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Five Tell-Tale Signs You’ve Caught The Writing Bug

adult, blur, business

There’s a difference between being a writer and being a writer. Did you know that? We didn’t think so…

Let’s put it in simpler terms.

There’s a difference between a writer – in a general sense, who is creative and might write for a job or a hobby, and a writer – someone who lives and breathes and wakes every single day to dedicate themselves to writing.

Let’s call them fiction writers, because in most cases, whenever someone is referred to as ‘a writer’, that’s usually what is meant. The term is typically used to describe someone who dedicates themselves to some form of fiction writing.

So, now that we’ve laid the laws here, you might find yourself wondering what makes someone a writer; what makes them aware that they have the bug? Well sit back and relax, because you’re about to find out.

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#1: Bad Spelling And Grammar Burns You’re Eyes

Sorry…

Just take it easy. Put down your torches and pitchforks… that was done on purpose. You, know, just to prove a point. Just to prove that errors like that one up there in the sub-heading really grind your gears.

And it worked, didn’t it? Your eyes are burning right now, aren’t they?

#2: The Phrase ‘I Think I might Write A Book Some Day…

…or any of its derivatives, could make you homicidal.

It’s not that you’re salty. It’s just that, well… how dare they assume that all you need to write a book is a brain and a little spare time? How dare they assume that they have the passion and dedication; the commitment it takes to write a book? How dare they assume they have the mental capacity that is required, let alone the intelligence it takes to…

Okay, so maybe you are a little salty…

#3: Reading a Great Book Leaves You Feeling… Sad

Even when it’s not a sad book.

It could be the happiest book in the world, in fact. It could contain lots of smiles, a great big conflict that comes back round to a happy finish; an endless supply of puppies – you could love the book. And yet, it would still make you sad. But how? How could you feel sadness among all that awesomeness?

Well, the answer is simple. It’s because you didn’t write it.

#4: You know That When Inspiration Strikes, You Act On It

Chances are, you discovered this the hard way. You were probably sat all innocently one day, getting on with your life, when all of a sudden: BOOM. Followed by some kind of swoosh. And then by the burning urge to create something beautiful.

But, you know, you’ve got stuff to do right now, you’ll just get it written later in your allotted writing time.

*Later, in your allotted writing time,

*staring at the empty screen* Okay. Maybe not.

And ever since that dreaded day – even if it comes at four in the morning – you always act on inspiration.

#5: You’re Reading This List When You Should, In Fact, Be Writing

Ha! We got you, didn’t we?

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If you have any questions about ghostwriting and editing, and want to learn more about our services, send us an email via the email icon below. Alternatively, you can visit our contact page here.

 

Writing Perils: The Reason Adverbs Are Seen As Bad

Pen on Notepad Paper

And how they’re very quickly, rapidly and effectively tarnishing your writing…

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As you’ve probably discovered by now, this journey comes with many perils.

Writing is hard. That’s a plain and simple fact. There’s so much to track and monitor, so many thoughts that buzz around your brain; so many ways in which it can all go terribly wrong. How on earth could it ever be easy?

That’s the thing, it never ever will be.

But we’re here to make it easier – that’s what Liam J Cross Writing & Editing is all about.

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So What Exactly Is An Adverb?

Young woman thinking with pen while working / studying at her desk

Don’t worry, this isn’t an attempt to insult your intelligence…

It’s just the first law of article writing. If you’re going to write a piece about something, your reader has to know the exact details of its intricacies. And if you aren’t quite sure what an adverb is – don’t look at us like that, you’d be surprised – then before we start, we need to make sure that changes.

Luckily, they’re easy to describe.

An adverb is, in most cases, a word that describes a verb – in the same sense that an adjective is a word that describes a noun. Still following? Here’s an example:

He crossed the room slowly, his head drooping further with every step.

So in this example, ‘crossed’ is the verb. Which means that because it is describing the verb, ‘slowly’ is the adverb. Understand? Great. Now let’s look into it further.

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What’s So Bad About That Sentence

adult, african american man, black boyWell, it isn’t exactly bad… but it could be better. And in writing, you always aim for better.

In this particular instance, the adverb’s usage belittles the sentence in a couple of ways. First of all, it hurts the flow of the line from a reader’s point of view. It lacks that crisp edge that well-refined sentences boast with pride, and because of this, seems a little forced.

And secondly: it belittles the sentence because it, well, just doesn’t need to be there.

The main reason adverbs are seen as bad is all to do with what they can (in most cases) be replaced with. what you’ll find is that a lot of the time, adverbs can be replaced with more appropriate verbs. Instead of using two words – one to set the action and one to describe it – why not just do the exact same thing with one?

