Is “said” worthless?

In college writing classes, we sit in a tight circle, facing each other. Sometimes, we critique our own works; other times we discuss writing. But one time — and only once — everyone raised their voices against what I suggested. I disagreed with the author using the word "said" for every single dialogue tag. I … Continue reading Is “said” worthless?

Common writer mistakes #9

Welcome back to another Common Writer Mistakes! This time is over: #9 - Overusing character names Lately, I've seen a few writers overuse character names. They would use a name almost every chance they could. Here's a fictional example: John walked over to Laurencia with the biggest smile on his face. He turned with his … Continue reading Common writer mistakes #9

How does a book become a book? – part two

If you missed part one or need a recap, it's here. #3 - Editing your manuscript Don't panic, but this can take many rounds. Editing a book is difficult, and sometimes minds will disagree. You're about to dig deep into your work. How is your dialogue? Believable? Does your character's motivations seem valid, true to … Continue reading How does a book become a book? – part two

How does a book become a book? – part one

Books become books in different ways, but they usually take the same general path. But how does that work? Here's a general sense from a manuscript to a book in hand. #1 - Decide trade vs self-publishing If you want to go into trade publishing, your next step is to get a literary agent. Once … Continue reading How does a book become a book? – part one

Should you go to AWP? My 2020 AWP experience.

I did a poll on Twitter and found that most of my followers don’t know about the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) conference. Or maybe you’re curious about going. Since I went this last March, I’ll let you know about my experience. Pricing For national conferences, this is one of the cheapest I … Continue reading Should you go to AWP? My 2020 AWP experience.

Dear literary agent

Dear literary agent, I wish we all had more time in the day. We could all use the extra hour or so to get everything we need done. But I promise you, it doesn't take that long to write a sentence or two. To make a short list. To say, "Hey. I liked the query, … Continue reading Dear literary agent

Common writer mistakes #5

Welcome back to another Common Writer Mistakes! This time is over: #5 - Misusing hyphens Besides the "gray" with an a vs "grey" with an e battle, there's one common spelling error that I've noticed while editing: hyphens. Sometimes writers believe the word needs a hyphen when it doesn't. Or they forget the hyphen when … Continue reading Common writer mistakes #5

One big tip for knowing how you’ve gotten a good editor

Editing is essential. As writers, we all need some type of editing. Even me, who is trained in editing, is not the best editor for my own work. There are mistakes that our brains cannot find in our stories, our children. So, editors become our biggest helpers. What's great is that some editors will give … Continue reading One big tip for knowing how you’ve gotten a good editor

How many books do you have to write to write a good one?

I've had that question for a while now. How many books do you have to write to write a good one? I knew some authors wrote one book, had a few drafts, and published a brilliant piece of work. Some wrote a few novels before one of theirs got published. Some writers told me that … Continue reading How many books do you have to write to write a good one?

Common writer mistakes #3

#3 - Repeating words for emphasis In some cases, repeating words helps. "Please, Elie," I begged. "You have to do this. You know how much it means to me. Please." See how the 'please' is repeated? It didn't seem to overdo the dialogue, because it was separated out by two full sentences. It felt smooth, … Continue reading Common writer mistakes #3