Definition of EDIT from Merriam-Webster online
1. to prepare (something written) to be published or used : to make changes, correct mistakes, etc., in (something written)
2. to prepare (a film, recording, photo, etc.) to be seen or heard : to change, move, or remove parts of (a film, recording, photo, etc.)
3. to be in charge of the publication of (something)
Step 2 – Edit
Once you go through Step 1 – Revise and feel confident your manuscript’s story elements (plot, conflict, characters, etc.) are in place, the next step is to make a pass focusing on technique and style. The Internal Editor you tied to a chair in Step 1 gets to have his day.
If Step 1 – Revise focused on the big picture of the story, the middle step of Revise-Edit-Polish will examine how the story is delivered to the reader: the writing. By “the writing” I refer to elements that run from artistic choices to basic mechanics:
Style and Voice–the author’s distinct use of words and her selected manner of expression for this story;
Diction and Syntax–the choice of words and how they are arranged in phrases and sentences;
Grammar and Punctuation – the set of rules that explain how words are used in language and the marks used to regulate text;
Errors and Other Considerations – typos, missing words, padding, and other boo-boos.
Editing goes beyond catching typos. A manuscript may contain a series of grammatically correct sentences, but if the sentence structure is the same every time, the MS will be repetitive; if the word choices are unimaginative, the MS will be dull; if the voice is indistinct, the MS will unremarkable; if the words contain no action, the MS will be aimless; if the style is affected, the MS will sound false; if scenes are told instead of shown, the MS will be distant.
You may think of this step as examining the sound of your story—what your words say and how they will sound to a reader.
Separating Style and Technique
Editing the manuscript at this level means you will examine it paragraph by paragraph and then sentence by sentence, for style (the author’s artistic choices) and technique (the mechanics of grammar).
Style asks, Is this sentence pleasing to the literary ear? Does it work best in this spot? Are word choices strong?
Technique asks, Is this sentence grammatically correct? Is it efficient? Is it necessary or redundant?
Every sentence in your manuscript should serve a purpose: to advance the plot, reveal vital information about a character, describe the setting, inform about an important past event, ask a narrative question, introduce a thematic concept. Every single sentence needs to have a function. If a sentence does not do a particular job—meaning, if the scene will fall apart or be less effective without it—that sentence should be cut.
How those sentences are arranged and delivered will create the sound of your story. You want a manuscript that will be pleasing to the literary ear, and entertaining, and technically sound. You can do this by writing a series of strong sentences that perform a particular function to advance the plot.
Many writing guides have been devoted to self-editing, so distilling a guide into a blog post means hitting the basics. Not all writers are strong grammarians. Not every writer is gifted with a unique literary voice. For an overview such as this one, some self-examination is necessary. Do you recognize good grammar? Can you be brutal and cut out what is not necessary in the narrative?
The first step in good editing is to distance yourself from your writer’s ego. In Step 1 – Revise, you had to fight off the Internal Editor. Here, in Step 2- Edit, you have to push away your Writer’s Pride, pull back, and examine your words with as little bias as possible. Editing is as much mental as it is task-oriented.
I’m going to focus on what I often see as common editorial problems in manuscripts. These may not be your particular issues, but these are the repeat offenders for me. Check your manuscript for the following:
~ Cutting: Some writers write long, some writers write short, and a few lucky ones write just right. If you write long, you’ll need to trim the bloated parts; if you write short, you’ll need to take care you don’t pad to hit your targeted word count. As written in bold above, if a sentence doesn’t do a job, it should be cut. Bigger than that, however, is when a section or a scene doesn’t perform a vital job in the story. Vital means that the story (plot advancement, character development, background) will fall apart without it. Cutting out the extraneous should have been handled in Revision, but Editing should reaffirm that every sentence in the story is there for a reason. A good reason.
~ Repetition, Overwriting, Over-explaining: Do your pages contain sections like this:
“She entered the basement. It was pitch dark. The dank room was as black as night. She couldn’t see her hand in front of her face. She felt along the clammy wall for the light switch.”
^^Here, the writer tells us three times that the room is dark. By the time I get to the hand, I’m ready to yell “I get it!” at the author.
“The door was locked. She needed the key to open it. She scrabbled in the drawer for the key and used it to open the door.”
^^Readers know how a key works. “The door was locked. She scrabbled in the drawer for the key” does the job.
