News, Perspectives, and Insights on Writing and Publishing

From the Staff of The Editorial Department

August 20, 2016

Characters: Making Them Real
Tips on making your characters convincing and memorable from editor Renni Browne

Most fiction writers begin a novel or short story by coming up with characters firmly in mind and then building a story around them—or by coming up with a plot and then building characters to play the various roles it requires. It’s not really that simple, of course: […]
July 26, 2016

What Editors (Really) Do
A guide for authors, by Editorial Department founder Renni Browne

In one of my favorite New Yorker cartoons by Sam Gross, a cat is maniacally clawing an upholstered chair, obviously not for the first time. In the caption its owner explains to her guests: “We believe that in a former life she was an editor.” Over the forty-five […]
May 24, 2016

The Writer’s Secret Weapon: The Power of What You Leave Out
Editor Renni Browne explores the value of what's left unsaid in good storytelling

Here’s an excerpt from a writing contest entry where a man is driving to San Diego with the servant girl he’s just given a Rolex watch—a girl who gave him something he valued much more: Amir’s assignment had been to gain access to Bonnie Becker’s house, using Marie’s position as […]