Need a Book Endorsement? The Advance Reader Copy is Your New Best Friend. #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Thank you, Raimey Gallant for organizing the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop.

This is a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, just hop on over to Ramey Gallant!

This month, I’m writing about how to get endorsements from other authors.


I have a confession to make: when a novel of mine is close to being published, I get nervous.

I get nervous because I know that it’s almost time to start sending out Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) – an almost-but-not-quite-final version of my book – for endorsements. ARCs are sent before the final editing and proofreading is complete. Why do I stress myself out this way?

Despite my misgivings, there’s a method to the madness. When your book hits the shelves, endorsements on the front and back cover adds legitimacy. It’s added promotional material every time someone picks up your novel. It’s important to get endorsements early, so they can be incorporated into your book’s cover design and online listings.

The endorsements that go on your cover are ones that connect with your readers. You want to find authors who write in your genre that readers will recognize. Having an endorsement from your mom is nice, but it won’t help sell your book. (Unless your mom is a famous author. In this case, go ahead and use her!)

Endorsements are critically important, and it all starts with the ARC. It makes me nervous to have people I know and admire read an unfinished version of my book, but the payoff is so worth it.

Here are my tips on how you can spin your ARCs into book marketing gold:

Networking and the ARC

I learned early in my writing career that networking long before I finished my first novel is critical to the publishing journey.

How does one find established authors willing to spend their time reading an about-to-be-published-for-the-first-time author’s novel? That’s where networking comes in.

I’ve attended writing conferences, workshops and awards dinners. Each of these gave me a way to meet other authors. I started a blog. Got active on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.

When I first joined the Crime Writers of Canada (CWC), I sent every CWC author a LinkedIn message asking them to connect with me. Hundreds did. I was amazed. I kept a spreadsheet of the authors I’d sent a message to, which ones accepted my invitation and included a check mark when I sent a thank you. Since then, I’ve kept up communication with authors, sending them a message when I’d read their book and posted a review..

Who To Ask For An Endorsement

I chose authors that I had some connection with. Either I’d met them in person, or I’d connected with them on the Internet. I looked for authors where our writing had something in common.

I wrote a letter to each author as I would a query letter. I included my writing credentials and the reason I was asking a specific author. Part of asking is the condition that if they didn’t like the book, I wouldn’t expect an endorsement.

What Format to Send

When possible, ask the author which format they prefer (i.e. PDF, mobi, epub, print, etc.). This shows them respect and it means they won’t be distracted from the story because they’re reading in a format they don’t like.

For one author, I was so thrilled they said they would read an ARC, I had it printed and bound at my local print store.

How Many Endorsements Are Enough?

I recommend a minimum of three. One for the front cover of your novel and two for the back. My covers have the highest profile endorsement on the top of the front cover. The next two endorsements are on the top and bottom of the back cover. When potential readers pick up my novel, they don’t even have to open the cover to see the promotional material.

For anything more than three endorsements, jump up and down and do the happy dance. Then plan to put the endorsements after the copyright page.

What Should An Endorsement Look Like?


The endorsements on the outside cover are edited to contain only the most enticing words. The full endorsement is written on the inside of the book after the copyright page.

For my novel DESCENT, the front jacket endorsement is:

“A vivid, chilling tale of jealousy, secrets, and betrayal…”
– Barbara Fradkin, award-winning author of the Inspector Green Series.

The full endorsement printed inside the book is:

In this impressive debut, Kristina Stanley weaves a vivid, chilling tale of jealousy, secrets, and betrayal in a close-knit mountain ski village. Like its likeable young heroine, Kalin Thompson, DESCENT is both tender and tough. – Barbara Fradkin, award-winning author of the Inspector Green Series.

Readers have two chances to discover the endorsements, and that’s two chances that they will buy your book.

A Thank-You

We all know a thank you goes a long way. After my book is published, I mail a  signed print edition of my novel to any author who endorsed it. I know I love to receive a copy of any book I’ve endorsed, so I’m assuming others like this too.

