Tag Archives: editing

Hate Your Novel? Turn It Into Short Stories

Hate Your Novel? Turn It Into Short Stories

You’re happily writing your novel, and then suddenly it all turns to dreck. You hate what you’ve written, and can’t see any way to rescue your book. Moreover, you don’t want to rescue it. You want to delete it from your computer, and never have to think about it again.

STOP! Don’t delete anything. Not yet.

Your novel’s dead — or is it?

The “I hate my novel” disaster happens more often than you’d believe. Although it’s a horrible feeling, it’s not the end of the world. You’ve lost your inspiration, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t return. It may do. You may get a flash of insight, and complete the rest of the novel easily.

Where are you in the novel? Most writers hit a wall about three or four chapters in. Grit your teeth, and write. Write anything. Your inspiration will return.

If you’re past the mid-point, the same thing applies. You can get your inspiration back. White-knuckle it. Write. Before you know it, you’ll be back on track.

In short — complete the novel, no matter how gruesome you think it is. You may well be wrong.

You’ve completed your novel, and it’s not worth publishing

You know this because:

  • You hate the characters;
  • Your story doesn’t make sense (beta readers got confused with it);
  • You don’t have a story — you just have a bunch of characters;
  • You can’t tell your novel’s story in a paragraph or less;
  • You have too much story: a beta reader suggested that you’re writing three different novels, in three different genres

Turn your failed novel into a short story, or several short stories

Leave your novel for a couple of weeks. Then reread it. Can you find a couple of short stories in your novel? If you can, you’re golden. You usually won’t find a section of your novel which works as a story as-is. You’ll need to do some additional writing, and rewriting.

If you can’t find anything which would work as a short story, get some help with it. You may be too close to the project to be able to look at it objectively. Ask someone you trust to read it — can he find a story?

Here’s our basic short story template for reference.

Short story template

What did you learn?

A “failed” novel can teach you a lot. Here’s the big thing you’ll learn: you can write at novel length. That’s good to know. You’ll also know how to avoid the mistakes you made.

Perhaps you didn’t pay enough attention to genre. Choosing the right genre is vital, as we discussed here.

Or perhaps you got all tangled up in your plot. It got too complicated. You introduced too many characters…

Whatever happened, you’ve learned from this experience. Every writer has disasters. Over time, you’ll look back on your disasters fondly — you’ll realize that each and every one contributed to your success.

Keep writing. 🙂

Short Fiction Secrets: How To Write And Sell Short Stories

Short Fiction Secrets: How To Write And Sell Short Stories

$5.99

Want to write short stories? If you answered yes, that's excellent… Here's why. Today, you can make money writing short fiction.

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Heart To Heart: Romance Writing For Beginners

Heart To Heart: Romance Writing For Beginners

eBook: $5.99
Author:
Series: Romance Writing, Book 1
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction

Love makes the world go round, and of all the genres in fiction, romance, with its many sub-genres, is the most popular.

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The Journaling Habit: Achieve Your Goals And Change Your Life In Just Ten Minutes A Day

The Journaling Habit: Achieve Your Goals And Change Your Life In Just Ten Minutes A Day

eBook: $5.99

Do you love your life?

If you don't ADORE your life, you can change it — more easily than you can imagine.

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Resources to build your writing career

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Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out Angela’s books for writers.

Editing Your Book: Cleverest Tactic EVER

Editing Your Book: Cleverest Tactic EVER

Editing your book can take forever, or at least, it can seem like forever. What if you had not just one editor, but many? You’d get the pesky editing out of the way faster.

J. Travis Washburn writes his books in Google Docs, and shares his books with readers who help him to edit. (You’ll have to read the entire article to discover his process.) In his article, How to Hire the Best Book Editor for Free: Crowdsource Editing, he says:

I like to think of editing in a three-level structure:

Alpha Readers make comments on global issues like concepts, plots, themes, characters, and settings. They comment about the story.

Beta Readers comment on the mid-level stuff. But they’re basically the best of both worlds, commenting on both the big issues and small.

Gamma Readers are the ones who notice punctuation and spelling errors, the small stuff. A misplaced comma never slips by them.

The process sounds wonderful, except for Google Docs. I’m assuming that J. Travis Washburn writes in another app and then posts to Google Docs? I can’t imagine writing anything directly in Google Docs. I’ve tried. It doesn’t work for me.

Of course, there are alternatives to Google Docs. Quip for one; I use Quip with clients. You can import files from Dropbox, Google Drive and Evernote to collaborate with others. So you could import a chapter at a time. So if you’re as freaked by Google Docs as I am, you could use Quip, or similar.

“Crowdsourcing” your editing is a clever tactic. With many eyes on your book before it’s published, you could be sure not only that your book works for readers, but also that nary a typo sneaked through.

