuscripts before submission. (I, for one, would appreciate it. ) But how do you…
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Decisions, Decisions

A writer asked: If you have a bunch of book ideas, how do you decide which ones are viable?     FOR NON-FICTION: Spend some time on each idea, one by one. First work on a rough outline of what the book would be. List the themes and topics you’d want to cover. Ask yourself:…
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The First Draft is Just the Beginning

I spend a lot of time working with my clients to edit and revise their proposals and manuscripts. I give notes and suggestions for improvements. Sometimes I take them through draft after draft, until everything seems just right. I know it’s tiring for them, and sometimes frustrating to be pushed to go over it again…
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Write an Author Bio They’ll Remember

Sometimes it’s hard to believe how difficult it can be to write about yourself in a bio—after all, you’re a writer! But I understand it’s not as simple as that, so here are a few tips to make it easier.   Write your bio in first person for query letters, third person for most other purposes including proposals, book…
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Have it Your Way

Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us, all we ask is that you let us… serve it your way. If you were born much later than, say, 1970, then you may have missed that tasty morsel of a Burger King commercial. But for the rest of us, it lives on in…
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How Do You Know If Your Work is Any Good?

  A question from a reader on Facebook: Outside of selling, how do you know that your work is actually good? You may pitch a book, and it might be good but might not be what an agent likes. So how do you validate that what you are doing is good? Always a good question!…
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Resources for Writing Memoir

Recently I tweeted this advice on writing memoir: “Please don’t submit your memoir until you’ve read 20 good memoirs and 5 books on writing memoir—and learned from them.” I didn’t mean you shouldn’t write your memoir until you’ve done all that. But while you’re writing, I hope you’re taking the craft seriously, and learning about…
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That All-Important First Line

Let’s talk about the opening line of your book. The first thing to know about “first lines” is that they are not going to make or break you. Sure, it’s a lot of fun coming up with great ones. But as long as the first line makes someone want to read the second line, and…
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Focus on Writing the Best Book You Can

It seems in the last few years, dialogue about all-things-publishing has been focused on platform, marketing, increasing output, distribution platforms, technology, and self-publishing.  But I think it’s important to call our attention back to the work.    Two years ago in January 2014, I posted a prediction for the coming year:   “I think authors…
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Utterly Original: A Rant

“To my knowledge, nothing like this has ever been written. Ever. It is utterly fresh, mine and complete.” That was a line in a query I received. It’s hard to explain how this sounds to agents and editors who get pitched everything under the sun, are typically well-read, and are aware of what’s going on…
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I love words.

I love books and publishing and talking incessantly about them.

I love authors and all the intricacies of managing a writing life.

I sell. I negotiate. I coach. I brainstorm.

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