Hey, the 2018 guide is out with a discount and free shipping, if you’re in the USA. Boo! I only get the discount. Just got my copy can’t wait until it ships. It’s on sale now $24.99, cheap as chips as us British say. Check out Writer’s Digest website on the link below. There’s a guide for every type of writer, poets, children’s authors etc. May the creativity be with you!
Good question! Okay so as part of the writing tips I want to share here and there, this one came to me last month after writing, editing and proof reading two books to release. I’m not an expert, I don’t claim to be one, I would never swap my role as a writer for an editor. This is my take and advice on what I’ve learned. Let’s get into it!
To me editing comes before proof reading. This is the natural progression I follow when I write. Write, edit, edit, edit, proof read, then proof read!
What is Editing?
To me once I’ve wrote the last word, in the last chapter, on the last page, in the last paragraph I’m ready to edit. I don’t edit as I write. Why? Personally… I’ll never get any writing done. I’m a hardcore editor of my own work before I put it in front of my actual editor. If I spend to much time on this I’ll never create, so I don’t do it until I’m done writing.
Personally what I do is read through my work checking for these things in general:
- Consistency in names, places, dates, times.
- Plot holes.
- Tense, spelling, use of English etc.
- That I am happy with the storytelling, build, heat, crime scene, suspense, all that jazz. It’s as I want it to be told.
- Check facts. I often use real places and events when writing.
- Character development, I like to make them pop as best I can and not be flat.
My aim: to ensure it’s accurate factually, consistent. (Hopefully) no one will read it and go huh?.. What Kim?
What is Proof Reading?
In my view once I’ve got my work cleaned up, and my characters stand out, it’s then time to proof read it. My focus is not on the nitty gritty above, as all this is as best as I can get it. It’s now time to read through my work and check the flow of the story also see if I can spot a missed full stop, capital letter the minor details that make me shriek in a high pitched voice, what’s that b*tch typo doing there?? 🙂 . I’ll proof read maybe a day or two after I’ve done the edit(s). Then hand to my editor to look over. She then works her red pen magic, and hands me back my work with her personal edit and proof read. I also send a rough copy to my Beta Readers at the same time, they come back with comments…. the whole process of correction (edit) proof read starts again based on what I get back!
Aim: Personally, proof reading for me is to pick up the minor things and polish up, check the flow.
So what’s the difference Kim? You’re doing the same thing.
Yes and smarty pants! To me the edit is more focused and I really cut up my work, chop scenes, add scenes, develop characters and plot. I don’t do that in a proof read, as this is already done. The proof read is to check what I’ve done in edit makes sense to me, and hopefully you… and there is logic, it’s readable.
Do You Really Need To Do Both? Can’t The Editor Do it?
Like I said when I posted a tip on how to find an editor and who should editor your work, you can read it here, editors don’t write the best sellers, page turners or five star rated books writers do. Personally, as a writer I feel it’s my work, don’t be lazy. My advice and personal view is don’t fall back on only your editor, or Beta Readers to write that page turning five star book, you do the work. Wanna write? Good …Writing = editing= proof reading= your A-game = happy readers hopefully= some five star reviews hopefully. You do the math, still not convinced you should do a bit of DIY, and not leave it all in the hands of an editor? Great glad you agree 🙂 .
I’ll see you soon with another tip! Happy writing.
Hmm well that got your attention didn’t it! Step right up, this is Kim’s class on creating steam in your stories. So last month, or maybe earlier this month… I can’t remember the days roll into one I’ve been so busy. Wait.. wait no it was this month, I set up a new blog habit of writing a tip or tick I use or have learned. I started to get messages from aspiring published authors and writers asking me to read their “hot new shit”, they wrote LOL. They asked for some tips and advice. I was like of course! Lemme see it. So here I go with tip #2 you can read tip #1 on editing right here.
