3 Things I took away from my Editor’s Evaluation.

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I’m in the process of publishing my first book and submitted my manuscript with some trepidation. I’ve read articles where authors have fled into a blind rage because the editor dared to criticize the baby they’ve taken years to labor over. I wasn’t deluded enough to think the editor would love everything about my work, saying it was perfect, but I was worried whether my work had any merit. I’ve since received my editor evaluation and there are many things I’ve taken away, but I want to share the top three things I’ve learned.

  1. It’s not personal

Unless you’ve contacted your worst enemy and asked them to evaluate your manuscript the suggestions are not personal attacks on your character or your work. The editor is giving an honest and unbiased opinion of your story. They’re professionals who evaluate manuscripts for a living and probably know more about the process than you do.

  1. The editor is trying to help

The evaluation is a tool to help you make the best book possible. I couldn’t help agreeing with most of the proposal the editor was making, and I could see how the changes would improve the quality of my work.

  1. They are suggestions

If you feel so strongly against a revision, you don’t have to make the change. I know I’m repeating myself, but the editor is trying to help. Ultimately, it’s your book. Try sleeping on it and think about it rationally. Make your decision later before rejecting it altogether.

I know most of us want the whole world to read and love our books, but the sad fact is not everyone will want to read it and those who do may not like our stories. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but there you are. As authors, we share the responsibility to produce the best book that we can.

That’s it for now. If you agree, disagree or just have something to get off your chest, please leave a comment.

#Amwriting

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The Walking Dead and how it can relate to writing – Part Three

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I’ve finished watching the Walking Dead season four a while ago, and I found the character stayed with me for a long time afterwards. That got me to thinking. What was it about the Walking Dead that resonated within me? What was the theme?

Naturally, for most people I assume the fascination has to do with zombies and survival. These are common themes and story plots but are not what I am taking away from the story. I find the origin of the zombie apocalypse to be fascinating. It takes a prevailing fear society has for microscopic organisms that can infect and cause death and transferred this into a compelling story. I view the zombies as representations of these small, death-dealing organisms, now having been given flesh and providing our heroes with something they can see and fight while frightening them into choices, we as viewers are glad we don’t have to make.

So again what can I take away to use in my writing? In my research, I found it’s easy to confuse a theme with a story’s subject. The theme is what is inferred in the unfolding of the plot and should resonate with the reader. No matter what genre you’re writing in if your readers can’t relate in some way with your characters or story, they will probably close the cover and move on to another book. Another important point is the theme has to sound a chord within you the writer and transfer to print. If you find the themes of your book un-compelling, there’s a good chance so will the reader.

That’s it for now. If you agree, disagree or just have something to get off your chest, please leave a comment.

#Amwriting

The Walking Dead and how it can relate to writing – Part Two

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Welcome to part two of my three-part blog. In my last blog, I wrote about character driving plot so this time I want to concentrate on the other plot driver dialog. I’m comparing these lessons to what I’ve observed on the show the Walking Dead, but dialog inspiration can be found in many places.

If you’re like most writers, you want your dialog to be fresh, relevant and snappy. It should reel the reader into your world and breathes life into your novel, novella or short story. Many articles on dialog writing warn against info dumping, a story killer if ever there was one, speech flow and placement, and they are all good tips, but I want to talk a little about holding information back. What your character says is almost as important as what’s not being said.

Mystery in a story is a good hook. It forces the reader to think and keeps them turning pages to find out what happens next. It’s also a good idea not to presume to explain everything. Your explanation may not jibe with the reader’s interpretation and thus turn them off. Let the reader figure out some of what’s going on and come to their own conclusion. What they pull from your story may surprise you and force you to rethink what you thought you knew.

Well, that’s it. Please drop a comment if you agree, disagree or just want to get something off your chest. All comments are welcome.

#Amwrtiting

The Walking Dead and how it can relate to writing.

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To begin I have to admit I’m not a big horror fan but I heard the buzz about the show; how good it is and decided to give it a shot. I now know what all the fuss is about and I’m a fan of the T.V. program but as a writer what can the show teach me about writing.  In my three-part blog I’m going to write about what I believe makes this show a hit and what I’ve taken away to use in my fiction writing.

You can find tons of about how fleshing out a well-rounded character is crucial to a good story and that’s true, but if you make a well fleshed out character that grows, especially if he/she grows from the conflict occurring in the plot, now you have a great story. The cast and writers of The Walking Dead do an excellent job of portraying who their characters are and provide plenty of reasons of why you care about what happens to them. I think the gripping drama of the piece is displayed in how you see the characters grow. The people we see in season four are not the same people we learned about in season one. The conflict has changed them.

Now that I’ve thrown character growth out there just how do you go about making your people grow? The ingredients of any story are a strong protagonist, an antagonist to put in our heroes way and conflict. If you’re an American reading this, you know we love our happy endings, but to facilitate change in your main character he has to fail. If you think about it how much did you learn when everything was going perfectly compared to when everything seemed to be falling apart? As people we learn from our mistakes, or we should be learning from them and using our life experiences to mature. The same should occur in our writings and I hope great things happen because of it. That’s one thing we see over and over again in The Walking Dead; forcing you to feel their pain and watching them change. Sometimes it’s for the better, but oft-times it’s for the worse, but always staying true to the characters. Now that’s great writing.

That’s it for now. If you agree, disagree or just have something to get off your chest, please leave a comment.

#Amwriting