Monday, January 22, 2018

Great Works of Copy Editing Literature

Behind every great work of literature is a great copy editor. But what if editors weren't behind it, but out in front?

Last Friday on Twitter, Benjamin Dreyer and Jonathon Owen got some of us started rethinking what some of the great works of literature might be like if the novels were written about copy editors. I came to the conclusion that literature can only be improved if more novels were written about those of us in the word business.

Here are the 17 best first lines of novels written about copy editors:

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

VIDEO: Thoughts on SEO for Writers

Search engine optimization (SEO) has changed a lot over the last two decades. Thankfully, the games people used to play to try to push their web content to the top of Google search results are largely a thing of the past. Site optimization is important, but that's behind-the-scenes coding that online content writers don't need to worry about.

There isn't a lot that writers need to know about on-page SEO, and a lot of what they need to understand is just common sense:

Sunday, October 1, 2017

VIDEO: The Future of Print Magazines

This is the second video interview with the Author Learning Center. In it, I talk about the problems of print magazines, especially general-interest magazines, and how The Saturday Evening Post is evolving to survive in whatever comes next.

Friday, September 29, 2017

VIDEO: The Importance of Proofreading and Copy Editing

Back in March, the Author Learning Center (website) interviewed me for their ongoing  videos series. Most of their videos are behind a paywall, but they've released three of them to me for promotional purposes.

So, here I am promoting them.

In this one, I talk about what copy editing and proofreading are and why they are important.

Unfortunately, the frame frozen at the beginning makes it look like I'm in the middle of a rendition of "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General." But I promise that there is no singing in this video.



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Limerick Lunacy

So, long story short, I was knee deep in the history and construction of limericks, and I conjured these silly things:

There once was a man from Peru,
Who wrote limericks up to line two.

Stupid, right? But I didn't stop there.

There once was a lass from "Paree"
Whose limericks went to line three.
They started off well.

And I had to finish:

A man you all know (Albert Gore)
Wrote limericks up to line four,
And then he'd hit Send
And the things would just end.
Limericks are fun and funny things, but messing with the form can be even funner.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

World Poetry Day 2017

A poem of the spring is what
   I've set my self to write —
Of gentle breezes, greening buds,
   And herons taking flight.
Happy spring, everybody!

But out my window, all I see
   Is cars and lots and rust,
And hear the wailing ambulance,
   And smell the drifting dust.

Writing poetry that's great
   Takes something I ain't got.
Sure, I've got the words, the rhymes,
   But inspiration? Not.

For this sad sot, his "poems" are
   Like home plumbing, I guess:
I can tinker with the pipes
   But I only make a mess.

So happy spring to those of you
   Whose minds are blue and clear,
And have a great World Poetry Day
   If I haven't ruined it here.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Fun with Page Numbers in Microsoft Word

Are you tired of boring old page numbers in your Word document's header or footer? Do you feel like your doctoral dissertation is missing that certain je ne sais quoi to make your advisors smile? Are you looking for a way to distract readers from the mediocre writing in the novel you've spent the last eight years writing?

I can help.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Health, Heart, Brexiting, and Begging the Question in a Post-Truth America

Business continues to translate into busy-ness (did I mention that I was promoted to managing editor at The Saturday Evening Post?), and, for better or worse, blogging here lands pretty low on my to-do list. But that doesn't mean I'm not writing! Here are some things for you to look at over at

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Happy Dictionary Day 2016!

Noah Webster, considered the Father of the American Dictionary, was born on October 16, 1758. That day is now marked as National Dictionary Day.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Oh the Horripilation!

Halloween 2010 - By Armando Salum, Veracruz.
Halloween 2010 by Armando Salum, Veracruz, via Wikipedia
As the scary clown population rises, Halloween nears, and the election gets creepier, journalists must surely be looking for some variety in how they describe the eeriness that seems to be pervading our daily lives.

I'm here to help — or rather, I was last week, when I published "Words to Make Your Hair Stand on End" at It's chock full of words you can use the next time you'd kill for a good synonym for goose bumps.

And I'm using kill metaphorically, of course.