You are your own worst enemy when it comes to editing. There’s a psychological term for this that escapes me right now, but it boils down to mind games. Your brain will look at errors and automatically correct them or fill in the blanks.
Can You Read This? by Chris McCarthy (Study@ecenglish.com)
I cnduo’t bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg. Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan mnid, aocdcrnig to rseecrah at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mttaer in waht oderr the lterets in a wrod are, the olny irpoamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rhgit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whoutit a pboerlm. Tihs is bucseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey ltteer by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Aaznmig, huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghhuot slelinpg was ipmorantt! See if yuor fdreins can raed tihs too.
Whether you are self-publishing or signing with a publisher, you want the best editor you can get. Constructive criticism is hard to take these days. It’s not intended to beat you down. An editor is the invisible person behind you who honestly has your best interest at heart. An editor can shape your manuscript from the ordinary to the best product possible. Yes, it can be frustrating and take a while, month and years.
But, there are options there, too. If you don’t like your editor for some reason, ask for another. You can always go out on your own, but remember good editing is expensive. Yes, your first-grade teacher or next door neighbor, friend, or spouse can always look at it, but is that in your own best interest?
You might start out with a plan, but after you write a while, your writing can take on a life of its own and lead you down another path. Don’t despair. “[T]hat’s the great thing about fiction. We use it for entertainment, and we also use it to explain and understand our lives. We only make sense of what has happened to us when we can tell it as a story. I’ve used my fiction to deal with 9/11, the War on Terror, aging, death, wealth, poverty and a host of other issues. I just happened to include the undead and werewolves and spies while I did it.
Five books in, this is the one lesson I can say I’ve learned, the one thing I can tell any aspiring writer: Write what you want. Even if it includes lizard people or Atlantis. If people don’t like what you like, write it again, and make it better until they do. But never be ashamed of your enthusiasms.”
Read more of “I dreamed of being Hemingway and ended up a pulp fiction writer” at http://nypost.com/2016/08/14/i-dreamed-of-being-hemingway%e2%80%8b%e2%80%8b-but-ended-up-a-pulp-fiction-writer/
Where is your book? The most honest answer involves a tidy arrangement of piles and piles of manuscripts. You’re in there somewhere! So how do you move to the top?
- The top of the pile often depends on genre. If I’m looking for diversification in my catalogue, I’m looking for something different. Are you different? How so?
- The top of the pile often depends on the rules. Did you read our website? Are you turning in a manuscript that meets our minimum requirements? Unreadable manuscripts are often tossed–they don’t make it to the top of the pile.
- Moving to the top involves a series of rewrites according to an editor’s direction. Even an editor gets tired of fixing the same old comma splice over and over again, so to speed up the editing process, make sure your copy is as clean as it can be.
- Editors get busy. One novel can preoccupy months of the writing process. Be prepared for delays along the way.
- If you have spent two years writing a children’s book, don’t expect an illustrator to produce visuals overnight. Technically, if it took you two years, give the illustrator two years. Most illustrators work faster than that, but remember they are trying to make a living. Perhaps they have more than one job in the works. The final tweaking can be complicated.
- Layout and typesetting also take time. It’s easy for a book to get caught up in production and design. Remember, all you started with was a manuscript, and all you wish for is a book.
Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day. The featured image says it all.
Publishing Infographic: How A Book is Born
by Madeleine Crum
If you put in about the same effort I did, you are in the try-it-again-next-year club! I haven’t succeeded yet, but I do get closer every year.
But isn’t that what writing is really about? All the time and effort is for us. It makes us a better person, we’ve (sort of) created something, and we emerge changed for the good. Writing builds character and a smug type of inner satisfaction, but the bottom line is we do it for ourselves.
Any of us who have done our time in the writing world, know that effort and willingness are certainly essentials in that world. We also know that even though the creation of the written expression is a vital component to writing, we also know that rules apply and we don’t always get it right the first time.
And then come the rewrites–tedious and meticulous rewrites. What is the exact right verb in this sentence? We write so we can rewrite and rewrite.
And that, in a nut shell, is the writing process, unless, of course, you are rich and famous.
Then your masterpiece moves quickly through the system and voilá the New York Times Best Seller List
The rest of us go round and round until we find the magic in our NaMoWriMo moment.