How Your Words Can Awaken Zombies: Focus, Lest Your Nonfiction Turn into Horror

A while ago, I read a brilliant nonfiction book called Neurotribes by Steve Silberman. And it was epic! Every page fascinated, engrossed, and challenged me. But halfway in, something yanked me out of the narrative: “Sister Viktorine, who worked alongside Lazar before his death, used to say that it was crucial to observe the children’s behavior […]

5 Myths about Editors: And Tips on How to Find a Good One

Most writers know they need an editor. But how can you be sure an editor won’t do more harm than good? Authors on social media feed this doubt with myriad editing myths—with some posters voicing plausible concerns and others ranting without reason. I’ve selected five editing myths from social media. Below are my replies and […]

Build Your Authority as a Writer: Write with a Consistent Tone

Grow your authority as a writer – Get your tone right

Didn’t you hate those “in your own words” questions in school? Somehow, those were impossible to answer without a fair deal of grinding beforehand. And as I was antagonistic toward the idea of studying at home, these exam questions were a likely culprit for my low grades. Thank God, I overcame this antagonism, because own-words […]

Morning Rituals: The Key to Clarity and Good Writing

What would your mornings look like in a perfect world? For me, the answer is simple: they would include reading, movement, and prayer. And although we don’t live in a perfect world, I’m able to enjoy perfect mornings most of the time. On these happy days, I study before the sun is up, pray in […]

No Idea Track, No Story: Your Idea Flow Determines the Strength of Your Writing

All good narratives are idea driven—whether you’re writing a book, web copy, or essays. Each paragraph or section supports an idea, and if you want readers to keep paying attention, you should organize all these ideas into a logical track. This we call an “Idea Track.” Bringing Your Book Thesis and Ideas to the Surface Your […]

Cut the Poppycock: Write with Power and Authority

Sometimes your reader escapes. Even if your lead is superb and you’ve hooked your readers from the start, they might still get away before reaching your last paragraph. How does that happen? There are many possible reasons. In this blog, we’ll discuss one of them. Extraneous Material When we sit down to write—excited by all […]

Ominous Intros: How H.G. Wells Changed Everything for Me

Few leads have as profound an impact on me as the first pages of War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells (1866–1946).  Read the first sentence, and you’ll understand: “No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than […]

Killing Your Darlings: The Most Masochistic Writing Tip Ever

I did what I had refused for weeks. This morning, I hit delete on some of the best sentences of my writing career. Ouch. That is killing your darlings—if it doesn’t hurt, it ain’t real. Do You Love one Sentence More Than All Others? Often, our most tear-jerking sentences make our prose feel out of […]

Practical or Literary Nonfiction: Why Not Both?

There are many kinds of books on the market—about as many as there are kinds of readers. Some readers want to cut to the chase whereas others love to “feel their way” through the information. For that reason, there are different ways to approach nonfiction. Practical and Literary Nonfiction: What’s the Difference? Practical nonfiction is […]