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Preparing for NaNoWriMo: Organizing and Outlining Your Novel

While we’re talking to our featured guest, Karen Wiesner, this week about writing novels and planning fiction series, it seemed an appropriate time to talk about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). With NaNo just over a week away, thousands of authors and aspiring authors are getting ready to write a novel during November. Before jumping into a first draft, many writers opt to outline their … read more

Interview With Author Karen Wiesner on Writing a Series

Karen Wiesner isn’t just our first featured guest here at All Freelance Writing. She is also the author of some of my favorite writing reference books. I was a huge fan of her First Draft in 30 Days in particular — a book that helped me map out my own customized book planning, outlining, and organization process. So I was thrilled when she contacted me about … read more

My First NaNoWriMo

I’ve never made it a secret that I’m not a big fan of NaNoWriMo. The idea of pushing myself to write on someone else’s schedule doesn’t sit well with me. And I find the whole community aspect to be possibly more distracting than helpful. Don’t get me wrong. I get why people take part every year, and if it works for them, I think that’s … read more

4 Types of Editing & How To Choose Which Your Book Needs

Note: Melissa no longer offers these services. This post remains as archived content for your reference. One of the most common questions I get as an editor is about what different types of editing there are and what each one entails. New clients aren’t always sure what level of editing they need and don’t know how to make that decision. Before you can decide between the … read more

The Rules of the Sneaky Serial Comma

If there was ever a piece of punctuation to give us all fits, it’s the comma. When do you use it? When are you using it too much? Do I need a comma there? Correct comma usage causes endless questions simply because there are so many rules. Let’s worry about one comma in particular – the serial, or Oxford, comma. It’s the most controversial of … read more

From Struggling Writer to Solid Writer and Beyond

As an English teacher, I have a strategy that usually works for struggling and reluctant writers. If they claim to not be able to write something, I ask them to tell me the story or response to address the prompt. Then, after they tell me a sentence or two, I repeat it back to a student and tell him to write it down. Kid says, … read more

A Proofreading Checklist: What to look for before calling it done

Before hitting “send” when sending out a new piece or before hitting “publish” on a new blog post, it pays to proofread your piece. Here are some quick things to check when proofreading your own copy. Homophones Perhaps one of the most common mistakes when when writing is misusing homophones–words that sound alike but are spelled differently. Spell check won’t catch a misused word; it … read more

Show Don’t Tell — An Example Done Right

You may have had college professors preach to you to “show, don’t tell.” The ironic thing about that statement is that it contradicts itself. Take the video I’ve embedded below, for instance. In the video, a blind homeless man is begging for change. A young woman comes by and changes what he has written on his sign–and in response, many more people begin to give … read more

3 Action Steps to Help You Beat Writer’s Block for Good

I learned to produce whether I wanted to or not. It would be easy to say oh, I have writer’s block, oh, I have to wait for my muse. I don’t. Chain that muse to your desk and get the job done. –Barbara Kingsolver Some people call it writer’s block. Others refer to it as a lack of inspiration. Then there are those that say … read more

How Does Your Environment Affect Your Writing?

This morning I woke up to a beautiful sight. I live in a wooded community, and we had snow last night. This morning the snow was still sticking to the trees. That’s rare. It gets windy up here, so snow usually blows off the trees right away. The view made me think about how this environment sometimes impacts my writing. The view this morning outside … read more