Monday, March 23, 2009

The Published Author Spell

I’ve been talking magic with my critique group lately as a few of us work on paranormal projects with magical elements. And I think I’ve come up with one hum-dinger of a spell to make your writing (and mine) get published licky-split.

The Published Author Spell
(After completion of first book-first draft.)

- Rejoice – you’ve crossed a writing milestone!
- Now get a grip. Put draft through critique group.
- Recover from critique group gutting, pick up your heart, shove it back in your chest and start to edit your book.
- Repeat as many times as necessary.

If you follow this spell, you’re likely to get published WAY faster because when you actually are ready to send out submissions, you’ll be taken seriously and have greater results.

How to tell if you need the spell? You’ve finished your first draft, maybe had a few close friends read it and they tell you it’s wonderful. If you’re lucky, they’ll point out grammar issues, which you fix – and then you ask yourself….what am I waiting for? Let’s get this baby published.

Stop at this point, my friends. It is officially the cart before the horse. You’re spell-worthy.

The first draft of your first book is (for most of us) equivalent to a four-year-old’s crayon portrait of the family dog posted on the fridge. Sure, that kid might be a future Picasso, but for right now the dog appears to have seven legs and an elephant’s trunk for a nose.

And that’s how your book might read to an agent or editor - disjointed, incomplete, despite moments of brilliance.

Avoid the seductive, time-wasting trap of searching for agents and publishers (you could be writing/editing/revising instead!) until your book has gone through several revisions and a bevy of hard-hitting critiques by fellow authors. When you’ve polished your tale, and you think it’s done, put it away for a few weeks. Start another project. Then return to read your book from start to finish and see if it still wows.

Yes? Then, and only then, is it time to shop it around. And once you get requests for your manuscript – then the true magic happens.


Tami Klockau said...

Awesome post, Trace! As you know, I'm in the edit and repeat phase. I think you can go through a story probably a good 30 times, finding huge errors/inconsistencies each time. Amazing how much work goes into polishing a book! I wonder if there are any special potions at the magic shop to help the editing go faster! LOL

Anonymous said...

Oohh - I love this post...especially the "pick up your heart and shove back in your chest part..." LOL...That is how I feel everytime I work wth my critique buddies...and you know what - I WOULDN"T HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY!!!


Kitty Keswick said...

Ah editing're never truly done.
Great post. The importance of having a CP group is up there with breathing. Having a talented CP group where their critiques actually help...I wish there was a spell to clone mine.