How to Craft Satisfying Endings


Writers can spend hours (days…weeks…) crafting the perfect opening to their novels—and for good reason, as readers may decide whether to buy a book based on the first couple lines. But the ending is just as important in the long run, as it strongly influences how the reader will remember your book when it comes time to review and recommend.

I can’t tell you exactly how to end your work, as it depends on the genre, whether it’s a standalone or in a series, and the specifics of your story. But I hope these guidelines spark your imagination and help you create the perfect ending for your WIP.

1. Don’t forget the denouement.

At the end of the plot pyramid is the denouement, a French term that literally means untying and functionally means the resolution of the story, which should flow from the climax. If you think of the climax as the turning point of your story, you don’t want to turn your reader into a brick wall. Sometimes I read manuscripts that only have a couple pages after the climax, and while you don’t want to go on for another hundred pages, you do want to fully resolve the conflict and allow time for the dust of the climax to settle.

2. Make sure all loose ends are tied up.

Or…untied, as the case may be. Check to ensure you’ve followed through with all the dangling plot threads. Writers sometimes get tunnel vision and resolve their protagonist’s conflict neatly but forget that they left their main character’s sister deciding whether or not to leave her husband. This is where outlining can be of use, whether you do it before or after you write your first draft.

3. Consider what feeling you want the reader to have as they close your book.       

Second only to the feeling of beginning to read a book and realizing instantly that it’s going to be one of your favorites is the feeling of satisfaction as you finish that book and reluctantly lay your new friend aside—and this feeling is only secondary because it comes with a tinge of sadness that you can never again read that book for the first time.

But that feeling of satisfaction isn’t derived from just one emotion. To give you a partial list, when a reader finishes a book, they may feel overjoyed, content, peaceful, energized, or heartbroken. So the question is, how do you want your reader to feel? Which emotion is the right fit for your story? That’s not to say every emotion is a possibility—I’d try to avoid feelings of confusion or disappointment—but if your climax hits a dark emotional note, it might not make sense to swing the resolution all the way back up to an ecstatic tone.

4. A satisfying ending doesn’t have to be a happy one…

To expand on this discussion, my all-time favorite ending is from The Sun Also Rises—bittersweet in its best interpretation and downright depressing in its worst. If you haven’t read it, two of the main characters, Jake and Lady Brett Ashley, love each other but can’t be together, in part because of Jake’s impotence from a war injury. The book closes with the two of them:

“Oh, Jake,” Brett said, “we could have had such a damned good time together.”

Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly pressing Brett against me.

“Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

To me, it’s an exceptionally poignant ending (add that to the list of possibilities above!), and it also rings true, to the characters and the overall mood of the work. But it isn’t happy; there’s no real hope that Jake and Brett are going to find a way to work it out.

 5. …unless your genre demands it.

The big caveat to the possibility of ending your book with a less-than-happy ending is that some genres require a happy one. If you aren’t already familiar with them, you’ve probably seen the romance community using the acronyms HEA and HFN: happily ever after and happy for now—the latter a response to the fact that romance no longer necessitates a marriage at the end of the book. Though there’s been much debate (as always), according to the Romance Writers of America, a book must have “an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending” to be a romance.

And even if it’s not a strict genre requirement, think about your book in the marketplace. More commercial novels usually have happier endings than more literary novels, which deal more in ambiguity.  

6. Avoid cliffhangers.

With most books, you want to dot all your i's, cross all your t’s, and not leave your characters marooned on an island. Some debut writers end with a major cliffhanger in the hopes that they’ll be able to turn their book into a series. Depending on your genre, though, that may be unlikely: trilogies are relatively common in YA SFF, for instance, but rare in YA contemporary. And a publisher may buy just one book to see how it does, with sequels dependent on the performance of the first book. The safer bet is to craft an ending that may leave room for a continuation but is satisfying on its own.

