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Effective Proofreading For Dummies

Liam J Cross

So, you’re finally out of the trenches. You’ve neatened up all the scene transitions, fixed all the plot-holes, fleshed out the characters more, and have shown way more than you’ve told – congratulations, you’re almost there.

By now, your manuscript is getting to the final proofreading stages. Everything about the content is just about there, now all that’s left to do is neaten the sentences a little and make sure all spelling, punctuation and grammar is as it should be.

That finish line is finally in sight.

There’s only one problem though. Proofreading sort of just feels like a waste of time, doesn’t it? It feels like you’re just spinning your wheels with no real way of tracking progress.

Guess what, though? It doesn’t have to be that way.

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Introducing: Segments

Sliced Orange

This is a simple concept, but it’s also an effective concept, and that’s what matters most.

When it comes to proofing your work, there are only two real ways you could go about it. You could read it from start to finish, correcting issues as you go. Or, you could try the segmented method, which when executed properly, works amazingly well.

It comes down to realising how much time you have, and more importantly, how much of it you’re willing to spend editing your book. If you’re serious about writing, the answer to that question should be a lot. Once you’ve gathered the precious details, it’s time to get to work.

Breaking your proofreading into segments is all to do with clarity of thought and satisfaction of results. It gives you something to work towards and smaller goals to hit as you progress. This mini goals help keep you motivated. There’s nothing worse than losing the motivation to write just before you start, and even just the thought of proofreading is enough to do that for some people.

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How To Segment

boy, child, countryFirst things first, let’s keep things simple. Simplicity is bliss.

The easiest way to do this is to break the chapters up into threes.  Start by proofing chapters one to three, and when you’re done with those, move on to four to six. Work like this, going over three chapters multiple times, before combining it with the next step.

Say you’ve hit chapter ten, and have done so by proofing a few chapters at a time over and over again – now it’s time to finish off the first ten chapters. Give them one final read-through, from chapter one right through till chapter ten. Double and triple check all the transitions and chapter openings, and make sure all spelling, punctuation, and grammar is correct.

When you’re certain of this, congrats, the first ten chapters are done. Repeat this process for the next ten, and then the next, and pretty soon, you’ll have yourself a well-polished manuscript.

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It Doesn’t Have To Feel Meaningless

broken, cry, cryingBy following these steps, you make the entire process feel way more productive. It’s incredibly easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you’re getting nowhere when you’re proofreading, but this strategy can definitely change that.

Try it for yourself and see if helps with your final proofreading game. Just remember, the aim isn’t speed. The aim is efficiency and progression – time is out of the equation.

The proofreading is finished when the book decides so; you must let it speak for itself. There’s no time limit on perfecting your novel.

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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.

Editing Your First Draft As You Write Is A Bad Idea

Liam J Cross

desk, glasses, laptop

Writers love the first draft stage. It’s a time where they get to roam freely and explore their creative side (sort of mimicking the way they’re sat in their underwear in the real world doing just that,) for hours and hours without any negative feelings. They get to create new worlds, and explore those new worlds; they get to create new characters, and become those new characters. It’s just one huge journey of self-fulfilling entertainment.

The rewriting phase, however, isn’t attacked with the same ferocious passion.

Rewriting is kind of like that loner at school who always got chosen last in sports – no one wants to pick him, but someone has to eventually. Writers dread rewriting because more often than not, it makes them realise just how much work they still have to do. There’s nothing worse than being totally sure of your ability, only to realise you’re probably going to have to change every single sentence in your book – that is what rewriting does.

So, it’s sort of understandable that writers want to combine the two, right? Maybe that’s a good idea. Wrong. It is not a good idea. Ever.

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It’s Bad For Your Mental Stabiliy

adult, annoyed, blurAs if there weren’t already enough potential mental breakdowns in writing a book… Talk about a combustion waiting to happen. If the heart attack doesn’t get you first, that is.

The first draft is there as a more in-depth plot outline. It’s the mould of your story, the furthest reaching of the outer walls of its shell, and it’s there for you to build on and improve. If you start editing before you have a fully finished draft, then what on earth are you building on?

You can’t build a house without a foundation. The same applies to writing a book.

