“Some of your characters leap off the page,” favourite beta reader told me, “but some are really flat.” I was miffed. This was a work of non-fiction, I was merely introducing the reader to people I bumped into on the road, why should that need any work?
I requested clarification, a little archly. She told me how much she liked Ooooors’la, the tiny lady who pronounced her own name as though she were unwell, and who drove her forklift truck with a pinkie finger raised as thought taking tea with the queen. I giggled, “Oh she was funny, I liked her…”
Then she listed the people she couldn’t quite see, the ones who stayed resolutely non-dimensional. “Well, I didn’t want to be nasty because I don’t want the book to be a bitch-fest.” As the conversation progressed, we twigged that the all the people I’d liked leapt off the page and the ones I’d hated stayed put, resolutely indistinguishable from each other. Continue reading “Who do you love?”
This post isn’t exactly covering new ground, it is more along the lines of gathering a number of tips, tricks, and advisories from other posts hither, thither, and everywhither, into one place. Our own KS Brooks trumpeted betas to the heavens only yesterday, and as has previously been stated, it is ALWAYS a good idea to have an editor, a proofreader, or beta readers who are not you looking at your writing. Otherwise, your brain is going to see what it wants/expects to see when it is reading stuff you wrote. Continue reading “Ed’s Casual Friday: Do NOT self-edit. (but when you do…)”
I’m a very literal person. Literally. I get straight to the point, with no hidden agenda or subtle hinting. So why does that change when I write?
This past Sunday, our own Evil Mastermind Stephen Hise wrote about how writing is indeed communicating, and how to prevent a failure to communicate. You may read his post here. He makes excellent points, of course (that’s why he’s the big boss and all that good stuff). But sometimes, you need a fresh set of eyes to ascertain you are in fact getting your point across.
I use two editors – one for grammar, sentence structure, and other technical issues like word repetition, word misuse, spelling, punctuation and story flaws. I use another editor to dig out what I’m trying to say when I think I’m saying it, but I’m really not. She’s my translator…my mind-reader: the person who knows how my mind works and what I’m thinking. She knows what I want to put down on the page. And she has no problem telling me when I haven’t done that. Sometimes it’s ouchy, but that’s okay because she’s my best friend.
I’m lucky to have someone I’ve known since sixth grade as a friend. Frankly, finding someone to put up with me for the past twenty years (shut up – I really am only 36 years-old…for the past 12 years, anyway) is nothing short of a miracle. She is the type of friend who can be brutally honest. I may not always care for the delivery of her critique since I prefer it wrapped in silky smooth Swiss chocolate…but I know she knows what she’s talking about. And it always makes my story, my book, and my writing better. Continue reading “A Fresh Set of Eyes”
Editor-phobia is rampant among writers. I am noticing it more and more. I’ve been in the publishing business for many years and there has always been a little fear of editors—and in newspapers it is very understandable. The editor there can take a long story and hack it to one paragraph without even so much as a “by your leave.” Of course, books have a different editing process, but that fear is still there. More and more authors are completely removing the editor from the process and relying on a beta instead. There is a deep difference between the two, but both are valuable and needed to make a book the strongest it can possibly be. Continue reading “Muffy Morrigan: Editor-phobia”