Even when writers know a sequel is guaranteed, they tend not to end books in moments of peril. I recently read Holly Black’s The Wicked King, and I am DYING for the third book in the series. The conflict between the main characters doesn’t feel fully resolved, and I know there has to be another twist to it. But even so, Black ended this second book with her protagonist in a safe spot—a natural pause to the story and an ending to this particular vein of it, even though it’s not a full stop to the overall tale.

I’ll pause myself now, but to continue the conversation, this month’s newsletter will be talking a bit more about endings from the perspective of your characters—subscribe here to receive it.

And you should know that this blog post came at the suggestion of a client. Hyphen is here to help you, so if there’s anything you’d like to see covered on the blog, please reach out with suggestions.


5 Frequently Asked Query Questions

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While, in some ways, querying has never been more transparent than it is now, with all the blogs and #askagent, it’s still a process that provokes uncertainty, even insecurity. And it can be difficult to sort through the internet noise to find trustworthy information.

So, as a former agent, I wanted to answer five of the query questions I’ve been asked most frequently over the past several years:

1. How many agents should I query at a time? 

Around 5. This is a bit of a judgment call: On one hand, you don’t want to query all of your favorite agents at once because if you get feedback that prompts a revision, either of your manuscript or your query letter, you want to have more agents you’re interested in approaching. On the other hand, if you are lucky enough to get an offer of representation on your first round, you want to have the agents you’re most excited about in play; you can’t query a new agent at that point, but you can follow up with agents who currently have your query or manuscript to let them know you’ve received an offer.

This answer implies two other pieces of advice: First, make sure your query and manuscript are 100% ready to go before you send them out. You don’t want to use actual agents as trial runs. Second, you have to have patience. One round of querying could take a few months. But if you want the benefit of potential feedback, you can’t rush it. 

2. When should I follow up if I haven’t heard back from an agent?

Possibly never. If all you’ve sent is an initial query, be sure to check their submission policies on their website; many agencies state that no response is a no. If they respond to every query, check Twitter; sometimes agents will tweet updates about where they are in their inbox and invite people to re-query if they emailed before a certain date and haven’t gotten a response. If there’s no information but their policies state they respond, you could potentially follow up after a few months, just to make sure your email didn’t get lost or wind up in spam.

If you’ve sent additional materials requested by the agent and they responded to confirm receipt, there’s no need to follow up unless you have an offer of representation. Agenting involves constant triage, and if they confirmed they received your materials, you’re on their to-do list, and they’ll get back to you as soon as they can—though this may be much later than you would like. If they didn’t confirm receipt, you might follow up to make sure your materials arrived, but I’d probably still wait a few months.

Unfortunately, following up may produce the opposite result from the one you want. I know a few agents who have a strict oldest-to-newest response policy, and in some email programs, sending a reply will move everything to the top of the inbox—the bottom of these agents’ piles. Occasionally writers will set an artificial deadline; they don’t have an offer of rep, but they put a deadline on responses. This is a better way to generate a lot of quick passes than to get genuine replies. Once again, patience is key.

3. How many agents should I query before shelving my book?

There’s no exact answer to this question; the general answer is however many you reasonably believe may be interested in your book and you would want to represent you. This number depends both on the type of book you’ve written and your list of agent requirements. There’s no sense in querying someone who doesn’t represent your genre/age category or someone whom you know from the outset you wouldn’t want as your representative.

I also strongly recommend that you don’t re-query agents with the same work. If an agent says they’d be interested in seeing a revised version of your work, you should of course send that, but if they reject an initial query, their opinion won’t change after a few months have passed.

So when you’ve reached the end of your agent list, it’s time to move on. You should already be working on the next book while waiting to get responses about the one you’re querying, so it’s just a matter of focusing on the new project.

4. Should I query agents and small presses at the same time?

I’d advise against it unless you truly don’t care about the size of your publisher. Small presses tend to respond more quickly than agents. If you query both simultaneously, you may get an offer from a small press, prompting an agent to pass for lack of time to review your work, when they may have said yes if they’d been able to read at leisure. If your ultimate goal is to get a book deal with a big five, or similar, publisher, focus on querying agents first, and move on to small presses later if you decide you’re interested in that route.

