Tag Archives: book publishing

How do I copyedit my book?

I’ve had a lot of questions about publishing lately, so I thought I’d take a second and answer one of the biggies.

How do I copyedit my book?

One of the most common ways to vet your book is to recruit beta readers to give honest feedback. Avoid people who tell you it’s great. You need to know where story has gone wrong so that you can improve the rough bits.

Fix logic bombs. If it doesn’t make sense, figure out a way to explain it or remove the section.

Sometimes you need to scrap a scene to save a story. Don’t be afraid to be brutal with your book. Take a critical look at everything that happens in your tale in point form, and if there are bits that are not critical to moving the story ahead ask yourself if they really need to be in there. Trim the fat.

When I re-read my work, I look for bumps – that’s what I call something that knocks me out of my story. Sometimes its an awkward sentence, or a word. Fix these.

Go through all your dialogue and remove every word that ends in “ly”, she said snidely, angrily, happily, sadly. If the sentence doesn’t read as snide, angry, happy or sad, no amount of adverbs are going to save it. ReWrite.

Make sure your scene is set. Think of the senses. What does your character see, hear, taste, touch, sense/feel? What is the light like? Is it hot/cold? Look for a way to integrate the setting into what your character challenge in the scene is. Can the setting mirror their experience in some way?

Here’s an exercise: write a scene using only dialogue, that gives emotional context and reveals the setting of the scene, without using any qualifiers or adverbs, no narration.

Good luck and let me know how you make out!

Cheers,
L.G.A. McIntyre

My Characters are Pushing Me Around

How schizophrenic do I sound? My Characters are Pushing Me Around. A writer friend and I were talking about this phenomena.

I’ve been writing for a long time. One of the most frustrating experiences is when a character refuses to behave as you wish them to.

I go into a chapter with a clear path all marked out, an outline of what needs to happen, the emotions that have to be expressed, when suddenly, out of nowhere, my characters start doing things that I didn’t expect and didn’t want. I realize that they’ll soon have me cowering in a corner begging them for a breadcrumb pathway out of the dead-end scene. So here’s my 2 strategies for when my characters are pushing me around.

1) DELETE, DELETE, DELETE, DELETE 🙂 – The easy solution. Puts them in their place. FAST!

or, if it looks like they might have something worthwhile to add

2) Let the characters play through

I really love to let the characters play through, and here is why.

Our subconscious is thinking about things in a way our conscious minds cannot track. I believe that this is where our characters get their will to try to control their destiny. Just as you have the book laid out in your mind, of who the characters are, and of how they are to react, your subconscious may be 30 pages ahead of you, recognizing a greater plot or emotional pivot opportunity that you have not acknowledged consciously yet. The characters pushing you around, may be a manifestation of your subconscious setting up for a great event.

Just be warned: though these little id battles can create beautiful rich sub-plots, that you, as the author, need to steer the story with a hand at 10 and 2 at all times.
Everything that you write must have a purpose within the story, otherwise, it needs to be cut. DELETE, DELETE, DELETE, DELETE 🙂