Showing posts from August, 2008

When should you hire a freelance editor? Part one

Let’s face it, writing is not for wusses. It involves at least a small financial investment in books, workshops, conferences, equipment, office supplies. Because of that, I have several low-cost services in my Story Sensei service, like the Synopsis critique , Synopsis writing worksheet and Screening critique . But even these services cost money. How do you know at which point you need to hire a freelance editor, whether it’s me or someone else? Are you in a critique group or do you have critique partners? If the answer is no, then you are not yet ready to hire a freelance editor. Critique groups/partners help you grow from a beginning writer to a strong intermediate one. They can help you understand basic things like point of view, showing versus telling, passive verbs, -ly adverbs, proper punctuation/grammar, etc. For example, if you are a beginning writer and you hire me for a manuscript critique, I will point out all the above in your manuscript for you, but I will be so busy poi

Critique group/partner etiquette, part two

Give useful feedback. Don’t just praise the writer and not make any kind of useful comments in a manuscript. That isn’t helpful. Critique groups and partners are meant to help writers grow, not just pat them on the back. You want to be both encouraged and challenged by your group/partner, and encourage and challenge them in return. Good writers always want to be challenged to improve their writing. Even multi-published, best-selling authors are constantly learning new things about their writing craft to improve and grow. Listen to the feedback people give you. What’s the point of being in a critique group if you’re not going to listen to anything people tell you? Be open to hearing things—sometimes hard things—about your writing. Realize that it’s meant to help you become a better writer. And then do something about the things people tell you. Don’t just smile, nod, and go your merry way. Work to improve your writing and make it better because of the feedback you get. On the flip si

No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells

What could be better than a book sale? A SALE on BOOKS!! Former editor, agent and a writer of romance herself, Alice Orr is offering her inventory of her 2004 Writer's Digest Book on the used book store at Amazon. No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells (Hardcover) Book Description It's often said that "rejection is a part of the writing business," and aspiring writers are advised to learn to live with being rejected again and again. Not anymore! With the invaluable hints in No More Rejections, readers will learn how to turn "No" into "Yes." Successful literary agent, author, and former editor Alice Orr combines lessons on craft with lessons on marketing to create a series of tips and techniques that help writers think about their book's marketability while they write it. Chapters feature lessons on: *Scoping out salable story ideas *Creating compelling characters *Writing an opening sentence that sizzles *Crafting s

Critique group/partner etiquette, part one

Once you join a critique group or find a critique partner, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Critiquing, just like writing, is a time commitment. If you get feedback on your manuscript, you’re expected to give feedback in return. If your critique partners give fabulous, detailed, valuable feedback, you are expected to also spend as much time giving detailed feedback on their work. It just isn’t fair if your time commitment isn’t the same as the other people in your critique group or your critique partner. Don’t be a leach, and don’t be selfish—give back as much as you receive. Don’t be argumentative. No one likes a whiner. Even more, no one likes a belligerent writer. You can expect to get bad feedback or kicked out of a group if you insist on arguing with your critique partners. Take time after you get a critique to calm down and get some distance (physical and temporal). When you return to it, you might find that the comments are more helpful than you initially though

Finding the right critique partners

Finding the right critique partners Finding the right critique partners is kind of like marriage. Lots of dating to find someone (or several people) who fit you best. Try out a group/partners for a few months first. You’ll be able to tell after a while if the group is a good fit for you. You’ll want to match on several different levels: 1) Does the group/your partner submit chapters for critique as often as you do? If they submit more often or less often, it might not be a good fit. You don’t want to spend all your time critiquing several their chapters when they only have to critique one of yours in the same time frame. Similarly, they might resent if you submit many more chapters than they do in a month, and they’re forced to critique more for you than you critique for them. 2) Does your group/partner “get” your writing and are they able to give useful feedback? If your critiquer(s) are giving feedback that is completely off base because they don’t really understand y

Critique groups

Are you in a critique group or do you have critique partners? If you don’t, I strongly suggest you find one. Why do you need a critique group/critique partners? While it’s true that there are several published authors who don’t have critique groups or critique partners, there are far more who do. Writers always can use feedback to help their writing be stronger. They can help you with punctuation or grammar errors, and can help you flag things like passive verbs, telling, backstory, etc. If anything, critique partners help you catch inconsistencies in the story like your heroine’s eyes changing from blue in chapter two to green in chapter fifteen. Or having your hero sprain his ankle in chapter one and it miraculously heals by chapter three. Critiquing other people’s manuscripts can also help you improve your writing skills. In pointing out weak writing in your critique partner’s work, you can also be aware of weak writing in your own. You don’t have to worry about anyone

Waiting on God devo

My friend Tina Russo sent me this devotional she received. I love it--it's so appropriate for writers, whether published or unpublished. And if you're not Christian, well, you don't have to read this post. Camy Waiting on God TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman Sunday, August 10 2008 "Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!" Isaiah 30:18 Have you ever noticed that God is not in a hurry? It took 40 years for Moses to receive his commission to lead the people out of Egypt. It took 17 years of preparation before Joseph was delivered from slavery and imprisonment. It took 20 years before Jacob was released from Laban's control. Abraham and Sarah were in their old age when they finally received the son of promise, Isaac. So why isn't God in a hurry? God called each of these servants to accomplish a certain task in His Kingdom, yet He was in no hurr

Market for poetry?

Sally Stuart posted a great answer to poets who want their work published. Q - Market for Poetry

Interview with literary agent Rachel Zurakowski

Today, literary agent Rachel Zurakowski is blogging at Seekerville . She's with the prestigious Books and Such literary agency . She will also be answering questions, so leave a comment and she'll answer you sometime later in the comments.

The Top Ten Mistakes I See in Fiction Manuscripts

Originally this article appeared on Gina Conroy's blog , but a few people were deterred because for some reason the page takes a while to load. So here's the article in full. I run a critique service called the Story Sensei, and I’ve also judged a fair number of writing contests through RWA, in addition to coordinating the ACFW Genesis contest. I’ve noticed a few commonalities in the manuscripts I’ve critiqued and judged, and Gina asked me to share. So here is: The top ten mistakes I see in manuscripts: 10) Inadequate use of point of view. I’m not talking about head-hopping. I’m talking about a very distant use of point of view that doesn’t get the reader into the character’s head or feeling the character’s emotions. For a first chapter, especially, this is crucial. If the reader isn’t immediately sucked into the character’s mind and body, if the reader doesn’t care about the character, they’re going to put the book down. This leads to the next mistake: 9) Inadequat

Craft and Art, or, Are There Rules and Why?

Andy Meisenheimer , editor at Zondervan, posted a great email to the ACFW loop about following or not following "rules" in writing. I asked for permission and he let me repost it here for you guys. He has a lot of good things to say. Craft and Art, or, Are There Rules and Why? Writing is, as all creative media, a mixture of art and craft. Craft is what art is when it becomes codified--that is, when it can be deconstructed and taught. Art is where innovation happens. Craft is where convention resides. There are few artists who aren't first skilled craftsmen. The great artists are those who know how to take craft and transcend convention to create something new. So the task of the budding artist is first and foremost to learn the craft. If you want to build a chair, just winging it, based on feelings and "voice", it will rarely result in a chair that will support a person, last through everyday use and stand up to abuse. Craft is the result of all the artists that