Workshop schedule for the next 6 months, with Early Bird discounts if you sign up now

We’re half-way through our first week in my flash fiction workshop, and it’s going so well. I’m spending a lot of time on lessons, suggestions, and critiques, but it’s worth it to see reactions like these from my students:

tweet2tweet3 tweet

Don’t you wish you were taking it with us?

By request, I’ve updated my workshop schedule for the next six months. I’ll be offering three courses:

January 2015

“Editing 101″ – Definitions, editing marks, using (and creating) style sheets, important style manuals, levels of editing, and fact-checking. The basics of copyediting: concepts and skills necessary for line editing (also called copyediting), relying mainly on the Chicago Manual of Style,16th ed; editing vs. proofreading; tips for spotting tricky errors. The basics of developmental editing: what it is and isn’t, including the specifics of developmental editing in fiction. We’ll also cover rates, and working with clients, including querying about edits, maintaining an author’s voice, and related services. (Read more here.)

$75 for 4 weeks if you enroll by 11/30/2014: Sign up here (limited class size — already 1/3 full)

March 2015

“Plotting the Short Story” – By request! We’ll cover how to fit a whole story into different lengths: flash (1000 and under), mid-length short story (about 4000 words), and longer short stories (up to 6500 words). What do you put in and what do you leave off the page? Fundamentals of storytelling, prepping (including outlining, character arcs, and plot twists) and editing (including how to recognize the different moments of your story so you can move them around) are also covered.

$50 for 4 weeks if you enroll by December 31, 2014: Sign up here (already 1/5 full)

April 2015

“Nuts and Bolts of Submitting” – market directories and submission trackers, finding the RIGHT market, reading submission guidelines, meeting submission guidelines, when to query, how to write bios and cover letters, how to read rejections, and figuring out when to resubmit, revise, or trunk your work.

$50 for 4 weeks if you enroll by January 31, 2015: Sign up here


Moving, WFC 2014, and Other Updates

Also yummy food pics, if you just want to skip to the end.

In the last two weeks I’ve moved house (from my terrible, no good, awful apartment to a much better one), attended World Fantasy Convention 2014, and prepped for my next writing workshop, which starts this Saturday. So far I’ve really only had one day of “rest” in all of that, and that’s mainly because I slept through most of Tuesday. I’m not yet caught up enough to take a break intentionally, and for the first time in a long time, I’m actually okay with that.

See, I’m busy — so busy — but being out of the old apartment relieved so much stress that I no longer feel the world is a pile of bricks I can’t juggle fast enough. All of the things I have to do are just tasks. And, I’m tearing through them so quickly that I’m expecting to be caught up, for the first time in more than six months, within a week or so. That doesn’t mean I’ve done everything I wanted to do, but I am finishing up everything I needed to have done. Once I’ve got that list completed, I can focus on the writing, editing, and reading I’ve been trying to get to for far too long.

Once I’m back to doing those things, I’ll be back to being me.

I spent most of October looking for a new apartment, and packing up the old one. At nearly the last possible minute, I found a great place — better than I’d hoped for — only a few blocks away, so I didn’t have to give up the great school system that was a big part of why I’d taken the old tiny, basement apartment in the first place. I spent another 9 days moving, one car load at a time, logging an average of 6 miles a day (according to my FitBit) just from walking up the steps of the other place, to the car, back down, get another load, walk back up the steps… multiplied by a hundred trips. I couldn’t afford to both move and rent a truck/hire movers, and my person who’d normally have helped ended up sick, so me and my son (okay, mostly me) did it all ourselves. The one thing I did pay for was an extra week of rent at the new apartment so I could start moving in a week early, and I’m so glad I did.

The up side to moving like that is that I got to deal with each car load of stuff away as I brought it over. Before we went for another couple of boxes, or tote bags full of books, I put what I’d unpacked exactly where I wanted it. By the time we were officially done moving out of the old place, the new apartment was a home. Curtains were hung, rugs put down, furniture in the right spots, dishes in the cabinets, clothes in drawers. I literally have only one box left to sort through, and there’s a chance most of that will be donated/thrown out. (Another benefit of knowing that I’d have to lug each box over by myself is that I only packed what I wanted, and managed to get rid of all the useless junk a person acquires over time before leaving.) I still need a few things — a living room rug, some bookshelves, since the one I’d been using came with the old apartment and had to stay there — but mostly, we’re happily settled in.

Which is good, because right after the move was finished, it was time for WFC.


New: Pay What You Can For Editing

Over the last few years as a freelance editor, I’ve raised my rates from my introductory offer to a level in keeping with both the quality of my work, and industry standards. As a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association and in my contracts with institutional clients, for example, my rates are competitive, fair, and most importantly, accurately compensate me for the decades of experience that I bring to each project. It took me a long time to feel comfortable asking to be paid a decent wage, and I know I deserve it.

