Do You Torture Your Metaphors? The Problem of Self-Conscious Writing

Do you torture your metaphors, linking unlike things in outrageous comparisons? Do you manufacture odd phrases and invent “words” in an attempt to seem “literary” and “sound like a writer”? If so, you probably don’t even know you are doing this, yet the pretentious writing that results is one of the marks of an amateur writer.

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The Flattery of Friends Doth Not a Writer Make

I just finished critiquing a story for an aspiring author who was very surprised at the feedback he received. In contacting me, he said he had written several novels he hadn’t yet tried to publish. He wanted to add some polish to one before sending it out to agents, hence his decision to reach out. I read the first chapter, ... Read More

Why Word Count Matters

One mistake aspiring novelists and memoir writers often make is disregarding the importance of word count. Unreasonable though it may seem, there's an expected, established word count for a novel or memoir, especially for first-time authors. If you don't color within the lines when it comes to the length of your manuscript, most agents will write you off as an ... Read More

An Editor’s Advice for ESL Authors (Non-Native English Speakers)

I frequently get emails from ESL authors—non-native English speakers who have written a book in English and are looking for an editor before they publish. ESL authors, this article is for you. If you are extremely fluent in English, this article does not apply to you. But if you aren't, and if you've written the book in English, or translated ... Read More