Besides, your edits would be rendered useless anyway, because all you’d be doing would be changing the shape of a few sentences here and there, and expanding on a few loose bits of plot. The writing would still be of the same quality, which is bad, because that means it would be unfinished first draft quality. That’s one notch down from finished first draft quality, by the way.

The story needs time to simmer before you rewrite it. Why do you think you hate your writing when you come back to it three months down the line? You didn’t hate it as you were writing it, so why do you hate it this much now? Well, that’s because you wrote it and got it finished, and didn’t take a peep at it between now and then. It’s only now that you’re seeing your work in its truest form, from the most unbiased view you can possibly attain as a writer.

If you rewrite as you go, all your doing is changing the content, not the quality. And when rewriting, it’s the quality you should focus on most.

* * *

Good Luck Getting the Story Finished

Smiling Woman Wearing White and Beige Showing Thumbs UpUnless you’re some form of superhuman who is unaffected by stress and self-hatred, then there’s no way you’re going to get your book finished if you try to write and edit at the same time.

There’s something not quite right about writing a chapter and editing it right after, and in actuality, that will only turn out to be counterproductive. Think about it. You wouldn’t row across a lake only to double back halfway to correct your rowing form, would you? No. You would just carry on rowing, ignoring the occasional slip of the oar, until you reached the other side.

That’s what first drafts are all about – getting to the other side. You’ll never get your first draft finished if you spend the rest of your life rewriting the first three chapters of it. And trust me, if you try to edit whilst you write, that’s most likely what you’ll end up doing.

* * *

What To Do Instead

Rather than getting yourself tied up in an internal battle that’s never going to end well, just stick to the basics. Get your first draft written without allowing yourself to take even the slightest look at any of the earlier content you’ve written – that’s all it takes to set you off.

Once you finish the draft, set it aside and come back to it a few months down the line. Do whatever you need to to stay away from it. Start a new project, try some poetry, focus more on Instagram; heck, take up cycling. I don’t care what it is you do to get you there, just make sure you stay well clear of that first draft.

When the time is right, that’s when you can begin making the changes. After this amount of time, you’re more likely to be changing the quality of the work as opposed to just the content. That’s what will make a difference in all of this. That’s what will make your book the best it can possibly be.

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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.

Up And At Em’ – Three Reasons To Have A Morning Routine

Liam J Cross

No matter what you choose to do in life, there’s always space for a morning routine. It may be that you want to explore early rising to excel in relation to your profession, or maybe you want to apply it to everyday life to see how it changes your daily mood.

Whatever the reason, a morning routine is a great asset for anyone.

They’re just like a lot of things in life: they come in many shapes and sizes. They mean different things to different people and can vary greatly. Some people might see a morning routine as having coffee at the exact same time it the exact same spot, others might see it as a two mile run and an hour of reading.

It’s not the details of the routine that matter, but rather, that it simply exists.

* * *

They Put You In A Positive Frame Of Mind

backlit, clouds, dawn

There’s no greater feeling that getting up early and doing something that is both productive and close to your heart. That’s the key part about whatever it is you choose to have as your morning routine: make sure it’s something you enjoy.

When you wake early and carry out a task in relation to something you enjoy, you wake with a smile on your face. Say you love reading, and read for an hour every morning before you start work, it’ll put you in a great mood – fully ready to start your day.

It’s that hour that makes the difference. You’ve been up an hour already. You’re fully awake and you’ve done something to put a smile on your face. Picture how different your day would turn out if you rolled out of bed and headed straight to work – totally different, is your answer.

That’s one of the best things about a morning routine. When you put one in place, you walk out into the big wide world smiling, and the world is smiling back.

* * *

They’re Great For Mental and Physical Health

approve, black-and-white, handIf you’re an exercise fanatic, your morning routine could include a two mile run and a sprint circuit. Not only would this be a great start to your day from a health and fitness perspective, but it would promote added happiness too, because of the endorphins you’d release while working out.

Even if you aren’t into fitness, morning routines are still great for mental health. This is because you get that feeling of purpose when you get up early and get after something productive. It gives you a sense of achievement because you know you’re one of few people up this early, making moves and getting things done.

Thinking like this can put you in a great mood for the rest of your day, and your productivity levels will be increased throughout. Do this everyday, and you’d likely be the most productive person you know.

* * *

They Increase Productivity

adult, brainstorming, businessThis is especially relevant if your routine has you up early, kicking ass before the break of dawn.

