DIARY POST 20: RECONNECTING

connectingIt’s been six weeks since I have written a diary post. I’ve been working feverishly editing my novel, and I felt that I did not want to write another post if it was not an announcement of a release date. Well, I don’t have that announcement today.

Editing is one hundred times more work than I expected. Selima and the Merfolk is my first novel, and I have someone helping me edit, who has been an asset to the project. It has been an experience that has thought me that I have to take a different approach to editing, the next time around. Though I have been seriously editing for almost four months, I still stand by my promise that I will not publish until I am satisfied with my product, and right now I am not. The good news is that my book has improved tremendously, and I have learned lessons that would probably make the next project shorter.

Things I have learned along the way:

1. You have to be the hardest working person on your project.

2. If you are not meticulous by nature, learn to be.

3. Be open to advice. Listen to a different point of view but be true to the story you want to tell and how you want to tell it.

4. Learn the business as much as you learn the craft.

5. Read, read, read and read some more.

6. Don’t neglect your platform.

7. For those of us who cannot afford professional ‘novel’ editors, compare the recommendations of two persons who have a combination of these characteristics:
• Proficient in English
• Avid reader
• Have some editing experience

8. Don’t have your work proofread until you are absolutely sure that you are finished editing and are satisfied with your product.

9. Most people don’t speak proper English. Sometimes trying to achieve that standard makes your dialogue sound unrealistic.

10. Set deadlines for yourself or you might be writing one book forever.

One of my favorite Joel Osteen messages is CONNECTING WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE (see video below). I’ve watched it maybe twenty times. In my life experience, I feel like I have been shielded from making some mistakes and have been rescued by what I call faith and some call coincidence; all because of crossing paths with the right people at the right time.

Five years ago I would have been frustrated with this project, even though I will fulfill a dream by publishing this book, I would have long got tired of the back-and-forth that comes with editing. Thank God I don’t think that way anymore. Every time there is a change to be made or an error is found I am grateful – Grateful that my self-published novel is going to be to the standard of one that was published by a big publishing house, grateful that I am willing to do the work and work with people who have the same work ethic, grateful that the discovery of one misspelling or grammatical error is like someone stopping you from skidding on a banana peel – it won’t kill you but who wants to fall if it can be avoided.

 

8 Comments

  1. You know, I think if you believe your book is still not good enough, you’ve really got to grips with editing. Hang on in there, the more you polish, the better it will be 🙂

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  2. Allison says:

    In trying to become a professional author, I’ve learned that revision has many steps and it can take years. The structure has to be solid. Then the characters and setting have to be fully-developed. After that, there’s voice and theme and all other measures of depth. I’m still working on these and am just entering my third year. Once all of these are done, I’ll finally be able to turn to line-by-line edits. When I set out to write a publishable novel, I never imagined how much work was involved or how much dedication it would involve. Hang in there and know you’re aiming for a novel of quality!

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    • Yes, quality is very important to me. I’ve passed the two and a half year mark; to me it was all worth it because my story reads so much better. I never expected writing a novel to be so much work, good thing I am doing it because I love to write and not because I was looking for something easy to do. Although I’ve made mistakes and wasted a lot of money, I take it all as a lesson. Book 2 will be much easier and hopefully I’ll get better and better. Thanks for the support.

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