Writing tips: “Pick One!”

Having a mentor is a good thing. Napoleon Hill and Bob Proctor recommend it. I am lucky to have two: one at work and one outside of work. One of my purposes in life is to become a successful writer. I write fiction (murder mystery, science fiction and fantasy) and nonfiction (memoir, short story, and self-help).

Considering my passion is not drastically different from my job as an Intellectual Property litigation paralegal, one of my bosses—my work mentor—decides to help me to hone my writing skills. He actually takes time out of his busy schedule to peruse my book and point out my flaws. Also, he is my go-to-person for great science fiction books.

Here is his feedback on my revision of The Governor’s Daughter: Mysteries of Colonial Cambodge to be sent to a traditional publisher. I hope you will find it beneficial to your own writing habit.

Positive feedback:

  • Great theme
  • Great historical background
  • Better character development of protagonist (Anjali Chinak)
  • Interesting passages


Writing habit feedback:

  • No generic statements (be specific, exposition is boring)
  • Stick to facts
  • Get rid of redundancy
  • Set the scene
  • Give a vignette of each narrative experience (show who, what, when, where, how, and why)
  • Make your point and offer evidence
  • Dialogue is stiff (make it flow and believable)
  • Improve other main characters
  • Stop using double adjectives


Seeing that I use a few too many adjectives in a sentence, he suggests,“For f_ _ _ sake, pick one!” There you have it, some writing tips from my mentor/boss.

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