16 November, 2012

The 12 Steps of Writers Anonymous

By |2023-06-09T11:36:05-07:00November 16, 2012|Resources, Writing|Comments Off on The 12 Steps of Writers Anonymous

If you’re familiar with any kind of twelve-step program such as that of Alcoholics Anonymous and you’re a writer, you should find these steps, compiled by Patricia Proctor, inspiring:

The Twelve Steps of Writers Anonymous

1. We admitted we were powerless over writing; that our writing efforts had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore our writing from insanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our writing over to the care of God and our editor as being the only ones who could restore the mess we had made of it.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our writing.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another writer the exact nature of all the mistakes we had made in our writing.

6. Were entirely ready to have God and a helpful editor remove all these defects of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and other writing […]

6 December, 2011

7 Writing Mistakes Editors Constantly Fix to Make Your Book Saleable

By |2023-06-09T11:37:33-07:00December 6, 2011|Authors Academy, News, Writing|Comments Off on 7 Writing Mistakes Editors Constantly Fix to Make Your Book Saleable

Do mistakes that authors commonly make keep your writing from being powerful—and saleable?

How can you fix them before you hand over your manuscript for editing?

Barbara McNichol presents an hour-long teleclass on Wednesday, December 7 that addresses seven writing problems you might not easily recognize on your own—and how to fix them.

By participating in this teleclass, you’ll learn how to avoid these seven writing mistakes so your editor won’t have to fix them:

  1. Losing awareness of what your reader experiences.
  2. Addressing readers as readers, not as a single important person.
  3. Skimming the surface, not going deep enough.
  4. Having no rhyme or reason to the order of the paragraphs.
  5. Overusing weak verbs, extraneous phrases, and wobbly words.
  6. Using multi-word noun phrases when one active verb will do.
  7. Writing sentences that ramble on and on and on and on.

Don’t miss this opportunity to “go deep” and learn what fixes can strengthen your writing!

About […]

13 February, 2011

An Amazing Resource: Workflowy

By |2023-06-09T12:03:02-07:00February 13, 2011|Marketing, Publishing, Resources, Social Media, Writing|Comments Off on An Amazing Resource: Workflowy

I make a lot of lists and, frankly, they have gotten out of hand lately. Grocery list in the pocket. To-do list for home improvement at home in a drawer. To-do list for the Wheatmark website on my work computer. A list of books I want to read on my home computer (but I’ve forgotten which folder). A list of topics to be discussed in our next Authors Academy event … in a Word file somewhere. A list of things I want to accomplish this year … well, that list is in the back of my brain, waiting to be typed up.

A few weeks ago I realized I couldn’t keep all of my lists straight and said, “Enough!” That’s when someone introduced me to Workflowy.

It changed my life. My list-making life, that is.

Workflowy is a free online application that lets you turn your whole life into one giant list. Instead […]

6 July, 2010

How to Structure a Nonfiction Book

By |2023-06-09T11:38:15-07:00July 6, 2010|Resources, Writing|Comments Off on How to Structure a Nonfiction Book

Publishing a book is a rewarding task. Writing a book, however, can be an overwhelming one. Learning how to structure your nonfiction book project will help you organize your thoughts and write an excellent book.

There are several ways to structure your nonfiction book: using the table of contents as an outline, chronologically, and using a traditional storyline structure. By deciding how you want to proceed, you can easily begin writing within the chosen framework.

Table of Contents

One way to structure your nonfiction book is to create a table of contents before you’ve even penned your first chapter. By creating an outline of what you want to write, you’ll easily create your roadmap of what you need to write. If you find yourself straying away from the topics you’ve sketched out, you may want to take a step back from your project and decide if you’ve chosen the right topic for your […]

21 October, 2009

Blogging As You Write…

By |2023-06-09T11:38:54-07:00October 21, 2009|Resources, Social Media, Writing|Comments Off on Blogging As You Write…

Recently I began an experiment to help in my writing endeavors. I’ve been writing a book about my quirky experiences working as a small town newspaper reporter, which I did for 10 years before moving to Tucson. I decided it might benefit me to see what others think about the project. So I started a blog. The idea was a little intimidating at first. I mean, did I really want the whole world reading my writing before it was edited, much less published?

