View Full Version : Full Review Before Moving On

Amber Grosjean
March 29th, 2010, 05:15 PM
We talked about a lot of things this month so I wanted to touch base with it all before moving on to the final few days of this seminar. All the posts are here as well so you're welcome to go back and look at them if you need to and print them out for future reference.

There are some things we didn't cover but that's because every writer is different. No writer should say this is how you have to do it, for that reason. We're all different, with different backgrounds. Two authors can have the same exact idea but the story will turn out altogether differently because of that difference in personality and background.

If you know of another writer who has an idea and think you can write it better, don't do it out of respect for that other writer. If they say to you you're welcome to it, that's fine. Its not stealing, no one can steal ideas (they are just that--ideas, story starters nothing more) but it is a unwritten rule, respect thy fellow writer lol. If you don't know about their idea, its a different thing lol. I didn't mention this before but I thought I'd bring it up because I did know a writer who experienced this before, without mentioning names lol.

So when you get your idea, the first thing you want to do is create a plot and then that story question for the beginning. Writing on the whim or planning your story will get it to the surface. I write on the whim but that's how I prefer it; the choice is up to you how you write. Neither way is the right way, there's only your way.

So you want to make believable characters, a realistic atmosphere; avoid run on sentences, repetition, stereo types, etc. You also want to keep your characters in character, how ever you create them. That means, they wouldn't do something out of the ordinary determined by their personality. Using tags can help show how their personality is.

Spying on real people in real events can help you learn how to make your own characters more life-like. Don't forget, everyone has a good side and a bad side. Make sure the story has obstacles, something is in the way of your character reaching his/her goal--nothing bigger than he/she can handle on a realistic level. It can be something he/she thinks he/she can't handle but realizes in the end that it was possible (like in real life).

There is always a protagonist and antagonist in a story (good guy vs. bad guy) which can actually be the same person, split personality, a curse within yourself, etc. The antagonist could even be Mother Nature lol. Its your choice, you're the writer.

While writing the first draft, just get the story onto paper. Don't worry about making mistakes at this point. Its better to have too much than not enough.

*Don't forget to have all your supplies in your work area before you begin each day so you don't have to stop to sharpen a pencil or get a soda, or whatever you need during the writing time. Editing, research, looking for publishers all use the same writing time so keeping a daily schedule can help you. "Excuses" not to write are for the unprofessionals--you're a professional, make time if you wanna write.

When editing, use the editing checklist, find a beta reader or someone whose judgment you trust. Remember you always have the final word so if you don't agree, its okay. This is your story, your baby. Double check spelling, grammar, loose ends in the story. If it doesn't make sense, something is missing. Reading out loud really helps. If you studder, something's wrong. Listen to the words, if they don't sound right something's wrong. The ending should answer that story question. Open endings are okay but you still need to answer that question. Don't disappoint the readers.

There is no magic number of edit rounds. The story is finished when you can't make it any better. If its the best you can make it, then you're done and ready to find a publisher. Be sure to "shop" around before sending anything. A check list has been created for you. You're welcome to add to it lol. Never send your only copy. Its usually a good idea to have your story saved in multiple places--one in the computer, another in a flash drive, another on a CD and then one in print form. That way if the computer crashes, you don't lose your story. I learned that the hard way lol.

More tomorrow!


Amber Grosjean
March 31st, 2010, 11:16 AM
Ok, so once you write your novel from beginning to end, you're going to edit like crazy and don't stop until its really done. Don't forget to take breaks between each round. Again, you're going to make sure you haven't missed anything or you don't have too much of the same thing. Seriously, publishers hate repetition (and here I am repeating myself lol).

When you feel confident that its perfect, have someone else read it. I don't care how great you are, something is always missed. Have you read a good book lately and then noticed an error in it? It happens. But it doesn't have to happen to you.

If you've done that, you're ready to move on to the next phase in writing--getting a publisher or agent. You don't have to have an agent to get published although they are nice. Treat them like the publisher in these lessons because everything you do with the publisher, you're pretty much going to do with the agent. Professional attitude matters. Right now it doesn't matter how you dress, because they can't see you so impress them with your words. You want to make sure your story is memorable in a great way so make it perfect and make it shine!

