Free Writing Class – 5 Things To Focus On During Editing

Free Writing Class – 5 Things To Focus On During Editing

 

free creative writing class

I recently discovered a valuable Instagram account that offers free writing classes, writing prompts, giveaways, support and community, and other resources. It’s called YouAreHereWriters, and I was honored to teach a 10-minute self-editing class on their IGTV channel.

free writing classes

In my mini writing class, I shared five tips to help you whip your manuscript into shape. My tips centered around:

1. Point of View

2. Setting

3. Emotions

4. Passive Words

5. Crutch Words

If you browse through the channel’s past free writing classes, you’ll find workshops on topics such as historical research, writing book recommendations, handling rejection, dictating your draft, book marketing, book launches, writing from both sides of the brain, researching and writing nonfiction, getting published in magazines, and much more. What a gold mine of free content!

Here is the link to my mini free writing class on IGTV.

If you’d like to take another free class, be sure to sign up for my course Line Editing Made Simple: 5 Days to More Polished Pages. It features bite-sized concepts and assignments to help you kick-start your line editing.

 

Unique Marketing Tool For Authors And Businesses

Unique Marketing Tool For Authors And Businesses

author giveaway ideas

Are you a business owner seeking unique promotional items to distribute at conferences and trade shows? Are you an author looking for swag to hand out at booksignings and conventions? I’ve got a neat marketing tool idea for you to consider: a USB business card from USB Memory Direct.

The company approached me about sending free flash drives printed with either my logo or a book cover in exchange for a review and blog post. I eagerly accepted this opportunity as I was scheduled to lead a self-editing workshop at a writers’ conference and wanted to offer items for the goodie bags.

Many writers give out bookmarks, postcards, and business cards at conferences and signings, but I wanted something more memorable. USB Memory Direct specializes in custom-printed flash drives, which can be an effective marketing tool due to their recognizable shape and large print area. When I described the flash drives to one of the conference organizers, she loved the idea. Paper swag tends to get thrown out, but a flash drive is a practical and useful memento.

marketing tool

How Can A Flash Drive Be A Marketing Tool?

Credit card flash drives are a great choice for artists and professionals alike. These flash drives fit into a wallet or purse, and can be printed across the entire surface of the card using the company’s high quality full color printing process. You can print it like a promotional flyer or like a business card complete with your contact information for easy reference. The company can also offer data preloading of your documents, portfolio, or media.

USB Memory Direct has several options for business card flash drives such as card-tab, round card flip, card flip, card spin, compact card flip (great for keychains),  and card twist. You can see examples of each option on the company’s website. In addition, they offer wooden USB drives in different grains and colors, including one style that resembles a book.

USB Memory Direct also offers classic compact flash drive styles, USB wristband/flash drive bracelets, leather USB flash drives, USB pens, and printed power banks. All can be customized to promote your brand.

Review

I found USB Memory Direct efficient and pleasant in their communications. They helped me select a flash drive style, asked me to send a high-resolution image, and e-mailed me digital samples so I could see how it looked. I chose to send the Shortcuts for Writers logo, but using one of my book covers would have been another option.

My flash drives were the compact card flip style which features a flip out USB drive, helping to protect the data from everyday wear.

They arrived extremely well packaged, each flash drive in its own clear plastic wrapper. I was impressed by the sleek design, and the printed logo came out great. They company was even able to put my website on the back.

author giveaway ideas

Unfortunately, the pandemic led to the cancellation of the conference where I planned to give these out. I’m eager to distribute the flash drives in the future and am certain they will be well-received. They would also be nice for giveaways; for example, an author could pre-load the flash drive with an e-book, short story, or bonus content, and there would still be plenty of room for the recipient’s own files.

In addition to distributing the flash drives at conferences, I will likely give some to my editing clients. These flash drives are definitely a unique and useful promotional product, and I recommend checking them out. For more information, visit the USB Memory Direct website. And if you like the design of the Shortcuts for Writers flash drives pictured above, here is the link to the compact card flip style.

 

3 Ways To Get Unstuck While Writing Your Memoir

3 Ways To Get Unstuck While Writing Your Memoir

writing your memoir

If you’re seeking tips on writing your memoir, then you’ll enjoy this guest post by Danielle Perlin-Good. Danielle, a book coach, editor, and online marketing strategist, works with many authors who are writing their memoirs. In the below article, she outlines three ways to get unstuck while writing your memoir.

We all have a small, pestering voice that can lead us on a downward spiral. That voice can dictate our choices in life, how we manage our time, and how we tackle our limiting beliefs. By allowing this voice to come in and create our reality, we diminish our courage, confidence, pride, and joy. We ultimately cannot become our best selves. Realizing that this little voice exists, however, is the key to discovering how you’ll be able to start writing your first memoir.

Tackle Your Limiting Beliefs

Many aspiring authors cite that the reason for writer’s block, and the reason that one gets “stuck,” is due to fear—the fear of failing, the fear of being judged, the fear of nobody reading your work, or the fear of finding success. Ask yourself if fear is truly preventing you from reaching your goals. In order to tackle these limiting beliefs about yourself, you need to first acknowledge that you have limiting beliefs.

Next, identify your limiting beliefs. Finally, take responsibility for these limiting beliefs. Instead of saying to yourself, “I am not a good writer. I am never going to publish my book,” change the narrative and say, “I can become a better writer. I will publish my book!” When you cannot take responsibility for these thoughts, you are unconsciously telling yourself that you do not deserve to reach your goals. In order to make room to write your memoir, you must learn how to listen to the positive, encouraging voice inside of yourself. 

Read Memoirs

If you’ve gotten to the point where you can be in a positive headspace, but you’re still having trouble telling your story, I suggest reading memoirs. Here’s a short list of my personal favorites: (click the title to see it on Amazon.)

The differences between these memoirs in particular are quite staggering. You’ll notice that while some of them discuss the author’s life chronologically, none of them would be considered an autobiography. While an autobiography is able to chronicle one’s life story from birth to old age, memoir is simply a piece of one’s life wrapped up, smoothed over, and glistening to give to an eager reader. By reading more memoirs, you’ll become more familiar with the different ways in which you could write your own memoir. 

Think About Your Readership

You’re ultimately making an argument in your memoir about an event or a circumstance that took place in your life. Consider what you learned during this particular time, and show us how you made your way through. Tell us what choices you made, and how you came to decide upon those choices. Make sure that you include transcendence as well—was it one particular piece of advice, one afternoon, or the day someone handed you a baseball? What was the moment that changed the course of your life, and why should your readership care about this? Once you ask yourself these questions, you’ll have a much clearer picture as to how you can begin structuring your memoir. 

Danielle’s Bio

Growing up Jewish, Danielle was always extremely interested in familial history, ancestry, and her roots. She loves helping others share their family’s history and showcase it to the world. She firmly believes in telling stories of the past so future generations can learn from trials and tribulations. Danielle worked at a children’s publishing company as the social media coordinator for over three years, several Chicago-area newspaper companies, and has helped numerous small businesses with their digital marketing efforts. She has more than 12 years of writing experience and has a BS in News-Editorial Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In her free time, Danielle enjoys swimming, practicing yoga, being outside, and spending time with her husband and their baby boy.

Apply to work with Danielle

Website

Unleash My Book Facebook Group 

Free Workshop On Journaling Benefits & Tips

Free Workshop On Journaling Benefits & Tips

Kat Caldwell, the author of Write Your Life: More Than Just A Journal, will present a short workshop on the benefits of journaling April 2 at 7 p.m. EST in the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group. She will discuss her path down the road of journaling, why she became so ardent about it, and why she thinks you should journal as well. For those who listen to the video, there are some goodies at the end.

It’s not necessary to attend live as the replay wil be available to group members in Unit 8. If you’d like to chat with Kat in the comments live, she will be there from 7-7:30 p.m. EST to answer questions. You need to be a member of the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group to attend. If you’re not a member, you can request to join the group here. Be sure to answer the membership questions.

Kat is a writer of historical fiction and fantasy fiction. She is not only passionate about writing the stories that come into her head, but also that other people write the story of their lives. She hosts a podcast for creatives and their businesses called Pencils & Lipstick and hopes to come out with her contemporary novel in the fall of 2020.

You can find her at:
https://katcaldwell.com/
https://www.instagram.com/katcaldwell.author/
https://www.facebook.com/katcaldwellauthor/

On Kat’s website, there is a Free Quarantine journaling bundle right at the top menu. You can also sign up for her journaling prompt newsletter here. If you are interested in more journaling prompts, be sure to follow her on Instagram as she posts different ones there.

Podcast

Kat also interviewed me recently on the Pencils & Lipstick podcast. The first 40 minutes discuss the ups and downs of my writing journey and what led me to this point in my career, and then for the rest of the podcast we talk about my online course Book Editing Blueprint and the common mistakes that writers make.

