3 Things to Cut From Your Writing 

I believe that within each writer there is an editor, a source of self-criticism that can take our work to the next level with a simple re-read and a dash of red pen. Of course, self-editing is not the end of the line when it comes to polishing your writing (workshopping and seeking a third-party editor is invaluable) but you can do a lot for your story, poem, or script by simply cleaning it up yourself.

At sentence-level (looking at each word and how it functions within the sentence it forms) you can usually cut, condense, or re-word to enrich your writing. There are many things that you could focus on when self-editing at sentence-level (from tone and voice to word-choice and vocabulary) but without even delving too deeply you can tighten and intensify your style.

But before you email your writing to a friend, or send off your submission to an agent, take the time to focus on the following to wake up your inner-editor:

Cut adverbs

This may sound harsh, but adverbs are lazy. Adverbs work against the idea of ‘show, don’t tell’ by telling the reader that ‘the star shone brightly’ rather than showing that it ‘twinkled and glittered like a lost silver coin’, for example.

There is almost always a way to show an adverb rather than telling it, and sometimes you can just cut them entirely and your writing hasn’t lost anything.

The more adverbs you use, the less interesting and unique your descriptions become. So any time you can show your adverb, or cut it entirely, the more enjoyable your writing becomes to read.

Omit needless words

It was the great Strunk who hammered the following into E.B. White’s brain, and it stands true today. We pack our writing (as we do our speech) with ‘filler’ words, words that don’t add to the sentence but just take up valuable space.

The main culprits to take note of include: really, very, just, so, a lot, pretty much, rather, quite, and sometimes.

Sometimes these words are necessary, but you’ll know when to get rid of them and when to re-write them. Check out this cheat sheet for ideas on how to get around lazy ‘very’ words.

Unnecessary words can also work their way into your writing by means of tautology or repetition. When you’ve said one thing but reiterate it in different words you’re creating unnecessary work for the reader, and using up your word count.

Comb back through your writing and analyse the importance of every word at sentence-level, cutting the ones that are pointless. Be ruthless. This will tighten your sentences and give greater impact and immediacy to your writing.

Avoid clichés

We wouldn’t have them if they weren’t so good. But it’s like flogging a dead horse (see what I did there?). Clichés are used so frequently in our everyday language that it feels natural to slip them into your writing, and you don’t even notice.

They’re often brilliant images or analogies, but when you’ve heard them all your life they become meaningless and dull.

If you find the perfect cliché to sum up your character’s emotions or thoughts, cut it and re-write your own with images that are original and new. Creativity is refreshing, so use it to your advantage to wow your reader with new words in new ways.

***

I hope you find these tips useful. Happy writing!

Via http://writersedit.com/top-3-things-cut-writing/

Embrace the Art of Editing

Art-of-Editing-1

When I write, I write alone.

This statement is true for most people who take on a creative pursuit such as being an author. In fact, solitude is often the key to finding ‘the flow’ or ‘the zone’ or whatever you like to call the wonderful state where words pour onto the page bringing ideas to life. But when the story reaches its conclusion, or creative flow eludes you, being alone can become simply, lonely. That loneliness can create a space where self-doubt grows, making it even harder to keep trying.

When you finally send your work out into the world, perhaps to an agent or a professional editor, you can be forgiven for being a little apprehensive whilst awaiting a response. After all, you are sending out your darlings to be judged.

However, hearing someone’s thoughts and opinions about your work will help you see your writing in a new light. There’s always the risk of getting too close to a story, whether it’s fact or fiction. The people, good or bad, and the drama can come to affect you so deeply that objectivity becomes difficult. You begin writing from the heart rather than your head, so removing yourself enough to know what to cut can be near impossible.

In the case of fiction, it is rare when an author is not emotionally involved. We create characters from our imaginations, giving them life, hopes, dreams and obstacles to overcome. So similarly, when it comes time to edit, one of the hardest things to do is ‘kill our darlings’ – as it should be!

Editors can be objective. Whether we are talking about journalism or fiction, they are not emotionally invested like the author. Their job is to take a clinical look at the piece. They are experienced wordsmiths who can examine word placement, flow, character, plot, structure and the basics of spelling and grammar in order to give constructive feedback.