On that note, thanks for reading!


kristina stanley.jpg

Kristina Stanley is a bestselling author, editor, and the CEO of Fictionary. Fictionary helps writers tell better stories with breakthrough online software that simplifies story editing. She’s the author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series, Look The Other Way, and The Author’s Guide to Selling Books To Non-Bookstores.

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Who Will Read Your First Draft And How Do You Help Them #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2Thank you, Raimey Gallant for organizing the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop.

This is a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, just hop on over to Ramey Gallant!

This month, I’m going to focus on what I’ve learnt from working with beta readers.

When I finished the first draft of my first novel, Descent, I was exhilarated and terrified. Exhilarated because I’d accomplished my dream of writing a novel, and terrified because I now had to share it with someone.

But who?

My lucky husband got to be my first beta reader. He understood how important my story was to me. He’d be kind yet helpful. So I took a deep breath and hit the print button.

I couldn’t be in the same room with him as he read. That was just too stressful.

Once he finished, he gave me one of the most useful pieces of advice that I still use today. It came in the form of a question.

“Do you know you start every scene in a doorway?”

I hadn’t noticed that. His question made me do a full rewrite of every scene, looking at the opening. This is when I discovered the term in medias res — start in the middle of the action.

Now, before I share my story with anyone, I check the beginning of each scene and choose the opening carefully. I try to open with a hook for each scene.

As the years have gone by, I’ve had many beta readers and received a lot of valuable advice, comments, and questions. I couldn’t write the way I do without these precious people.


What’s a Beta Reader?

A beta reader is a person who reads your manuscript before it’s published and provides you with feedback on your story. The feedback is usually on characters, plot, and settings. (Although you may get comments on copyediting and proofreading, too.)

A helpful beta reader gives you honest feedback, positive or negative, that you use to improve your story.

An ineffective beta reader says, “That’s a nice story. I liked it.” While that feels good, it doesn’t help you write a better story.


Tips for Getting Useful Feedback

Convincing friends to give you honest feedback is difficult. People who care about you usually don’t want to hurt your feelings and may be worried about beta reading.

Questions like “What if I don’t like the story?” or “How will I tell you if I find something I don’t like?” may swirl around their heads while they’re thinking of a way to say no.

Make sure your readers understand you won’t be hurt or offended by negative feedback. Feedback on what’s not working is the only way for you to tell a better story.

To make it easy for your beta readers to know what you want, provide a list of specific questions or instructions. This will help your reader know what you want from them.

I ask beta readers to do or answer the following:

  1. Mark anywhere you skim. This is an easy way to know that the writing is boring.
  2. Did you get confused on who a character was? Maybe you need more clues or dialogue tags.
  3. Did you lose track of who was speaking? I like to write with minimal dialogue tags, so this is critical.
  4. Note anytime you suspect a character of being the villain or know the ending. This helps to determine if you’ve done enough to too much foreshadowing.
  5. Mark each passage where you stopped reading. Get your beta readers to mark this each time, even it was to have dinner, go to work, etc. If all your beta readers put the book down at the same passage, there may be a problem with the story.
  6. Did you notice any story inconsistencies? To help your beta reader, give them an example of what you mean. I read a story where a dog was left at home in one scene, and in the next scene, the dog was still with the owner. The author had forgotten where the dog was.
  7. Avoid asking for copy editing or proofreading from beta readers. It’s ok if your readers notice errors and point them out, but what you want at this stage is input on your story, not on the grammar or typos.

Make Your Beta Reader Feel Special

Image Source: Pixabay

Once you’ve put a lot of time into finding helpful beta readers, you want to keep them for your next book.

The first time a beta reader gives you negative feedback, thank them. If you make the suggested change, let them know. A beta reader will put a lot of effort into reading your story and seeing that their comments resulted in changes can be very satisfying.

When you ask someone to beta read, make it easy for the author by asking what format he/she would like to receive the manuscript in. I offer a PDF file first, but some prefer a printed copy and others mobi. Some like to receive manuscripts in .docx format as it’s easy to convert and read on a Kindle. I try to send the manuscript in the format the beta reader prefers. I believe it’s a sign of respect for the person.