The earlier you wake, the earlier you’re properly awake – and yes, there is a difference. This basically means that you will have a couple of extra hours each morning to work on whatever you like. This one’s great for you writers. You could make it your morning routine to write a thousand words before work every morning.

This is a great way to extinguish your excuses too. If you do this, you can no longer lie to yourself by saying you don’t have time to write, or try to blow it off because you’re ‘too tired after work’.

Just write before work – problem solved.

The truth is, most morning routines will require an earlier rise than you’d perhaps like. But, it’s this early rise that’s going to instill you with so much more productivity.

* * *

Do You Have One?

If you haven’t found something for a morning routine, or have never thought about having one, you should definitely consider it. They’re great for all of the reasons in this list, and for so many more.

They aren’t just for business executives, you know. We all know the stories and articles – the ones that urge you to get up and go power-walking at 5 a.m. just like *insert millionaire X* does.

Although this is cliche, it’s also kind of true. A morning routine is a huge part of most successful peoples’ lives. So if you want to be successful, this could be a good place to start. It’s all about making the most of the time we have each and every day, and a morning routine is a good way to do just that.

Try one for yourself, and find yourself smiling all day long. With morning routines, you aren’t just ready to conquer your day. You’re ready to conquer the goddamn world.


A Detailed Writing Prompt

Liam J Cross

Think of writing prompts as a writer’s photograph to study before they begin painting the blank canvass – only with words rather than images. Writing prompts are there to offer a guiding hand; to point struggling writers towards the safety of words, where writer’s block cannot hurt them.

If you’ve ever found yourself struggling with a project, and needed a way to get things rolling again, a writing prompt might have been just what you needed.

The writing prompts here on Liam J Cross Writing & Editing are a little different to traditional writing prompts, in the sense that most of them are delivered as an actual part of the story. The story is started for you and is left on a cliffhanger. You decide where it goes from there.

There are a lot of benefits that come with structuring prompts in this sort of way. Since the story has already started, you won’t have to put any thought at all into the plot. You just let what’s there flow into your brain, and let what your brain coughs up as the next chain of events spill back out.

It’s a sunny walk through a short park.

* * *

The Prompt

birds, clouds, colorful

You’re sat in your stationary car on the downslope looking up at the crest of the hill with intensity – as if it was about to speak. You looked away from it for a second, and placed your eyes on your wife instead. “See honey, I told you it would be beautiful here.”

When your eyes returned to the hill you caught the moment perfectly. Just as your gaze nestled on the brow, the sun rose over it and lit the entire landscape like a giant light bulb suspended in mid-air.

As you feasted your eyes for a minute, the beauty of the moment deteriorated with each passing second. You weren’t sure what the hell was going on, but you were damn sure of one thing.

Sunrises didn’t roll towards you at break-neck speed.

* * *

Your Turn

Got anything in mind? Did anything jump out at you right away? Write it down and see where you end up.

This type of prompt is designed to get you working on your creativity and imagination. You have to ask yourself what on earth could possibly be rolling down the hill towards them. Maybe it’s nothing at all, and he’s daydreaming. Maybe it’s a UFO swooping down to probe them. It’s for you to know and me to find out.

* * *

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 Beware: The Dreaded Rush

Liam J Cross

No matter your skill level, no matter how long you’ve been doing it or how many times you’ve done it, writing a book is always hard. This isn’t just because it’s so difficult to get right, it’s because it’s so easy to get wrong.

Not to put a dampener on things, but there are so many ways your book could suck.

You could leave your story arc unfinished, and end up with a bunch of hugely dissatisfied readers. You could tell every single thing and never show once, and end up with a bunch of hugely dissatisfied readers. You could fill the pages with the tales of massively underdeveloped characters, and end up with a bunch of hugely dissatisfied readers.

Are you noticing a pattern here?

This is no joke, the list of ways in which you could write a bad book goes on way too long to discuss it here. The only thing you need to know about that list right now, is that all of the things on it lead to the exact same outcome: a bunch of hugely dissatisfied readers.

What we can discuss in this article though, is one of the things you could get totally wrong: jumping ahead in huge gaps of time and rushing through the narrative.

