Good Novel Pacing: Better Than a Solid Pair of Spanx


By Rachel Beck

Truth: Anything that is written has a pace. Just like anything in motion has a pace. And it is always being noticed and taken in—maybe not consciously, yet pacing is still ever-important in anything from an email to assembly instructions to a novel. With instructional types of writing, like how to assemble something, the steps have to be listed in the correct order; otherwise the pacing will be off, and you’ll never get your product put together. Applied to more creative channels of writing, a certain pacing is understood and expected. 

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12 Words You’ll Hear An Agent Or Editor Use (And What They Mean)


By Rachel Beck

Every industry has its insider lingo and jargon–words or phrases that mean diddly squat to the lay person who does not work in that field. In the medical field, the world of computer engineering, and even in the kitchens of restaurants, there is industry-specific shorthand that is contained to those who work in the business. The publishing industry is no different. Continue reading “12 Words You’ll Hear An Agent Or Editor Use (And What They Mean)”

Top 5 Reasons I Stop Reading Queries


By Rachel Beck

A few months ago, I was on a panel at a conference in which a moderator read authors’ first pages, and the agents on the panel had to raise their hands when they would stop reading and move on to the next. The writers were in the room. And then we had to say why we would have stopped. It sounds really harsh (and definitely made me feel like a Mean Person), but the writers were very grateful for the honesty and feedback. They took it as a valuable learning experience.  Continue reading “Top 5 Reasons I Stop Reading Queries”

How to Write Dialogue that Shines


By Rachel Beck

Dialogue is one of the main building blocks of writing. It’s part of the foundation, one of the “tools” that’s essential for building your “house,” or book. Without it, you don’t have much of a story, and it would collapse, as would a house without all the vital parts of its foundation. Dialogue is how your characters interact with each other, how you move the scenes and chapters forward and reveal information to the reader. If done well, it also brings the characters to life off the page, giving them color and attitude with certain phrases or word choices or dialect or accents–the ways you can humanize your characters through dialogue are endless, so it’s really an amazing tool at writers’ disposal, and one that’s key for showing rather than telling as well. Continue reading “How to Write Dialogue that Shines”