In the acknowledgment section of your published book, thank your beta readers. Mine all love to see their names in the book.

Make your beta reader feel really special and send them a signed copy of your book once it’s published.

Let us know if you have any suggestions for working with beta readers. We’d love to hear from you!


Perform a Story Edit Before Sharing with Beta Readers

Fictionary is online software that simplifies story editing. Fictionary will help you evaluate your story on a scene-by-scene basis. You’ll be able to focus on problem areas in your manuscript and improve it quickly. Then your beta readers will be impressed!

Why not check out Fictionary’s free 14-day trial and tell better stories? We don’t ask for a credit card until you’re ready to pay, so there’s no risk.

Thanks for reading!

Top 10 Story Issues: Learn What to Avoid #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2Thank you, Raimey Gallant for organizing the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop.

This is a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, just hop on over to Ramey Gallant!

This month, I’m going to focus on what I’ve learnt from reading first drafts.


 

As the CEO of Fictionary, I read a lot of draft novels, and it’s one of the great pleasures of my job. It’s also an amazing learning opportunity.

Today, I want to share the top 10 issues I find in manuscripts in hopes that you can learn from them.

Here we go…


1. Word Count — Doesn’t follow the genre requirements

Inappropriate word count is the issue I see most often. For example, a 200,000 word mystery novel means the writer doesn’t know the expectations for the genre.

I also see random scene lengths, instead of scene lengths used to control pacing. Scene length can be shortened to increase pacing and lengthened to decrease pacing. This is an often underutilized method.

Learn more…


2. Point of View — Confused, inconsistent, unbalanced

A scene is told through a character’s eyes. That character is the POV character for the scene.

I often see a lack of control when writers change POV characters within a scene. This is called head hopping, and it’s jarring to a reader.

The order the POV characters appear, the number of times they appear, and consistency within a scene are all important. If an author hasn’t put enough thought into who has the POV for each scene, the novel can appear disjointed.

Learn more…


3. POV Goal — There isn’t a clear one

A character goal is simply what a character wants. The goals will drive the story forward.

The POV goal is what the POV character for the scene wants.

When you know the goal, you can start thinking about all the ways the character will fail at achieving the goal, what obstacles you can put in the character’s way, and how the character will feel about failing.

A scene where the POV character doesn’t have a goal will lack tension. And without tension the reader gets bored.

Learn More…


4. Purpose Of Each Scene — Isn’t clear

The purpose of the scene must relate to the overall story. If the scene is not driving the story forward or developing your characters, then ask yourself why the scene is in your novel.

If you don’t have a reason for the scene to be in your novel, think about cutting or rewriting the scene.

Learn More…


5. Scene Anchoring — Without it the reader is lost

A writer can be too close to their story and not “see” that the reader is lost. The mistake is to not anchor the reader in the point of view, the timing of the scene and the setting.

You know who has the POV, where the character is, and the timing of the scene because you wrote the scene, but does your reader? If the reader can’t figure out the POV, timing and setting within the first couple of paragraphs, you may lose them–the reader I mean and not the character.

Learn More…


6. Scene Entry And Exit Hooks — No exciting hooks

The beginning and ending of each scene is a chance to keep the reader engaged. This mistake is to ignore having entry and exit hooks for each scene.

When creating a scene entry hook, consider:

  • Starting in media res (opening in the middle of action)
  • Foreshadowing trouble
  • Using a strong line of dialogue
  • Raising a question
  • Not wasting words on extraneous description

The exit hook is the magic that will keep your reader wanting to begin the next scene. Types of Exit Hooks:

  • Cliff Hanger–perhaps your protagonist’s life is at risk
  • Revelation–show the reader something that will change the course of the story
  • Setback for the protagonist or antagonist–one of these characters should be very unhappy about the latest event
  • A secret revealed–you can either reveal a full secret or only part of a secret
  • A question left hanging–this will tease the reader, making them want the answer
  • An unexpected plot twist–this will keep the reader guessing

Learn More…


7. Tension — Not enough

A lack of tension in a scene may mean the reader puts your book down.

It’s important to know the difference between tension and conflict. I often see a lot of conflict but not enough tension.