But at the same time, I also know that I lose potential clients who can’t afford to pay a professional editor, and who instead have to turn to people who don’t have real editing experience, or not much of it, just because they’re cheap. Worse, some authors skip the editing process all together. I love speculative fiction, I love the genre community, and I have stressed – a lot – over the conflict between paying my rent and helping those who could really use it.

I’ve recently introduced new editing packages to further tailor what I’m offering to a client’s needs, in hopes that no one is paying more than they should. I’ve been taking clients with budget constraints as they come to me, without advertising, whenever I can. I’ve offered sales, and I’ve quietly told friends and clients that if they know someone in trouble, send them my way and I’ll give them a deal. Still, I worry that I’m excluding authors who didn’t know that I’d help if I could.

So I’m introducing a new program: Pay what you want for editing services.

Tell me everything you can about your project, and what you can afford to pay for it. I’ll get you on my waiting list, and when I have a cancellation or open spot in my calendar, I’ll go down the list, first come first serve. You’ll get exactly the same services you would have if you had booked at my usual rate, but at a cost you can afford.

Of course, there’s a limit to how many low-cost clients I can take on in a single month. You may have to wait a few weeks, or even longer, before I can fit you in. And if you come to me with a ridiculous offer, I’ll be honest about immediately turning you down. $50 to copyedit a 150,000 word manuscript is probably not going to happen, since that’s a solid week’s worth of work, or two (depending on the quality of the writing before I get to it). But I’ll take every job that I can. Shorter projects may even sneak into my schedule more quickly, if I’ve got a free evening.

I want every author to have a chance at a professional edit for their work before they send it out to a publisher, or publish it themselves. Writing is hard enough. You shouldn’t have to revise it alone.

If you’re ready to get started, fill out the contact form below.


Sign up now open for new online workshop! “Editing 101″, begins Jan 2015

Beginning Monday, January 5, 2015, I’ll be teaching a 4 week intensive online workshop on the basics of editing. Like my other workshops, it will be held entirely online. Lectures will be sent out as PDFs, class discussion will take place in our private forum, and assignments will be due each week. This format allows students to participate on their own schedule, whether they’re working around a job or family commitments, or are logging in from anywhere in the world.

During the workshop, we will cover:

Definitions, editing marks, using (and creating) style sheets, important style manuals, levels of editing, and fact-checking.

The basics of copyediting: concepts and skills necessary for line editing (also called copyediting), relying mainly on the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed; editing vs. proofreading; tips for spotting tricky errors.

The basics of developmental editing: what it is and isn’t, including the specifics of developmental editing in fiction.

We’ll also cover rates, and working with clients, including querying about edits, maintaining an author’s voice, and related services.

I expect this to fill up quickly, so I’m posting it now for people who read my blog/Twitter/Facebook to get a jump on enrolling before I advertise anywhere else. Like with my other workshops, I’ll cap the number of students so we’re not too crowded, and the price will go up in December and January, so you’ll get the best price by signing up in advance.

Enroll now for only $75


If you’ve wanted to know more about editing so that you can polish your own work, or you’re thinking of branching out into a little freelance editing, this is the workshop to get you started.


It’s true! Writing very short fiction can improve your novel.

I’ve had great success teaching flash fiction, and my students have gone on to be more widely published, and better writers. But I often hear from people who say something like:

“Oh, that sounds cool, but I don’t write short stories. I mostly write novels.”

Fear not, friend. Flash fiction is for you, too.

Writers Digest suggests learning to write flash because “no matter what you write, stringent word limits can challenge and sharpen your skills in ways that can improve even your long-form work.” Writing great flash requires the same skills as writing a great novel: descriptions that show instead of tell, concise language, poetic (compact yet evocative) style, and clear vision.

Microfiction (work that begins, ends, and feels complete under 1000 words) isn’t a fragment of a story. It’s not a scene without an anchor in the rest of the tale. It is its own moment. That kind of writing focuses on using the best words to speak clearly to your reader, giving them the impression of something larger than that space allows, so they don’t walk away unsatisfied. You want to give enough information so that the rest of the story, the history and potential future, are hinted at, but the reader doesn’t need to see them spelled out in order to have enjoyed what they read. If you can do that with a handful of words, you can do that with a hundred thousand. Even better – you can take away all the bits you don’t need before they get in the way of the words you want, confusing or even boring your reader.

Writing and reading short fiction show you successful ways to tell a story with the excess stripped away. I’ll help you learn the two major approaches to handling the challenging word count: how to write into the space that you have, and how to edit down to your limitations. Applying the lessons from my workshop to your novel will help you cut the fluff from your pages, turning your epic into a lean, thrilling, can’t-put-it-down adventure for your readers. Who doesn’t want that?

Keep an eye out for my next flash fiction workshop! I’ll post my teaching schedule here.