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Ah, That’s Better

Dolphin Facing UpwardTake a look at the sentence now, and smile because it is so much better:

He trudged across the room, his head drooping further with every step.

Do you see the difference? Do you feel the difference?

In the new example, the word ‘trudged’ acts as the verb and the adverb – it says the exact same thing as before, only with fewer words, and in a way that creates a clearer picture in the reader’s mind. That’s what’s important here, that’s what you should take note of.

In fiction, if there’s ever an instance in which you can say the same thing with fewer words, you must absolutely, indefinitely, without-a-shadow-of-a-doubt do it.

Sorry…

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Are Adverbs Ever Acceptable?

ask, blackboard, chalk board

In short, yes. But let’s assume you’re after more than that…

The most common (and appropriate) place adverbs will be accepted by a frothy-mouthed, fire-breathing editor, is within and around speech. Character actions of this nature are sometimes a great place to make use of adverbs, mainly because they come before or after speech. When the reader is right in the middle of an important dialogue scene, it’s important that they stay engaged.

Based on this, if you want one of your characters to nod their head slowly before they talk, then it’s typically better to write it that way. Stretching it out and describing the head-nod in what may seem like a quirky, individual way could be cool, but it will more than likely distract from the speech and leave the reader feeling frustrated.

So remember: character speech and actions, that’s when you are most likely to pull off an adverb that works. In the majority of other cases, you can use a more suitable verb to do their job, and can even explore your individual voice with metaphors and imagery.

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Implement This In Your Writing

We know how it goes. A lot of the time, while rereading your work, you find yourself wincing in genuine agony. Something – something you can’t put your finger on – just doesn’t sound… right. Well guess what? Overusing adverbs could be the problem.

Next time you set off on your quest to rewrite, keep what you have learned in this article in the forefront of your mind. Scan your work for adverbs, and see if the passage can be improved and neatened by implementing the strategy you have seen in this analysis.

Hey, there’s no need to thank us. Tidy manuscripts are what we live for.

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If you have any questions about ghostwriting and editing, and want to learn more about our services, send us an email via the email icon below. Alternatively, you can visit our contact page here.

Getting Inspired: Two Poetry Prompts That Will Help

pexels-photo-264635

The Prompts

Poem One:

beach, dawn, dusk

  • Scenery/Vibe: Surrounded by blue – deep, pain-free, emotionless blue.
  • Poem’s Message: That much like swimming in the ocean, freedom lies in going with the flow.

 

Poem Two:

Scenic View of Sea Against Sky

  • Scenery/Vibe: There’s a door. It’s wide and thick. It’s right there – standing alone with nothing but air all around it.
  • Poem’s Message: That even when there are easy ways all around you, sometimes in life, the hard road is what’s needed most.

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Try these prompts for size and create something based on them. If you do write something, please share it with us in one way or another. Tag us in a post, post it in the comments, send it to us in an email – we’d love to read your work.

Who knows? If you send something our way and we really like the way you write, we might just offer you a discount on our editing services. Or we might even edit a few chapters for free. It’s worth a try on your part.

You can reach us with your submission or with any questions/inquiries here.

The Truth Revealed: A writing Prompt

creative-writing-img

The Prompt

You’re tired of telling the truth, because all she ever does is lie. And as you walk through your front door after a long day at work, that notion is very much confirmed.

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What Next?

Is it the obvious? Is it something totally different? You tell us. That’s the great thing about writing prompts – they come with so much unhinged freedom.

Use this one to work on your characterization and character relationships. Think about how the characters entwine and connect, and think about how this impacts the reader’s opinion of them.

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Try this prompt for size and create something based on it. If you do write something, please share it with us in one way or another. Tag us in a post, post it in the comments, send it to us in an email – we’d love to read your work.

Who knows? If you send something our way and we really like the way you write, we might just offer you a discount on our editing services. Or we might even edit a few chapters for free. It’s worth a try on your part.

You can reach us with your submission or with any questions/inquiries here.

Self-Publishing Mishaps: Play The Waiting Game

professional fiction editor

Self-publishing is a wonderful thing.

It gives writers from all over the world an opportunity to live their dreams. It gives an end goal – something to work on and aspire to; to live beside wearing a smile. It gives freedom – the freedom to self-express and present creations to the world.

Yes, self-publishing is a wonderful thing. But it’s also full of bad.

That same freedom that grants it its status of triumph and wonder also has the ability to send it crashing down. Due to the nature of the beast, the public’s opinion of self-publishing is only as good as the books writers are putting out. Do you see where this is going? If writers are putting out pages and pages of utter garbage, self-publication’s rep will plummet. And most of the time, that’s the very reason people aren’t keen on it.