* * *

That’s Bad, Understand?

angry bad John, art, black and white


In the world of unpublished fiction, this is one of the most common mistakes you’ll see, and that’s because it’s so easy to do. Writers get to a certain stage in their draft and get overly excited to reach the end – this is a bad move.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to get finished as fast as you can, but this is a temptation you must refrain from giving in to. It just leaves your novel as one big mess, and all because you got too excited and wanted to rush to the end. Or got too lazy and didn’t take enough time to properly plan your outline.

This over-excitement and laziness leads to two things: a patchy, jumpy narrative. And yep, you guessed it, a bunch of hugely dissatisfied readers.

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For Example

Girl writing on a black keyboard If you’re still a little unsure about the type of error this article is referring to, here’s an example.

Say for instance, we’re two thirds of the way through reading a book. The main character has just come home from a long night on the job (he’s a detective, and he’s been looking over a fresh scene) and heads off to bed.

Then, next thing you know, the next paragraph starts something like this:

‘Tom Dawson was at the department a week after he fell asleep.’

It probably isn’t quite that terrible, but you get the point. Another example could be:

This went on for six months, until one day it all changed.’

You get the memo. The point is, jumping ahead in huge chunks of time like this simply doesn’t work very well. There’s no transition between scenes, no information for the reader, and no showing whatsoever. It just dives ahead in time and tells the reader a whole bunch of stuff.

It’s less than ideal.

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What You Could Do Instead

Happy CoffeeThe first thing would be to stick to a more linear type of movement through your plot. Try to work on a day-to-day basis, without having to skip ahead in chunks of time any longer than twenty-four hours. The majority of books you read function like this, and if they don’t, they have a unique way of making it work.

The next thing would be to show, show, and show some more. When it comes to scene transitions, no reader wants to read anything like the examples further up. If you go back and look at those, they are examples of how not to show in your work. When it comes to scene transitions, really build an image for your reader to picture.

Lastly, to make everything simpler for you and everyone involved, whenever you transition more than an hour or two, start a new chapter. Chapter breaks are a much more natural ways of splitting up scenes when you jump ahead in time a little. They don’t quite work in terms of anything longer than a day though, so be careful with how far ahead you’re jumping.

* * *

It’s All About the Reader

Close-up of Woman Hand With Coffee Cup on Table

If your work has these sorts of mistakes, fear not. It takes a lot of time and effort to perfect the intricacies of pacing when it comes to writing a book, so don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t quite managed it yet.

Just make sure you always put yourself into the reader’s shoes. Think of how things will look to them, and think about how you would want them to look as a reader, and edit your book based on those viewpoints.

Pro tip: if you want to read a book that manages to pull off jumping ahead in huge periods of time, check out The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. It’s the narrative perspective that makes this book pull it off. I’d hugely recommend checking it out.

In summary, keep it linear, show and don’t tell, and use chapter breaks wherever appropriate. Nail these things, and you’re well on your way to a much more structurally sound manuscript.

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If you have any questions about ghostwriting and editing, and want to learn a little more about what they are and my services in relation to them, send me an email via the email icon below. Alternatively, you can visit my contact page here.

So, You’re Too Tired To Write…

Liam J Cross

False. There’s no such thing.

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This excuse can come in a number of other ways too.

‘I don’t have time.’ ‘I’m busy tonight.’ ‘I’ll do it tomorrow.’ ‘I need to take a break.’

The thing with excuses is that they won’t make you a great writer. They won’t make you a great anything in fact. Well, except maybe a great failure.

Making excuses is a form of self-disrespect. You’re denying yourself such great opportunity through laziness and excuses. You’re stopping yourself from achieving success because you’re letting your emotions and tiredness levels interfere with your desire.

It’s not tiredness; it’s uninspiredness. Yep. That’s not a real word. But it damn well should be.

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You Have To Disconnect

black-and-white, cable, connectionThe moment you let how you’re feeling dictate your productivity levels as a writer, you lose. Period.

You could come up with all sorts of false reasons as to why that’s a good thing to succumb to. You could say that it will help with the quality of your writing, because you’ll only write when you feel like it, and thus, that will show in the content. That’s not how it works, though.

The only way to improve as a writer, or as anything for that matter, is to do it again and again. You don’t get better at writing through only writing when you feel like it, you get better by putting in the work all the time – even when you don’t feel like it.

Not only does that teach you to work based on discipline rather than motivation, but it will also improve your writing ability much quicker than only writing when you’re inspired will.

