Read Good Books

Fill your mind with effective examples.

The past two weeks I’ve been spending six hours a day editing someone’s novel.

The author’s a solid storyteller, but his mechanics are weak. So I’m taking pains to fix the punctuation on nearly every sentence. And the dialogue attribution. And much of the spelling. Plus some of the verb … Continue reading

Finishing a November Novel

Treat it as it is: a first draft.

Are you scrambling to meet your deadlines for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)? Consider again the experience of my friend Chandler Birch, who in 2013 decided to try to write a novel in a month.

The challenge gave Birch his start. “Prior to that,” he says, “I … Continue reading

Must You Write Tightly?

Don’t try this in your initial draft.

Forget tight writing and let your book’s first draft flow. Then practice tight editing. As Strunk & White advise in The Elements of Style, retain only those words that earn their keep. No freeloaders.

In the process you’ll find many candidates for deletion.