NaNoWriMo is Half Over… Have You Thought About Editing Yet?

Okay, this is a shameless plug, but it is an honest one.

My book Blood from Your Own Pen: A Practical Guide on Self-Editing and Common Mistakes: For Beginning Authors Who Intend to Survive to Publication is in the NaNoWriMo StoryBundle. You can check that out here:

But hurry, it’ll be gone November 30th!

(Um, the bundle will be gone, not my book. But the bundle is the cheapest place you’ll ever see my book, and you can donate 10% of your purchase to a charity! You can also gift the bundle to someone…)

I have posted on Facebook about some of the other books in the bundle, but now I’m going to toot my own horn for a moment.

This is going to sound a bit arrogant, but stick with me, please.

I keep my own book on my desk as a reference.



Because it is full of all of the things I got tired of looking up over and over again because I couldn’t keep them straight in my own mind. For a long time, I have kept a list of things to double-check, or do, whenever I finish a story. Things that are meant to correct mistakes that I ALWAYS make.

Things like “Do I put a comma after an ellipses when using dialog tags?”,  “Is it ‘gray’ or ‘grey’?”, “Do I want affect or effect?”, and “What was the difference between an epilogue and an afterword (NOT afterward!)?”

And I am STILL making them. I always will. I’d be a fool to not think I will, so I do my best to always correct them.

And that is the whole point of my book: Recognizing and correcting your own mistakes.

From examples of a submission letter for short stories, and how to format those submissions, to how not to write dialog and why it’s okay to “tell, not show” sometimes. And I’ve included explanations to help you understand why—which is the biggest key to being able to avoid a problem in the future, I think.

The book is a collection of things that I have learned the hard way, or that I have learned from watching other people grow as writers. Most of the editing I have done has not been “acquisitions”, where I cherry-pick the best stories and reject the ones I don’t want to fix, but rather much more developmental, where I have tried to help the writers understand what it is in their writing, or story, that doesn’t work well.

That experience led to the collection of ideas in the book. It is full of things that most new writers know, or think they know, but still get wrong. It’s also got a bunch of stuff most new writers never even consider.

I realize we all have personal preferences in what we do or don’t do in our writing, and I’ve done my best to take that into account in a personable way, explaining why things are done a certain way (if I can explain it, sometimes it just is) and pointing out that the important thing is that you know the rules you are breaking so that you can break them effectively without looking foolish.

If you are wrapping up your NaNoWriMo story and starting to think about editing it down into something publishable/salable, my guide is a collection of things to think about fixing now, so that you don’t have to fix it after an editor tells you that’s why they rejected it.

And remember! Even if you are going to self-publish, you need to have your story edited by someone else (proofread at the very least). You can’t trust your own eyes on your own work.


Good Luck on NaNoWriMo!  If you are falling behind and don’t think you’re going to make it, don’t worry, you’re not alone! I am on track to fail again this year! Not necessarily a bad thing, as I explained in this post on The Fictorians : Fail to Win.