Learn More…


8. Backstory — Too much, too early

Backstory is the story that happens before your novel begins. Sometimes during the story, you need to inform the reader of something that happened earlier in a character’s life. You may have files upon files of information you store elsewhere that you use to develop your characters, but what we’re concerned with here is what the reader needs to know.

Too much backstory early on will bore your reader. Don’t risk it.

Learn More…


9. Timing — Confusing timelines

This issue occurs when a story jumps around in time — meaning the story is not told in a linear fashion. This can be great, but only if the reader can follow it.

Learn More…


10. Story Arc — Key scenes are in the wrong place

I’ve read many manuscripts where the story arc is not followed. When the author rewrites the story and move the key scenes to the correct place, the story goes from mediocre to good, or good to great. Who doesn’t want that?

Learn More…


Fictionary is online software that simplifies story editing. Fictionary will help you address each area listed above. You’ll be able to focus on problem areas in your manuscript and improve it quickly.

Why not check out Fictionary’s free 14-day trial and tell better stories?

Learn How To Self-Edit #AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Flashback Vs. Backstory

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2Thank you, Raimey Gallant for organizing the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop.

This is a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, just hop on over to Ramey Gallant!

Flashback Versus Backstory

flashback takes the reader from the current time to a previous time. This usually happens quickly, and then they are returned to the present.

A flashback is told as an action scene.

Backstory is the story that happens before your novel begins. Sometimes during the story, you need to inform the reader of something that happened earlier in a character’s life. You may have files upon files of information you store elsewhere that you use to develop your characters, but what we’re concerned with here is what the reader needs to know.

Backstory is told as narrative.


Flashback

A reader lives a flashback is if it were a regular scene. Flashbacks can be a sentence, a paragraph, a scene, or an entire chapter.

The importance of a flashback should influence its length. So look at each flashback and ask yourself how important is it to the story. This is where the rewrite comes in. You may have a flashback in which a murder occurs, and the murder is the driving motive for your protagonist in this story. In that case, give the flashback time to develop on the page. Don’t shortchange your reader with only a few sentences.

Remember a flashback is a scene. It must be immediate. It must have conflict or tension. You’re taking the reader out of the story and into the past, so make it worthwhile.

When you’re revising your flashback, check how you got into and out of the scene. Did you give the reader a clue you were jumping back in time? How do you let them know you are back in the present.

You can use an object to do this. An object in the present can trigger a character to think about something in the past, and that’s your lead into the flashback.

A sound or loud noise can jar the character from the flashback and back into the present. Any of the senses will work for this.

Are the flashbacks clustered together or spread throughout the story. If too many flashbacks occur close together, maybe they could be repositioned or grouped into one flashback.


Flashback Checklist

  1. How important is the flashback?
  2. Is the flashback written as a scene?
  3. Did you give the reader a clue you were jumping back in time?
  4. How do you let readers know they are back in the present?
  5. Are there too many flashbacks clustered together.

Backstory

By keeping track of the backstory, you can decide if you’ve started your novel in the right place.

If you have more backstory than current story, you may want to start your novel earlier in the character’s life.

A good backstory is an event that hurts your characters before page one. The backstory can create motives or character flaws.

You may be writing a novel that is over half backstory. In this case, you’ll be using a technique where you bounce between the present and the future. Do you give a fair balance to past and present?

If you’re writing a novel with a small amount of backstory, then you don’t want too much backstory early on in the manuscript. Only dole out the information as the reader needs to learn it. You don’t want to give too much backstory at one time. This can cause the reader to lose interest in the story if they are jarred out of the immediate story.

Part of re-writing backstory may include moving some of the backstory to later in the manuscript. If you find you have a lot of backstory in the first scene or chapter, consider moving some of it to later in the novel.

Ask yourself, does the reader need the backstory information? If the answer is no, then cut it from your story. If the answer is yes, ask yourself does the reader need the information in the current scene or can you move it to later?

Your characters need to do something interesting before too much backstory is included.

