Yearly Archives: 2016

Everyone Cries…

…when they finish the first draft. You’d be unusual if you didn’t. Writing is a highly personal, even intimate exercise. So much of what we write, even if science fiction or fantasy is really about us. You’ve undoubtedly included—albeit hidden—your

Posted in A Writer's Life, Editing, Writing

Time Management – Part I: There’s No Such Thing as Multitasking

Before all you high-power business people join forces with soccer moms to march on my home with pitchforks and torches, let’s first define multi-tasking. It’s performing more than one functionally related, non-interdependent action at the same time. These actions may

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What Does “Think Out of the Box” Really Mean?

SPOILER ALERT: The solution to the puzzle appears farther down, so don’t scroll until you’re ready. The concept of Think Out of the Box was created by Mike Vance over 30 years ago, and stems from a simple pencil and

Posted in Writing

Much, Many, More, Fewer, Less, Little

Simple rules: If you can count them or assign a number to them, MANY and FEWER are correct. If you can’t reasonably count them, use MUCH and LESS. This salad has too much dressing, and too many carrots. How much

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Don’t Stage and Block

I’m reticent to say “all,” but the vast majority of you are picturing each scene played out on the screen as you write it. Some may have the Hollywood stars already selected so when Spielberg asks you who’d you like

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The Final Word on Semicolons

Deep down in the bowels of English syntax there are convoluted, academic applications of semicolons; there are just two that you will ever use. An independent sentence is a complete, stand-alone sentence. The first use of semicolons is to connect

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Dialogue 101

A number of years ago, I put myself out there to edit other peoples work. I didn’t represent myself as a professional with years of experience—that would have been a lie—but I explained that I had acquired a pretty good

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Word Frequency Counters – An Essential Tool for Writers

You punch out a hundred-thousand words of brilliant prose. How many different words do you think are contained in your work? I’ve found that I use about six to seven-thousand words in each of my manuscripts. Of course, walk, walked,

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Adverbs Are Not the Enemy

It’s the inappropriate and unnecessary use of these modifiers of verbs that gets writers into trouble. Overusing them is a sign of lazy writing, and while some editor and critics are uber-sensitive to every appearance, you can’t leaf through a

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How to Achieve Rankings

There’s no doubt that exposure is key to successful book sales. Print or Kindle (eBook in general), appearing on the first page of a search, especially up high, displays your work to more eyeballs, which are ultimately connected to a

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