At Christmas I gifted myself a 100-page edit of my completed novel from a pro. Money well spent.
A few things that I’ve learned:
- I’m not an editor. I’m a writer.
- You can spend a LOT of time doing edits, but an editor will still find a LOT of things that need editing
- You can be a good writer and still have the occasional dangling participle, misspelling, and other ‘amateur’ errors
- Research the editor in advance. This is expensive.
- If you can afford a full novel edit, do it.
- Learn from your editor. My editor’s notes were very specific. I can use what I learned to polish the rest of my novel. (The second best option if you can’t afford the full edit)
- There will be a LOT of deleting suggested. It’s hard to get rid of large sections of something you worked so hard on. Remember you have paid an expert to make your novel better. Do what the editor suggests. Take a deep breath. Now re-read what’s left. You might be surprised that less (really is) more
- Take your time doing the edits. I’m SO ready to query this novel. I have reminded myself several times to slow down. This is part of the process and it takes time. Don’t query until the novel is as good as it can be.
- Your editor should allow you to email and ask questions about the edits. This should be included in your cost. But be patient, you’re not the only person sending your editor emails.
- Don’t take it personal. You hired this person to find mistakes, not point out how great you are. If your editor is nice, he/she will throw in the occasional ‘I like what you did here’, but the majority of the notes will be pointing out mistakes or places that need improvement.
- Smile. You completed a novel! Whether it’s your first or 10th, it was a lot of work and you persevered. Good job! Go eat some chocolate, you earned it.
I’ve been a little brain dead since completing my third novel, Cadet. I have allowed myself a few weeks of separation with the novel and am excited to get started on the query process.
I’ve decided that the query adventure is similar to starting a new workout program. If you’re like me, you send out one or two queries at a time and then take a deep breath and wait a few days. Then you open up your query letter and tweak it (again) and send out another query and wait.
When I started the last workout program, T25 this time, I had a similar routine. I assessed the existing material (butt and thighs) and dove into one or two workouts and then reassessed. I did a few more workouts and waited a few days before re-evaluating.
I’m still waiting for some shrinkage to occur (c’mon Shaun T, we’re friends by now aren’t we?) but I persist through squat after squat and DVD after DVD and tell myself to be patient. It will happen.
I will be reminding myself to do the same once I hit the first ‘send’ with my query. Be patient. It will happen.
In the meantime, keep on writing:) And exercising!
I have no GOOD excuse for my lengthy absence but I do have excuses…which I will keep to myself.
Down to business. The important thing is that I have returned and the essence of my blog has not changed. I write. I exercise.
I have completed my third novel! Can I hear a Yay? Thank you.
I finished the T25 series. Can I hear another Yay? Thank you. (Is he gay? Does it matter? Do I care? I can’t decide…)
I have patted myself on the back thoroughly for both and moved on. I’m here to encourage you to do the same. Find a way to balance exercise and writing and you will experience happiness (and fulfillment) in both.
Some things to think about…Should I sign up for yet another 1/2 marathon?…Should I try 1st person POV for my next novel? (I’ve always done third)…Why is it taking so long for the next season of Inkmaster?…Just how long is a ‘brief’ synopsis?…When is it going to warm up outside???
Inkmaster (Spike TV) is down to three artists, Shane, Tommy, and James. If you like edgy reality TV with a creative element then you’ve got to check out this show. Like all reality TV show contests, the competitors are faced with a ‘challenge’ and then judged and weeded down to the best of the best in some category, resulting in an eventual winner of some elaborate prize appropriate to their expertise. Inkmaster is looking for the best tattoo artist in the country. A great show! Especially if you don’t mind a little foul language (more bleeping out of dislogue than actual dialogue, at times) and a lot of ego.
It occurred to me that writing is like the art of tattooing. Tatoo artists have their strengths, some specialize in realism, while others are stronger in 3D, black and white or traditional, more simplistic tattooing. Writers have their strengths as well. I find that I’m better at the character development of my protagonist and have to focus more energy (and editing) on bringing out the secondary characters and subplots. I also find it challenging to create strong settings.
Unlike a tatoo artist that can have a successful career in one area of expertise; writers (excluding nonfiction authors) have to overcome their weaknesses to create a well-rounded novel.
My point, WRITING IS HARD! It’s not for everyone. Give yourself a pat on the back if you worked on your writing project today!
Keep up the good work!
Quality control: I do not mean to imply that tattooing is anything less than difficult. I, for one, have the utmost respect for anyone that can do any form of illustrations at all. Furthermore, I have serious plans to make a future appointment with one of the Inkmaster pros to add to my personal tattoo collection!
Did you enter Amazon’s 2012 Breakthrough Novel contest?
I made it through to the second round in the young adult fiction category. Check it out! If you didn’t enter this year, be on the lookout for the contest in 2013.
Enter a contest! It’s a great way to kick yourself into action at the keyboard!
Keep on writing!
What are you passionate about? What makes you really happy? What makes you laugh? Cry?
If a reader doesn’t have a strong emotional connection with your novel (preferably early on) then you’ve probably lost them.
The emotional response doesn’t have to be with the protagonist. It might be with a secondary character, the setting, or the plot that makes your reader care about what happens next but the reader needs to feel something to want to keep reading.
I find that reflecting on what elicits strong emotional responses in myself is a good reminder of some of the emotions that I’m seeking to tap in to in my readers.
Here’s a brief list of a few things (in no particular order) that I’m emotional about :
10)Friends that make you laugh so hard you risk peeing in your pants (thank you, Michelle!)
This list focuses on things that I have a positive response about (Alas, I’d be much thinner if cheese made me sad…) but you could just as easily create a list of things that make you angry, sad, or afraid. Consider why each thing makes you feel a certain way. (Notice my ‘regular’ job didn’t make this list…hmmm…).
Take a moment to think about the things that you’re passionate about in your every day life. Then apply some emotion to your writing.
Did you survive the holiday marathon?
Thanksgiving begins the holiday trifecta that doesn’t end until January 2. How do you feel? Exhausted? Satisfied? Excited for the new year? For me it’s a yes, yes and yes.
I’m happy to have dedicated the last two months to my family and now I’m ready to get back to work. November and December are the months when I allow myself more time for reading and any short stories I may be working on, and step away from any novel projects. In January I resume work on my novel with new eyes. It’s exciting to get back to work.
Do I have any writing resolutions for 2012? Of course! Write more! There are details that go with that resolution but I haven’t decided exactly how high I want to set the bar yet.
What about you? How do you manage your writing time during the holidays? Any writing resolutions for 2012? Share them! Write them down!
Any advice for 2012? If you don’t already incorporate exercise into your writing routine then make 2012 the year that you do!! You won’t regret it! I’m off to spend the next hour with Tony Horton. The verdicts still out on P90X2 but so far it’s fun…and hard! My favorite exercise combination!
Keep on Writing!