Backstory in Your Novel: Getting It Right

nuclear explosion, the problem with backstoryTwo mistakes writers make when it comes to backstory are:

  1. Putting it in chapter one
  2. Using too much at a time

What is backstory?

Tim Tomlinson, in The Portable MFA in Creative Writing, tells us backstory is: [Read more…]

Show don’t tell: Dissecting what it looks like

woman with megaphone, show don't tellShow don’t tell.

Does this piece of advice kink you up in knots? Writers hear it all the time from various angles—other writers, editors, and conference workshop instructors.

When I first starting writing, I struggled with it, too. Too many of the blog posts I read only talked about it and never showed any examples. Sample sentences go a long way in helping me recognize mistakes in my writing.

In a recent webinar Q&A, attendees expressed their difficulties with show don’t tell. So today, I’m offering several examples and some explanations that I hope will help you get untied.

Kudos to my client Donna Wittlif who has allowed me to use 2 excerpts from her WIP as illustrations. [Read more…]

What to do when your motivation takes a vacation

Sometimes it takes all the willpower I can muster to put my butt in the chair and write.

By day I’m a freelance editor/writer and by night an editor for CrossRiver Media. I’m single and my children are grown, but I still have all the household chores to do.

Work, eat, sleep. Work, eat, sleep. My motivation wants to hop a train to Denver, and leave me behind to the comfort of the couch and a mind-numbing DVD.

Because I’m self-employed, I can give in to this lack of motivation for a day. I justify it by telling myself I deserve a day off. But then a day becomes two and sometimes three.

Do you ever have days like that? Weeks maybe where you lack the motivation to work toward your dreams?

I’m guest posting today at Join me there for the rest of this post.

7 Cheat Sheets to Cut Editing Costs Giveaway

7 Cheat Sheets to Cut Editing Costs front coverIt’s launch day for 7 Cheat Sheets to Cut Editing Costs. I’m celebrating by having a giveaway. But first a word about commas.

If there is any one element of punctuation that gives writers more trouble, I believe it is the comma. That’s why I included a cheat sheet on punctuation in 7 Cheat Sheets.

One piece of advice I didn’t include in the book and probably should have is about the comma used between two or more consecutive adjectives before a noun. Stuff like the old gray mare she ain’t what she used to be.

Grammar books make the distinction between coordinate adjectives and [Read more…]

How to Use Track Changes in MS Word

As a writer, I use Scrivener to create my documents—even my blog posts. As an editor, my primary tool is MS Word and Track Changes. While I’ve never asked other editors what they use, I’d venture they use track changes, too.

That makes it critical for writers to understand what track changes are and how to use them.

So today, I’m offering a video from as a quick tutorial.

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