5 Quotes About Rewriting

1. “You write your first draft with your heart, and you rewrite with your head.”
―James Ellison, Finding Forrester: A Novel

2. “You become a great writer by writing lots and lots of stories, not by rewriting the same story over and over again.”
―Scott William Carter

3. “Writing a first draft is like groping one’s way into a dark room, or overhearing a faint conversation, or telling a joke whose punchline you’ve forgotten. As someone said, one writes mainly to rewrite, for rewriting and revising are how one’s mind comes to inhabit the material fully.”
―Ted Solotaroff

4. “Novels are like paintings, specifically watercolors. Every stroke you put down you have to go with. Of course you can rewrite, but the original strokes are still there in the texture of the thing.”
—Joan Didion

5. “The process of rewriting is enjoyable, because you’re not in that existential panic when you don’t have a novel at all.
—Rose Tremain

12 Helpful Tips When Writing a Book

There are a lot of tips to keep in mind when writing a book. One of my favorites is show—don’t tell. Here are a few other helpful tips I’ve learned along the way.

12 Helpful Tips When Writing a Book

  1. When an idea comes along—jot it down.
  2. Make time to write. Create a writing schedule that works for you.
  3. Set and meet your deadlines.
  4. Save your first draft. It can help you stay on path when you accidentally stray from your original idea.
  5. Edit. A LOT.
  6. Read what you’ve written out loud. Hearing your own words will help you in the editing process.
  7. Write—even when you don’t feel like writing. You’ll be amazed at what you come up with.
  8. Get beta readers you trust.
  9. Pick your editor carefully. (My first editor missed a few things on my manuscript. Thankfully, I caught and corrected the mistakes before my final draft was published.)
  10. Pay attention to constructive criticism, but do what you feel is best for your story.
  11. Keep your book title short and memorable.
  12. Endings need to close the story—not ruin it. Write it carefully.

What’s your favorite  tip when writing a book?

 

Tips I Learned from My Editor

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I overate, as usual.

Now that I’ve gone through my whole manuscript and read all the markups (a dozen times) from my editor, I thought I’d share what I learned with all of you. I think these are helpful tips we can all use the next time we write.

Let me preface by saying that most of the edits I got were focused on making sure my manuscript aligns with the guidelines of The Chicago Manual of Style and that the spelling choices of certain words match Merriam-Webster’s.

Okay vs. OK:
Per Merriam-Webster’s, use OK.

Toward vs. towards:
Use toward. (Both are acceptable, but toward is preferred in American and Canadian English.)

Numbers:
• As a general rule, all numbers at the beginning of a sentence should be spelled out.
• Spell out whole numbers one through one hundred.
• Spell out numbers in dialogues.

Time:
• When using o’clock, the time should be spelled out (e.g., The meeting starts at five o’clock in the morning).
• To show exact times, use numerals (e.g., The last bus leaves at 11:30 p.m.).

Commas:
In direct address, use commas (e.g., Thank you, Adam.), and after yes and no (e.g., Yes, I will be there.).

Capitalizations:
Per Chicago professional titles are generally only capitalized when used with a name.

Foreign words:
Foreign words and phrases are usually italicized unless used commonly.

Watch out for overused words:
Turns out I used “deep breath” more than a dozen times. Yikes.

Well that’s it. I hope you guys find these tips helpful.

Have a great weekend!

Back from the Editor

I’m excited. I’m smiling and I can’t stop. I just got my manuscript back from my editor and I am thrilled to say that I received pretty good feedback. There are minor edits throughout the manuscript, like deleting a few commas, italicizing certain words, etcetera. But the overall feedback was positive. Whew. I can breathe now.

I’m glad I edited my manuscript as much as I did and that I used beta readers to help me tighten and polish my story. After getting feedback from my editor, I feel ready to finally release HIGH.

Now I’m off to the next phase—editing and figuring out when my launch date will be.

Happy writing!

Novel Update: Editing

“The first draft of anything is shit.”
-Ernest Hemingway

It’s been a while since I last updated you on the progress of my first novel. I spent the last few weeks rewriting and editing my full manuscript on my computer and I’m happy to say that I finally finished that part of the editing process this weekend.

The next step is printing the whole manuscript and reading it over again, this time on paper. It’s amazing to see what we catch from looking at printed copies that we may have missed on the computer.

Here’s a summary of my editing process:
Edit on screen (computer)
Edit off screen (on paper)
Apply necessary changes
Send manuscript to Beta Readers
Apply necessary changes based on feedback
Edit on screen and off screen
Send manuscript to proofreader and editor
Apply necessary changes
Edit on screen and off screen

I am aiming to finish the whole editing process by October.

Although editing can be time consuming, it’s an important part of the process and should not be skipped or taken lightly. As a soon-to-be self-published author, it’s my responsibility to deliver my book in a professional manner. I want my future readers to enjoy the story I have written and not be distracted by typos and other careless mistakes.

What’s your editing process?

Novel Update: Editing

“The first draft of anything is shit.”
-Ernest Hemingway

It’s been a while since I last updated you on the progress of my first novel. I spent the last few weeks rewriting and editing my full manuscript on my computer and I’m happy to say that I finally finished that part of the editing process this weekend.

The next step is printing the whole manuscript and reading it over again, this time on paper. It’s amazing to see what we catch from looking at printed copies that we may have missed on the computer.

Here’s a summary of my editing process:
Edit on screen (computer)
Edit off screen (on paper)
Apply necessary changes
Send manuscript to Beta Readers
Apply necessary changes based on feedback
Edit on screen and off screen
Send manuscript to proofreader and editor
Apply necessary changes
Edit on screen and off screen

I am aiming to finish the whole editing process by October.

