How to Outline a Novel: A Book Review of K.M. Weiland’s ‘Outlining Your Novel’

outlining-your-novel-km-weilandOutlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland ought to be on every author’s bookshelf.

If you’ve ever found yourself paralyzed by a blinking cursor or suddenly struck dumb at the sight of a blank piece of paper, Outlining is your solution. If you believe that you can only write when you’re inspired, Outlining (plus Steven Pressfield’s inimitable War of Art) will have you believing otherwise. And if you think that outlining will snuff out the spark of creativity that writing by the seat of your pants sometimes produces, realize what Weiland writes in her conclusion: “Story is as much about structure as it is about inspiration.”

In her opening, K.M. Weiland writes, “Outlining has transformed my own writing process from hit-and-miss creativity to a reliable process of story craft. Outlining allows me to ride the waves of my story with utter confidence, channeling the art into the craft to produce solid stories. And the best part about outlining? It’s entirely learnable.”

As someone who’s worked on more than a few books by now, I can vouch for Weiland’s motivation for writing Outlining Your Novel: (more…)

By | August 23rd, 2016|Writing|0 Comments

So, You Want to Write a Book?

WARNING: Don’t read any further unless you understand these words from Steven Pressfield:

“The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation.”

If you’re ready to dine, read on. (more…)

By | July 12th, 2016|Self Publishing, Writing|1 Comment

Chris Morris, CPA for Writers, Freelancers, and Small Businesses, on Why You Should Treat Your Writing Like a Business

I digitally met Chris Morris, a CPA for writers, a few years ago through a mutual friend. In that time, I’ve gone freelance and he launched his own accounting company to help writers, freelancers, and small business owners.

Chris Morris CPA for writersChris related that he specializes in helping the creative entrepreneurs, regardless of whether the business started yesterday or two decades ago. Over 75% of his clients are entrepreneurs. He helps painters, graphic designers, wedding photographers, editors, authors, and even the neighborhood swimming pool guy. He knows your business is too complex to trust it to a tax preparation service that you might find in the grocery store, especially when you need a lot more than just tax work. And one day soon, he will publish both of his manuscripts and start fleshing out the crazy fiction idea he cannot shake from his memory.

If I wasn’t married to a CPA (who fortunately offers me no-fee advice), I’d certainly be going to Chris for all of my tax and accounting needs. He was very gracious with his advice in this interview, which speaks to the facts that he knows what he’s talking about and that he’s generous with his expertise. (more…)

By | April 28th, 2016|Writing|0 Comments

Looking for a Book Editor?

Image created by K.M. Weiland

Image created by K.M. Weiland

You may have come to the right place, but maybe not. For instance, what’s missing from my list of writing and editing services?

I provide ghostwriting, co-writing, nonfiction developmental editing and manuscript critiques, and both nonfiction and fiction copyediting services.

What’s missing is quite an important task: developmental editing for fiction. Currently, I don’t offer that editing service. Why? Because I’m still a student of story, and while I’d like to assume I have a pretty good grasp of it, I don’t currently have the breadth of experience to offer developmental editing for fiction.


This excellent list of book editors compiled by K.M. Weiland will help you.


By | February 26th, 2016|Editing, Writing|4 Comments

A Writer’s Prayer Shareable Image

a writer's prayer

By | February 19th, 2016|Writing|0 Comments

Robert McKee Answers “What Should I Ask Myself Before Writing a Story?”

Robert McKee, the guru of storytelling and author of Story, answers a writer’s question: “What questions should a writer ask herself prior to writing a story?

It’s a good question, but McKee provides a great answer, distilling the thousands of questions that swirl within a writer’s mind into possibly the single most important question to ask yourself before writing any story.

By | December 8th, 2015|Writing|0 Comments

Looking for a Literary Agent? Make Sure They Have These 3 Essential Qualities

In addition to the editing and ghostwriting I do on a full-time basis as part of BA Writing Solutions LLC, I also help authors craft book proposals. Though it’s not always offered as part of the package, I recently helped an author-client find a literary agent.