Having at times been both an editor and writer I have learnt a very important lesson; editing is essential, regardless of the form of writing and it is something we need to learn to embrace. There are horror stories about bad editors who do more harm than good, so as an author it is always your job to maintain the integrity of a story or article. However, also remember good editors have just one goal in mind – to make your writing the very best it can be.

The key is not to take feedback too personally, something often easier said than done. Not all editors are gentle and sometimes they point out things you don’t want to hear, but all feedback will teach you something.

While it can be confronting to open yourself up for criticism, editors also help give you confidence in your creation by making sure the story essentials are all clear and in place. So if you’re lonely or struggling, find an editor and don’t give up.

Things to remember:

  • See feedback as an opportunity to improve
  • Don’t be precious or defensive – if you really don’t agree, don’t make the changes
  • Keep an open mind
  • Enjoy the process of sharing your work
  • Be brave

Finishing a writing project, big or small, is an achievement that should not be understated. Many writers work around day jobs, family and dozens of other life obstacles. So keep writing and embrace editing, you never know where you might end up.

Read the original article here: http://writersedit.com/embracing-art-editing/

7 Must Do Tasks When Your Manuscript is Finished

Manuscript

Your manuscript is finished – so now what?

You’ve sent it off to your editor, proofreader or beta readers, so you can kick your shoes off and relax, right?

No way! You’ve got a lot of work to do.

There are 7 very important tasks you can get to work on while your finished manuscript is in the hands of others, and you will be so busy, you won’t have time to worry about how long your beta readers take in getting back to you.

So, let’s get you to work. (You can follow the links in each section for more detailed information.)

1. Research your book title

Your book title is going to be more important than anything else in attracting potential readers, so it is time to do some serious research into it. You might love your working title, but that means nothing until you are certain it is going to work. You need to know how to find a great book title that is unique, and will attract readers’ interest.

Not only that, you (could, should, ought to) have a sub-title. Why? Because your title and sub-title are your most important pieces of metadata, and metadata is what is used by the Internet and Amazon in their search algorithms. A title and sub-title that are highly searchable will attract more people to your book. More on metadata later.

The most important issue when deciding on your book title is to make sure it is as unique as possible. Joining a long list of books with the same or a very similar title is not going to get you many sales.

2. Get a killer cover.

No, don’t even think of creating your book cover yourself unless you are a graphic designer and an expert with Photoshop. Get a cover or a series of covers designed professionally (but stay within your budget). Great book covers are second only to your title in importance, so don’t take cheap shortcuts.

One simple factor that is often overlooked when deciding on a book cover is how it will look as a small thumbnail image. This is what potential book buyers see first, so it is vitally important that your cover is just as appealing as a thumbnail as it is in full size.

Do your research again, and check the top selling books in your genre to see what their covers are like, and again, how appealing and eye catching they look in small sizes. Another factor to check is the colours that are used by popular books in your genre. You may get a surprise here, as many popular genres use a very small range of colours. For example: Think ‘chic-lit’ – Pastel pinks, blues and green.

3. Write your book description.

Yes, I know. Every author hates this task. However, it must be done, and again, it is going to be a vital part of your book’s metadata so it needs to be extremely well written. Writing a great book description is not an easy task, but again, check top selling books in your genre and make a few notes. Unlike your book of thousands of words, your book description needs to hook a reader’s interest inside 15 seconds, or 150 words. It should be longer of course, but those first words and seconds are the most important of all.

4. Research your categories and keywords.

Without these seven elements, your book will be lost, so choose them extremely carefully. These, along with your book title are the most important pieces of metadata, and researched and selected well, they will allow readers to find your book. They are so important that their power to sell books is greater than you can achieve with paid advertising, blogging or social media. You can expect to have an online audience of your own numbering in the hundreds or thousands. But your carefully selected categories and keywords will give you access to millions of online book buyers.