First I want to say, I’m no expert I’m not a know-it-all I too am learning, these tips are just my take on things. Second, I’m not an erotica writer at all. All I do when I’m not writing crime or general thriller /suspense is write romance, with a bit of steam. I like to add some heat to my writing. Second, I’m not overly explicit with sex, I’m a mother and one day my son will read my work *cringe.* Also I’m fed up of my mum looking at me over her glasses like “Kimberly… I’m on page sixty six?!” Then I’m like what the hell did I write on page sixty six?! *cringe* so let’s get into it! Here’s my tips.
What is steam/heat?
Well according to standard romance writing norms, it’s the level of sex / intimacy in your writing. The amount / frequency and how sexy it is. eg is it very explicit with graphic details, or in the middle more sensual but there is a clear idea of who is doing what, and to who, or less so and all the characters do is hold hands.
High heat: lots of sex, graphic, explicit language. Your kindle will be on fire. ( Erotica).
Mid range heat: moderate levels of sex, or often, graphic but maybe not as explicit. But the word cock is used! For example 🙂 Your kindle will steam up for sure.
Low level : nothing to write home about.
How to decide on your level of steam/heat?
- Let the story talk to me, the plot kind of dictates how steamy I get.
- Consider what else has happened in the story.
- Consider my characters, their age, who they are as people, and what is suitable realistically for them as people.
Personally I’m mid range heat, generally as I’m not an erotica writer. My advice to those wanting to heat up their writing, is to consider the points above. Also remember you don’t have to write romance to bring the heat. A classic example is when Didi and I wrote It Was The First Time I Killed A Man, for The Suspenseful Collection that’s a crime short story with mid- high range heat levels in terms of how descriptive it is. However the character (Lisa) made it appropriate to bring the heat, because of who she is. Do you see what I mean? Work heat into your writing regardless of genre based on your characters, and who they are if it fits. You don’t have to just be a romance writer. Just make sure it is appropriate, and the level is good for the characters, don’t write a sex mad underage kid.
Okay smarty pants Kim, how do I actually write sex, I’m nervous and shy
Good question. Again, personally I approach writing about sex, love and emotions from this angle
- Get over shyness, sex is natural write like you’re proud regardless of who the characters are, I stepped into the shoes of an explicit lesbian serial killer for God sake. I got over the “what will people think” by the time we blogged it. Mean what you write give it heart. Don’t write like a chump!
- I’m a girl, as you can see.. so for me naturally I tend to focus on the emotional side, not just inserting body parts and the “ohhh ahhh do me now part”. I get into character emotionally. What do your characters feel, about the moment, the other person, the situation etc. I express this or show it via their actions and dialogue. I try not to “tell it” if I’m writing third person too much, some times you have to but try to focus on the character’s actions showing feeling.
- Be natural, what do you honestly think is a hot sex scene?? I interviewed the erotica author Ava Sterling a few months back, her take on is was to use your experience… within reason so go for it. I’d agree with this advice from an actual erotica author.
- Use more than just “oh it feels so good” “don’t stop” lol let the dialogue flow in a realistic way. Also, would a real man/woman stop in the middle of doing the deed and say some dumb sh*t?? No!!… Well I hope not anyway. Keep it realistic, focus dialogue on the moment and heat of the scene, not the weather.
- Hype up the five major senses. This will ramp up your writing so much. Again, this is a personal thing how I write, but do what works for you. Try not to just focus on feeling or how good it feels, and characters say this over and over. Sure it feels good. We have other senses, vision, hearing etc. What about touch how does a part of the body feel?, Taste ?* Raises eyebrows* get creative with whatever your character is tasting, that kind of thing. Or smell, I love a man who smells goooooooooooooooooood ladies you get where I’m going with this right? The weak feeling you get, when you smell a man’s aftershave unexpectedly when he’s up close. AND it’s fresh or whatever your preference is. Whoah!!
- I’m a sucker for it. Use this, work it into your writing how do the characters smell?
