By Tiffany Yates Martin

The first time my husband read something I wrote, I eagerly awaited his feedback. “What did you think?” I asked breathlessly.

“It was good!”

“Say more about that…” I prodded.

“I liked it.”

“But what did you like about it?”

“I don’t know…it was good.”

My then-new spouse wasn’t trying to be opaque or difficult or euphemistic (though it took a few days of pouting and grousing for me to figure that out), and I wasn’t (just) seeking more praise (though it took a few days of bewilderment for my hubs to figure that out).

I…


Photo credit: ce2de2 on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC

Today’s guest post is editor by Tiffany Yates Martin (@FoxPrintEd).

Is there anything more thrilling for the creative soul than starting a shiny new story? It seduces you effortlessly, promising you a dazzling future, and in the heady flush of new love it feels as if this perfect communion between you will never end.

And then comes the middle of the book.

But when things get tough, that doesn’t mean the story isn’t worth fighting for. …


I started writing almost from the moment I knew how, wanting even as a little kid to give voice to the worlds that lived in my head, to emulate the stories I loved, and to actually see myself in print. My first finished manuscript still lives in a keepsake drawer, a remedially illustrated autobiography entitled “My book about Me, I Wrote It Myself” (I cringe at the comma splice), written on construction paper and bound with yarn and a three-hole punch.

Like a lot of us who grow up to love words and story and writing, I found a lot…


I write this as the country — maybe the world — waits on the results of the contentious 2020 U.S. election. Like a lot of my friends I’m trying to make sense of a close vote we cannot understand, because in our minds this was a referendum on good versus evil, and to us it looks like half the country is voting for evil.

To both sides I imagine it looks that way.

And because I’m an editor and I’m accustomed to analyzing a story to try to identify its soul — what it means, what it’s really about —…


Readers don’t care what’s happening unless we care who it’s happening to.

This is the truest truism I know about writing — that character is the vehicle in which readers travel through your story. We don’t rave about a story of the savant-like solution of seemingly unsolvable crimes; or an indestructible suit that grants the wearer staggering power and strength to defend the world from attack; or the political battle between a small resistance group and an evil empire. What makes these stories vivid and relatable is our identification with Sherlock Holmes; Tony Stark’s Iron Man; Leia, Luke, and Han Solo (and a wide cast of memorable characters).

No matter how exciting…


Probably the concern I hear most from authors these days is some variation of, “What do we do about coronavirus?” Not in real life (by now I hope we all know to WEAR MASKS, socially distance, and stay home as much as possible), but in their current works-in-progress.

Do authors acknowledge the virus, the pandemic, these relentless months of quarantine by setting stories before the cataclysm of 2020? If we try to avoid it by pushing stories forward into the not-too-distant future, how can we predict how the world may have changed by then — socially, economically, culturally? And even…


Is there anything more thrilling for the creative soul than starting a shiny new story? That sexy little minx seduces you effortlessly, promising you a dazzling future, and in the heady flush of new love it feels as if this perfect communion between you will never end.

And then comes the middle of the book.

But when things get tough, that doesn’t mean the story isn’t worth fighting for. Figuring out the problem and propping up the sag can often add even more depth and dimension.

When a manuscript loses its momentum, generally the issue is one of several culprits:


Recently I spent an exhilarating hour and a half talking to an author about editing — not his manuscript specifically, but the concept of editing in general. (This is how word nerds party.)

The conversation was with author Brian Murphy on his marvelous How Writers Write podcast (here’s the first of our two episodes if you’d like to listen), and we dug really deeply into the nuts and bolts of how an edit actually works, practically. …


In a couple of years I’ll be celebrating my thirtieth anniversary as an editor working in the publishing industry.

It kind of blows of my mind to look back over the journey that got me to this point, and not just because I don’t feel three decades beyond that recent graduate moving to the Big Apple and brandishing an English literature degree I never set out to get. But because when my college counselor said I had to declare a major I randomly picked the topic I had the most credits in, having taken a lot of English…


If someone told you right now that you’d never be published, or that wherever you are as a writer now is the most you would ever achieve…would you stop?

Recently I posted this article in the Guardian about the financial realities of being a writer on my social media (see links below if we aren’t already connected), and the responses were interesting. Some people — mostly authors who have signed at least one or two book deals — thanked me for posting the financial realities of our industry. Some writers remarked that it seemed negative or depressing.

But…

Tiffany Yates Martin

Developmental book editor helping authors find the best version of their vision. www.foxprinteditorial.com

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