5. Start your book promotion.

Do not wait until your book is finally published to get the word out about your new book. Build some momentum through your blog and social media and give your audience information about why, how, where and when you wrote your book. If you have a selection of cover ideas, why not ask for opinions on which one people like? Involve your online audience and keep them informed of your progress.

6. Plan your book launch.

Will you make your book available by pre-order? Will you purchase paid advertising? Will you make your book exclusive, or will you open publish? Ask your beta readers for their book reviews so you can add them to your book sales page. Plan ahead and ask book bloggers if they would be willing to help you with your book launch. Do you want to do a virtual book tour? Do not press the publish button without planning your launch. You only get once chance to launch your book, so plan it carefully and well in advance.

7. Decide on your price.

Setting the price for your ebook and/or paperback is crucial. Having a clear book pricing strategy is not as simple as it sounds. There are many factors to consider, such as competitiveness in various geographic markets, differential between ebook and paperback, as well as pricing for turnover or pricing for profit. Book prices are never set in concrete, so think about when you might discount, or increase the price. Are you going to offer a free ebook, and on what schedule? Should you increase your price before offering your ebook for free, and then reduce it afterwards? Again, do some research and write a brief pricing plan for your new book.

With all this work to do, you won’t have time to worry about when your manuscript will come back to you for your last read through and edit before publishing. You will be far too busy, won’t you?

Via :https://www.justpublishingadvice.com/7-must-do-manuscript-tasks

Interview with an Editor: What They Really Do and Why

Editor-Jody-Lee-1

Kristin Prescott Speaks to Editor Extraordinaire Jody Lee

Being published is the holy grail of writing, whether it is in a print book, e-book, magazine or online, but authors are rarely alone on the long journey to get there. Whether traditional or self-published, one of a writer’s most important supporters is the editor. They’re often invisible to a reader, especially if they do their job right, but nonetheless play a crucial role in the development of a story and much more.

Jody Lee is one of Australia’s best. She’s been involved in publishing for more than fifteen years including work as an associate publisher, commissioning editor and project editor for Simon & Schuster, Random House and ABC Books.

She is now a freelance editor working with major trade publishing houses including Allen and Unwin, Harlequin, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, University of Queensland Press and self-published authors who appreciate a dose of good editing.

How did you first get involved in editing and publishing?

I originally thought I wanted to be a journalist and managed to get a cadetship with The Age in Melbourne. Then I realised I didn’t have the chutzpah to interview people. I did a stint as a legal editor and on a whim applied for a job at Random House as an editorial assistant working with the legendary children’s publishers Mark MacLeod and Lindsay Knight. It was one of those moments where a love of reading, of books, hanging around with people who loved books as much as I did and mucking around with words all coalesced.

What exactly does an editor do?

No, they are not people who are able to use the grammar and spell-check in a word processing program. If only it was so easy. An editor essentially works with text to shape it into something that is presentable, readable and accessible and that is just the beginning. There is so much more that comes with the editor label. It is equal parts diplomat, nurturer, psychologist, hand-holder, sounding-board, whipping post, cook and bottle washer (maybe not the last two but you get the idea).

So what does an editor really do? Editing is a science and an art. There is a basic architecture to every book, and if the author has a wobbly narrative leg or an insufficient thesis to stand on, the editor must find the blueprint or create one. Every writer has their own rhythms, from sentence structure to the length of the paragraphs and chapters. The editor must help the author use that form to its most powerful effect. Editing is getting inside the text, and inevitably into a writer’s head, to understand the point the writer wants to get across. Editors provide guidance and build trust through careful attention to the pages and encourage a writer, either a first-timer or a seasoned pro, to continue taking risks with their writing and push them beyond what they think they are capable of.

Why do you think many writers, particularly those self-publishing, don’t put great emphasis on editing?

Editing is not a particularly tangible or visible element in book publishing. People know of editors, they have a vague idea of what they do but an editor tends to work in the background. The editing process is invisible and un-reproducible. There is no physical way of measuring the benefits of editing in financial or best-seller terms, and no one will ever recognise good editorial work, which is really the point of editing. So in terms of self-publishing where costs are being taken into account, the cost of editing seems to be one of the things that are rationalised out of the equation. The budget usually swings in favour of cover design, marketing or publicity – the ‘physical’ and more glamorous elements of book publishing.

