Hedge Words and Inflation Words—Prune These from Your Writing

The following article by Jessi Rita Hoffman originally appeared as a guest post on www.JaneFriedman.com. (Jane Friedman is the former publisher of Writer's Digest.) As writers, we all know wordiness is something to avoid: never say in ten words what you can say in four. But while we get that in theory, it’s often hard, in practice, to produce tight ... Read More

‘Begs the Question’ or ‘Raises the Question’?

No, esteemed author friends. "Begs the question" does not mean "raises the question." What is our language coming to? I sound like a pedant, but honestly ...  the rash of "begging the questions" we're now seeing everywhere, even on news shows and in presumably "edited" books, is enough to drive an editor around the bend. People think it sounds cool ... Read More

‘What’s Wrong with My Query Letter?’

Something is amiss. You’ve written a great novel. You’ve sent your query letter to over sixty agents, and still you’ve had no requests to see the entire manuscript. Why isn’t your query letter working? As a book editor and writing doctor, I get emails from first-time novelists telling me this common tale of woe. When they send me their query ... Read More

Writing Children’s Dialog: How to Get It Right

Are you struggling with the task of writing children's dialog? Some of the worst dialog ever written, in both film and fiction, has been dialog for kids. We all know children are not just miniature grownups—they don’t think like adults or talk like adults. Yet writers seem to forget that when they go to write a story and place words ... Read More

Think Twice Before Writing a Novel

Are you working on writing a novel, perhaps your first? Do you plan to finish it, then bring in an editor for help with the final polish? My experience editing dozens of books by first-time novelists suggests you might be making a mistake. Most of the novels I critique are full of serious problems the author had no idea existed. ... Read More