1. chacotaco91
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    chacotaco91 Senior Member

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    The process of finding editors/proof-readers

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by chacotaco91, Apr 23, 2011.

    So everyone, I think I might write an entire, actual novel.

    No more writing the first two chapters and losing interest. No more jotting down ideas that don't go anywhere. I have 45000 words, and I've never gone this far with a single story before. I feel as though I'm 1/3, maybe half way done, and feel like I'm set to keep going. When I have loads of free time this summer, I have no doubt I could pull of a finish.

    So, what happens when I'm done or about close? Who should read my work?

    On the unprofessional side, does anyone use friends or family to read/edit your work? I'm not sure who I should ask, who I should go to with it. Has anyone found a sort of partner writer at clubs or something like craigslist? I've posted one excerpt on this website; thats the fullness of what has been critiqued on what I've written. Is it best to have people reading, helping you along the way? Or should I just finish it on my own, and figure it out from there?

    Is it really advisable to go it totally alone when writing a novel?

    I have no real fantasies about seeing this published, but I'd like to go through a hardcore proof-reading/editing process.

    On the professional side, (though I'm only curious about this right now), do you have someone editing your work as you go? or do you only present it to them when you have a finished manuscript?

    I need a general run-down of this whole thing; I'm quite lost in the woods at this point.
     
  2. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Congrats! That is really awesome and I am truly happy for you :D Good job!


    Okay, well maybe someone else will disagree but that's a lot. What genre is this? The average first time book should be (according to my research) between 50k and 125k with the ideal range falling in 80-100k. I would have to say you should consider finishing and then going through to see what can be cut?


    This is all just really dependent on what you want. I have family members who read my work who are avid readers that I can -for the most part- depend on to pick up typos and such. If you're planning to have it published maybe find a writing partner or a protected forum to get help. I would be very careful with Craigs list and things like that.

    This, again is dependent on you. How confident are you in your own abilities to pick up plot holes, typos, etc.? What are you calling hardcore? What does that mean to you?

    I have both I suppose. I finish chapters then give them to my stepfather, who tells me if I missed any typos (though I recently realized even the both of us together are not infallible). Other than that I'm on my own, or was, until recently (since he undoubtedly loves everything I write). I got invaluable feedback (from somewhere else) on only my first chapter (I thought I was about halfway done), but it has changed how I look at everything I've written so far.
     
  3. chacotaco91
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    chacotaco91 Senior Member

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    Edited: sorry typo I have 45000 actually. Its fantasy, chapters split into following 3 groups of paired characters. (each pair a chapter). I'm going to finish it to leave the possibility for a sequel.
     
  4. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Okay then, you are right on track :D Perfect!
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    * Who should read your work?

    First of all, you. Read and re-read. Learn to critique, so you can be more objective. Learn spelling and grammar, and don't make excuses about your mistakes when you find them. Become your sharpest critic, but criticize the writing, not the writer.

    Now, start submitting. Submit to publishers, submit to agents. Read the rejection letters, and learn from them. When some of them eventually give you lists of things you need to change, rejoice. That is progress. When you have reached that point, it means you are worth their time to nudge you in the right direction.

    Why spend money on someone who will tell you what a publisher or agent will tell you for free? You are unlikely to get that money back, because a professional editor won't make you any better prepared to submit, or guarnatee your writing will be accepted.

    As for family and friends, don't expect more than an ego stroking. How many of them would be able to tell you that your dialogue goes nowhere, or that you are overusing adverbs? How many will tell you where you need to cut back on description and pick up the pace, or where more description is truly needed?

    What you are really looking for is the self confidence to tell yourself, "It's ready to submit." And that won't come from anyone else.

    Do you think professional writers run their story by an editor to know if it's ready to submit? No. A professional writer who uses an editor has already built up a relationship with that editor, and knows the editor knows and respects their writng style well enough to do what the writer would do if he or she had the time for that extra pass.

    A mystery writer I know has had two editors. She dropped the first one after a few years because the editor wasn't on the same track for revisions and tweaks. She took her time finding and getting to know the second one. She uses the editor to help her meet the deadlines that come with a multiple book contract, not to do anything she could not do herself.

    * Is it really advisable to go it totally alone when writing a novel?

    Yes and no. The assistance you really need is support and understanding from people around you, especially when you are feeling frustrated. You also need research sources for in depth information - what it's really like working a seventy-two hour shift in a trauma center, what are the procedures in getting a wearch warrant for a suspected drug trafficker, how does a law office go about tracking down and preparing witnesses for a civil lawsuit, etc. But the actual writing? Yes, you should be fully prepared to do that all on your own, and confident enough in you own ability to do so without hesitation.
     
