Now what?

Avatar for avihockey
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Now what?
5
Fri, 02-05-2010 - 10:13am

It recently crossed my mind that in less than two months, I will be in possession of a completed, revised novel manuscript. That's exciting in and of itself, but it also means I'm reaching the point where I need to set the novel free to the world. I understand part of the process involved once the novel is presentable form (research agents, write a synopsis, get going on some query letters, properly format the manuscript), but I'm fuzzier on other details. Does it make sense to have the manuscript professionally edited before submitting? I'm not sure whether that would help improve the novel's chance of selling or whether it would just be an unnecessary out of pocket expense.

Thoughts?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-07-2004
In reply to: avihockey
Fri, 02-05-2010 - 12:00pm
I think a lot of publishers and agents have their own web sites where they lay down all the guidelines for submissions - just be suspicious of those that offer their own editing services for a fee.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2004
In reply to: avihockey
Fri, 02-05-2010 - 1:13pm

When I first submitted the cowritten novel around, I focused heavily on making the prose perfect. I combed through each line, looking for typos and making sure every sentence worked. What I didn't do: Make sure the high level story worked. I was too focused on the prose and words, not on the story.

An editor is going to focus on the prose level and probably basic writing mistakes. Some may do more. But if you've written a novel based on an idea and didn't develop it into a story, they can't make that better. So you could pay for a edit and get rejected by agents because the story doesn't work.

If you want to the prose gone over, have a critique of the first chapter done. I've done lots of critiques, and the first chapter is usually all that's needed because the same problems will turn up through out.

If you want to test the story waters and see if you've nailed the story, write the synopsis and the query. This is is something I also learned from that book. If there is a problem with the story itself, it's virtually impossible to write a coherent query and synopsis. The pieces just won't fit together right or you'll have a lot of 'he did this,' and 'he did that' (Synopsis focuses on high level). But it won't have a thread that connects the whole thing.

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Writing Blog |

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
In reply to: avihockey
Fri, 02-05-2010 - 3:21pm

Since I'm shadowing you in our progress, Ada, I should have some idea of my own plan. Since I've worked as a paid copyeditor, I would never hire one. That's not because there's anything wrong with hiring someone to edit your work but because if I do it right (that's what I'm supposed to do!), I'll get a professional job and spend only time, not money.


You can edit your own work. Dozens of people who have written books on how to do it say you can. Read a few of those books. If you agree with the authors, go for it.


It also never hurts to have another set of eyes on your novel. If you have one or more friends you trust to comment on your work, they can help you. Does everything make sense? Can your readers understand it? Do they feel anything is missing? They can help with grammar and such but since they didn't write the story, they'll be most helpful as representatives of your audience, not book doctors. If your story and characters resonate with your test readers, you've got a shot with an agent, an acquisition editor, and the book-buying public.


I'm not for spending any money you don't have to. I may be cheap but isn't the point to make some money?

JudyB







JudyB






Avatar for avihockey
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: avihockey
Sat, 02-06-2010 - 9:11am

Wow, that 'queasy' icon really looks bad. I promise I'm not feeling *that* nervous about things! ;)

Thanks for the thoughts guys. You pretty much reconfirmed what I'd already been thinking. For some reason I'd gotten it into my head that I should have the manuscript edited before I submit it anywhere. Then the more I thought about it, the more foolish it seemed, especially since I'm generally a better editor than writer.

I do have one friend who's already volunteered to look over the manuscript and I will probably take him up on the offer since he:

A) has no idea what the story's about (he's only heard me talk about it in board terms)
B) has got a good nose for literature
and
C) he's honest

I have closer friends who I'm sure would be happy to help, but as much as we just want affirmation, what we writers usually need is a healthy dose of constructive criticism.

Thanks again for the thoughts. As always, I'm sure I'll have more questions for you all later!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
In reply to: avihockey
Sat, 02-06-2010 - 12:56pm

I have faith in you, Ada. I was always sure you could edit your own work.


I've encountered aspiring writers who cannot construct a sentence, don't understand punctuation, and have a problem telling a story. Sometimes I resort to pain killers just to get through an e-mail (and a stiff drink when I'm done). IMHO, if you didn't study in school or if you didn't bother to fix up your manuscript, you deserve to pay some poor copyeditor hundreds of dollars to tidy up your work. It just won't be me.


Your volunteer reader sounds wonderful! I hope things work out as great as they sound they might.

JudyB







JudyB