The aim should be to write every single day.

That doesn’t mean you have to smash out three thousand words each day, it simply means get something done. Write a poem, a super short story, work on your novel, write an article – the list goes on. Heck, even writing plot outlines and character information charts counts.

Just make sure you flex those writing muscles each and every day – that’s the only way they’ll grow.

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Force A Start; Reap the Rewards

Photo of Woman Looking at the Mirror

If you’re like the majority of other writers, the hardest thing will be to start.

If you’ve ever found yourself in one of those moods, unable to give yourself a kick to get going, you’ll know how this goes. If you just take a seat and force yourself to begin, your problems seem to disappear. Most of the time, it’s all about making a start.

Once those first few sentences flow, it snowballs from there, and before you know it, you wonder why you ever doubted yourself in the first place.

If simply making a start doesn’t quite do it for you, maybe you need to try something else. Try switching up your genre or starting a different project – keeping things fresh can never really go wrong. Then, once the words start to flow when you’re working on whatever you decide to go for, switch back to your main project and replicate it there.

There are so many different tricks you can use to rid of that unmotivated, losing attitude, but all of them involve less complaining and more doing. It’s as simple as that. Time spent complaining is time spent on unnecessary negativity.

There’s a lesson to be taken here.

If you have time to complain, you have time to write. Damn, it’s just that simple.

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Sit Down, Smile; Work

apple device, blur, blurryLet this be your turning point. Let this be the moment you bury those excuses and leave them buried for good. Life is much too short for them anyway.

It’s really as simple as it sounds. You just have to focus on what really matters. Is it more important to ‘relax’ with some junk food and binge-watch Netflix for four hours? Or is it more important to lead the life you wish to live irrespective of what your feelings and tiredness levels are telling you?

Yeah, thought so…

The power’s in your hands; the magic’s at your fingertips, and it’s up to you to combine the two to tell your story to the world.

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Never Fear – You Are A Writer

Liam J Cross

No matter how much your brain may try to convince you that you aren’t…

It’s a daunting thought, taking the leap out into the open and announcing your new-found status as a writer to the world – so it’s no wonder some people try to hide from said status.

There are a whole host of reasons that could cause someone to fear tagging themselves as a writer, but the main one is a fear of the judgement others might pass on them.

It can paralyze people, the thought of being told their work isn’t up to scratch – especially after they’ve put themselves out there as a writer. How am I supposed to call myself a writer when, clearly, I can’t write? You might ask yourself. Well, to answer that, one person’s opinion does not define your abilities as a creative.

There’s no room for growth when you move through your journey in such a way. The first step is realising your issue, and realising your fear. The second is dropping that fear –  right on its goddamn head.

Drop the Tag, Drop the Fear

A lot of people tend to fall back on using a certain word in their bios (or when talking to other people) when they’re describing themselves and who they are. The word I’m referring to here is ‘aspiring’.

People will refer to themselves as an ‘aspiring writer’ – but, to me, that makes zero sense.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you wouldn’t call yourself an aspiring chef if you worked in a restaurant’s kitchen cooking food, would you? So why call yourself an aspiring writer when you work on the blank pages cooking up fiction? It’s crazy. It’s reckless. And it’s downright bonkers.

You cannot aspire to be what you already are. That is what you need to appreciate here. If you are something, if you live and breathe it and never ever think about giving it in, you aren’t aspiring to it. You are it.

You are a writer.

Don’t Hide From What You Are

You have no reason to fear this. You have no reason to fear owning up to your truth.

This is the most important part, because it’s right here that you’ll see the true meaning behind this article. The reason living your truth is so important, is because you only get one shot at it. You only get one truth and you only get one life. Why would you ruin such a beautiful opportunity by letting fear get in the way of you and your heart’s desires?

The answer is: you wouldn’t. Or, at least you aren’t going to anymore.

Live It, Breathe It; Be It

adult, air, beautifulOne thing that shines above all else, is a person who lives their truth and doesn’t give a damn about what anyone thinks about that. They move through life living and breathing their passions; doing the things they love for the sake of joy and fulfillment. Those two things are worth way more than any amount of money.

So, this is where it’s at. Find your truth and stick to it. Realise that you are a writer, not an aspiring writer or a writing in practice – just a freaking writer. Don’t hide behind a tag, don’t kid yourself; don’t run scared because @SammyBoi584 said your poem sucked.