If you do query them at the same time and receive an offer from a small press, be honest when you email agents to let them know. As an agent, it’s frustrating when an author says they have an “offer of representation” that turns out to be from a small press, rather than another agent as the phrase implies. You absolutely should notify the agents who are still considering your materials; it’s just important to be forthright.

5. Can I query agents if I’ve self-published?

Yes, but not that work and not a work in the same series. It’s a common misconception that you can self-publish a book and then seek representation for that book later. Unless you’ve sold hundreds of thousands of copies (and honestly, if you’ve sold enough, publishers and agents will probably be contacting you, instead of the other way around), publishers want the first crack at your book. But if you’ve written something entirely new, you can query that. Agents may have different opinions about your self-publishing history, but their primary focus will be whether they love and think they can sell the book at hand.


This month’s newsletter will answer a question that precedes all of these: How do I know when I’m ready to query? If you have any other query questions, leave them in the comments! I’ll either answer there or in a future blog post. Good luck to all of you who are in the query trenches.

Why Do You Write?

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It’s February, which means Valentine’s Day, which means being inundated with articles about love and relationships. While there’s plenty to discuss in regard to romance in your work, today I’d like to talk about something a bit more existential: your relationship to your work.

Why do you write? Do you love it?

Dorothy Parker infamously said, “I hate writing, I love having written.” That quote resonates with many writers; the process can be torturous. And we all have aspects of writing we love more than others—some people are idea machines; others live for revision. But regardless of which stage you prefer, it’s worth pausing to figure out specifically what it is about writing that you love.

I bring this up because it’s easier than ever to get discouraged as a writer. The bar to traditional publication is high, and there are enough works being self-published that it’s tough for any one title to find its readers. I’ve talked to many writers who, after querying several books, have decided to put writing on the back burner. It’s understandably difficult to keep investing time and energy into something with minimal rewards.

When the extrinsic goals—money, renown, validation—are uncertain, I think it’s important to focus on writing’s more intrinsic benefits. If you’re struggling just now to imagine just what those could be, consider the joy of:

  • Evoking a full-sense memory of a place you once visited.

  • Bringing two characters together to kiss—finally.

  • Crafting the perfect turn of phrase to capture an emotion both specific and universal.

  • Making yourself cry with an emotional scene.

  • Solving the plot problem that’s been nagging you for weeks.

These small victories may pale in comparison to your big dreams—but these little moments of joy are the only things entirely in your control. So I urge you to savor them, celebrate them, consider how to generate more of them. If you cultivate these feelings of love for the work itself, that could be the thing that keeps you going.

This month’s newsletter will offer suggestions for falling back in love with your work in progress. But in the meantime, please feel free to share in the comments your reasons for writing and any little things you love about it.


You Should Outline At Some Point! Why and How to Outline Effectively

Many of the manuscripts I see as an editor need a lot of tidying up—and no, I’m not talking about misplaced commas. While there are certainly plenty of those as well, today I want to focus on macro-level messiness: pieces that don’t fit together and loops that remain unclosed. When I talk to those writers, most of them share the common trait of hating to outline.

There’s a lot of talk online about plotting versus pantsing, and I want to be clear that both are entirely valid options for a first draft. You know best how to get those initial words on the page. (And if you don’t, experiment with different methods to see how to make the words flow faster.) But I do believe that at some point, it’s helpful to create an outline of what you’ve written to give you a different perspective on your work and allow you to see things you might miss when you’re immersed in it line-by-line.

 To further illustrate, here are a few things outlining can help you discover:

1. Dangling Plot Threads

Writers generally see the primary plot all the way through, but often subplots get left behind. Readers can easily become invested in minor characters, and you don’t what to undercut your happy ending by leaving the reader wondering what happened to your main character’s sister after she had that big fight with her husband.

 2. Character-Driven Narrative Arcs

Successful stories are more than just a succession of events; they’re comprised of events that build in intensity to a climax, and these events are driven by your main character’s actions. (For more on active characters, check out this previous post.) When you list the main action in your book, it’s easier to see how each incident is leading to the next.

