Subjectivity can be so frustrating for querying authors and those on submission to houses. When you are trying to get an agent you will get tired of hearing about how subjective the industry is but it is so true. Subjectivity is real and not some myth created to frustrate or console rejected writers. As frustrating as it can be for those trying to get published, subjectivity is what lands all the varying books out there on shelves for readers.
What is subjectivity? You know how some people prefer chocolate ice cream but those who are wrong prefer vanilla or strawberry? That is subjectivity. What one person might prefer another disagrees with. In publishing subjectivity is why some of us prefer specific genres or third person point of view over first person or vice versa. You know how a friend or family member recommended that one book to you that everyone was raving about? Yet when you read it you didn’t much care for it? That’s subjectivity in the industry. For me the most recent book that happened with was A Darker Shade of Magic. But subjectivity is why we get so many different types of books and writing on shelves. If not for subjectivity our reading options would be narrower. I’ve seen several books written in verse lately, but that sort of writing doesn’t appeal to me but it does appeal to others, so we can thank subjectivity for the variety of books it gives us. As they say variety is the spice of life. Continue reading
Working with critique partners offers huge benefits to writers. There are the obvious benefits, like getting fresh eyes to look at your writing and help you polish. Then there are benefits you might not have considered, like the fact that critique partners can help you learn and get used to taking feedback, which prepares you to work with a professional editor. If you are a writer and don’t have any critique partners, I suggest you find some. And by critique partner I don’t mean family and friends who don’t write or read much. Get other writers who will edit you and give you constructive feedback instead of giving you a simple “I liked it.” Continue reading
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
Meet fantasy writer and Pitch Wars alum Ian Barnes. Ian was a mentee in 2016 under his mentor J. C. Nelson.
You were a 2016 Pitch Wars mentee. How did you prepare for Pitch Wars?
– Wrote a book. I wish I had some grand, insightful answer to this question, but nah, that’s pretty much it.
I’d entered in 2015 with a book that was all kinds of a mess. No requests, but I connected with other hopefuls on the hashtag and Facebook groups. They helped me see why it was a mess, and how to fix it. I ultimately scrapped it in favor of writing something completely new with the goal of having it ready to enter into Pitch Wars the following year. I put what I’d learned into practice, and here we are. Continue reading
One of the hardest parts about writing historical fiction is the research. Getting your research down pat ensures your world is historically accurate and helps paint the world for your reader. Reading primary sources can help you get in your character’s mind as well if you are writing about a historical figure or witnesses to a historical event. Right now I’m working on a historical about a sixteenth century Hungarian countess. I put off writing the book longer than I planned to because I dreaded the research on it. Turns out, the research wasn’t as bad as I expected and I’m even looking forward to writing more historical fiction. To think people said I’d never use my history degree. Ha! I sure showed them. Now to write another dozen historicals to make the degree worth it… Continue reading
Meet Zoje Stage, another writer who was a mentee in Pitch Wars 2016. Her psychological suspense BABY TEETH is releasing 7/17/18 from St. Martin’s Press.