You can listen to our interview here.

Pencils&Lipstick is for anyone who is a writer, reader, or looking for encouragement to develop their creativity. Kat interviews writers, entrepreneurs, artists, and many others. You’ll get audio samples of new books coming out, and she tackles life issues that plague us all. You can also join her Pencils&Lipstick Facebook group, a growing community where creatives come together to encourage and connect.

Journaling Books

benefits of journaling

Here are a couple of Kat’s journaling books.

Write Your Life: More Than Just A JournalSometimes we can get into a rut when chronicling our lives. That’s why Kat wanted to make something where you could fill in some fun details about yourself without interrupting your personal journaling flow. This journal contains lined pages with prompts scattered throughout. Prompts like: what are your favorite foods now? What music are you into? Has the genre changed over the years?

journaling tips

Push a Pencil: 40 Prompts to Further Develop Your Creative Writing – This isn’t just a book of writing prompts; this is a writing journal. With fun, descriptive ideas, space to write, and examples, this is a book you can take and use anywhere. The prompts range from a character waking up in a trench in WWI to a spell causing your character to speak as they write on social media. Cultivate Your Writing Craft is great for any writer, no matter what the experience, to get their creative juices flowing. Cultivate your craft using characters you already created or make up new ones. Use this book in a writing group and compare with your writing friends. Your imagination is endless, but sometimes you need a new idea to grow a story from. Use these prompts as a way to start a new story or add to one you already have.

Remember to check out the Shortcuts for Writers group so you can watch Kat’s workshop on journaling benefits and tips.

Get Some Book Publishing Tips On The Boss Lady Investor Podcast

Get Some Book Publishing Tips On The Boss Lady Investor Podcast

Are you ready to write a book but don’t know where to start? Are you wondering about the pros and cons of traditional vs. indie book publishing? Do you want to gain some book marketing tips so that you can increase your royalties?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then I invite you to listen to my interview on The Boss Lady Investor Podcast. Host Krista Goodrich interviewed me about the inspiration for my books as well as the ins and outs of writing, publishing, and marketing. We discussed lots of book publishing tips to help new writers as well as experienced authors.

boss lady investor

Krista is the author of the book, The Boss Lady Investor: You Don’t Need a D!*k to Understand Money. If Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad and Rachel Hollis’s Girl Wash Your Face had a baby, this book would be it! This hilarious take on personal finance for women will get you learning and laughing at the same time. Ready to get out of debt? Grow your retirement? Increase your savings? Build a life of wealth, so you can do the things you REALLY want to do? The Boss Lady Investor: You Don’t Need a D!*K to Understand Money is the go-to book for women looking to understand personal finance, saving, debt, investing, real estate, and more. 

This entertaining and relatable book explains, from a woman’s point-of-view, how to understand the stock market, plan for the unexpected, and build yourself to a level of wealth beyond your wildest dreams. Jam-packed with ideas, information, and real-life examples, The Boss Lady Investor will get you started on your way to financial freedom. Want to have a wildly successful life? Then get ready to dive into this book and take the reins on your financial future.

You can tune in to The Boss Lady Investor Podcast to hear sneak peeks of chapters from the book, interviews with down-to-earth Boss Ladies, and all the great advice and tips Krista couldn’t fit into the book.

My episode, #24, will motivate you to get out there and write if that is what your heart desires. It will also give you my candid feedback on where to go for support, book promotion tips, and how to deal with rejection. Listen here.

Hope you find these book publishing tips helpful!

Tour The Book Editing Blueprint Classroom

Tour The Book Editing Blueprint Classroom

Take a tour of the online course BOOK EDITING BLUEPRINT: A STEP-BY-STEP PLAN TO MAKING YOUR NOVELS PUBLISHABLE.

In Book Editing Blueprint, your mission is to learn how to do a thorough developmental, line edit, and copyedit and to create a solid action plan. By the end of this 10-module, self-paced course, you’ll have prepared a detailed editorial report and will be armed with a simple self-editing checklist to guide you through your revisions. It’s a proven system that outlines what every fiction and creative nonfiction author should do before approaching an editor. That way when you’re ready to hire a freelance editor, you’ll get much more value for your money and should receive a high level edit rather than one filled with general beginner advice.

In this video, I’ll show you what the classroom looks like and give a quick overview of each lesson.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: http://shortcutsforwriters.thinkific.com/courses/book-editing-blueprint-a-step-by-step-plan-to-make-your-novel-publishable

Please SUBSCRIBE and click the bell to get notifications.

