Art of the Edit – Part II
Here is the follow up to my previous post about the art of the edit.
I was lucky enough to participate in a webinar called The Art of the Edit by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry (The Book Doctors), wonderfully helpful and experienced pros of the book publishing world. They shared a lot of helpful advise (especially for me while I’m in editing mode), and I wanted to pass it along to all my friends. Hope you can find some gems to help you through the next week.
And on that note, here is Part II! (I feel like there should be a ringmaster and rising curtains for this. Maybe it’s just a circus kind of Friday.) xD
Show vs Tell
- Don’t reveal too much too fast
- Don’t tell it before it happens
- Hide a lot of information until the reader needs to know it
- Show that the character is funny, sweet, or mean – let the reader make the conclusion
- Don’t use clichés, especially in genre fiction. They deaden and dull the story. Either make something new or fresh, or just remove them altogether.
- It is different than what people actually say to each other
- Good dialogue captures the essence of good conversation
- Read your book out loud. When you stumble over a sentence, you know there is something wrong with it
- Big advocate for writing groups where people read five pages out loud, then receive critiques from the group.
Pacing Your Novel
- Make sure there are peaks and valleys. Readers don’t have the endurance for a story that runs all the time or crawsl all the time.
- Building to the climax is the focus of your book.
- Scroll through the book electronically, like it is a movie and visualize the story.
Beta Readers (the unsung heroes)
- Give beta readers a series of questions along with a copy of your manuscript
- Consensus can be genius
- Ask people how they liked the ending, was it satifying?
- Was there unbelievable dialogue?
- Did the beginning grab you?
- Did you know where the story was going, or was the misdirection effective?
- Were you cheering for the main character?
- Were there characters you didn’t get?
- Were there points where the story lagged
- Ask people once you feel the story is stuck
- Step away from your book for three weeks to a month
- Be aware if you are a perfectionist or think you are a genius. This might be where you are either too critical or not critical enough with your manuscript.
- You should also edit your book title – pull words and phrases from your book
Working with an Editor
- Very important to have an editor as well as beta readers
- Ask them a series of back and forth questions
- You don’t have to agree with them – write the book you want to write
- Make sure they edit the stuff you write – in your genre
- Ask to talk to 1-3 people they have edited for
- Don’t a do a line edit before a developmental edit
- Line edit goes at the very end of the process
Sundry Questions and Responses
How many sentences should there be in your first paragraph? Enough to make them read the second paragraph.
What about multiple points of view? It is tough to do skillfully. Agents and editors are trained to find ways to say no. It is often a red flag.
What should first-time authors do? Educate yourself, read books, writers group, writers conference. Don’t be naïve.
- Research and understand the biz
- Have perseverance
What advise do you have for writing in a genre? You have to know your audience in genre fiction. What are the promises that you need to deliver on? But don’t write for a trend. Have to have knowledge and be well read.
Should authors write for a particular audience or write the story as they see it? Balance the book between writing for yourself and writing for your potential audience.
What is the secret for success? Get lots of people on your dream team. The more cheerleaders, experts, and assistants you have, the more likely it is that you will achieve your goal. :D