Although editing can be time consuming, it’s an important part of the process and should not be skipped or taken lightly. As a soon-to-be self-published author, it’s my responsibility to deliver my book in a professional manner. I want my future readers to enjoy the story I have written and not be distracted by typos and other careless mistakes.

What’s your editing process?

Quote of the Day

“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.”
-Neil Gaiman

Hello friends. Just got back from a nice family vacation. I brought my laptop with me thinking I could do some editing and writing, but that never happened. I did do a lot of daydreaming though. 😉

It’s good to be home. Time to get back to work.

Why We Need Beta Readers and Editors

I recently mentioned to a friend that I was self-publishing my first book this November as an e-book, as well as a printed book. I told him that after I edit on my own, I will be passing my manuscript to beta readers, possibly a proofreader and after that, edit it again and then it goes to an editor.

To which he replied: “The editing process is never ending anyway. With the technology now with e-books, why don’t you just eliminate the beta readers and editors and publish your book now and get the readers out there to give their feedback and then revise your book again based on the feedback you get, and then publish it again.

My head spun a little.  So I said, “What do you mean? Revise my book again, even after I’ve already published it?” A bit confused, I added, “Why would I want to do that?”

He said, “Yes, keep revising the same book and publishing it over and over based on the feedback you get from readers.”

I asked, “The same book?”

“Yes, the same book. The one you have now,” he confirmed.

My head spun again. “You mean, just print what I have now and let the readers read and judge it without having beta readers read it first?”

He said, “Yes.”

I said, “But once my book is published—that’s it. I’d like to be done with it so I can move on and start writing other stories. Why would I want to keep revising the same book and publishing it over and over again?”

Completely nonplussed, I asked my friend what the advantages are of doing it the way he’s suggesting. To be honest, I don’t even remember what he said because it probably didn’t make sense to me.

For me, it almost sounds like he’s saying:
“Why don’t you rush and publish your book now, even if you’re not satisfied with it and it hasn’t been read by others who can help you polish it. Who cares? You’ll get feedback from readers outside anyway. You can use the feedback to keep revising and keep publishing THE SAME book, over and over again.

To me, it also sounds like: Why don’t you just put a product out there that hasn’t been tested? Who cares if it doesn’t work? You can keep revising the product anyway?

But wouldn’t I be setting myself up for failure by doing it that way?

First of all, why would I risk my reputation as a first time author and publish a book that’s not polished? Just to get it out there because I can keep revising it anyway? It doesn’t make sense. Also, what happens to the printed pieces?

After researching, reading articles and posts from other writers over the last 6 months on self-publishing and e-books, and seeing the results of self-published authors, my friend’s comment didn’t make any sense to me. I can think of a hundred reasons why I do not think his idea is a good idea. For one, beta readers are there to help you. They will read your book and critique it and give you helpful feedback. If I rushed and published my book now and eliminated the beta readers and editors, I would probably get feedback, but none of which would tell me if I made a typo on page 40 and 180, or that I should rewrite a sentence or a paragraph because something is missing, etcetera. Regular readers won’t give the same feedback. They will give general feedback, but won’t go into specifics like beta readers and editors do.

There are many reasons why a lot of e-books fail and why some succeed. I’ve read a number of posts from self-published writers who all give the same advice:

  1. First, write a good book.
  2. Get people you trust who aren’t family to read it and give you honest feedback (example: beta readers) before you publish.
  3. Hire an editor.
  4. Create a great book cover.
  5. Have a marketing plan.
  6. Know your target audience.

I’m sure my friend meant well. Maybe all he was trying to say was take advantage of technology. But even then, some of the things he suggested didn’t make sense.

At the end of the day, I am still sticking to my plan. My manuscript will still be going to beta readers. I personally believe that having them read it and critique it will help me polish my book before it gets published.

Here are links to some posts that I’ve recently read on self-publishing and why beta readers are important:

http://crimefictioncollective.blogspot.ca/2012/08/three-mistakes-you-dont-want-to-make.html

http://jennymherrera.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/four-reasons-why-you-need-beta-readers/

http://saraflower.wordpress.com/2012/07/13/beta-readers/

What do think? Eliminate beta readers? Rush and publish and keep revising and publishing the same book over and over again?

Writing Tip #12: Synonyms for Walk

While editing my manuscript, I noticed that I used the word “walk” numerous times. I didn’t want to change what my protagonist was doing because there was a reason why she was walking. So, instead of changing the action, I found other ways of saying, “walk”.

If you have the same problem, here is a list of synonyms for “walk”.

1. Amble: to walk leisurely
2. Bounce: to walk energetically
3. Clump: to walk clumsily
4. Hike: to go on an extended walk for pleasure or exercise
5. Hobble: to walk unsteadily
6. Limp: to walk lamely, favoring one leg
7. March: to walk rhythmically alone or in a group
8. Pace: to walk nervously back and forth
9. Roam: to wander around
10. Stroll: to walk in a leisurely pace

For more synonyms for “walk”, check out the link below:
Walk

Writing tip #11: Read a hard copy of your manuscript

I love reading and editing my manuscript on my computer. I can edit as I go along without having to go back to it later. Problem is, even after reading and editing my manuscript a dozen times onscreen, I could still miss typos, bad breaks, and other mistakes.

Just like reading your manuscript out loud, there is something helpful about editing your work by reading a hard copy of your manuscript. Seeing what you wrote on paper helps you see mistakes that you might have missed onscreen.

To save on trees, I only do this exercise after I’ve edited quite a bit onscreen. 😉

If you haven’t tried reading your manuscript on paper, try it.