****
I’m a fiction author, award-winning journalist, freelance developmental editor, and the founder of Shortcuts for Writers. My motto is “Let’s make editing simple,” and my signature course is Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable. I’ve taught workshops for organizations including Savvy Authors, RWA, and Sisters in Crime.

GET MY FREE 5-DAY LINE EDITING CLASS:

JOIN THE SHORTCUTS FOR WRITERS FACEBOOK GROUP AND DOWNLOAD THE INTERACTIVE TOOLKIT, 7 SIMPLE STEPS TO NAILING YOUR BOOK BLURB: https://www.facebook.com/groups/shortcutsforwriters/

DEVELOPMENTAL EDITING SERVICES: https://www.shortcutsforwriters.com/editing-service/

BOOK EDITING BLUEPRINT: A STEP-BY-STEP PLAN TO MAKING YOUR NOVELS PUBLISHABLE: http://shortcutsforwriters.thinkific.com/courses/book-editing-blueprint-a-step-by-step-plan-to-make-your-novel-publishable

FIND MY BOOKS: https://stacyjuba.com/blog/store/

CHECK OUT MY WEBSITES AND BLOGS:
FOR READERS: http://www.stacyjuba.com
FOR WRITERS: http://www.shortcutsforwriters.com
FOR ICE HOCKEY FAMILIES: http://www.hockeyrivalsbooks.com

SAY HI ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stacy-Juba/100155471301
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/stacy_juba/
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/stacyjuba
PINTEREST: http://pinterest.com/stacyjuba/

Please like and share this video with any writers who might be interested!

#writing #writers #writingtips

How To Edit Dialogue: Free Lesson From Book Editing Blueprint

How To Edit Dialogue: Free Lesson From Book Editing Blueprint

Find out the most common dialogue mistakes that plague fiction writers in this sample video from the online course Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable.

The video discusses how to edit speech length, dialogue punctuation, contractions, speech tags, and other elements of dialogue.

This video is excerpted from BOOK EDITING BLUEPRINT: A STEP-BY-STEP PLAN TO MAKING YOUR NOVELS PUBLISHABLE: In Book Editing Blueprint, your mission is to learn how to do a thorough developmental, line edit, and copyedit and to create a solid action plan. By the end of this 10-module, self-paced course, you’ll have prepared a detailed editorial report and will be armed with a simple self-editing checklist to guide you through your revisions.

It’s a proven system that outlines what every fiction and creative nonfiction author should do before approaching an editor. That way when you’re ready to hire a freelance editor, you’ll get much more value for your money and should receive a high level edit rather than one filled with general beginner advice.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: http://shortcutsforwriters.thinkific.com/courses/book-editing-blueprint-a-step-by-step-plan-to-make-your-novel-publishable

Please SUBSCRIBE and click the bell to get notifications.

****

I’ve written sweet and sassy chick lit novels, mysteries about determined women sleuths, and books for young adults and children including my popular Hockey Rivals series. My first novel, Face-Off, was originally published when I was 18 years old. In addition to writing books, I’m a freelance editor, online writing instructor, and an award-winning journalist.

FIND MY BOOKS: https://stacyjuba.com/blog/store/

CHECK OUT MY WEBSITES AND BLOGS:
FOR READERS: http://www.stacyjuba.com
FOR WRITERS: http://www.shortcutsforwriters.com
FOR ICE HOCKEY FAMILIES: http://www.hockeyrivalsbooks.com

SAY HI ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stacy-Juba/100155471301
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/stacy_juba/
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/stacyjuba
PINTEREST: http://pinterest.com/stacyjuba/

#dialogue #writing #writingtips

SURVEY RESULTS: Discover the Biggest Writing & Editing Struggles

SURVEY RESULTS: Discover the Biggest Writing & Editing Struggles

This video was originally created for the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group and shares the results of a survey I did. In that survey, I asked writers what editing issues gave them the most trouble and what MUST be included in my course Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable.

Want to know what your fellow writers think about editing? Watch this 14-minute video for a fascinating look at what writers are struggling with in their manuscripts. We talk about expense, common technique pitfalls, time management, and more. If you think you’re alone with your writing and editing struggles, you’re not!

I used the results of this survey to help me create my online course BOOK EDITING BLUEPRINT: A STEP-BY-STEP PLAN TO MAKING YOUR NOVELS PUBLISHABLE.

