Tuesday, July 31, 2018

On Writing: 7 Years a Book

The very first book I wrote took me 4 years to complete. The second one, which is the second book in the series, took me over 7 years to complete. I know, I know, you’re asking what took me so long. Well in a nutshell, I had no idea what I was doing. I had to take the time to learn how to write. Yes, it takes time to learn the craft of writing a novel. You don’t just do it willy nilly then expect someone to read it. You have to sharpen your skills and create the best work you can. It also helps that I was not signed to a publisher or they may have dropped me like a hot potato after the first year.

Still though, I think the time I spent was well worth it. With the first book I did not plan it out at all. I just wrote from the hip and let my characters tell me where to go with the book. I rewrote it so many times though because it had to make sense as a person sits down to read it. The second book I actually plotted out with an outline and stuck to it for the most part. To that end, all the other books I have planned and started already have an outline that I will be following when it is time to finish those stories.

Now don’t get me wrong, 7 years is a long time to write a book. But, I must admit life did get in the way. I got married in 2014 however, before then I was in the most tumultuous relationship I had ever been in. The latter relationship gave me the inspiration to write a short story based on actual events. My marriage helped me finish the second novel and many of the romantic scenes are based on actual events. I did get frustrated with myself for a long time writing the second novel though because it seemed like things kept happening that would stop me from writing for months at a time. Still though, it is probably best that I am self-published so that the only person who can give me a deadline is myself.

My advice to new writers: don’t get frustrated that is taking you so long to finish one book, no matter how many pages it is. Take your time, learn what it takes to really make a quality book and get it done. Now I wouldn’t recommend taking my route, but hey what ever you feel is the best for you to do, just do it.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

On Writing: Yes, You Need an Editor

Once upon a time, I paid $800 to have my masterpiece Dimes, Profiles and Wives published through Xlibris. I was so excited to finish the book and finally have a “publisher” who wanted my work to sell to the masses. In my haste to see my piece de resistance in print, I allowed the book to be sold on the open market without any editing. That was the single worse mistake I have made thus far in my writing career.

Now granted, I wrote a compelling story worthy of four stars from reputable editorial reviewers. However, not having the work edited made a “mockery” of an otherwise good book. If I was to do it all over again the number one thing I would do is hire an editor. I didn’t know then that I could go to Fiverr and hire an editor or do what I did for my next novel, ask for recommendations in the many Facebook groups I belong to.

My editor from Critique Editing Services took my work, polished and cleaned it up so that it would be ready for readers to feast on. I know a lot of new authors believe they do not need an editor, but trust me, yes you do. If Stephen King needs an editor, so do you. If Maya Angelou needs an editor, so do you. If Zondervan Publishing needs editors to produce the most famous book on earth, you need an editor.

Why? Because you do not have the ability, expertise nor skill set to effectively and efficiently rectify errors in your own writing. You my dear will miss something as simple as the spelling of your own name or verb tense agreement if you do not hire an editor. And no, your auntie and them cannot edit your work unless they have the unique skills for the task at hand.

So, what really happens when you hire an editor. First off, they are not going to take your work and do a total rewrite of what you’ve taken so long to create. If they do, run, that’s not an editor, that’s a thief. There are four specific types of editing that you will need for different stages of your book. Those types include proofreading, line editing, copy editing and development editing. Depending on your writing level and necessary changes you should at least have a copy editor look at your work. If you know you haven’t written a solid piece, then development editing is what you will need. Finally, a proofreading and line edit will be necessary upon completion of the initial edit. I know it sounds like a lot, but a good editor will tell you what they can and cannot do and what it is they believe you need after giving you a free quote.

I will shout it until the end of my writing career: Yes, you need an editor! My advice is to go out there, after you’ve written your best work, and hire someone who you can work well with and believes in your vision. As I went through my process of editing with Critique Editing Services the relationship with my editor was friendly and we got the work done. Now I can send it on to the proofreader (another editing company) and get Love Without a Limit, Dimes, Profiles and Wives Book 2 ready for the open market.