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Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Is your book ready for submission?

In case you've missed it.

So, this week, I’d like to make you think:
As I’m also an editor, I will try to post some tips and tricks, secrets of good editing and writing on a regular basis.
Many new authors make the mistake of not thinking through their storyline, don’t plot in advance, write to reach a specific work-count, rather than keeping it tight and therefore the pace up, they invent unbelievable actions of characters and scenes that often cause my hair to stand up straight.
They aren’t aware of the mishaps they make, the reader though, will stumble over them, landing flat on the face as a result.
Another common mistake is to get your first three chapters edited professionally and think it’s enough to hook the agent or publisher. I will admit, if the blurb and the writing is good enough, this might even be the case, but what if the queried agent/publisher likes it so much and asks for the full manuscript the next day? It is almost certain, this will result in a rejection, for agents and publishers unfortunately don’t have the time to help you develop your manuscript. It is your job as an author or the editor you chose to work with. And with developing I mean keeping up the pace, the tension, the ‘keeping-the-reader-on-the-toes. Nothing worse than starting a novel with a bang and then putting the reader to sleep.
Some will ask you for rewrites. This will usually be the case if the plot itself is believable  and the writing up to a certain standard throughout the novel, but doesn’t fit into their line.  What they want is story tellers who are capable of taking the reader with them into another world, into a different reality. Readers won’t forgive humps on this ride, especially not important readers such as agents or editors of  publishing houses. The more humps, the closer the rejection.
The best advice would be to join writing groups, find beta readers, a trusted friend who would pick up on these mistakes and plot holes. Writing is hard work and even accomplished writers, as well as published authors have to get an editor assigned to shape their work. With each book you write, it will get easier to do the plotting and the editing becomes less of a major rewrite-session, but more a matter of proof reading.
Next week, I’ll showcase a wonderful author, who has supported AOS from the early days. Watch this space.
Stella

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