Filter words. It can be so tempting to use them, but they weaken your writing, especially when overused. One of the most common issues I spot when editing is the use of filtering. From my experience it’s a common habit for new authors and one that can be hard to break. Even yours truly had to learn to break the habit. Let’s get started on how to spot and revise filtering.
What is filtering? Filtering words are words that place your character between an important detail and your reader because the detail gets filtered through your character’s point of view. These filter words can tell us sensory details, what a character sees or feels, and what they think. Filtering can make it hard for readers to connect to your world because it creates distance between the reader and your narrator. Filtering can also lead to telling instead of showing. You can show us how your character feels about their world through dialogue and character development, but we don’t need details and actions filtered through their point of view. Let us connect directly to the world. Continue reading
Some editors are also writers while others are happier to stay on the editing side and find they don’t enjoy writing or have the chops for it. And that’s totally okay. It’s just like how some agents write, but others prefer to focus on championing and selling books rather than writing them. However, I’m an editor who also writes. For me writing came before editing and inspired me to try out a career in editing. Pair them both with my love of books and I can’t let either one go.
I find that writing helps with my editing and vice versa. I think you can’t truly understand what authors go through when they get their revision letters or edits unless you’ve been in the same spot. Edit letters can be scary, especially when you are a new author not used to getting revision feedback. It can be overwhelming to see all the fixes and changes your book needs and it can be easy to feel like you’re writing isn’t good enough when you see your manuscript all marked up. By writing and getting revision feedback, I put myself in the same shoes as the authors I edit, and I go through all those tough emotions that so many authors have to work through when they get an edit letter. Going through it myself helps me to have a sympathetic understanding of what my authors are going through when we begin edits. Continue reading
I love a good story twist. Gone Girl anyone? But I don’t like a story twist that falls flat. Recently I’ve noticed some problematic story twists in indie books and books yet to be published. It got me thinking about what makes a good story twist and what exactly made the twists fall flat for me. I noticed a few common themes among the twists that I wanted to share. So here’s the three biggest issues that I noticed, or the big three P‘s in plot twists. Continue reading
Recently on Twitter I posted a link to a blog series by literary agent Kristin Nelson talking about nine book openings to avoid. You can find that series here and I suggest giving it a read, especially if you struggle to find the right spot to start your book. I found myself agreeing with a lot of what Kristin said in the series as an editor and reader. Continue reading
As a warning, this is all my opinion so don’t go taking it as gospel. Take it as something to think about and consider. Like I always like to remind people of on here, editors can have different opinions. What I’m going to talk about in this post is starting your first chapter! There’s so many examples I could give, but I’m going to stick to some I’ve seen recently. If anyone is willing to discuss beginnings that bug them, comment about it! Continue reading
I’ve been making a list of issues I often spot in first chapters while I’m editing. I just ironed some of these issues out of my own WIP’s first chapter. If something is on this list, I’ve seen it quite a few times. Some of these will have their own future posts devoted to them. If I spot other issues enough, I might do a part two to this. Use this list to look for possible issues in your own first chapter. If you have an issue with the last three in your first chapter, you will want to check the rest of your manuscript because odds are those issues exist throughout your story. Continue reading
When it comes to first chapters, there are some issues I see more often than others. Admittedly, I personally find writing my own first chapters super hard. I can’t include all the issues I’ve seen or this would be way too long. So I’m going to focus on tension and I’ll talk about other issues in other posts. Think of your first chapter as a reader’s gateway into your story. You need a strong, clear beginning that gives readers something they are dying to know more about. Tension will help keep your readers from getting bored. If done right, tension will keep them reading past your first chapter. Continue reading