Guest Blog Post By Paranormal Fiction Writer Dawn Kirby
As writers we pour our heart and soul into our work. Blood, sweat and tears go into every word. Emotions run high until the final scene comes to a close. We check and re-check for misspellings, missing words, punctuation. Gaps within the story are cleaned up. Chapters expanded on. Sentences restructured. It hurts when we have to cut a certain something, but we do it. Bringing our story to life in the best way possible is our ultimate goal.
Now we’re ready to share it with beta readers, maybe even a few close friends and family. We ask for complete honesty on every point. Grammar, punctuation, the works. Thankfully they oblige. They go over the MS with a fine toothed comb and give us exactly what we’ve asked them for. Some comments are a little harder to take than others, but we know deep down it’s all leading up to something wonderful.
That in mind we return to our keyboards. Adding a little here, trimming a little there. We work ourselves into a frenzy at times just trying to make the world we’ve created in our minds flawless on paper. Long days turn into long nights. Days, weeks, possibly even months pass as we progress. Our original manuscript looks as though a shredder has had a go at it. Still we push forward. Nothing can stop us now.
Another round of self-edits, another round of Betas. Still the story isn’t what we’ve hoped it to be. That’s not say it’s not good, it may very well be. It’s just…
This is where I stalled with SECRETS. I wanted to submit to agents, but at the same time I didn’t want to submit what I knew could be better. What to do now? I’d read the manuscript so many times at that point the words ran together. Nothing jumped out at me as an issue anymore. My betas were busy with their own projects. Friends and family couldn’t stop living just to read the changes I seemed to be making on a daily basis. The answer came when a friend of mine referred me to a woman who would soon become my literary lifeline.
Before I go on, I realize that there are some agents and publishers that look down on an unpublished writer having a professional editor go over their work. They wonder whether or not the writer has what it takes on his/her own to write a good story. Maybe they’re right to doubt. But in my opinion, the experience only makes a writer stronger. If a writer is willing to put that much work, time and effort into their manuscript before they manage to get representation, one can only imagine how hard they’d be willing to work after.
Jessica Swift, @SwiftInkEditor, for those of you on Twitter, took me under her wing and educated me in more ways than I could’ve ever imagined. She read the first few pages, asked for more and then agreed to do a “first-run” edit on the entire MS. I was surprised at how excited and terrified I was about having an editor go over it. Excited because I knew the problems would be fixed; terrified because there was that possibility she’d hate it and advise me not to quit my day job.
Luckily, she didn’t hate it. What Jessica did was point out the things my eyes, my betas missed. Some of it was simple. Some were huge. She asked questions. She made me think about my story on a whole new level. Not once did she offer to fix the mistakes herself. She was determined not to take my voice out of the story. Thanks to her work and input, I believe my story is stronger than it was before. I know there is still a ton of work to be done, but knowing I have her in my corner anytime I have a question, is a big weight off my shoulders. That alone is priceless.
My point in all this? A writer has to do what feels right for them. Sometimes they need to pull their eyes off their work and let somebody else take it in. In some cases Betas may be all they need. For others, an editor may be the answer to their prayers. Writers can’t afford to let fear of what others may think, or doubt in their writing hold back their progress. The road to publication is bumpy enough, finding a good source of technical support is an important key to seeing that first draft become your first book.
You can find paranormal fiction writer Dawn Kirby on Twitter, on her blog Inside Secrets and become a fan of her book on Facebook. Dawn is also the creator of #fbwriter page on Facebook, so don’t be shy join the group!
Thank you Dawn for kicking off my 100th blog post!