Browse Tag

editing

Preditors and Editors Reader’s Awards of 2013

While you’re here, don’t forget to sign up for the new monthly newsletter! It will include new release news, tasty tidbits, and probably some shenanigans. Because that’s how I roll.

So the results of the Preditor and Editors Readers Poll of 2013 are in. Congratulations to all the participants and to the winners!

As you may be able to tell from the nifty new badges on the sidebar, Allegories of the Tarot placed in the top ten, and I also placed in the top ten. What those badges don’t tell you is Allegories placed at number five out of a field of sixty fabulous anthologies, and I placed at number two.

I AM SO JAZZED!

BOOYAH!

I’m thrilled because each and every one of the contributors to the anthology worked their asses off, and every single one brought their A game. I’m so incredibly proud of the volume we put together I can hardly stand it. I know I might be biased, but I really feel this is the best group of stories I’ve ever read. Working on the anthology with this group of writers was AMAZING. It was fun, wild, crazy, and one of the best experiences of my life, not just my editing career. Just…man. Thank you, guys. You are wonderful to work with, and I am honored you came along with me on this ride. MAD LOVE.

I’d also like to thank all the backers from the Indiegogo campaign who helped make this happen. We couldn’t have done it without you, so this is your victory as much as it is ours. THANK YOU, for believing in this project and helping us realize our vision.

As for the editor award–I’m gobsmacked and yes, very happy. An editor’s job is to make the work the best it can be, and for it to look like an editor was never there. We’re the shadow people So to be honored with an award like this is really validating, although if I’m to be completely honest, it feels a little weird, too. The editor/writer relationship is between two people, and it’s special. I’d like to thank my absolutely stellar clients who keep me on my toes, total involvement in the editing process, and most of all, for the trust they have in me. I’m grateful and feel so honored.

HOORAY!

 

DON’T GIVE AN UGLY SWEATER! GIFT CERTIFICATES NOW AVAILABLE!

WOW. November was one busy month and it FLEW. Once ALLEGORIES OF THE TAROT released it was one huge blur until the end of the amazing blog tour sponsored by Badass Marketing. And let me tell you, it was BADASS. The contest was a resounding success, and the winners announced here and will be contacted later today with their prizes or arrangements to deliver their prizes.

I have nothing but wonderful things to say about Badass Marketing. They were on top of EVERYTHING which relieved a huge amount of pressure from me. Organized, accessible, friendly, and tons of fun. If you’re looking for a marketing ninja, I can’t recommend this company highly enough.

Allegories of the Tarot was a special project straight from my heart. I wrote about what it meant to me here. It really was one of the best experiences of my life, and I’m thrilled with its reception, although I’m feeling the sadz that’s it’s all over. I loved every minute of putting this together, and I had the best team in the history of teams. Make sure to look up the authors included in this volume of outstanding talent–you will not be disappointed.

Please leave a review if you’ve read Allegories–I’d love to hear your opinion. Reviews and word of mouth is so important to indies, and we appreciate every single review, no matter your opinion. And remember, if you buy the print version, you’ll get the Kindle version for free. A great Christmas present!

***

Speaking of great Christmas presents, it can be quite a conundrum to decide what to give to the writer in your life. I can help you with that. This year, for the first time, I am offering a limited number of gift certificates for editing services.

Manuscript Evaluation: An overall manuscript evaluation is available. A manuscript evaluation includes an assessment of the overall plot, story arc, characterization, and story flow. It does not include line edits, copy edits, or in-line comments. A complete document will be provided with an honest opinion of strengths and weaknesses and where improvements can be made, up to a 50k word count. Additional charges will be assessed for longer material. Normally, this service runs for $250, but for the holiday season only the purchase price is $199. You will be provided with a printable gift certificate to present to your beloved writer.

Three Chapter Evaluation: A three-chapter evaluation includes suggestions on improving the opening chapters to draw in the reader, establishment of character and inciting incident. It does not include line edits, copy edits, or in-line comments. A complete document will be provided with an honest opinion of strengths, weaknesses, and where improvements can be made. For the holiday season, this service is only $50. This also comes with a printable gift certificate to slip into your favorite writer’s stocking.
Both services are in limited number, so get ‘em while you can!
Contact me at annetta(dot)ribken(at)gmail.com for more information and details.
And finally, I just want to remind you that you can keep up with the new releases on my Editing Work page. I try to keep it updated, but if you want great reading, that’s the place to find it.
In the meantime, thanks to everyone for all their support for ALLEGORIES. Go forth and READ ALL THE WORDS!