In Book Editing Blueprint, your mission is to learn how to do a thorough developmental, line edit, and copyedit and to create a solid action plan. By the end of this 10-module, self-paced course, you’ll have prepared a detailed editorial report and will be armed with a simple self-editing checklist to guide you through your revisions. It’s a proven system that outlines what every fiction and creative nonfiction author should do before approaching an editor. That way when you’re ready to hire a freelance editor, you’ll get much more value for your money and should receive a high level edit rather than one filled with general beginner advice.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: http://shortcutsforwriters.thinkific.com/courses/book-editing-blueprint-a-step-by-step-plan-to-make-your-novel-publishable

Please SUBSCRIBE and click the bell to get notifications.

****
I’m a fiction author, award-winning journalist, freelance developmental editor, and the founder of Shortcuts for Writers. My motto is “Let’s make editing simple,” and my signature course is Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable. I’ve taught workshops for organizations including Savvy Authors, RWA, and Sisters in Crime.

GET MY FREE 5-DAY LINE EDITING CLASS: http://shortcutsforwriters.thinkific.com/courses/book-editing-blueprint-a-step-by-step-plan-to-make-your-novel-publishable

JOIN THE SHORTCUTS FOR WRITERS FACEBOOK GROUP AND DOWNLOAD THE INTERACTIVE TOOLKIT, 7 SIMPLE STEPS TO NAILING YOUR BOOK BLURB: https://www.facebook.com/groups/shortcutsforwriters/

DEVELOPMENTAL EDITING SERVICES: https://www.shortcutsforwriters.com/editing-service/

FIND MY BOOKS: https://stacyjuba.com/blog/store/

CHECK OUT MY WEBSITES AND BLOGS:
FOR READERS – http://www.stacyjuba.com
FOR WRITERS: http://www.shortcutsforwriters.com
FOR ICE HOCKEY FAMILIES: http://www.hockeyrivalsbooks.com

SAY HI ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stacy-Juba/100155471301
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/stacy_juba/
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/stacyjuba
PINTEREST: http://pinterest.com/stacyjuba/

Please like and share this video with any writers who might be interested!

#revising
#Writing
#Writers

Affordable Book Editing Blueprint Course On How To Revise A Novel

Affordable Book Editing Blueprint Course On How To Revise A Novel

how to write a successful book online writing class

You know that feeling of overwhelm when you think of how to revise your novel? Where you wish an editor could sit over your shoulder and keep you from making a ton of time-wasting mistakes? You see the big picture but worry about how to get there. How do you get your book ready for publication or submission to an agent?

Today is the LAST day you need to feel that overwhelm about how to revise a novel. My online course Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable is now available. If you’re a beginner or intermediate writer, then this course may be the solution you’ve been waiting for to reach the next level in your writing journey. 

Sign up here.  

Why I Created A Course On How To Revise A Novel

As a developmental editor, I kept seeing my clients make the same mistakes. I knew there had to be a way to break down the editing process into simple steps. I thought about what helped me to tackle my own rewrites and what issues plagued my clients, leading me to create a self-paced online course that streamlines the editing process.

Freelance editing is expensive, and I hate that as an author. But as an editor, I now know that editing someone’s manuscript is hard, time-consuming work. When you don’t charge enough, freelance editing doesn’t pay the bills despite the time and effort involved. That’s why it can cost you a thousand dollars or more for ONE ROUND of editing.

I wanted to offer a win/win situation: a way to empower beginner and intermediate writers to think like an editor so they can cut down on editing expenses. That way they can do the earlier rounds themselves and only pay to send their best work to a freelance editor. My vision was for writers to save time and money by teaching them how to catch and fix common flaws. Editors could do a higher-level edit rather than act as an expensive private writing instructor.

Editors don’t want to charge you outrageous amounts of money. They want to give you their best work, but if you make a lot of general beginner mistakes, it’s going to take them a lot longer to help you make your book publishable. That means you should give them your best writing. That’s why I created Book Editing Blueprint, so I could walk you through each of the common manuscript flaws and show you how to find and fix them in your manuscript.

Would you rather spend thousands of dollars to get multiple rounds of one-on-one writing coaching from a freelance developmental editor, or take an affordable online course to learn the exact same thing?

I am a freelance editor, so trust me, you'll learn all the same techniques and how to apply them to your manuscript. I'll tell you everything I've told my paid clients during their early rounds of editing and show you how to find weaknesses in your story, and most importantly, explain how to fix them. I won't edit your book during the class, but I will teach you how to do it.

