1. jo spumoni
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    jo spumoni Active Member

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    Editing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by jo spumoni, Dec 31, 2010.

    I have a finished novella that I really need feedback on. However, I want it to be published when it's good enough, so posting it online is out of the question. My family and two of my friends have read it, but I really need someone impartial to give me a comprehensive critique. However, I don't have the money to pay for editing as I am a starving student. Any suggestions?
     
  2. JohnathanRS
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    JohnathanRS Member

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    Not many options to be honest. Top three I can think of:

    1. Get chummy with a few people online through sites like these and see if they would be willing to review it.

    2. Ask a english professor if they could take the time to review it. Most professors will usually review a few chapters, and if they ask to continue with the story(which they will if they like it) they will request more.

    3. Go to your basic barnes and nobles and find people who are reading similiar works that your book is focused towards. For example, if it is fantasy, then find the fantasy section and see who is looking through the collections.

    Start up a random conversation with them and then bring up that you are a inspirting author. In fact most times people will ask if you have written anything so this tends to be easy to do. Print out your work on basic computer paper and a cheap divider (1 buck plus computer paper.) and give it to them with your number/email to send it to you when you are done.

    4. Same as number 3 except book clubs odviously will have a lot of readers.


    You will not be able to find someone who can review the work editing wise for free unless your lucky. However, if your story is good enough and people who are reading it tend to say they liked it, then there is a good chance that a editor/publisher/agent will like it as well and will be willing to repersent/buy it from you. If a editor/publisher does this, they will do this themselves. If it's a agent, they will usually request that you have a professional editor review it before they repersent your story. First, you need to figure out if your book is even any good to be honest and if people can follow the story.

    My Opinion.
     
  3. Dante Dases
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    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you're looking to be published professionally, you need to conduct yourself as a professional - unfortunately that sometimes means having to edit without getting feedback, forming your own opinions on your work. I don't mean that to sound harsh, but it's probably the best option.

    If you haven't tried this before, I recommend putting the draft of your novella in a drawer and leaving it for three months or so before coming back to it. Any rose-tinted view you may have had of it will be gone and you'll be able to critically analyse what does and doesn't work. Plus, the experience will make you a better writer.

    Best of luck.
     
  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    PM me if you want to email it to me. I'll check it out. :)
     
  5. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Put the work down and concentrate on reading, studying, writing other stuff. Things have a way over time ending up not quite as polished as you thought when a manuscript was at the forefront of your efforts.

    Especially reading. My advice is to read high-quality writing (define that for yourself, please) and underline everything you think is admirable, whether a single verb or entire paragraph. Then, write that all out in a journal to get the feel of what high-quality (as you define it) looks and feels like. And keep in mind your own work, so when you find a passage or verb that is good, feel free to glean ideas.

    A professor had the class do this sort of exercise, and we'd turn in a paragraph or two from our own writing, and then relatable excerpts we'd pulled from books we were reading (from a 'high quality' reading list, as defined by the professor). The goal was to analyze and compare why and where the excerpts we admired were working that our own writing maybe wasn't. It was hugely helpful and the entire class saw more benefit from this exercise than anything else I'd observed over the years.

    I believe it's one of the best revision exercises around, as your work needs to stand up to your own definitions of quality fiction before you can hope to consider it done, much less send it out. And, in that process, it keeps the revisions and new ideas coming.
     
  6. MsLee123
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    MsLee123 Member

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    First, congrats on finishing! It's such a great feeling, no?

    Editing can sometimes be a very mundane task and unfortunately if you look at something too much your mind automatically corrects mistakes. The best thing to do after finishing a work is to put it away for a while and not look at it. I usually take about 6 weeks. When you come back to the work you have a new, fresh perspective. You'll be amazed at how many things you pick up. Just trust yourself and your editing abilities. Sometimes we can only rely on ourselves.
     
  7. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Editing is very time consuming if done by yourself, but it does worth your while as well as everyone else. I myself don't have a reviewer (well besides this site), so it does sort of make it complicated to underline the mistakes you can't see and others can. This is why I would have to agree with MsLee about setting your story aside for a few months. I have not read my stories in about a month and totally forgot what it was about. This does give me an opportunity to have a fresh set of eyes. It has helped as I tried. You can also read each sentence backwards. This makes the brain lose the meaning of the story. If you are reading it forwards, your brain will understand what the concept of the story and it won't look for sentence structure or grammar errors.. Instead, it will try to correct the concept of the story. That's why reading backwards seem to help. Other than that, I really have no more suggestions.

    I also offer private critique if anyone wants to email me or send me a PM about it. You can click on the MSN icon, otherwise, it may be dangerous to do so as you might not want to trust the reviewers of your work.
     
  8. jo spumoni
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    jo spumoni Active Member

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    I appreciate all the advice. I finished my novella in June of 2010. I have gotten pretty much nowhere editing it myself; by October, it was to the point where I didn't want to even look at it anymore, so I haven't really looked at it since. I pulled it out recently and glanced over it, but I have read it so many times by now that I just can't seem to view it with fresh eyes. Due to my lack of experience in writing, my young age, and my obviously-biased view when I read my own novel, I can't really trust myself when I edit. I do my best, but there are so many issues I have that I just really don't know how to solve.