It’s freeing – sure. But so is wearing a diaper. And a lot of the time, the end result is usually the same.

(Wait a second, was that weird, uncouth potty humor? You bet.)

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Hold It Right There

This talk bad reputation and slushy mess of terrible books is the exact reason you should take your time with the self-publication process.

It goes without saying that there are no rules. You could literally print and sell (or at least attempt to sell) a book filled with page upon page of the word ‘poop’, each one varying in font size. Venturing out into a world that is so chaotically free comes with its downfalls.

There’s no real order and justice in the self-publication world. Your book doesn’t get scanned and proofread by a team of twenty error-hungry editors (unless you pay, of course), and it won’t be scanned by legal professionals to ensure you aren’t breaching any copyrights.

In most cases, whatever you put out there is put out exactly how you left it, and recklessness to these sorts of degrees could land you in the middle of a very nasty lawsuit. Or worse, an endless sea of one-star Amazon reviews.

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Stay Patient

We know how it gets. You write a first draft, edit it roughly a couple times, and begin to burst with excitement because this book is the one, and you just can’t wait to get it out into the world. Only problem is… you have to. You have to wait.

You need to be patient enough to put in all the hours of work this book needs. You have to work late nights, endure early mornings, edit heroically and gather feedback like it’s paying your bills. You can’t just slap it together and send it for printing – not unless you want your writing career to plummet to its doom before it has even left the runway.

Make sure you polish the manuscript as best you can. And once you’ve done that, polish that sucker again. If you can afford it, hire an editor and have them do a couple edits on your work. Once you’ve acted on their feedback, send the manuscript to as many friends and family members as you can, and have them highlight any spelling or grammatical errors. The more eyes the better.

Once all that is done, maybe then you’re somewhere near a state of readiness. By that point, your work is going to be the best you can make it, and although it may not be up to everyone’s taste, at least you can sleep peacefully knowing that you’ve given your all, and have put out a perfectly polished manuscript that will make people smile.

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If you have any questions about ghostwriting and editing, and want to learn more about our services, send us an email via the email icon below. Alternatively, you can visit our contact page here.

 

Making It As A Writer: Self-Doubt Is Ruining Your Chances

agent

Making it as a writer is hard.

Writers place so much expectation on themselves these days. They want to make it and want to make it fast, and this leads to them setting goals that could be seen as a little far-fetched. Sure, there are some writers out there who got one book deal and sky-rocketed to instant fame and fortune. But we’re sorry to tell you: that’s not the norm. It’s far from it in fact.

The truth of the matter is: most writers get published and hardly see a dime. There’s a statistic out there somewhere that suggests on average, a traditionally published debut novelist rakes in around £2,000. Sure, that sounds pretty sweet. But for what is essentially a year’s worth of work? Hmm, not so much…

That’s the harsh reality, but it’s these famous stories of writers making it right away that bring self-doubt upon many up-and-comers. And what’s the extent of this self-doubt? Well it comes in many different forms and sizes, and unfolds for many different reasons. But for the most part, it all comes down to human nature.

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The Toughest Part Of Self-Doubt

angry, argument, attackIt’s human nature. That’s just it.

At its most basic form, self-doubt is something humans are born with; something that develops as the years go by. This is the same with anything in life – not just in writing. You’re entering a cooking competition? Well you can’t possibly beat X, they’re too good. Running a race at a charity event? You won’t win, X is much faster. Just bought a flashy new car? Well it’s not as good as X’s.

No matter what we do or achieve in life, we’ll always come back and find a way to doubt our abilities. The first step towards becoming better as a writer is all to do with recognising this. The sooner you realise that you’re going to hate everything you write, the sooner you can get to work on making it better.

Self-doubt is human nature. Giving in to it is a choice.

* * *

But How Do I Combat It?

calm, daylight, eveningThat’s the thing: you don’t. You just learn to live with it.

Self-doubt and self-hatred will always come and go, and they’ll never fully leave you no matter how much you achieve in life. Just ask any successful person if they still doubt themselves sometimes, and if they’re telling the truth, their answer will be yes.

People who are successful in writing aren’t that way because they never doubted their work, they’re successful because they never let their self-doubt stop them from putting in the work.

The successful writer doesn’t cry or moan about their work not being good enough, they just put in the hours until it is. They don’t let their self-doubt stop them from rewriting, or from staying up late to finish the chapter, or from moving onto the next project. They just work. They just write.

