News, Perspectives, and Insights on Writing and Publishing

From the Staff of The Editorial Department

July 26, 2017

Accepting the Unacceptable
Why your first draft needs your unconditional love

Every writer has faced the reality of what author Anne Lamott calls “Shitty First Drafts,” in her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. If you’ve never read this before, it’s a great piece on the topic of revision and editing. There’s a link available by clicking the […]
July 21, 2017

Pockets Full of Pills and Snakes in Wait
Ways Specific Language Can Help Your Writing/Editing

During my years spent as a student of Creative Writing at the University of Arizona, it often seemed to me that there was a terrible rift between the students in its various disciplines. The fiction writers glanced askance at the poet’s upturned noses while the creative non-fiction folks […]
July 11, 2017

POV Part III: Use of Camera
A Metaphorical Take on Temporal and Spacial Distance

We writers often speak in metaphors, and we often do this pertaining to our craft. We speak about “sculpting” our stories as one might mold clay, chisel stone, or carve wood. We speak of painting pictures with written scenes and composing “musical” dialogue. The gerund phrase, “honing your […]
July 6, 2017

POV Part II: The Third Eye
A crash course in the “most complex element” of storytelling

In Janet Burroway’s book, Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, she describes point of view as the most complex element of fiction. This is because establishing point of view involves  tending to a complicated relationship between reader, author, and characters. Establishing a point of view and maintaining its […]
July 1, 2017

POV Part 1: A Telltale Sign that a Piece is not Ready for Publication
Amateurs make readers’ heads spin with shifty perspective

To the untrained ear the term “headhopping” might be assumed to be a term that applies to home crafted beer. But among professional editors, headhopping is what amateur authors do when they haven’t done quite enough study about point of view. In a story this problem manifests itself […]
June 6, 2017

Where Good Books Go Wrong
Everyone judges a book by its cover: a taste of tasteless covers

There are countless cliches that speak to the idea that beauty is found within, and that the value of what is on the surface is, well, superficial. A facade. “Beauty is only skin deep.” Another old adage points a crooked, arthritic finger from well beyond the grave at […]