I read a lot of “top 10” advice for writers and they normally fall short or say the same things, like keeping an eye out for there, their and they’re. Basic stuff writers already know. But this blog I’m re-posting is actually good advice and a unique perspective for those of us honing our skills.
In addition to writing and teaching, one of the things I do for a living is to evaluate manuscripts for their suitability for publication. I read fiction (and non-fiction) across several genres, and write comprehensive reports on the books. I try always to guide the author towards knocking his or her project into a shape that could be credibly presented to literary agents, publishers and general readers. You know how Newman and Mittelmark introduce How Not to Write a Novel by saying, ‘We are merely telling you the things that editors are too busy rejecting your novel to tell you themselves, pointing out the mistakes they recognize instantly because they see them again and again in novels they do not buy,’ well they’re right; I am one of those editors.
However good the idea behind a novel, when the author is still learning the craft of writing – like any…
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