Saturday, September 8, 2012

Self-Editing Tips from Agent Michelle Brower

Hey all, I'm seriously slacking in the blog department.  I suck lately.  But I have some good stuff for ya.  A couple of weeks ago, I took a Webinar on novel self-editing tips and I want to share the goods I learned.  Agent Michelle Brower hosted the Webinar and had some useful advice. 
Number one, she said above your novel polishing should rank higher than your blog and internet presence.  Maybe that is why I have been slacking on posting this—since I have been focusing my time on my current WIP.   
Michelle's thoughts about media presence were the same as the speakers from the SCWBI conference this summer.  Unless you have 30,000 followers your blog and twitter isn't as important as your work.  Neither will get you and agent unless you are so popular when you tweet the world stops to respond.  What will get you an agent is the best novel you can put out there and of course the right agent.  That's not to say agents don't appreciate a media presence, just don't dedicate more time to it than your writing, if you're working to get published.  
The next best advice I took from Michelle was the strategies she advised on self-editing.  They weren't that different from what was discussed at SCWBI.  She suggested writing a synopsis.  My immediate thought was no!  Please no!  Anything but that.  Then she explained how and why.  Use two to three sentences to breakdown major facts in each chapter using note cards then spread them out on a large surface or the floor.  In doing this, you can see the strengths and weaknesses in your story, how the arc flows, where the novel is lacking or boring (not much pushing the story forward), where characters act—well, out of character, and, if needed, rearrange the chapters for a better fit.   
The visualization part is key here.  And the fact that this synopsis is for your eyes only, the stress of it is reduced.  You don't have to worry about it being less than three pages, or under one, or too wordy, or boring.  If you think about it, or even better can visuals it, you'll see how helpful this technique is to your MS and plot editing.   
No matter the extra time, it's worth it in the end.  And like I said, it's for your personal use only, so you don't have to stress over your sentence structure or grammar.  Wahoo!   
So there are my handy tips or rather Michelle's handy tips for your next self-editing adventure.  Good luck, and when in doubt, grab the nearest critique partner and beg for a beta-read done in lightning speed.  Because you know they don't have anything better to do or a life of their own.  LOL!  Just kidding!  
Have a great weekend.  And if you need clarification on any of this just ask me.   
Love to my wonderful and dedicated critique partners!  You are a blessing!!!!

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