Tell Me the STORY

One thing I’ve noticed lately in fiction pitches – verbal pitches or queries – is that some writers want to tell all about the theme or the emotional journey of the story, but they have a hard time conveying the actual story. Every novel has a theme. There’s a character arc, in which a character…
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School of Write

Mary Bailey wrote: “What discourages me is the huge emphasis on continuing education, joining writer’s groups, attending conferences, etc. This really puts a crunch in the budget!” Good point, Mary. Believe me, I understand about having a tight budget. But this is one of those times when I will encourage you to make a paradigm…
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Tighten Up Your Manuscript!

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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Write Another Book!

Yesterday I talked about the importance of working on your writing as opposed to spending time on social networking. This is crucial if you’re an unpublished fiction writer. It seems I’ve been having this conversation with so many people lately… both authors and editors. It’s come up several times in my conversations with editors at…
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Word Counts: My Aha Moment

Lately I’ve been incorporating interval training into my workouts. When I’m at the gym, I use the interval setting on the treadmill. When I’m outside jogging with Reagan and my iPod, I alternate a faster and slower pace. Since it’s annoying to look at my watch, I use music to time my intervals. I might…
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Ask the Agent: Writing in Multiple Genres

One of the most common questions I receive is: Can I write books in more than one genre? Well, sure, write whatever you want! Can I write books in multiple genres and expect to build a successful publishing career? No. A lot of people have asked me this question, and they don’t understand my answer.…
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The Passion of the Writer

I have just come from a superbowl party after watching that AMAZING game. Apologies to all you sports haters, but I am going to use a football metaphor in today’s post. You know I love pop culture – and the superbowl is about as pop as it gets. And wasn’t that an EXCITING last few…
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10 Exercises To Make You a Better Writer

or Get You Out of a Rut* 1. Read a chapter of your WIP aloud to someone other than your spouse, your children, or your cat. Invite feedback, if you’re brave. But mostly, just listen as you read. Do the words flow easily, roll nicely off the tongue? Do you stumble anywhere? Anything sound awkward?…
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The Telling Detail

Since we’ve been on this topic of Showing vs. Telling, I wanted to highlight an important tool at your disposal when you’re working on “showing.” Ironically, it’s called the Telling Detail. The Telling Detail is a word, phrase, or image that helps the reader “see” what you’re describing. It must be precise and illuminating, and…
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Showing vs. Telling

I want to talk a little bit more about this all-important aspect of writing, which is crucial to understand in both fiction and non-fiction writing. One of the great things about the written word, as opposed to the dramatic arts like theater, movies and television, is that we have the freedom to “tell” the audience…
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Vote for Contest Winner!

Thanks to all of you who entered the Show vs. Tell contest! I was impressed with the entries and can see everyone really working on “showing” in their writing. If you want to tell us about your experience with this exercise, leave a comment here. Was it harder than you thought it would be? Did…
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The Cutting Room Floor

I mentioned last week that I’m trying to write more posts for the intermediate or published author… and I’ve decided I’m also going to try and include more posts about craft. You know, the actual process and technique of writing. So today I want to talk about self-editing. Specifically: cutting. One of the things I’ve…
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Finding Potential Clients at ACFW

I spent the last several days at the ACFW conference in Minneapolis (along with about 600 of my closest friends) and once again my overriding feeling is… I’m tired. I’m sure everyone who went is feeling the same thing. It was terrific meeting lots of my blog readers and I’m glad many of you made…
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More For Unpubbed Novelists

It seems the biggest concern many of you have about this business is the difficulty of making the leap from being an unpublished novelist to being published. This comes out in all kinds of worries, like this one from Courtney:They say it’s very rare for a [new writer] to land an agent, let alone sell…
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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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