Category Archives: Publishing

Bad Sex in Fiction Award: How To Avoid Winning

It’s easy to find awkward depictions of sex in literary fiction. The excerpts from this year’s nominees for the Literary Review’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award represent a good starting point, as do previous years’ winners. But the bad sex-writing hardly ends there. Serious Novelists, being tellers of hard truths, can depict all sorts of horrors without flinching – and then get flustered at describing sex. All the ease leaves their writing, and out come the metaphors. And the euphemisms. And the metaphors serving as euphemisms. Continue reading


Sarah Stone: My best writing coach

To write my novel, Bonobo!, I sought different kinds of training and feedback. I worked through a variety of texts, participated in several Meetup groups, and requested critiques from family and friends. The least-helpful feedback I got was from someone at a Meetup who wrote only, “Start over.” I guess that beats, “Give up.”

No one went to the other extreme, editing my work the way that legendary editors of yore did for, say, Harper Lee. The most productive thing I did was take a class on novel-writing from Sarah Stone through Stanford’s Continuing Studies program. Continue reading

Converting a Word doc to a PDF

To publish my novel, Bonobo!, on CreateSpace, I needed to convert the text file from Word 2010 to a PDF file. The PDF had to have all the fonts embedded, no changed characters, and images at least 300 dpi. The only images in my file were on the title page. I tried four methods that failed before I found the (free!) solution: PDF995. However, this utility still required some tweaking. Continue reading