”Mickey cursed and charged at Evan. Evan, half a head shorter, realized his best chance was to call in his old wrestling skills. He crouched and head-butted Mickey in the stomach. Mickey oofed and stepped back. Knowing his upper hand was temporary, Evan crouched again and took Mickey down at the knees, and then used his left arm to bend back Mickey’s right arm….”
^^Is this the most boring takedown ever? In a fight, there is no time to explain (realized, knew, used his arm). In an action scene, stick to the action.
Writers repeat, overwrite, and over-explain for two reasons: They don’t trust themselves, or they don’t trust the reader. If you have written a good strong sentence with a clear purpose, relax. The reader will get it.
~ Weak Word Choice: Run, look, hurry, walk, turned….these are useful verbs, but for each, a stronger choice can paint a clearer picture for the reader. If you change walk to amble, the impression changes. If you change amble to strode, it changes again. A look is not the same as a glance which is not the same as a stare which is not the same as a stare. Don’t play it safe and stick to the same-old, same-old in word choices, but take care when playing around with the thesaurus.
~ Distinct Dialogue: A person’s speech reveals a great deal about their economic, social, and educational background—plus their self-image. What do your characters spoken lines show about them? Do your characters sound the same, or do they show their distinctions in speech?
~ Balance: Exposition, action, dialogue—these are three types of writing to be balanced in the manuscript. Some things need to be explained. Action scenes need to move the plot. Dialogue is necessary for intimacy. However–too much exposition may make the narrative ponderous. Too much action may leave the reader gasping for subtext. An overload of dialogue can make the setting disappear. Read for balance and give the reader a break by shifting from one type to another. If you find page after page of long paragraphs, add dialogue, and vice versa. A reader will appreciate variety.
~ POV Slips: No matter the editorial choice of 1st Person, 3rd Person, close or omniscient, a manuscript works best when delivered via one Point of View at a time. A character can only report what he sees, feels, and knows. He can interpret or guess at what other characters see, feel, and know, but a slip occurs when he reports from someone else’s head. In Editing, put yourself in the character’s head. If you can’t see it, feel it, or think it, the character can’t report it. Check your narrator’s words to be sure she is only thinking what she is thinking, feeling what she is feeling, seeing what she can see.
~ Show, Not Tell: Are your scenes live—action that is happening in the now of a story? Telling is appropriate in circumstances of the story, but if you choose to tell, make it a choice. Telling about a location or past event, or any type of background pauses the forward motion of the plot and makes it stay into neutral for a while. That may need to happen, but know that you are pulling the reader out of the now of the story. Don’t linger so long in telling that the story stalls.
The following are a mixed bag to consider while you read through your manuscript sentence by sentence:
Is this sentence grammatically correct?
If not, is that a style choice?
Does the construction of this sentence match the author’s style?
Are sentences constructed in various ways?
Is the voice of the sentence active or passive?
Am I using dialogue tags effectively?
If I’m using a semi-colon, is each side an independent clause?
Am I using an ellipsis to show a line fading out, and a dash for an interruption?
Is it clear what I am trying to say?
Is this sentence giving unique information, and not redundant?
If I open a scene with dialogue, do I immediately thereafter ground the setting?
Do my scenes open in a variety of ways?
Do my scenes close time after time with the same punchy type of line?
Are my verbs sharp and distinct?
Do I hold back from using too many adverbs?
Do I show emotion through action (clenched fists) rather than clichés (her heart pounded in rage)?
Do I avoid clichés in general?
Do I use similes sparingly?
Do I disrupt character’s dialogue with non-productive actions?
Do I stick with said in dialogue tags?
Do my characters take deep breaths, roll their eyes, and ears perk up, while their hearts beat faster, their pulses race, and their eyes water?
Do my characters speak or make speeches?
Overwhelmed? If so, let me simplify the Step 2 –Edit step.
Read through your manuscript, sentence by sentence and ask:
Is this sentence grammatically correct?
Does this sentence perform a specific function, in this spot, for the story?
Does it advance the plot?
If read aloud, is it pleasing to the ear?
If yes, move on to the next sentence. And the next. And the next. That’s what editing is, evaluating sentence by sentence.
Tomorrow, Step 3 – Polish.
Definition of REVISE from Merriam-Webster online:
1. a : to look over again in order to correct or improve <revise a manuscript>
b British : to study again : review
2. a : to make a new, amended, improved, or up-to-date version of <revise a dictionary>
There are as many approaches to revision as there are writers with manuscripts to revise, but the goal is universal: to review a draft with the goal of making it stronger, tighter, and clean. The approach below is a task oriented system of reviewing a manuscript to achieve that goal. It requires three steps: Revise, Edit, Polish.
