Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Monday, March 12, 2012

NaNoWriMo: Errr .... Is It Just In November?

NaNoWriMo –It's Just In November, Right? WRONG!!!

Hey everyone! So I got to thinking – we have all of this hype in November about NaNoWriMo, and then, *BAM!*, nothing again until just before the following year begins writing. I thought I would do a little checking around and see what exactly is supposed to happen after NaNoWriMo. Everyone goes into these writing frenzies, locked in their writing caves – or some who are newer to writing may use NaNo as a jump start to writing that elusive book they have been dreaming of – basically, it is a broad spectrum of authors who participate in NaNo – but then what?????? Everyone just stops writing and waits until next year? If you recall from our earlier posts, the goal was to figure out exactly what NaNo was and what the big deal was about it. Well, I want to find out the rest of the story. So I did some checking and found some valuable information that I will share with you in just a moment.

First off, apologies to all of you who have followed our NaNoWriMo Blog Posts. By “our”, I mean myself and Laurie at BonFide Reflections. We shared the responsibility of this journey between our blogs. With the holidays that just kind of *POOF!* appeared out of nowhere, the time just slipped away and Laurie and I just couldn’t make things happen the way we wanted them to. It was a rocky road to say the least between losing one of our authors to personal commitment and having to back out; our own “real lives” getting in the way; and little stumbles here and there.

We came up with this idea on a whim and went with it. We have learned a lot and plan to really kick ass next year between our two blogs. But we have had a blast and despite the set backs, we would not change a thing. We have been able to get to know out NaNo authors a bit more; catch glimpses into the thoughts of well-known authors and their take on NaNoWriMo; and overall, we experienced an extraordinary time with it all. I for one am amazed at the force that NaNo has become in such a short time and am happy to say that I now know what it is and what purpose it serves.

With all of the holiday hoopla, Laurie and I did not want to bother out NaNo writers with questions about how they ultimately did with NaNo. Then I got to thinking about it. I believe now that we will try to revisit with our NaNo authors sometime in the near future just to see how everything came along. As you will soon find out, the process was far from over when November came to a close. I’d like to see where the authors were at the end of November versus where they are now. Did they persevere and make that goal? Did they scrap the whole thing? What happened? Seriously, it is killing me not knowing, but I will do what I can to find out soon.

So what the heck am I making this post for when we have no author updates? Admit it. That is what you are wondering now. Well, I just happen to have an answer for you. I was able to procure the appearance of two, count them … TWO of the best editors on the planet. *drum roll*

Miss Angela James and Miss Sasha Knight!

I know! You are in awe, like WOAH! Right? I still can’t believe they are on the blog! Holy WOW! Inhale … hold, 2, 3, 4 … and exhale.

So here is how it works. I was following these two fabulous ladies on Twitter and noticed that they had quite a lot to say about what NOT to do when submitting NaNoWriMo manuscripts. For starters … It wasn’t anywhere near over. No way, no how, ut-uh! *shakes head vehemently* So I thought you all could use some insight in to what these marvelous editors look for when perusing new submissions for contract. And if you are not a writer, who cares? I find this entire process fascinating. Who knew so much went into these books I spend so much time reading?!?!?! Not me! And I appreciate those books even more now. So buckle up and get ready for some advice that is far beyond worth it!

So without further adieu, I give you:

**Angela James**
*whoop, holla, clap wildly, cheer* Give the woman props!


Executive editor of Carina Press, Harlequin’s digital-first imprint, and veteran of the digital publishing industry, Angela James is a well-known advocate for digital publishing. James has enjoyed a long and varied career in digital publishing, including launching and serving as executive editor for Samhain Publishing. James frequently travels to regional, national and international writing conferences to meet with authors and readers, and present workshops on digital publishing for both authors and readers of all genres of fiction. 

While Angela doesn’t do a lot of editing these days, she still enjoys reading submissions in steampunk, cyberpunk and BDSM/erotic romance. And she’s still looking for the author who will write a space cowboy book for her in the vein of Firefly!

