On being a helpful reader and not an a-hole

I have the privilege to know several brilliant people who, for some reason, value my opinion and ask me to read and comment on their manuscripts. The problem with that is when I’m caught-up in my own nonsense, I can be an Omega Level a-hole. So, to remind myself and anyone else in that position to not-be an ineffective and potentially damaging reader, I’ve put together a list of guidelines to keep in mind. (Note: I’m writing this at 2:37AM, so if I ramble, there’s your reason).

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Thoughts on #WDC15 (Writer’s Digest Conference 2015)

WDC2014 was the first writer’s conference I’d ever attended. I learned so much, including how not-ready my first book was for shopping (me shopping it to agents, not the book going out to buy shoes, or something), met some of the most creative/dedicated/fun people, and left feeling like a member of a supportive community. So to say I was looking forward to WDC2015 is a whale of an understatement. I couldn’t wait to get there, and spent the previous week daydreaming about experiencing the same incredible vibe I’d gotten the year before.

But after an hour at WDC2015, I knew that wouldn’t be the case.

Dramatic Cat

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Growing as a Writer: An Interesting Observation on First Drafts

I believe with all my heart the most important thing about writing a novel is completing the first draft.

It’s just math. It doesn’t matter how great or original your idea is. A great, original idea != a book. It doesn’t matter how long your outline is. An outline != a book. You have to complete that first draft. A first draft is a book, albeit (for many of us) a bad book-but a book nonetheless. Or manuscript, if you prefer. Then you do a ton of editing to make it a good book, or even a great book. If you’d like to see it spelled out, here are some formulas (to keep the whole math theme going):


no first draft = no book

first draft = book

(first draft + editing) = second draft = better book

(second draft + A LOT of editing) = next draft = good book


Simple? Good. But that brings me to a unexpected problem…

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Aaaaaaaaaand ‘Send’: The Courage to Query

WARNING – hastily-written, unnecessarily-long, thought-streamy post ahead.


So I’ve started querying for my 57,000 word high-concept Middle Grade Contemporary Fantasy (whew) novel. If you’ve never written a book, you couldn’t know what an emotional rollercoaster it is from start to finish, including the part where you pitch it to publishing professionals. Let me explain.

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Friday Morning FYI – 2/20/2015

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI, my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

This week’s FYI is inspired by distrac – Ooo, shiny!

Always be on the look-out for inspiration, but finish what you’re working on before starting something new. If you don’t, you’ll just end up with an impressive pile of unfinished stuff that no one will care about.


Thanks for reading,