Why three steps? Can’t you revise in one intense, comprehensive manuscript review?
Of course you can, if that works for you and if you are able to juggle multiple mental tasks at the same time. There is no one correct way to revise.
However, measuring a manuscript’s story power, language use, and effectiveness while simultaneously checking for grammar and correcting typos can be overtaxing. And overwhelming. If you are trying to evaluate too many things at once, it’s easy to become frustrated and to miss problems. You can get mired in the same spot of your manuscript. By the time you move on to the next section, you’ve forgotten the details of what you’ve read before.
What’s the quote about doing one thing well, or a lot of things halfway?
Doing multiple intense passes on your manuscript will require time and focus. This is not a quick-fix approach. You will need to draw upon patience and dedication, but your manuscript is worth it, right?
Revise, Edit, Polish
The following approach employs three steps: Revise, Edit, Polish. If you like acronyms, you can call it the REP system. Ideally, you have a completed draft that needs to be reviewed. To get it into shape for submission or publication, you will read and rework it three times, from beginning to end.
Today’s post will discuss Step #1: REVISE
The first pass is to examine the manuscript as a story. Some writers call this a global review. Others call it reading like a reader. The point of this first pass is, foremost, to make sure the story works. You will read with the goal of finding weaknesses and/or omissions, and make notes on how to repair them.
For the Revision pass, you’ll need to view it as your Internal Storyteller and read without stopping to edit. Turning off your Internal Editor may be difficult, but it is temporary. You can indulge the itch to delete, fix, correct, in Step 2. Your Editor is waiting in the wings, but this is your Storyteller’s crack at the manuscript.
How to do a Revision pass:
A Revision pass will take on the big picture questions:
~ Does the MS have all the necessary parts to insure the plot makes sense?
~ Is there conflict-climax-resolution?
~ Do characters act consistently?
~ Is every scene grounded in a specific place?
~ Does the reader have all necessary background info on place, character, events?
~ Does the plot move forward in a logical way?
~ Do all subplots and secondary storylines support the primary plot?
~ Does every scene have a purpose pertinent to the plot?
~ Does the story make sense?
~ Is the story saying something?
Reviewing for the big picture items means you ignore smaller issues (typos) and mechanics (grammar and style.) Every time you stop to correct a typo or rewrite a sentence, you pull yourself out of the story. Your focus moves out of the world you have created back into the real world. So, ignore the writing. Those typos won’t dissolve on their own. Those sentences will still be poorly constructed or dull tomorrow. That’s the next task. You may have to grit your teeth and sit on your hands at first but, with practice, turning off the Internal Editor is a useful skill.
To Revise, stay in the world of your story. Pretend you are hearing the story and can’t see the errors. Be a Storyteller.
For the Revision pass, first I recommend you read through without making any changes to the manuscript. You can do this on a screen or paper. Keep a notebook or document and record concerns as you go along; use Track Changes to record your questions/concerns in comment bubbles; color highlight parts that clearly need to be reworked.
Read through from beginning to end, noting what you need to note as you go along. Don’t stop to make changes. Read it as a story.
Some questions will be small scale: Do I clear up why she asks about the motel receipt (page 4)? Do I explain how he got this fear of heights (chapter 11)?
Some will be bigger: Is what happened to her when she was 7 traumatic enough to affect her adult decisions? Does his abruptness to his sister make him look like a jerk? Do I need to explain the history of the mill? Does my killer have a valid revenge motivation? Is this detective incompetent because I’ve developed him as hostile and close-minded, or is he bumbling around foolishly because I need to give my amateur sleuth time to sneak around? Are clues glaringly obvious?
Some will be about structure: Is the inciting incident big enough to set up the climax? Is there a constant increase of tension? Does my plot flat line in Act 2? Is the plot too linear? Does this need some umph or humor or a second focus? Do all events happen in a sensible order, or are my scenes bouncing around in time?
After a read-only pass with notes and highlights, go back and make the necessary changes. That question about the motel receipt on page 6? Maybe you resolved it after all on page 229. Your character’s surprising ability to use a welding torch reads like a Hail Mary skill because, oops, you forgot to show earlier that he worked repairing hulls when he was in the Navy.
This making changes part is hefty work. Your Revision read-through may take a couple of days. Your Revision work may take weeks. Nobody said it was fast or easy.
