Category Archives: Lily Elsewhere

Re-visioning: #amwriting cross-post

This is a companion piece to last month’s line editing post, about the various revisioning passes I make before I get to the line editing. Read it at amwriting site.


Last month I wrote about line editing. One important step (or, rather, a series of steps) exists between finishing a rough draft and tightening via a line edit, and that step is content revision.

My writing mentor used to discuss revision not as a chore but as an opportunity. He told us, “Look at the word itself, revision. Now look at it again and see what else is there: re-vision. It’s a chance to re-envision your work.”

I have always loved that breaking of the word and the concept. Re-visioning sounds so much more…optimistic than revising. The word is an invitation to evaluate what you imagined in the first place and really weigh it against all the other possibilities. Maybe it was the best choice; many times it will be. But if it wasn’t, here’s the chance to get it right the first time. Or the second. Or the third. Revision is not a one-step process.

As with line editing, I find keeping a “hit-list” of areas I know to be problems on hand helps me examine my work from every angle. There are two sections to my revision master list, one focusing on the story and the other focusing on how the story is presented.


I examine every scene with these questions in mind:

  • Does this scene advance the story or character development? This is a yes or no question. The answer is rarely no, because I write from an outline, but if it is no, then I have to decide whether to remove the scene or add to it so that it becomes integral to the whole.
  • Is this scene told from the best point of view for story/character development? The best point of view being either the one that will create the most narrative tension or the one which will deliver the most information, depending on the point of the scene. If I got it wrong the first time, it is a relatively easy fix to flip the point of view.
  • Does this scene begin and end where it should? Sometimes I cut things off too soon, other times I don’t start them in quite the right place and have to back-track to fill a time gap. Sometimes the bridging works, but sometimes I should have just started the scene earlier and told the events in “real time.”
  • Is the timing of this scene clear? It is always clear to me when a scene takes place, but not necessarily to the reader if I don’t properly cue them as to where it is in relation to the end of the previous scene. And do so in a less intrusive way than a clumsy opening like “Three hours later….”


Unlike the storyboarding list, which is pretty universal, this list is going to change from writer to writer and genre to genre. I developed it for the context of writing historical romance, with some of my known weaknesses as a writer in mind. Your weak spots might be different; your genre needs almost invariably will be.

  • Sexual tension/physical awareness – this pass is probably combined with the next one. A lot of romance is built on the sexual tension between two characters. I don’t often get it into a rough draft because I am too focused on the dialogue and the immediacy of the events. Some scenes are naturally tense; others aren’t, and then it’s important to remind the reader of that thread of the plot with at least a moment of awareness in every scene the characters are together.
  • Physical grounding – a slightly different issue than the above. I am super-focused on what’s going on inside a character’s head, and I neglect to put in the details of the physical world that “ground” the reader. So I have to go through my dialogue or internal monologue scenes and add references to the world at hand.
  • Dialogue – does it sound natural, add in slang from the era. My main goal in drafting dialogue is not to use modern colloquialisms and let my characters talk for themselves. But a specific look at whether they sound plausible, and a bit of flavour from The Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue is never a bad thing.
  • Don’t belabor the point – I overexplain thought processes; minimize it. This comes from approaching my stories from a place of logic. Often a character’s reasoning process is unnecessary, but I draft it in, so then I have to decide if it needs to be there and if not, take it out, and then add back in any details or physical cues that might help the reader understand what the thought was even if it wasn’t spelled out.
  • How does the character think about the world? – what I jokingly call the INTJ test. That is my MBTI type, and as it is relatively rare in men and extremely rare in women, I have to make sure that I’m not just writing myself over and over again. The perspective of each character should be subtly (or maybe not at all subtly!) different. In this pass I try to pair them with a friend who has a different way of looking at the world and thinking through situations than I do, and use my knowledge of someone else’s perspective to try and drive that character a little bit further from me but still keep them realistic.

So this is my revising process. What’s yours?


Leave a comment

Filed under Lily Elsewhere, Writing

#Amwriting cross-post: Embracing My Inner Editrix

I am about to embark on a project I have never attempted before: line-editing a piece of my own fiction.

I don’t mean to imply that I have never edited my fiction before, but I have not tried to trim and tighten it in a systematic way. My storytelling process was write, read back, change words and sentences that stood out as awkward or unclear, repeat until I no longer found words I wanted to change. That kind of approach renders prose that is good enough–good enough not to catch the eye of my internal critic, that is…but is it really the best my writing could be?

