I feel as if Bev’s stories come from true Harlem Renaissance or old black Hollywood or something like that and all I can hear while reading her books is jazz from a smoky cotton club. ~ Katrina Gurl When I … Continue reading
Are you thinking about editing your own book? Here’s why you should rethink that…
A few tips by by BLAKE ATWOOD
1. You’re too emotionally connected
If you’ve ever called your book your “baby,” you’re guilty of every writer’s chief sin: love.
No, there’s nothing inherently wrong with liking, or even loving, what you’ve written. You should be proud of bringing forth meaning from a blank page. But that kind of unabashed love for what you’ve created has a dark side: Blindness.
Think about first dates and new love.
Because you’re so enamored with the other person, you tend to look past their flaws (which they’re likely doing their best to conceal, just as you are). But if that relationship lasts, those flaws become more than noticeable. They might become irritating or even cause for separation.
In time, the willing blindness of early love leads to a reality check.
When you love what you see, you don’t see what you don’t want to see. Your brain loves you too much to inflict that kind of damage upon you.
Love leads to believing your book is flawless.
2. You’re too confident
If you’ve ever typed The End with a flourish and then hit Send immediately after, you’re guilty of writer’s hubris.
While you should celebrate the completion of any piece of writing, you should also know that you’ve only just begun. You still have self-editing, editing, pitching, querying, proposing, publishing and marketing to do.
If you’re one of the fortunate few to be agented and traditionally published, your book will go through a series of tortures — er, edits — that may cause you to doubt how well you crafted that first draft.
Overconfidence leads to believing your book needs far fewer edits than it deserves.
3. You’re too insecure
In Journal of a Novel, John Steinbeck summarized a writer’s internal life so well when he wrote, “I know it is the best book I have ever done. I don’t know whether it is good enough.”
The struggle between “I’m the greatest writer who’s ever lived” and “This is drivel; I should quit writing” is real. But take heart: if even Steinbeck doubted himself during the writing of arguably his best novel, East of Eden, then it’s OK to be wary of your ability.
When you’re insecure about your book, you won’t know what needs to be kept and what needs to be discarded. Instead of thinking every word, scene and chapter are astounding, you’ll mistakenly believe that they’re all rubbish. Neither belief is true.
Insecurity leads to believing your book needs far more edits than it deserves.
4. You’re too familiar with your book
Whether you’ve been working on your book for a month, three months or three years, you know your book better than anyone else.
Even when you’re not consciously working on it, you’re subconsciously figuring it out. If you’re serious about your writing, your book becomes a permanent resident in your mind, always ready for you to pluck it from your mental shelf.
This is one reason why our books become so precious to us. They’ve been with us so long that it can be hard to separate them from our identity. But such familiarity clouds your judgment.
Put another way, how evenly do you judge family members versus those you hardly know? Your familiarity with family often allows you to judge them more harshly (or more leniently) than you would people you hardly know. A certain amount of separation allows for a more evenhanded response.
Familiarity leads to believing your book is you.
5. You’re too tired of looking at your book
Writing a good book is hard, time-consuming lonely work.
Depending on how much you’ve pressed yourself to do that work, you might be weary of reading your own words. This is no way to edit.
If you’ve ever found yourself skipping over parts during self-editing because you just want to get through that phase faster, you’re making a critical mistake.
Tiredness leads to mistakes.
6. You lack time
Proper editing requires many hours, including multiple needs to research questionable issues, like whether you’re using lie or lay correctly.
If you’re self-editing under the stress of a looming deadline, you may cause more harm to your manuscript than good. Writers hire editors who have the time and expertise to do for their manuscripts what they cannot do for themselves.
Busyness leads to shoddiness.
7. You lack expertise
I so strongly believe that every author needs an editor that it’s the subtitle of my book on editing, Don’t Fear the Reaper: Why Every Author Needs an Editor.
Regardless of your writing capabilities, you likely lack the knowledge and expertise that a professional editor accumulates through editing dozens, if not hundreds of manuscripts every year.
Steamy Trails Publishing strongly recommends having all your books professionally edited!
Download it now on AMAZON Steamy Trails Publishing, announces the much anticipated release of the book, CHAINS FALLING: 21 Poems written by Tricia St. Tricia St. John is a third time author, and poet from Tarouba, Trinidad and Tobago. At … Continue reading
10 Things for the Everyday Writer…
1. Good writers make a good first impression. They put extra effort into their introductions and first paragraphs because they want readers to read on. For example: “Because she was Chalice she stood at the front door with the Grand Seneschal, the Overlord’s agent and the Prelate, all of whom were carefully ignoring her.”— Chalice, Robin McKinley. That simple sentence took a lot of work, but it sure makes you want to find why she was carefully ignored.
2. Good writers make their endings strong, too. No one wants to read a piece that doesn’t leave them feeling fulfilled and satisfied at the end, and good writers usually pull everything together with a rewarding climax or a thoughtful summary.
3. Good writers organize their articles and stories so that readers can follow along without getting lost or confused. That might mean that a good writer writes stories with clear beginnings, middles, and ends. Blogging is a great way to keep up with story lines, intriguing your readers and keeping things fresh and current.
4. Good writers rewrite. In fact, someone once even said that good writing is bad writing that has been rewritten. It is very difficult to write something that another person can understand and enjoy, so good writers make a real effort to polish their work. Once they have a draft of what they want to say, they go back several times to add, delete, or change it so that it will be just right. Rarely are good writers happy with the first words they come up with, so good writing is rewriting.
5. Good writers don’t just tell something, they show it. A good writer doesn’t just state an opinion without real examples that reveal why he or she holds that opinion. Similarly, a good story writer doesn’t tell you that a character is unhappy, he/she shows it by perhaps having the character move sharply through a crowded room slamming the porch screen door on the way out. A writer will always reveal the feeling without just telling it.
6. Good writers use sentences that are varied and interesting. No one wants to read a paper that says, “The dog ran fast!”….” Boring! Repetition can be effective in some instances, but in this case it doesn’t work. This is better: “ The dog ran so fast past me that his wind blew the scarf right off my neck!”
7. Good writers write for the ear, not the eye. That is, a good writer tries to make sure the text would sound good if someone were to read it aloud (in fact, good writers often read their stuff aloud when they are revising just to make sure it sounds like it should). Always think as is you are writing to a blind person and you are the only one alive to properly tell the story.
8. Good writers elaborate; they try to share a lot of information and detail. Sort of like painting a picture and starting with on the leaves in the park first and you progress to the entire park.
9. Good writers get their facts right, even when they are writing fiction. It isn’t enough to sound right, it has to be right.
10. Good writers KNOW when to quit. When you’ve said what you wanted to say it’s time to stop. As for us, that’s 10 things, so we are stopping…now!
Happy writing. 🙂
In our minds, everyone should know who he is, but for formal intros…his name is Joey Pinkney. He writes and maintains JoeyPinkney.com. Featuring book reviews and interviews to create exposure for authors. Joey started his famous website in June of 2006. In the beginning, … Continue reading