Monday, April 11, 2022

Help! I need somebody!

Not just anybody...

Writers shouldn't work alone. The IWSG Anthology #7 Authors share their thoughts on how they don't suffer through the process alone.


Writing is a collaborative process. Few of us do it alone. A bit like it takes a village to raise a child, often it takes a team to write a book. Sure, the author comes up with the premise, the beats, the first draft, but depending on the author's process, then the collaboration begins. Some authors may call for help/input earlier, but I usually discuss my story idea with my critique partners, then don't show them any more until I'm happy with my draft. Then the fun begins. We meet face to face, sometimes we Skype, and often I just share chapters via email (especially those all-important opening chapters) to gauge reactions. Yes, I use beta readers and editors, but my critique partners are the most crucial element for me in writing a book.
-- Denise Covey, "Marmalade Sunset"


A handful of trusted author friends serve as my critique partners. We exchange manuscripts with each other and provide the first layer of critique. I also have a group I call on for beta reading, which is the next step in the process. This group is a mixture of authors, avid readers, and members of my street team. They have the advantage of reading my books for free in exchange for giving me their opinions about the story and--though it's not a requirement--hopefully leaving a review. 

After that, the book goes to my mom. She has her own editing business, and I hire her to do a proofread. I freelance as an editor, but I still get a professional copy edit. It's impossible for authors to edit their own work. Our eyes gloss right over the mistakes, because we know what the story is supposed to say. The final layer after those corrections are made is having the book files formatted (Kindle, Nook, Paperback). Once that's done, I read through them on their respective devices, to make sure the formatting looks as it should and to make one last pass to catch any missed errors. (I'm sick of my book by now. LOL) Lastly, the files get uploaded to the retailers, and I click publish. -- Melissa Maygrove, "My Heart Approves"



While I have been a member of some great critique groups in the past, I have not had that pleasure for quite some time. However, I recently returned to school to work on a Master's degree. A few fellow classmates as well as my professors have been providing some great feedback and inspiration. I highly recommend all writers attempt to connect with at least a few others that you can share and learn alongside. Writing can be such a solitary and frustrating experience. The craft can be much more enjoyable if you have someone to share your pains, losses, and accomplishments with you. -- Sylvia Ney, "Paper Faces"


After I finish a draft of a story, I print it up, then take it to the woods. There I perform an arcane ritual involving burning sage, twenty-two candles and a half-dead goat to summon Kilogard, the Proof-Reading Demon. It’s complicated, dangerous and every time I do it, it costs me one year of my life. But it’s still easier than getting my friends and relatives to give me feedback. -- Templeton Moss, "My First Love(s)"



A friend from college and a former coworker read my work and offer suggestions. The two of them have very different literary tastes, and their input gives me a lot to think about! My writing has improved so much thanks to them. After several rounds of edits based on their feedback, my mom proofreads my final draft. Sometimes my husband agrees to look over my manuscript, but romance isn’t really his genre. His contribution is keeping the kids out of my hair. -- Kim Elliott, "Clyde and Coalesce"


I had to redo the whole thing, but I think we have it fixed!

I hope these bits of wit and wisdom were helpful and/or entertaining!

Keep writing.

5 comments:

  1. Where can I find a half-dead goat? Perhaps Schrödinger's cat could help me. At some point I will have to get help beyond my husband and siblings, but not quite yet. Thanks to all the "First Love" authors who shared how they get help. Just hearing how others get support gives me ideas.

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  2. Melissa is right - you can't self-edit.

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  3. Templeton - you are absolutely hilarious! I wish you were my critique partner!

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  4. I read my one little Hawaii novel to a dear friend aloud over 2 days and that's when I knew it was ready. It's called Aloha where you like go? And you can read it free with your prime membership at Kindle! Getting into the Hawaii state library, and meeting some great people, and getting some nice responses has been a high. Keep writing! Glad we met

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Delighted to hear from you!