You can follow Angela on Twitter, visit her on Facebook, or her website.

So Ms. James, NaNoWriMo is over. What’s next?

Here’s the thing: editors and agents know you’re really proud of the book you completed during NaNoWriMo. We think you SHOULD be proud of it. It’s not an easy task to complete a book, and especially not in a month. But please, do us a favor and don’t send it to us…yet. First, set it aside for a few weeks. No really. Distance gives you fresh eyes (and renewed love for the story). Go ahead and start writing the next book while you’re letting this one percolate on the back burner.

Once a few weeks–or even a month, maybe after the distraction of the holidays?–have passed, then it’s time for a step that’s just as important as the writing of the book–the self-editing and polishing. No editor, agent or reader should be seeing your book just after it’s written. It doesn’t do justice to your hard work, and it doesn’t show a respect for the reader, editor or agent’s time.

In December I did a round of #editreport on Twitter, and if you’re wondering about that, you can read them on Storify. Essentially, this shows what an editor is thinking as they read the slush pile. The things we see and reject for are so very often things the author could catch in edits. Many of the reports I see from the editors say “this author needs to learn to self-edit.” Yes, story is more important than good writing, but to get either a reader or an editor/agent to read that great story, your writing still needs to be above average. A great story won’t overcome a manuscript full of errors, awkward sentences and bad grammar. It will only overcome a small portion of that!

So now that you’ve completed your NaNo book, no editor or agent should have seen it in their slush pile yet (or even worse, if it was a book you wrote to fulfill a contract obligation, don’t send that to your editor or agent either!) First, you have to self-edit. It shouldn’t be an optional step.

Ms. James offers her own workshops that help authors with the very things she discussed above. I have included the description of the workshop taken from her website below. The next workshop is scheduled for April, so if you are interested in it, take advantage and register now!

**Before You Hit Send**

The beginning date of the next self-editing course, Before You Hit Send is set for April 2, 2012 . Curious about the course? Here’s a description:

Join Angela James for an intensive three-week workshop as she shares some of the common pitfalls she’s seen in submissions and contest entries.

She’ll give you:
Ideas, tips and tricks for polishing and self-editing your manuscript. Tips are delivered in daily individual lessons along with examples and assignments to help you get the post out of your workshop experience

Discuss things such as:
~Dialogue tags
                   ~Whether all forms of “to be” are really evil
                   ~Just what you’re doing to your life expectancy with your use of that  
                             exclamation point
                   ~How to avoid overwriting
~Basic punctuation
                   ~Formalizing and finalizing your manuscript before you hit send.

The course, updated and enhanced with new material and information each time it’s offered, will guide you via daily lessons from the basics of self-editing and grammar in a clear, conversational manner with examples, to more advanced topics such as show versus tell and passive voice.

Through it all, Angela will be available for clarification and questions in order to help you on your way to a cleaned-up manuscript and understanding the basics of editing your manuscript.

Registration for this event is at this page

Thanks so much for being here with us Angela! You have provided some terrific information for all of us to either implement, or realize.

Implement obviously applies to the writers, but realization is a powerful tool for the readers who do not comprehend just how much work goes into the books we love. Each book truly is a helluva process. Knowing all of this, I hope that some of you readers out there are inspired to support your favorite authors. Write reviews for them (no, you don’t have to be a professional – you can write how you felt about the book and it would be fine), tell everyone you know that they should read the book, just get the word out however you can. What authors really care about are honest and respectful reviews. I say respectful because it is absolutely okay not to like a book, but you always need to remain respectful when conveying your feelings. The power of word-of-mouth is an amazing thing. It is our chance to give back to these talented authors who do so much for us by creating their wonderful stories.

I was browsing through Angela’s Storify link and really enjoyed reading the questions, answers, and tips provided. It is worth checking out. Just click here!

So that’s it for now! Please stop by next week when Sasha Knight joins us with all of her fabulous tips. Thanks very much for stopping by. Until next time … HAPPY READING!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I lurve comments! Say whatever is on your mind; just keep it respectful. I am always game for a conversation. :)