I know from experience that it’s not.

In college, I never took any creative writing courses; the syllabi never interested me. What I took instead were rhetoric & composition courses, with curriculums aimed at the nuts and bolts of prose and grammar and style. In those peer-edit seminars I learned the value of a true line edit–that is, going line by line, sentence by sentence, word by word, and grinding away every last rough spot.  The differences between the original draft and the line-edited draft might be as small as 3%, but it’s an exponential increment, and the full sum of the difference is greater than the number of changes added to the original.

When I speak of line editing, I don’t mean the copy-edit or the proofread; those are both separate passes to catch typographical errors, grammatical misakes, and inconsistencies in the narrative, and to ascertain that all punctuation and stylings conform to the chosen style sheet. No, what I mean is simply an evaluation of each line: is this the best way to say what I mean?

I have a hit-list of issues I know my rough-draft writing has, compiled from classmates in those seminars and reader feedback. I also include some fairly standard editing appraisals that are not problems unique to me.

  • passive construction and forms of be – in fiction there will naturally be a lot of “he was” sentences, and that is okay, but sometimes there are better ways to say something.
  • adverbs – I don’t discount them out of hand, because sometimes they are qualifying a verb in a way the verb itself does not imply. But as I was told, “Generally an adverb either means you picked the wrong verb, or you’re not letting the verb say what it needs to say,” and more often than not I find I don’t really need that qualifier.
  • weak or general verbs – sprinted > ran.
  • overlong sentences with too many clauses – my besetting vice. It’s not that long sentences aren’t acceptable, or correct, or even readable, but I do tend to pile them on top of one another, and that makes reading very dense. I try to break up the sentences containing multiple actions or ideas, as clarity might be advanced by separating them, as well as readability enhanced by it. Those sentences best left unbroken must be vetted for clarity and grammatical righteousness.
  • semi-colons – (1) are those two sentences really closely enough connected to be joined that way, and (2) how many other semi-colons have you used on that page? It is a punctuation mark that I personally love, but some people read them as pedantic and stiff, so I try to make sure that my usage is confined to the places where any other construction would be diminishment.
  • pronoun antecedents and uses of “it” – are all of them clear, not merely in the way that we know people are able to extrapolate when reading in context, but also grammatically?
  • cliches – just don’t use them.
  • over-use of “that” – this was an argument where the professor took my side against my classmates (they thought I overused “that” to connect clauses), but which I try to be senstive to. Do I really need to use “that” or is the causation/connection clear (e.g., “the one that I want” vs. “the one I want”)? If I need it, is “that” the best word or should it be where/who/which?
  • who versus whom – I pretty much have to evaluate every use of either. I generally get it right the first time, but every now and then one of my extra-clause-heavy sentences will confuse me.

The reason I have compiled a list like this is to remove subjectivity from the editing process as much as possible. I don’t have the tendency to regard my writing as sacrosanct, so my issue when editing my own work is not resisting changes but knowing what I meant and therby being blind to what others would see.  There is a divorce that must happen mentally between my experience of writing the words and my experience of reading them; I have to be able to step out of the logic of my mind and examine the words without the supporting framework of life as I know it and language as I use it. Specific questions like these help break the chains of what I know I was trying to say and help me see what I really said.

I confess to finding a certain sadistic pleasure in deconstructing prose–be it my own or someone else’s–and making that white paper bleed with the ink of a thousand cuts. Line editing is not revising in the sense of re-envisioning. It is not a creative act. It is a logical, methodical, and ruthless evaluation of merit. Time to strap on my leather boots and robot-eye. I hear adverbs taunting me, and I must make them scream….

This blog is cross-posted here in its entirety from the #amwriting group blog. Here’s a link to the post there if you want to see it in context.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lily Elsewhere, Writing

Wearing Someone Else’s Face – #Amwriting cross-post

Masking has been with humanity about as long as we’ve been human. Something about self-awareness just seems to open us up to the allure of borrowing someone else’s aspect for an hour or two. Whether made of paint or tile, fabric or wood or the skin of another creature, a mask creates a physical barrier over the face that enables the wearer to drop the psychological masks they normally carry. The masker can then choose to assume a trait or personality not their own, or to bring one of their less dominant sides to the fore, or to simply be, without any pretenses at all.

