How to keep all the writing advice in perspective

Do you feel besieged with advice?

Overwhelmed and unsure where to start? Well, keep reading.

Writing is hard. Writing well is harder.

But cutting the process down to bite-size pieces helps. So, if your feeling a little overwhelmed with the do’s and don’ts of writing, reading this great post by K.M. Allan will help. At least she helped me.

How? What did I get out of her post?

  • Get the story down first. Fix later.
  • Not everyone will love my story. So, what.
  • When editing, take one issue at a time. (bite size)
  • Listen to the advice that is helpful.
  • Consider the source of the advice.
  • Last but not least, take a break and then get back to writing.

You may get something totally different from I did after you read her post. That’s okay. We all see things through different filters. The important thing is to keep writing.

When Writing Advice Becomes Too Much By K.M. Allan

Well? What did you glean from Ms. Allan?

Do you become overwhelmed with too many advice rules?

How do you handle criticism from readers and editors?







This easy editing tip will blow your mind

Want to know what knocked my socks off this week?

An Excel Stylesheet

Yep, good old Excel. Okay, maybe I’m impressed easier than you. 

A stylesheet can make your novel appear more professional.

Why? Because writing a massive novel is hard and keeping track of names, places, hyphens and more can get confusing. This is where a stylesheet comes in handy. And most editors require one. Who knew? Well, turns out knowing about something and knowing how to put the information into practice is two different things.

I’ve written about stylesheets in the past but until recently I didn’t understand how to put into practice what I’d learned. But, turns out it’s not that difficult.

What you put add to a stylesheet is up to you. You can keep it simple or add a column for everything under the sun.

Stylesheet purpose? 

To prevent mistakes that stand out like a pimple on your nose.

Ever read a book and a name changed midway? Cathy, Kathy, Kathie or Katy? Glaring mistakes like that will pull your reader out of the story in a flash.

I’m compiling my stylesheet as I write. This will help me find where an unusual word, phrase or name first appeared. When I’m ready to rewrite or edit, my stylesheet will help keep everything consistent.

No matter your genre, this can be an invaluable tool.  Fantasy, keep those made up countries and goblin are spelled correctly. Historical, names and places may have been spelled different a hundred years ago.

Want to know how easy it is to mess up? Even in this short blog post, I wrote stylesheet as one word in some places and as two words in other. Good grief! Now imagine catching that mistake in a 70,000-word novel.

Here is a snapshot of my writing stylesheet.

When my book is finished, I’ll print out my spreadsheet and refer to as I edit. Easier than trying to remember, flipping back and forth through a document. At least I hope so.

Why compile a stylesheet as you write?

Connie Jasperson said it best in a terrific post.

“I learned this the hard way. Making a stylesheet for a book after it has been written is a daunting task, and most editors will ask you for one when they accept your submission. Some editors refer to this as the ‘bible’ for that manuscript because all editorial decisions regarding consistency will be based on the spellings and style treatments you have established for your work.” Click here to read the entire post.#amwriting: ensuring consistency: the stylesheet, 2/14/2018 BY Connie J. Jasperson

Want more? Check out this article. Stylesheets—The Setup and the Benefits, July 12, 2011 by Beth Hill

Want to get really geeky? Read Chicago Manual of StyleChicago Manual Of Style Guidelines (Quick Study), or the Associated Press’s Stylebook (available on Kindle Unlimited.)

Okay now tell me, please…

Do you use stylesheets?

Have you used one in the past?

Do you think a stylesheet will help you avoid mistakes?

Had you heard about stylesheets before today?



How to pick the right editor

Last year, as part of the A-Z challenge,  I wrote a post about editors.

Picking the right editor is terribly important.

A friend had a few questions on the subject, so I decided to share a little bit about what to look for in an editor.

When I wrote a Children’s Picture book, A Most Reluctant Princess, I discovered the necessity of choosing the correct editor.

Not just any editor but the right editor.

I needed an editor that worked with Children’s Picture books. Not general fiction or thrillers.

How do you know who is right for you?

Part of it is intuition, make sure you click with the person you pick.  But do your research. In some situations, you may need more than one editor.

Not all editors are created equal.

  • A Content Editor, also known as a Structural, Developmental, or Substantive editor looks at the big picture. Often rewriting segments of text to improve readability and flow and identifies problems with clarity.
  • Line/Copy/Stylistic Editor goes line by line to spot grammar, paragraph and sentence structure issues.
  • Proofreader goes over the manuscript after the editor looking for glaring mistakes.

Some editors offer more than one service. They may combine their skills as Content and Line editor.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Here are a few… 

  • Will they provide a sample?
  • Do they have references?
  • What format will they accept? Electronic or paper?
  • What exactly is the service they offer?
  • How much do they charge? By page, word or…?
  • How many rewrites will they edit?

Most important pick an editor that works with your genre.

Tell me, have you used an editor yet?

Are you planning on hiring an editor?

What type of editor?

Where did you find your editors?

Below are a few links to read more about the types of editors and what they do.

Share your experiences in the comments. I can’t wait to read them.

And take a minute to follow me on social media, just click on the buttons below. I’ll leave a light on.


Editorial Confusion: Kinds of Editors and What Editors Do 

4 Levels of Editing Explained: Which Service Does Your Book Need? BY 

Four Types of Book Editing by  

Know Your Stuff: Different Types of Editing  By Catherine Dunn

Want a great product? Get a good editor by Jean M. Cogdell

Do you know what to expect?

When hiring an editor or proofreader?

The prices are all over the map, so to speak, but thanks to Dan Alatorre we now have a good idea what to expect. Dan broke the prices down so even I could understand what to expect. I mean, no one likes to get hit with sticker shock. Finding the right editor or proofreader for the right price is a delicate balancing act for each writer. Even a children’s picture book requires a professional touch.

Read Dan’s blog post and tell me what you think. I really want to know. Although my novel is not ready for prime time yet I hope by years end to be editor shopping myself.

Have you ever hired an editor? How was your experience?

Do the prices jive with Dan’s?

How did you find your editor?

Do you know what publishing costs to expect?

Proofreding and Editing Rates (not mine; I don’t do that)  by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

I love reading your comments.

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