Category Archives: Self-publishing

Steps to becoming a freelance book editor

During my thirteen years in the book editing business, I’ve regularly been asked how I became a freelance editor and what it takes to become a part of this fascinating business. In this post, I've pulled together all my tips and advice for those interested in taking the first steps toward a freelance editing career. Please note that these guidelines are specifically for those who are interested in a freelance career, not in-house. Although I've done some freelance work for Penguin Random House Canada, the bulk of my work has been as a freelance editor and proofreader for self-publishing authors. Continue reading ➝

Characterization in fiction: a 10-point checklist for naming your characters

It’s exciting to name your characters—it gives them solid identities that take shape in your mind, hopefully growing and developing into fully rounded, unique individuals as you write. Your first inclination may be to assign your characters your favourite names for boys and girls, men and women, but the responsibility of giving your characters names readers can relate to and identify with goes beyond your own personal favourites. While much of the process of naming characters is just common sense, it’s a good idea to keep several naming principles in mind as you undertake this important task. Continue reading ➝

Characterization in fiction: writing realistic character reactions

Many complex aspects are involved in creating authentic characters in fiction, characters who evoke sympathy and empathy in your readers. Despite what you may read about the importance of plot—and I don’t mean to detract from that importance at all—most fiction is primarily character driven. In other words, you may have a thrilling, original plot idea, but if you can’t bring your characters to life for readers, they may put your book down in frustration without even knowing why. Continue reading ➝

Dialogue in fiction: Part V – Writing your characters’ thoughts

Written fiction is the only art form that allows its audience to know a character’s internal, unspoken thoughts. Only in novels can a reader delve into a stranger’s mind and learn of his fears, his insecurities, his motivations, his rationale for planning a proposal of marriage or an affair or a murder. Because of this, it’s possible to develop a far more intimate relationship with characters in fiction than it is with those in film or on TV. Throughout the history of literature, authors have used the unique platform of the novel to reveal to readers their heroes’ and villains’ innermost thoughts, such as stream-of-consciousness (half thoughts, impressions, subconscious associations) or conscious inner talk. Continue reading ➝

Dialogue in fiction: Part IV – The nuts and bolts, cont’d.

This is the fourth article in my series on how to write effective dialogue in fiction. In the first, I wrote about accents and dialects. The second covered the essentials: realism through artifice, the four purposes of dialogue, and creating distinction between characters. In the third, I discussed the balance of dialogue to narrative, dialogue in your opening pages, dialogue tags, action tags, Tom Swifty adverbs, and gave you some extra dialogue tips. Today, after looking the broader issue of conciseness, I’ll focus on more mechanics of dialogue—contractions and punctuation—and then I’ll discuss information dumping. Continue reading ➝

Dialogue in fiction: Part III – The nuts and bolts

This is the third article in my series on how to write effective dialogue in fiction. In the first article, I covered foreign accents and dialects. The second covered the essentials: realism through artifice, the four purposes of dialogue, and creating distinction between characters. Today, I’ll focus on the mechanics of dialogue—dialogue tags—but first I'll explain how to balance dialogue and narrative. Continue reading ➝
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