- Don’t be over sexual and think that’s the best way to go, sometimes sensual is just as good. Unless you are writing dark erotica where foul language is needed, and most suited. In your everyday romance you don’t need to really take it there. Some raw language but not over kill.
And my best bit of advice, send your scene to someone to read, I did when I wrote Lover’s Retreat there’s a really steamy scene in there, the person I sent it to wrote back and said “I think I need to call a babysitter, and go jump on my husband, that’s how you do it!! ” HAHA :). Get feedback, it’s so helpful and think about what reaction you want from readers. I did in that particular scene want to make readers feel a bit hot under the collar, send your work out and see if you’ve delivered. Take all feedback and perfect your craft if you did not deliver. It’s fine, no one will know just re-work your scene.
If I’ve missed anything writers our there let me know, drop me a comment.
I’ve decided to blog a writing tip or two per month. You can learn what’s sparked this new feature on my blog here. I’ve been receiving emails and Facebook messages from aspiring unpublished authors seeking advice. Or to read their work. Of course I said yes! Right now I’m in the final throws of preparing my fifth and sixth e-books and paperbacks, that will be released in July. So this month I’ll give my take on the dreaded editing, as that’s where I’m at. Remember this is just my take, I don’t claim to be an expert, just offering advice.
For me this is the part that kills me every time. I seek perfection and quality. Trust me, I have learned it’s a marathon not a sprint, when it comes to writing a book that reads well. I’ve learned a few tricks to get there with less headache, and save myself the re-uploads of updated versions either by myself or the publisher. Before I send my manuscript to my editor or Beta Readers, I do a hardcore read through and self-edit. Here’s what I do.
- Let it rest… my brain, eyes, creativity and manuscript. Once I’ve typed the last word, in the last paragraph, in the last chapter, on the last page and I think I’m done, I Leave it for at least two days. A week if I can fight the urge. I Go back in with fresh eyes and read my work. Never read while tired, hungry, pissed off or all three! Here is what I look out for.
- Spelling, grammar, typos, punctuation etc.
- Plot inconsistency: Do I start off with X and then move over to Y?
- Words that I’ve used a lot.
- Fact checking.
Something to have in mind when you re-read your work is, you’re too close to the story you wrote it. You’ll never catch everything and so you MUST USE AN EDITOR AND/OR BETA READERS. I know, it’s an additional cost if you self publish, it slows down the process to publication, you think that you can do it on your own? Right I get it. Editors don’t have to be expensive to be good. All they need is a keen eye for detail, sharp and not lazy.
Who and What Makes A Good Editor?
This is my personal view…Not these people:
- Your best friend.
- Your mum or dad or close relative.
- Your neighbour or anyone too close to you.
But why Kim??
- They love you, so naturally they will love your work. Even if deep down they read it and hated it. They are less likely to say. They won’t give you the honest objective view you need AS AN EDITOR.
What An Editor Can Do & Who Is A Good Editor:
A good editor will : (these are just a few things).
- Check the standard things like grammar, spellings, format etc line for line and word for word. How well they do this depends on their standard of working.
- Check facts.
- Help enhance your story with feedback.
- proof read.
- Tell you what is and is not working in the story for them as a reader… honestly!
- Is probably a writer themselves.
The points in red are why I personally would not ask one of my sisters, or mum to edit my work. Even if any of them were writers, they are too close to me. They can proof read and comment of course, but editing is more than this my friend. Personally, I need an outside critical view. I’m not saying don’t bounce your work off family and friends, but have an actual editor you have a professional relationship with. If you use any of the people I listed above as your editor, hey each to their own. All I’m doing is giving my personal view, experience and why I would rather a total stranger rip my work to shreds, then someone who knows me well.
What To Keep In Mind During The Editing Process:
- It’s your book, your story and you are in the driver’s seat. What you say goes. Take what is helpful, and disregard anything you feel tries to change you, your writing style or overall happiness with the final story.
- Your editor does a different job to you. They are not there to re-write the story, they are there to perfect what’s in front of them. .. so make sure it’s good.