3. Disconnected Subplots

Even if you’ve tied together all the threads of your subplots, those plots may not be well connected enough to your main plot. If you’re trying to outline and can’t figure out how the subplot fits in, that’s a sign that it’s too tangential.

4. Timing Issues

Timing is tricky for so many writers. You’re already juggling all these characters and plot threads, and now you have to worry about a calendar? But nailing the timing—both providing logic for the internal story events and marking external events like holidays or school breaks—can really help with your book’s pacing.


So how do you outline to avoid these problems? If you’ve only ever outlined for an academic paper, you may be imagining a sheet of paper with roman numeral headings—you’ll probably be pleased to know that’s not really the most effective method for novels. Here are a few ways to outline, before or after you’ve written your first draft.

1. Diagram

 If you read my previous post on plot, you know I’m a fan of the good old-fashioned plot pyramid. To take that a step further, I really love this resource on the three-act structure. Put that diagram on a page and then place the events of your novel along it. If you prefer to come at your novel from the character angle instead of plot, the same principles apply; it’s just a slight shift in your mindset to think in terms of how your character changes. You might also write the events on notecards or post-its if you sense some things need to be shifted around.

2. Beat Sheets

Another way to break down the three-act structure is to create a spreadsheet of the events in your novel, called a beat sheet. This post is a good overview of what that might look like. I highly recommend Googling more if this seems like a useful tool for you; there are a lot of resources out there. One popular version of this is Save the Cat!, which released a book about their method geared toward novelists.

3. Calendar

If your novel depends heavily on timing, print out a calendar and put the events on it. Mark holidays, your character’s birthday, etc. This is the perfect way to make sure you’re accurately accounting for the passage of time.

4. The Snowflake Method

This method is pretty involved and comes at your work from more of a narrative angle, helping you build from one sentence into a one-page overview into character charts into a massive scene breakdown. It can be a little overwhelming, but several of my clients really love it. You can read more about it here.


I’ll be discussing one final method that I successfully used with a client in my newsletter next week, so be sure to subscribe if you haven’t already. And if you have any favorite outlining methods, please share in the comments!

2018: A Year for Patience

Sometimes you just have to wait.

One of the biggest mistakes I see authors make when they seek traditional publication is not having enough patience. It’s completely understandable—they’ve spent YEARS working on their manuscript, and this might be just one in a long line of manuscripts. If they’ve worked with HYPHEN, they’ve made a financial commitment in addition to the huge investment of their time, energy, and heart.

But publishing moves at its own pace, and that pace is often glacial.

If you don’t have patience at the writing and querying stage, it’s less likely you’ll find an agent. You might not take the time to revise fully or give up on querying before you’ve exhausted all your options. And it’s important to develop patience early on because you’ll keep having to draw on it throughout your career—as you wait for your agent to send notes, for an editor to read your manuscript, for your book to come out, and so on.

It is important to know when to give up—you’ll see some people say that you should NEVER do that (as an agent, I had a few writers send me the same manuscript over and over hoping my response would change…it did not), but the reality is that you may reach a point at which you’ve queried every agent who might be interested in your work, you’ve gotten as many eyes on your manuscript as possible, and you can’t find a single comma to move. That’s the time when you should tuck that work in the proverbial drawer and move on to your next project.

But there are far more moments when you just need to sit still or to work on something else while you wait for things to happen.

The idea of patience has been on my mind a lot lately, in part because of what I’ve observed with writers, but more because it’s a virtue I’ve been forced to practice this year.

2018 did not go to plan. I had so many ideas for ways to expand HYPHEN and help more writers, but between two month-long illnesses and a cross-country move, it was all I could do to keep up with the regular workload. And now, here we are at the end of the year, and I’ve been pushing myself (and those around me) to finish this year’s to-do list and get ready to start off running in 2019.

But as the deadline looms, I’ve had to accept that I can’t push past the 24-hour limitations of a day or the 8-9 hours of sleep my body obnoxiously demands every night, and I can’t make other people do things they aren’t willing to do. I have a long list of house projects carrying over to the new year. (The maintenance person for my building works about as quickly as your average literary agent.) I haven’t even had time to watch all the Christmas movies on my DVR.