One final thought on backstory. Curiosity is what drives the reader forward. If your character has a past that’s driving their motivation, then don’t tell the reader too soon.

Keep the reader curious.


Backstory Checklist:

  1. Do you have more backstory than current narrative?
  2. How early in your novel does backstory occur?
  3. Does the reader need to know what you’re sharing in the backstory?
  4. Does the backstory cause a character pain?
  5. Is the backstory important enough to be shown as a flashback

How Fictionary Can Help You

Below is the Story Map in Fictionary for Look The Other Way (by Kristina Stanley). In Fictionary, you can select only the key elements of fiction you want to evaluate

In the Story Map, I’ve selected the POV character for the scene, backstory and flashback

You’ll notice I don’t have a flashback in any of the first 6 scenes. I have one later in the novel for a key event in Shannon’s past.

For Backstory in each scene, I’ll show why the backstory is included.

Scene 1: Shannon quit previous job. This is important to the scene because Shannon is being fired. Now she’s regretting leaving her last job.

Scene 2: Debi’s boat history. The story takes place on a sailboat and this lets the reader know Debi is qualified to go sailing.

Scene 3: Previous fight. Shannon and Lance are engaged, but I let the reader know there is trouble in paradise.

Scene 4: Jake was a cop. Now the reader knows Jake’s purpose in the novel. He’ll be believable when tracking a killer.

Scene 5: Jake’s past hurts. Here, I’m letting the reader know Jake is carrying a past that was difficult and it will serve as the reason why he has trouble getting close to Shannon.

Scene 6: Boy’s bedtime ritual. This backstory shows a closeness the boy feels to his father, so when the father dies, the reader will understand his pain.

I hope the above illustrates who using select backstory can engage your readers.

The History of Fictionary

Fictionary is a new interactive web app for self-editing fiction that helps writers turn a first draft into a story readers love.

Creating Fictionary began when I (Kristina) finished the first draft of my first novel. By then I’d read over 50 how-to-write and how-to-self-edit books. I’d taken writing courses and workshops, and had 100s of writing and rewriting tips swirling about in my head.

I knew I had to begin the rewriting process and improve the quality of my draft before sharing my work but I didn’t know how to go about it. How was I supposed to remember the torrent of advice and apply it to each scene? To address this problem, we built Fictionary.


Post written by Kristina Stanley, author of Look The Other Way (Imajin Books, Aug 2017).

Image Source: Kristina Stanley

Kristina Stanley is the best-selling author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series and Look The Other Way.

Kristina is the CEO of Fictionary, and all of her books were edited using Fictionary.


Why not check out Fictionary’s free 14-day trial and turn your draft into a story readers love?

Learn How To Self-Edit #AuthorToolboxBlogHop Purpose Of A Scene

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2Thank you, Raimey Gallant for organizing the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. Today is the 5th post of this new series!

This is a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, just hop on over to Ramey Gallant!

I’ll focus my entire series on self-editing. Here is what I’ve covered so far in the series:

Today’s topic is PURPOSE OF A SCENE.

The first plot element I evaluate is the purpose of the scene. The purpose of the scene must relate to the overall story. If it’s not driving the story forward, then ask yourself what is the point of including the scene in your novel.

Here are some examples of the way the purpose of a scene can drive the story forward. You can choose one of these to define your purpose or come up with your own definitions.

  • Build suspense
  • Character development
  • Character Introduction
  • Climax
  • Establish mood
  • Establish setting
  • Inciting Incident
  • Intensify Conflict
  • Move the story forward
  • Plot point 1
  • Plot point 2
  • Resolution (after climax)

HOW PURPOSE OF A SCENE HELPS WITH THE OTHER ELEMENTS

I articulate the purpose of the scene first, so I can address other elements of the scene and test if they are in line with the purpose.

Let’s say you fill out the list of objects in a scene. You can weigh the objects against the purpose of the scene and see if there is a way to use them to further the purpose. This goes for revelations, tension, conflict, weather, etc. Basically, every scene element can be tested against the scene purpose.

After you whittle down the purpose of a scene to a few words, one of three things will happen.

