On Writing

Authors tighten it up

I’m a proofreader for @LiquidSilverBooks as some of you may or may not know. One thing that I’ve noticed in common with the dozens of books I’ve read is where most of my comments tend to fall. It’s not good news for those of you looking for a New York contract. The fact of the matter is, most of my comments and corrections tend to be in the first three chapters of a book. I consider that a serious problem.

That isn’t to say I don’t suffer from the same thing because I know I do. I already have plans to seriously revise the first two chapters of my upcoming release, Deeper Than the Ocean, because now that time has passed and I’m reading it with some distance, I can see the flaws. Additionally, I recently made some revisions to Interdependence and was horrified by my introduction of the heroine in the first chapter. Fortunately in the revised version, she presents a lot differently.

What I think happens is with every new story, we’re not quite sure where it’s headed. If you use the same process I do, I just start typing and see where the characters take me. Once I have a good sense of where the story is going, how my characters react to situations, etc., my writing tightens up. The words flow.

Of course the problem with this is when writers are looking for agents, or for publishers, guess what it is they want to see? Yep. Those three chapters where you were pushing and prodding and testing boundaries. So I write this as a cautionary tale. Writer beware. Your first three chapters aren’t as strong as you thought they could be. Trust me on this.

Put your completed story down. Go back after some time has passed and reread with fresh eyes. Do it before you sub to your dream agent or publisher.

Trust me.