  6. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Chacotaco91,

    Finish the novel, the first draft. Set it aside for a short time (weeks or maybe a month or two). Then go at it yourself. Read, make notes as you go--as you fix things (more than typos and grammar errors--maybe plot lines that went nowhere, a slight change in name, time line concerns, etc.).

    There is not sense allowing someone to read and give an opinion or make corrections if you haven't given them your best (or near best) work. What they'll end up doing is commenting and fixing what you could have taken care of, instead of catching more subtle things and helping you bump it up to the next level.

    As far as readers go, think about who you ask and what they will bring to the table. But also remember, even if they promise to read and help--they may not. Remember, you care about your mansucript more than anybody else ever will. More than a spouse, twin sister, best friend, agent, editor--(a crazed fan with a few mental issues might care more--but that's another story ;) ) If they don't follow through, don't hold it against them. Sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes they just don't know what to say or how to respond, or what's expected. Who knows.

    Best friends or family members may not be the best choice. If it's lousy, even if only in places, they may be hesitant to say so, or will read things in the best light, or whatever. Then again, a cousin or best friend might.

    And you also need to have very thick skin--and don't be defensive when they have negative comments. Sounds easy, but sometimes it's not.

    Good luck finishing that first draft!
     
  7. chacotaco91
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    chacotaco91 Senior Member

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    Thanks everyone, great advice.

    Cogito, now that I think about it, your right about family just being an ego-boost, or at least mine would most likely be. They still don't know I spend a vast amount of my free time writing fiction; they still just think all I do is voraciously read. I suppose I should tell them I'm writing, but not necessarily show them any of my work.

    Has anyone had much experience with local writers groups or finding writing partners online? There's one that meets just down the street from where I live. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to check it out, unless someone here has first hand experience as to why they're useless or useful.
     
  8. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    It would be cool if you could find an advocate to push you, another writer without a competitive vibe than can cultivate the diamonds that you are, ya dig what I am saying ....I admire Denise's ability to do a,b and c, she is curious how I come up with x,y and z , we then teach each other ?
     
  9. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    That is essentially the problem with my stepdad, lol. I could write the worst story in history and he would probably still think it was great. He DOES point out typos though, and has managed to point out a couple of POV breaks. You just have to realize that the opinion will be biased going into it.

    It's like asking your Momma if you're ugly. Of course not honey, you're the most beautiful girl in the world, they're just jealous :p

    As far as writing partners goes, I have one, I guess. I help them edit and point out mistakes and such, but it's kind of one sided. They don't feel comfortable doing the same for me because they insist I'm the better writer. Sometimes I push, a lot, because they need to learn. It works though, and I get critiques somewhere else. Pay it forward, kinda, I guess. Except I get kinda overworked, lol. If I had access to a writing group nearby I would check it out. The more people that can look over my stuff (without me losing the ability to publish) the better. Quite frankly I want it to be ripped to shreds. I need to know what's wrong with it before I can fix it. It's difficult to find that. I wish you the best of luck.
     
  10. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Chacotaco91,

    I wrote an article that may be useful with respect to joining a crit group: Five Considerations Before Joining a Crit Group

    I currently moderate an online crit group and have been a member of a couple over the years. A local group is better (potentially) than online, but both can work. It really depends on you, your needs, and goals, and the various groups. What works for one writer doesn't always work for another.

    A solid crit group can be very valuable to all of the members, advancing their skills and goals. A poor or dysfunctional crit group can slow down, hurt skill and career development, and even demoralize a writer.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    only one or two persons you know that you can be sure are discerning readers, who can tell good writing from bad... having just anybody read it can be more confusing than helpful...

    my rule of thumb that i recommend all my mentees follow is to never show your work to best friends, family, or anyone you're sleeping with!... they'll either tell you it's great, to not hurt your feelings, or crush you and put your relationship at risk with criticism that may or may not even be valid... so it's best to stick to acquaintances you can trust to give you emotion-free opinions...

    given the fact that killers can successfully prowl those precincts for victims, i don't see why you would even think of going there...

    only if they have the professional chops to actually be helpful... following the advice of fellow beginners isn't a good idea, since if you wanted to learn how to fix your car, you wouldn't ask for help from someone else who has to ask for help, would you?...

    imo, yes... writing is a solitary occupation, as well it should be... no one but you can know what you want/need to write...

    this is something you must learn to do on your own, as all seasoned writers do... it's money down the drain to pay someone to do it for you...

    no... i've always been my own editor... i was a professional editor in my old writing-for-money years and i now edit others' work for free, just to be helpful...

    whether you edit as you go, or wait till you've finished a piece before starting the editing/revising process is up to you... some writers find one way works best and some find the other does...

    in addition to what i've said here, i strongly urge you to heed cog's info and advice above... it's all valid and what i would tell you, as well... if you want an assessment of the quality of your work, or help with anything at any point in the writing/publishing process, feel free to drop me a line...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     

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