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Macungie, PA 18062

Website of author and professional editor Rachelle M. N. Shaw. Find information about her books, her editing services, and her blog, From Mind to Paper: On Writing and Editing.

Podcast Archive


About the Podcast

If you’ve ever binge watched a season of Worst Cooks in America, Chopped, or one of my personal favorites, The Great British Baking Show, you’re probably familiar with how diverse ingredients in the culinary world can be and how the preparation of each can elevate a dish or turn it sour.

Take onions, for example. If you stroll down the produce aisle of your local grocery store and sift through the onions, you’ll find that there are numerous types, including weird leafy things and other cousins of the plant lining the bins—everything from large, sweet onions to delicious skinny ones that have a kick. There’s even purple ones and others that look more like alien heads than they do something edible. But they all have one thing in common: they’re complex, versatile plants that have a TON of layers.

Books are a lot like that—or rather, they should be. But without depth and fine-tuning, they often fall flat and leave the reader disappointed. Nearly a million books are published each year in the U.S. alone, but so many of them sit unpurchased or gather hordes of negative reviews because of their unfortunate flaws. They have the potential to be great, but they need more polishing, more pizazz. They need to be enriched with layers.

Now, it's no surprise that this isn't an earth-shattering observation, but go with me here for a moment. What if more writers adopted this idea of layering, of developing complex plots with dynamic characters that interact with their surrounding world? What if we focused on creating books that were more than just great summer reads? My guess is we’d see an influx of phenomenal books that we couldn’t wait to read for a second, third, or fourth time—books that would touch us and have an impact in our lives. My proposal is that layers should be a staple item for writers, not something left to final touches or as a lone topping that hasn’t had time to meld with the rest of the ingredients. When layering and good writing are at the heart of a book, it shows. Those books touch us in ways that gut us, bring us to tears, and stir up our imaginations. If you’ve been paying attention, you know exactly what I’m going to say next: Good books truly are just like onions.

Podcast Episodes

Episode 1: Technical Writing and Adapting It to the World of Fiction

Episode 2: The Dos and Don’ts of Writing a First Draft

Episode 3 Writing What You Don’t Know

Have a question about writing or one of the podcast episodes?

If you have a topic you'd like to see covered or if you have any questions or suggestions about the podcast itself, I'd love to hear from you! Just fill out the form below and submit your comments. Your feedback is tremendously useful when it comes to tweaking this podcast and helping it grow. I'm still new to this whole podcast thing, so I still have a lot to learn and am open to any feedback you might have. Also, don't forget to check out my blog, where you can find articles on everything from grammar and punctuation to finding your writing voice.

Thank you for listening!

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Support This Podcast

Would you like to support this podcast by making a donation? All proceeds will be used toward producing and promoting this podcast to encourage writers and help them grow in their craft. I'm currently working on setting up a Patreon page to give you guys access to podcast extras, early drafts of my nonfiction books, and exclusive new writing tools. But until then, any amount you can offer is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Please note that all funds received will go through Rachelle M. N. Shaw Editing and Design for tax purposes. However, any donations you make will be used strictly for this podcast unless otherwise specified.