Writing—well, writing fiction, anyway—is a form of masking. The writer steps into the soul and circumstance of someone else in order to explore the world as that person.

Forget the notion of writing what you know. If all of us confined ourselves to writing only what we know, there would be endless novels with no plot except what William Goldman summed up so well as “what with one thing and another, five years passed.” No, we don’t write what we know; we write to tell a true lie.

And part of that truth is understanding what the characters experience.

Not just understanding it. Feeling it. Believing it. You have to put yourself in that character’s mind as if you slipped their face on over your own and subsumed your personality to theirs.

Sometimes writing takes you to a place of happy abandon, like a street party during Carnivale or a Twelfth Night revel. You can be someone funnier, or smarter, or handier in a fight. You can triumph in ways that, in real life, you would never dream of.

But just as many times writing takes you to a darker place—a Halloween night where you must literally dress as a devil in order to survive. You might have to be someone who has lost things you can’t bear to think about, someone who is angry and volatile and hurtful, someone who could never be you…unless they could be.

No matter how far you sink into the role-playing, though, pretending isn’t the same as doing. Empathy is not the same as experience. That’s the beautiful thing about masking. The persona that comes out from under the mask isn’t our usual personality. It is a part of ourselves we might work diligently to control, or a foil to our everyday self. Putting on a mask is the chance to try out being someone else without having to change who we really are.

The writers who create the best characters are the ones most willing let that mask quell their inhibitions—the ones who let themselves feel the emotions or demons or ambitions driving the hero and the villain alike. The ones who let raw humanity take over the thoughts and actions of the characters on page, even when that human element is not refined or glamorous or logical.

Not all writers can (or, perhaps I mean are willing to) do this, just like some people can put on a mask and be too self-conscious to speak. A mask is an opportunity to be free, not a guarantee of freedom.

A mask opens the door to the cage we keep ourselves inside—going through the door is a choice.

You can read it on amwriting site here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lily Elsewhere, Writing

I #AmWriting about the Continuing Relevance of Chapters in Ebooks

Yesterday I sent the rough draft of my Christmas novella off to my first readers. I realized only after I sent it that I hadn’t used chapters. While the piece is long enough that chapters wouldn’t be ridiculous, they might not, strictly speaking, be necessary. This logic was how I quieted the voice telling me to add chapter divisions and re-send the draft.

Then I wondered…are chapters necessary anymore, even with novels?

First, with ebooks, is there any reason other than mimicry of the printed form to divide stories into chapters instead of just using the extra spaces and asterisks to divide scenes? Do people reading electronically stop at chapter breaks, or do they just stop when they get tired of reading or reach what feels to them like a good breaking point?

Personally, when I read on my iPhone, I don’t bother to stop at chapters. I don’t have my finger planted ahead 5 or 20 pages to show me the chapter break where I can get up to pee or use to delay being called from the story (“I have three pages till the end of the chapter!”) like I do with printed books. I find flipping forward that unknown number of screens and then having to go back and find my place in the text again too much trouble to bother with. So I just lay the story down when I want or need to stop reading. Chapters are literally irrelevant to my experience of reading an ebook.

Second, are chapters still being used in a way that makes sense to me as a reader, or is the modern novel-writing standard antithetical to my reading (and therefore my novel-writing) aesthetic?

To me, the point of a chapter is to bring a reader to the end of a scene or a section where they can comfortably close the story to come back to later. But in many (almost all?) of the books I have read lately, it seems like chapters end right in the middle of something good. All the writing articles about chapters I found before writing this post (all three of them!) suggested ending chapters with cliffhangers to enhance narrative tension and keep readers turning pages.

I. Hate. This. Trend. Maybe I’m just twitchy about cliffhanger chapter endings because of that nightmare I had as a kid after my mom read to the end of the chapter where the goblins grab the dwarves from the cave and stopped; I don’t know. But as a reader, I want a chapter ending to indicate the closing of a section. You know, the idea that built the clichés “close the chapter on that part of life” and “start a new chapter in life.”

I understand the argument for cliffhanger chapter endings—to keep the reader reading. To me, however, stooping to such a technique smacks of insecurity as a writer. It implies that you don’t trust your story and your characters to be compelling enough to bring a reader back on their own. It assumes your reader is too distractible to keep reading without a nudge to their imagination. As a reader, I find it disrespectful. If I need a break, and none of the chapter endings are actually dips in the story, then I can’t use chapters as points to set the story down. I use scene breaks—which renders chapters pointless as a means of breaking a long story into less intimidating sections.

