26 October 2017

Writing vs storytelling

It should not have come as a surprise. After all, it had been ages since I'd had a similar epiphany about academic writing. Because my high school teachers and undergrad professors had almost only ever marked errors in style and mechanics (word choice, the use of "I", spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc.), I'd gotten the mistaken impression that a good paper was an error-free paper written in an academic style, but in reality my grades were based on the ideas I frequently failed to adequately develop. This made my undergraduate years as an English major incredibly confusing: despite being a strong writer, able to clearly communicate with few copy editing errors, my grades rarely rose above a B.

More than a decade later, I found myself once again confused. Despite having spent the better part of the last twenty years working on my writing, I had four self-published novels that weren't selling well. The reviews said the writing was good, but people weren't falling in love with my characters and world the way I had. Something was missing. Something was wrong.

It should not have come as a revelation, but it did. 

Being a good writer is not the same thing as being a good storyteller.

12 October 2017

More clients' books published!

Two books I've worked on have been published in the last couple of months, and I'm feeling like a very lucky editor.

In August Michael Sussman published Incognolio, the surrealist novel we worked on together.

Bewildered but lovable author, Muldoon, is trapped in the dreamlike narrative of his own surrealistic novel. Beginning with just a title—Incognolio—he enters a bizarre fictional realm that plunges him into an identity crisis of anguishing proportions. Is he writing a story in which his stillborn twin sister has come to life, or is he the one who died at birth and it’s his sister who’s writing the novel? Guided only by the whims and dictates of his subconscious mind, Muldoon must unravel the mystery of Incognolio and write his way to freedom or succumb to madness.

And now, just a couple of months later, the book I chose to work with for the 2017 ShoreIndie Contest - a far-future biopunk novel, Malfunction by J.E. Purazzi - is out, too!

When Menrva, a geneticist in the subterranean city of survivors known as Bunker, responds to a call for help from Cowl, her former best friend, and Bas, a renegade cyborg, she makes a vital mistake and places all three of them in danger. As they struggle to escape City guards, cyborg soldiers, desperate scavengers, and ravenous aliens, they find in each other something they never expected: family.

During a battle, an attacking cyborg manages to overcome her programming just long enough to deliver a cryptic message. The trio is forced to decide if they will risk death - or worse, capture - to seek out the truth about the City, or if they will fight only for themselves.


This fast-paced, gritty first book of The Malfunction Trilogy introduces a future caught between destruction and oppression, where Menrva and her friends must decide if the ends justify the means.


You can check out Purazzi's brief interview about writing, editing, and self-publishing on the ShoreIndie blog.

I'm currently working on a blog post about the unusual structure of Incognolio, which I'll publish later this month, but in the meantime you can read Sussman's guest post about writing from the subconscious here.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to happy-dance myself down to my favorite coffee shop for a celebratory fancy espresso drink.

15 August 2017

Guest post: Writing From Your Subconscious Mind by Michael Sussman

A little over a year ago, I read a partial manuscript that burrowed deep into my brain and set my mind on fire. For days I thought and dreamed about it, and every time I told someone about the book, this fire re-ignited, fueling my speech and gestures and turning me into a version of myself that my closest friends and relatives hardly recognized - I was that excited. This book resonated deeply with me and felt important. It contained a narrative whose underlying message was near and dear to my heart, presented with lit geeky humor and a transparent prose style that I love. I believe a large part of why the book resonated so deeply with me was because the author set out to let his subconscious guide the writing process. And when the manuscript found its way to me, our work consisted largely of naming what had come out of that process and identifying where the gaps in the narrative were. A reverse outline, if you will. That book was Incognolio by Michael Sussman, which I am THRILLED to say is now available on Amazon. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys funny surrealist literature or lit geekery, and/or who is on a path to reunite the pieces of themselves. You'll find info on where to find the book at the end of this post. And now, I am most pleased to welcome Michael to the blog to talk about his method of writing from the subconscious mind.

Writing From Your Subconscious Mind
by Michael Sussman

One way to approach writing fiction is to let your subconscious mind lead the way.

This is not to denigrate the conscious mind. It is a critical component of the writing process, especially once you’ve completed a first draft and must begin reworking and polishing your manuscript.

23 April 2017

Interview with D Gilman Wakeli

Happy book birthday to How to NOT Write a Book, a nonfiction book about the myriad ways we create obstacles between our creative imaginations and the page! I'm thrilled to welcome the author, D Gilman Wakeli, back to the blog today for an interview about the book and her writing process.

Congratulations on publishing your first book! Tell us about that intriguing title: Why a book about *not* writing? 
I’d studied a lot—an entire universe full of a lot—about *how to* write. But *not* writing was the truth of my writing experience. Not writing wasn’t the defining fact about me, thank goodness, or I wouldn’t be here. But I had unknowingly created a cluster of mis-perceptions about myself and writing that lived inside me as unappeasable ghosts, and left me struggling and over-thinking and not writing. I was tired of trying to figure out how to write. Tired of mentally struggling to make words up then pressure them onto a page only to later destroy them or leave them abandoned. I had lost the ability to write simply, with purpose and intent. When I determined to write again, I had a growing sense of how those internal perceptions operated inside me and manipulated me into not writing. But no matter how distorted my perceptions were, my experience of not writing was honest. It came as a wonderful surprise, a paradox really, that when I started exploring everything I was doing to not write, words came, and in a purposeful way, a way they hadn’t come before, and I wrote those words down. I took those purposeful words as a sign that this was it. Ether write this idea about not writing all the way to the end, or STFU already.

19 April 2017

Guest post: On Worms and Butterflies by D Gilman Wakeli

Today I'm ecstatic to welcome my friend and fellow author D Gilman Wakeli to the blog to talk about one of the barriers to creative work that she explores in her first book, the forthcoming How to NOT Write a Book, in which she explores the deep-seated reasons we don't begin - and don't finish - writing.

On Worms and Butterflies 
by D Gilman Wakeli

Why do we refuse to finish our work? Why do we refuse transformation?

During the many times I left work unfinished, I thought of many logical, rational sounding reasons, many things to blame. But I could never find that one right reason that, if I could fix, would solve the problem. I never found a logical reason because I don’t believe the answer is logical or reasonable.