A brief look into the process of publishing, focusing on helping others avoid my mistakes.
I had an idea a while back when my novel had been signed and was in the middle of the editing/revising torture … umm... I mean process. |
I thought about writing blog posts on my experiences so that people could learn from my mistakes.
So, with no further ado, I will begin sharing the information that I wish someone had shared with me years ago.
Let’s start from the beginning. (This will seem really basic to a lot of you more seasoned writers, but the beginning is the beginning)
You need to write every day.
There, I said it. I’ve regurgitated what you’ve heard a billion times. But I’ve found out that it’s so true. Writing gets easier the more you do it. If for no other reason than your fingers are learning where the letters are on the keyboard. It’s that old ten thousand hour rule. To be an expert at anything you need to put in ten thousand hours doing it. If that’s the case, why not do a little every day? Punch the clock and get to work.
Now, as for what you’re writing, well that’s a different story.
I’m a big believer in two things.
1) Write what you know, or what interests you.
2) Write hot.
I know, ‘What do you mean ‘write hot’?’ That just means when you write, don’t stop to edit yourself. Write as fast as you can so that you get on paper (or keyboard) whatever is inspiring you. Inspiration is a fickle bird. It can fly away at any time. You need to get as much down as you can, while you can. You can always go back and edit later.
I will also admit to being a reformed ‘pantser’.
I used to hate that word so much. It refers to ‘seat of the pants’ writers, who would write without a plot and without having done any outlining. I used to look at this as a very derogatory term and it used to piss me off. Whenever I would see someone using this word I would crank out a short story, fueled by and filled with, rage. When I was finished, I would sit back, contented that I had ‘shown them’. But I had only accomplished three things.
1) Created a decent short story.
2) Shown my level of immaturity.
3) Made an outline for a future longer story, possibly novel.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that every short story can be turned into a novel, or at least not a good one. But sometimes when you read back over a short, you realize that there’s much more to be said.
I came to realize the wisdom in outlining when I attended a book signing where Jonathan Maberry was the guest of honor. One of the things he talked about was how crucial plotting and outlining are. He said that even if you write a basic outline of the story, it will give you a framework to go on.
Ever since then, I’ve done just that. I’ll write my story as completely as possible with broad strokes, just to get it down. Even if it’s just an idea, as long as I have a direction the story is going in, I write as much of it as possible. It might not make sense at the time and may have gaping holes in the story, but that can be fixed later during editing, by connecting the dots in my plot.
Next is reviewing.
For those who are fairly new to writing in general let me give you a hint. At some point, someone will say something about your writing that you don’t like. You can’t avoid it. No one can. It’s the nature of putting something out there for people to see. Not everyone likes everything. Now, that being said, there is a difference in perceived negativity. Someone who just rips your story to shreds and doesn’t offer any suggestions is someone to politely ignore. Don’t fall victim to the temptation to defend your precious work. That never ends well. Just walk away.
Now, the reviewer who offers you constructive criticism, those are worth their weight in gold. Don’t get upset if someone points out every missing comma and tells you that your tense shifts during the story. That’s good stuff. Imagine you pull up to a stoplight and the guy in the car next to you say, “Hey, I can see white smoke and smell antifreeze coming from your car. You might want to check that out.” Wouldn’t you be grateful for his concern and hope that you can get your car fixed before it’s too late? That’s the same way with reviews. When you post a story, you’re pulling it into a garage and saying, “Tell me what I need to fix.” If the mechanic tells you your car is about to fall apart you wouldn’t say, “That’s ok. I like it just the way it is.”
Make sure you listen to those who offer their opinion.
Now, some changes are no brainers. Someone tells you there is a period where there should be a comma or that you missed a quotation mark, that’s something you need to fix. What isn’t as obvious is when someone gives you their opinion of how a story made them feel. If they start offering you plot change ideas, take it with a grain of salt. It may be great, or it may lead your story down a path you never intended to go. That can be good or bad too. The point is, you need to decide how you want your story to go. I’ve had times when five different reviewers gave me five different pieces of advice on my story’s plot. They can’t all be right. That’s when you politely thank them for their input, tell them you’ll look over it, and then do what you think is best for your story. Being open to suggestions is crucial. I’ve written entire stories based on a single suggestion. Just remember, in the end, it’s your story to tell.
#8. Part 8
ID #993686 entered on September 18, 2020 at 11:48pm
#7. Part 8
ID #990359 entered on August 9, 2020 at 4:02pm
#6. Part 7
ID #990358 entered on August 9, 2020 at 3:41pm
#5. Part 6
ID #990355 entered on August 9, 2020 at 3:15pm
#4. Part 5
ID #990352 entered on August 9, 2020 at 2:49pm
#3. Part 4
ID #990126 entered on August 6, 2020 at 3:28pm
#2. Part 3
ID #990036 entered on August 5, 2020 at 7:58pm
#1. Part 2
ID #989816 entered on August 3, 2020 at 7:56pm