All I can do is keep moving forward when I can and try to relax in the moments when I can’t. It’s good to have goals and plans to achieve them, but sometimes life gets in the way. I’ve done a lot of hopeless flailing about in 2018, trying to make things move FASTER, when that really only made things worse. Patience. It’s not just a virtue; it’s a survival skill.

As I did my usual looking back on the year, though, I realized that 2018 wasn’t such a waste after all. Even with all the upheaval, I still managed to help a lot of writers and read a lot of books. Here’s a snapshot:

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I find it useful to quantify the year: it helps me take pride in what I’ve done and consider what I might like to do differently next year. It’s been a great year for reading. A few of my favorites this year were The Great Alone, Look Alive Out There, God Save Texas, Circe, Love and Ruin, Luck of the Draw, and The Summer of Jordi Perez. I don’t like to put too many restrictions on my reading because it’s already partially work, but it would be good to read a bit more nonfiction, especially craft books, and dive into one or two of the classics I missed—starting with The Age of Innocence before I see the film in late January.

My reading also informs the genres I’d like to work on more. I love the women’s fiction specialty I’ve developed, but I’d really like to edit more young adult fiction and a lot more contemporary romance as well. I also have space for one or two more long-term coaching clients as I’ve finished up work on a revision with one recently.

I’ve shifted my big goals for 2018 on to 2019, and I sat down today and made a plan of attack for January. I hope you’ll see some exciting and helpful developments from HYPHEN this year.

But when things go awry, as they inevitably will, when I have to shift part of January’s attack plan over to February, I hope I’ll respond with patience—for the process and for myself.

Any favorite reads from 2018? Hopes for 2019? Feel free to share in the comments!

How to Decipher Agent Responses

I often have clients trying to figure out the meaning behind agent responses. The obvious meaning is clear: a request for more pages, an offer, a rejection. But writers sometimes want more—to understand why an agent passed on their work, to assign significance to the timing of a request.

As an agent-turned-editor, when I generate editorial letters for clients who have already queried their work, I have them send the responses they’ve received thus far, and I incorporate them in the letter, explaining the feedback when I can. Frequently, though, these passes don’t say much.

But since it’s obviously a topic of great concern for writers seeking traditional publication, I wanted to offer a few general thoughts on understanding the responses you get from agents.

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A Word of Caution

To start, my biggest piece of advice is to try not to read too much into the responses. I often see writers thinking, “This agent got back to me so quickly! They must really love my work; I must have a great shot at representation!” Or a writer might try to discern meaning from a generic sentiment like, “I’m sure other agents will feel differently.”

I would never put stock into timing, whether it’s fast or slow. Sometimes a quick response means an agent is enthusiastic, but often it’s a matter of chance. Your query arrived just as they finished catching up, or you sent your partial right before they boarded a cross-country flight. Agents respond to queries and requested materials whenever they can; usually this means they reply slowly, but occasionally it means they respond more quickly than you might expect. A slow response doesn’t necessarily mean they hate it; a quick one doesn’t necessarily mean they love it. 

Similarly, I’d take the wording of their response at face value. If they offer specific feedback, that can be useful. But often it will just be generic politeness, and you should take that for the neutral, professional response that it is. But there are a few nuances to the wording, so let’s dive into that.

Query Rejections vs. Partials and Fulls

In general, the more material an agent evaluated, the more consideration you should give their response. My agency didn’t ask for any materials to start, just the query letter. As such, my responses to queries were form responses that I wouldn’t recommend reading a single thing into beyond the obvious (I’m not interested in seeing more of this project). I did have a different response for Manuscript Wish List queries (some agents have many different form responses to fit various situations from referrals to conferences), but it was more of an acknowledgement than a useful response—indicating that I saw the writer was responding to a specific request I’d made, yet I still didn’t think the manuscript was right for me. 

