Browsing All Posts filed under »Life Skills for the Skint Writer«

Philosophy of Writing – 20 – Plotto

April 25, 2013 by


I am friends with a few people of the professional writerly persuasion (the sort of people I can’t be close friends with because I’m in awe of them a bit too much and sometimes I’m terrified of sucking-up even though I don’t think I’m sucking up — anyway, you didn’t start reading this to hear even […]

How to Edit Fiction – 6 – Disbelief Should be Suspended like Batman over Gotham, not like You over your Bathtub

August 28, 2011 by


You’ll need: your library, the all-powerful key to the ancient catacombs of wonder that is your library (viz., your library card), the internet When I was a little girl, I did this a lot: [Placeholder for photo of a strange man standing on the edge of a jacuzzi tub holding a beer. We hope to […]

How to Edit Fiction – 5 – Dot Yer Eyes, Cross Yer Teas

August 12, 2011 by


Joyous relief, dear friends! Today’s post is the very soul of brevity — and no exercises, to boot. ~~~ ~The Most Essential Thing In Copy Editing~ For heaven’s sake, turn on the editing marks when you’re editing. It makes things approximately eleventy trillion times easier. ~~~ ~Italics, Bold and CAPSLOCK~ Did you know that typing […]

How to Edit Fiction – 4 – Be Good to Your Grammar (Standard English Edition)

July 18, 2011 by


Stuff You Need: the chapter from your manuscript in standard English that you prepared in previous posts, a computer capable of viewing pdf files. Please note that the rules of grammar I cover here don’t necessarily apply to AAVE or other dialects of English that aren’t considered “standard”! The process is the same, though. So by now we are […]

How to Edit Fiction – 3 – Spell Like a Linguist

July 15, 2011 by


Before you start working, go back to last week’s post and prepare your workspace in the same exact way. You’re going to have to make this a routine. Pretty pretty please? Or at least do something else to block out the world for half-an-hour. It’ll help you focus and be chilled. Good things! ~~~ In […]

How to Edit Fiction – 2 – Avoid Feeling Overwhelmed

July 11, 2011 by


So this is you. Hello, you! I want you to mechanically follow my instructions. If nothing else it’ll prevent you from getting brain damage. Please note: Every single time I say “chapter” in this webinar, I’m referring to either a) one chapter of a completed first draft of a novel or b) a short story from your novel-length portfolio […]

How to Edit Fiction – 1 – Getting Started

July 9, 2011 by


I hear a lot of talk about how the first draft is something you should just get down as fast as you can — a sort of verbal vomitus allowed to dribble out unchecked. Lots of professionals tell you to do this. “Just get it finished,” they say. “You’ll be able to fix it later.” […]


June 22, 2011 by


I haven’t written anything good since I finished the first draft of my manuscript. I have a sneaky little demon in the back of my brain who wails desperately that I won’t ever write anything good ever. again. which is total nonsense, of course, because I know exactly why I’m not writing well, and it will […]

Honey & Balsamic Salad Dressing (Vegetarian)

May 23, 2011 by


We’ve been trying to save money recently. There are some lovely, cheap restaurants around here, but it still doesn’t count as “saving money” to spend $5.00 on a burger and fries, even if that burger is freshly cooked, made with good ingredients, and is really quite nice. So we went to a box store, bought […]

A Celebration! On the Completion of my First Draft

May 17, 2011 by


A facebook conversation between the Love of my Life and me. (Please note: I am not attached to Tamil film star Rajnikanth. LofL’s facebook currently sports an image of Rajni from the film “Endhiran” as its profile picture.) Wishing you all a happy First Draft Day! May yours be as rewarding as mine.