As an independent editor, I read dozens of manuscripts a year. I depend on that first story-only read to let me see what the author is trying to achieve, and how well he/she achieves it. As an editor, I read once for story, viewing it from the Storyteller’s perspective. I focus on the story and only the story. I make notes as I describe above. After that, i go into the manuscript and make revision notes. With my own writing, I use this same process.
To reiterate, Step 1 – Revise is the Storyteller’s turn at the story. Immersing yourself in the story and the story world – without the distraction of technique or technical errors – will help you to see the full landscape of the tale you’ve written. Was it enjoyable to read? Did you get bored? Did it meander? Did it end too quickly? Did it end twice? Did the beginning and the end mirror, contradict, or have nothing to do with one another?
After you’ve read through, made notes, and gone back in to revise, your manuscript is ready for review on the next level: Editing. The Editing pass reviews the manuscript for language—how it is written. That means grammar, style, syntax, and finally, typos. Your Internal Editor will get to come out and do his/her happy dance.
Tune in tomorrow for Step #2 – Editing.
No, not basketball, but literary events galore this month! The following are classes, contests, workshops, and launches.
March 1 – Publication date for EXTRAORDINARY GIFTS: Remarkable Women of the Delaware Valley. This collection of prose and visual art salutes noteworthy women with connections to Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley, with contributions by local artists and authors. I was honored to write a piece inspired by Delaware environmentalist Dorothy P. Miller.
March 8 – Book Launch party for EXTRAORDINARY GIFTS! at the Philadelphia Girls Rowing Club, the oldest club on Boathouse Row, and founded in 1938 by one of the extraordinary women featured in the book.
~WORKSHOPS AND CLASSES~
March 1, 17, and 25 - First Write: Now Edit, a three part editing series sponsored by the Havre de Grace Public Library. I will be presenting on March 25. This is a follow-up to a terrific series in October that pumped up writers planning to participate in NaNoWriMo.
March 9 – 16 – Online workshop: Submission Preparation: Everything You Need for a Perfect Pitch - This week long intensive is sponsored by the Pittsburgh Mary Roberts Rhinehart Chapter of Sisters in Crime. I will lead the group in preparing log lines, queries, synopses, and summaries.
~ CONTEST ~
March 1 – The entry period opens for the second Rehoboth Beach Reads short story contest, sponsored by Cat & Mouse Press of Delaware. The 2014 theme is “The Boardwalk” and I am pleased to be one of the judges for this year’s book!
So much going on in March! I hope somewhere in here is something you’ll find beneficial and fun.
You have a great idea for a story or article. You write it. You tweak it. You run it through a critique group. You send it to your beta reader. You revise it. You polish it. You get it all spit-shined and ready for publication.
And then, you do…nothing.
Are you a “do nothing” when it comes to submitting your work? Do your great ideas loll on a flash drive or stagnate as a Word doc because you can’t work up the courage to hit send on Submittable? Are you depriving your stories of their right to be published because you have a fear of submittment?
Failure to submit hobbles many writers for a variety of reasons. Some writers love the creative process, the joy of transforming a nebulous concept to a completed story, but despise writing a businessy cover letter. Some writers are overwhelmed by the needle-in-the-haystack search for markets. Some writers don’t have fear, exactly, but never quite get around to submitting. Some writers—well, all writers, really—hate rejection.
It’s easy to find an excuse not to submit. If you are writing for yourself and don’t feel the need to share your work with the work, that is fine. You don’t have a problem.
But if you do want your work to be published but find the submission process a hurdle, read ahead for how to get over it:
Be realistic. Your work will be rejected, perhaps multiple times. It will happen. It will hurt. Consider it character building, or a challenge, or a notch on the belt of paying your dues. Most of all, understand that no matter how personal the subject matter of your story may be, the rejection of it is not personal. While much of the acceptance process is subjective, editors and agents are making business decisions based on the particular piece of writing you submit, not on your value as a human being. A rejection may come for the simple reason that, while your story fits the guidelines and is well crafted, it is not what the publication needs now.
Have a plan. Continuing the business theme above, for each piece you write, research more than one possible market. Keep a Plan B. Plan B choices create a built-in defense against lolling and stagnating, because if your piece is returned, you can turn it right around. If a rejection arrives from your first choice, go to your Plan B choice—and choose your next backup, so Plan B is always active. Additionally, don’t shoot yourself in the foot by sending to the wrong market or think your story is so special, a publication will bend its guidelines just for you. You are not special. A word count limit of 3,000 does not mean 3,985. A journal that publishes fantasy does not want to consider a short mystery. Don’t waste your time, and the publishing world’s, with laziness or ego.