  1. You’ve got the purpose nailed, and you understand why this scene is included in your novel.
  2. You have a weak purpose, but there is still some value in the scene.
  3. You have no idea what the purpose is.

So you’ve got the purpose nailed. Yay! Move on to the next scene.

If the point of the scene is weak, see if you can take what is important in a scene and move it to another scene, then delete the weak scene. You can also enhance the scene to give it a stronger purpose.

If you can’t articulate the purpose of a scene, think about removing the scene.

More Self-Editing Advice

BIG-PICTURE Editing
If you’re looking for more help on self-editing download the free eBook, BIG-PICTURE Editing 15 Key Elements of Fiction To Make Your Story Work and learn how big-picture editing is all about evaluating the major components of your story. We call these components the Key Elements Of Fiction.

Our eBook shows you how to use the key elements of fiction to evaluate your story and become your own big-picture editor.

 

Interested In An Automated Approach To Big-Picture Self-Editing?

Why not try Fictionary?

A new online tool for serious fiction writers. Turn your first draft into a story reader love by becoming your own structural editor. Fictionary is the first web app to help fiction writers evaluate their own work with a focus on story, not words.

AVAILABLE FOR FREE TRIAL NOW!

With Fictionary, you can focus on plot, character, and setting. You can evaluate on a scene-by-scene basis or on the overall novel structure. Fictionary will show you the most important structural elements to work on first.

Fictionally will guide you through the rewriting process by asking you questions specific to your manuscript, enabling you to evaluate your own story.

Fictionally helps you visualize your manuscript. Forget about yellow stickies or white boards. Fictionary will draw character arcs, provide reports on scene evaluation, and show your rewriting progress.

Happy editing and thanks for reading…

Learn How To Self-Edit #AuthorToolboxBlogHop Opening A Scene

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2Thank you, Raimey Gallant for organizing the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. Today is the fourth post of this new series!

This is a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, just hop on over to Ramey Gallant!

I’ll focus my entire series on self-editing. Here is what I’ve covered so far in the series:

Today’s topic is OPENING A SCENE.

Treat every scene like you would treat the opening scene in your novel. You’ve got to hook the readers so they don’t put your book down. You want them to be so intrigued by your scene opening, that they HAVE to keep reading.

You can do this be evaluating the scene opening type,  the scene entry hook, and scene anchoring.

Scene Opening Type

Don’t Bore Your Reader With Repetitive Scene Opening Types. You have four choices for scene opening type:

  • Dialogue
  • Thought
  • Description
  • Action

Go through each scene of your novel and label the scenes with one of the above. Then check that you haven’t been repetitive. Do many scenes in a row starting with one type is tiresome.

Scene Entry Hook

Get The Reader’s Attention With A Great Scene Hook

When creating a scene entry hook, consider:

  • Starting in media res (opening in the middle of action)
  • Foreshadowing trouble
  • Using a strong line of dialogue
  • Raising a question
  • Not wasting words on extraneous description

After your first draft is complete, check each scene and list how you created a hook. As with the scene opening type, you want to vary the method you use. Variety will keep the reader engaged.

Scene Anchoring

Anchor Your Readers, And They Won’t Put Your Book Down

Anchor The Point Of View:

Check whether the reader will know who has the point of view within the first paragraph or at least within the first couple of paragraphs of each scene. If not, the reader might find this frustrating.

If you write your entire novel from one point of view, like many first-person novels, then you don’t need to worry about this.

Anchor The Setting:

You know where the character is because you wrote the scene, but does your reader? If the reader can’t figure out the setting within the first couple of paragraphs, you may lose them–the reader I mean and not the character.

There are exceptions to this. If your scene is about a character waking in a dark place and confused about where she is, then it’s okay for the reader to be confused about where she is, too. This will add to the tension. The reader does need to understand the lack of setting is done on purpose

Anchor The Timing:

 The timing of the scene can mean:

  • Time of day
  • Time passed since the previous scene
  • A particular date

Your readers will get disoriented if they can’t follow the timeline. Check each scene and make sure the timing is clear.

