Tag Archives: writing

Those Important First Pages

Sometimes you set out to do a thing for one reason … only to find it was so much more than you ever imagined. More than you could have actually planned. In this case, I learned just how much value can be wrung out of focusing on the first chapter and how it relates to […]

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Let’s Talk (Again) About Plagiarism

Me, I’m an editor. And a writer. I’ve been earning a portion of my living as a writer for decades. I’ve been a self-employed editor for more than twelve years. I have a lot of friends who are editors or writers. So when, back in January, Monica Crowley—an author and television personality—was forced to withdraw […]

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#WhatImReadingNow : Swiss Vendetta

The old man’s face was pale gray and his eyes were closed. Agnes saw the glint of a long knife in Estanguet’s hand and she leapt forward. He saw her and flicked the blade toward Arsov’s throat. She halted, the element of surprise lost. “He killed my sister,” Estanguet said. “Took the last family I […]

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How a To-Do List Is Like a Book*

I have been keeping a highly developed to-do list since I was in high school. Yes, long before you could sashay into Target and choose from dozens of decorated calendar notebooks, I had a yellow legal pad with a single day of the week scrawled atop the first seven pages.** I can’t live without my […]

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#WhatImReadingNow : Eligible

After the flurry of greetings, Liz found herself talking to Keith, who was congenial and, she quickly discovered, engaged to a woman finishing her medical residency in San Diego. By the time the chicken breasts had been grilled, and the potato salad, coleslaw, and rolls set out, Liz and Keith had covered the topics of […]

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Editor Fear

A couple years ago my vet struck up a conversation with me while she was examining my cat. (Bean, for those of you who know my pets.) What do you do? she asked. I always enjoy this question, for a variety of reasons. First, I love what I do and enjoy talking about it, but […]

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Study This: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

I’ve already written about The Summer Before the War—which I read first (and which is, in fact, the more accomplished novel)—but I really enjoyed Helen Simonson’s novel-writing skills in Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand (the New York Times calls it “funny, barbed, delightfully winsome storytelling”) and I think there’s a lot to learn from reading her. Indeed, the […]

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#WordUse Series: Dear Kroger
(Why You Need an Editor #5,278)

Sent in early December … Dear Kroger, Y’all spend a lot of money on these lovely multipage mailers with recipes and beautiful photography and coupons. (I have an idea about how much these things cost, what with the photo shoots and the graphic designers, the postage, and, oh, the copywriters. You have 2,400 stores in […]

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#WordUse Series:
Words I Never Want to See in Your Novel. Please.

When I get to the end of an edit, I generally make a list of the author’s “favorite” words and phrases—words he or she used over and over without realizing it. It’s quite instructive. Usually they are words like so and well used at the beginning of sentences of dialogue. Often it’s amazing (and you know how I feel about that!). Smirk shows up […]

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#WordUse Series:
Step Away From the Thesaurus and No One Gets Hurt

You know I love my thesaurus, right? I do. I have at least four of them, from various decades dating back to the ’40s (you’d be surprised how useful that is), as well as a rhyming dictionary, a slang dictionary, and something called the Flip Dictionary, which is more fun than any dictionary has a right […]

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