Friday Morning FYI – 1/26/2018

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI – my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

I’m not generally one for broad catch phrases, but ‘It’ll be done when it’s done’ is one I like. As both a writer and trainer, I see a lot of impatience. Writers make up deadlines for finishing revisions, folks think they can be trained to an expert level on something in a day, etc. Were I not such a well-rounded human, it would be upsetting.

Still, I feel for those who impose unrealistic deadlines, writers in particular. I know how stressful that can be, because I used to do it. I wrote a book a year for three years straight. Queried the first two way before I should have, because I declared them done before they were, and because ‘I had to’ according to some dates I’d made up. I finished the first draft for the third in late 2016, and still haven’t sent it out wide. Some will call that dragging my feet, but I’ve worked on the book the whole time, doing everything I can to make it great rather than rushing it out the door at ‘good enough’ just to get rejected because it wasn’t.

And it’s so much better than it was a year ago, or six months ago, or three.

That leads us to this week’s FYI:

Sure, deciding to finish a first draft in six months is a good idea (here’s another phrase: ‘Just finish it’), but first drafts are normally a mess anyway. Revising your novel (one more: ‘Writing is re-writing’) will take much longer. Accept that.

You aren’t going to take your book from mess to awesome after one beta reader and a couple weeks of edits. You’re not.

No, you don’t have to query in February, or any other month for that matter. That’s in your head.

No, you shouldn’t pitch your book if you finished the first draft a month ago. Or two. Or probably three.

Don’t be so hard on yourself, and don’t rush (last one: ‘A writer’s worst enemy is impatience’). If you’re story is badass, agents and editors will love it when it’s razor sharp. Don’t risk them passing it over when it’s butter knife dull.

Huh, I guess I like catch phrases more than I thought.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

Friday Morning FYI – 3/17/2017

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI (prob never gonna get one of these done on a Friday again edition) – my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

This week, I sat down with my final beta reader (lucky #6) for my latest novel. We had a few drinks, some pizza, a few more drinks, and talked/laughed/debated about/over my book for around two hours. It was a fun time, and I got some good feedback, as always. That brings us to this week’s FYI:

Writers, you’ve seen me write this before, but I’m going to beat the drum again: Beta readers are important. You’re too close to your story, even if it’s been locked in a drawer for a while. Fresh eyes always see things you don’t/can’t, providing perspective you don’t have. Before you query, give your book to people whose opinions you trust (yes, even people you suspect might not like it) and ask them for their brutally-honest opinion. Once they ‘ve provided that, honor the commitment they made to you by spending time considering their feedback. They won’t always be right, but they don’t need to be. Just getting you to look at something the way they saw it can expose problems you never recognized.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

Friday Morning FYI – 3/10/2017

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI (it’s like we’re going back in time edition) – my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

Not only do I heart my beta readers, I also enjoy beta reading for others. It’s an honor to have people ask me to help improve there stuff, and something I take seriously. Over the last month, I’ve beta read two novels and a bunch of short fiction. I’ve got another novel coming my way shortly, which I look forward to savaging reading and annotating. Let’s make that our FYI for this week:

No one’s writing is perfect. Don’t be afraid of that, either as someone showing your work to someone else or as someone reviewing another writer’s story. As much as you may need to hear what’s wrong with your story so you can fix it, you need to tell others what’s wrong with their work for the same reason. We’re all just trying to get better. Honor that with honesty (without being a d!ck) and forthrightness (but not abuse), and ask for the same.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

Friday Morning FYI – 2/10/2017

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI (milking this beta reader thing for all it’s worth edition) – my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

Beta reader feedback for my new novel is flowing in. I’m truly grateful to everyone who agreed to take part, and for all their useful, thoughtful comments and time commitment. That leads us to this week’s FYI:

Helping out a friend with a creative endeavor is one of the best ways to let them know you respect what they’re trying to do. That can be something as simple as lugging paint cans to their studio or as time consuming as reading their 100K words novel and sharing your thoughts. Whatever it is, if you do it, know it’s both appreciated and invaluable – often beyond words.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}