Apparently, split infinitives are now OK. I love that language is a living thing that is ever-evolving, but I’m not sure I’M OK with this. Why must these rules change? It will continue to sound wrong to me, even though it is now “technically” approved. Am I the only one?
When in the act of writing, absorbed by the process and furor of creation, word choice can sometimes take second place to the story one is trying to tell. When swept up in the work of defining characters, story arc, plot, etc., the author can overlook things such as extraneous words.
That’s why editors exist! We see the words, the sentence, the paragraph, as individual entities as well as pieces of the whole. Each word is examined for its purpose as well as its tone, its function and its form. Editors are there to see the best possible way to present the author’s words so that they shine.
Getting noticed as an author and making the most of it…
I have been an Indie Author for 20 years and without a massive budget behind me to get noticed, I had to push open a few doors myself. For most of it is very hard to self-promote, even for someone like myself, who have a background in public speaking at conferences and major events.
We have a tendency to think global with our marketing because we have access to the world via the Internet. But I have always sold more books, especially print books by creating a market in my local environment. When I first began marketing my books there was no Amazon, worldwide web or global readership to the same extent and we relied on local media picking up the story. This sometimes led to nationals then taking an interest. That is how it worked with my first book Size Matters and I enjoyed both local and national coverage…
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Excellent advice for new writers! Especially this part:
“It is true that writers generally make terrible editors and proofreaders of their own work. With the best will in the world, and even if you sit there with eyes propped open with matchsticks until the words dance on the page, you will miss something. Every time. Whether you can afford a host of professional services or whether you do all the work yourself, you owe it to yourself and to your book to present it to the best of your ability. Unless you believe in it enough to do so, then why should anyone else?”
There are more books being written and published at this moment in time than ever before. Self publishing has opened the doors to a global sharing of imagination and knowledge, but when you pick up the proverbial pen for the very first time, it can seem a daunting task. How do you start, where does it end… and how can you define success?
There are a plethora of resources available online to help writers start, explore or hone their craft. It matters not at all what you are looking for, there is something available. Whether you want to know how to write the vilest of villains or avoid creating a histrionic heroine, advice, good, bad and indifferent is easily located thanks to the power of the internet.
Most of this advice, it is true, is aimed at writers of fiction. There is a tendency to generalise and the…
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Why is it that when you spend hour upon hour, day upon day, writing something, you can still miss all the punctuation and spelling errors that an editor will pick out so quickly? It can feel quite daunting. Don’t feel badly, though. Your brain is programmed to ignore them, as this article explains so well (https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fcarriewatts2%2Fposts%2F10214024726669541&width=500” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Society for Editing: Good Copy editors are Abnormal Humans). It takes a very unique person to look past the automatic response to see all the ways to improve a project. That’s why copy editors and editors are here – the super heroes of the written word!
Another excellent summary as to why editors and copy editors matter.
Do you know Glennon Doyle? If not, I highly recommend her blog, Momastery. She is one of the most inspiring women I’ve ever come across and her words are GOLD. She just always knows the RIGHT. THING. TO. SAY. And exactly how to say it. She creates truly beautiful, insightful pieces.
You could be easily think that she must toil away for hours and hours on these blog posts, wearing herself out on every little detail until it’s just perfect. But here is what I love about her. In one of her posts (Momastery: Rules for a Creative Life), she talks about how, in order to stay positive and keep your energy flowing, you have to know when to let your work go and release it to the world, then leave it without looking back. Work on it to get it to as high a standard as possible then wish it well and don’t feel the need to defend it.
WOW. This is mind-blowing to me. Having worked directly with many authors and artists, and being a writer myself, I know the struggle of stepping away from your work, leaving it naked and defenseless. My experiences as an editor, though, have taught me that holding it too long, too close will suffocate it while wearing you down in the process. You must let out your words to breathe, both for the sake of your work and your ability to create more. Getting that balance right is important.
So imagine my delight when Glennon agreed with me! Well, not personally, but you know what I mean. And she had the added inspiration for this new social media age of “Don’t read/respond to the comments.” Wise advice for a very prolific writer! Can you imagine trying to be creative while bearing the weight of all the negativity that people unleash in comment sections? Not possible. Of course, taking constructive criticism from someone you trust who can help you raise your work to the next level (such as an editor like me, or a close friend who can be objective), but no one said you need to subject yourself to endless public debates on the relative quality of your work (or personal character).
So remember – growing as a writer isn’t a solitary experience. It involves sharing your work, knowing when to say “good-bye,” and when to move on to your next piece so that your creative spark doesn’t fizzle.