Should You Always Avoid the Verb “To Be”?

A fundamental rule of style is that you should avoid the verb “to be,” preferring instead strong, descriptive verbs that show, rather than tell. As an example, instead of writing, “The light was bright,” you should prefer, “The light blinded her as a hot-white flame,” or some such. So every time you use am, is, […]

Battling the Post-Revision Blues

I’ve experienced the same thing, as a musician, whenever I give a big musical performance. As you prepare for the big event, you practice, you plan, you’re running on adrenaline. The big night comes. You perform beautifully. The burn of the spotlights, the adulation of the crowd, the feeling of accomplishment. You’re floating on air. […]

Checklist for Revising a Novel

Recently, I joked on my personal blog about how (not) to revise your novel, a trying process involving sweat, tears, and numerous trips to the office supply store. And all just so that you can see, in black and white, how crappy a writer you really are. But seriously, revising a novel is a lot […]