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Rewrite, Revise, Revisit: A Guide to Editing Your Book

  Have you finished a first draft? Congratulations! Now the fun begins. Every writer knows that editing is the most important part of the writing process. This is where all the really important, meaningful work happens. It’s where you have the most control, and the ability to really carry out your intentions and make this into the kind of book you set out to write in the first place. In this class I’m going to give you a toolbox for...

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At Last–My Research Class is Here

At Last–My Research Class is Here

  The question I get asked most often is how I do my research. It’s a tricky question to answer–every book is different, every research question is different, every source is different. But I did my best to boil it down into one half-hour class. Watch this class on Skillshare, and get 2 months free with this link: https://skl.sh/3cYTfsK. Whether you’re writing fiction, nonfiction, reported journalism, essays, or memoir,...

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Learn All My Evernote Tricks!

Learn All My Evernote Tricks!

  I just posted a class on Skillshare about how I use Evernote to keep track of my research and to brainstorm ideas. Check the class out here, and use this link to get 2 months free on Evernote. I get asked a lot about how I do my research. This is the first of a two-part answer. The first step is to come up with a tracking system, because without it, all that research gets lost. (I learned this the hard way!) I am devoted to Evernote and...

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Create Your Own Book Video

Create Your Own Book Video

It’s here! I’ve created a step-by-step guide for authors who want to make high-quality videos about their books. The class is live on Skillshare now, and this link will give you two months’ free access to all the classes Skillshare has to offer.   As the author of over a dozen books, both fiction and nonfiction, I’ve found that book videos can be useful at every stage of the publishing process,...

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Story Structure is a Thing We All Wrestle With

  My next Skillshare class is live and it’s on the beast we all struggle with, both fiction and nonfiction writers: story structure. There are lots of people out there peddling complex, intricate techniques for writing a hit novel or screenplay. Honestly, I get a little overwhelmed by all that stuff. So I made a class about the methods I actually use when I write my own books, and I encourage you to try these out, see if they work,...

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I’m Teaching Writing Classes on Skillshare

Big news for the new year! I’m teaching a series of writing classes on Skillshare, which is an online teaching platform that works on a subscription model, like Netflix. The first two courses are live now, and you can get two months free through this link. The people at Skillshare approached me about teaching a couple years ago, but I couldn’t get my head around the idea at the time. Then I took a class on the platform–Jim...

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I’m An Aspiring Author. Do I Need a Website?

Every month in my newsletter, I offer readers a chance to win the book of their choice if they ask me a question. I pick a question to answer in the next newsletter, then I send them their book.  This month, an aspiring author asked me, “I have 2 novels being shopped by my lit agent, at the moment I’m trying to decide whether a website is worth my time, energy or financial investment. Do you think an author’s website is worth having...

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Develop Your Internal Tutor

Develop Your Internal Tutor

I just picked up this book at Powell’s. In the introduction is the most extraordinary passage–it could apply to any creative pursuit, so I’m sharing it here: “Develop an internal tutor. When you begin drawing, often you’ll find you’re accompanied by an internal critic, pointing out your mistakes and making you question your drawing. This can be more restricting than a lack of ability. You need time to look...

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My Favorite Writing Exercise Comes from Southpark

I watch this video at least once a year. Southpark creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone give this fantastic piece of writing advice about how they put their stories together:  They write up all of their story beats, and make sure that each idea, each moment, each action, can be connected with the words “but” or “therefore.” If they find they can only connect their ideas by using “and”…well,...

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A Totally True Fact About Writing I Just Made Up

Here it is: A two-hour writing session (I mean a serious session, no goofing around on the internet, but two hours of straight concentration and actual work) is as mentally taxing as taking a standardized test for two hours. It’s as taxing as doing your taxes for two hours. Meaning: after two hours, you are mentally drained. Weirdly, I do not find this to be the case for other kinds of art. I can paint for two hours and I feel fine. I...

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