Ten Ways To Screw Up The Book You’re Writing

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  1. Wait for the muse. Yup, just sit there and wait. Your muse will show up dressed in pink satin and waving a wand. The muse will tap you on the nose three times then spin in circles spraying glitter everywhere and your novel will come spilling out of your fingers onto your keyboard at a rapid rate. You’ll write the best book ever, sell millions of copies, and be adored by fans world wide. Not.
  2. Do not set a daily writing goal. If you write one word or ten thousand, does it really matter?
  3. Only write a first draft. Your mother loves your writing. Who needs to edit?
  4. Never read a book on the craft, never attend a workshop on the aspects of creative writing. You read a fiction book in the seventh grade about a girl detective. What else do you need to learn to write that book?
  5. Believing all stories are worth telling.
  6. Only give your book to your parent, spouse, best friend for feedback. They know you take anti-depressant medication. They’ll be honest.
  7. Forget everything about grammar and punctuation. That stuff just clutters the page anyway.
  8. Rely on spell check to fix misspelled words. Does anyone really know the difference between there, their, and they’re?
  9. Put your hero in a jam and have a gun magically appear to shoot the bad guys with.
  10. Spend the first fifty pages telling the reader about the hero’s life before the book begins because the reader isn’t smart enough to understand your book without your long winded explanation.

Editing Tip Tuesday

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It’s all in the details.

Recently, I was asked a question by a prespective client. How do you write the conflict if you don’t know the details?

She meant details like crashing a computer program. Or let’s say your character needs to set a barn on fire or your character drives a race car. The problem is you don’t know how to do any of those things. How do you write the scene without this knowledge? How can you create conflict?


In a first draft, you can write whatever you want because no one should ever see your first draft. So, if you don’t know how to crash a computer program, but you know your character needs to in order to stop someone, get caught by someone else or save the day, all you have to write in that first draft is CRASHES COMPUTER PROGRAM. I do recommend using caps. When you go back through for edits the caps will instantly remind you that you need to further investigate.

Don’t let your lack of knowledge slow your progress. It’s important to keep moving forward. Get the words on the page. You can go back and fix things later. It’s not important in the first draft to know how to set the barn on fire. It’s just important to see it burn.

If you’re having trouble creating any conflict to put your characters in, then you need to spend more time getting to know their backstory. If you don’t know your characters, you won’t know what kind of decisions they’re going to make, what would give them that sick feeling in their bellies and what makes them twitch. Similarly, we want to know what would make them happy so they have a goal for the story. But remember, don’t give them that goal until the end.

Any questions?


So, You Finished Your Novel. Now What?

So you’ve finished writing your book or have you? What revision work still needs to be done? Where can you go for feedback? How will you know when it’s ready to send out, and where should you try first? Join New Jersey Authors,Stacey Wilk (moderator) Brian McKinley, Ilene Schneider, Keith Fritz, and M. Kate Quinn,

at Moorestown Public Library, 111 West 2nd St., #1, Moorestown, NJ 08057 on Thursday, May 21st at 7 pm.

for a fun, informative discussion on getting published in today’s market, and find out why typing ‘THE END’ is really just the beginning.