Write. Edit. Believe. Achieve. That is your new mantra. Whenever self-doubt pushes its way into your brain, you just push it right back out again. That’s the only secret here. When self-doubt strikes, make sure you strike harder.

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Just Push On Regardless

That’s how it’s done. You just push your doubts aside and write on regardless. That’s how successful writers combat their doubts, and that’s how you will too. It builds character and it builds strength – two things you’ll definitely need if you want to make it in this game.

Just remember – even J.K Rowling hates her first drafts…

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If you have any questions about ghostwriting and editing, and want to learn more about our services, send us an email via the email icon below. Alternatively, you can visit our contact page here.

 

A Change Of Scenery: Three Writing Prompts For The Poets

editor

Here at Liam J Cross Writing & Editing, we support writers of every avenue – no matter who they are or what they write. If you’re someone who uses their wonderful imagination to string beautiful words together, you’re more than welcome here. Heck, you’re welcome here even if you don’t. We could really use the extra views…

On a serious note, though… if you’re a regular reader here, you’ll already know that we love our writing prompts, and that we make sure to post at least one a week. But on further reflection, we realised that our posting schedule is missing a little something-something. And what was that something?

Poetry prompts.

And since we’re behind on them, it’s your lucky day, you wonderful poet you, because in this post you’re getting three in one go. We hope you’re ready.

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The Prompts

Poem One:

Aerial Photo of White Castle With Green Leafed Tree Under White Cloudy Sky

  • Scenery/Vibe: A medieval kingdom – knights and swords and armor and battlefields
  • Poem’s Message: Hope. That there’s always hope.

 

Poem Two:

Heart with a red oil pastel

  • Scenery/Vibe: Inside the human heart – veins and capillaries and warmth and blood
  •  Poem’s message: Love makes the world go round.

 

Poem Three: 

Aerial Photography of City during Evening

  • Scenery/Vibe: The taste of a new city – bright lights and sunsets and new dawns and old beginnings.
  • Poem’s message: New beginnings are fresh, but there’s nothing that can make you smile like a happy memory.

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A Regular Feature

So there you have it – three poetry prompts to kick that creative brain of yours into gear. We recommend using these even if you don’t often write poetry, as it can be a great way to improve your overall writing ability.

If you like this idea, please let us know. If that’s the case, we’ll likely make them a weekly feature on the blog, just like our usual writing prompts.

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Try this prompt for size and create something based on it. If you do write something, please share it with us in one way or another. Tag us in a post, post it in the comments, send it to us in an email – we’d love to read your work.

Who knows? If you send something our way and we really like the way you write, we might just offer you a discount on our editing services. Or we might even edit a few chapters for free. It’s worth a try on your part.

You can reach us with your submission or with any questions/inquiries here.

Horror From Afar: Writing Prompt

autumn, calm, creepy

The Prompt

There is a lot to learn from inquisitiveness. And as you look through the binoculars, you find out just how much.

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What Next?

What do you see through the binoculars? Is it as terrifying as it sounds? Or is it something dumb and foolish? You’re the one who gets to decide.

Use this prompt to focus on your creativity. Try to come up with the wackiest idea you can possibly think of – whilst keeping it realistic enough – and hone in on that imagination of yours.

Doing this on a regular basis is a great writing drill to work into your routine – especially if you find yourself having one of those off days.

* * *

Try this prompt for size and create something based on it. If you do write something, please share it with me in one way or another. Tag me in a post, post it in the comments, send it to me in an email – I’d love to read your work.

Who knows? If you send something my way and I really like the way you write, I might just offer you a discount on my editing services. Or I might even edit a few chapters for free. It’s worth a try on your part.

You can reach me with your submission or with any questions/inquiries here.

Writer’s Life: A Three-Step Plan For Structured Editing

Free stock photo of black-and-white, man, person, hands

One of the hardest parts of writing a book, is of course, the rewriting process. But what is it that makes it so hard? Well, it’s usually a lot to do with the structure of the process, or rather, the lack of it.

It seems as though writers struggle with this, and feel as though maintaining structure in their rewriting is a mountain that cannot be climbed. That’s not true, though – every mountain is climbable, you just have to know the easiest route to the summit.

We’re here to guide you up that mountain, so come along and let’s get climbing.

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#1: Fix Your Biggest Errors first

Can you spot any gaping plot-holes or timeline inconsistencies? Fix them. Fix them immediately. Fix them as soon as you spot them in your initial read-through. In the same sort of way, fix any tense issues too. By tense issues, we mean any time you mix tenses and write in two different variations. These can be tough to spot in some cases, so keep those eyes sharp and focused.