The query letter is the first thing they will see so make sure it represents your writing ability. Never send out unsolicited mail to publishers or agents--that's when you just send out your manuscript and hope for the best. Query first, always. Make sure the publisher fits your story like a glove, it should be a perfect fit. Read their guidelines and make sure it works for your story--genre, audience, theme, etc. Some publishers are open to genre but they may be looking for fiction or non-fiction so make sure you read the full guide lines. Its more of a rule, not a guide lol.

Send out the query and wait. It should take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Respond time is different for each publisher and should be stated in the guideline as well. Wait for that period of time before sending an email to them. Don't ask how the story is. Say something like, I'm the writer of such and such book and would like to let you know if you need anything to please let me know. Use your own words of course. Sometimes that will get their attention and if they have questions, you might get a reply. Just don't forget, they have thousands of manuscripts that they look at every day so it does take time. Sometimes they will read something and forget so give them time. Bugging them will get you rejected faster so be patient lol. Patience is something I had to learn so begin learning it now.

Don't take rejections personally because they're not personal. Learn from them and make your story better. I've heard that the first story you write doesn't get published. Don't listen to that. It is a myth. If its good, push it. It took me 20 some years to get my first story published so it is possible! It may have been quicker if I pushed it harder but I put it on the back burner while getting my other books published lol. Remember my motto, dreams really do come true! Just don't give up and it can happen to you!!!!!

When published, you will go through the editing process again. You always get the last word but don't be a stickler lol. Hard writers to work with are remembered in a bad way. No one wants to work with a pain so only disagree on the things that you really don't want changed. Compromise on the rest. Publisher gets the final word on the cover. Sometimes they do let the author design their own cover but each publisher is different on that so don't be afraid to ask if you have designed your own cover.

Once you begin this process there is a lot of waiting time so be sure to be working on something to keep your mind from going insane lol. Write your next book.

When the book is released, market like your life depends on it. Never rely on the publisher to do this. You know the saying, if you want something done right do it yourself--live it. Use your imagination. You can order things or you can do it yourself. Make a budget plan.

The more you write, the better you become but no one knows it all so always keep learning. Read books on writing, join writing groups, read books in the genres you write to see it in action, join groups online for learning and marketing, etc.

Always be professional, even when you're at home. Keeping the practice will make it a part of you so when you're out in the world, it becomes natural for you and you won't have to think about it lol. Have book signings and readings, create an online presence where its a website, blog, newsletter, or what ever you choose (or all the above like me lol).

When you're ready to finish your second book be sure to balance it with the first book, marketing at all times while you write, edit, write, edit, tighten, and look for a publisher all over again. With the second book, start with the publisher who accepted your first book always. If the genre isn't right, then you can look for something new. Most writers stick with one or two genres. I don't but that's a personal choice. Be who you are!

Okay, the floor is open for any questions. This is the last day for this seminar. Tomorrow will be a new one. I believe the authors for that one will be discussing settings. Very important. Have fun with it and keep learning!


Gwyn Lacy
April 29th, 2010, 06:28 PM
Hey Amber, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your class. Towards the middle of the month-life happened like a sledge hammer and I didn't get to participate as much as I would have liked. You taught valuable nuts and bolts as well as thinking outside the box and beyond the actual manuscript. Again, thank you!

Amber Grosjean
April 29th, 2010, 08:13 PM
Oh you are very welcome, hun. I had fun teaching. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I decided to keep it going on my own site lol. Of course, Ning had to go changing their price field and will be dropping the free sites so I had to move it which means I had to put classes on pause for a minute lol. I will be picking them back up soon.

The new site is at writing4all.spruz.com


April 30th, 2010, 12:48 PM
Amber, I too wanted to thank you for doing this seminar. The activities and information was very helpful to me. I find that I am more confident in my WIP. I am very exited that you are will be continuing the seminar on your website. Thanks again!