October 25, 2019
Self-Help Readers Want Solutions, not Problems

I work on a lot of self-help and personal and professional development books. One problem I see often is too much focus on the problem, forcing the reader to push through 1/4, 1/3, or more of a book before they get to what they came for. What if you went to the doctor for a broken […]

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September 5, 2019
How to Know When Your Writing Is Good Enough

At a writing workshop I taught, a participant asked, "How will I know when my writing is good enough?" The answer is simple: You'll know your writing is good enough when you pass the test. But that begs the question: What's the test? How to Test Your Writing Skills Identify publications that exercise editorial discretion. […]

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July 9, 2019
Does Your Art Imitate Your Life? If not, Why Bother?

In life, we never achieve anything meaningful without overcoming some fear or wound from our past and giving up some thought or behavior pattern that keeps us locked into one plane of existence. And it takes test after test, try after try, opportunity and failure after opportunity and failure before we finally throw up our […]

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June 8, 2019
An Interesting Story Requires an Interesting Antagonist: Example from Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad

Colson Whitehead's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Underground Railroad, offers an excellent example of the relationship required between the protagonist and antagonist to craft a page-turning, stick-with-the-reader story. The Underground Railroad tells the story of (no spoilers ahead) a runaway slave girl's journey from the plantation she'd been forced to call home across the antebellum South […]

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June 5, 2016
Don't Rush the Plot

As a developmental editor, I look for many things when I evaluate a manuscript. Point of view (POV) and perspective Verb tense Rhythm and pacing Consistencies and inconsistencies Plot Story Character development Genre Length Marketability These are big picture things. Forests, not trees. All of these things are important, but this post is going to […]

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April 5, 2015
How to Develop Fictional Characters

HOW DO YOU DEVELOP FICTIONAL CHARACTERS WHEN YOU WRITE? Marlie Harris, a fellow Boise area writer, said and asked the following on one of her blog posts: “I would love to read your thoughts on characters, fictional or not, and how you search then find them. Are they memorable? Do you wish you could no […]

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March 5, 2015
How to Avoid and Correct Passive Voice

Using passive voice is an oft-cited faux pas for writers. Before I get into what it is and how to correct it, I want to be clear: Passive voice is not a bad thing. Don't listen to grammar pedants who tell you otherwise. It's better to use active voice in many writing situations. This post […]

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recent blog posts

I work on a lot of self-help and personal and professional development books. One problem I see often is too much focus on the problem, forcing

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Kathy Pollard, MS

I'm proud to have Kathy Pollard, MS on my author talent management roster! Since becoming one of the first graduates of Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s

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Cristen Iris speaker

If you want literary agents, publishers, and readers to care about your book or event coordinators to book you to speak at their events, you

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Am I good enough?

At a writing workshop I taught, a participant asked, "How will I know when my writing is good enough?" The answer is simple: You'll know

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