Other types of errors that should be fixed right away are any unfinished story arcs and any areas in which you find yourself rambling unnecessarily. Remember, if it doesn’t add to or progress the story, cut it.

#2 Now Fix The Intricacies

So, once the bigger problems have been handled, it’s time to work on the smaller details. In this read-through, really focus on honing in on your voice and letting it shine consistently.

A great way to do this without any outside help, is to focus on the parts of your book that you most enjoy in terms of the quality of the writing. Locate those parts, and then recreate that same flow and pacing in the rest of the book. We know, that’s easier said than done, but that’s the goal here. Those bits you like are examples of your finest work, and you’re going to want that to shine throughout your manuscript.

In this rewrite, you should also focus on making your sentences as to-the-point as possible. Work through and cut out any filler words, and shorten any sentences that lack that snappy feel. It’s all about toying with the wording until your paragraphs have that crispness to them.

Now, work through these two variations until you’ve rewritten no less than four times, and then you’re ready for number three.

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#3: Use Beta Readers

Use as many as you can possibly find.

Make sure your beta readers are fellow writers (or at least people who understand the difference between good and bad writing) and make sure they aren’t going to sugarcoat their feedback. If your work sucks, you need to be told. It’s no good using a bunch of people who are going to tell you it’s great when it isn’t.

Once you receive your feedback, act upon whatever comes up in a majority vote. Smaller, subjective opinions don’t matter so much, but anything that crops up more than a couple times is something you should consider changing.

If possible, work through a couple rounds with beta readers, and act on their feedback wherever you see fit. From there, your manuscript is polished to the best of your ability, and it’s up to you to decide what your next steps are.

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Possible Next Steps

You could either pursue publication – traditional or self-published – or you could choose to have your work edited by a professional and then go on to publish. Those are the two best options, and we wish you the best of luck with whichever route you choose to go down.

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If you have any questions about ghostwriting and editing, and want to learn more about my services, send me an email via the email icon below. Alternatively, you can visit my contact page here.

 

The Writing Life: Three Great Ways To Grow As A Writer

Free stock photo of idea, creativity, bubble, bulb

There are many ways to improve your writing, and we’re almost certain you’ve come across many of these list-based articles before… but just know that this one is different. This isn’t just any old list of passed-down information and general advice. It’s far from it.

With this list, you’ll get three exercises that you can do on a daily basis to improve your ability as a writer. These exercises were devised by us here at Liam J Cross Writing & Editing, and we wish to share them with you – our loyal readers.

Before we kick things off, here are a few honorable mentions: lots of reading, lots of rewriting, lots of scrabble; lots of crosswords – seriously.

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#1: A Short Story A Day

Keeps the word rust away!

Now, this one you’ll have heard before – but our version comes with a twist. All we recommend is churning something out each and every day. Even if it’s just five-hundred words before you leave for work in the morning – just get something on the page.

And to make sure this little activity doesn’t take away from your imagination’s fuel too much, make sure you use a different writing prompt for each short story you write. Writing prompts are a great tool, mainly because they provide substance for you to work with without too much thought, leaving you free to dive right into putting the words on the page.

The aim of this exercise is to explore your abilities in different genres; to cover scenes and scenarios that you wouldn’t usually write about. The best way to grow is to step outside your comfort zone, and in gaining some skill in different genres, you’ll gain a wider understanding of the fundamentals of storytelling.

And all in all, that will really start to show in your writing.

* * *

#2: Spend A Little Time Acting

Think of it as ‘the magic if’: if you don’t believe in your characters, the reader will have no chance. And what better way to believe in your characters than to act as them when you’re alone? Write some monologues for them and perform them in front of the mirror.

You may feel weird at first – especially if you’ve never acted before – but who cares? You’re a writer. Being weird is your thing.

* * *

#3: Write A Selection Of Shorter Works

And in each one, have a different character from your main book series as the protagonist.

This is another great way to focus on your character development. Branching out and giving each character their own story is a great way to understand them fully; a great way to make them wholly believable.

You can do this with each book you write. It would be most useful between drafts – after your first and before you begin your rewrites. This way, the characters you’ve already developed can be built on further, and will become way more believable after your rewrites.

It’s a wonderful thing, to read a book with such believable characters, and you should always strive to create this in your writing.

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Work These Into Your Game

Give some of these methods a try and see what you think of them, and if they work, keep them as part of your routine and see your writing grow and develop for many years to come.

That’s what writing is all about – development. And there’s no better way to develop than with a proper writing routine.

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If you have any questions about ghostwriting and editing, and want to learn more about my services, send me an email via the email icon below. Alternatively, you can visit my contact page here.

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