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Welcome to the EditorMuse blog, a resource for information about editing, writing, and the business of literary inspiration.

Who Should Write a Memoir?

In 2006, James Frey became known as the “Man who conned Oprah” with his memoir A Million Little Pieces, which told of his life as an alcoholic, drug addict, and criminal. It was the graphic and raw details that gripped Oprah, sold over a million copies of the book, and placed Frey on the bestseller list, just below Harry Potter. Only a few years later, Herman Rosenblat pulled a fast one when he propagated a memoir, Angel at the Fence, about his life during the Holocaust when he was kept alive by a girl who brought him food each day and who he reunited with on a blind date many years later. Each of these memoirs was an extremely well received story, worthy enough to have touched Oprah, before it was exposed as absolute fiction. So when is it best to write a memoir and when is it better to just write a novel “based on a true story?”

Teach a (Wo)Man to Fish--Creative Writing Workshop/Instruction

Are you writing a novel or short stories? Do you want to take your writing hobby to the next level? Would you like the advice of an experienced writer?
 
Creative Writing Workshop/Instruction
Six Meetings/Six Weeks
$120 per student
15 students per class (maximum)

Why Hiring a Freelancer Saves Money

 
Everyone is looking to save nowadays—a very prudent choice and not just in light of the current economic situation. Avoiding waste shouldn’t be trendy, seasonal, or recession-driven.
 
Let’s say there is a company, DIY Inc., who has extended the entrepreneurial spirit that started the company to a do-it-yourself attitude regarding aspects of the company outside of their specialty.  DIY Inc. decides to increase their web visibility by launching a six-month SEO campaign. Joanne “Keep it All In-House” Smith, the CEO, thinks that she has two choices:
 

To a Business Owner in a Recession

I hope things are going well. As a business owner, I definitely empathize with having to make tough financial decisions. Especially in times of recession, the impulse to tighten the purse strings is definitely understandable. Understandable but actually the opposite of what you should do in terms of marketing.

Inspirational News

 
Some writers do not have constant access to their Muse (or sometimes they have to hire one). I can recall times as a novice writer when I would literally sit, drumming my pen against the desk, and wait for inspiration to strike. And wait, and wait, and wait. At times in graduate school, I had to write two short stories a week, in addition to writing a novel. Going that often to the creativity well, at some points, it is going to be dry. So what do you do during the drought?
 

What Typos Say about Your Business

As an editor I am probably more attuned to typos and grammatical mistakes because I have been trained to notice them. While a lot of people will not notice or fault you for using a hyphen when an em-dash was appropriate, blatant typos tell your clients something about your business. For example, if you saw “certifed public accountant” on a CPA’s website, you might question that firm’s attention to detail and whether you feel safe trusting that company with your money. Or what if you saw a website for a “crimnial defense lawyer?” Each of these is an actual typo I have seen in websites that caused me to question the ability of that company. No company is expected to be an expert grammarian or keep a full-time editor on staff, but not hiring one is like cutting your own hair before a major event, making your own suit, or constructing your office space from a do-it-yourself kit. How a person represents his or her company either in person or through a website or print material is how potential clients form their opinion.

What Bruno and Sacha Baron Cohen Teach Us about Character Development

Let’s imagine that Sasha Baron Cohen decided to write a movie about an Austrian who comes to America to become famous. He begins at birth and tells a chronological story of how this person went about achieving his dream. That was basically the plot for the 2006 movie Akeelah and the Bee if you substitute “Austrian” and “fame” with “young, urban girl” and “winning the spelling bee.” It’s also the plot of the Rainn Wilson film, The Rocker, which was unfortunately just about as funny. As much as we all love a Cinderella story, we’ve seen it, the DVD extras, and the uncut director’s version about a million times. So how did Sasha Baron Cohen strike cinematic gold with a plot we already know and has been done time and again?

Premise

There are so many books that I loved reading or gained a lot of insight from but can't remember anything about them except for the overall premise of the book. The dialogue and specifics are all a new conversation to me on the second read. Ironically enough the same is true for a book I bought and read many years ago called The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri.
 
 

Self Publishing

Enough people have had the unfortunate experience of paying top dollar for low-quality work from vanity presses that it’s a wonder everyone isn’t put off on the notion of independent publishing. In fact, even when faced with a legitimate company to help with production and distribution, the idea of paying thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of dollars for the possibility of not selling one book, or even getting your book in a bookstore, sounds nonsensical. Does independent publishing have a happy ending for anyone?

The Importance of Outlining

Do you ever find it difficult sometimes...
 
One of the most difficult things for most writers is knowing how to...
 
The best way to organize your thoughts is to...
 
The first sentence is always the hardest to write when you don’t know what else you’re going to say.

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