May 17 2017

Who likes to Copyedit? Who likes to key in Copyedits? #amwriting #amediting

No one likes to copy edit, well, except those who are copy editors. Personally, I love story editing, which others call developmental editing. I like doing it for other authors and really enjoy when I get them back, ready to make the story better. But the editing after that? Just shoot me.

My process is simple. I write. I rewrite. I print and read. I rewrite. I send to beta readers. I rewrite. I send to a trusted beta editor. I rewrite. Then I send to a copy editor. I get it back, make changes that I agree with, then I print and go through again, where I find other mistakes. I red pen it, then key in the changes. The lovely thing about digital publishing is I can make those changes right up till the last minute (3 days before release day). So, this is what I did today.

Yep. That’s what final edits look like. And it took two days to key in all those changes. This is for DEADLY SEDUCTION which comes out 23 May 2017.

This is what after edits look like…

And tomorrow I will start on a read and rewrite of the first book in THE OMEGA TEAM: The Lighthouse. The first book in the SARICH BROTHERS series. This book comes out 19 June 2017.

As soon as I finish that one…on to finishing up WHEN A STRANGER CALLS while plotting either the first Adirondack book….OR I had an idea on a fireman series.

What do you think I should write?

April 12 2017

What makes a good Critique Partner? #amwriting

Critique partners and Beta Readers are always a big topic among writers. I highly recommend them for new writers…but it’s difficult to find the right ones.

Beta readers are those people who read for story. Does it flow. Do the characters seem real. In general, they give you a one page opinion piece of your story. That’s really hard for writers to do because as we read, and we see the mistakes we ourselves make, we are dying to point them out, which can cause a different set of problems.

I love working with other writers, so I usually have a couple I critique with and some I brainstorm with, and I don’t always use the same ones, because its always good to change it up, but I’m careful who I work with and do a little interview and sample critique with each other. Why?

Well, I have some issues with critique groups. First one is what is constructive criticism?

The business dictionary defines it as: A recommended set of instructions that aims to collaboratively improve the overall quality of a product or service. Often containing helpful and specific suggestions for positive change, constructive criticism is highly focused on a particular issue or set of issues, as opposed to providing general feedback on the item or organization as a whole.

No where in that definition does it state you need to say nice things. But it does say “positive change”. I think this is key. I’ve sat in too many groups where you have to come up with something nice. Well, sure, if something is great and you love something in someone else’s writing, yes, state it. But how can you improve the overall quality when you don’t focus on specific problems.

We all have strengths and weakness in our writing and it’s important to define them and understand them. I’m really good at coming up with a killer twist at the end of a book, but sometimes it comes at the cost of proper character development.

I also struggle to write women,  but men? Easy-peasy.

Once we get that draft down and have lived with these people for months and we’ve written, rewritten, wrote more, read and reread, we can’t see the little mistakes we make. I have this horrible habit of starting chapters with three paragraphs of omniscient voice, which in my books feels passive. It’s a subconscious thing I do to ground me in the scene, but I don’t recognize it most of the time in rewrites.

A good critique partner will listen to me when I tell her want I’m looking for and point them out, offering suggestions. This is a positive thing. As a writer, I need to decide if its something that needs changing. Ha! No one likes change. But remember, these are specific problems. Not a general feel for the book (that would be the beta readers job).

When you find the right partner, you’ll know it because you’ll be excited to see what they have to say, even though you know some of it might hurt. You’ll also start seeing the mistakes as you write, which will make your writing stronger.

The art of writing is a continual process… go write something today!