You can be the sweetest person possible in real life, but if you want to write great fiction, you need to be the opposite. You must be the cruel overlord of your story.

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Unclear thinking is most often about being lazy and not fully imagining your story. Write with clarity of purpose, and your writing comes alive.

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Excerpted from BookBaby's latest guide, 5 Steps To Self Publishing, Part I of our series addresses reasons to self-publish and the importance of professional editing.

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Imagine a shorthand that works for complex storytelling as well as true shorthand works for speeding up general writing. A writer's shorthand does exist, with the use of placeholding “things-yet-to-be-written” in brackets.

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Your book's structure is the tool that will gather up your readers and keep them following along with you; it's the tie that binds all the parts of your story together, from end to end, and in the middle too.

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Most authors probably wish they had a gauge of some kind to stick into the pages to tell them when their book is done. It’s not just new, inexperienced writers who have that wish. Most published authors I’ve posed the question to say the same thing: it’s hard to know when to put down the virtual pen.

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Your first draft might be a brain dump, so it's on you to rid subsequent drafts of holes, sleeping pills and imposters. What's your Achilles' heel: tangential, rambling, or missing content?

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