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Month: April 2014

Avoiding Three Common Pitfalls for Novelists [Part 1]

Part 1: Head-Hopping Hurts Readers’ Heads By Editor John David Kudrick Even in our fast-paced digital age, readers are still looking for stories that encourage, engage, and entertain them in the midst of a changing world. What makes a good story hasn’t changed, and on the flip side, what ruins a good story hasn’t changed, …

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What Do I Do With My Finished Novel?

carly-cantor-book-manuscript-line-editor

By Carly Cantor So, you’ve finished your novel and have had it critiqued by a professional, tweaked and road-tested, inspected and corrected, line-edited and copy-edited and proofread. You’re satisfied that it’s as good as it’s going to get, and you think it’s…well…pretty great. (Yay, you!) I would imagine your thoughts are running something like this: …

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Building the Six-Dimensional Character

By David A. Cathcart Book Editor Book Editing Associates Editing-Writing.com   Character development is the driving force of any good story, and yet, this is one of the most misunderstood elements of fiction writing. We’ve all heard of “flat” or “two-dimensional” characters. But how do we avoid this fatal flaw? The first step is to …

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Book Review: Eat Mangoes Naked

Book Review:  Eat Mangoes Naked: Finding Pleasure Everywhere, by  S.A.R.K. By James N. Powell Book Editor, Book Editing Associates Book-Editing.com, Editing-Writing.com First of all, my life is–most fundamentally considered–nothing but an ode to the mango, to any one of which I could hymn, while reasonably sober: Desnuda eres tan simple como una de tus manos …

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Know Your Genre, Part II

Floyd Largent, SF/F and mystery editor. In the first blog entry on this topic, I discussed the literary stumbling blocks that writers face when they fail to listen to the old dictum “write what you know.” Western readers who write mysteries, or mystery fans who write SF (for example) can easily fall prey to old, …

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Know Your Genre, Part I

By Floyd Largent, Book Editor, Science Fiction and Fantasy As an editor, my fiction specialties are science fiction, fantasy, and related genres. I have 30 years of experience reading, writing, and editing in these fields. I also edit quite a lot of mystery novels, so I’m necessarily familiar with many aspects of that genre as …

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How to Write a Query Letter

By Marlo Garner ChildrensBookEditors.com Book-Editing.com  “This is really hard!” I’m quite certain that’s the most uttered sentence from writers about concocting a strong query or cover letter. They’re absolutely right. It is hard to write a good query letter, especially when you’re starting out. I don’t know anyone who really likes writing queries, and most …

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How to avoid the dreaded “info dump”

By David A. Cathcart Something I see all too commonly in the fiction manuscripts I edit is an “info dump,” a chunk of exposition that bogs down the narrative by unloading a detailed character backstory or an elaborate—and lengthy—explanation of the story’s high concept and/or the history of the fictional universe. This sort of information …

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Genres of Books

By Theodora Bryant The division of genres has become a bewildering game of slots, and the meaning within those slots, and woe betide those who send in a query to an agent who reps books that are in Slot A, not Slot B. Take fantasy. Is it children’s, young adult (also called middle grade), or adult? …

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Fiction Classification, Part 2: What is a Short Story?

by Marie Valentine, Book Editor and Proofreader What is a Short Story? A small serving of literature is easily recognized in the short story, which deals with an episode of brief related scenes and a single character. A short story has no minimum word count. There are short stories told in paragraph “flash fiction” forms, some …

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How to Denote a Character’s Thoughts

By Marlo Garner | Children’s Book Editor Recently, I was involved in an interesting discussion on the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) listserv. One member asked a whether a character’s thoughts—also called interior discourse—should be denoted by quotation marks, no quotation marks, or by italics. When I edit, I let the context and target …

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