But then it dawned on me. That’s the best time to have them read it! When they comment on the different stories I’ve posted, it not only gives me a feel for what people may be interested in, but it also gives me some feedback on what needs to be fixed, changed, deleated, etc. If they like it, they may become hooked and want to read the entire […]

16 September, 2009

Copyediting: A Touch of Chicago Manual of Style

By |2023-06-09T11:39:06-07:00September 16, 2009|Resources, Writing|Comments Off on Copyediting: A Touch of Chicago Manual of Style

One of the drums that we hit constantly around Wheatmark is the “you need professional editing” tom.

Wheatmark offers several different levels of editing for authors. We also have an editorial analysis that will determine what level of editing you really need.

The differences between the editing options can be confusing. In order to better understand them, let’s use a high-end department store as a parallel.

Developmental Editing

The most in-depth level of editing is the developmental edit. Think of the developmental edit as a personal shopper service some department stores offer. The client hires the personal shopper-who keeps track of every season’s best looks-to provide incredible personal service and say, this is what looks good on you and here is your size.

A developmental edit does the same thing. During the developmental edit, a content editor makes comments and suggestions to help the author develop the content of their manuscript. Not a light undertaking, […]

1 July, 2009

What Is an Editorial Analysis and Why Do You Need One?

By |2023-06-09T11:39:46-07:00July 1, 2009|Resources, Writing|Comments Off on What Is an Editorial Analysis and Why Do You Need One?

One of the first steps many of our author manuscripts go through is an Editorial Analysis (for those who want to geek out Wheatmark-style, we call it an EA around the office).

What is an Editorial Analysis and why do you need one?

An Editorial Analysis helps determine what the likely usability of an author’s book, in its current form, will be by identifying its strengths and weaknesses.

The EA is designed to determine if the book is written in a way that will speak to its intended readership, if the book is written with excellent English usage, proper grammar, punctuation, and if it is written in an organized manner. It also looks at how well the book follows Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) formatting. Successful, correctly done books are formatted to a particular style that dictates how parts of the book are formatted, including even how commas are used and where the […]

23 December, 2008

5 Tips for the Short Story Writer

By |2023-06-09T11:40:14-07:00December 23, 2008|Resources, Writing|Comments Off on 5 Tips for the Short Story Writer

  • Know what constitutes a short story. A short story is about 10,000 words. Much longer and it becomes a different animal. You may be asking, “How many page is that?” The answer is, use your word count. When your story goes to layout, it could be just about any amount of page numbers depending on the interior layout style.
  • Limit your scope of time or character. A short story is not a lazy novel. In fact, a short story is often harder to write because it is a small package that must remain within its own confines. You shouldn’t try to tell someone’s life story in a short story unless it is about a fruitfly.
  • Try to keep your short story time frame as a snippet. Need some back story? Great! But make sure it doesn’t go on and on and on. Another way to limit your scope is […]
23 June, 2008

Dialogue Dilemma

By |2023-06-09T11:40:28-07:00June 23, 2008|Resources, Writing|Comments Off on Dialogue Dilemma

As a Wheatmark book editor, I’ve noticed that one of the most common hindrances to good writing happens in dialogue. In many cases, dialogue comes across sounding unnatural, stilted, and sometimes even downright corny (jeepers, Mr. Wilson). The dialogue dilemma seems to challenge even the best writers I come into contact with. So I thought I’d add my two cents worth into the pot on how to improve dialogue.

As a former reporter, I used to rely on dialogue (or quotes, as we newspaper people like to call it) to help break up a story and bring more personality into the news. I usually tried to put a good, catchy quote right after the lead paragraph as a “hook after the hook.” If the quote was good enough, I sometimes even led with it. Of course, there’s a huge difference between newspapers and books, but some of the same principles still […]

11 August, 2007

Editing Checklist

By |2023-06-09T11:41:46-07:00August 11, 2007|Resources, Writing|Comments Off on Editing Checklist

Guest article by Barbara Brabec

Unless you’re supremely confident of your writing, editing, and proofreading abilities, you could probably use a second set of eyes from time to time to “eyeball your copy.”

If you’ve written and typed the words in a business document, brochure, catalog, news release, report, or book, you can’t do an effective job of editing and proofreading those words. Why? Because your mind knows what you meant to say, and when you read what you’ve written, your eyes will see only what your mind tells them to see.

Here are just some of the things you could miss when proofreading your own material, especially if you’re tired and overly stressed by a deadline you’re trying to meet:

Are you sure about your punctuation? Every little mark has a meaning of its own, and where you place (or forget to place) all those commas, apostrophes, hyphens, dashes, colons, semi-colons, question marks, […]


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