Not sure how to get alpha readers ? Use your blog (another good reason for creating a blog). In Blogging Books and Your Writing: Do It YOUR Way, we discussed several different types of blogs you could create. Alternatively, try social media websites, like Twitter and Facebook, or my favorite, Google+.

 

Write Commercial Fiction

If you’re struggling with your writing, trading your hours for dollars, maybe it’s time you considered something different: write commercial fiction. Once written, your ebooks will sell for years…

Write Commercial Fiction

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Writing a Book: Editors Are Wonderful, But…

You’re writing a book. You’ve completed a draft, and emailed it to your editor. It comes back, with lots of suggestions and corrections.

What do you do? A student asked this question because she was very upset.

Let’s address the upset first. It’s your book, you’re very close to it, and having someone make (what seem like) disparaging comments is upsetting. It’s normal to feel as if you’ve been kicked in the head. Every author gets stressed during editing. However, your stress is unhelpful. Your book needs editing, because you wrote it. There’s no way you can read it as a reader would. Editing makes your book better.

You’ll recover your equilibrium. Go for a walk, or the gym – go anywhere, and get some exercise. Wait for your initial reaction to pass…

All better? OK. 🙂

Now let’s look at the kind of editing your book got.

Writing a Book: Editors Are Wonderful, But…

What Kind of Edit Did You Get?

There are several different kinds of editing, including: developmental, copyediting (line editing), and proofing.

Developmental editing (also termed substantive editing) is basically a revision. It’s pulling your book apart, and putting it back together so that it’s better. (Or at least, everyone hopes it’s better. I’ve noticed that when indie publishers get a “real” publisher, their books get worse. Readers notice the change in voice, and don’t like it. )

Your developmental editor looks at the book, gets an overall feel for the novel and how it might fit into the marketplace, and gives you suggestions for revision. She might offer suggestions for character development, or ask you to eliminate a subplot because you don’t need it, and so on. Developmental editing can be wholesale slaughter. Believe it or not, this is good for you. When you survive this, you’ll be a better writer.

Line editing is what it sounds like. The editor goes through your book, line by line, and offers ideas and suggestions, and asks questions.

A proofread isn’t strictly an edit. However, it can be. If you’ve hired an editor, it depends on what you’ve asked for. Usually the proofread is the final edit before the book goes to print, in traditional publishing, or before you convert your book into MOBI and upload it to Amazon if you’re self-publishing.

Editing and You: YOUR Name Is on the Book.

You need an editor. Every author does. Therefore, read all editorial suggestions carefully, and don’t dismiss them out of hand. When it comes down to it however, remember whose name is on the book. It’s your name. Not your editor’s.

An aside. There seems to be a fashion in traditional publishing, which started in the 1990s, and in some indie books too, for editors to get a credit in the front matter: Editing by… That’s cheer-worthy. YES! Share the blame. (I’m joking. Sort of. :-))

What if You Can’t Afford an Editor?

There’s no shame in that. Nor do you necessarily need or want an editor. Look, currently I’m writing some SHORT erotic short stories under a pen name. They’re around 5,000 words each ebook. Do I want an editor for them? Hell no. I can do it myself – revise, line edit and proof. These are shorts, written for a specific audience. If readers start quibbling about editing when they’re reading erotica, the ebooks have bigger problems than a few typos.

In indie publication, professional editing is nice, but you can do a lot of editing yourself. Or you can trade editing with another writer.

If You Must Say “No” to an Editorial Suggestion…

When you hire an editor, or find yourself edited by an editor at a publishing house, do your best to comply to editorial comments. But don’t be too ready to change anything in your novel on an editor’s say-so: it’s your name on the book, so stand up for yourself. 🙂

Over the years, I’ve said “no” to mainstream publishers’ editors’ demands and suggestions. The key when you reject something, is to be totally professional. Explain as much as you need to, but don’t over-explain. As we’ve said, your name is on the book.

Keep in mind that editors can be wrong. Developmental editing is subjective. And line editors (copyeditors) can be ignorant fools, to put it mildly. A copyeditor can correct things which don’t need correcting, and can introduce errors. You’ll hear many authors swear about and at copyeditors.

Again, to repeat: your name is on your book. You can and should reject any suggestions which in your opinion, make your book worse, rather than better.

Writing a book is an accomplishment. Surviving your edits builds your character. It’s an editor’s job to make your book better, and most editors are wonderful, so enjoy your edits. 🙂

Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out our ebooks for writers.

Short Fiction Secrets: How To Write And Sell Short Stories

Short Fiction Secrets: How To Write And Sell Short Stories

$5.99

Want to write short stories? If you answered yes, that's excellent… Here's why. Today, you can make money writing short fiction.

More info →
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Amazon Kindle

Updated: April 10, 2017