Tag Archive - editing tips

How to Be a Clever Writer

Has anyone ever told you how clever you are? No? Or maybe they said that to you but didn’t mean it in the way you’d wished. Sometimes being told we are clever is an insult, as if we’re being sneaky and deceptive.

However, I think clever is good. I like clever people. One definition of the word in Merriam-Webster is “marked by wit or ingenuity.” And what does ingenuity mean? Aside from “being clever” (don’t you love it when dictionaries give you circular definitions like this?), it means skillful in devising. Inventiveness. Cleverness is a good thing!

So it stands to reason that writers should be clever. We invent stories. We want to be skillful at our craft. Maybe you haven’t thought all that much about being clever, but I hope you’ll consider it. Consider using words, phrases, and ideas in a clever way so you can rivet your readers with fresh writing. Writers should be masterful wordsmiths. Continue Reading…

Done with Your Draft—What Next?

If you’ve recently finished writing the first draft to your first book, congratulations! If you’re getting there, applying many of these tips in this oist are going to help you get that draft into great shape.

Maybe you have written numerous drafts and possibly already published a book or more. My hope is that you’ll keep refining your process so it’s more effective and streamline so as to optimize your time and effort. 

There are lots of methods to revising your draft, and every writer has different issues they need to address. So there isn’t a one size fits all approach to revision and self-editing. However, using a targeted approach in revision is the most effective way to get that manuscript in shape.

My signature online video course, 8 Weeks to Writing a Commercially Successful Novel, teaches writers this vitally important technique of using one specific lens when working through a draft, one scene or chapter at a time. Instead of using a random shotgun approach, trying to tighten a few sentences or replace one word with a better word, revising with an eye to a specific element, like microtension or sensory detail, will strengthen obvious weak areas and actually improve your draft! Continue Reading…

Spin That Captivating Tale

Today’s guest post is by Carla D. Bass.

Rumpelstiltskin spins straw into gold. An author employs an intriguing plot, captivating characters, and exquisite settings to spin a tale.

However, these ingredients, themselves, don’t guarantee a captivating tale. The author must induce the reader to hang on every single word (double drumbeat for emphasis) from that all-important title and opening line to the story’s conclusion. How? What additional pixie dust generates that literary magic?

The answer is twofold: 1) make each word count in conveying the story and 2) respect the reader’s time—present a memorable, enjoyable experience.

A foundational principle—for fiction and nonfiction—is leveraging available space and the reader’s time. I, too, am an avid reader, but lose interest when I can scan a few sentences on the page and skip the rest. Continue Reading…

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