The Writer's Life

Writing, for what it's worth...

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10 Things Your Freelance Editor Might Not Tell You—but Should

referenceforwriters:

1. You should avoid the temptation to hire someone to edit your first draft.

I know you’re really excited that you finally finished that book! I’m happy for you … you should be happy for you. Celebrate it! But don’t send it to an editor yet. Put it away for three weeks and then reread, making notes on its strengths and weaknesses, asking yourself what’s missing, and flagging places where you find yourself skimming. Then rewrite the manuscript at least once—twice is better. Don’t bring in a professional until you have made the book the best you possibly can on your own. At this stage, you are still best equipped to take your book to the next level. Only when you’ve taken it as far as you can on your own will you get the most for your money in hiring a freelance editor. Which brings me to a related point:

2. An editor is not a ghostwriter.

It’s not uncommon for nonfiction clients especially to believe that because they have an outline, research notes or interview transcripts, their book is “almost done” and ready for an editor. But if you’re looking for someone to take any of the above and shape it into a manuscript, what you want is a ghostwriter. A nonfiction editor won’t do extensive research for you. A fiction editor is not going to invent characters, flesh out dialogue or write missing scenes. If you hire an editor to do a ghostwriter’s job, you’ll surely be disappointed with the outcome.

3. Your editor is likely to feel more invested in the kind of book she enjoys reading.

Your editor should be familiar with the conventions of what you write. You don’t want her suggesting, for instance, that you include an explicit sex scene in your Christian women’s fiction. Even more important, you want her to like your book enough to want it to be the best it can be. If a prospective editor seems lukewarm from the start about your manuscript or genre, walk away. Find an editor who exhibits genuine excitement about your project. This doesn’t mean that if you’ve written a young-adult paranormal vampire romance you need an editor who specializes solely in that genre. But it does mean that you don’t want an editor who hates teenagers, hates vampires and hates love stories.

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(via beaniebaneenie)

1,797 notes

midenianscholar:

Since my WIP, Illuminate, is also the thesis project for my graduate program, I don’t have as much time as I’m used to for fiddling around and rewriting stuff.

The logical response? Go absolutely crazy.

Step 1: Make Character Arcs for Everyone.

The Interwebs contain lots of great information about character arcs, so in brief: In the course of a story, characters will respond to conflict on an external and internal level, and by the conclusion characters will undergo some sort of change. This creates story arcs.

Every book has at least one major arc. I personally like Doug Tenapel’s advice to split stories into three acts, each with their own arc.

Here’s how I did it.

(keep reading)

(via beaniebaneenie)

90 notes

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.
Antonio Machado (via skullyadmin)

(via skulls-and-tea)

23,484 notes

feministsupernatural:

avatar-trisana:

notzilon:

Hey tumblr, have you ever thought to yourself, “dang it’d sure be cool to set a project in something other than the current times,” but when you go to look up references on google, all you get is a horrible historical pastiche of days gone by?

Well boy howdy, do I have a reference for you!

The Wishbook Web has scans of entire consumer catalogs from past decades, ranging from the early 30s to the late 80s. Each catalog has pages upon pages of reference of clothing, accessories, and shoes for all ages, as well as toys, gadgets, and all sorts of junk that you might buy for yourself or your loved ones. While the website exclusively has Christmas catalogs, the photos and illustrations show products that you could use year-round.

feministsupernatural look!

!!!!

(via queenofthedwarrows)

197 notes

… . There comes a time when one must have a stand that is neither safe, nor popular, but he must take it because it is right. This is where I find myself today.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. responding to criticism from the leadership of the NAACP, the press, and other civil rights organizations who condemned Dr. King for expressing his opposition to the Vietnam War.

Some of you might remember another response in which he said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

"The Assassination of Fred Hampton" (p. 24)

(Source: disciplesofmalcolm, via be-the-lights)

26 notes


"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. … Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. … Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

(Source: injakewetrust, via be-the-lights)