Showing posts from April, 2018

To Edit or Not Edit, That Is the Question

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles You did it! You wrote a novel. You heave a satisfied sigh as the last words flow onto the page. A big grin stretches over your face. Now what? If TV shows and movies are to be believed, you send it off to your agent and a few months later, receive a box full of the first prints of your hard work. Too bad it doesn't work that way, right? Movie writers don't show us the endless revisions, the working through notes with an agent, then an editor, to get it right. They don't show us the author trying to find an agent. Yes, in this day of self-publishing, you can turn right around and publish your work, skip those steps, but you're doing yourself a disservice. You MUST edit. You MUST have experienced readers and editors look over your work. If you don't, you're not publishing your best work. You're not discovering the glitches in your plot or the mistakes in character development. Someone needs

Do You Measure Up: Judging Your Book Cover & Marketing

I want to talk about book covers and marketing, but first I want to share a related story. A few weeks ago, my granddaughter came home with the news that she had won First Place in her school's Science Fair. Elated, I congratulated her and made sure our schedules allowed for the next hurdle: the District Science Fair. On the day she took her project board and spoke to the judges, I began to worry. Although Victoria is very artsy, she didn't create a flashy project board. She created what her school asked of her. Most of the other kids had flashy boards with all sorts of color. Victoria's board stuck to the science of her experiment with a few targeted visuals. Later, I wandered through and read the other boards. Only two others besides Victoria went into a scientific explanation of the results of their experiments. The other boards didn't touch on a scientific explanation at all. In the back of my mind, I hoped, but I remembered my father's words to me ye

Writers Need To Like Criticism

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles Writing critique groups exist for one purpose: to improve your writing. That means you have to take criticism of your work, learn how to evaluate the criticism, and improve your writing based on that same criticism. In other words: You NEED to learn to like criticism. Yep. If we're going to improve, we need to listen to constructive feedback. Of course, how it's given plays a factor in how we take it, but it's still not easy to sit back and smile, and even say thank you, to hard truths. I've been listening to TEDTalks podcasts lately, and they've started a new sub-channel: WorkLife with Adam Grant . The first podcast I listened to on this channel was entitled: How to Love Criticism.  It's worth a listen, but make sure you have the time. The podcast runs about thirty minutes. As you listen to the opening story, think about the first time you attended a writing workshop or critique group and received

Spring Break Memories

It's Spring Break for the grands this week. Without fail, every time one of my children or grandchildren celebrates a week off of school in the spring, I find myself recalling my favorite break as a child. It happened the year I was in sixth grade. You would think we'd ordered the weather that week. Temperatures in the 70s, clear blue skies, not too hot, not too cold. We spent every day at the creek which ran behind our neighborhood. We lived in a small subdivision on the edge of the county. The creek created the boundary to the next county and town. To get to the creek, we rode our bikes to the end of the cul de sac at the back of the neighborhood and followed the path through the woods and undergrowth to a small stretch of sand by the creek. A fallen tree provided a bridge to the other side if you were brave enough to cross it. We brought sandwiches and spent the entire day there. No worries. No troubles. Just fun in the peace and quiet of the creek. We imagined we