You’ve worked for some of the biggest Australian publishing houses. What benefits are there to having a manuscript edited professionally before sending it to a publisher for consideration?

Getting your manuscript edited professionally before submitting it to a publisher is an expensive exercise. It is not going to guarantee a publishing contract and if your manuscript is picked up it will be edited according to a publisher’s brief. That said, the manuscript needs to be in the best possible shape before you decide to submit it as you usually get one shot at a pitch to a publisher. If you need professional and objective feedback on your manuscript, get it assessed by a reputable manuscript assessment agency first. Family and friends giving feedback don’t really cut it and everyone might ultimately end up in tears. If, after a manuscript assessment, you really feel that you want someone to edit, find a good editor who will give you honest feedback and talk you through the type of editing you think you might be after.

So someone has decided to hire you as an editor. What are some of the most common issues you find yourself having to work through with the author?

Issues for both contracted and self-published authors can be very similar. For first-timers it is usually things like structure and pace, balancing that light and shade in the unfolding of a story to keep a reader hooked. Characterisation can be tricky as most authors know their characters so well and are familiar with them. Working on layering and developing the characters will feed into the dynamics of dialogue and character interaction. Keeping the author focused on their reader – who they are and what they might like in the story – is also important.

How far do you suggest an author goes with their manuscript before sending it to a publisher?

An author needs to feel that their manuscript is as good as it possibly can be. If there are niggling doubts about certain things in the plot, the voice is a little wobbly or there is a character that doesn’t ring true or the ending doesn’t quite sing to you, then go back and look at the manuscript. Again, you only get one shot at submission and you want to give yourself the best possible chance. Don’t rush getting your manuscript finished; take a breath and put the manuscript away for a period of time and then go back and look at it again. You will be amazed at how liberating it is to take another look when you shift your head away from it for a bit. Don’t feel that after the first or second draft you are good to go. One commercially successful author I worked with does up to 50 plus drafts of each of his manuscripts to make sure he is completely happy with what he submits. I’m not suggesting that many, but revise, self-edit and revise again. An underdone manuscript is like heading out the door with your skirt tucked into the back of your undies.

We’re seeing a big increase in the number of authors opting for digital and/or self-publishing avenues to get their books out there. How do you see the future of publishing playing out?

Publishing in all its forms is sitting on a pretty exciting precipice. There is either the urge to jump and think about what will happen when you hit the bottom but there is also the possibility that one might fly. Digital publishing works for both traditional publishing houses and self-publishing in that some books and particular genres work well in digital form only. The add-on of digital makes getting hold of a book so much faster and easier. Self-publishing opens up the options for writers to bypass the big conglomerate publishing houses and some well-known authors have stepped away from the conventional publishing model to try self-publishing.

Much has been said about the death of the book, the decline in good writing and the glut of lightweight or fly-by-night books being published. I think that has always been the case, it is just that things are moving far more quickly and change is always a little scary. There are more possibilities than ever for writers to get their work out into the world on different platforms. With that comes some wriggle room for writers to be a bit more experimental, enabling them to think beyond the boundaries and conventions of the traditional publishing model.

What is the most important piece of advice you have for an aspiring author?

Writing is a serendipitous thing. Timing plays a big part in the lucky breaks for a writer but there is also the notion that it is an organic process that is always changing, shifting, developing and learning. If a writer feels they have the writing gig down pat then their writing will never change. Read, read and read! A writer needs to read widely and constantly. Strangely, I have come across people who write but don’t read and it always shows in their work.

***

If this article has made you think that perhaps you could do with using some Editorial Services, please consider sending your work to me – I would be more than happy to help you. For details of what I have already done and info on what I can do, check out my credentials here: Abigayle Blood: Editorial Services

Via: http://writersedit.com/kristin-prescott-speaks-to-editor-extraordinaire-jody-lee/

10 Tips & Tricks To Improve Your Writing

10 easy ways to improve your writing:

As social networking is predominately text driven, it is a good idea to make sure your writing is up to an acceptable and readable standard.

