Category Archives: How-To

Seventeen Steps to a Clean Copy

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“The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon,” Robert Cormier, author of The Chocolate War. The editing process can be intimidating. Like any art form, it’s also a craft that can be learned and improved with practice. My experience as managing editor of a medical journal… Read more »

Someday This Will Be Useful to You (As a Writer)

We’ve all heard it: Write what you know. Famous authors have made their careers writing novels and ongoing series about the worlds they work in, especially in the crime and thriller department. But you don’t have to be Kathy Reichs or Robert Ludlum to use your own life experience to enhance your writing. Scenery and Set Dressing. Searching for the… Read more »

Something New Under the Sun: Fresh Takes on Old Tales

It may be true that there are no truly original story ideas, but there are always new ways of looking at old subjects. From Romeo and Juliet in space to Snow White in Silicon Valley, retellings of classic legends and literature are a fascinating way to jump-start your imagination, continue storytelling traditions, and connect old tales with new audiences. The… Read more »

Web-Building: Creating an Engaging Online Presence

Maybe you’ve grown up in the internet age, with a tablet in every room of your house. Or maybe you suspect the “World Wide Web” your nephew keeps telling you about belongs to the same realms of fantasy as Spiderman. Either way, there’s no denying an online presence helps authors reach fans, connect with agents and editors, and ultimately, sell… Read more »

Enough About You, Let’s Talk About Me: Writing Your Memoirs

It’s the most dreaded interview question of all time: Tell me about yourself. At best, your answer sounds like a parroted version of “What I Did On My Winter Vacation”; at worst, you remind your new boss of their Uncle Vernon at Thanksgiving dinner, endlessly championing his own achievements. But what if you really do have a story to tell?… Read more »

How to be an Adult Writer Person

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Being an adult is hard. Being an adult in charge of a creative career can be even harder. Artists are often told to “release their inner child,” but that child is going to eat candy and wander away to watch cartoons unless you’re willing to play bad cop and set some boundaries.   Plan Ahead. Invest in a planner or… Read more »

Becoming Your Own Cheerleader: Self-Promotion and Self-Motivation

It would be so easy to never talk about our work. The image of the writer as a hermit is pervasive, but the truth is, our livelihood depends on selling our work to other people, and occasionally selling the idea of work to ourselves. Bring It On. Networking—it’s not just for business majors anymore. Now there’s two fronts to tackle:… Read more »

Enter Stage, Write: Performance Practice for Writers

Whether it’s open mike night or an interview, your first reading or your fiftieth, speaking in front of an audience of any size can be daunting, if not downright anxiety-inducing. But with a little knowledge and more than a little preparation, you can be well on your way to staring down stage fright and giving a poised performance. Repeat After… Read more »

Talk to Me: Writing Dialogue that Sings

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Dull dialogue can send your reader to sleep, but bad dialogue can send them running for the hills. Good dialogue establishes character and place, advances the plot, employs subtext, and is crisp and interesting enough to keep even the ficklest reader flipping pages far into the night. Sound like too tall an order? Read on for tips on turning your… Read more »