Who This Revision Course Is For:

  • Beginner writers who have just finished, are working on, or are thinking about writing a fiction or creative nonfiction manuscript.
  • Intermediate authors who have had a couple of books published, but their editors keep sending them back to the drawing board for multiple rounds of rewrites and the editing process still feels overwhelming. You want to turn in well-developed, polished manuscripts and get to a higher level.
  • Authors who find hiring an editor too expensive and feel they might be skimping on the editing process.
  • Authors who don’t want a crazy-intensive course that will take months to get through and that they might give up on. They want a simpler way to get there.

In Book Editing Blueprint, your mission is to learn how to do a thorough developmental and line edit and to create a solid action plan for your work-in-progress. By the end of this course, you’ll have prepared a detailed editorial report outlining your book’s strengths, weaknesses, and strategies to fix the problems, and will be armed with a simple checklist on how to revise a novel.

You’ll learn through 10 easy-to-understand modules that get straight to the point. It’s a proven system that outlines what every fiction author should do before approaching an editor. That way when you’re ready to hire an editor, you’ll get much more value for your money as you’re not paying someone to point out issues you could have easily found yourself. Here’s what topics you’ll see covered:

Module 1: Character

Module 2: Structure

Module 3: Point of View

Module 4: Show, Don’t Tell

Module 5: Dialogue

Module 6: Pacing

Module 7: Line Editing

Module 8: Copyediting

Module 9: Hiring an Editor

Module 10: Putting It All Together

Bonus Module: Foil the Frustration - Motivation Strategies for Authors. (Includes an excerpt from When The Timer Dings: Organizing Your Life To Make The Most of 10 Minute Increments by Katharine Grubb of 10 Minute Novelists)

You can binge through it in about 10-14 days, or take as long as you want. The course includes:

  • 28 video tutorials, most between 4-10 minutes
  • 200 pages of transcripts
  • 71-page workbook with worksheets and cheat sheets
  • 25-page Book Editing Blueprint checklist

If you’re a beginner or intermediate fiction or creative nonfiction writer who wants to learn how to revise a novel so you can lower your editing expenses and become less dependent on editors, then Book Editing Blueprint is for you.  Learn how to revise a novel, save time and money, and get that book done. Register here.

 

Rewriting A Novel When It’s A Big Mess

Rewriting A Novel When It’s A Big Mess

rewriting a novel

How do you go about rewriting a novel when it’s an absolute mess?

I want to tell you about this editing client I once had. She submitted a manuscript that was the biggest disaster I had ever seen. It would need countless drafts to make it even in the ballpark of publishable.

1. First, it was written 25 years ago when she was a teenager, years before she developed her skills as a novelist. It lacked character development, description, and a strong point of view.

2. Since it was originally done on a word processor, this author hired a company to scan her hard copy so she could work with it again. Unfortunately, the scanning process riddled it with formatting errors and odd symbols that made my eyes glaze over when I was editing.

3. The storyline was so outdated and unrealistic that she had buried the manuscript in a drawer for several years, too overwhelmed to deal with it.

Finally, this client took a deep breath and vowed to give the manuscript a long-overdue rewrite. It was a sequel to a young adult sports novel published in 1992 that still sold copies daily, and readers kept asking her if there was a second book.

As a freelance editor, I’m known for writing encouraging but honest ten-page editorial letters. Some editors have never written a book themselves and don’t understand how awful it feels to have your hard work criticized. Since I’ve been on the receiving end of overwhelming editorial letters, I always make sure to include the positives. However, in this case, I ripped the manuscript to shreds.

Want to know why? This “client” was me.

Rewriting A Novel From Scratch

Rewriting my young adult novel Offsides (Hockey Rivals Book 2), a manuscripted penned by my nineteen-year-old self, was one of the scariest, strangest, and most rewarding projects I’ve ever undertaken.

Every single word of that book required rewriting. I think the only thing that stayed the same was the characters’ names. (Wait . . . I changed a couple of those, too.)

I desperately needed a system to break down this monumental editing project into manageable steps.

I made a long list of every possible task I could think of and arranged it in an order that made sense so that I could redraft the novel. Then I dug into my messy manuscript and revised one item at a time.

Little did I know that this checklist would shape the curriculum for my online course Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable. Checking off each task was a small victory, and finally reaching the finish line reflected my proudest moment as an author.

self-editing class

 

Now, just like its predecessor Face-OffOffsides sells copies every day. This one-line review on Amazon filled me with joy. “My 11-year-old hockey player grandson could not put the book down. He loved it.”

