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11-18 Magdalena Scott – Serendipity Surprises

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The One Thing I Wish All Writers Understood About Writing

This is going to be a very short blog post, but if this one simple truth was accepted by all authors, then the number of awkward manuscripts submitted and/or self-published would plummet. Are you ready?

No author can adequately edit their own work. None. Not one. Not ever.

Boom. There it is. Do you know why?

Because the author KNEW what they meant to say. They saw the scene clearly in their mind, and described it very well—or so they thought. But that’s because, they KNEW what they mean to say.

Here’s an example: in my first book, I said that the heroine took her baby into her bed to nurse. In my mind, I saw her lying on her side. All action from that point onward made sense.

However, my beta reader marked the passage and wrote: “If she’s leaning against the headboard, nursing the baby, how does …”

Oops.

As confident as I was in my description of the scene—which was crystal clear, in my opinion—I had missed the mark completely. I left out a critical point because when I looked at the image in my mind it only played out one way. And I was wrong.

And the only way to find out I was wrong, was to have someone else read through the manuscript. As a matter of fact, twelve “someone elses”  read through that manuscript before I hit “publish” on Amazon. And that wasn’t the only mistake that I missed, even though I combed through that book countless times over four years from first draft to published book.

Authors balk at having their work edited for two reasons:
  1. They don’t want anyone to tell them that their baby isn’t perfect.
  2. They don’t want to spend the money on a professional editor.

My response? THEN DO NOT PUBLISH. Obviously they don’t respect themselves, or their readers, enough to take the necessary steps to offer a quality product.

And there you go. That’s my best advice.

You’re welcome.

*mike drop*

11 comments:

Judith Ashley said...

A short but to-the-point post with a fist-sized nugget of gold advice. Thank You, Kris!

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Thanks, Kris. The most common reason why writers self-publish before they are ready is their using no or not enough editors.

Kris Tualla said...

I see it over and over again. It's so misguided and a career -killer. All for the sake of ego. ;)

Kris Tualla said...

I see it over and over again. It's so misguided and a career -killer. All for the sake of ego. ;)

Kris Tualla said...

I see it over and over again. It's so misguided and a career -killer. All for the sake of ego. ;)

Sarah Raplee said...

Unfortunately, many writers go into self-publishing under the misconception that it is 'free.' WRONG!!! To turn out a professional-quality book, you must be willing and able to invest the necessary time and money.

Will readers overlook mistakes if the story is good enough? Not the number that appear in un-professionally-edited works. Trust me; I'm a reader who's willing to overlook a few mistakes for a really good story. But if there are enough mistakes (or even one if it's big enough) to annoy me, I have better things to do with my time and money. There are plenty of equally-good stories that won't annoy me out there for the same price. If you don't care enough to write a well-crafted book, why should anyone else care enough to read it?

Amber Polo said...

I love your posts!

Kris Tualla said...

Thanks, Amber! :)

And Sarah: As for "free - no one should pay to be published, but yes, they SHOULD pay for services which assure a quality product. You are right about overlooking a mistake here and there; but when the first page is a train wreck, there goes THAT career!

Adriana Allegri said...

Agreed! I don't know what I'd do without my critique partners and beta readers -- they've caught so much. I'm not at the point of submitting to an editor yet, but am looking forward to that happy day. ;-)

Claudette Cleveland said...

You are so right on. Thanks for putting that out there.

Arleyna said...

Terrific advice and is exactly why I faithfully attended at least one critique group a week for year after year.