Writing

Craft vs. Story (in fiction)

Yesterday we had some discussion in the blog comments about craft, or writing technique, vs. having a great story. Obviously, the formula for a good book includes both. Craft refers to all the mechanics of fiction: plot, characterization, dialogue, pacing, flow, scene-crafting, dramatic structure, point-of-view, etc. Story refers to the page-turning factor: how compelling is…
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Q4U: Your Tips for Agents & Editors

Yesterday I gave you some tips for making a great pitch at a conference. But as blog reader Karen pointed out, we agents and editors could use some tips, too. So tell us… what would make you more comfortable pitching to us at a conference? What do you need to hear from us? And let’s…
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Q4U: Writing Advice

Before we get to today’s Q4U, I just want to say thanks once again to all of my faithful blog readers. You’re awesome! I spent the week trying to answer reader questions and as usual, YOU addressed them better than I ever could. That’s the great thing about this little community we’ve got here. I…
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Ask the Agent: Writing by Committee

I’ve seen lots of published novels that read like they were written by committee. This doesn’t surprise me, because those immature in the craft (or just with less gift/ability, whatever you want to call it), DO write their novels by committee. Over a very long period of time, they take so many good suggestions that…
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Read, Read, Read

As a follow up to what I wrote last week about getting away from your computer and getting to a bookstore… today I want to simply say this: Read. Yes, it’s that simple: You gotta read books! You hear it all the time. As writers, we need to first be readers. I know most of…
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How Long is Your Book?

The question of “how long your manuscript should be” is sometimes hard to answer because different publishers have different guidelines. I’m going to give you some information here, but first I want you to know WHY this is important. It’s pretty simple: If your book falls within the standard preferred word-count range, it’s one less…
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