Posts tagged Revising for Publishing
How Writers Can Prepare For a Fantastic Beta Reader Experience

A little beta reader feedback can go a long way toward improving the quality of your work. 

In last week’s article, I answered six common questions about working with beta readers, including what beta readers are, why their feedback is invaluable, and how you can find the beta readers who will provide the most constructive feedback on your work. Today, I’m following that introduction with a guide to creating the very best beta experience for both you and your readers.

Remember, beta readers are providing you with a free service, taking the time to read your manuscript and share feedback on how you can improve it before you publish. That’s a lot of work! It’s your job to make that work as enjoyable as possible for your beta readers. And when you do, you may just find that you set yourself up for a fantastic beta reader experience as well.

Read More
The New Writer's Guide to Working With Beta Readers


Nothing improves the quality of your writing like a little objective feedback.

Sure, a few well-honed self-editing skills can go a long way toward helping you craft incredible stories. But at the end of the day, you’re simply too close to your work to truly revise and refine it to be the best that it can be. This is where a second pair of eyes (or many seconds) can come in handy, specifically in the form of beta readers.

I recently worked with beta readers for the first time to seek feedback on my upcoming book Build Your Best Writing Life, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I’m now excited to share what I learned from that experience in a new two-part series here on the blog, beginning with today’s post answering the most common questions about working with beta readers:

Read More
Eight Things to Cut or Reconsider When Editing Fiction

I often say the magic of writing happens in revision. 

When you revise, you transform a lumpy first draft into a powerful and cohesive story, cutting filler, strengthening the narrative, and shoring up your story’s foundations. As you edit, that same magic manifests in your prose, helping you transform weak and clumsy writing into an irresistible read.

In last week’s article, I shared an overview of how you can strengthen your prose at every step in the writing process, from drafting to revising and editing. Today, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty. As you work to tighten your prose during edits, here are eight things in your manuscript to cut or reconsider…

Read More
How Fiction Writers Can Improve The Quality of Their Prose

Most fiction writers come to the page with a passion for either language or storytelling.

My own strengths lie in the latter. I love mapping plots arcs, developing characters, and crafting fictional worlds. Yet for me, translating those story elements onto the page has always felt like pulling teeth. I simply don’t have a natural knack for prose, which is why I’ve spent the past several years working hard to improve the quality of my writing.

If you’d like to do the same, today’s article is for you. In this mega-guide, I’m sharing each specific element of prose you should consider at every step in the writing process, breaking down the overwhelm of learning to write wonderfully readable prose so you can work to level up your writing skills with confidence. Shall we begin?

Read More
How To Structure Compelling Scenes

Every phenomenal story unfolds in a series of scenes. 

If each scene in a book is a link in a chain, one weak link can threaten the overall power of a story. By learning how to craft better, more compelling scenes — scenes that are irresistible in their interest and emotional pull — we learn how to craft better, more compelling stories. But what exactly makes for a spellbinding, well-structured scene?

To answer that question, we must first ask another...

Read More
Five Tips & Four Myths About Preparing To Edit Fiction

Editing a short story or novel is its own craft, using a separate skill set from writing. It’s a different approach and needs a different mindset. This isn’t to say that editing can’t be creative; it’s creating solutions to problems. Through editing, you’ll identify problems in your story and figure out the best solutions.

As you make the mental shift from writing to editing, you have to be able to look at your own work with a level of objectiveness in order to make your story the best it can be. In this post, I’d like to offer suggestions to help you gain perspective on your manuscript.

Read More
How to Utilize Motifs In Your Fiction

Motifs can serve several powerful purposes in storytelling.

Yet because motifs are often discussed in literary and academic circles, many genre-fiction writers fail to explore the potential of this powerful literary device — but literary devices aren’t for literary writers alone. Flashbacks, foreshadowing, mood, imagery, metaphor, and suspense are all literary devices that, among other examples, are commonly employed by genre and literary writers alike.

How, then, can all writers utilize motifs to strengthen the quality of their storytelling? Let’s dive deep into this topic today, writers!

Read More
How to Improve Your Editing With Scrivener's Linguistic Focus

Looking to improve the ease of editing a project?

If you’d like to strengthen your verb usage, refine your story’s dialogue, cut unnecessary adjectives, or otherwise hone in on a specific part of speech in your project, Scrivener’s Linguistic Focus feature is a lifesaver. With a simple click, Linguistic Focus highlights the chosen part of speech in your text, allowing you to easily make necessary changes and simplify your editing process.

Pretty awesome, right? Let's break down this epic Scrivener function in today's video lesson and transcript, which are excerpted from our video tutorial course, Storytelling With Scrivener. Click here to learn more about the course today!

Read More
Should You Include a Prologue in Your Story?

Ah, the Great Prologue Debate. Should they or should they not have a place in fiction?

The necessity of prologues (or lack thereof) is a topic that’s frequently discussed in online writing circles, and today I’d like to add my two cents to the clamor. You see, I feel pretty strongly about the power of a prologue well written. It’s a story element I’ve enjoyed time and time again as a reader, and also one that I’ve worked to emulate in many of my own stories.

Why do I think that prologues have their place? And what defines a prologue as well-written in my eyes? Allow me to share my thoughts with you in today’s article, writers.

Read More
How to Identify and Cut Your Story's Filler


Have you ever read a novel that was far too indulgent for its own good?

Perhaps the plot dragged on and on or the prose meandered or the author spent a highly unnecessary amount of time on world-building or the color of their characters' hair. Maybe you weren't exactly sure where the author went wrong, but you know the book could have been at least fifty pages shorter. 

A touch of fluff bears little consequence, of course, but too much filler can easily weigh a story down. Knowing how onerous such indulgent stories can be, it's time we took a look at our own manuscripts and the fluff that may be lurking within. How can you identify and cut your story's filler? Let's discuss today, writers!

