Tag Archives: writing

#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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Short Saturday: Nonfiction Book Structure

When I clicked on this blog post from literary agent Janet Grant and read … Nonfiction Book Structure = More Than a String of Blog Posts … I stood up and cheered. Because, yes, she’s said a mouthful. You cannot just cut and paste together your blog posts and call it good. As Grant notes: […]

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Short Saturday: Editors Will Never Go Out of Style

It’s a mark of how little things change that I can go back to a list of links I set aside to write about here, find two that are nearly three years old—and they are still timely. Why? Because folks are still confused or mistaken about how to get where they want to go in […]

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Short Saturday: Stammer Verbs

I love it when I find an article that gives me a name for something I’ve noticed in editing, but didn’t know what to call it. Such is the case when I read this article at Jane Friedman’s website: “2 Stammer Verbs to Avoid in Your Fiction.” What the heck is a stammer verb? Here […]

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Short Saturday: The Fiction Author’s Dilemma

I’ve been following Catherine Ryan Howard’s blog for some years. It’s almost been like watching her “grow up” right in front of me—from a sweet, sassy, opinionated self-taught self-publisher to a woman who’s gone back to college and finally attained her dream of being traditionally published. The blog—indeed, the whole website—has changed (not in a […]

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