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editing

“Lead” Poisoning: An Open Letter to Pat Meehan

If you're going to pander to educators -- especially those who teach writing -- you might want to make sure that you don't go out of your way to draw attention to your spelling errors.

Public Displays of Affectation

In addition to working on my own writing, I've been helping my friend Shaun Haurin with a collection of short stories titled Public Displays of Affectation. It's the last book I'll be working on for PS Books, and I've had... Continue Reading →

Last of the Outtakes

Here's one last passage that didn't make it to the final version of The Grievers. The official publication date is a week from today. Psycho Heading back to my office I ran into a fellow grad student who asked how... Continue Reading →

A Kind of Jesus Figure

Here's another passage I had to cut from The Grievers when I changed Charley's job from being a teacher to being a human dollar sign. Of course, I probably would have cut this passage regardless. I think it's a little... Continue Reading →

The Teaching Assistant

Here's another passage that didn't make the cut because it was a little too close to my own life. I also wasn't entirely enamored with the use of "you" in this one. It struck me as if the narrator were... Continue Reading →

Using the Elevator Pitch for Editing

The elevator pitch can be more than a marketing tool. In fact, it can be the star that guides you through the countless rounds of revision you do before the manuscript goes in front of an agent or editor -- and the countless more you'll do ​after​ it's been accepted for publication.

“That’s a Junkie”

Here's another passage I cut because of the reference to Charley's students and also because it had more to do with my own life than Charley's. With subsequent revisions, I got increasingly better at inventing a life for Charley and... Continue Reading →

Getting Far

In an earlier draft of The Grievers, the narrator's life was closer to my own than in the version that eventually found its way to publication. One major similarity was that Charley and I were both teachers -- a detail... Continue Reading →

He Walked the Halls

Technically, Buddy should have flunked out by the end of his first semester, but the constant stream of cash flowing from his family was enough to make everyone look the other way whenever he set fire to the chemistry lab or ran naked through the gymnasium because the other guys stole his gym shorts.

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