Come play inside a writer's brain, scary!

It’s spring already, the ideal time to kick start your writing.

It’s the first Monday of the month (or the first Sunday if you’re in the northern hemisphere). You’re invited to post your writing-related questions here for me to answer. Lots of talented writers read and comment on this blog and your thoughts and writing experiences may help others.

Questions posted ahead of time will be answered during Monday Sept 3.  

Sometimes the questions go past Monday into the week, and that’s okay too.

To kick things off, here’s a question I was asked at the Romance Writers of Australia national conference on the Gold Coast recently:

How much editing should I do before sending my work to a publisher? Won’t the editor fix any problems?

Once if an editor liked your book, they’d work with you to fix any structural problems. Today, they’re so time poor that the closer to publication-ready your writing, the more likely you are to get accepted.

This means you should address all grammatical, spelling and story logic problems before you submit.

There are 5 ways to improve your self-editing:

1. Study books or take a course in aspects of editing.

2. Hire an editor or service. Check their history and ask writer friends for recommendations.

3. Enter writing contests where editorial feedback is provided, especially from publishers you hope to work with.

4. Join a critique group or find an online critique partner who appreciates your field. Reading and commenting on each other’s work helps you both to make progress.

5. Search online for “freelance editor Australia” or “writing coach Australia”. Many will provide a free sample edit of your writing to ensure they suit your needs.

Other useful tips:

– Study any editorial guidelines posted by the publisher. Be sure to follow them.

-If an editor requests your manuscript at a conference pitch session, send it in a timely manner allowing for a thorough last read before sending it off.

-Don’t gossip or run down editors or publishers in social media. Be professional.  Do, however, make the most of their presence to ask questions.

– Avoid posting samples or discussing specific plot ideas online as you may lose control of them.

Is your question related to editing or any other writing issue? Feel free to ask me here, or make a comment.


on Twitter @valerieparv

and Facebook

Now writing short fiction for Living magazine

Comments on: "First Monday Mentoring, your writing questions answered" (2)

  1. I think one of my problems with editing is that English and American books have slightly different styles. I’m at a point where I just stand in front of my MS with a bucket of commas and throw them, hoping they stick at the right place. I also have a poor attention span for texts that don’t engage me. Are there any grammar books out there that make it exciting. Is there such a thing as “Punctuation: The Musical.”

    • LOL at Punctuation, the Musical. Go write it, should be a smash hit because you have lots of company. Whole generations weren’t taught grammar and punctuation at school. Add in the effects of online messaging and it’s no wonder so many writers struggle. “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” by Lynne Truss is my favourite. It explains the basics in an entertaining way. Penguin Australia has “Perfect Grammar”, a compact 96-page guide for $9.95 rrp
      The good news is that modern punctuation is less concerned with rights and wrongs, and more with writing to be understood. Unless you’re writing an academic work, as long as your readers know what you mean, you’ll be forgiven a lot. Ahem…50 Shades anyone?

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