Tag Archives: edit

When To Stop Writing

A few days ago, I finished rewriting on my contributions to The Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe Anthology. I sent my revisions to the members who collate the contributions into the final manuscript. The volume will be turned over to Acorn Book Services for formatting and uploading to the marketplace for e-books. (Hopefully in December.)

I received a couple of specific criticisms from the publisher on two of my pieces. However, I revised almost every story, including my biographical paragraph.

After re-reading the pieces multiple times, I wanted to yank out several of my entries because now I hate them. I don’t want them published under my name. They aren’t perfect. They aren’t mature. They bore me. Some are pablum.  Pablum suggests simplistic writing.

I tell myself. “This is a first effort, so the stench of the amateur shouldn’t surprise anyone.” That’s my scared self speaking.

I’m delighted that the editor suggested changes to improve stories. Consequently, there are two or three pieces I think deliver entertainment for the reader. Satisfactorily. Worth the price of admission. Maybe leaving the reader curious about what comes next from this author.

And I grew. As an author. As a wordsmith. As a human being. As an experimenter.

Striving to make something excellent is good, to a point.  Sometimes a writer rewrites and rewrites, seeking perfection in a piece. But there  does come a time to stop: stop reworking, stop criticizing, stop touching up. At that point, it’s time to publish and let the chips fall where they may. It’s time to face the music.

Am I ready for the commercial press? Book buyers will vote. Readers will tell me.

If my collection of work is a screw up,  I hope a reader is brave enough to spell out specifics for me, not just the critique “I don’t like it.”  It’s the “I don’t like it because. . .” that helps me improve the next time.

What Happens after the Editor Says Yes?

Carrie Rubin does an excellent job answering that question in her post “Contracts, Edits and Errata.” It goes to show how green I am when I confess I didn’t know what an errata is. Carrie explains it and a lot more.

She received an acceptance letter a year ago. It has taken months to go through the editing, re-write and fix process. Now her novel is ready for publication. Next month is the release.

Please visit the link below to learn what happens after the editor says, “Yes, we’d like to publish your manuscript.” Some would say that is when the real work begins.

And, oh yes, congratulations Carrie!


Suffer the Edit

Editing. It is bane and bounty.

I borrowed a quote from www.glimmertrain.com that sums up why a writer should buck up and suffer the edit:

That business of compression, of economy, did influence me. A lot of what I’d written was redundant and self-indulgent. It’s impossible to judge how much and to what degree, but I saw that, though I was very reluctant and even outraged to start with, cutting the novel down like that actually improved it.—Barry Unsworth, interviewed by Kevin Rabalais

Remark on C. J. Gorden’s On Reading and Being Read

URL: http://cjgorden.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/on-reading-and-being-read/


A murder mystery writer, of whom I am fond, advised me to get my facts straight in any story I write. If not, I will alienate my reader. The advice was repeated to me on three occasions, so I knew my friend felt strongly about the opinion.


Yesterday I read C. J. Gorden’s “On Reading and Being Read.” The link is above. She describes her own penchant to look up facts she reads in books. For example, an author mentioned a street in Melbourne, Australia in a novel, and Gorden used Google Maps to locate the street. Then she used an additional feature that allowed her to see the view from street level: she could tell what restaurants and merchants were actually in that location. She used Google Maps and verified what the author said about an abundance of ethnic restaurants on that particular street.


Gorden illustrates the savvy of today’s reader. Technology allows the curious reader to look up facts and maps almost instantly.


Reading Gorden’s post reinforced the advice of my mentor: Don’t wing it. Get your facts straight before committing words to the page.