Some agents use form responses for partial and full manuscripts as well, and this is sometimes done as a matter of agency policy. Agents are far more likely to provide personalized feedback for a requested manuscript, though, so this is where you might obtain some useful information.

When I responded to requested partial and full manuscripts, I did my best to name a positive aspect of the work and something I thought could be improved. This would often still be fairly vague, though, along the lines of, “I really liked the protagonist but didn’t find the plot propulsive enough.” That’s not really enough to justify a full revision of your manuscript. However, if a few agents mention something about the plot, that should prompt you to send your work to a set of fresh eyes, asking them to focus on that element.

More Thoughts on Vagueness

A comment about plot at least gives you something specific to focus on. But I’m sure if you’ve been querying for a bit, you’ve received a pass along the lines of, “I didn’t connect with the voice.” Voice is probably the most nebulous story element and deserves a blog post of its very own. But when it comes to passes, unless you get more specific feedback, e.g. the voice feels too immature for the age category, I’d translate a voice comment as meaning, “Something about your work just didn’t grab me in the way I wanted it to.” It’s only slightly more helpful than the perennial pass: “I just didn’t fall in love.”

Obnoxious as that response is to receive as a writer, the simplest explanation is often the truest. Agents can only represent a small amount of what they read, and they really do have to love it. So while it doesn’t present a path for you to improve (more on that below), it’s the foundation of every rejection.

Offers to Read Again

One thing to pay particular attention to is whether an agent indicates they’d like to hear from you again—either with this work or a future one. Such invitations often come at the end of a rejection, so it’s important to read them even when it’s difficult! I’m sure there are some agents who mention they’d be happy to hear from you again as a standard part of their response, but I always used it rarely and specifically, indicating that I’d like to see this again if substantial revisions were made or that this work wasn’t for me but I’d like to see future works. Make sure to keep track of these opportunities to try again; it means you’ve already nudged the door open a crack.

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I know many of you just want to know why. Why don’t agents provide more helpful feedback? Why do they seem so enthusiastic when requesting only to turn around and tell you they didn’t fall in love? The second question is easy enough to answer: a request is made largely on the basis of a concept and perhaps a brief writing sample. There’s a lot for an agent to love or not in the execution of that concept over several hundred pages. The first question is more complicated; I can think of at least three significant reasons why agents don’t provide more feedback.

The biggest issue is time. Agents are obligated to prioritize their clients; they’ve already made a commitment to them and their work. Handling their needs usually takes up more than a 40-hour work week. So reading queries and manuscripts is almost always done at night and over the weekend, and there just isn’t time to respond meaningfully to everyone—not if agents are going to sleep and occasionally have lives beyond publishing.

A second reason is that providing feedback on queries and manuscripts simply isn’t their job. I mean that in two ways.

First, as discussed above, an agent’s responsibility is to their clients. Selling their clients’ books and doing the necessary editorial and advisory work to make that happen is their primary job. Most agents work solely on commission, so it’s also the only way they make money—agents typically don’t make salaries to pay for their time regardless of what they’re working on. Obviously, reading queries and manuscripts is how agents get these clients and eventually get paid…but giving detailed feedback to work they’re not interested in is free labor.

Second, it isn’t their job in the sense that they aren’t reading your work as editors. Now that I’m a freelance editor, when someone hires me to read their manuscript, I’m looking for ways to improve it. I’m scrutinizing every element, every chapter, thinking about how to make it better. As an agent, my initial read was at a higher level and only sought to answer two questions: Do I love this? Do I think I can sell this? I would often have some general editorial ideas when I finished reading, but if I wound up signing the writer as a client, I would typically read their book again before sending an editorial letter for revision. Often as an agent, I would pass on a book because I really didn’t have any ideas for what could be done editorially; all I knew was I didn’t think it was there yet.

Finally, agents may avoid giving specific feedback because it potentially opens a dialogue or even encourages harassment. The nastiest response I ever received was when I (in an attempt to be constructive) told an author, with examples, that I didn’t think his concept was in line with what middle grade editors are looking for right now. It’s a lot easier to argue with something concrete than “I didn’t fall in love, but I’m sure another agent will!” And while I know YOU would never send an agent a nasty email or write terrible things about them online, it happens far more often than you’d think.


