The Inside Scoop
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All posts by Holly West
May 8, 2018
Mapping the Jungle: An Editor’s Pitch for Outlines
I thought I’d drop by today and chat a bit about my love for outlines, and why I think...
March 27, 2018
Write in the Now: Plot vs. Backstory
Up your stakes and make sure your plot is moving forward.
February 27, 2018
FAQs: Sex in YA Novels
We’ve been getting a lot of questions recently about sex in YA novels. So, today I thought I’d...
December 12, 2017
The Big Misunderstanding Can Be a Big Mistake
Have you ever been watching a movie or TV show or reading a novel and found yourself yelling “Just TALK...
October 3, 2017
Torturing Characters for Fun and Profit
As a reader and a fangirl, I have a LOT of sympathy for Tumblr posts like this: There are SO...
July 25, 2017
5 Lessons Writers Can Learn from Television
Like most of us, I watch a LOT of television. It’s a lot faster to watch a 40-minute episode...
April 12, 2017
Writing Copy 101: Part II
Last week, I talked about the kinds of things that need to go into your copy. Now that you have...
April 4, 2017
Writing Copy 101: Part I
One of the things that surprised me when I first started working in editorial was how much time editors spend...
March 21, 2017
How to Retell a Fairytale
I adore fairytales. And myths. And legends. I especially adore retellings that present these stories I already love in a...
March 7, 2017
Ask an Editor: Backstory vs. Prologue
When does a story call for a prologue? We break it down for you.
February 14, 2017
It's About Chemistry! (Because Science)
One of the things that can really make a story shine is the chemistry between characters. Not just in romance...
February 10, 2017
So You Want to Be an Editor
Welcome to Reading Month at Swoon Reads! This is the time for all of you wannabe editors out there to...
January 24, 2017
Give Your Book a Chance
The Season 10 deadline is only a week away! And I’m really, really looking forward to diving into all...
December 20, 2016
Character Development (As Sung by Disney)
How many of you have seen Moana? If you haven’t, you should go watch it immediately. Because Lin-Manuel Miranda...
November 14, 2016
Ask an Editor: How Much Backstory Is Too Much?
Are you starting your novel in the right place? Or is it just backstory? We’ll help you decide.
October 11, 2016
Ask an Editor: Why Tropes Can Be a Good Thing
Every writer wants to craft a uniquely original story, and we all know how important it is to avoid clichés...
September 13, 2016
Ask an Editor: Twist With Caution
In an earlier blog post, I had talked about the shape of stories. As an editor, or basically just someone...
August 9, 2016
Follow Your Own Rules
Whether you are writing a fantasy or a contemporary, some rules were made to be kept.
July 19, 2016
Keep Your Magic Rules Simple
When I’m doing Q&As with authors, one of my favorite questions to ask them is, “What would your superpower...
June 28, 2016
The Shapes of Stories
Use this technique to determine where your novel needs more tension.
June 14, 2016
Stick the Landing: Bringing Your Ending Full-Circle
A few weeks ago, I talked about how beginnings are hard, and one of the things that makes them so...