- Grow some thick skin. It won’t come straight away, but as soon as you know who you are as a writer it will happen. Be confident, but never arrogant.
Kim’s Top Tips On Selecting An Editor:
Who not to select…
- If they don’t have a high standard of work once you’ve worked with them, sack them. Straight away, no questions asked. Never compromise the quality of your work with a piss poor editor no matter who they are! And if your publisher’s editor or standards for working does not cut it… don’t publish with them. If they are sloppy forget it. I’ve been there and parted ways happily. Remember writer it’s your name, your rep, your brand. Readers are not trying to hear “but I had a bad editor before I published” that’s YOUR responsibility. Save yourself the 1* review, due to your editor’s bad practices or lack of practices.
- If they can’t work to deadlines you both agreed and it was realistic, sack them. Straight away no questions asked.
- If they overcharge walk away.
- If they don’t read the genre you write, do you think they will take the time, care, enthusiasm and love needed over your work? Maybe not. Think about this carefully. There are benefits to an editor that loves your genre.
- If they don’t read … don’t even go there.
Who to jump on!
- Someone you click with as a person and gets you. I love my editor she rocks.
- Someone as meticulous, picky, and perfection seeking as you… or worse! This can be a pain, when you see all the red pen marks on your work. But take the necessary and mull over the other comments. Also all those red pen marks help you grow as a writer. I hate it when I get my work back, with the same damn comments. Or I made a typo on the same words in this book, as I did the one before for example. That tells me I’ve not learned something or grown as a writer.
- Someone who writes themselves. But not always needed, it’s a bonus.
- Someone who reads themselves.
- Someone who gets your work and writing style, and won’t try to change who you are, just enhance who you are.
Editors don’t write the best sellers, the page turners or the five star review books….you do writer so always come with your A -game. Don’t write half hearted, and think “oh my editor will help me make the story better.” No! It’s down to you, they do a different job.
Always have heart when writing and be true to you, forget those that don’t get it or you. There’s a reader out there for you.
Your editor is there to enhance the natural you, that’s all. The perfection of your creativity so it’s readable, is all that comes from your editor’s nit picking and red pen.
I hope this is helpful and pretty to the point. If I’ve missed something or you have a comment, let me know. Leave a comment.
I’m fed, watered and ready to spend the whole evening tapping away until the early hours tonight. It’s almost 10.00p.m London time, a random thought popped into my head as the creative bug bit me this evening. I’ve not pulled up my second romance novella I’m working on in five whole days! *cringe*. My editor kicked me up the ass today, she’s excited to read it. Tonight I’ve got a serious case of creativity, not to mention withdrawal symptoms.
It made me wonder, when do other writers get bitten by the creative bug? What’s your most creative hour of the day? I wonder what other writers do as part of their “routine” for writing? Do they write every day? Every other day? Once a week … what? So I’m asking you all, tell me I’m really interested. Leave me a comment let’s talk.
Personally, being a mum I write in the evening always. This is not a bad thing far from it, it suits me as this is when I naturally find I’m in the mood, and I have more creativity then. My creative hours are between 9:00p.m-3:00a.m. Or maybe I think I have more creativity as the house is damn quiet! Peace at last!
Five whole days away from a manuscript is a long time for me. I do tend to try to write everyday. I’ll be real honest, the last couple of weeks I’ve not. Mainly as I’ve been tired (nothing new there then), I’ve been reading a lot (like always). The last few books I’ve read have really gripped me. They were hard to put down, I’ve passed up writing to read. I started reading the first novel of one of this month’s Meet The Author featured authors, you’ll find out who on the 25th. I also want to read the other featured author’s work too.
Anyway, here’s my routine what’s yours like?
- Try to write every day. Is this what you do?
- Eat dinner, make a coffee, wash my face and turn on the radio. I normally listen to some easy going radio stations, that play all genres of music. We have some great ones in the UK. Or if I’m completely behind and need to knock out some serious word count… I pull out the classical piano playlist, to get in the zone classical music really focuses me.
