As an admin and editor of Save Sci-Fi, I’ve met, spoken with, interviewed and read the stories of many authors of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Most of them all have the same difficulty when it comes to publishing and getting their work done. Finding a good editor. What can you do to get your book ready for publishing? Well, there are many things you need to think about but here are some points you should consider specifically. Keep reading until the end though, especially if you are a writer of Science Fiction or Fantasy, because I will tell you one of the best places on the internet to get quality help on your story.
How to know if your new book is garbage.
As an Editor, I enjoy editing a good book, and though I am a bit straight forward on this – 90% of books I read are horribly written. That’s an easy statement to make actually, since 90% of the published books I read are horribly written too. If you are a writer, then you can probably identify with the feeling of reading a book and saying to yourself, “I can write better than this!”
The truth is, your mind can think better but your words can’t match the imaginative rivers cascading through the shores of your skull. To top off this self delusion, no matter what you write or how horribly you write, it will sound perfect as you reconstruct it in your mind. What you need is an outside source of judgement, but who can you trust? If you have money, you can pay for a great editor and he will tell you what you need to know and even help you fix it enough that you can finally abandon it, either by shoving it into a forgotten shelf or publishing it. Either way, once it is done, you should abandon it and move on to your next story. You can’t necessarily trust your friends and fans for opinions either, because, if they are trying to be supportive, they will like any drivel you shove into their eyes.
What you need is some psychology and outside sources of critical analysis – along with very thick skin and perseverance tempered with the will to kill your baby and impregnate your next story with a new idea. What I mean is, if your premise is good and people have interest, keep fighting the carpel tunnel and hammer that story into a book: If your story, or premise is out of wack, either you better be writing comedy, or you should kill that baby and move on.
Here are the two greatest inexpensive tools I’ve found in my career in helping decide to never give up, or to – cue the psycho violas – commit novel murder.
1. Elements of Style.
The single most important book you can own as a writer is Strunk and White’s Elements of style. This is your bible to writing well enough to catch your readers and keep them for the long haul. Everyone has their own writing style, but some elements of writing styles are best left out of your own style. Which elements are to be avoided and which are beneficial can all be found in the pages of this book. It’s very cheap, its small enough to fit in your pocket and if you follow it’s advices, it will help your writing more than anything else you could do on your own. This is a must have for any writer. If you don’t have it or have not read it, get it now, thank me later.
2. Online writing workshop.
The second most effective way to help your writing is to join a workshop of writers that don’t know you or your story and ask them to hack at it with the finesse equivalent to the thickness of your skin. For science Fiction and fantasy, the best source I have seen and used is The Science Fiction and Fantasy Online Writing Workshop. Here you can have strangers (other writers) read your story, book, or chapter and give you a critique based on the information that you want to know. Try it out for free for one month, and if you like the results you get, pay for it. Trust me, it is worth it.
What sources of writing help do you swear by?
These are the two best sources of help I know of, and there are many. Below is a list of books on Amazon that I like and have used or read, but what about your resources? What are your best or favorite resources as a writer or editor? Please tell me in the comments below. Thank you for reading and I hope this helps you in some way. Good luck with your book!
Written by Grin