    I'm not a professional, and I don't want to pretend to be. I am only 19 and this is my first book; I am studying to be an archaeologist, not a writer, and I am proud of this career path. I have read a lot of wonderful books for my age, but I have not written a lot. My New Year's Resolution is to WRITE. Although I am seeking (eventually) to have my book published professionally, I see no point in not getting feedback if I need it--and I do.

    One of the biggest problems is that I accidentally wrote a fantasy novella, but I don't read fantasy. You're probably wondering what I mean by this? Well, my book would be historical fiction if I had had time to do any research. But I was finishing my first year in college, so I didn't; instead, I entirely made up a setting that resembles the European 16th or 17th century, and everything else is merely regular fiction. My work has thus wound up being entirely genreless--and likely marketless, I suppose, which is just another reason it won't be published.

    It's a good feeling to finish, but to me, it's never as satisfying as everyone says it is. I finish writing it. I close the document, save the changes, and breath a sigh of relief...and then I immediately wonder what will happen next. I had delusions of grandeur that my novella would be published and blah blah blah...and then abruptly I woke up and realized that practically no one will publish a novella and literally no one will publish what I have written in its current state. But I DON'T KNOW HOW TO FIX IT! The idea that the manuscript is sitting in the dark while I twiddle my thumbs and try hopelessly to work on another book fills me with anxiety. I want to have a single finished work that is as good as it can possibly be, and I want others to be able to read it.

    Sorry for the mess. I just really needed to explain my frustration to people who understand.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    One possibility could be to ask for reviews on other, shorter pieces that you're not particularly hoping to get published? You could learn things about your writing in general from those reviews, that might then be applied to the novella.

    ChickenFreak
     
  10. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    A slightly different point of view: one I don't wholly subscribe to, and nor do I mean any offence:

    You're 19. In two or three years there's a reasonable chance you'll think the novella an embarrrassingly juvenile effort. You concede that it is likely to be difficult to market. Its very existence - as a piece that simply must be edited and polished and made fit for publication - seems to be a source of frustration.

    Forget about it. Cast it aside. It's served its purpose: you've doubtless become a better writer because of it. It is a means, not an end. Having a book published means you've had a book published; it doesn't make you any less, or more, of a writer.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i do this for free, along with mentoring new writers full time... so email me if you want a detailed assessment of your writing...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  12. jo spumoni
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    jo spumoni Active Member

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    I know that it's a juvenile effort, but I'm just not ready to cast it aside. As it stands, it's the only long work I've ever completed and right now it feels important. In fact, I feel very connected to the novel and I think I will always feel that way, although in a few years, I'm sure there will be parts of it I find immature.

    While I was writing the book, I told myself that I didn't care about publication, but when it was finished, I realized I had been lying to myself. I want it to be published, and I believe I wanted to be published from the beginning. It isn't the idea that the book won't be published that bothers me--it is the idea that the full potential of the book may never be realized. And without the goal of publication, I am not all that motivated to improve.

    You get all of the facts right, and logically, you're probably right on all counts. But emotionally, my volatile 19-year-old self cannot drop it.
     
  13. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    I have a question about editing. Does anyone know the components of sentence structure? I mean every sentence I write it doesn't make sense, even the sentence I just wrote on this post.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, i do... as i'm sure many others here do, as well... all you need do is google for it and you'll find all the parts explained in detail...

    but if you want help with your own problematical sentence structure, you can send me a sample of your writing [a page or two] and i'll be happy to give you a detailed assessment, plus suggestions on how to improve it... and i can even assign you a lesson, if you want to work on it in depth...

    hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  15. Angharad Denby-Ashe
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    Angharad Denby-Ashe Member

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    I would read your story so, it can't be completely marketless.:) I wrote something for kinda sorta the same reason a few years ago - think scifi/19th century cross. I had started out thinking it would be easier to skip all the research - though I couldn't have been more wrong! My office is still littered with countless binders and notebooks and the labor involved in keeping everything straight when everything in that world is of your own invention! ACK.

    Anyway the point. If you merely used fantasy to smudge some details you could always go back, fill them in and jump into the historical novel pool entirely. If not I wouldn't get discouraged I personally know of a few others who have written similar type things. Fantasy is such a broad term anymore - you might get a publisher that has done medieval/fantasy to made the leap. :):)
     
  16. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Thanks for your offer, but according to the email you sent me (which is good as well), you only offer lessions to people who writes with no violance in it. Mine is a mystery intended for teens. Sorry to point that out, and I would be happy if I had someone help me edit my manscript rather than me doing it all on my own. It seems that I over look at it and still see a million zones of grammar errors. I'm still happy with my work but want it to be polished, so polished that it can burn your eyes. :cool: I also re-edited some of the grammars that you pointed out at the begning of the story.
     

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