Keep records. Some writers use spreadsheets. Some use a notebook with columns. Keep track of submissions in at least one physical place, online or on paper. Check that place regularly. Is Monday your business day? If so, every Monday, open the file or spreadsheet or notebook and check the status of your submissions. Just as writing every day keeps a story fresh in your head, regular checking up on your submissions helps you to keep track of what is where, but it’s also a reminder that submitting is an ongoing process.
Use resources. If the plethora of publishers and publications is overwhelming, there are beaucoup places and ways to narrow down the available markets for a piece. Choose a day—once a month, perhaps—for market research. Write a list of pieces you feel are ready for submission, and then hunker down online with NewPages, Duotrope, AgentQuery, Poets & Writers, or any other resource with publication listings. Market research can be tedious, so if you hate it, consider it a necessary chore and do it anyway.
Set goals. One submission a week? A month? A year? Depending on what you write, your goals will reflect how often you produce work to be submitted, but you can’t meet a goal if you don’t set a goal. So, set a goal. Here’s something to help you with that:
Goal Setting Statement
I, ___(your name)____, promise to submit a __ (short story, poem, article, query)___ once a __(day, week, month, year)____because I am proud of my work, and I want it to be published and read.
The above advice comes down to one final statement: Do it. No one can submit for you. When your work is published, it will be worth it, I promise.
Don’t be a do nothing. Go forth and submit. Good luck!
Conference season will soon begin, and with it the inevitable polite questions at lunch, between workshops, during pitch sessions, and at the bar. Can you answer the following questions with ease?
~ 1. What do you write?
~ 2. What is your current project about?
~ 3. Why did you write this particular story?
~ 4. What published author’s work is like yours?
~ 5. Who is your ideal reader?
These seem like simple questions, but ask #2 to five different writers and you may very well encounter a stumbler, a mumbler, a blowhard, a blank stare, and one articulate response. Writers write, after all; we’re not necessarily good at giving speeches, even if the speech is a short description of a novel we’ve spent months planning, plotting, and writing.
An articulate response takes practice. So, practice. Imagine yourself during down time at a conference. Visualize the bar or the Saturday night party with a group of hale fellows. A colleague–a fellow writer, a visiting agent, an editor from the faculty–you met in one of the workshops orders a glass of wine. So do you. You exchange pleasantries (or snark) about the keynote’s dinner address.
And then, because your new colleague friend is polite and this is expected, he asks, “What do you write?”
You answer. “I write _________ (YA, women’s fiction, gritty mysteries, creative nonfiction, middle grade humor).”
“Oh, really? So do I!” New Colleague Friend says. “What’s your current project about?”
And so on. Write out the five questions and five answers. Answer honestly–forget what you think an agent or editor wants to hear, and write the truth. Think about New Colleague Friend as a friend. After answering all five, read your answers aloud. Do your responses fall trippingly off your tongue? Does this little Q&A sound like a conversation between two like-minded friends?
Or…does saying the lines you wrote make you feel like a robot? Are your answers to these simple questions hard to write out, or overly long, because you don’t have a clear idea of what your project is about, why you wrote it, and what published works are similar to it? Have you never given your ideal reader a thought because who cares about readers, you write to please yourself and only yourself? Are you a stumbler, a mumbler, a blank starer, or a blowhard?
If you answer yes to any of the above, stay out of the bar until you can articulate easy answers to these five easy questions. All it takes is practice. So, practice.
Addendum: In the coming weeks, I’ll be teaching two online workshops that address how to articulate what you are writing, why you are writing it, and who would enjoy reading it. The first, in March, is a one week course that will be fast and furious. It is sponsored by the Pittsburgh Chapter of Sisters in Crime, but is open to the public. The second, in April, is two weeks long, and more in depth, and open to members of Sisters in Crime Guppy Chapter.
For information on Submission Preparation: Everything You Need For That Perfect Pitch!, go to the Mary Roberts Rinehart Pittsburgh Chapter of Sisters in Crime website.
Conference season begins soon, which means writers are polishing their pitches and embracing the art of articulating their story concepts. Five minutes—-or perhaps only two—may be all the time you have to convince an agent or editor that your manuscript is worth a look.
