Editing & Motivation: Notes from the OC Christian Writers Conference 2012

During the panel discussion on Friday, May 18, 2012, conference faculty—literary agents, editors, publishers, coaches, and well-established authors—answered questions posed by the audience. Here are a few of the Q&A’s:

When do I know that I’m finished editing my manuscript?

When you’re so sick of the project you can’t look at it anymore.

When it’s due!

When it’s polished and done. This answer came from Mike Nappa, chief agent and found at Nappaland Literary Agency. He practically begged the audience not to save edits for agents and editors. Here was his advice for a 4-step editing process:

  1. 1st edit: Write chapter 1. The next time you write, edit chapter 1, then write chapter 2. And so on.
  2. 2nd edit: Edit the book from start to finish on your computer.
  3. 3rd edit: Print out the manuscript and edit by hand.
  4. 4th edit: Print out the updated manuscript and read the story word for word out loud.

After that, per Mick Silva, editor, you’re ready to get feedback from a critique group.

How do you stay motivated when you’re first starting out?

Join a critique group for motivation, encouragement and support. Speak the truth in love. As Christians, we want to be too nice in our critique groups.  Remember that: “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Proverbs 27:6

Go to writing conferences.

Find a mentor.

The first time you get something that legitimizes your work – an award, a grant, winning a writing contest.

Read the Writer’s Guide (not the Christian version). It has a lot of helps and how-to’s at the beginning.

Is there a certain book that influenced you?

Writing for Story: Craft Secrets of Dramatic Nonfiction by Jon Franklin

The Christian Writer’s Market Guide – 2012 by Jerry B. Jenkins (Sally Stuart recently passed this project on to Jerry B. Jenkins)

And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss. This recommendation was from Kathi Macias. She read it in the second grade, and it was then that she learned the magic of words and what they can do to a heart.

Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott*

The Train-of-Thought Writing Method by Kathi Macias

The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers by John Gardner

Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell*

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg*

Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee

*Of these books, only three are in my writer’s library. I waited to hear someone say The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, to no avail.

The panel was a great way to introduce the faculty at the beginning of the conference. Clearly a lot of them know each other or have heard of one another. Publishing is a small world and their banter and passion for their work just made me happy to be in the same room with them. Sappy, I know. I’m just in love with writing. Can’t help it.

Next post:  Tough Skin Critique session, where my first page was anonymously critiqued to the group by Andy Meisenheimer.

All posts from the OC Christian Writers Conference 2012:

 

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