Know Your Pitfalls
I've been working on a couple of novels and recently had them reviewed by amazing copy-editors through Reedsy. (If you're unfamiliar with Reedsy, check out my recent post about my experience.)
Both of the editors I worked with pointed out things in my writing that I didn't even realize I was doing, but once I saw them were completely distracting. If you have an editor or a writing friend who can review your work, ask them to point out those pitfalls when they notice them in your style. You may be blind to them, but those could be the things that are taking away from your story.
I'll sacrifice myself as an example of some common style pitfalls that are easy to correct with a quick CTRL - F, but only if you know they're there.
Do you know what your style pitfalls are? If you don't have a kind editor or friend who's able to point them out to you, start by looking at the usual culprits to see if you can discover a pattern:
It's very cool to see how your writing can change when you dive into the details. Though the larger elements like the plot and character development certainly matter, it's the small things that help tell the story.
If you've been poking around in the freelance editor world, you might have come across a site called Reedsy. If you're a writer, Reedsy helps connect you with freelance editors, designers, and even marketers to help you with your writing projects.
I've used Reedsy twice now to find a editor to review my work before submitting it to a publisher, and it has been an amazing experience! If you're on the fence, here's my experience was with Reedsy.
First of all, you'll need to set up your profile. It's pretty straightforward and you can fill it out with as many details as you'd like about yourself. Next, you'll want to create a project brief that tells a little bit about your story, your deadline, and what you hope to accomplish through the collaboration. When you're ready to find an editor, proofreader, or designer, you can select the "Marketplace" tab and use the drop downs to filter the results.
Each professional has a bio you can read as well as reviews to help you choose the best person for your project. For my novels, I was looking for copy-editing help. You can request a quote from several professionals (I usually requested quotes from 3-4 people) to compare prices.
The services offered through Reedsy aren't cheap (think several hundred up to a thousand) because these are amazing professionals who do this for a living, so know that you'll have to be willing to shell out the cash. But that's why it's nice to get several quotes so you can find one in your price range.
Once you decide on a quote and the professional is willing to work on your project and accepts, then you're ready to go and the fun begins! Everything from start to finish happens through Reedsy which is protection for both you and the professional you're working with. Reedsy will facilitate the payment and you'll use their message center to upload documents and communicate with each other.
After the editor I chose accepted my project and I their quote, we exchanged a welcome message and I uploaded a word document with my manuscript. Then later the editor returned a word document on the due date we discussed with their tracked comments and edits. This was the part that was so wonderful for me. It was great to get feedback on my writing and the insights I received during both of my experiences on Reedsy have changed how I approach my stories. In the end, not only did it make my stories better, but the experiences made me a better writer.
I'm hoping to collaborate with the two awesome editors I worked with again in the future. It's nice to create that relationship too and get feedback from someone who has been in the industry longer than I have. Overall, though it was a bit nerve-wracking the first time, I had nothing to be worried about. It was easy to use the site and the result was completely worth the price in my opinion! Not to mention that the two editors I worked with were completely professional, helpful, and honest with their edits. (Both were kind enough to sprinkle in large doses of encouragement too. I didn't even cry once!)
If you feel stuck with your story, you're looking to self-publish, or you want a leg up when submitting to publishers, Reedsy is a good place to start for that next step.
A Little Hiatus
Has it really been four years since I last posted?! How in the world did time go by that quickly? It feels like only yesterday I was a recent college grad embarking on a new adventure, but apparently I'm older now than I like to think.
Let's face the truth, life got crazy and I'm afraid I've neglected this poor blog for too long. But I'm back!
A couple updates: My husband and I bought our first home in 2018 (as well as a second cat). It's a fixer-upper which has been awesome in the "it's a blank slate" area, but not so awesome in the "tons of free time" area. Though we're happy with how it is going, both of us have sworn off renovating another home again. It seems like when we finally got it to a good spot...COVID hit.
After transitioning to a work-from-home routine for my marketing communications job, we made life even crazier by getting a pandemic puppy! Our Bernese Mountain dog has brought us so much joy. It's crazy to think that she's already two years old now. She gets along well with the cats and keeps us entertained and moving!
Even though I haven't been blogging, it doesn't mean I haven't been writing. In fact, I can't wait to share with you some new pieces I've gotten published and all of the writing tips I've learned over the past couple years.
I know I have some catching up to do, but it's great to be back!
Hi, I'm Jessica! I'm on a mission to make my writing better in hopes of becoming a published novelist. It's been a crazy journey so far as I learn the twists and turns of the publishing world, but it's been worth it. Though I'm still learning how to be the best writer I can be, I'm excited to share what I learn with you. Happy writing!