Editing, Contracts, and Other Less than Fun Lessons
Updated: Jan 26
Hope you guys have been having a good time so far with the holidays! Just a little bit longer and they'll be done~
So, I don't know if you've been paying attention, but I've been sending off my manuscript in affordable 10k word chunks for edits and I have started to get those chunky boyz back.
Did you know that to make dialogue an optimal level of sexy, it should go: "Dialogue," Dialogue tag, "Dialogue?" Your choice of punctuation at the end there, of course.
Another lesson I learned was that even when you think you aren't using distancing words when describing personal stories, you most likely are. So many words in passive voice I have had to delete and rewrite.
I've talked in the past about how beta readers are not editors, and I feel like this point needs to be hammered in a bit more. I was hesitant to spend money on editing services, but I decided to do so because my novel wasn't getting picked up.
A beta reader read it first, and picked out a few problem wordings, but wasn't paid for anything other than stating what they thought of the story. They said something like "It was good, I appreciated reading it."
That's fine, but it's not necessarily a glowing review.
The editor I'm working with however... has nitpicked and offered critique I have not received before. I've learned how to notice passive voice, received feedback that my main character is hard to connect with on an emotional level due to the distancing I try to put subconsciously between myself and the reader (it's memoir), had repeated words highlighted and redundancies noted, and I've gotten to learn where I need to offer clarity or more dialogue. This is all valuable feedback that I can choose to accept or ignore.
With that said, they also pointed out some positives, though not as many as I had hoped. My story writing is too long winded in some areas, not dialogue-y enough in others, and there area still lingering elements of my poetry in my prose writing which doesn't match a child memoir story.
There's no way else to get this invaluable help than through an editor.
Which means you're gonna have to spend money.
Precious funds you aren't making yet from your writing (yet).
If you're feeling like that mushroom, don't worry, it makes me sad too. Hopefully you haven't quit your day job, or you've managed to find ways to make money writing that you can re-invest... into your writing.
The circle of life.
Now, I mention in the title, contracts.
I have been optimistic and allowed my optimism to blind me.
I signed a contract with WebNovel for my work Where Nightmares Roam. I wrote a lot, I got approved for payment and all of these things. I wrote 1500 words a day for a month for 200USD.
Only, I needed to have been locking those chapters in order to get that 200USD, which I was not. It's purely my own misunderstanding of the contract terms, but it does mean I pushed myself for a month ignoring other projects, and I got almost nothing from it but writing experience.
Learn from me, read contracts C.L.E.A.R.L.Y. and C.A.R.E.F.U.L.L.Y. Ask all the questions you need to ask.
Where Nightmares Roam will be continuing, but I'll be locking the chapters starting at 50 and from then on it will be pay to read. I'll keep the story going a few months after that and if it makes money, I'll continue it, if not I'll put my energy towards different projects.
Which brings me to another point: writing projects.
I've been looking at what the people around me read, and it's often some sort of self-help book.
So. So. SOOOOOO boring.
I looked at what literary magazines, agents, and small publishers are looking for: creative non-fiction, literary fiction, memoir, children's fiction, YA fiction, translation... not much going on in the realm of poetry.
For poetry you have to submit during small publisher's reading periods and to contests for publication. I highly recommend finding small publishers in your state and starting there.
Expect to send many a query letter.
-Drone Girl remains on hiatus for the time being.
-Poetry subs need to pop back up to 30 (still SUPER EXCITED ABOUT THAT PUSHCART NOMINATION)
-Short story to be self-published around the New Year as an experiment x2
-Gotta send my poetry collection out some more...
-Memoir is under-going what I suspect will be a year of edits
-Where Nightmares Roam will continue to see if it can be profitable. If not, I'll use it as a blueprint to write some more YA fiction for an agent (hopefully)
Unfortunately, I'm still a bit tired from COVID, if that's possible? So I've been really slow to do things lately, in part because I am napping a bit more.
I feel pretty guilty I haven't been getting more done, but the edits were pretty demoralizing as well, then to learn I messed up the contract... Idk, it seems like I need a mini-surge of good writing news? We'll see how it goes.
To check out what I'm writing: Drone Girl: https://www.wattpad.com/1268204000-drone-girl-prologue (Hiatus)
Where Nightmares Roam: https://www.webnovel.com/book/where-nightmares-roam_24450607206805105
To support the author (me!):
My Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/mea_andrews
Some photos of what I've been up to for the holidays: