Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Too Bee Ore Knot Two Bee...

Yep, all words were spelled correctly. Soooo, why did I put that in my title? Editing.

We all know spell-check can only aid us in our craft so much; the rest is on us lowly humans. This morning there was quite a fun conversation on Facebook started by Al Boudreau. Can you guess the topic? Yep...editing. The question of the morning (sorry, I'm not going to link to his personal FB page) was how to improve the image of Indie/Self-published work through editing.

There were quite a few great suggestions, which is what really got me thinking about this morning's blog. The first one I'll list is self-editing. Now, if you're anything like me you edit as you write, go back through each chapter as you complete it, then go through the book three to four times before releasing it into the world. And, again if you're like me, you miss several glaring mistakes. (I once used 'waste' instead of 'waist'. Kind of changes the whole theme.)

So, how does one go about hiring an editor? There is always the expensive way - search the websites. I don't know about you, but as a starving author I don't have several hundred dollars sitting around in a bank.

Another option is an English student, or even retired teacher. They'll usually work for for way less.

Or what about those editors just starting out? They're always willing to lower their prices in return for testimonial and credits.

If you're not really wanting to pay (or like me don't have an outside job), the next best option is Beta readers. What is a beta reader, you ask? A beta reader is someone, usually another writer or avid reader, who can read through your manuscript and look at it with an unbiased eye. Face it, when you read your own work your eyes will trick you into seeing words that may or may not be there.
A beta reader can not only catch mistakes you may have missed, but they can help with content editing, as well. I made the mistake of not having a content editor with my very first completed novel. Even though I'd belonged to a crit group, and had a couple of friends read through it, no one wanted to tell me a couple of parts were....well, extremely cliched!

How about using a critique group? I do have to say, though, make sure this crit group is willing to rip your work apart in order to make you a better writer. You want to be a part of a group who is willing to say, "Uh, Christy...that's so dumb. You need to change it."
Okay, maybe you don't want someone to be that rough on your work, but you get the point. You need a group who will go through your book with a fine toothed comb to get rid of all the tangles.

Another option, and one I really like, is crit groups on writer's sites. On Absolute Write there is a Share Your Work section for registered members. Don't worry, this site doesn't charge. But, you have to be registered to get the password for a couple of the forum groups. On the SYW thread you can post the first part of your work, chapter by chapter, and they will offer some great critiques.

Hopefully this post was helpful. Do you have some other ideas for perfecting your manuscript? Do you hire an editor with each book?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

At what point do we stop revising?

We all want our books to be perfect. We want every word, every sentence, every paragraph to crafted with utmost originality, the words to be spelled correctly, our grammar flawless. The novel, short story, or poem has to have some form of emotional effect on our readers, or we never feel like we've done our job.

I self-published my first completed novel last year in the Spring. At the time, I was satisfied with the end result. Since then I've pulled the book from the sales sites and began a process of rewriting. I'm quite pleased with the way the novel is going, but I began to wonder...How much is too much? At what point do we stop revising?

I know I'm not the only one who does this; I've seen countless threads on various writing sites where others advise to set the book away for a few weeks and let it marinate. But...I can't seem to make myself do that. I tend to revise each chapter after it's finished, then go back through several times. After that I give it to a few people for critiques, then back to revising again. But, even though I thought I'd done plenty of revising, I'm back to rewriting the whole damn thing.

How many times do you revise and rewrite each of your pieces of work? Do you tend to over write? Do you obsess over your novels or other pieces when you've finally put it away?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Damn Daylight Savings!

I had every intention of writing an insightful, profound blog this morning. Unfortunately, my brain and my fingers have no desire to cooperate. Therefore, you're getting a grab bag of crap.

First, my friend Christi Corbett posted a great blog this week. She felt similar when she wrote it to the way I feel this morning. Check it out here. It's got too funny videos of sh*it writers and non-writers say. Even half asleep I was giggling.

If you're feeling a little naughty head over to my good friend Mindi Ferrari's blog. She never disappoints. But beware, this is an adult blog.

So you're looking for some writing advice; head here, here, and here.

Finally, I leave you with this...

Have a great day, y'all!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Looking for some kick a$$ links? Here ya go!

