Friday, April 17, 2009

Making It Good Enough To Publish


It is often said that writing books is hard. In a way it is. On top of the necessary technical skills required, a writer needs commitment, determination and persistence to write a book. Many, probably most, books never see completion. Quite a few of my own attempts, especially the earlier ones, have died a natural death and never reached maturity. Many more books though completed by their writers, will never see publication – BECAUSE – they are just not good enough.

Writing the book is realistically the easy part.

I could probably build you a table and it would be suitable enough to eat off but because I don’t have the carpentry skills to finish it off, to sand and polish it to a professional standard, I could never hope to sell it in a furniture store.

Books are the same. The hard part of writing, well for me at least, is turning the metaphorical diamond-in-the-rough into a polished gem of a book that will dazzle editors and readers alike.

Knowing what to cut and how to polish, I am learning, is a complete skill set in itself. And one I am not entirely confident I possess – YET.

I have a number of completed manuscripts at present; several picture book texts, a couple of chapter books, a mid grade and a young adult novel. During the editing process of these, I am often overcome with the worry my rewriting is actually detracting from, rather than improving the work. As my confidence wains, so does my effectiveness as an editor.

So, this weekend I have enrolled in the “Making It Good Enough To Publish” workshop at the New South Wales Writers’ Centre with YA novelist Melaina Faranda. (Author of The Circle series and a further six books coming out this year).

The spiel about the workshop states;

Often it comes down to a few simple mistakes that mark out the amateur from the pro. Race through a dynamic, non-stop self-editing workout that gets results! Learn how to keep up pace and hurdle common literary pitfalls, as well as push-up pointers for creating three dimensional characters and enriching stories with sensory writing to achieve a personal best. Train yourself to recognise flaws in your writing and troubleshoot in order to win the trifecta – an addictive story with a great plot, pacing and characterisation. Strenuous self-editing exercises will enable you to dig beyond stereotypical story slush to find true gold.

Hopefully, the workshop will point me in the right direction and give me the confidence to finish editing the manuscripts I have mounting up beside me.

I’ll let you know after the workshop.

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