Are You In Editing Mode?

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At it stands, now, I have gone through the editing process with six books. I learn more each time I get to this step in the publishing process. So, for what it’s worth, I recommend you use these people, in this order:

Do an ongoing edit of your manuscript, as you share your submissions with your critique group, chapter by chapter, from Prologue thru Epilogue.

When your book is finished, edit your manuscript yourself (at least a couple of times—more, if you are a perfectionist, like me).

Send it to your Beta Readers. They will catch a few things, too.

Send it to your Editor and make the suggested corrections.

Finally, let your Critique Group Read it in its entirety. Note: This is a new step. Here’s why I am suggesting taking the time to do this: my group accepts submissions from each other twice per month.

Often the chapters are out of order. And, because this process can take upward of one year, it is not like reading a book, chapter by chapter. They miss the flow and this especially affects the understanding of the timeline. (It isn’t their fault. These two factors make it almost impossible for them to give good feedback in this area).

If your critique group agrees to read each other’s work–all the way through, one last time–they will be able to experience your story from beginning to end and catch any glitches.

Yes, it is a bigger commitment and not for the faint of heart, but if you are truly committed to help each other be the best you can be, then the results can be of great value.

In talking with my group, they were positive about trying this approach—at least once.

I suspect it will be time well spent.

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Put It In Their Hands

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If you have seen my Facebooks ads, you know that my new book, Simon Says, is finally listed for sale on Amazon. If not, I’d like you to see the blurb from the back cover.

But first, I’d like to share with you what I learned from having Beta Readers involved as part of the final process.

Prior to the final edit,  I sent my Beta Readers the manuscript as an email attachment, along with instructions and a series of questions to focus on while they read. The majority of them read the book—in its unedited form—on their computers. One printed out all 250 pages.

I got the most useful information from the person who printed it out. She held it in her hands (most similar to reading a book) and actually marked on it, leaving comments in the margins.

I remember an author friend of mine making the suggestion several years ago that we put the manuscript on Create Space so we could actually send it to Beta Readers in book form, as proof copies. This would allow them to hold it in their hands, turn actual pages, write in it or flag pages to be referred to on the comment sheet.

At the time, I thought that was a lot of work and expense, but now I can see the value in following my friend’s suggestion. It was immediately obvious to me as I read the feedback from my Beta Readers. (I have written, previously, about the value of using Beta Readers, so if you didn’t see that blog, please retrieve it from the archives).

The reason we involve Beta Readers is so we can use their feedback to improve our final product. So, it is to our best advantage to set up the entire experience so we are able to gather the best possible information.

That being said, Here is my final product, in time for your summer reading:

Abandoned by his father at birth.

Tormented by neighborhood bullies.

Misunderstood by classmates and teachers.

Then, at seventeen, things begin to change for Marcus. 

A victim of years of rejection due to physical abnormalities and social awkwardness, he finds purpose as the result of an unlikely friendship and faith in God through the power of grace. 

But when past disappointments resurface and create roadblocks to his new life, will Marcus find the strength to extend forgiveness to those who mistreat him?

Will he finally experience the love and acceptance that has eluded him for so long?

Cooking Up A Good Story

 

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When I was a child, I had a problem with stretching the truth just a little bit, especially when doing so would help me avoid punishment from my father. When I would finish my “explanation” of events—the defense of my actions—he’d often say, “You sure cooked up a big one this time, didn’t you?”

Maybe storytelling does have some similarities to cooking.

Just this month, for example, my writing involved what one might call three culinary aspects. 

Now that I have written the last page of my next book, I am starting my rewrites. Starting on page one, I checked my list of ingredients, i.e. plot points. Were they all there? Did I add them in the correct order?

Next I trimmed the fat—those phrases, scenes, even chapters–that didn’t really go anywhere and didn’t lend to moving the story forward.

On the next run through, I focused on the spice, the sauce, asking myself if there was just enough to keep the story interesting for the reader.

After that, I closed up my file. I will let the story simmer for awhile. Although I will not actively work on it, I will use this time to let new thoughts/ideas come to the forefront, contemplating things that will improve the story and trashing those that won’t.

A few months from now, I will open the file and begin my second round of rewrites before giving it to my taste testers (beta readers) who will read it and give me their opinions which will be used for the final rewrite.

The next phase is up to the customers. Will they my latest recipe?

They say the “proof is in the pudding.”