- Sit at the laptop, pull up the manuscript. Glance over it, sip coffee. Check my phone, check Facebook, check e-mail.
- Pull up YouTube or some distraction on the internet, mess around for about a good half an hour … or longer *pulls a face*.
- Set to work.
Tell me what is your routine? I’m keen to know. And do you get straight to work or do you mess around before you actually type??… don’t lie to me now, be honest.
I better get to work as right now, typing this post, I’m on step four of the above… distraction 🙂
Share your experiences!
When I first started to write it did cross my mind that being a British author, not everyone may connect. It never bothered me and it still doesn’t now. I feel this way as there is a reader out there for every writer, no matter what you write be it dark stuff or light comedy. I’ve come to feel really strongly that writers should not, and can not write to people please. Why? You’ll lose yourself , who you are and what you want to write. I write it how I like it end of.
Over the last twenty four hours I’ve really been thinking about diversity within fiction, this is mainly due to the writing prompt I did on the Ideal Romance Hero, and the guest author post I done with Author Jane Ridson. I was asked ( in the guest post) how I go about using diverse characters, and what advice I would give to those that shy away from it. To me, diversity is a given, where I’m from in London it’s a melting pot of different cultures we love diversity this side of the water pretty much, well in London anyway. So it comes natural that I write reflecting what’s around me, and my diverse friends I have. It would be really hard not to.
Last night, I reflected on this point about diversity a little further, when I woke up this morning and read a few other writer’s POV on the Ideal Romance Hero it occurred to me that my take on Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome and the ideal romance hero is quite different, which is fine. I don’t mind standing out! One ( supportive) comment led me to feel that diversity really does need to be embraced, I also had a response to my Beta Reader call from someone who is keen to be a Beta Reader for me as I’m a different race and gender to them and I’m on the other side of the world. This is cool really cool. 🙂 But … are we there yet? Do we still have a little work to do with diversity in fiction? There’s a blogger I love his name is Jason Cushman or Opinionated Man to you and I. I’ve said it before he is rather funny, frank, and to the point. He is also rather raw in his take on diversity. Jason is of Asian descent and embraces it from what I read, but he does highlight ” the struggle” he’s over in the USA.I thought about Jason, some of his posts I’ve read and his struggles. You should check him out.
I then went to Facebook in search of marketing groups or companies who actually work with writers who feature diverse characters. I’d like to put my Romance Set in Paradise series in front of some readers who may love and seek a bit of diversity. Also my future work also, as you know I’ll never quit creating diverse characters. Do you know I found none, not one, like not even a choice! I am really surprised. This led me to set up my own group called Black, Asian and Minority Readers and Writers this is not about segregation it’s more about celebration! Of authors who feature diverse character line ups, and can maybe help support other authors branch into this ( if they want to) without the fear of stereotypes, or stereotyping those they feature, find readers who want to find diversity in their fiction, a chance for all writers regardless of their own race who love, support and read diverse fiction to come together. This includes the gay community also. I have nothing against same sex relationships at all, live and let live is my motto. I feel like I want to do something from this side of the Atlantic as there are so many in the USA ( FB groups) with this focus on African American writers /fiction, but I see little with a welcome for all minority groups for anyone who would say they are a minority or of some mixed background. Or am I just not looking hard enough?
So, if you’re an author of an ethnic background, or an author who writes with diversity regardless of your background, or you’d like to try it! Join the group, the link is above. I hope to build a community of support. And readers, marketers and lovers of our diverse work. Because variety is the spice of life.
Tell me, what’s your views on diversity in general?
I had a lovely time as Author Jane Risdon’s guest this week. She made me feel very welcome. She asked me a lot about my experience with traditional and self-publishing, and what tips I’d give to writers who shy away from using a multi-cultural line up for the characters.
Check it out here: