Tag Archives: writing fiction

Editing Your Fiction To Sell: Macro And Micro Editing Tips

Editing Your Fiction To Sell: Macro And Micro Editing Tips

Editing your fiction helps you to write novels and serials which sell. You want your readers to love your stories, so that they buy your next ebook, and the next. Think of editing as polishing a diamond. In its natural state a diamond is just a dirty rock. When cut and polished, it sparkles.

To sell, your fiction needs to sparkle too. Your editing — cutting and polishing — ensures that it does.

Why you need to self-edit your fiction

You may be thinking that since you’re hiring an editor, you don’t need to worry about editing your book.

That’s not so. As I said in How To Turn a Mess Into a Book:

Leaving aside the fact that if you dump a mess into an editor’s lap it will cost you a small fortune to get it cleaned up, your own editing is important, because:

* It’s your chance to discover the story you want to tell (this applies to both nonfiction and fiction);

* It’s your big chance to make your book better.

If your editor’s too busy cleaning up messes, she can’t help you to improve your book. The better your self-editing, the happier your editor will be, and the more you’ll get out of the money you spend.

Editing your own work gets easier over time. Initially, it’s excruciating. Over time, you’ll slash and burn with abandon — you know you’re making your fiction better.

Start with macro editing: do you have a STORY?

Ready to edit? Read your fiction first

New authors think of editing as messing around with words. However, if you’re focusing just on the words when you begin editing, you might as well be rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Your story comes first. Do you have a story? No matter what you’re writing: a novel, a serial, a novella, a short story, your first concern is that you’ve got a story.

Very loosely, a story’s defined as: “an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment.” The operative word is entertainment. You might also want to ensure that you’ve got something that passes as a plot, of course. 🙂

However, when you begin editing, your first and only task is to make sure that everything you read is entertaining. Read through your story. Where does your interest flag? Does your story make sense?

Cut anything that’s not entertaining.

Entertainment is subjective. Be ruthless.

If you’re a new author, you’ll struggle with this. Everyone does. You don’t want to trash the words, paragraphs, and entire scenes over which you’ve struggled. But you must — you’re turning your grubby rock into a priceless diamond, remember. So cut.

You’ll find cutting easier if you save what you’re cutting. Drop your deleted material into a “Later” file. You’ll never use this material, but saving it will make you feel better.

Cut first, then assess where you need to add

Your first step is to cut away everything that isn’t entertaining. Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to add material.

At this stage, focus on scenes.

Where are your BIG scenes? Make them bigger

The success of your fiction depends on your big scenes. Locate them, if you’re not sure where your big scenes are. Make them bigger — as exciting as you can. Spend time over these scenes.

Be aware that it’s not uncommon to discover that you’ve completely missed writing several major scenes. You’ve been unconsciously avoiding them, so, write them. Big scenes are the focus of your novel. If you don’t write them, you’re not making the most of what you have. So call up your courage, and write that love scene, or battle scene, that you’ve been avoiding.

Micro editing: introducing characters, enhancing dialogue, etc.

You’ll notice we’re STILL not focusing on words. No, we’re not. We’re focusing on entertainment.

As I said in Bestselling Fiction: Create Characters Readers Love:

Fiction isn’t words, it’s feelings

New authors can focus too much on “writing”; on the words… try to take it to heart that your words don’t matter. What matters, is your effect on readers.

That effect doesn’t come from words unless those words have heart. To make readers feel, you need to feel.

In micro editing, you’re moving into your scenes, and are looking at where and how you’ve introduced characters, and are making sure that all your characters don’t sound the same.

As a rule of thumb, when you introduce a major character, choose three details which make him or her stand out, and write them. You want readers to remember your major characters; make their first impressions count.

When you’re editing dialogue, listen to the character in your imagination. Read your dialogue aloud. It’s useful to use a text to speech app, and run your dialogue through that.

Are we done yet? Looking for holes in characters and plots

Fiction isn’t real life. In real life, people do things for no apparent reason. In fiction, you need to show why one character hit another with a blunt object.

In your final micro editing run-through, look for holes. Make sure that your characters are seen to be motivated. Read through each scene, and make sure that your main character has a goal as he enters the scene. Make it plain whether or not he achieved his goal at the end of the scenes.

Now you can edit the words… 🙂

Once your macro and micro editing of your fiction is complete, you can get down to worrying about the words you’ve used. Finally, right? 😉

Editing your fiction is a lot of fun. Your primary goal is to entertain readers. And if you start editing your fiction with a goal of entertaining yourself, you’ll entertain readers.

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

$4.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction

You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels.

More info →
Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99

I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.

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

Writing Fiction: Get Inspired With Pinterest and Trello

Writing Fiction: Get Inspired With Pinterest and Trello

Writing fiction, especially if you’re writing more than one short story, or novel, gets complicated. You’ve got notes, outlines, character and plot ideas everywhere, both on paper, and in various digital storage places. When I asked my romance writing class for their biggest challenge they responded: organization.

I’ve been writing in Scrivener for years, and it’s an amazing tool, but I’ve found two easy and free tools especially useful for fiction. Pinterest for inspiration, and Trello to keep my scenes straight. Pinterest has wonderful “secret” boards, which I use to collect characters, plot ideas, and settings. Trello is especially useful because I work on several projects at a time.

Get Inspired With Pinterest

I start my fiction with images. As I said:

… an image has built-in emotion – if you choose the right image. Fiction is all about emotion. No emotion? You’ve got nothing. Your idea, no matter how wonderful, will fizzle out. Or you’ll have a bunch of weird emotions tumbling around, which you can’t get a handle on… and the novel or short story fizzles out.

Pinterest for fiction

Whenever I find an image which arouses an emotion in me, I save it to one of my secret Pinterest boards. I have boards for each projects, as well as general boards for character traits, clothes and settings.

Try creating your own boards. You’ll find that once your boards are populated with pins, they kickstart your inspiration. Not only will you develop great characters, you’ll also come up with wonderful plot twists.

I like to browse a novel or short story’s board before I start writing each day.

The Charm of Trello: From Chaos to Organization.

Like Pinterest, Trello is perfect for visual thinkers. Yes, Scrivener has its cork board mode, which is very useful, and do use it to organize scenes. But for some reason, I find Trello more relaxing. I use it for planning scenes, plot points, and character arcs. I also keep track of my word counts.

If you use Evernote, as I do, to manage clients, blogging, and everything to do with your daily life, you’ll love Trello. You can copy a note link in Evernote, and attach the link to a Trello card. This is useful to keep track of research, and ideas for current or future projects.

If you’re writing fiction, and working on several projects at a time, try using Pinterest and Trello to not only get inspired, but also to keep everything straight. I’ve found that these two tools make me more productive.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Plotting Fiction Made Easier: Start With a Trope

Plotting Fiction Made Easier: Start With a Trop

Writing a short story or a novel and HATE plotting? Many writers find creating plots a struggle. You can make it much easier if you start with a trope.

A trope is a type of story. Our Hot, Hotter, Hottest romance writing class is having lots of fun with common romance tropes. They include staples such as: the billionaire, the accidental baby, the marriage of convenience, second chances, good girl/ bad boy, and so on.

There are tropes for every genre. Here are some science fiction tropes.

Use Your Trope as a Seed.

I’ve had lots of questions about “cheating” if you use a trope.

You’re not cheating, readers like tropes, as a post on Dear Author suggested:

 Many readers admitted that the tagline was more enticing than most of the other elements. The tagline for the book revealed it was a marriage of convenience story and you could hear the “oohhs” from the audience on that reveal.

A trope is useful, because it gives you a handle on the kind of story you’re writing – it’s a seed, a way to start thinking.

For example, let’s say you’re a new author. Writing at novel-length takes time, and is nerve-wracking when you’e just starting out. So you’ve made up your mind that you’re writing a series of novellas. Choosing a trope for each story gets you started plotting.

Let’s say you’ve chosen the popular “billionaire” romance trope. Billionaire romance novels sell very well on Amazon. Start playing the “what if” game with your romance trope.

  • What if your billionaire became a billionaire by accident – he inherited his fortune, or he sold an app to Google… You’re writing a romance, so he needs a partner. What if he falls in love with a woman who’s a doctor. She doesn’t like his new status. Or… ?;
  • What if your billionaire loses touch with his roots. He goes to the town he grew up in, and finds he can’t go home again – he’s different, and people look at him differently. Then he meets a woman… Etc.

A trope won’t plot your story for you, but it gives you a way to start thinking about characters and situations. Try it. Find a trope you like in the genre in which you want to write, and play with the trope. You may just discover that plotting fiction is huge fun – and that you’re writing stories that readers love.

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99

I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.

More info →
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

$5.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 3
Genre: Writing

How To Write Novels And Short Stories Readers Love: You're about to discover the easiest, fastest, and most fun plotting method ever. You can use it for all your fiction, whether you're writing short stories, novellas or novels. Take control of your fiction now, and publish more, more easily.

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

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 Angela’s books for writers.

Updated December 24, 2017