WHAT’S KEEPING ME BUSY

Where to start? I feel like I’m stuffing my double-digit body in a size two pair of spandex shorts. There’s stuff bubbling out everywhere.

You’re welcome for the image. Heh.

1. WORK. Lots and lots of work. I knew September would be busy, but I didn’t figure on being this busy. I’m not complaining because I love my job, but holy batballs. October is beginning to look mighty busy as well, so the keyword here is PACING.Note to self: Purchasing additional day planners or calendars does NOT add days to the month.

IMG_2807-1
This is a bat. I have no idea if it has balls or not, and I’m not close enough to find out.

2. We are fast approaching the final stages of ALLEGORIES OF THE TAROT and I am beside myself with JOY. This project has been a dream come true, and to finally see it come to fruition is nothing short of amazing. As we gear up, plans are underway for prizes, surprises, and much merriment. If you’re interested in joining in the fun, Badass Marketing is looking for participants in a month-long blog tour. You can sign up HERE. Come and cavort with us!

3. In more ALLEGORIES news, we are THRILLED to announce a story from the awesome MeiLin Miranda will appear. I’m so stoked this worked out! It means all the pieces are in place and I have my “A” team. COLOR ME HAPPY!

4. Something that helps me keep less busy is a website I found some time ago. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it, because I realized immediately how valuable it was. It’sAbout Me, and if you don’t have a presence there yet, I highly recommend you get your hiney over there and take ten precious minutes to set it up. The interface is easy-peasy to navigate, and once you set it, you can forget it. It updates changes immediately; lists all your pertinent links where people can find you, and provides a peek into your personality. I love it because it is easy, it’s another way to network, and you can include the link anywhere without having to dig for all your links when needed. It’s like a business card for the Interwebz, and best of all…IT COSTS NOTHING.

You’re welcome. Feel free to hook up with me there.

5. New fiction: yeah, yeah. Both CHAINS and the next adventure of Sally Mae are at the halfway point, and I’m also working on a new project which may or may not fly. What can I say? There are only so many hours in the day.

On that note, I have to bounce, because daylight’s burning and I gots stuff to do.

Tell me what kind of trouble you’re stirring up!

<3

 

BACK IN THE SADDLE

While Monday will never be my favorite day just on general principles, I will say I almost caught myself looking forward to this one. I blame the beautiful magic of Prince Edward Island, in which I spent an amazing week with a perfect combination of work, play, and the best company ever.

Please. Just look at this:

I was forced to stare at this for a WHOLE WEEK!

I was forced to stare at this for a WHOLE WEEK!

As difficult as it was to endure the breathtaking gorgeousness of the island (*snicker*) I did manage to teach a self-editing workshop for PEI Writes, and then later in the week, sit on a panel sponsored by Fierce Ink Press on independent publishing. The turn-out was great and I met so many lovely people! BONUS: I did not puke, pass out, or have a seizure. Trust me, as a hardcore introvert, all three were distinct possibilities.

It was a wonderful week of creativity, connections, and relaxation. I returned home with my batteries charged and ready to romp.

I will be working on a number of projects, juggling quite a few balls. There’s my regular work, with several new and returning clients scheduled. I LOVE MY JOB! This is the push before the holiday season, so if you’re interested in a content edit, now’s the time to book services. I’ll also be working on Allegories of the Tarot to get it ready for a Halloween release. I’m so excited about this, I can’t even tell you.

Then, I’ll be working on finishing Athena’s Chains, the sequel to Athena’s Promise plus a new project that’s still in the baby stages. I’m shooting for an end of year release forChains, with the other project due out early in the new year if all goes well. Those are the goals.

So the plate is full, but I like it that way. 🙂

In the meantime, keep an eye on the Editing Work page for new releases of some fabulous fiction.

And of course, updates as they happen and time allows.

Woohoo! Back in the saddle and loving every minute of it!

What are YOU up to? Sound off in the comments and tell me all about it.

AND ONE MONTH LATER…

Honestly, I have good intentions regarding blogging but something is eating my weeks when I’m not looking. I can’t believe this is the middle of August already. This summer has FLOWN.

July was as insane as a Juggalo. And believe me, I know. This particular band and their groupies used to stay at a hotel where I was employed. Boy, do I have stories. But I digress.

