Monday, October 10, 2011

Good Writing Tips

Some General Writing and Editing Comments I want to Share

 The idea is not to rush. No one is demanding the latest read from us unless we are well known and established. I think we writers sometimes rush to put content out there maybe to cash in too quickly. Yes it gives the the so-called "indie" authored books a bad name. But I'm also concerned also about the reading public. It seems to me people younger than 40 expect much less from writers and seem to be willing to put up with mistakes in grammar and spelling. The "urban lit" genre is horrendous when it comes to grammar and spelling. Yet I frequently see these books getting star ratings of 4 plus and dozens of positive reader comments. I'm not knocking the genre and it certainly isn't for everyone, but I don't get this lapse in quality expectations from reader or author. Maybe the standard today is writing that resembles text and chat messages. 

I think I'm a decent writer. I was blessed to have had some training, but I won't put a story out or book unless it has had some "editing." Right now I'm focusing on putting stories on Amazon and B&N. For short work I'm only selling for $.99 I don't really want to spend a few hundred bucks for editing each story. But at the same time I want to put out a quality product. I discovered a pretty good Editing software after reading Smart Self Publishing: Becoming and Indie Author by Zoe Winters. She recommended a product from Serenity Software called Edit For Windows Software for Writers and Teachers. This really opened my eyes to my grammar and word usage mistakes. This may not be the best software for fiction writers because it does flag things in your character's dialog like contractions and slang, which is fine for your characters to use. However in the narrative portion of your work I found it was a good idea to take a look at the flaws it found such as awkward sentences, repeating words, punctuation errors and the like. It actually gives you 4 ways of checking your manuscript. So my suggestions are:

 1. Use some kind of editing software if you can't afford a human. Experiment until you find one that works for you.

 2. Read your work aloud if you can't afford a voice reader software. Actually read it. Don't just move your lips. It's a great way to catch awkward sounding sentences.

 3. Do as much of your formatting your work yourself. During the process of getting work ready for ebook publication, you will run across errors.

 4. Don't Rush! Potential readers will be glad they had to wait for a good reading experience.

5. Be willing to spend a few bucks on the industry standard for word processing, editing, and graphics. 

If you're an indie author, you're a business person. Take yourself and your potential readers serious.

Works by Harvey
Free on Smashwords
The Handshake     The Blue Train to Heaven

On Amazon
Cheeseburger     The Cicadas  Red Underwear

1 comment:

  1. Charles, I really enjoyed and appreciated your article. "Don't rush" is at the top of my list of writing rules. I fell into that trap a few decades ago when I was starting out. When I finally learned how defeating that was that made all the difference in the world. Slowing down was the best thing I ever did. Thanks again for your post.

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