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

Follow the Guidelines

It’s the step unpublished writers often ignore.

A few years back, a literary agency included this warning with their entry for an annual writer’s market guide: “No exceptions. Don’t ask to be the exception.”

Agents and acquisitions editors everywhere share that frustration. There’s a reason for each item in their submission guidelines. That’s what they want … 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.