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Keep Your First Draft to Yourself . . . Or When to Find an Editor

First drafts are for beta readers, not editors. Hence, I’m not joking when I say keep your first draft to yourself (or at least away from me). Do whatever you have to do to get your family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, shop workers—anyone—to agree to read your...

Stop the Elision of Ellipsis Points . . .

I’m fairly certain that no mark of punctuation has caused me as much editorial torture as ellipsis points, aka an ellipsis. The mark was once primarily used to indicate that something had been left out of quoted material. As its popularity increases, the little...

Writing for the Sake of Writing

As most people who write know, writing is often a compulsion. Whether or not a writer has something to say, a story to tell, or a poem to write, a writer often feels like transposing the stream of consciousness in her head onto paper or screen or wall or what have...

Showing, Not Telling

Writers are often advised to “show, not tell,” and I have to admit that this confused me for years. My internal response was: Writing is telling, what do you mean? I’m sure most people aren’t so slow on the uptake, but this post is for anyone...