Category Archives: The Craft of Writing and Editing

Killing Your Darlings

Among writers, the phrase “kill your darlings,” refers to editing away those parts of a document that don’t really belong, but to which you are attached. For example, those 22 pages of backstory that don’t really add anything to the … Continue reading

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Lost Stories, Part II

I’m doing a series on stories I started but never finished. In most cases there are good reasons why I didn’t finish them, but these lost stories also hide some gems of potential, some things I’d like to share–and it’s … Continue reading

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Lost Stories, Part 1

I’ve had a lot of ideas for stories over the years, going back to my childhood when I first started thinking about becoming a writer. Most of those ideas never progressed to a completed story, and usually there was a … Continue reading

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Printing the Unprintable. Or Not.

“Go to the unprintable,” Agustin said. “And unprint thyself.” This is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books, For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway. The line exemplifies not one but two of the remarkable … Continue reading

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Let’s Write About Sex. Or Not

Last time I talked about Clan of the Cave Bear, by Jean M. Auel, a book whose dedication to scientifically accurate detail was very much an inspiration for my writing. But the elephant (or, if you prefer, the panicked pachyderm) … Continue reading

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Using Excel to Write

I use Excel to write fiction. I don’t mean that I write fiction in Excel–it’s a spreadsheet program–not a writing program. But I use it to keep track of the details in my various projects so I can maintain internal … Continue reading

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Beta Readers and Editors

I used to think of editing as something like expanded proof-reading, matter of making sure the text follows certain rules of objective correctness, like spelling and sentence structure. It followed then, that editors differed only in one dimension, better and … Continue reading

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