Master list of IndieCat blog posts

Master List of IndieCat Blog Posts

In order to make it easier for new site visitors to explore the blog posts here, I have made a master list of IndieCat Blog Posts. I’m still drawing up this list so not all posts have yet been listed here.

What is developmental editing?

Developmental editing or manuscript critique? This post looks into the differences between two common developmental editing services.

Wasting money on a copyedit or proofread? Please don’t hire copyeditors or proofreaders if you later intend to use a developmental editor. In this post I explain the correct order of editing.

When is the best time for a developmental edit?

When is your novel done? At what point is it appropriate to start looking for feedback?

Should you dust off that old novel? Is it ever worth returning to an old abandoned or rejected manuscript? Or is it time to move on?

Case studies in developmental editing

This list looks at examples of developmental feedback which changed the outcome of a novel. There are also posts where I put on my developmental editor’s hat and explore narrative choices a writer made when writing their novel.

How developmental editing feedback improved F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. This post looks at editor Maxwell Perkins and the developmental editing advice he gave to Fitzgerald after reading an early draft of The Great Gatsby.

How developmental editing feedback changed Interview With The Vampire. This post looks at the development of Anne Rice’s first published novel, including the developmental editing advice she received from her editor. This advice caused her to radically alter parts of her novel, turning it into a classic of the vampire and gothic genres.

Narrative devices in Ted Chiang’s Story of Your Life. This post digs into Chiang’s use of point of view, tense, and structure in his award-winning novella, Story of Your Life. He also wrote the novel in an interesting way, starting with the ending!

How narrative devices support a novel’s theme. This post looks at the viewpoint, tense, and other choices Sebastien Japrisot made for his award-winning novel A Very Long Engagement.

Narrative choices Diana Gabaldon made in her first Outlander novel, Cross Stitch. In this post I give a developmental editing perspective on the choices Gabaldon made in her popular novel.

Novel outlines – 3 case studies. Here I look at how three of my clients used outlining to help them write their novels.

When publishers drop the ball. Even if you get a mainstream publishing deal there is no guarantee that you will get all the developmental feedback you need. This post deals with an unnamed published novel which had multiple issues.

Famous first lines… or how to start your novel. A dive into famous opening lines in fiction and what they accomplish. Also, just how much depends on the opening line?

Developmental editing basics

Character credibility and the domino effect. What is the most common problem I see in manuscripts?

How many characters can you have in your novel? And what are the issues with larger character counts?

10 ways to improve your novel’s pacing. While your novel doesn’t have to gallop along at a fast pace, sometimes storytelling gets bogged down and momentum is lost. Too slow and a reader could just give up. Be vigilant of anything that pulls your pace down. This posts has some tips.

The Story Spine – the simple 8-point storytelling structure. Used by Pixar Studios.

When dialogue ruins your scenes. A dive into how dialogue can sometimes work against the best interests of a scene.

Too much period language in a historical novel? How much is too much? And why is it an issue?

Too much internal dialogue? What can go wrong?

Here is a check list for authors wanting to do some developmental editing on their manuscripts before hiring an editor. It’s also useful for authors who can’t afford a developmental edit.

Fear of exposure in first-person narratives.

Location issues in your novel

Researching your novel’s locations online.

Avoid this location issue in your novel.

Historical fiction

Too much period language in a historical novel? How much is too much? And why is it an issue?

Laurie McBain – exploring the career of bestselling author Laurie McBain. She was one of the ‘Avon Ladies’ who rebooted historical romance in the 1970s and 1980s.

Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon. A look at the narrative choices Gabaldon made in her first Outlander novel.

Interview with author Dorothy M. Parker about her time travel historical novel, The Angel of Incompleteness. Among other topics, we discuss the issues related to writing about real historical people.

Historical fiction as a time machine. A look at the appeal of historical fiction through the lens of old New York.

A Place of Greater Safety. A review of Hilary Mantel’s French revolution novel.

Indie publishing

So indie authors aren’t real authors? This blog post was written after I read a very annoying and ignorant post from someone who completely underestimated the commitment and talent of indie authors.


This post looks at memoir and the issues memoirists face when telling their stories.

Interviews with indie authors

An interview with Dorothy M. Parker, exploring the inspirations behind her time travel novel, The Angel of Incompleteness.

Articles on authors

This post is my deep dive into the life and work of Irish-American writer Maeve Brennan. The Irish author was the daughter of Irish republican parents who later moved their family to the US for work reasons. Maeve would remain there until her death. Glamorous in her youth, she worked for the New Yorker and Harper’s Bazaar. She also wrote short stories and a novella, The Visitor.

Joan Lindsay was 71 when her famous novel, Picnic at Hanging Rock, was published. Here I dive into her life and the background to the novel.

Laurie McBain was one of the stars of the historical romance genre in the 1970s and 1980s. Here I look at her career and the mystery of why she disappeared after ten years of success. I also look at the writer who inspired her, Kathleen Woodiwiss.

Beautiful Shadow is a great biography of author Patricia Highsmith. Highsmith wrote Strangers on A Train, The Talented Mr Ripley, and the lesbian romance novel, Carol. All three of these books were adapted for the screen. Here I review the biography and explore Highsmith’s life and career.

Book reviews

A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel. A detailed review of the award-winning French Revolution novel.

General tips

How to order short stories in a collection.

Productivity tips for authors

My best productivity tips for authors.

Boost your writing with the Pomodoro technique.

How to establish a writing routine.

Social media blockers.

Need Freedom from social media distractions?

Is social media harming the writing community?


Fear of marketing yourself on social media.

How to use Facebook and Instagram ads.

Promoting your books on social media.

Have you figured out your author brand?

Why your book cover design matters.

Terrified of reading your work in public?

You need author photos but you’re camera shy.

Don’t make this mistake on your author website.