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How Writers Can Spot Those Pesky Flaws in Their Fiction

All I see are a bunch of trees.

That’s what a lot of my clients say to me.

Well, actually, no one has ever said those exact words to me. But, in essence, that is what they’re saying.

And when I peered deep into the editing forest, after a number of years of working as a copyeditor, that a lot of the trees looked the same. I kept having that dreamlike sensation that I’d been there, in that same spot, many times before.

Truth is, I had. Waaaayyy too many times.

All this to say: novelists make a lot of the same mistakes. They have a lot of the same weak components in their writing. They can’t seem to see those glaring mistakes—because those darn redwoods are in the way. Continue Reading…

A Time to Write and a Time to Not Write

For everything, there is a season. So says the wise writer of Ecclesiastes (King Solomon). Some of us were first introduced to this aphorism with the Byrds’ famous song “Turn, Turn, Turn.” I think as we get older, we truly understand the truth about seasons in our lives. They are part of the natural cycle of things, and while we often buck the cycle, we do better if we ride with it.

What am I talking about? The seasons of writing and refraining from writing. Just as there is “a time to plant and a time to reap, a time to laugh and a time to weep,” there is a time to write and a time to not write.

I feel it’s important to consider this, for many reasons. The whole point of Solomon’s words, to me, is acceptance. “This is the way things work,” he seems to be saying. Just as the seasons of the earth come and go in cyclical cadence, everything in our lives works similarly. Why should writing be any different? Continue Reading…

8 Reasons to Attend a Writing Boot Camp

Often, at the end of the year, we writers start strategizing about our plans for the New Year. That’s why I’ve been running this series of blog posts on strategic planning. It’s important. Time is precious, demands on our time are numerous, and we want great results in our efforts to improve as a writer in the least amount of time.

At least I do. I hate wasting time. I try to make the most out of every minute I spend on my career, whether it is researching, writing, attending conferences, teaching, or brainstorming. I can’t rush my ideas, and sometimes it takes me months to pull a novel together in my head before I’m ready to write. But I can be efficient with all the other aspects of my writing life.

Over the years I’ve attended a lot of writers’ conferences. I’ve also attended some intensive one-day and one-week writing workshops. I always learn a lot at conferences, but, hands down, I learn the most at intensive events. Also what I learn at those focused intensive workshops made the greatest impact on my skills as a writer. Continue Reading…

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