Read More
How to Find and Fix Your Story's Plot Holes

When spending so much time working on our stories, it can be difficult to see the forest through the trees.

This is a phenomenon we discussed in our recent article on the importance of gaining objectivity as we edit. When we're in the thick of revising our stories, we may find ourselves so focused on all the little details that we want to improve that we fail to see some of our stories' biggest weaknesses. And the biggest of all, perhaps, are plot holes. 

What are plot holes exactly? And how can you find and fix them throughout your manuscript? Let's break down everything you need to know today, writer!

Read More
How to Improve Your Self-Editing in One Simple Step

Struggling to feel confident in your self-editing skills? You're not alone, writer.

Both big picture revisions and tedious line-edits demand that writers consider countless facets of their work, from plot and character arcs to settings, themes, character development, and world-building, then on to dialogue, diction, sentence structure, tone, voice, atmosphere, and beyond. It's no wonder so many writers approach self-editing with extreme trepidation.

And while there are many techniques that can help writers approach revisions and line-edits with confidence, there is one especially powerful trick that I want to break down with you today: maintaining an objective eye. What is objectivity exactly, and how can it help improve your self-editing skills? Let's dive in! 

Read More
My Top Tips for Utilizing Fictional Language in Your Stories

Let’s face it: Tolkien set the bar pretty high as far as constructed languages go. 

Whether you’ve considered outlining an entire conlang (that’s world-building slang for “constructed language”) or are simply looking to use a few invented words to liven up your story world, knowing how best to approach the construction of a fictional language is daunting to say the least. 

Is the use of conlang really necessary? How much detail should you put into crafting your fictional language? And how in the world can you incorporate it in a way that feels natural and believable to readers? Let’s talk about all this and more in today’s article, writer!

Read More
My Top Tips for Balancing Stories with Multiple Points-of-View

Writing fiction from the perspectives of multiple characters can be a lot of fun.

This style of storytelling has gained quite a bit of popularity in recent decades thanks to the rise of film and television, which often structures its stories to showcase many characters’ perspectives. But utilizing multiple points-of-view isn’t the simplest technique to master. 

I’ve received quite a few requests for tips on this topic in recent months, and being as I’ve dabbled in writing stories with multiple points-of-view myself, I decided it was high time to translate my experience into a few key tips to share with you all today. Shall we dive in?

Read More
How to Frame Scenes Like a Filmmaker


Have you ever thought about writing fiction with filmmaking in mind?

This certainly isn’t a concept I originated. Rather, I recently rediscovered it after reading Diana Gabaldon’s I Give You My Body, her guide to writing intimate scenes, in which she discusses framing the scenes in her books as though she were shooting a film. 

Having taken a few communications classes in my day—all of which involved a good bit of camera work—the idea of framing scenes with filmmaking in mind is advice that I not only find interesting, but believe may be vastly helpful to many writers looking to improve their craft. Sound like something you’d enjoy? Let’s kick off today’s discussion!

Read More
How to Manage Your Story's Pacing (a #StorySocial recap)


Hello, friends! Time for another #StorySocial recap. Never heard of it?

#StorySocial is the weekly chat I host every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern on Twitter. Each week, dozens of writers get together for about an hour to chat about a fun writerly topic. This past Wednesday, we talked all about how to manage your story's pacing.

Did you miss out? Couldn't make it? No worries. I'm sharing a recap of this week's chat below. Check it out!

Read More
How to Edit Your Story For Success (a #StorySocial recap)

Hello, friends! Time for another #StorySocial recap. In case you're new here (or if you've just yet to hear about our chats), allow me to cue you in: #StorySocial is the weekly Twitter chat that I host every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern.

Each week we get together for about an hour to chat about a fun writerly topic. This past Wednesday, we talked about how to build fictional societies as part of the world-building process.

Did you miss out? Couldn't make it? Forgot all about it? No worries! I'm sharing a recap of this week's chat below. Check it out!

Read More
Five Ways to Frame Your Story

You have a story idea, and you’re ready to write. But have you thought much about how you’ll frame your story?

Subjective storytelling is the framework most commonly found in modern literature, and it's perhaps the most obvious way writers think to tell their stories. With a subjective framework, writers utilize a limited point-of-view (i.e. the story is told solely via the main character's thoughts and experiences) to immerse readers in the main character’s journey.

But this style of storytelling isn’t the only way in which you can frame your story for success. What are your other options, and which is best for your novel? Let’s break down five alternative frameworks today!

Read More
How to Raise the Stakes in Your Story

Let’s raise the stakes!

Keeping readers engaged in your story is, of course, paramount. And one of the easiest ways to ensure readers keep turning pages is to thread your novel with powerful stakes. 

Raising the stakes means making sure your characters always have something to lose.

For them, something important is at risk. And that risk can have a huge impact, heightening your story’s conflict, adding thrilling tension and suspense, revealing new truths about your characters, propelling their emotional journeys forward, and more!

But how do you go about building powerful stakes for your story? And how can you raise the stakes when your story seems to be running out of steam? Let’s dive in to today’s breakdown!

Read More
Seven Things Editors Wish Authors Knew

As an editor, I have encountered countless authors, and they usually have the same questions or concerns. I have compiled a list of seven things editors wish authors knew, so your process of working with an editor is as smooth as possible.

 

1. Book Us in Advance

Writers frequently ask me when they should book me, and I always tell them as soon as possible. Editors tend to get booked out weeks, if not months, in advance, and you want to ensure that you are on your ideal editor’s schedule at the right time.

Also, if you have a deadline with your editor before you even write your novel, you will be motivated to finish it. There is nothing like external motivation to make sure you get your book done.

Read More