I can see good reasons for dividing some works into chapters. Novels which are heavily episodic, novels which are told from multiple points of view, novels which have a lot of strong breaks between scenes instead of soft transitions—chapter breaks (even, I grudgingly admit, cliffhangers) still make sense for these types of books. But a typical story? One with several scenes per chapter, no single event the chapter is built around, and no discernible internal denouement to break up the story? I am not sure there is still a point to using chapters, other than tradition.

Most printed novels will continue to default to the chapter breaks because they will lack a compelling reason not to. Any ebooks that also have a print version will continue to use chapters in order to have the same text as the print edition. But with digital only publications, I think we might see more books presented without chapters. Chapter divisions are not as necessary to the digital form as they are to the print—therefore they will likely come to be used when necessary to the story and left out otherwise.

The only argument for chapters specific to digital publishing is naviigation. Ebooks rely on the table of contents to move readers to the point they want to go in the file.

However. With digital text you can create a custom table of contents that links to whatever parts of the text you want it to. You might list the major scenes of the book and link to the beginning of those scenes. Such a list would enable a reader to go back and find a certain point in the story again, without inserting pointless divisions into the text.

For example, my chapterless novella would have (perhaps I mean will have, because I’ve quite talked myself into this idea) a TOC that looks something like this:

  • The Beginning
  • Sebastian’s Arrival
  • The Proposition
  • The Yule Log
  • Christmas Day
  • The Hunt
  • The Estate Tour
  • The Ball
  • Confronting the Viscount
  • The End
  • Epilogue

It doesn’t give away anything about the story that the “back cover” wouldn’t, but a reader looking for their place or wanting to re-read a section could easily find it.

Alternatively, I could clarify the timeline of a story, such as using date divisions that start on December 22 and run through December 30 (with an epilogue on January 5). Or I could be slightly less literal with the dates and label them “The First Day of Christmas,” “The Second Day of Christmas,” etc., or “Christmas Eve,” “Christmas Day,” “Boxing Day,” “Childermass,” etc.

The possibilities are myriad. I think digital-only books could end up becoming more unique entities than we have thus far allowed them to be. Forget all the bells and whistles of “enhanced” ebooks—let’s rethink the form of the book at a more basic level.

In other words…I think I just successfully argued myself into consigning chapters to the category of quaintly irrelevant artifacts. How novel.

Or go read it on the amwriting site.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lily Elsewhere, Writing

IS Writing Creative?

This post was originally written for the #amwriting blog

I’ve seen a couple different articles in the past fortnight about optimal creative times, and how they usually occur at an inverse of optimal reasoning times. The frequent example given is that if morning is your most productive time for problem solving, then afternoon or evening is probably a better time for you to do creative work.

While I don’t disagree with the basic idea—that creativity uses a different part of the brain than reasoning/analyzing and will thus peak at a different time of day—I found myself questioning the conclusion of the articles as applied to being a writer, namely, set aside time to write during that “creative phase” of your day.

I questioned this advice because by far my most productive writing period is the same part of the day that includes my best cognitive work.

My biggest take-away from the logic course I took in college was this: if you accept the premises given then you are bound to reach the same conclusion. Thus the place to mount a logical challenge is not the logic itself but the premises.

The logic of these articles seems to be: reasoning and creativity peak at opposite times; writing requires creativity; you want to write at the time you will be most productive; therefore you should write when creativity is peaking. If the two premises are true, then I cannot argue that logic. I agree with the first premise. The second, then, must be the problematic one.

Which brings me to a question I haven’t seen addressed much in the how to write circuit—is “creative writing” actually a creative activity?

I have never before questioned that it is. My whole life I’ve been told that writing is a creative act, an artistic expression. The very term we use for fiction, and certain types of non-fiction, creative writing, embeds in its very definition that the act is creative. (To clarify—I am using the word “creative” to mean imaginative, expressive, abstract, unique…all those qualities we ascribe to artistic types and the work they do. In a very base linguistic sense, creative also means “to create,” so all writing is creative in that it creates from nothing, something. But that is not the definition we mean when we use the term creative writing.)

I wonder now, however, if writing is creative at all, for me.

