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To help the author develop and create the best book possible. Material that has both commercial appeal and long-term value.

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To help the author determine the next best step in their writing career. Giving counsel regarding the subtleties of the marketplace as well as the realities of the publishing community.

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Recent Posts

Floating Body Parts

Writers conferences and blogs talk about this topic often so I don’t pretend to be breaking new ground with this post. Yet I still see some floating body parts and cliches creep into otherwise great stories. No, I don’t mean murder mysteries depicting a stray arm floating in a river. I mean much gentler fare.

Yes, floating body parts offer the reader — and writer — shortcuts. But relying on them as description in narrative doesn’t challenge anyone’s imagination.

Rolling eyes

The offender I see most often is:

“She rolled her eyes.”

Yes, we all know this means that her eyes went from the ceiling and back. No, wait a minute. Her eyes didn’t go the ceiling and back. Her gaze went to the ceiling and back. See the difference? No pun intended.

Eyes are never glued anywhere — unless you’re talking about a stuffed teddy bear.

Fingers and feet don’t fly on their own.

And don’t throw up an arm — I’m terrible at sports and liable not to catch it.

Want to eliminate these from your writing? This post from A Novel Writing Site offers suggestions, along with substitutions for the word “gaze.”

Never Famous Enough

Some bloggers say that famous writers can get away with using floating body parts. Perhaps. But rather than than striving to be famous enough to get away with using them, why not hone your writing to its best, regardless of where you are in your career? Use your powerful imagination to find other ways of describing eyes locking and stares boring. The only exception I would make is that in dialogue, the occasional floating body part is appropriate. Why? Because that’s how some people express themselves. But narrative should be more formal.

Old Hat

Cliches are just as distracting as floating body parts in narrative. But for the same reasons as floating body parts may work in dialogue, so can a few well-placed cliches. For a pretty comprehensive list (caution — contains the occasional off-color word), read Cliches, Avoid Them Like the Plague.

Your turn:

What floating body parts and cliches distract you the most in books? When, if ever, have you seen a cliche or floating body part used effectively?

 

 

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How Things Used to Be

My family and I have discovered a new TV channel we absolutely love: ME TV. No, it’s not about being egotistical. ME stands for Memorable Entertainment, and its lineup boasts all the old shows that we used to watch when I was a kid. No fooling! It’s like my youth has been reborn! Everything from Rockford Files to Wagon Train, Perry Mason, to Dick VanDyke, Hawaii 5-0 (the REAL 5-0) to Family Affair, Columbo to The Guns of Will Sonnett…so many shows that, even at the earliest age, caught my imagination and introduced me to the power of story. Each show, in it’s own way, drew me in, making me a part of the drama, adventure, or romance. I knew, even back then, that I wanted to be a part of all that. Of weaving stories. Of letting them bring truths to life in a way that engaged the heart, imagination, and mind.

But as I’ve watched these old shows, I’ve discovered something. Something that absolutely astounded me. God is there. Up front and center.

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News You Can Use – Nov. 15, 2011

The End of Borders and The Future of Bookselling – BusinessWeek article shows why Borders failed and why it doesn’t mean the demise of bookstores. Every writer should read this.

Another Change in How We Read Books? – Cloud-based book rentals…is it the future?

You Don’t Have to Accept Rejection – Copyblogger makes the case for the Indie route

Does Your Web Site Use Flash? – If so, then it is time to change. It is no longer supported by Adobe.

Random House of Canada to Try New Book Tour Model – Selling tickets that include the price of the book. Thus the book is “free.”

Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Owns the Web – A fascinating article from Wired magazine

Kindle’s Cost More to Make than What Amazon Charges – Obviously a “loss leader” that gets readers buying tons from Amazon.

A Fascinating infographic. Enjoy! (Click through to the original blog post to see the infographic.)

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Would You Buy Your Own Book?

When I ask a room of writers if they would buy their own book if they saw it on the shelf at a major bookstore I am met with a variety of reactions. Laughter. Pensiveness. Surprise. And even a few scowls. How would you answer that question?

But the question is meant to ask if your book idea is unique. Whether it will stand out among the noise of the competition.

It is not a question of whether your book is important or valuable or even well written. It is ultimately a question of commercial viability.

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