Suffice to say July was stuffed to the gills, and the first week of August was no different. Now, I have a small window until the madness of September, but first I will be visiting the lovely community of PEI to spend quality time with a dear friend, sit on a panel of The New Face of Publishing sponsored by Fierce Ink Press, and teach a class on editing. I’M SO EXCITED! And nervous, I’ll admit it. But mostly EXCITED!

Yay Canada!

YAY, CANADA!

I’m going international, baby. Heh.

I did take some time to update the Editing Work page for new releases, and I’m pumped about the new ones to come. Kris Austen Radcliffe is getting ready to launch FLUX OF SKIN on September 3, and Jordan L. Hawk will also be releasing the next in the SPECTR series, EATER OF LIVES on the same day. SQUEE!

In the meantime, I am feverishly editing the amazing collection of stories for theAllegories of the Tarot anthology to be released October 31. I am just blown away by the talent of these writers. Blown. Away. Badass Marketing has been engaged for the launch, and boy, do we have some great things planned. I COULD PEE!

Can you even stand it?

CAN YOU EVEN STAND IT?

I can’t WAIT.

And that’s what I’ve been up to. What kind of trouble are you stirring up? :D

Changes and Updates

HOLY MOLY WHAT A WEEK.

And it’s only Wednesday.

The biggest change is the Allegories of the Tarot project now has its very own website. O/

You can find it right here, and from this day forward you will find all information and updates on this site. This means I can hopefully get back to posting here on a regular basis and keep on with the editing series which usually appears on Thursdays (which will resume next week). Many thanks to the mysterious Mr. Twinkles who donated his Mad Skillz to help me put this together.

In addition, you will find the project has a Facebook Fan Page and a Twitter all its own. You can even find us onG+.

Yes, people, I am serious about this project. As serious as a heart attack. Please share, donate, share, and maybe you can share. I would really appreciate it! Such epicness has GOT TO HAPPEN.

Right now, I feel like THIS.

I’m sure all I need is a good night’s sleep. Or maybe a lobotomy of some kind. Possibly chocolate would help. I’ll have to experiment.

In the meantime, I am working on outlining the rest of the adventures of Sally Mae; finishing up Athena’s Chainswhile I have a hot minute, and working on some editing projects.

AND…watch here because a couple of my authors are getting ready to release some new work…and I’m always excited about that.

Right now, though, I need a nap, a shower, and food. Not necessarily in that order. Maybe I can accomplish all three at the same time. I’ll let you know how that works out.

:)

Behind the Scenes of Allegories of the Tarot Anthology

Once upon a time, there was an editor who became obsessed with an idea…
Portrait of an obsessed editor.

Portrait of an obsessed editor.

That would be me.

The Tarot has always been a fascination of mine. As a writer, the images of the Rider-Waite deck contain much inspiration for fantastical stories; the meaning behind each and every one of them equally as interesting. While most people equate the Tarot with the occult, possibly imagining a mysterious gypsy telling fortunes, in reality the Tarot is less related to the “otherworld” and actually deeply rooted in the human experience.

From the forward of “The Key to the Tarot”, written by Liz Greene:
“Yet the images of the Tarot cards are neither inaccessible nor occult, however much any particular spiritual or esoteric school might seek to mystify them. These images are archetypal, which means that they describe essential human situations and patterns which all of us experience in life at one time or another.”

To me, this means a talented Tarot reader can bridge the inherent mysteries of being human with the archetypes depicted in the cards. That is not to say Fate, or Destiny, or whatever you want to call the forces of the Universe do not have a role in the cards which are revealed or their position in a reading—depending on your beliefs, this could very well be the case. Rather, a reading of the Tarot is less of an occult experience and more of an exploration of the human experience. Perhaps even a guide to understanding your current state of mind and a pointer in the direction you wish to travel.

With all that in mind, I have long had the desire to put together an anthology of the Major Arcana of the Tarot. I thought of how fascinating it would be to corral an author for each of the cards, and see what kind of story they’d write. Because although there are many universal human experiences, the truth is they are as diverse as the perspective of the individual.

I, myself, own two decks of Rider-Waite cards. I read them on occasion. I am fairly accurate in the readings, but I don’t do it often and only for special occasions. I know several people who are scary-good. Sometimes I just take out the deck and study the images, and I’ve read many, many books about the Tarot. And the idea of an anthology of stories about these images which fascinated me kept cropping up. But I was scared. Scared I wouldn’t be able to pull it off, scared people would say, “No, that’s a stupid idea,” you know. Just…scared.