When I write what I term “forward progress” on a story—writing from the beginning forward, in the style of a finished piece—the act is calculated, rational. Each sentence is written after mental analysis of the best way to impart an idea. The words are deliberate, chosen to most succinctly say exactly the idea I wish to express. This type of writing almost always stands; that is, I don’t go back and rewrite the sentences, change the words, reorganize the grouping of ideas, because generally speaking I do not need to. I said what I needed and wanted to say the first time. The only changes are minor cosmetics, the taking off of one thing after I have dressed, so to speak.

The only time I can effectively write like this is first thing in the morning, when my mind is primed for the heavy lifting of logic and reasoning. Given enough time, I can grind out 2000-4000 words before my brain atrophies. Yet if I try to write like this at the end of the day, the words don’t make sense, my brain feels like so much mush churning about, and I am lucky to get 300 words in two hours.

Does this sound like a creative act to you? It certainly doesn’t to me.

But there is another kind of writing that I do, what I call “scene sketching.” Almost invariably this is nothing more than conversations I hear in my head and transcribe. Most of the time when I have the urge to write in the evening, it is to write scene sketches, and boy, do they come easily. This writing does feel creative.

The problem I face is that I could never finish a book, even a short story, if I relied upon evening jam sessions alone. There would be no description, no grounding, no explanation of who people are and what brought them to that place. I suppose in some post-modern deconstructionist way that could make interesting pieces, but that is not the kind of story I want to end up with. At some point I have to sit down when I am at my most cognitive and write in all the stuff that won’t come in an imagination-storm.

Obviously my writing process incorporates both types of writing. But the truth is, I could write novels without putting down a word during those creative flurries. To me those flares of creativity are about the story; yes, they are necessary to write a novel, because without them what story do you write about…but they are not at all necessary to the actual act of writing.

Yeah…I think I have to reject that questionable premise. Writing is not creative. It’s the cognitive summary of the creative process. At least for me. But what about you?

Leave a comment

Filed under Lily Elsewhere, Writing

I #AmWriting for the Season (cross-post)

Romance is a genre that delights in seasonal stories, particularly holiday stories, and even more particularly Christmas stories. From October through December, a good ten percent (anecdotal observation, but I bet it’s not far off the mark) of romances published are Christmas themed. The variations are as myriad as the moods the holiday season evokes in all of us. Some authors use it as a time for light and mischievous comedies, while others use it as an exploration of loneliness, and still others use it to reflect on deeper spiritual or religious themes.

I have always enjoyed Christmas anthologies, even though Christmas is not a huge holiday for my family. My husband and I feel a much closer connection to Mardi Gras and Halloween than Christmas. Pretty much all of my close friends either prefer other holidays or do not observe Christian holidays at all. My family (parents and extended family) don’t go overboard with Christmas, though we have strong traditions—they just involve time together and food, rather than the decorating and shopping. I understand why my friends hate the season because of the crass commercialism that seems to govern it; I come close to disgust when the Christmas decorations roll out before Thanksgiving (this year it was before Halloween!), especially because all those trappings are divorced from the value I find in the holiday. But I don’t actually mislike this time of year, even if I find the culture around it a bit ridiculous. I think part of why I like holiday stories are because it’s fun to read stories about people who either really love the season or really hate it.

My NaNoWriMo attempt (still in the process of being finished) for 2012 was a Christmas story. This novella is the first consciously holiday themed piece I’ve written. The novellas I’ve published already are set on Twelfth Night, but I do not consider them holiday stories, as they could have taken place at any masquerade ball—the date was chosen for the Shakespeare tie-in.

Writing for the season has been interesting for me.

Going into the first draft, I was not sure the piece needed to be set during the holidays, but framing the story over the Twelve Days of Christmas gave the family a reason to all be together. Too, when I envisioned the story it felt Christmas-y, with undertones of redemption and hope–two holiday hallmarks if ever there were any–and maybe also some help in the romance department from mistletoe and the constant togetherness holiday activities engender. But really all of those things could have been in the story if it were set at mid-summer, so the Christmastide timing was just a pretension. Not that it matters, because holiday stories are fun regardless of whether that’s the only time of year they could have happened. But I was setting out to self-consciously write a Christmas story, so that’s when it was going to take place, by god.

As is the way of writing, however, that ambivalence changed in the writing process. The holiday setting has become part of the story’s DNA, such that it would now no longer be the same story if set at another time of year. Somewhere in the crossfade of Acts I and II, I realized I was developing a subtle parallel of gift-giving to map the course of the couple’s move from familial affection (she is his father’s ward) to romantic love.

