The Insecure Writer's Support Group (or IWSG) is a wonderful group put together by the amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh (which now has an equally cool Facebook group).
The first Wednesday of each month is the perfect opportunity to share my insecurities on the #IWSG therapy couch, get encouragement and support about such insecurities, and to read how other writers are faring.
Today is a special day for IWSG. From Alex's blog:
Today marks the one year anniversary since the IWSG site and Facebook group opened. We invite all IWSG members, Facebook members, and followers to contribute to The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond, whether you are a writer on the journey or a published author. Post your contribution today or email your submission to the IWSG or me. Full details posted today at the IWSG site.
Month after month, many IWSG posts touch on topics related to producing quality work. While there's no all-encompassing advice to ensure a 5-star hit, one of the most important parts of publishing is...
In a perfect world, we'd all have the disposable money to hire editors. At a minimum, I think it's money well spent to hire a proofreader, however. Still, you'll need to self-edit first. There's so much I can say on the topic, but I'll keep it short and sweet.
5 Quick Self-Editing Tips
1. Walk Away
It sounds simple, but let your manuscript breathe. The closer we are to the project, the harder it will be to edit. Our brain will fill in the gaps and simply read what we intended.
2. Read Out Loud
Another way to overcome knowing our material is to read it out loud. This is particularly effective with dialog. Do you stumble when you read it? If so, it's not natural. This is also an excellent way to pick up missing words or awkward sentences.
Commas, in my opinion as an editor, are the most misused punctuation mark. Either they are overused, weighing down sentences, or severely lacking, losing the reader in a muddy wasteland of words.
Couple of quick comma pointers:
- Can it stand alone?
It was snowing hard, creating a foggy sky of white. (creating on cannot stand alone = comma)
My favorite sport is lacrosse; it's challenged and fast-paced. (it's on could stand alone = ;)
- City and State/City and Country
He returned to San Francisco, California, after a fun trip to Paris, France, to see friends. (after both city & state, city & country)
Amy will return for the June 12, 2015, graduation.
Amy will return for the June 2015 graduation.
(use comma after date and year -- if only month and year, no commas)
Commas go within quotation marks. " ," not " ",
4. Search & Find
If you know you have problem areas (overuse that, very, really, just), do a Search & Find to pinpoint issues and fix them. Also, watch out for commonly misused words. Examples: their/they're/there, lose/loose, its/it's, your/you're, led/lead, lie/lay (lay is the past tense of lie -- crazy, I know!), effect/affect, reign/rein, piqued/peaked/peeked. Search and destroy.
Sounds so simple, doesn't it? Yet, it's so important. Train your eyes to spot issues and to recognize beautiful wording. It really helps. Read for pleasure, read fellow writers' work and offer critique, and help your kids edit their papers (this helps me!).
I plan to do a running series of common editing issues--highlighting ones I find when I edit other writers' novels, as well as my own. Please let me know any issues you'd like to see covered.
For Anthology purposes, should my entry be used:
I'm Tia Silverthorne Bach, award-winning author of Women's Fiction and Young Adult novels, and an editor at Indie Books Gone Wild. My website: http://www.tiabach.com/
I give permission for my entry to be included in the eBook compilation without royalties and/or separate compensation.