After being turned down by a few book agents (well, let’s be honest, I never heard back from them), one agent in particular showed keen interest in our proposal. He liked the pitch, the author, the platform, and the presentation. He spoke with my client and they both realized they had mutual connections. Deal done, right?

My client still had reservations, and understandably so. Your book is your baby, and you want to place it in the best hands possible before sending it off into the world without your immediate help.

A few weeks passed and my client emailed me a strange question: “Is this agent in the Top 5?”

I wasn’t sure how to take that. Top 5 ever? Top 5 in his particular field? Top 5 this year? Top 5 in books sold? Top 5 in earnings? Still, I knew what he was getting at. Fortunately, this particular agent had no qualms in claiming his Not-Top-5 status. He was up front and honest about his work—which got me to thinking about what you really want to look for when you’re looking for a literary agent.

Though I’m sure there are more qualities—feel free to add some in the comments—I think a qualified literary agent only needs to show these three: (more…)

By | December 2nd, 2015|Books, Publishing, Writing|0 Comments

Do You Know the 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing?

5-editors-tackle-the-12 fatal flaws of fiction writingIf you don’t know the 12 fatal flaws of fiction writing, don’t worry. I didn’t either.

In fact, I’m willing to bet there are at least a dozen more (that I’m sure to discover in due time). But, as for the specific 12 fatal flaws of fiction writing I’m currently discussing, five fantastic editors cover them in a book that releases tomorrow, aptly titled 5 Editors Tackle The 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing.

Truth be told, I haven’t finished reading it, but gauging from the first three chapters, this is a book I’ll certainly finish before embarking upon my own great novel-writing adventure. (more…)

By | November 30th, 2015|Self Publishing, Writing|0 Comments

North Texas Giving Day: Why I Support Art House Dallas

art-house-dallas-logoI moved to Dallas in 2010 and lucked into a dream job less than a year later. During my first few months as an editor with (may the site rest in peace), we were tasked with forming relationships with Christian organizations across the nation. That’s how I first learned about one particular group that was in my proverbial backyard.

Although FaithVillage and Art House Dallas never connected, I connected with Art House Dallas rather quickly. I attended an event called the Art House Exchange, a casual pub gathering for creatives hosted in downtown Dallas. I met dozens of artists representing a broad swath of creativity: other writers, visual artists, filmmakers, songwriters, and even a chef. I felt like so many do after their first Art House Dallas experience: these are my people.

Soon thereafter, I began to lead some of the small group discussions during the Exchanges. This was simply a set-apart time for ten or so people to gather around a table and talk about the triumphs and tribulations of creating, whether they were working on a new story, a new painting, or a new song. It was fascinating to me (and still is) that despite our very different backgrounds and creative pursuits, many of our core issues (seeking validation, finding time to create, etc.) were similar.

A little over a year ago, Art House Dallas launched its first writers group. I was fortunate to be included in that group and still relish the monthly gathering of our ten or so members. About a month ago, we even had a special event to read excerpts from a collaborative short story project that our group created.

I share all of that to share this: Art House Dallas is many things to many people, but at its core it’s a community that makes you believe in yourself as a creative.  (more…)

By | September 17th, 2015|Writing|0 Comments

How to Become a Ghostwriter

Earlier this week, TheWriteLife published a recent guest post of mine, “A Lucrative Niche for Writers: How to Become a Ghostwriter.”

the-write-life-logoIt outlines what I think are the three most important skills you need in order to pursue ghostwriting, and none of them are what I would have thought you needed before getting into this rather strange writing world. If this interests you, please consider joining the conversation on their site. Here’s a tease:

Thomas Jefferson might as well have been describing how to break into ghostwriting when he wrote, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”

In the summer of 2014, I quit my job to pursue full-time self-employment as an author and editor. Knowing that a majority of my income would likely not come from my books, I focused on seeking editing work. In less than a year, I shifted my focus to ghostwriting, a professional avenue I thought would be forever closed to me because I simply didn’t have the connections. I knew no celebrities, political figures or rich business types, but I did have three key assets …

Read the rest of “A Lucrative Niche for Writers: How to Become a Ghostwriter.”

If you’re in need of a ghostwriter, check out my recently launched


By | May 8th, 2015|Writing|0 Comments