I’m sure a few of you read this blog post hoping for a magic response: This is what agents mean! This is the key to understanding it all! Unfortunately, the truth is that agents often don’t mean much beyond a polite “no, thank you.” What I hope this post does, though, is slightly alleviate your anxiety. You’re not doing anything wrong. You’re not missing out. You don’t need to be doing more. Your struggle is one shared by many. And when an agent does take the time to give a detailed pass, pay attention—the very fact that they’re doing so is significant.

Is there any other agent behavior you find mystifying? Let us know in the comments! And subscribe to the monthly newsletter for suggestions on how to respond to agents.

HYPHEN Around the Web

Apologies for a light blogging month! Part of it is due to a busier-than-expected January—New Year's resolutions perhaps? I'm not sure, but I'm currently booking edits for delivery in late March. If you're nearing the end of revisions and would like a quick turnaround, get in touch today to book a spot. (Shorter projects, like query critiques, currently have a two week turnaround.)

But I actually have written two pieces on writing this month for other publications, so I wanted to make sure you saw them. 

On The Debutante Ball, there's "7 Tips for Writing the (Neglected, Dreaded, Necessary) Synopsis." As both an agent and editor, I've seen writers struggle with synopses, and I know they aren't your favorite. But they are necessary if you're querying, so I hope this advice helps you get the job done.

And in the second issue of Backlog magazine, I have "The Four Types of Editing." There are many different tasks under the editing umbrella, and this piece demystifies what those are, when they should happen, and who will perform them. 

I'll have more tips on the blog in February, but in the meantime, I hope you find these guest posts helpful! Both sites have piles of useful articles; check them out if you haven't yet. 

The Four Types of Editing

What to Expect from HYPHEN

Welcome to HYPHEN! Going forward, this blog will be a resource for you with writing tips and publishing industry expertise. HYPHEN’s mission is to help writers hone their craft, and our blog will be aimed at doing just that. For this first post, though, I wanted to talk a bit about what HYPHEN is, why I founded it, and what our plans are for the future.

HYPHEN is a freelance editorial and coaching company. Essentially, we’re here to help you with your writing, whether that means performing a quick query critique or being by your side through the entire self-publishing process. We have a list of editorial services—though if you need something that isn’t mentioned, please reach out! We’re happy to talk to you to see if we can be of assistance. Our coaching services are less delineated because they’re completely customized. The general concept of coaching is to be your long-term (at least 3 months is ideal) collaborator. That may include providing one of the listed editorial services—but then we would help you implement it and move to the next stage.

As you may know, until recently I was a literary agent at Liza Dawson Associates. Deciding to leave was very difficult, as I loved my work and was closely connected to my clients. But I often felt torn by my inability to give the kind of feedback I knew would be useful to writers. For instance, sometimes I would read a manuscript and love the concept but know that the execution wasn’t quite there yet. While I gave personalized feedback on requested manuscripts, the reality of having to be client- and sales-focused meant I couldn’t go into great detail—there simply weren’t enough hours in the day. With HYPHEN, I can focus all my attention on giving writers the information they need and ensuring their manuscripts are in the best possible condition.

Publishing can be overwhelming, and it’s a very competitive industry. HYPHEN intends to be a positive force in the community, supporting all writers by demystifying the process and providing tools to help you succeed.

I hope to grow this company based on your needs, so if there’s a service that would be helpful to you as a writer that you can’t find elsewhere, please let us know. But here are a few things we’re planning to launch in the coming months:

  • Regular editorial letter giveaways for writers from marginalized groups who could not otherwise afford a freelance editor
  • In-person consultations around the world as I travel and work remotely (Australian writers, get excited for February/March 2018!)
  • Online courses, both downloadable and live

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If you already know you’re interested in working with HYPHEN, go ahead and send us an email! We’re open for business and excited to help you reach your writing goals.