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Publishing and the ugly baby syndrome

We've all been there. The proud parents show off their new baby and your first impression is that it's really quite ugly. Like me, you've probably stuttered a little before forcing out something … [Read More...]

Substantive editing: the all-too-often missing ingredient

As more and more books are published by individuals or by companies who want the manuscript to be near-perfect when it arrives, the one thing that is less likely to happen is good editing. I'm … [Read More...]

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Writing

Finding Ideas

Writers find ideas by keeping up with the news and current events

Many writers get ideas from listening to the news, reading newspapers or the internet, watching programs about current affairs, noticing topics that are trending… In fact, being alert to what’s going on in the world is usually a great way to get started as a writer. Many local or regional newspapers are interested in stories […]

Writers find ideas by exploring topics that interest them

Most people are passionate about something. That passion often leads them to learn a lot about that particular subject, and gives them a desire to pass on their knowledge or understanding to others. This is one of the most common ways people find their ideas. Out of their lives, and values, they think of something […]

Writers find ideas from other people

Most of our writing revolves around people in some form or another, so it makes sense that many of our ideas come from people. It might be someone we know, or it might be a total stranger we happen to run across once. The idea could be as comprehensive as discovering something about your mother […]

Writing Fiction

Funnel Publishing

A short time ago, I had a free ebook on Kindle. “They Can’t take That Away From Me,” It’s a short story, under my alter ego’s name (J. A. Menzies), and it’s not quite like anything else I’ve written. Closer to thriller than mystery. If you like that sort of thing, please check it out. […]

Where are you? The importance of setting in first person POV stories

Don’t let your readers get lost! A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that many writers sort of assume that the reader knows who is telling the story, especially if it’s telling a true story. If you haven’t read that post, you might want to read it first. As I said then, assuming your readers […]

Who are you? Writing from the first person point-of-view

Assuming the reader knows who you are is one of the most common mistakes I see both in personal stories and fiction. When using the first person point of view, many writers just start telling the story, assuming that the reader knows who “I” is. I mean, the writer knows who “I” is, so why […]

Writing Memoir

Where are you? The importance of setting in first person POV stories

Don’t let your readers get lost! A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that many writers sort of assume that the reader knows who is telling the story, especially if it’s telling a true story. If you haven’t read that post, you might want to read it first. As I said then, assuming your readers […]

When you want to tell your story

A friend of a friend contacted me recently wanting to know how to turn her life story into a book. Since I realized there might be other people with the same question, I decided to post my reply here. In general, there are 4 options: 1. You write out your story so that you can […]