Top Ten Writing Mistakes Editors See Every Day

Very good advice!

Confessions of a Creative Writing Teacher

Goya -The sleep of reason produces monsters (c1799) recut

In addition to writing and teaching, one of the things I do for a living is to evaluate manuscripts for their suitability for publication. I read fiction (and non-fiction) across several genres, and write comprehensive reports on the books. I try always to guide the author towards knocking his or her project into a shape that could be credibly presented to literary agents, publishers and general readers. You know how Newman and Mittelmark introduce How Not to Write a Novel by saying, ‘We are merely telling you the things that editors are too busy rejecting your novel to tell you themselves, pointing out the mistakes they recognize instantly because they see them again and again in novels they do not buy,’ well they’re right; I am one of those editors.

However good the idea behind a novel, when the author is still learning the craft of writing – like any…

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What the Show “Friends” Did Right

Good, good advice!

A Writer's Path

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The television show Friends was immensely popular. It won 62 Primetime Emmy Awards. According to the Nielsen ratings, it was within the top 5 shows for 9 solid years. Personally, I loved it. Its message said that with the right friends, we can weather anything that life throws at us.

But why was this show so popular? It wasn’t by chance that it became a television giant. Today we’re going to comb through the reasons why I feel the show was successful and how you can use these methods to improve your writing.

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Daily Prompt: Nightmare job at the Pizza Butt

In honor of Labor Day in North America, tell us what’s the one job you could never imagine yourself doing.

Oh, if only I had actually never done it! But then I wouldn’t have met my first love, I wouldn’t have realised how little I suit pink baseball caps, and I wouldn’t have been turned off pizza for life.

That’s right. I was a pizza delivery girl. The only girl, actually, in the Belmont store of a pizza chain which shall remain nameless but rhymes with Pizza…Butt.

Speaking of butts, I saw a naked one. Attached to a man. Who answered the door completely stark naked. Like it was just no thing. Apparently he’d been expecting me, although where he was keeping the money before I turned up is something I would rather not contemplate. I kept my cool, and my eyes fixed firmly on his until I was safely back in the car. This was possibly the best piece of acting I’ve ever accomplished.

“Good evening, Sir. Two large meat-lovers with extra salami uh, and a stick of garlic bread.” Do not consider that imagery too closely, I willed myself. He took them and laid them gently on a hall table, mooning me at the same time. Then he turned back politely and added a three dollar tip – very generous at the time.

I made it all the way back to the car before bursting into hysterical tears and helping myself to the mini-pizza out of the next delivery. I figured they owed me as much.

There were many other perils. One driver was mugged, another had drugs pressed on him, comments were made about certain body parts of mine more than once.

Additionally, name badges were compulsory. Presumably so that complaints could be made about the right person – should, for instance, an order turn up missing a mini-pizza.

My name badge had been ordered as “Sian” because that is my name. Apparently knowing better, the head office had sent back “Stan”. Because everyone knows Sian is not a real name. Obviously I couldn’t be sent out with a boy’s name, so Stan got pinned to the cork board in the vain hope that a new starter would actually get to use it. I believe they even wrote in their advertisements “preference given to applicants named Stanley.”

The Stan solution was obvious. At some point, a “Thelma” had worked for the company and for reasons that remain unknown, had not chosen to take her name badge with her when she left.

Thus, I became known as Thelma, to the delight of elderly ladies across Belmont. “My best friend was called Thelma!” “Were you named after your grandmother?” “Would you like to come to bingo with me?”

Unbeknownst to be, it was causing a certain young male pizza deliverer an existential crisis. Having recently joined, we’d never introduced ourselves but shared several coy glances. “I like this girl,” he was thinking, “but can I seriously date someone called Thelma?”

Luckily, he got over his issues and we became a couple. I quit the very next week. Now that I could look at a bottom on my own time, I had no more need of the job.

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