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Writer's Knowledge Base

• Newsletter for DECEMBER 2011 •


Welcome to the December 2011 issue of the WKB newsletter.

We'd like to thank Martina Boone for her interview in the last issue of the newsletter. This time we have an interview with Dani Greer who blogs about writing and, along with a group of others, offers editing services.

Novel writing software
On a personal note, I'm pleased to announce that I've launched Hiveword which is my online novel writing software. You can get an in-depth intro here.
If you enjoy the WKB and this newsletter please tell your friends. It's easy to do -- just click the "Send to a Friend" link on the right. Or maybe tweeting is more your style. In that case you could send your peeps to Thanks!

We hope you have a happy and safe holiday season!

Until next time...

-- Mike Fleming

Our intention with the newsletter is to provide you with the most popular WKB articles from the previous month and to feature bloggers who have articles in the WKB. We'd love to hear your feedback on what you think should be in the newsletter.

The newsletter is broken out into the following sections:

Featured Blogger -- This section consists of an interview with a blogger whose work ranks among the most popular in the WKB. The questions are from Elizabeth.

Popular Links -- The most popular links from search results.

Getting to Know a Blogger -- The intention of this section is to highlight an author who has articles in the WKB and to showcase their most popular work. The selection is random.

Popular Links from around the Web -- This section highlights the most popular links as determined by popularity around the web and not just the WKB. See the first issue for how this works.

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Featured Blogger

An Interview with Dani Greer of Blood-Red Pencil

What types of mistakes do you frequently encounter?

When editing novels, way too much inner dialogue is a common weak point. I don’t mind all that text in italics as long as it moves the story forward, but it’s usually a writer’s crutch. Had a little trouble with this story, didn’t you? This is true for seasoned authors as well as unpublished ones.

Here’s another error I see everywhere – the incorrect use of I or me depending on sentence structure.

Example: Mary went to the store with Rich and me. This is correct.

This is wrong: Mary went to the store with Rich and I.  

I see this mistake in major publications! Remember the old trick: if you got rid of Rich, how would it read? You’ll instantly “hear” the mistake.

Oh, and Don’t. Do. This. Especially not in a historical novel. People didn’t talk or write like that in the old days. It’s irritating enough in a contemporary novel.

What should writers look for in freelance editors? 

Ask them if they have a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style and if they use it. I’m not kidding here. Also, understand the different types of edits and what they cost. There is a huge difference between needing and paying for a developmental edit and a proofreader. Aside from that, make sure the editor allows your story to come through and in your voice. And find someone kind to work with – it makes the job so much more pleasant. It took me a few years to learn that it wouldn’t kill me to be a bit more of a cheerleader when giving editing feedback. I think authors really appreciate that.

Why is it so difficult for writers to edit their own work?

Writers can edit their own work up to a point. The big issue is that it takes time and distance to see flaws. Most authors today don’t put that manuscript in a drawer and forget about it for a year so they can come back to it with fresh eyes. This is where the editor is invaluable. We immediately see plot errors, dangling red herrings, missing words, changed names, and all the things the writer overlooks because it’s all still fresh in their brains. 

We all know the grammar and punctuation skills that effective editors need.  What other skills are helpful for an editor to have?

Learn to plot the story arc. I create a timeline and numerically rate the various sections of the book so I can see the low and high spots. There are certain points in every novel when something better happen to keep the reader engaged. It helps me to visualize this and point out where a plot needs more tension… or perhaps needs to give the reader a little rest from too much tension. We have quite a few good posts about this at the BRP.

Advice to aspiring authors?  Or helpful resources for them to search out?

My advice is to read and write daily. Read the best books you can find of the type that you love to read. This will inspire you and you will learn from these books without realizing it. Then write daily to get into the habit and to develop your own voice. Don’t worry about what that voice will sound like – just practice and it will evolve on its own. Practice gets you a published book. Just do it. Make it daily. Make a daily visit to the Blood-Red Pencil for advice and inspiration. We practice what we preach over there and you’ll almost always have a new post to read.

How can writers find out more about the Blood Red Pencil editors and their editorial services?

We are a very flexible group and not a company or a business as some readers believe. Each of us works freelance. I encourage the editors to indicate in their posts whether they are seeking editing jobs, and I tell our readers to follow the posts of our bloggers. If they like the voice and advice that comes through, contact that editor directly and ask questions. Many of us will offer a trial sample of a few dozen pages for free to give authors a sense of the process. If it feels comfortable, talk price and turnaround time. Referrals can be helpful, too, but remember that each writer is a different personality, so what works for one might not be right for someone else. Finally, you might want different editors for different types of books.

Dani Greer
Dani Greer is founding member of the Blood-Red Pencil, a passionate blog book tour advocate, and spends a considerable amount of time reading children’s books as Special Projects Coordinator for Little Pickle Press. You can find her at Facebook
and Twitter.

  Popular Results from the WKB

Getting to Know a Blogger
  Dystel & Goderich Literary Management

Dystel & Goderich maintain a group blog about a variety of writerly subjects. They also have material on an older blog but it is no longer updated.

They currently have 9 links in the WKB. The top 5 are:

WKB Articles that are Popular on the Web


The Writer's Knowledge Base is the search engine for writers. It contains links to the writing-related articles collected and tweeted by  @elizabethscraig. The WKB is developed by Mike Fleming and powered by Hiveword which is his web-based fiction organizer.

Elizabeth Spann Craig is a published author who blogs at Mystery Writing is Murder.

Mike Fleming blogs about technology and writers and tweets at @hiveword.

Writer's Knowledge Base - The Search Engine for Writers

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