So, after my last post, I received the following comment . . . and thought I'd just do a post about it.
"Thanks, Cilla!I really needed this!For awhile now I have been stuck on the plot of my book.Have any advice for that?Also,how did you first get an publisher and editor??What do you recommend??"
In answer to the plot advice questions, here's a few ideas.
1. Take a break from it, and come back with a new perspective.
2. Talk it out with a family member, or friend, or someone who you can trust to give you honest feedback, and see if they have any ideas.
4. Try telling the story from a different person's point of view. Sometimes, switching up the storyteller can totally change the story.
5. Think through the direction you were trying to make the story go, and change it up.
6. Drop an explosion. In other words, have something happen that no one's expecting. Not even yourself. Think, "What's the craziest thing that could happen?" And do it!
How did I get a publisher and editor?
Well, that's complicated, because it's been different for each of my books. Getting a publisher requires a lot of query letters, e-mails, and submissions.
With Mission of a Lifetime, I went through my copy of the Christian Writer's Market book, and underlined all the possible publishers. I also searched through the church library and took notes on the most common publishers, and then went to each publisher's website and followed their requirements for submissions. The more you send out, the more likely you are to get a publisher.
If you get a publisher, they do the work of finding an editor, and making sure it gets edited properly.
If you take the route of self-publishing, editing is your responsibility. It's not a good idea to do your own editing. As the writer, you won't see things that need to be changed like someone else would, because you know what you meant by what you wrote. But to find an editor is the challenging part.
There is more than one kind of editor. Some editors focus on story content and structure. Others focus on grammar, or cultural accuracy.
You'll have to consider what kind of editor you need, once you decide that, you have several options. If you have family members who enjoy reading your writing, who can be honest and non-biased, they can be your greatest editors. But remember, often family and friends have a harder time being honest with you, because they don't want to discourage you. The advantage to family and friends, is that they're more likely to offer their services for a good deal, or even for free. But you'll probably get more honest and detailed feed back from a paid editor. In the back of the Christian Writer's Market book, there is a section on editors of Christian fiction. You can also do research online, or in your local area. Chances are, you know some people with great English skills who you could make a deal with.
You'll have to decide what you're willing to pay, and how serious you are about needing an editor. If you're not planning on being published, spending the money on an editor probably isn't a great idea. I usually always start the editing process by letting my mom read it, and finding out if the story even has the potential to be edited into something worth publishing.
It's also helpful to have someone read your story out loud to you. It's amazing the things you catch when you hear them, vs. when you read them.