You have questions. Ask away.

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your humble host

This blog has long been a friendly place to come and learn, and what better way to learn than to ask?

You have questions. Writer stuff, marketing, motivation, you name it.

ASK ME

Your questions. Your challenges. Your issues.

If I don’t know, we’ll put it out to my vast network of author friends and get an answer. Or I’ll make something up.

 

Many people helped me when I was starting out because I was willing to ask what I needed to know.

That shortened my learning curve substantially.

– Dan Alatorre

So go ahead. Ask me anything.

5 thoughts on “You have questions. Ask away.

  1. Two questions which as you will see Dan, merge into one. Is avoiding someone else editing just asking for trouble? Is it building up trouble for yourself if you assume you can do the whole thing yourself? (Putting myself on the Harsh Truth target range here, being to date stubborn, stubborn and even more so)

    Liked by 1 person

    • It all depends on what you mean by editing it yourself.

      What tends to happen when we write something is, we know in our head what we meant. Certain phrases and certain ways of structuring a sentence, we do those things and say those things all the time so they are common to us. That means when we start down that two or three word phrase, our brain kind of skips it because we know what it’s going to say – Whether or not it actually says it!

      Also, it’s very common for a writer to be very into the scene and be thinking about what’s coming next and all that, and not adequately spend enough time Making sure the scene they are in the middle of has all the elements it needs. I do this myself sometimes. I had a scene where a girl got abducted and I was so excited to get to the part where the abductors were locking her up, I forgot that her friend who saw her get sbducted should’ve been freaking out!

      So what’s the lesson?

      The lesson is, you are much more able to edit something when you did not write it yourself, and second to that, you are much more able to edit something if it’s as close to not yours as you can make it.

      How do we do that?

      The first way is to have someone else do it. The second way is to let it rest so long so that you are not 100% familiar with it anymore.

      I know from past experience that I let a manuscript sit for over a year and when I started rereading it; I had forgotten so many things I put in there! Cute phrases in a funny little jabs and twists in the plot. I remember the basics, sure, and a lot more than that; but I didn’t remember everything.

      And I also saw lots and lots and lots of places where it needed more emotion and more description and more tension…

      I would not have seen that earlier.

      Did I need to wait a year? No. It probably could’ve waited two or three months and then just as fresh to my eyes.

      Another good step is to have other people read it but not be the editors, such as critique partners. When a critique partner looks at something, they’re not necessarily looking for typographical error‘s, although they will spot those sometimes, but they’re looking for how well you sewed the story together. If it moves at a good pace. And sometimes that’s hard to do if they’re getting a chapter a week but if you give them the whole book at once sometimes they can do a very good job of that. Mine do.

      Finally, I like to use beta readers. They will catch the things that my critique partners did not.

      So on one hand you can say OK spend a few more months and have a critique partner or three or five read it and then make the changes and then have beta readers go over it and make any additional changes, or you can spend some money and have a good quality editor go over it.

      The problem with that is, you may not have the money and you may not find a good quality editor. Many editors are good and many editors are bad. Bad is relative. When they are reading a story and you have some big surprise coming up later, they may not know that in chapter 2 and suggest you take something out. Then comes the whole discussion about well I need that for chapter 10. Sometimes they’re just not on the same page.

      That can happen with anybody but ultimately my experience has been: editors are good for sentence structure and typographical errors, not for making sure your book has a good pace and enough emotional development and tension.

      I tend to rely on other authors for those things (as critique partners and beta readers) and hope I catch most of my other challenges myself through letting the manuscript rest.

      But I do a lot of critiquing for other people and I do a lot of editing so that is a skill that I have. Not everybody can do that.

      Hope this answer helps!

      Liked by 1 person

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