Editor’s Blog

Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Patience is a skill all writers need.

The publishing industry as a whole is a hurry-up-and-wait industry. We send manuscripts out for critiques, but must wait for the reports. We send a chapter to an editor, but it could easily be a week, or longer, before we get it back. We send out the query to an agent and it could be months before we hear anything. We sign a publishing contract and it could be a year before we see our book on the shelves. The book is published and it takes time for any sales to happen. Patience is the one skill that all writers […]

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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Remember your family… They want you to succeed.

While your family might not understand the ups and downs of what it means to be a writer, they do want to see you succeed. They want you to be happy. Remember to take a break from all the crazy that writing brings and spend time with your loved ones. Just a few cherished moments might be all you need to push your way through.

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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: There are many things a writer can do while waiting for news.

There are so many things that a writer can do while waiting to hear back on something that they sent out. You could write something else (although some struggle with this idea). You could read another book or manuscript written by someone else. You could work on your writer’s platform, writing a new series of posts for that long-neglected blog. You could edit another manuscript. The one thing that you want to avoid doing is stressing out about it: watching the Twitter feed, checking your inbox every five seconds or complaining publicly about the wait on social media. (Again, your […]

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Finding value in a critique…

Every writer who puts their work out there will have to face critiques of all flavors: the good, the bad, and the outright mean. For the new writer, one just starting down the journey, sending that baby out for review can actually be a terrifying experience. “What if they don’t like it? What if I’m doing it all wrong? What if they tell me my writing is shit?”

Well… Not everyone is going to like what you write. Writing is like art — filled with subjective opinions. If you’re determined to have everyone in the world like your writing, then you might as well give up now. It’s never going to happen. The best you can ever hope for is that the fans of books you like to read, the stories that influenced your writing, also like your book.

In terms of doing it wrong… I’m sorry, but this is your writing. You are the only one who can judge if you are doing it wrong or not. What others can do is tell you why something didn’t work for them, potentially providing suggestions to make your writing stronger. Whether you take on board those suggestions is entirely up to you.

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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: It’s the little details that help build a story.

Little details, like the design of the saddle used on a horse, might have little to no relevance to a story plot, but believe it or not, it’s those little details that can make or break a story for a reader. Take that saddle for example. If you are writing a story that takes place in medieval times, you don’t want to be talking about the horn on a saddle because the saddles that your characters are using likely didn’t have one. It may be only a passing sentence in the whole manuscript, but it can be enough to keep […]

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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: There is a fine line between too little and too much backstory.

Editors often complain about too much exposition, generally referring to too much backstory and setting descriptions. However, there is a fine line between too little and too much backstory. The exact level needed will depend on a combination of factors: your narrative style, perspectives used, type of scenes, genre and previous story history (i.e. series). If something directly relates to your character’s motivations and actions, then it should be included in some fashion, but that tidbit about a character growing up surrounded by dogs might be irrelevant, depending on the story.

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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Don’t panic if your word counts climb during initial editing.

When editing early drafts, it is common for word counts to climb. There should be more developed passages and settings to help build the picture in a reader’s mind. On subsequent editing, you will examine every word, sentence and paragraph, asking yourself whether it adds to the story as a whole. At this point, your word counts should return to a more respectable level.

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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Made-up words are fine, as long as they make sense.

It is common for those who write fantasy or futuristic science fiction to make up words. You don’t always need to define those words either. If it is clear from the context what that word means, then readers will accept it happily — this is particularly the case with swear words. If you are using full sentences of a made-up, or foreign, language, you will need to put in a definition somewhere. Some put in a glossary in the back, however, that only works for printed books and even then could frustrate your reader. It is best to have the translation […]

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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Just because a word exists, doesn’t mean one should use it.

The Oxford English Dictionary is 20 volumes and contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use, and 47,156 obsolete words. That is an insane number of words. But just because a word exists in the dictionary doesn’t mean that one should actually use it. Think about your reader. If your reader needs to have a dictionary sitting next to them just to understand what it is you’re writing, then you may want to rethink your word selections.

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