But then I had a very vivid dream about jumping from one ledge to another. In the dream, it took me forever to decide, because I have a definite fear of heights. I mean, my palms were sweating, and I about wet my pants, but I finally did jump and I made it. The next day, I realized if I let fear stop me, I would never know if I could make that ledge or not. And the answer is always “No,” if you don’t ask.

And behold, the Allegories of the Tarot project was born.

Twenty-two cards. Twenty-two writers. Twenty-two amazing stories. WIN!

Twenty-two cards. Twenty-two writers. Twenty-two amazing stories. WIN!

The first step was to outline the project and decide how to raise the funds necessary. I knew I needed to pay the writers professional rates and cover the publishing costs. With a budget and a firm plan, I then constructed a list of writers covering a wide range of genres. I have the Most Enviable position in knowing a slew of mega-talented writers. As a matter of fact, I had too many writers on my list and not enough cards, but I figured some would have other obligations and others no interest. Plus, if this project goes well, I have a brain full of ideas for a second anthology. Maybe a third.

Evidently, I’m not the only one fascinated by the Tarot. Within 24 hours I had 21 writers on board—I round out the 22. Much to my surprise, there was no fighting over which card went to which writer. They all seemed to fall into place as if they were…fated. *cue spooky music*

The plan was to line up the writers and then with a firm TOC (Table of Contents) move on to launch an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds. All the writers involved in the project have thrown their considerable weight behind this effort, for which I am eternally grateful and honored. Many have donated services and products to tempt both readers and writers for the perk packages; all have been extremely supportive and generous, and quick to get back to me when I’m demanding photos, bios, and feedback.

You will meet this group of talented and fabulous people in the days to come on my blog and on the campaign. I will introduce each and every one of them and the card they’ve chosen to write about. You will get to know award-winners, new and outstanding talent, and established authors who run the gamut from fantasy to mystery to romance and everything in between.

Please donate if you can—every dollar helps. And if you can’t donate, I’d appreciate a shout-out on your favorite social media platform. Help me get the word out because this is a whole lot of epic just waiting to happen, and with the perks offered, you’ll get good value for your dollar.

It’s been a lot of work, and I’m loving every minute of it. I jumped, and I’m so glad I did.

Tomorrow you will meet The Fool and the writer associated with the card. Stay tuned for an introduction to all the writers involved with the project. I’M SO EXCITED!

Editing With Netta-Your Cast of Characters

 

file7551283339240*Photo courtesy of scy from morguefile.com

While plot is a story’s backbone, the characters are its heart, and like the heart, complex and complicated. These are the people with whom your readers are going to fall deeply in love, or come to loathe with the passion of a thousand suns. And that’s exactly the way you want it.

Some writers like to construct a character sheet, write out entire biographies including a physical description and entire back stories before they even start to write. These character sheets can then be tweaked out when the story is complete, because as we all know, characters can have a mind of their own. For editing purposes, a character sheet is not a bad thing to have (although not necessary, especially if you’re using a style sheet) to keep track of age, physical characteristics, idiosyncrasies, etc.

When you’re going through your editing round with the focus of characterization, keep these things in mind:

1. Are your characters strong and interesting enough to carry the story? Or are they stereotypical, boring, cardboard cut-outs? Your aim is three-dimensional, real people with whom your reader can identify. Yes, this most definitely includes the secondary characters.

2. Is your hero/heroine perfect? You know, gorgeous, smart, funny, flawless? Is your villain so evilly evil their evilness is totally evil? WRONG. Perfect anything is boring and unbelievable. Real people are not all one thing or another. Your heroes need faults; your villains need at least one sympathetic characteristic.

3. Do your main characters have a good supporting cast? Fab. Do they have too many? Not so fab. The little guy in the corner with the monkey—is he inimical to the plot, the setting, or to establish the personality or goal of the MC? No? Then he’s got to go. Don’t cry. Write a short story about him as bonus material.

4. In the same vein, make your secondary characters memorable, or don’t use them at all. Even a small detail, like parting their hair in the middle and gelling it down or having an embarrassing skin condition is enough to round them out. Maybe they have a stutter, or an annoying habit like honking through their sinuses or picking their hangnail. Use people you observe as a tool to make your characters real to the reader.

5. Characters should fit your genre, era, setting, etc. This ties in to making your world, whatever it is, believable to the reader. Yes, there is genre blurring but we’re just covering the basics here and this is a topic for another time.

