Here’s a little pause on the new Sci-Fi project for some retrospective about the novel I wrote over spring.
I always hear experienced authors say that their first 1-5 novels were basically throw-aways, just practice in honing their writing skills in order to reach of level of competency worthy of publishing. And even authors who were published with their first-ever novels, like J.K. Rowling with Harry Potter if what I’ve heard is correct, reportedly re-wrote the same story multiple times. So either way, you’re going to do the legwork.
But my question was, even if I wrote 5 novels or the same novel 5 times, what would prevent me from making the same mistakes over and over again? How do I know I’m actually growing as a writer and not just changing words on a page for the sake of changing words on a page.
So after I finished drafting and editing Miss Stick’s Problem-Solving Agency to the best of my ability, I decided to invest in a freelance editor for some professional feedback. I needed an objective third party to analyze my story and my storytelling and tell me how to improve.
There was an episode of Writing Excuses featuring an interview with freelance editor Callie Stoker a couple of years ago, and I remembered really liking her. So at the end of April, I went ahead and looked her up. She offers different services and I selected the Alpha Critique. I wasn’t interested in line edits yet, what I really wanted was some feedback on the big picture stuff and that’s exactly what her Alpha Critique offered.
Her whole process was clear and streamline. I sent her my manuscript and she said she’d send me an editorial report on May 24th. Sure enough, I received a 30-page report on May 24th exactly. I took a week to read it carefully and I am so pleased with it! The first half of the report detailed changes to make to each chapter to really make the story shine. This usually included what concepts needed to be added or removed or fine-tuned to increase depth, clarity, etc. The second half of the report was more of a how-to on writing, but specifically tailored to me.
Callie is so incredibly talented at what she does and I can’t recommend her enough! All her feedback and advice was delivered in a way that was constructive and respectful. I learned so much from her already and I haven’t even started applying the changes! I didn’t sit down with the intention of writing an advertisement, but here we are.
Anyway, I was so pumped up to start applying these edits to Miss Stick that I almost scrapped my whole plan of drafting Just Us Against All of Space this summer. I was already plotting in my head how I’d update this blog with an apology about delaying the new project until fall and taking you on an editing trip this summer instead.
BUT, I’m not writing that post after all. I sat on the fence for a week—should I spend the summer editing Miss Stick or drafting space oyster wars? Miss Stick, space oysters?! OH, THE INTERNAL TURMOIL. In the end, I decided to stick to my original plan after all. With the kids around all summer, it’ll be easier for me to carry a notebook around and draft a few sentences here and there. Editing would more likely require a computer, the existing document, and all of my focused brain space—i.e. NOT A SUMMER THING. In any case, I think I still need more distance from Miss Stick before I can really approach the story with fresh eyes.
So now it’s June 3rd and I still haven’t actually started writing anything so I better get moving!! I’ll post my first weekly writing update later this week, stay tuned!