Useful Things to Say To Developing Writers

If you want to be a doctor, you go talk to your local GP. If you want to be a teacher, there are a school full of people you can ask questions. But…

One of the things that’s tough about “I want to be a writer” is finding people who have done that successfully. The results–the books that writers write–are all around you, but it’s harder to find a writer. Even if you’re hanging out with other writers, finding someone who knows how to get from that first draft to a finished product is tough.

“This Could Use Some Structural Editing/Block Revision.”

Developing writers need to know that there is more than one kind of editing. And the editing you learned about in school–with the commas and the dictionary? That’s copy editing. That’s probably not the kind of editing a novel needs. At least, not at first.

In general, the longest thing you’re going to write in high school is a ten to fifteen page paper. And you’re going to do that in a matter of weeks; maybe, if you’re one of those last-minute folk, you’ll do it in days. Structural editing isn’t really a thing.

A three to four hundred page novel is a different beast. You stop. You start. You take time off for your cousin’s wedding.

Even if you started with an outline, the novel you wrote might not follow it. There could be duplicates. And you might have taken that left turn at Poughkeepsie that looked so appealing at the time.

Then, when you’re finished, you track down some unsuspecting English teacher or Librarian–or worse, a relative who “reads a lot”–and ask for their opinion.

So, for all the poor victims who are looking for something to say about that first novel that… well, it’s repetitive, and there are chunks missing, and the plot seems to veer off in the middle? That’s your line.

“This could use some Structural Editing.” or “This could use some Block Revision.”


Promoting an Online Event

I just finished hosting the most recent installment of the Storytime Blog Hop, and I think everyone who wrote stories this time is starting to look toward the next one. October. Halloween. That should be fun.

So, every now and then, I think about how to promote the blog hop…or my own blog… or an especially profound tweet…

I think about putting up posters in real life. Something catchy that would be easy to adapt to individual writers. Support your local independent authors, and a blank for the person’s name and website.

Or maybe posters that are less individual, that can be scattered across three or four continents and maybe pull in some readers. They’d have to be designed well to pull in different readers. And probably culturally brilliant, since there are so many different countries participating in the blog hop.

I’ve seen people promote things by handing out information with their Halloween candy, but of course, we don’t have that many kids left, right now. I think there were three last year, and two of them were siblings. It could work. Download codes for kids books aren’t quite the same as handing out toothbrushes, are they?

Fliers in Little Free Libraries might work, especially if there were download codes involved.

And then, the other thought that occurred to me… and I had the nerve to mention this one to another human being… is that maybe what we need is a scavenger hunt. Track down people in various categories, and invite them to the blog hop. Teacher from grade school? Old love interest? Person from Greenland? Person with a fish on their shirt?

Yes! They all want to read about my dragons. Yes, they do.

And maybe we could get readers involved somehow.

So, right now… I’m still trying to think of ideas. Because deep down inside, I’m probably a lot better at promotion in real life, when I can talk to someone face to face, than I am on the internet.

Three Days till The Blog Hop

Update: Please see the Blog Hop page for dates and details about the next blog hop.

It’s been a few hours since I mentioned the fact that I’m having a blog hop, so I thought I might mention I’m having a blog hop.

My blog hop is on the 27th of July.

Huh. I feel a little bit like a kid having a birthday. My blog hop is on the 27th. Are you coming?

The Storytime Blog Hop is a fun collection of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Speculative Fiction stories. No graphic sex or violence, and no swearing. (Yes, I’ll go back and edit. Again.) And since it’s the genre, not the age range that ties it together, there’s a really nice range of writers involved.

If you want to check out some stories from our last blog hops right this second, I have a whole page of them.

And be sure to join me back here on July 27th for new stories from twelve talented writers. (Oh, fine. Eleven plus me. ;))