Reader response can be one of your most important resources in the revision process--or it can derail everything and leave you confused and insecure in a corner, wondering why you even bother writing. Here are several steps to making your reader recruitment process smooth, easy, and effective.
There are a lot of revision checklists and guides out there. Just typing the words into a search engine will yield plenty of people with opinions about what you should and shouldn’t cut–and there are a ton of variables. Genre conventions, audience expectations, and use of voice are just a few items that can alter how you revise a story. Therefore, I don’t generally adhere to a certain revision checklist.
What I do adhere to is a content check. Out of everything you do for a manuscript, getting content locked down is the one area where your unique ability to tell a story shines through. A good proofreader can catch your typos. A good line editor can shred your grammar and sentence structure. A good content editor can pinpoint story issues. [...]
My word of the year: FOCUS.
Focusing is a funny thing for me. As someone who has sensory processing issues and who was once diagnosed with A.D.D., I’ve found that I actually focus better when I’m working on more than one project. The high pressure and constant stimulation of different activities keep me from losing interest. [...]
I want nicer character faults. Y’know, the kind that actually help people? Solid, pretty faults that sound great at job interviews.
Like “I can’t help but tip the waitress 30%.”
Or maybe “I really love grading. I just can’t help going over every test three times.”
Or how about, “I am so excited about cleaning the narsty scum beneath cabinets. It’s a terrible fault, I know…”
Are you feeling it? Me either. Unfortunately, my faults fall along the lines of impatient. Unfeeling Closed off. Things that definitely slant negative, and definitely don’t flatter me. [...]