I didn't get much sleep last night, but I wanted to get some writing done before I ran a butt load of errands. Did I write? Not yet. Instead, I spent time on some of my favorite sites. Then I thought, "How selfish of me?! I must share with the others!"

So, without further adieau, here are a few extremely informative sites I've found over the past few years.

Nathan Bransford's blog is chock full of great advice. Mr. Bransford is an agent turned author. While he doesn't sway readers toward any specific form of publishing he definitely gives enough insight to choose what's right for you.

The blog for Ampichellis Ebooks is another one of those "wealth of information" sites. I've had the privilege of corresponding with Mr. Brown on quite a few instances. He's extremely professional, and extremely knowledgable. He's also one of the first few agents who switched hats and went for E-publishing.

If you're ever looking for a group to share your pain, or even some really great basic writing advice, head over to Absolute Write. I tend to spend a lot of time in the Absolute Write Water Cooler. There are so many different threads; literally something for everyone!!!! Plus, there's a spiffy little thread called Share Your Work. Exactly the way it sounds. It's a critique board for those chapters, or maybe just paragraphs you need an unbiased look at.

Once you've completed, or come close to completing, your work of art, you can check out Joe Konrath's blog. I'm sure you've heard of him - the self-published author turned best seller. While he's one of the minority, he has some wonderful information for the newbie.

Now that you're ready to start querying, check out Query Shark for the do's and don'ts of query writing. If you're really brave, and have time to wait, you can send in your own query in hopes of her tearing the thing apart....or complimenting it. (Yeah, don't hold your breath) This site will show you how to format a query, what agents are generally looking for, and what not to write.

You've finished the book, and written the perfect what? Head to Preditors and Editors. This site lists agents, editors, and publishers. It also tells you who you can trust and who to run screaming from. They're on the author's side, and are there to protect us from scammers.

Okay, I think I'll go take a nap now. If I missed any important links feel free to share in the comments. Have a great day, y'all!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My top favorite cliches....

I'm an urban fantasy and paranormal romance author. But, for some reason, my darling muse has decided she would make me obsess over a YA idea - seriously?! This got me thinking about the different types of books, which then fed the research of cliches. Here are a few of my favorites (typed with a dash of sarcasm)...

1. The love triangle - The sweet, kind natured boy wants the shy girl. But, so does the bad boy. Every YA book I've read has a similar love triangle. Gotta tell you, in all my years of life I've never had this type of love triangle. Hell, I don't think I've had any type of love triangle. But, it's fiction, fantasy, make believe. Therefore, we allow it, forgive it...even crave it. Need an example? Bella, Edward, Jacob....'nuff said.

2. YA in general - Okay, not so much a cliche as a hot trend. Adults everywhere are reading YA novels, therefore, authors everywhere are punching them out. Why? Is it like reliving our teen years? Don't know about you but I have no desire to do those years again!

3. Immortal lovers - So these creatures - usually vampires, and almost always male - fall for the shy, sweet girl and pledge their everlasting love. Sooooo, this 100 something year old creature who poses as a teen falls for a teenage girl, who just happens to have the maturity to know she wants to spend the rest of eternity with said boy? Yeeeaaah....I thought I wanted to spend the rest of my life with my boyfriend at sixteen - until we broke up and I moved on. Need an example? TWILIGHT! Love the books, love the movies, love the concept, but now, every book is doing something similar.

4. Hot guy/Gorgeous girl - Really? Every main guy is studly, hot, and usaually a jock. Of course, we find out later he's actually insanely intelligent and sensitive. The other side is the female...always so beautiful, yet she thinks she's plain. And the females are almost always shy. Enough already! Not all girls are shy and awkward, regardless of age!

5. Unknown, yet useful magical talents - How the hell did you go through life not knowing you could become invisible? Why is it these talents only manifest themselves when extremely useful and convenient?

6. Happily ever after - Yeah, yeah. People want their romances to be happily ever after, or happily for now. Can't we skip the falling-in-love-in-two-days thing? Can we avoid instant attraction, fall in love at first sight, and spend all of eternity together? I've yet to meet a single person who fell in love quickly and actually lasted.

Do you have any hated cliches? Let me know if I missed any crucial ones...