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Step Two of Writing a Book

  In the last post, I gave hints on writing your book. Now it's time to make sure your work appears in its best form, whether you plan to self-publish or submit to an agent. However you recorded your story, at this point it has to become a computer file. There are two reasons for that: first, modern publishing requires it, and second, it makes editing a whole lot easier. You'll need to get to know your computer's editing aids, which can be frustrating but will pay off in the end. Things like FIND/REPLACE can save you hours of searching when you realize you changed the spelling of main character's name halfway through the story. When you get stuck, ask the internet. There's always a tutorial or a site where someone asked the same question you need answered. There are different ways of going about the editing process , and individuals arrange them to their liking. I do several self-edits before anyone else sees the book. Sometimes I combine a few of the edits listed

Choosing Your Next Book

    Whether you open a website or walk into a bookstore, there's nothing like the feeling of choosing what you're going to read next. Sadly, I've been disappointed more often than thrilled this year, and at lunch with a friend the other day, she said the same. "Maybe we read too much," she told me. "We've heard it all and seen it all as far as stories go." While that might be true, I can still get pulled into a book if it's done well, as I have been with my current read, WE BEGIN AT THE END by Chris Whitaker. It's not an easy book, but when I find myself thinking, even worrying, about the characters when I'm not reading, I know it's because of good writing. Of course, reading is as individual as writing. I can't tell you the book will affect you the same way. I can only give you my reaction. Choosing a new book is both easy and hard in our time. There are tons of books and tons of places to find them. Still, I've noticed tha

What It's Like in a Writer's Head--Especially on Mondays

Okay, today I have to finish the chapter I started yesterday-- But there's that blogger who wants a guest post by Wednesday-- Oh, and the editor sent a chapter for me to okay. I should get on that soon. But that contest I'm judging has a deadline for me to return my ratings. When was that? I wish I had time to write the book I keep imagining. Seems like fun but can't handle it right now. Christmas is coming. I should do some sort of promotion. And I've got Career Day this Friday at that high school. Need to think about that a little. Setting for DD#4: Interview more people about life in the '50s or do I have enough in there already? Rewrite my will to assign rights to my "intellectual property"? Yeah, when I get time. Two dates in TC coming up. Should I get a room or drive home late at night? December... Beta reader needs a copy of the fourth Dead Detective. Print, since she doesn't Kindle.   Um, when was I g

Plain Talk for Writers: It's Work

Some things you need to accept: 1. You're not as good as you think you are. Other people have ideas as good as yours. In fact, it's hard to be truly creative with all the stories that are out there. Others write as well as you do too. Admit it, and you'll be easier to be around. 2. You're going to work harder than you expect to be successful. There is no Book Fairy who sprinkles shiny stuff on your work and gets everyone to notice it. There's no way to get readers to pay attention if they don't want to. There are things you can do that actually turn readers off, like constantly telling what a great book you've written. 3. Nobody knows what works. If there were a formula--well, there isn't. Badly written books get to be Best Sellers and really good books get rejected by publishers or lie languishing if they do get published. 4. Writing well isn't easy. Note the qualifier. A monkey can sit down at a computer and produce something. An author kn

Help! I'm Buried Under Edits

I've been slogging through edits of the second Maggie Pill Sleuth Sisters book, which for me means listening to one computer read the book aloud while I make corrections on a second computer. (It's complicated.) I was doing pretty well (halfway) when I opened my e-mail and found the copy-edited MS for the fourth Simon & Elizabeth book, Her Majesty's Mischief , with a deadline for its return. Deadlines make me nervous, and I'm tempted to drop my current task and work on the new one. I can do this. Hanging over my head somewhere is the third Dead Detective book, Dead for the Show . The publisher told me they'd like to get it out before the end of 2014 or at the very latest, early 2015. That means the copy-edits for that book should be showing up soon, too. I really can do this. Copy-edits aren't that bad. The big changes have already been made, so I just have to look at little mistakes they found and okay changes. For example, I had a character placing hi