6. Does your character behave in a logical way according to how they are crafted? Not that a character can’t behave uncharacteristically, which could add conflict, but you still have to stay within the personality and behavior you establish with your character. For instance, say your MC is a nurse, and she comes upon an accident by the side of the road. You wouldn’t have her just pass by the accident without stopping to help, unless you’ve established a believable reason for her to do so. Maybe she’s on her way to a more urgent errand, or she stopped at an accident once before and was either injured or sued. You have to lay the groundwork for such an action.

Characters are the beating heart of your story. They are telling the story, after all. Step out of the way of your own ego and let them do their job. Listen to them and what they have to say. If they tell you, “I’d never do that!” or, “I need to do this!” then by all means, work with them. Remember, your outline is not set in stone.

Next week we’ll explore setting—the window dressing for your story.

Editing With Netta-The Plot

Last week we talked about story structure—the basic framework on which to hang the flesh and blood of your story. Keep in mind this is just the basic structure. There’s a circular structure, the Hero’s Journey, etc. but at the core, it all boils down to these five elements. I could go on and on about story structure; it’s an obsession/fascination for me, but for the sake of self-editing this is what you need to know.

A Word About Outlining

There has been and probably always will be an endless debate about outlining. You have your die-hards who will outline to the very last detail down to the color of their character’s underwear, and others who paint broad strokes and leave the rest to the actual writing process. I’m not going to get into that here—everyone has their own way of writing a story and there is no right or wrong way. However, I will say once you start editing your story, it’s quite helpful to create an outline of what you’ve already written.

But Netta, you say, isn’t that backward? No, not really. An outline before you write can keep you (mostly) on track, but we all know outlines are not written in stone. Many things can change as you write. Characters can get a wild hair up their ass and take off in a different direction; that’s part of the creative process. So it’s a good idea, in your first read, to construct an outline of what you’ve really written. This will help you chart your tale, and pinpoint areas which need work to flesh out, tweak, and help you evaluate your plot line.

The Backbone of Your Story—Plot

Think of the plot as the spine. Without a strong plot line, all you have are a bunch of random people wandering around doing random things. After you complete the first read and construct an outline, take your red pen and read over the outline with these things in mind:

1. Do you have a clear story goal? In other words, what is the point of the story? Even in a series with an overall story arc, your novel requires a clear story goal within the arc of the series.

2. Does your story start in the right place? You want to establish your protagonist’s problem early, and hook your reader from the beginning. Ideally, this should happen in the first two chapters.

3. Does the plot make logical sense? No matter the genre, you are asking your reader to suspend their disbelief, but if you establish rules/parameters for your world, they need to make sense within the constructs of your world. For instance, if angels are invisible in Chapter One, you can’t make them visible in Chapter Twelve unless you lay the groundwork for this to be possible.

4. Do your hooks, twists, and turns make sense and are they related to the rest of the plot? Or are random fixes appearing out of nowhere?

5. Are there too many or not enough sub-plots? Is it clear what’s going on? Or are you leaving your reader lost and confused in the maze of Too Much Happening?

6. Do you have the right point of view (POV) for the story you are telling? If you’re writing in the first person, how might your story look in the third person instead?

7. Have you maintained a balance of narrative, action, and dialog? Or are there pages of backstory, info dumps, and long conversations going nowhere?

8. Is the climax sufficiently dramatic? Is that deep, dark, black moment ripping out the guts of your readers? Good. Clean up in Aisle 5. If not, go deeper.

9. Did you resolve the main story goal or problem for the protagonist? It’s okay to leave some sub-plots dangling, especially if it is a book in a series, but regardless, the major issue needs to be resolved even if it’s a part of a series.

Cliffhangers

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*Photo courtesy of hotblack from morguefile.com

A word about cliffhangers at the end of a volume in a series: Some readers love them, many readers hate them, especially if they have to wait a significant amount of time between books. If you are writing a series, it might be a good idea to finish the series before launching, especially if you include mind-blowing cliffhangers at the end of your volumes. Otherwise, you can easily lose your reader following and really piss them off and this way, too, you can control the timing of release.

Make notes in your outline as you read through a second time, targeting soft spots in the plot and ways to shore up the story. With a strong outline based on what you’ve written, you can easily see where important tweaking needs to be done. Don’t be afraid to cut and paste, change things around, or mark certain spots for a re-write. DON’T BE AFRAID. You always have the original document, so if you feel you’re messed things up beyond all repair, you can always return to that. Think about one thing as you evaluate your plot: If it doesn’t advance the story, it has got to go. Period. Yes, it’s a lovely scene. Yes, it might be the best writing you’ve ever done. Yes, it’s gorgeous and you love it and it amuses you. But does it ADVANCE THE STORY? That’s the real question.