There’s nothing worse than reading a tweet, Facebook, Google+ or blog post that is full of errors. It gives an impression to the reader that you are either careless, or worse, a bit stupid.

So, to help you make a better impression on the few million people that may be reading you, (yes, daunting isn’t it?) and improve your writing, here are a few tips you might want to consider:

1. Always check that your verb agree with the subject. I hates this mistake with a passion.

2. Almost every comptupter has a speelchekker, so use it. Yoo could even use teh auto-tect correction for commun errors.

3. Typos involving small common words like that and than, it and is, and there and their are easy to make. Check before you hit the send button. Better to be safe that sorry.

4. One mistake that irks me is the incorrect use of capitalisation. i just cringe when i see this error.

4. When you use numbered bullets, make sure they are sequential.

6. Check your formatting in blog post as errors are not always obvious.

7. USE OF SHOUTING CAPITALS WILL OFFEND READERS, SO DON’T USE THEM. Except for unavoidable acronyms. LOL

8. There are some who think; oddly enough, that punctuation – commas, colons and em dashes, are a sign: or symbolic, of high intellect. In fact, the opposite is true and you stand a good chance of looking like a real fool.

9. I dislike sentences that always start with I. I hate it in fact. I stop reading instantly. I would advise against it. I really would.

10. Reading long passages of text on the Internet; whether it be on a computer, laptop or mobile phone is very tiring on a reader’s eyes so you should be careful not to ramble on with long sentences and un-paragraphed passages of text that are neither informative nor interesting as you will lose your reader very quickly as they will become bored and stop reading your diatribe quicker than you can say Jack Robinson, so don’t just keep typing ad infinitum about your pet subject in long and badly punctuated sentences that keep waffling on without ever coming to the point that was probably your intention to begin with, but you forgot about once you got started and decided to add one extra point in your sentence that should have included a relative pronoun but you got lazy and just used a random comma and kept on typing. Phew!

11. Be sure that your title is a relevant and accurate summary of your article.

So there you go – I hope this post clearly makes the point. And if you got to this part without noticing anything wrong, I suggest you go back and re-read it – there are a mountain of glaring errors that any writer worth his salt should have picked up on. For most of you though, this should be a fun exercise. Just make sure you can see my point through your tears of laughter!

Via: http://www.justpublishingadvice.com/10-tips-tricks-to-improve-your-writing

Embracing the Art of Editing

Art-of-Editing-1

Having at times been both an editor and writer I have learnt a very important lesson; editing is essential, regardless of the form of writing and it is something we need to learn to embrace. There are horror stories about bad editors who do more harm than good, so as an author it is always your job to maintain the integrity of a story or article. However, also remember good editors have just one goal in mind – to make your writing the very best it can be.

The key is not to take feedback too personally, something often easier said than done. Not all editors are gentle and sometimes they point out things you don’t want to hear, but all feedback will teach you something.

While it can be confronting to open yourself up for criticism, editors also help give you confidence in your creation by making sure the story essentials are all clear and in place. So if you’re lonely or struggling, find an editor and don’t give up.

Things to remember:

  • See feedback as an opportunity to improve
  • Don’t be precious or defensive – if you really don’t agree, don’t make the changes
  • Keep an open mind
  • Enjoy the process of sharing your work
  • Be brave

Finishing a writing project, big or small, is an achievement that should not be understated. Many writers work around day jobs, family and dozens of other life obstacles. So keep writing and embrace editing, you never know where you might end up.

Read the full article here: http://writersedit.com/embracing-art-editing/

3 Things to Cut From Your Writing 

I believe that within each writer there is an editor, a source of self-criticism that can take our work to the next level with a simple re-read and a dash of red pen. Of course, self-editing is not the end of the line when it comes to polishing your writing (workshopping and seeking a third-party editor is invaluable) but you can do a lot for your story, poem, or script by simply cleaning it up yourself. Develop your inner editor by cutting the following unnecessary frills from your writing:

Via http://writersedit.com/top-3-things-cut-writing/