Must a ghostwriter adopt the author’s voice?

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If you are a ghostwriting a book, must it reflect the voice of the author for whom you’re writing it? I first encountered this question in a PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) conference talk by Blythe Campbell. Blythe speaks and writes eloquently about how public relations professionals need to listen to and understand their … Continued

Why I won’t edit your book

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I turn jobs down. It happens all the time. After five years as a freelance writer, editor, and coach, I can tell when you and your manuscript are going to be a problem — and more importantly, when I can’t help you. If I pass you off to another editor, you’re probably fine. But if … Continued

Edit yourself. It’s cheaper and it makes you smarter.

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You wrote something. It’s not the best it can be. You could hire an editor. Or you could fix it yourself. Sure, if you can’t really figure out what you’re saying, you might need outside help. But before you do, try these tricks: Make sentences shorter. Find sentences of more than 20 words. Break them … Continued

Don’t let version confusion destroy your writing process

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The most fundamental principle in writing is actually . . . version control? It’s an unwritten rule. Like changing your underwear every day. And if you violate it, you are a barbarian. This is the least sexy writing advice ever. But if you and your collaborators don’t share a common understanding of version control, you’re … Continued

The 5-step fast edit

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You have a piece to edit and limited time to work on it — and the piece is a mess. How can you fix it quickly? While every author has their own idiosyncrasies, some problems are common, easily fixed, and make a dramatic difference in readability. Here are the five quick steps to make writing … Continued

I can’t believe my publisher doesn’t . . .

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It doesn’t matter if you have a six-figure advance or only got $3,000. It doesn’t matter if you have a big-five publisher or a small indie press or a hybrid publisher. If you’re a first-time author, you’ll soon be whining, “I can’t believe my publisher doesn’t . . . “, followed by some task that … Continued

How to fix rambling, repetitive prose

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It’s an editor’s nightmare. The writer produces content . . . reams of it. There are many ideas, but lots of repetition. And there’s no logic connecting it all. How can you turn this rambling wreck into a usable nonfiction narrative? The key is recognize that the problem here is structural, not textual. Editing the … Continued

Ask Dr. Wobs: Advice to a first-time editor

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Here’s a query from a new-minted editor that gets right to the heart of what an editor must do: Dear Dr. Wobs: I want to be an editor when I get out of school, and right now I’m doing beta projects for free to get some practice. I was looking for advice on my first … Continued