Here. Have a tissue. You’ll get over it, I promise. Cut and paste into a new document and save it. These bits and pieces can be used in a variety of ways–blog post extras, a short to include in the back of the book as a bonus, a collection of outtakes for your adoring fans. Your main focus here is to create the strongest story you can. It only hurts for a hot minute. Keep your story goal foremost in your brain.

Any questions? Leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.

Next week, we’ll take a look at your cast of characters.

Editing With Netta–Story Structure

In the beginning, I advised you start the editing process by throwing your masterpiece into a drawer or a closet for at least a couple of weeks before you begin digging in. This is to not only give your brain a much-needed rest, but to also give you distance so you can look at the manuscript with “fresh eyes.”

Don't be scared. Unless you're writing about the undead. Or spiders. *shudder*
Don’t be scared. Unless you’re writing about the undead. Or spiders. *shudder*

*Photo courtesy of kconnors from morguefile.com

You will be surprised—maybe even shocked when you take it out and look at it again. It might be better than you thought it was, or it might be worse. A word to the wise: a writer is the worst judge of their own work. A close second would be your mother, or your Best Friend Forever. At this point you want to maintain a certain amount of objectivity, or at least as much as you can muster. Please refrain from blasting it out to everyone you know, because at worst you will get a ton of back-patting, which serves you not at all, or at best, a ton of back-patting which serves you not at all when it comes to editing.

Yes, you just wrote a book and you should be proud. But let’s wait until we pretty it up a little, okay?

The first thing you need to look at is the basic story structure. This is the framework on which the rest of your story hangs—the skeleton, if you will. There are many ways to look at the framework, but it basically boils down to this:

1. A character has a problem. (Also known as the “inciting incident”.)
2. Bad things happen and conflict intensifies.
3. Climax
4. Resolution
5. The hero learns something about self/life. Or not.

It sounds really simple, doesn’t it? It’s just that easy and just that difficult.

Take the time and resist the temptation of the red pen just yet. What you want to do here is keep a notebook and pen handy, or whatever writing implements float your boat, and read the manuscript. Jot down notes about what “feels off” as you read. Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Does the beginning drag? This is a common issue with many manuscripts, because in your first draft you’re getting your feet wet, putting your back into it, finding a way to open the story. The beginning of your book is crucial–this is where you will either hook your reader or not. Start with a bang, not with a boring conversation or long description of the setting. Grab your reader by the balls and take off. This might mean cutting a paragraph, a chapter, or even the first two or three chapters. Try to look at it through the eyes of the reader. Have you engendered enough curiosity for the reader to turn the page? No? Then cut it.

2. Is there enough conflict? As bad as you’ve made it for your protag, can you make it worse? If the Prince is on a horse to rescue the Princess, break the horse’s leg. BE MEAN. Then be MEANER. Cry in your Kleenex if you must–I know, I hate being mean to my characters, too–but if you’re crying, then your reader is crying. But without conflict there is no story.

3. Is there a satisfying climax? Do the events come to a resounding crescendo? Or do you leave the reader unsatisfied and wondering why the hell they just slogged through two hundred pages only to be left hanging? Readers don’t like this, people.

4. Is your major plot point resolved? Or are there dangling bits which need a solution? If it’s a stand-alone work, you need to make sure your subplots are dealt with in a satisfactory manner, but if it’s a series, these can dangle for the next work. However, it’s necessary the MAJOR PLOT POINT of the book is resolved. Readers don’t like this, either. As a matter of fact, if you don’t resolve your major plot point, be prepared for pitchforks, fire, and possibly tar and feathers. Worse than that, those readers will most likely never buy another thing you write for fear they’re going to be left hanging once again.

5. The story goal—what has changed about your protagonist? What has s/he learned from this experience, or what have they missed? If there’s no change in the character, then why? And there’d better be a compelling reason, or you just lost the whole point of the book.

Once you’ve got your notes jotted from the first read, then you can take out your red pen and work on specifics. This is what we’ll talk about next week.

Next week--IT'S THE RED PEN!
Next week–IT’S THE RED PEN!

*Photo courtesy of jppi of morguefile.com