The editing process begins with structural editing, which involves an editor giving you feedback regarding the way your story unfolds because an editor works on behalf of the reader. Since an alarming percentage of the writing population believes editors are irrelevant and unnecessary because writing is an art, let me explain why structure is important.

Writing Rules Explained: Give Your Story Structure

Video transcript Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, there should come a time when you revise your novel, and one of the first steps of revising your novel should involve giving it structure. I know writers seethe when they hear the word should, but honestly, what’s the point of perfecting your writing, or even … Read more

Passive voice is often seen as a sign of bad writing. But is it?

Writing Rules Explained: Don’t Use Passive Voice

I have a plug-in on my website that constantly tells me to rewrite my content because I use passive voice too much. If I were to import my content into an online text analyser, I’d get the same result. “Don’t use passive voice” is a rule that you can bet appears on probably just about … Read more

“Said is dead,” says one camp. “Only use said,” says another. So which rule should we follow?

Writing Rules Explained: Said is Dead / Only Use Said

“Said is dead,” says one camp. “Only use said,” says another. So which rule should we follow? The erroneous death of said Some writers think said is dead because it’s overused, but if using a word a lot means we need to expunge it from our vocabularies, why are irregardless and misunderestimate still kicking? As … Read more

8 Things to do When Contacting a Freelance Editor for Your Novel

Organising a freelance book edit can be an exhausting and frustrating experience — I mean for me, not for you. I’m sure it’s daunting and scary for writers, but life for me as an editor (and, therefore, your book edit) would be a lot smoother if more people followed these guidelines when querying me. 1. … Read more

'Make every word count' means that every word you use in your story should contribute to the story in some way. I'm not just talking about individual words here, but also sentences, paragraphs, scenes, chapters and subplots. Everything you write about should contribute to the 'big picture' of the story. Why?

Writing Rules Explained: Make Every Word Count

Video transcript ‘Make every word count’ means that every word you use in your story should contribute to the story in some way. I’m not just talking about individual words here, but also sentences, paragraphs, scenes, chapters and subplots. Everything you write about should contribute to the ‘big picture’ of the story. Why? Let’s start … Read more

... to those of you who aren't willing to pay an editor a week's pay for a week's worth of work, here are some things you need to know about editing.

6 Things I Wish Writers Knew About Editors and the Editing Process

My clients are wonderful people who understand, appreciate and are happy to pay for my work so I’m flabbergasted by some of the emails I receive from writers . It can be draining to wake up on a Monday morning to the vaguest of query emails that say nothing by “how much do you charge?”. … Read more

I'm sure most writers have heard the advice that they should cut out adverbs from their writing and there are a few reasons why they should take this advice on board but I'm going to focus on the simple fact that unnecessary words complicate the picture you're trying to give your reader.

How To Write Vivid Scenes: Avoid Unnecessary Adverbs

(Video transcript) I’m sure most writers have heard the advice that they should cut out adverbs from their writing and there are a few reasons why they should take this advice on board but I’m going to focus on the simple fact that unnecessary words complicate the picture you’re trying to give your reader. If … Read more

Every Friday I read the first chapter of a book I've never read before to see what I can learn about writing great first chapters. Here's what I learnt in August 2016.

First Chapter Friday #5 (August 2016)

Don’t know what #FirstChapterFriday is? A Court of Thorns and Roses, Sarah J. Maas Engaging first sentence? No, not particularly. I’m finding a lot of books that use the first line to describe setting. While I appreciate being thrown into the scene straight away, I’m more interested in what is happening than where it’s happening. … Read more

Editing as you write slows you down. Simple as that. Instead of writing a whole document, you rewrite what you've already written. Why edit a document when you haven't even finished writing it? You need to do that at the end anyway, and you might end up taking out the parts that you spent so long rewriting. So how do you stop yourself editing as you write?

7 Ways to Stop Yourself Editing as You Write

Editing as you write slows you down. Simple as that. Instead of writing a whole document, you rewrite what you’ve already written. Why edit a document when you haven’t even finished writing it? You need to do that at the end anyway, and you might end up taking out the parts that you spent so long … Read more