7 collaboration tools and tips that make book writing go smoothly

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Collaborating on a book is hard. Deadlines make it harder. The key is to develop a disciplined process and stick with it. To help you get to the end without tears, I’ll share some battle-tested collaboration tools and tips that will keep you focused on content excellence, not process glitches. (You’ll see where the bear … Continued

How to find and cure common writing flaws (infographic)

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It’s not enough to find the flaws in a piece of writing. Editors must know why they’re there. Good editors explain how the writer can cure the habits that led to the flaws. Writing Without Bullshit exists to reveal, not just how to write better, but why you don’t write better already. I don’t just want to make writing … Continued

The 10 vital strategies of a great editor

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Being a great editor is hard. You must at once be naive and wise, omniscient and humble, impatient and implacable, sympathetic and uncompromising. You must think like a reader, like a writer, and like yourself. Here are 10 vital strategies to master the contradictions of being a great editor. 1. Critique as a reader, not as a writer You … Continued

Editing week, Level 1: The power of idea development

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Editing is hard. It’s hard to provide useful advice. And it’s hard to take it and use it to make your writing better. This is editing week at Without Bullshit; each day I’ll share my best tips for each of the five levels of editing, as shown in the graphic below. Today: I show how you … Continued

Be mean to prose and nice to people

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I hate bad prose. (Maybe you’ve noticed.) This affects the way I edit: with inspiration, with passion, instinctively, and relentlessly. All prose has flaws — I find them and critique them mercilessly. I can’t help it. And weirdly, people seem to like it. When a writer sends me something inadequate, I tear it apart. I delete … Continued

What to tell an editor

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You’ve completed a draft and you’d like a review. This is your chance to tell the editor clearly what you need. Or, you could start with excuses. It’s your choice. When you turn over a draft for editing, there’s always stuff that you worry is weak or wrong. Resist the urge to hide your weaknesses. This is … Continued

Applying “Games People Play” to writers and editors

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In the 1964 bestseller “Games People Play,” Eric Berne showed how transactional analysis (TA) explains emotional conflict. In TA, people interact in one of three roles: parent, adult, or child; when roles get confused, people get upset. These same kinds of conflicts occur, for similar reasons, when writers and editors aren’t clear about the roles they’re playing. Here’s the briefest possible explanation … Continued