Friday, November 17, 2017

Losing the Plot

The number one question I receive from readers: Are you ever going to finish the _____ series? And the answer is: Possibly.

Part of the issue when you walk away from writing for a while due to health issues, family chaos, publisher closings, etc., etc., etc. is you lose the plot--literally. It's real difficult to just pick back up where you left off, because you don't even know where that is!

For instance, when I was writing the Mystic Valley series, I knew exactly what every character's story would be. Now, ten years later, in spite of all my notes, I have to re-read the books and try to figure out where I am in the overall story.

Sometimes things in the 'world' change what you were going to write in your story. Maybe real life events adversely affect your projected plot. Ooooops. I have a shifter/angel series that I'll likely have to completely revamp before I can republish it. History has moved on, leaving my characters behind. Then the question becomes how much energy do I want to invest in a series that may not sell more than a handful of books? How much to I love those characters?

I also have series I planned and never wrote because life intervened. I spent a lot of time on research for those books, so I hate to just dump it in the round file. How can I use the information I've accumulated for different stories than the ones I planned?

Some authors carry a set of characters and story around in their heads for years before the time is finally right for them to write the story. Suddenly, the day comes when the time is now! Perhaps all that researching will pay off for an entirely different book.

In the meantime, I'm writing while I search for those lost plots. I know they're around here somewhere, buried deep in my brain, just waiting to pop out at the most inopportune time. And then... I'll write the rest of the series.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Editing Lite

I have seen a lot of individuals advertising their services as editors--and I wonder exactly what they believe their services encompass. I have read books supposedly edited--and even read the glowing reviews for those editorial services from their authors--and found the books riddled with errors, typos, and misused words (such as shutter instead of shudder or the wrong to/two/too). All of this leads me to ponder exactly what the writer is paying for when they hire an editor.

It seems to me there is a wide range of services that falls under the category 'editing'. Obviously, for some editors, spelling/word usage, isn't part of the editing service. Perhaps the editing they are performing might best be called edit lite. Or perhaps they believe spell check will take care of the issues. I don't know. I DO know it totally throws me out of the story when I'm confronted with glaring errors.

Every reader has a line they reach when they just stop reading and toss the book. For some the story must be engaging. For others, head-hopping is their bugaboo. For me...it's the sheer lack of proofing/editing on the part of the author. Yep, I get that you paid someone to edit your book. But if you didn't ascertain what you were paying for--or you didn't receive the service you paid for--then it's still up to you, the author to do the job. Ultimately, your name is on the cover. When you present shoddy work, it really doesn't matter whether you have a fabulous story or not. The first (and last) impression is shoddy workmanship.

Perhaps the best writer's practice should be to not only ask 'how much' when they're seeking out an editor, but 'what does that cover?' If the editing just covers a quick once over to catch continuity errors, then that's something the author needs to know and understand. And...maybe authors need to be more selective in their vocabulary and grammar and word usage.

Or maybe, my current practice is the only way. I just re-read the books I know were written and edited by professionals who care.