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In an hour Manifestos are an excellent tool for getting clarity about your life, or about a particular aspect of your life…like writing. Writing a manifesto reminds you a) your experience is valid, and b) if you don’t know where you stand on something that matters urgently to you, how can anyone else? What’s a …

How to Write a Manifesto Read More »

While you write the first couple of drafts of any long document, the following questions are always present: • Is it worth writing? • Can I write it? • Can I write it well enough that someone will love reading it?

There’s a meme on that social media platform old people use (Facebook), which goes like this: Start by doing 1 push up. Start by drinking 1 cup of water. Start by paying toward 1 debt. Start by reading 1 page. Start by making 1 sale. Start by deleting 1 old contact. Start by walking 1 …

How to Write More by Starting Small Read More »

Writing is a “learn by doing” thing, and the only way to learn how to write a book is to write one. This is problematic for many reasons, the main one being that writing a book is confusing, difficult, and almost always optional. Several years ago I borrowed a bunch of money and went back …

7 Project Management Principles for Writing a Book Read More »

In my editorial experience, writers go through more trouble nailing point of view (POV) for a piece of fiction than almost any other topic I’ve come across. The only real test of POV is whether it works. By “works,” I mean whether it is basically invisible to the reader and gives them the experience you …

How to Change Your Story’s POV–and why you’d want to Read More »

Sometimes you come across a book about writing that contains exactly what you need, exactly when you need it. Here is a closer look at five excellent books that will deepen your understanding of the craft of fiction. From quick reads (the Hugo book) to weighty tomes (The Rhetoric of Fiction), they are worth dipping …

Recommended Craft Books Read More »

There is nothing so precious and productive as a good writing group. Why? It gives a writer: Accountability — people are waiting to read your stuff, so you write it Support — getting published ain’t easy, but we’re in it together Skill-building — not just in writing, but also in giving and receiving critiques Mentorship — …

How to Run Your Writing Group Read More »

Sometimes projects get a little scary. This happened to me on the third draft of a novel called LIQUID WORLD, when it started to take on a feral quality. I was worried that if I came at the revision from the wrong angle, the novel might disappear on me–or worse, turn into something lifeless. What to …

Riding a Wild Tiger Read More »

If you write historical fiction, taking apart the novel of a master of the form can be illuminating. For example, how does Peter Carey convey historical information in his novel, Parrot and Olivier in America. (The novel is reviewed by Thomas Mallon in the NY Times here, and by Ursula K LeGuin in the Guardian …

World Building in Historical Fiction Read More »

In the writer’s quest to understand ourselves (and thereby avoid extinction), reading about how to improve your mood and your productivity, thus increasing the odds that you’ll get things done (even better, done well) can be useful. This book is one in a long line of positive thinking texts that go back to Samuel Smiles …

Book Review: The Happiness Advantage Read More »

Recently, one of the novice writers I worked with (we did chapter-by-chapter editorial coaching through an entire draft of his novel) asked me to rate his chances of getting the book accepted by an agent or publisher, on a scale of 0 to 5. Five would mean I thought it “very likely,” and zero would …

What are my book’s chances? Read More »

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain Tidbits from Quiet: Open plan offices reduce productivity and impair memory. They make people sick, hostile, unmotivated and insecure. Online collaborations can be very successful, but that doesn’t mean work groups are better in all situations. Your sweet spot is …

Book Review: Quiet by Susan Cain Read More »