Importance of Editing

Querying authors sometimes ask, “Is editing really important? Won’t I get an editor when I get published?" The simple answer to both questions is yes. Editing is extremely important, and you will get an editor if you are traditionally published. The pr...

Fiction Writing vs. Academic Writing

People often think about fiction writing as an entirely different animal than how they consider academic writing, but while they have many differences, they also have quite a few similarities. Today’s post will explore how fiction writing and academic...

Battling Writer's Block

It happens to everyone. The blank page stares back at you, the glow of your computer screen a spotlight on your failure to generate ideas. The cold sweat beads on your forehead as you struggle against the writer’s greatest foe: writer’s block. But, nev...

Getting Past Distractions

Unless you are very, very lucky, you probably won’t be able to write full time in a quiet, tranquil space. Instead, you will have a TV blaring in the background, kids running through the house, dogs barking, neighbors shooting fireworks, and just about...

Colon vs. Semicolon

The colon and semicolon are two often unused (or misused) punctuation marks. One reason that these two lovely punctuation marks are often misused or not used at all is that they are frequently misunderstood. Or, they are used to make emoticons, but tha...

Subject / Verb Agreement

Today’s mini-lesson is about making present tense subjects and verbs agree. Present tense often causes more agreement problems than any other tense (in my experience, at least). So, here are some rules to remember when making your subjects and verbs ag...

That vs. Which

I was talking to a friend not too long ago about writerly stuff, and she said something like, “One grammar topic I have never understood is when to use which and that." I started waving my arms around in the air…in public…because that’s one of my favor...

Pantsing or Plotting

When you sit down to write, you may grab a yellow legal pad, stare at the blank screen with the blinking cursor, or scribble notes on the back of a napkin at your local Starbucks. Regardless of the medium, when it comes to method, writers generally fal...

Short Stories

Today I’m going to talk a little about short stories and how much to include in the tale. There are several directions you can take a short story, but two of my favorites are what I call pulling a thread or taking a snapshot. The first story type is “p...

Copula Spiders

I admit that I really enjoy teaching writing; therefore, I tend to read about writing quite a bit as well. When I came across Attack of the Copula Spiders: Essays on Writing by Douglas Glover, I had to read it. It is, in short, about how to write a no...

Genre

Let’s start with defining genre. According to the almighty Google, genre is “a category of artistic composition, as in music or literature, characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter." Well, that makes about as much sense as a but...

Titling Your Work

Today’s post is about titling your story. These are my opinion and suggestions, though I’ve heard from others that they’ve gotten similar advice other places as well. Share in the comments anything else you think is essential to know about titling your...

Style Sheets

Keeping a style sheet. To ensure consistency, for each manuscript the editor must keep an alphabetical list of words or terms to be capitalized, italicized, hyphenated, spelled, or otherwise treated in any way unique to the manuscript. Changes that ar...

BISAC

Just as a refresher, BISAC stands for Book Industry Standards and Communications and is developed by the BISG, Book Industry Study Group. Alphabet soup, huh? There are three parts to understanding the BISAC. The first is the major heading; second is th...

Choosing the Right Editor

At ConGregate 2016, Sharon Stogner, Leona Wisoker, and I were the panelists discussing what a writer needs to consider when hiring a freelance editor. We primarily focused on hiring editors for either self-publishing or when looking for a publisher an...

Top Ten Tips - Working with an Editor

Every August for over a decade, I’ve walked into a classroom full of (mostly) eager freshmen and spent the next few months teaching them to write. During that time, I’ve developed a few “tips" that I tell students to help avoid a “look-I’m-new-to-colle...

Comma Rules

Rule #1: Items in a SeriesWe will start with the easiest rule. When you list three or more items in a series, you should separate the items with commas. Example: I like reading, writing, and daydreaming. However, in many narratives, the sentences are f...