I market these hockey books with the tagline “Score a goal for reading,” but I scored a goal for my writing career also by tackling the rewrite of that novel. Through self-editing, I took my disaster of a manuscript and transformed it into a publishable novel that my ideal reader couldn’t put down. You can do it too. I’d love to share my system and revision checklist with you in Book Editing Blueprint. 

Your mission is to learn how to do a thorough developmental and line edit, to clean up your manuscript, and to create a solid action plan. By the end of the course, you’ll have prepared a detailed editorial report and will be armed with a simple self-editing checklist to guide you through your revisions. Sign up below.

 

 

Have you ever had a messy rewrite to complete? Are you working on one now? Tell us in the comments.

❌❌❌What Editors Can Tell From Your First 2 Pages And How it Affects Your Wallet

❌❌❌What Editors Can Tell From Your First 2 Pages And How it Affects Your Wallet

In this video, I’m going to show you what flaws jump out at me on the first couple pages of an unpublished manuscript. You’ll get a glimpse of how editors will evaluate your writing and why it’s so important to your wallet that your submission is polished. I haven’t read these pages— these are just observations that caught my attention as I glanced over them.

Agents and acquisitions editors can tell a lot about your novel in the first two pages. Your opening pages can entice them to keep reading or elicit an instant rejection.

What if you’re hiring a freelance editor to help you get the book ready for indie publishing or for submitting to agents? Giving you editorial feedback and/or making corrections is their job, right?

Yes, for a price. And that price is most likely hundreds of dollars per editing pass. It may even be over a thousand dollars: FOR ONE ROUND OF EDITING. Most beginner and intermediate writers need multiple rounds of editing.

Some freelance editors charge by the hour. According to the Editorial Freelancers Assocation, the average cost of hiring a developmental editor is $45-$55 an hour, which is for about 1-5 pages per hour.

Many editors will ask for a sample and give you a price or an estimate. They often charge more for a less experienced writer as the edit will take more time.

Did you know they can assess your writing and editing skills in just a couple pages? They’ll probably skim through more just to make sure, but editors don’t need to read many pages to determine your skills and come up with a price.

Learn how to self-edit your work so that you can make your manuscript as strong as possible BEFORE investing in a freelance editor or submitting to agents and publishers. It will save you money and you will look much more professional.

Watch how I assess two pages in this video. This is an example of the issues that I see in many clients’ manuscripts. Then check out my free self-editing course Line Editing Made Simple: 5 Days to More Polished Pages. Sign up here. 

If you want to really learn how to think like an editor to save time and money, check out my online course Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable. This course demystifies the editing process, giving you a practical, step-by-step blueprint for evaluating, rewriting, and polishing your manuscript. Find out more here. 

 

 

Setting In Fiction: 5 Bestselling Authors Share Their Secrets

Setting In Fiction: 5 Bestselling Authors Share Their Secrets

.setting in fiction

Several years ago, I wrote an article about setting in fiction for a writing magazine. The angle was how research field trips could enrich your writing. As a longtime journalist, hands-on research comes naturally to me. I’m used to picking up the phone, explaining that I’m a writer, and requesting a tour and interview. I’ve done it for hundreds of newspaper articles, so I have no qualms about seeking out experts to research my novels.

I’ve hung out and chatted with interview sources at a hospital emergency room, childbirth education class, dog training school, prison, power plant, Christmas ornament factory, homeless shelter, haunted inn, and at a psychic’s house; during a police cruiser ride-along, on the firing range, and inside a courthouse, to name a few. I never could have created such authentic setting descriptions without being there in person and asking my list of questions.

However, some authors feel hesitant about e-mailing or cold-calling a stranger for research purposes, especially writers without a publishing track record. Here’s my advice: do it anyway.

Agents and acquisitions editors trust writers who strive for accuracy. Readers love authors who plunge them into settings ripe with authentic details. Field trips can expand a writer’s knowledge base and provide opportunities to gather color, atmosphere, and on-scene information unavailable in a research book or on the Internet.

Sure, the adage ‘Write what you know’ has some truth, yet if that’s all we wrote, our fiction would be boring. Next time you get stuck on a scene, put on your reporter’s hat and go out and find the story.

Here is advice and setting anecdotes from five of the novelists I interviewed for the original article.

