A Writer's Life

I'm Rebecca Mahoney, a freelance journalist, fiction writer & manuscript editor who likes to chat about books & writing, share editing tips, and muse about the freelance life. Visit my full website at rebeccamahoney.com.

What aspiring authors can learn from the self-publishing success of “The Martian”

If you follow book chatter, chances are you’ve heard about a sci-fi novel called “The Martian” in the last few months. Indie booksellers have been buzzing for a while about … Continue reading

06/04/2015 · 1 Comment

Taking action: How one writer’s smart strategies helped her write & sell her first novel

If I had a dime for every story I’ve heard about a writer getting rejected, a book that never sold, a manuscript that languished on a shelf for years—well, I’d … Continue reading

05/28/2015 · 1 Comment

Hoping to publish? Don’t skip the beta read

The email began, as so many seem to do these days, with a confession: “Nobody else has read my manuscript. I’ve been working on it for the past two years, … Continue reading

05/22/2015 · 1 Comment

Refilling our creative reservoirs

Recently, I took a rare morning off and drove to Boston to visit the New England Aquarium. Though it was Saturday, I felt guilty as I drove down there, like … Continue reading

02/15/2015 · 3 Comments

Tracking your drafts: Why version control is one of the most overlooked but critical aspects of writing

We’ve all been there: We’re editing our manuscript and decide a scene is just not working. So we delete it, move on, rewrite, revise—and then suddenly realize we need that original scene … Continue reading

08/24/2014 · Leave a comment

The 8 reasons why most business documents fail (and how to fix that)

Proposals. White papers. Case studies. Newsletters. They’re a part of every company’s communication strategy. But how many people are actually reading these reports? If you’re making one of these eight mistakes, … Continue reading

06/27/2014 · Leave a comment

The big writing secret you need to know if you want to sell your book.

I love language. Most writers do, I think. We love playing with words, manipulating prose, casting metaphors and painting imagery. We love making the words dance on the page. We … Continue reading

06/13/2014 · Leave a comment

Why writing rules should be broken

Every year or so, I re-read a particular book I love: “The Condition,” by Jennifer Haigh. If you’re not familiar with the book, it’s an adult contemporary novel about a … Continue reading

03/07/2014 · Leave a comment

The most critical element of a successful novel

When I was a journalist, I was an observer. My job was to notice people’s actions and reactions, what they said and where they were, and report those details in … Continue reading

07/25/2013 · 3 Comments

Why you shouldn’t wait until you’re done writing to hire an editor

Last week, a writer-friend sent me his manuscript to edit. At 146,000 words, it was his opus and his albatross – a book he’d taken eight years to write, starting … Continue reading

07/11/2013 · 7 Comments