Saturday, August 1, 2009

What this Blog is About

So, what's a book doctor anyway?

A book doctor is an editor.

This is a place where we book doctors meet our patients—that is, your manuscripts. If you have questions about the craft, need to bounce a sentence or a few paragraphs off on us, feel free to do so. We're here to help authors become better writers.

A doctor is someone a patient should trust. It can be daunting handing your babies over for us to dissect and evaluate. But our goal is to present your words with a makeover that shines.

Between checkups, we'll discuss home remedies: Topics such as how to hook your readers, showing vs. telling, passive voice, how to properly use attributions, characterization, plot, etc. And, Sandi's favorite subject: alternative medicine (how to break the rules).

So, send us your questions, your sentences, and your paragraphs (no more than 500 words). We'll use our expertise to make it a worthwhile checkup. We might also ask you to chime in with your thoughts!

Please send submissions to


  1. Children's chapter book - this is the first of what I am ambitiously calling a series. I'm new at this and praying hard to get it right. Any suggestions, please be honest. thanks,

    So, first day of second grade everything started out great, and then we went outside for recess. My school is not close to any large cities. It’s clean and quiet, which is great, but kinda boring sometimes.
    “I’m free,” I yelled. I ran around the playground, pretending I was driving a train around and around.
    “Choo Chooooo”. I was going around the playground equipment, under the slide, between the swings, and scuffing through the tan bark.
    I loved trains; I had a big collection at home, with engines, and cars and a caboose. It felt so good just to run and move and laugh without someone telling me to be still or be quiet.
    “If you don’t behave you’ll get three checks and I’m emailing your mother,” the teacher would tell me every day.
    But outside there were so many things to do and look at. I could run, move, and talk loud. I was free.
    “Humph”. What was that? Oh, it was Jordan’s foot. I had accidentally tripped over it. I guess I wasn’t looking where I was going.
    When I looked into those little beady eyes of Jordan’s, I saw that he didn’t accidentally stick his foot out, he did it on purpose. My grandpa said if someone hits you; hit ‘em back.
    “I saw you Jordan, take that,” I said as I got up and then pushed him to the ground.
    Before he could get up Ms Spencer was there.
    “Harry,” she said, “when we go inside, give yourself a check.” She seemed mad.
    “Yes Ms Spencer,” hanging my head, I saw it had begun already.
    “But he started it,” I said under my breath. I didn’t expect to be heard.

    The next check that day was during circle time. Sue Palmer, who was sitting next to me on the floor kicked me when she crossed her legs, we were doing, ‘criss cross, apple sauce’. She didn’t mean to, so I didn’t say anything.
    Then Jordan, who was sitting on the other side of me, put his big, old, shoes on my new, clean pants.
    I told him, “Move your big, old, dirty, shoes, Jordan,”
    He just laughed and turned his head, but kept his shoes on me.
    So what was I suppose to do? I pushed his big, old, dirty, shoes off my pants.
    Well, Ms Spencer saw me and gave me a check, which made two.
    What’s a guy to do?
    So the year went from a possibility of something good, to the same as every year for me in school.

    But I learned that I had to figger this out myself. It took me awhile. From Kindergarten to second grade, it meant a whole lot of emails sent home.

  2. Hi, Princess:

    If you're the daughter of the King, that would make you a princess, right?

    Just wanted to let you know, we got your submission. We'll likely get it put up sometime next week. :-)