Just knuckle down and live your truest truth. Because, you know what? If nothing else, you owe it to your goddamn self.


When Self-Editing, Think Purpose

Liam J Cross

adult, book, business

In this life as a writer, in this cruel journey of words and blockages, you will have grown to realise two things: coffee is too expensive, and rewriting your novel is perhaps the most difficult thing you’ve ever done.

It’s funny really, because you thought those exact thoughts after finishing your first draft, and thought that nothing could ever trump that as a mountain to overcome. Well, step aside first drafts, here comes the rewriting process, and it’s a whole different beast.

It’s in these stages that most writers fall off. They spend a week or two rewriting, realise how much work they have to do and how bad their book actually is, and then give up and start over, certain that this next one will be the one.

Well, my friends, I’m sorry to tell you… The one does not exist.

Rewriting is so hard simply because of that. No matter how long you have written for, no matter how many novels you have under your belt, you’re never going to write a perfect book with a first draft. A lot of people can’t accept this as fact, and since they can’t stand the thought of having to spend the rest of their days as a writer rewriting, they call it quits and move on to something easier like plumbing or neurosurgery.

This is something I wish to end. And that’s why I bring you ways around these pains.

Rewriting is Like Skydiving

Two Man Sky Diving in Low Angle PhotographyYou just have to do it. You just have to dive right out of the plane without looking back.

The writers who are best at rewriting, are those who simply grit their teeth and get on with it. They have a terrible first draft, they have a plan of attack, and most importantly, they have a desire to make said first draft not so terrible.

Every writer has that desire, you just have to discover it first.

Once you switch your thinking, it’s east to develop. You should think of writing a book in two stages: first you tell yourself the story, then you tell the reader the story. First you get the words onto the page, and then you make them presentable.

In order to polish your car, you must first buy a car.

An Angle of Attack

action, activity, adultIf you’re struggling with how to go about your rewrite, I have just the solution: think purpose.

When you attack a rewrite with this in mind, you can really break things down and channel incredible fluency into your writing. For the purpose of this tip, we shall discuss purpose on a chapter-by-chapter basis.

For each chapter you work on, think of its purpose. Do this before you even begin rewriting. Grab a piece of paper and write a little about the purpose of the chapter in relation to your overall narrative. Where does it lead to? Which characters does it cover? Why does it cover them? How does it move the plot forward? Where does it move it to? These are all the things you should be thinking about.

Once you’ve addressed that, and have really thought about and discovered the purpose of the chapter you’re working on, dive right in. When you work through the chapter and come across anything that strays from its purpose, cut it out and don’t think twice. If it doesn’t add to or develop the purpose of the chapter, then it isn’t a necessary part of the story.

In the same sort of way, if you come across an entire chapter that serves no purpose in the development of your plot, delete that too. Your writing is much neater when only the necessary components of your narrative remain standing.

Apply This to Your Rewriting

A tip is only as useful as it is applicable, which is why I think this tip is highly useful, because anyone can apply it to their rewriting game. Make use of this technique as you move through your rewrite and see how much of a positive impact it will have.

A lot of great things happen when we focus on purpose – and that goes for anything in life, not just the art of writing. So, whether it be in writing, or in something other, focus on your purpose and lead the life your soul yearns for.

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


A Writing Prompt: Explore Your Dark Side

Liam J Cross

Don’t sweat it, this post doesn’t contain any Darth Vader jokes. At least not outside of the wonderfully subtle one I just dropped…

If you’re still sat on the fence about writing prompts, you should seriously come down now and join team ‘Writing Prompts are Awesome’. Because they are, and let me tell you how.

It’s all about using them to your advantage. If you haven’t worked any writing drills into your routine yet, let this be your place to start. You can use writing prompts to delve into other genres without having to give too much thought to the cause. You can get a little inspiration, and dive right in to write a thousand words based on that with very little effort. It’s like a dream come true.

In the same sort of way, writing prompts are also a great way to rid of the dreaded writers’ block. You can read a prompt and work on a shorter, separate piece, to clear your mind of the dreadful blockage.

So, either way, if you want to try some drills, get rid of writers’ block, or just want to have a little harmless fun, a writing prompt could be ideal for you.

