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Can You Believe It?

Despite readers’ presumed desires to suspend disbelief, try to keep some rational sense of reality cohering your storyline by Marie Valentine, editor Not true! No way that could happen. Sorry, I’m not buying it. If these phrases cannot be squelched in your mind when revising your manuscript, take note. Readers might forgive an author if …

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On Pacing: Superspecific Settings Are Not Needed

Place your characters in an environment and let them be by Marie Valentine, editor Sometimes writers are pace driven and have a story they simply need to get out. Often their characters are floating in space, meeting midair without a notion of physical dimension. Time and place have been forgotten. To these writers, I suggest …

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On Pacing: Don’t Do Dead-end Dialogue

Making sure your characters’ language makes an impact by Marie Valentine, editor Imagine an agent looking for the next big thing. She sits down with her coffee and red pen and flips open a fresh manuscript to the following interaction: The phone rang. “Hello,” answered Don. “Hi, is Mark there?” said a voice. “Sure, who’s …

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On Pacing: Beware Excess Character Description

Keep your story moving by recognizing when too much information (TMI) is weighing down the action by Marie Valentine, editor It’s easy to get sucked into overwriting the details of a character’s physical appearance. Most writers like to describe, which is why we write: detailing people is fun. But we need to rein it in …

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On Pacing: Avoid TMI in Plot

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Keep your story moving by recognizing when too much information (TMI) is weighing down the action by Marie Valentine, editor Consider this first paragraph of a hypothetical novel: Johnny woke up in the hotel bed. His grandparents Merv and Jude were going to be buried today. They died in a tragic helicopter accident while on …

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Using Your Senses to Write Well

How to incorporate the five senses into your writing  by Marie Valentine, Editor See, taste, touch, smell, hear. I wrote these words on a sticky note and put it on my writing desk until I absorbed them. The five senses are how we perceive the world, and through them writers translate experience to a reader. Without the senses, …

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Editing for Sport: Q&A with John Ethier, Author

John Ethier’s new novel, a basketball thriller titled The Little Red Boat, was edited by Marie Valentine of Book Editing Associates. Here, she gets more information on his process.   Tell us about your book. The Little Red Boat is the story of two friends, Jamie and Angel, who come from a small town in northern …

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Living the Publishing Dream

Editor Marie Valentine discusses books with self-publishers in this series. Here she talks to Caroline Robinson, blogger and author of a ghost story who is navigating the publishing world on her own terms. Book Editing Associates editors frequently work with self-published authors. Writers have myriad reasons as diverse as their books for self-publishing. Caroline Robinson self-published her first book …

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3 Ways to Organize Your Short Story Collection

by Marie Valentine, editor Say you’ve written 35,000 to 75,000 words worth of short stories. Nicely done. Now it’s time to publish. Some publishers focus on anthologies by genre or year, mixing many authors together. Other publishers group stories by era of an author’s writing career, for example: early stories, later stories, best of, etc. …

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Five Ways to Thicken Your Writer Skin (Plus Benefits)

by Marie Valentine, editor Sometimes we don’t want to put our writing out into the world because we fear rejection. To be a successful writer, you are going to experience some of this mental pain. But if you want to keep your promise to yourself to be a writer, you will need to thicken your …

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Penetrating Family Mystery via Memoir

An Ordinary Tragedy Author Q&A Lori Hart Beninger’s new book explores memories, research, and interviews with family and friends to understand her brother’s life of escalating crime. This intimate memoir profiles the dynamics of an All-American Family in California and the secrets they kept from the middle 1950s to early 1980s. Editor Marie Valentine checked in with Lori …

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Blog to Book

Dream Publishing with a Self-Help, Self-Published Author In The Inner Guru: Dreams Reveal Your Future, author John Desautels expands on his experience with dreams, with unique insights provided by examples from his more than forty years of dream study. This is a followup to his first book, a memoir, The Man Who Sees Tomorrow in His Dreams. …

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The Many Modes of Third-Person Point of View

Perspective as a Fiction Storytelling Tool by Marie Valentine, editor It sometimes seems like there are as many angles to tell a story as there are possibilities in choosing a genre. Let’s narrow it down and explore a classic fiction perspective, third-person point of view (POV). Third-Person Omniscient Omniscient point of view is told from …

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Choosing Your Book’s Point of View

by Marie Valentine, editor I noted previously the importance of keeping a consistent perspective in a novel, and I suggested authors use point of view (POV) as a guide in writing and editing their story. If you’re not sure how to pick your story’s point of view, consider genre and reader expectations. For example, memoir is …

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10 (More) Questions Answered by a Freelance Editor

Editor and Proofreader Marie Valentine tells us about what she’s reading, her specialties and style, and her passions outside of books What are you reading right now? I read constantly. On paper or digitally, I am unbiased regarding mode as long as the device is delivering me content. FEED ME WORDS. Besides the books and other …

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10 Questions Answered by a Freelance Editor

Proofreader and Editor Marie Valentine discusses best clients, fave fiction, perks of the job, and her journey into editing   What do you like most about your job as a freelance writer/editor? I am so lucky to do what I love. The best part is the variety of amazing manuscripts I get to read. I enjoy …

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Self-Publishing and the Editor

by Marie Valentine, Developmental Editor So you have written a book. Congratulations! The era of the digital reader has leveled the playing field. No longer do publishing houses hold all the cards when it comes to putting a book on the virtual shelves. Today, you can craft, print, and promote your own book or ebook …

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Author Interview: Clayborne Taylor, Jr., Science Fiction Series Writer

Review and interview by editor Marie Valentine From an early age, Clayborne Taylor, Jr. spent endless hours pursuing his interests in science and technology. That includes everything from hard sciences to reaching out in an effort to perceive possible technological advances in the future. Finally, electrical engineering provided the best fit to his thirst to …

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The Differences Between Editing and Proofreading Nonfiction, Fiction, and Poetry

by Marie Valentine, Developmental Editor Lots of editing types exist, from technical to business to poetry, and all styles in between (developmental, line edits, proofreading, and others). In this article, I briefly discuss editorial approaches to various arenas of writing. Editing and Proofreading Nonfiction Business editing requires copywriters who come up with the material. These clever folks know …

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New Fiction Book Review: Prepared by Lindsay K. Mason

Prepare yourself for some morbid laughs; self-published author desired control over the product, quicker release by Marie Valentine Author Lindsay K. Mason (photo left) “Prepared,” the debut literary fiction novel from Lindsay K. Mason, features the intertwined lives of a colorful staff of morticians. If you enjoy slightly morbid human stories told with compassion and …

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Why One Author Decided to Self-Publish: Hyperbole by Ryan Parmenter

by Marie Valentine, editor In one of the best books I’ve had the pleasure of editing, Ryan Parmenter had me grinning and grimacing while reading Hyperbole, laughing through the bleakness of the comedy. In a dystopian “post-7/11” world, people swallow black boxes that reveal their deepest secrets when they die. The book reveals and revels …

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