Lisa Gardner

Lisa gardner booksBestselling suspense author Lisa Gardner met with the Rhode Island State Police for her novel The Survivor’s Club and even staked out a Providence courthouse to determine the ideal angle for a sniper shot.

For The Killing Hour, she visited the FBI Academy to learn about the life of a new agent, and she spent a week with the U.S. Geological Survey team, checking out remote places in Virginia for an “Eco-Killer” to abandon his victims.

The Other Daughter led her on a hunt to Texas, where she researched execution protocol. 

“I need to be able to picture something to write it,” she said. “Actually seeing Texas’s retired electric chair was so much more riveting than simply reading about it. To walk through a maximum security prison, getting the sights, the sounds, and particularly the smell, made the whole atmosphere come alive in a way simply talking about it never would. Then I can take this experience in turn, and make it come alive for the reader.”

Stephen Coonts

Stephen Coonts booksStephen Coonts, bestselling action/adventure author, took a flight in the F-22 cockpit concept demonstrator at Lockheed Martin in Georgia for Fortunes of War. He talked his way into the V-22 Osprey simulator at NAS Patuxent River, the basis for scenes in his novella Al-Jihad. While research is vital, he advises not overloading the reader with information. 

“The first requirement for any writer is a good story,” Coonts said. “Once you see how the story is going to go, then do enough research to give the tale the flavor of authenticity. Salt in a little jargon, but only a little. Write around details you don’t know. The easiest and best way to do research is to find an expert and ask precisely the questions to which you need answers. Shotgunning (or scattered) research is a waste of time.” 

Jodi Picoult

Jodi picoult booksAs part of her research for novels such as Plain Truth, The Tenth Circle, and Second Glance, bestselling writer Jodi Picoult has milked a cow in Amish country and roughed it with native Alaskans. She shudders when she remembers heading out to an abandoned New England mental institution on a winter night with paranormal investigators. Her group trudged across a field where a building had burned down with patients inside. 

“I was walking with a sensitive, someone who can ‘feel’ ghosts,” Picoult said. “Suddenly, all the hair stood up on the back of my neck. Before I could even mention this to my walking buddy, he lifted a digital camera and held it up between us backward, over our shoulders. Although there was nothing visible to the naked eye, in the viewfinder of the camera was a white, misty, wraith-like image.” 

Janet Evanovich

Janet Evanovich booksAnyone who has read the humorous Stephanie Plum series, about a female bounty hunter sleuth with attitude, knows how much detail bestselling author Janet Evanovich weaves into the books. That all stems from research.

“One time I was meeting a bounty hunter for lunch in a crowded Au Bon Pain in downtown Washington and this guy came in dressed in leather,” recalled Evanovich, whose books include the recent Twisted Twenty-Six. “I was trying to find out what he did and how successful he was. He did this arm thing and reached for something on the table, and all you could see was this illegal Dirty Harry gun. The place cleared out and we were the only two people left. It was important for the Stephanie Plum series as it gave me perspective on crowd reaction, and made me think about how I was putting my heroine in this atypical and unsavory job.” 

 

Deborah Donnelly

Wedding Planner MysteriesDeborah Donnelly, author of the Wedding Planner Mysteries, writes so vividly that her books caught the attention of Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. The channel adapted her book Veiled Threats into the movie the Wedding Planner Mystery.

“While researching May the Best Man Die, I toured the Seattle’s Best Coffee roasting plant,” she said. “I explained myself as a mystery writer when I made the tour request, but apparently no one told the gentleman who showed me around. As he dutifully described all the specialized equipment, I kept asking questions like, ‘If one of those sacks of coffee beans fell on you, would it kill you?’ and ‘If this place burned down, would the coffee smell really good?’ He kept edging farther and farther away from me… Eventually, he learned the reassuring truth about my odd profession.”

Arranging Research Field Trips

Are you inspired to make a field trip to enrich the setting in your book? If you want to tour a site or interview an expert, search the Internet for leads. Larger organizations might have a PR department that handles inquiries.

Cold calls are fine, but don’t subject someone to an on-the-spot interrogation; make an appointment so you both have time to prepare. You could also outline your request in an e-mail.

Before the visit, read up on your subject and develop specific questions. Bring a notebook to the interview and ask whether you can call or e-mail with follow-up questions. Afterwards, be sure to show your appreciation with a thank you note. 

What type of field trips have you made to research your books? Share in the comments. If your book is published, share an excerpt that reflects your research and a buy link.

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