The Prompt

Hand Full of Blood

You’d never truly known the meaning of fear. At least not until that dreadful day. The day it all changed.

You can’t remember much about it. You just remember the tears and the screams. And the blood.

Welcome to the Dark Side

Luke, I am your-

Okay, sorry… I’m done now.

With this prompt, you should work on those gory descriptions and that horrible part of your brain that thinks them up. This is a great prompt to allow you to explore thriller/horror genres, or maybe crime fiction – something dark and twisted and full of gore.

Make use of this prompt in your writing exercises and really get lost in it. The less you have to think about what you’re writing, the more effective the prompt is. So really let loose and see what sort of terribly things you can come up with. I know you have it in you.

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.


Writing A Novel: What It Means to You

Liam J Cross

architecture, blur, bridge

Chances are, if you clicked on this article, this isn’t your first rodeo.

You’ve probably walked this road a few times before, yet somehow, even though it’s been the same road, each journey turned out to be different. The journey, in this instance, is the journey of writing a novel. The journey of sitting yourself down before a blank page, and filling it with enough words to give a dictionary a headache. That’s the journey we’re thinking about; that’s the journey that continues to amaze us.

You know all about it by now. You know what it feels like to sit before your keyboard preparing to begin, when your mind is a wash of excitement and anticipation. It’s a great feeling, but also one that is quite terrifying, because you have no clue how it’s actually going to plan out.

Don’t sit there and pretend like you do. You are no different to the rest of us. You may plan your novel extensively, covering every chapter, but if you stick to the original outline, that doesn’t make you a good writer. It makes you a goddamn superhero.

You crack your knuckles, inhale a deep breath, and finally, when the last of the blood vanishes from your coffee-stream, you begin typing.

Have You Ever Thought Of It Like This Though?

analysis, blackboard, boardWhat do you think about when you plan the first draft of your novel? The answer to that question will be hugely varying from one person to the next. But there is one thing safe to assume: chances are it’s a lot.

No matter which angle of attack you take, writing a novel is a lot of hard work. You need to plan extensively, and have all of your bases covered. And then, when your plan fails and the plot-holes emerge, you have to refrain from deleting the whole thing right there and then, and show a little perseverance.

However, when you’ve been sat there planning the first draft of your novel, have you ever thought about it on a more personal level? What this means is, have you ever planned it based on you? Based on your heart and soul?

There’s a saying that goes a little like this: write the book you want to read, and, if done well, others will want to read it too. It’s a cool little saying that holds a lot of meaning, but have you ever actually tried applying it to your work?

Feel It In Your Soul

Woman In Brown Coat Here’s something to try. Next time you sit to plan your novel, before you even consider the opening chapter or the conflict of your protagonist, ask yourself one question.

What message do I want to convey with this piece of fiction?

It’s a simple concept, right, coming up with a message to serve your work? Wrong. It’s actually quite tough, especially if you somehow wish to address a real-world issue with a piece of fictional writing. But, it has been done throughout time – and pretty successfully too – so don’t lose faith just yet.

When coming up with your message, with the meaning you want your book to attain, you must do two things. The first is to not force the meaning. What this means is you shouldn’t have to sit there for hours trying to think of a meaning behind your work, because that’s a sign that the message isn’t all that close to you personally. The sign of a good meaning is one that jumps out at you and doesn’t stop screaming until you work it into your novel.

The second thing you must do, is make sure this meaning is close to your heart. If you follow the guideline laid out in point number one, this won’t be an issue. The reason behind why you should write about something you love can be explored for hours, but there’s a much simpler version here for you today.

If you write about what you love, about things that live within the walls of your heart and soul, you will never feel uninspired. You should always feel raring to go, ready to get this beautiful art out of your heart and onto a page. It’s a great way to stay motivated and inspired, to write about the things you love most.

Be Creative In Your Approach

Close-up of Human HandAddress these issues with passion and creativity, and never stop twisting and turning through the rewriting phase until your novel speaks with the exact accent you want it to. It can be a grueling process, but one that will be entirely worth it by the end.

Just remember that your only duty as a writer is to free the demons within you. If you’re good enough, your words will connect with another soul and free their demons, too. But your focus should always remain on writing for yourself.

When writing, always consider things truest to you. The reader should be a secondary concern.

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


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