Category Archives: editing

When Yay Becomes Yuck

There comes a point in the development of most novels, maybe even all ’em, when the writer throws up his hands, his pen, and maybe his beer, and says, “This is shit. It isn’t working. The characters aren’t talking to … Continue reading

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Deconstructing Cinderella

Here’s a handy way to review the 7-Point Plotting approach. We’re going to take apart an old and well-loved tale and completely rebuild it. In the process, we’ll experiment with Point of View as well as the plotting formula. And, … Continue reading

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A Word About Mechanics

I’m talking about writing mechanics, not the folks who keep our cars running. (That’s a whole different breed of magic about which I’m not qualified to comment.) Of all the many things a novice writer can do to improve his … Continue reading

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Huge debate: Prolog or Prologue?

Actually, I’ve known writers crazy enough to get into arguments over nonsense like this. Toe-may-toe or Toe-mah-toe? Prologue or Prolog? Seriously? The awful truth is they’re completely missing the point. Either spelling is okay, but using either is not. At least, … Continue reading

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The Curse of Backstory

Of all the story-writing sins committed by beginning writers, by far the worst consists of dumping a trailer-load of backstory on the unsuspecting reader. Fortunately, this error becomes clear almost immediately, at least to the reader. As an editor, this practice … Continue reading

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Story as striptease

Despite being opposites–stories are additive; striptease is subtractive–one can still draw parallels. An ecdysiast (look it up) teases her (or his) audience by making them wonder how much farther she/he will go. Successful genre fiction does much the same thing, … Continue reading

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The Spice Rule

One of the many things those who are new to novel writing fail to ask is, “How much is enough?” I’m not talking about length; I’m talking about specific kinds of content, something that impacts all writers in all genres, … Continue reading

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