A coworker of mine recently reached out to me and told me her father was writing a book. She asked if I wanted to read it and provide some feedback, as she knew I was a professional writer and had my first book, The Lerewood, published with Kellan Publishing. Of course, I was happy to help. I read the first chapter and as with all first drafts, it needed some work. I edited the first few pages to give the writer an idea of what I thought he could change, and then wrote him a letter on what I found to be the faults in his writing and how I think he could improve. Now, I don’t know how my coworker’s father will react to my edits and my letter—I’m afraid he may take it the wrong way, and take my criticism too hard. One of the best writing tips I can give, because I see it all too often in this business, is to view criticism as tips on how to improve your skill and not as an insult.
I remember taking a literature class in high school and the teacher told me a story about a kid who claimed that he basically refused to edit his work and that his first draft was his ‘best draft’, and the teacher had told him, and told our class, that “If you’re not an editor, you’re not a writer.” I’ve come across so many writers who cannot seem to comprehend that as a writer, you’re constantly improving, and the only way you can get better is to write constantly and each story will be better than the last. I mean, I look back on some of my old fan fictions, when I first started writing in high school, and let me tell you…I’d be very embarrassed if someone were to read them because of how horrible and cheesy the writing is. But that’s okay—no writer creates a masterpiece without throwing out and rewriting a few…dozen drafts or so. So when asking for reviews, please keep in mind that (the majority) of other writers and beta readers out there that agree to look over your work want to help you improve and give you some writing tips, and that they’re (probably) not volunteering to spend their time reading your manuscript only because they enjoy telling you how much it sucks (I use parentheses because I know there’s always one jealous bully in the bunch).
At the same time, another writing tip I also want to point out is that editing your work is so important when it comes to attracting readers, whether you’re trying to hook them with the first few pages in a bookstore or getting good reviews on Amazon or Goodreads or the Kellan Publishing Bookstore. From time to time, I also volunteer to beta read other writers’ final drafts of their manuscripts and recently, I read a ‘final draft’ that was terrible, ridden with mistakes. If you give me what you tell me to be your final draft and it reads like your very first draft, one, I’m going to assume this is the best you can possibly do and that you’re simply a terrible writer, or two, you lied and this is indeed your first draft. And if it’s the former, maybe you’re very new to writing, or English or grammar, and you just need a bit more knowledge on the craft. And that’s fine. No one is born a Pulitzer winner. But if it’s the former, and you’re like that kid my English teacher made an example of what not to do, you’re never going to make it in this business.
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Welcome to Andrea's blog!
Here you can find news on The Lerewood and what I'm up to.