I have not yet decided how explicit to make that theme, since the “gifts” are not tangible possessions but things like honesty, choice, protection, understanding, sympathy (and a healthy dose of good ole self- esteem-boosting lust!), but in my mind the connection is clear and ever-present. Now, romance is not a genre anyone has ever accused of subtlety, but I object on a philosophical level to characters spelling out themes, so probably I will make no reference to those “gifts” or, at most, do so in the title (such as naming the novella “Six Gifts” or something).

On the whole I have enjoyed the exercise in seasonal reflection. I have not spent as much time as I expected exploring through fiction what the Christmas season really means to me…but maybe I can do THAT next year. 🙂

Or read it at the amwriting site.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lily Elsewhere, Writing

Blessed Are the Cheesemakers – #amwriting cross-post

Or, Artisan Writing

Right now American culture celebrates DIY and the hand-crafted or one-of-a-kind item that is just exactly you.

How many times in the past month have you heard or seen the word “artisan” related to bread, or cheese, or honey—any of the small food crafts that used to be done at home, got exported to large companies, and are now coming back to the hands of individuals running small-scale operations? Etsy (and, I’m sure, other similar sites) has a marketplace of crafters selling either goods they have made or their services to make something specific for you. Microbrews as a group now eclipse any one of the big three beer distributors. The trend in restaurants is smaller spaces with more limited menus that do a few things very well. Hip music now is not to listen to what’s on the radio but to some relatively unknown and esoteric sound that crossed your path in the digital stream. Hundreds of film festivals across the country showcase independently made movies, some of which get picked up for distribution on Amazon or Netflix and sometimes even theatrical runs at the AMC just down the street.

All of these represent a splintering of our popular culture from being dominated and driven by a handful of corporate interests to being dominated not by one or two big things but by a large group of little things. People like to find the niches that appeal to them. We all have slightly different tastes from our friends, and so we find a few common interests and many more that only we, ourselves, are passionate about.

Ebooks and self-publishing have created a marketplace for niche writing, as well.

So how should we, as disintermediated writers, approach our job of writing for an audience with this new long-tail marketplace of niche in mind?

First, take a cue from the cheese-makers: artisan products take time, attention, and deep understanding of the process of creation. Take the time to make your book the best it can be, but don’t hold it from the world so long it becomes over-ripe. Send it out at peak freshness and start on the next batch.

Second, take a cue from the artists on Etsy and give the world the book or story only you can write. This might be the actual plotline of the story, or it might be the fantasy world you’ve built. It might be the way you write—your style, or your pace, or the point(s) of view you choose to use. Just don’t try to re-write someone else’s book. Write your book.

From microbrews you can learn to market yourself based on what makes your writing different. They talk about the honey and the spices they use to flavor that Fall Harvest, or the ridiculous bitterness of their IPA. What’s the most unique part of your book? (Hint: if you’re writing in a well-defined genre, like romance, or one with a ton of iterations, like urban fantasy, it’s much easier to sell your book based on what makes it different, because everyone who reads that genre/sub-genre will have some expectation of elements, thus you can ignore those as a given and focus on what you did differently.)

And, finally, from music and films we learn that to have a successful product, you need to have a product finished to a degree that makes it indistinguishable from a studio-produced project. Just like no one wants to listen to music that sounds like it was recorded in your closet, no one wants to read books that look like they were published from your closet (note: written in a closet is just fine, because editing and proofreading and ebook formatting are meant to take that closet-based feel out of the final version). This is different from the perfect ripeness of your story—tip #1 was about when to stop writing—because it relates not so much to the words and story but to their presentation…to the product nature of a published story. Your book needs to be edited at the very minimum for consistency, typographical errors, and disambiguation. It needs to be proofread for consistency of your punctuation (smart quotes, em dashes, ellipses, chapter headings, etc.). It should have a professional-looking cover and a format with some sense of design, although if these can’t be done, plain and competent is preferable to failed attempts at more.

The main point of all this is what Aristotle described as pride in work. You should be comfortable feeling proud of something you have worked hard to create and produce well, if you have, indeed, met the standard of excellence you set for yourself. Writing is done for yourself; publishing is done for your audience. Take pride in both parts of the process. Take pride in your work.

Be an artisan writer.

Read it on the amwriting blog here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lily Elsewhere, Writing