More Self-Editing Advice

 

BIG-PICTURE Editing
If you’re looking for more help on self-editing download the free eBook, BIG-PICTURE Editing 15 Key Elements of Fiction To Make Your Story Work and learn how big-picture editing is all about evaluating the major components of your story. We call these components the Key Elements Of Fiction.

Our eBook shows you how to use the key elements of fiction to evaluate your story and become your own big-picture editor.

 

Interested In An Automated Approach To Big-Picture Self-Editing?

 

Feedback Innovations (which I happen to be the CEO of) created Fictionary, on online tool for writers.

AVAILABLE FOR FREE TRIAL NOW!

Fictionary is the first web app to help fiction writers evaluate their own work with a focus on story, not words.

With Fictionary, you can focus on plot, character, and setting. You can evaluate on a scene-by-scene basis or on overall novel structure. Fictionary will show you the most important structural elements to work on first.

Fictionally will guide you through the rewriting process by asking you questions specific to your manuscript, enabling you to evaluate your own story.

Fictionally helps you visualize your manuscript. Forget about yellow stickies or white boards. Fictionary will draw character arcs, provide reports on scene evaluation, and show your rewriting progress.

Happy editing and thanks for reading…

Learn How To Self-Edit #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2Thank you, Raimey Gallant for organizing the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. Today is the second post of this new series, and I’m very excited to be part of it.

This is a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, just hop on over to Ramey Gallant!

I’ll focus this entire series on self-editing. The first blog in my series covers Why Learn To Self-Edit.

 

 

Today, let’s talk about characters in the context of editing. 

Why do people read novels?

I think it’s to find out what happens next. But what happens next is only interesting if it the “what happens next” involves characters or something that is important to a character.

Characters ARE your story. They act and react. They create emotion. They show motivation. Without any of this, you don’t have a story. That’s a tall order for your characters. So how do you make sure you’re getting the most out of them?

You rewrite and revise until your characters are performing at their best.

Taking on the task of rewriting your first draft doesn’t have to be overwhelming. A little bit of organization will help you complete your rewrite without it taking forever.

Characters and Novel Structure

You’ve finished your first draft, so most likely you know who your characters are, what they look like, where they work and so on. But what about how they fit into your story structure? To understand this and make the most of it, you must evaluate your characters in the context of the structure of your novel.

By this point, you’ll also know if you’re writing from first person point of view (POV) or third person. You’ve also decided if you are writing from multiple points of view. In essence, you know who is telling your story. Feedback will help you keep track of POV and how you balance your POV scenes throughout the novel.

When thinking about the POV character for each scene, ask yourself:

  • What is the POV goal for the scene?
  • How does the goal relate to the plot?
  • What or who is working against the POV goal?
  • What happens if your POV doesn’t achieve the goal?
  • How does scene affect your POV character?

Once you’ve answered the questions, check each scene to ensure the reader will understand the answers. You can show, tell, or imply the answers. It’s up to you to find the right balance. The more important the event, the more you should show the reader what’s happening. The less important could be told quickly, so the reader can move on to the good stuff.

 

More Self-Editing Advice

BIG-PICTURE EditingIf you’re looking for more help on self-editing download the free eBook, BIG-PICTURE Editing And The Key Elements Of Fiction and learn how big-picture editing is all about evaluating the major components of your story. We call these components the Key Elements Of Fiction.  Our eBook shows you how to use the key elements of fiction to evaluate your story and become your own big-picture editor.

Interested In An Automated Approach To Big-Picture Self-Editing?

Feedback Innovations (which I happen to be the CEO of) is building the Feedback app .

Feedback is the first web app to help fiction writers evaluate their own work with a focus on story, not words.

With Feedback, you can focus on plot, character, and setting. You can evaluate on a scene-by-scene basis or on overall novel structure. Feedback will show you the most important structural elements to work on first.

Feedback will guide you through the rewriting process by asking you questions specific to your manuscript, enabling you to evaluate your own story.

Feedback helps you visualize your manuscript. Forget about yellow stickies or white boards. Feedback will draw character arcs, provide reports on scene evaluation, and show your rewriting progress.

Happy editing and thanks for reading…