Should you share your writing before it's finished?

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Leila
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Re: Should you share your writing before it's finished?

Post by Leila » February 20th, 2010, 12:45 am

Advice please?

I don't really know how to pose my question articulately so sorry if this comes out jumbled...

Re using review/critique partners, friends, etc - do many/any of you engage the services of professional editors before submitting to an agent? Or do you gather all your feedback, finalise and polish the MS then submit???

I'm relatively new to the world of writing, am probably not the most technically sound writer in the world - especially compared to a lot of you talented people - so I dont' really know good paths to take. I have read lots about using the services of editors, pros, cons, etc and I understand the risks. But I guess I am just interested in learning from your life experience in this regard. What do you do?

Thanks very much

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Daniel
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Re: Should you share your writing before it's finished?

Post by Daniel » February 20th, 2010, 1:06 am

I don't mind giving my work to people for crits before it is finished. I have worked mostly as a professional illustrator and am only now transitioning toward writing after years of doing it in secret, and I am very familiar with crits, wanted or unwanted. Being an artist, everyone wants you to draw/paint what they have in their head. I think you need to take them with a grain of salt. Some folks understand your thought process very well and your style of storytelling, but some don't. Those that don't will then do the aforementioned changing of your concepts and try to make you tell the story THEY would tell if only they could write. Those crits can be politely ignored. I know whom I can trust to give me the crit I need. The others are just more pairs of eyes to read my stories :)

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Holly
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Re: Should you share your writing before it's finished?

Post by Holly » February 20th, 2010, 2:49 am

Leila wrote:Advice please?

I don't really know how to pose my question articulately so sorry if this comes out jumbled...

Re using review/critique partners, friends, etc - do many/any of you engage the services of professional editors before submitting to an agent? Or do you gather all your feedback, finalise and polish the MS then submit???

I'm relatively new to the world of writing, am probably not the most technically sound writer in the world - especially compared to a lot of you talented people - so I dont' really know good paths to take. I have read lots about using the services of editors, pros, cons, etc and I understand the risks. But I guess I am just interested in learning from your life experience in this regard. What do you do?

Thanks very much
Hello, Leila. My novel is "finished," meaning I wrote all the chapters and polished them. I begged/bribed/forced some nonprofessional readers to look at it. Then I printed a paper copy, put it in two notebooks, and paid a local editor to look for errors. She's a managing editor/copyeditor/writer. She understands grammar and story structure, but she's an academic with a lead foot, hence the paper copy (I can see edits on paper better than the tracking software). I ignore the comments I don't want to make.

Years ago, when I worked for a publication in Washington, D.C., proofreaders and copyeditors looked at everything before we went to press. It's just a good idea. Over 90,000 words I know I'm going to make some weird errors.

Money is an issue. Editors are expensive.

A second issue: you can hire a proofreader, a copyeditor, or a developmental editor. A good critique group can catch a lot of the errors that a paid professional would catch, but probably not all of them. You can find developmental editors on writing websites. You can also contact your local newspaper and college literary magazine, ask if they have proofreaders or copyeditors who might be interested in free lance work, and find out what they charge.

A third issue: whether the editor "gets" your writing. They might suggest changes that aren't good for the story, so you need enough self-confidence to ignore advice that isn't right for you.

Leila
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Re: Should you share your writing before it's finished?

Post by Leila » February 20th, 2010, 5:45 am

Hi Holly.

Thanks very much for your response, and for sharing your experience. Tis much appreciated and very helpful.

Have you submitted your novel to an agent now? I hope it all turns out spectacularly for you wherever you are in the process.

Regards

Leila

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Holly
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Re: Should you share your writing before it's finished?

Post by Holly » February 20th, 2010, 8:14 am

Leila wrote:Hi Holly.

Thanks very much for your response, and for sharing your experience. Tis much appreciated and very helpful.

Have you submitted your novel to an agent now? I hope it all turns out spectacularly for you wherever you are in the process.

Regards

Leila
Hi, Leila:

Thanks for your kind words. I wish you well, too!

Right now I'm making revisions. The editor who read my manuscript told me the story has a structural problem. Once she pointed it out, I agreed with her. She said the story goes too long before the point of view changes. She said I could add scenes or cut up some scenes I have now and move them around. Since I don't want to change the flow of the plot, I wrote a new first chapter, plus I'm working on several new short scenes. I'm happy with the changes and will end up with a stronger story.

The bottom line: I just want to write a good story. That's it. I ask people to look at my work because I know I miss things. I also have a strong sense about my story, the characters, the plot, the voice, and suggestions have to make sense.

Another tip: if you decide to use a freelance editor, you can usually bargain down the hourly fee.

linguista
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Re: Should you share your writing before it's finished?

Post by linguista » February 20th, 2010, 10:41 am

It's all about alphas and betas.

Awesome author, Natalie Whipple, goes into detail.

http://betweenfactandfiction.blogspot.c ... betas.html

http://betweenfactandfiction.blogspot.c ... alpha.html

Here's a quick summary.

You get an alpha while you're writing. Alpha's love you, even if your writing's crap. They will tell you your wonderful. Alphas can be parents, bestfriends, significant others. Alphas keep you going when you begin to think the only thing your book will ever be good for is fuel for a long cold winter.

Betas are for after your first (or second or eighteenth) draft. They read critically and help you figure out what's wrong and what's write in your MS. But having a beta before you have a complete draft might turn you off of finishing a WIP.

So, by all means, yes. Share your unfinished work. But only with Alphas.

-Claire Dawn

SuzieQ
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Re: Should you share your writing before it's finished?

Post by SuzieQ » February 20th, 2010, 4:16 pm

I have a beta reader who sees just about everything as I write it. Of course, she's not a writer herself, so she's my cheering section. Totally uncritical and loves what I write. If I lie fallow for a while, she'll prod lightly, but she doesn't nag, never tries to change things, and acts as a sounding board when I'm trying to work out some plot point or character issue and need to hear it out loud. In short, she's the perfect beta reader. That said, I never show anything to another writer before the first draft is done. You only get one chance at that initial story impact and I don't want to waste it on something I might decide to change completely next week.

Suz

sooper
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Re: Should you share your writing before it's finished?

Post by sooper » February 20th, 2010, 9:24 pm

I've been stuck writing this book going on three years now but as soon as I showed my best friend the first few chapters everyhing's changed. I'm reinvigorated by the reaction I'm geting from the story and her feedback is helping me think up new, richer ideas as I go along. It's been tremendouly helpful, but at the same time, I wouldn't show my work to just anybody. Usually when you tell people you're writing a book their first reaction tends to be a rolling of the eyes. And I just cant risk getting those negative, useless vibes from people.

So I would say, yes, show your work, but only to people you can trust.

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