I am teaching a working on Submission Preparation (scroll down to March) so pitching is on my mind. To prepare, and not waste time, a lot of writers memorize lines that include word count, genre, title, and hook, because you want to look professional and polished. If you do that, however, you’ll sound like a robot. And what if the nightmare happens and you choke?
As I have posted about before, I find the 2-minute pitch concept a bit too cattle callish for my personal taste, but it is an opportunity and it’s popular, so I will shelve my reservations and try to be helpful:
A pitch session does not have to be you on one side and an agent/editor on the other, with only memorized lines between you. Reciting pre-packaged lines will make you sound phony, like a telemarketer working from a script that includes all possible scenarios. You don’t want to sound like a machine. You want to be knowledgeable and passionate about the story you have written. However, you don’t want to fumble and sound unsure, or be too sure and sound pompous. How do you talk about your book without sounding like a salesman, a nervous nelly, or a bore?
You treat the pitch like a conversation. Be relaxed (okay, maybe slightly anxious). Be there to TALK. Don’t be the guy who spouts a bunch of buzz words, catch phrases and other things you think the editor/agent will want to hear.
If you’ve ever written or read a police-centered story, you’ve probably run into the statement that, the more complex the lie, the harder it is to remember. That’s why telling the truth is the easiest to remember. You don’t have to think about buzz words or what someone wants to hear. You only have to tell the truth.
Try approaching your pitch with these two concepts in mind: You are there to talk about your novel. You will tell the truth.
That does not mean you can’t prepare. Here are two tips and five questions:
1. The agent/editor will need to know the particulars of your story. Become comfortable with the basics, but don’t sound like a trained monkey. Come up with an engaging sentence that is true: “My book is a contemporary thriller called BAD SALE. It’s set in Nebraska and is about a farmer—-a good guy—who is tricked by a childhood friend into buying bomb making supplies at the hardware store.”
2. Notice there is no word count in this statement. If the agent/editor wants to know word count, he’ll ask. You’ll answer. Because you know the word count, right? Look at this sentence: “My contemporary thriller BAD SALE is a 95,000 word contemporary thriller set in Nebraska about an honest farmer who is tricked by a childhood friend into buying bomb-making supplies at the hardware store.” <<That’s not a bad log line, but is it conversational? No. Be conversational. Start by describing your novel as a thriller, tell where it’s set, and give the basic plot premise. When the agent/editor wants to know word count (and he will!) he will ask the question. Answer it: “It’s 95,000 words.”
This is how conversation works. Someone introduces an interesting topic. If the listener wants to know more, she will ask a question.
Now for more questions you may likely hear from an agent/editor:
What are some other books and authors like yours? A couple of names here, recognizable ones. If there’s an author the agent/editor represents or publishes whose work is like yours, here’s where that goes. TELL THE TRUTH.
Why did you choose my agency/publishing house? This is a legitimate question. Why DID you choose this person to represent you? You must have a reason to think you’d make a good team. Be ready to explain this. TELL THE TRUTH.
What’s the hook? This gets into telemarketing territory, but you spent a year or more with this novel, so you know it intimately. An agent/editor wants to hear about a setting, a situation, a theme, a special voice, or any number of nebulous factors that would make your story sellable. So, what is it? Only you can answer this. Maybe your hook is that you wrote the book you like to read, and it’s a fun read. Say this with confidence, and I’d buy your book. TELL THE TRUTH.
Why did you write this? If you have expertise, special interest, personal experience or bloodline connect to an aspect of the story, bring it up now. If you don’t, then it’s perfectly fine to say you love cozies, you’ve been reading them since you could read, and you wanted to add to the genre you love. TELL THE TRUTH.
What are you offering an audience? You wrote the story. What do you want to say to the people who read it, through the action, characters, plot, and theme? If the justice system frustrates you and you wrote a story that brings closure to a crime, share that. If you are writing an issue story about failed adoptions because the subject is close to your heart, say that. TELL THE TRUTH.
How do you prepare the above information and turn it into a conversation? Let’s turn the questions into a quiz. Answer the questions below. TELL THE TRUTH. Don’t worry about what you think someone wants to hear. Remember, you’ll have an easier time remember the truth than anything you make up that you think sounds appealing.
Here they are, if you’d like to print and answer:
What are your story’s basics?
What is the word count?
What are some other books and authors similar to yours?
Why did you choose this agency/publisher?
What’s your hook?
Why did you write this?
What are you offering to your audience?