If You Want Perfection, You’d Better Be Prepared To Pay For It!

Some authors opt out of having manuscripts professionally edited.  I guess they think it’s an unnecessary expense.  Some authors just don’t know specifically what an editor does so they fail to see the value in hiring one.  And SOME authors may think that their friends and family members can read a manuscript and find any spelling/grammatical/plot issues, for FREE.  Because this is certainly a group that would always deliver an unbiased opinion, right? 

The reality is that a professional editor can bring to light soooo many things that you never considered before, specifically if you are completely new at the writing game (which I AM).  Let me give you an example that always springs to my mind when I am glorifying my own editor.

Head hopping.

Whaaa?

Yeah, I’d never heard of it either. Basically, it means that within one scene, the author delivers the story through multiple characters’ points of view.  The term came about because thoughts are jumping from one perspective to another, making it very confusing for the reader to identify and understand who in the scene is driving the story.

I had no idea that this concept even existed.  And I totally abused it, until my editor pointed it out to me.  I also wouldn’t have known that some publishers will reject you immediately if any hint of head hopping appears in your manuscript.  But she completely opened my eyes to this and subsequently provided so many other little pearls of wisdom she’d collected throughout her career. 

Now, I know that the Internet provides endless volumes of information about a plethora of writing topics and if you know the right people to ask or websites to research, you could probably find out a heck of a lot on your own about the evils of head hopping and the like.  But for me, having that go-to person who is intimately involved in the publishing industry and can teach the tips and tricks required to produce a stellar piece of writing is worth every cent.

Think about it this way.  Perception becomes reality.  If the world sees your work as sub-par, so shall it become.  And how many people will want to buy another one of your masterful creations then?  I’m guessing not many…

Getting To Know My Next Hero…It’s All About The Character Sketch

Image

Liam Hemsworth

When I decided to write Unlikely Venture, I just WROTE.  I made some notes here and there but for the most part, I found out what was going to happen as I typed.  I didn’t have the whole story mapped out, didn’t use an outline.  But that style kind of suits me.  I’m impulsive so I don’t like wasting time on the planning.  I like to jump in feet first, headed straight toward the action.

I’ve learned a lot over the past year, though.  And I’ve determined that maybe a bit of planning can go a long way.  So, while I am taking a very short hiatus from my last set of edits, I delved into book 2.  I’ve been making notes everywhere, including on my iPhone as I drive (not advisable).  Sometimes to avoid potential fender benders, I call myself and just talk through my notes so I have a voicemail as reference.  Maybe it’s time to download a voice recorder app.

Anyway, I’ve been working on character sketches for my new book.  I didn’t create these up front with book 1; it wasn’t until my editor requested them that I actually sat down to learn about my characters.  I love the robust backstories that resulted from that exercise and a lot of the detail made it into the story.  Anyway, I now recognize the importance of planning.  I could continue my helper skelter writing and eventually, I’d spin out a new tale. But it would lack depth and breadth because I wouldn’t be intimately familiar with my cast of characters.  And that’s a necessity!  You need to be connected to these people to craft a compelling story about them.

So I’ve been working on Chris, my next hero.  But before I can write about him, I need to picture him in my head.  So I’ve been Googling and finally landed on this image.  It’s exactly how I see Chris in my head.  And you know what?  The backstory is just pouring out of me now.  I just needed to make that physical association before I could really understand what he’s all about beneath the surface.

This pic of Liam totally hits the nail on the head.  He is Chris.  =)

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