Catching My Breath and Moving Forward

Writing

It’s July, people! Where did June go? I learned so much from my writing conference the other week and met some really awesome new friends, but, oy!, I’m still catching up. Alas, we must move forward. Time marches on, as they say.

I talked with a friend the other day whom had also just returned from TWO conferences (No clue how she managed that.) and we agreed that it’s always a mix of 1) Catching up on “normal” life activities and 2) Processing all we’ve learned during our time away.

In fact, I was following up with her because I’m working on this nonfiction book geared toward negative thinkers and how we can use God’s words to refute the lies we tell ourselves. After speaking to a woman at conference, I wanted to get my friend’s take on it. The woman at conference seemed to think my book was ready to go – and that thought petrified me. I realized I was no where near ready to publish, but thought I better get the perspective of someone I know and respect and who has been through the traditional publishing process with a similar book. Our chat not only encouraged me, but continues to spur me forward. The book is NOT done, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do some things to start a buzz about it.

So, I’m working on my first ever book proposal and rewriting some of the book. I realized that the chapters are not “meaty” enough so I’ll be reworking some of them, combining some and writing more. It seems now like I truly have a foothold so I’m anxious to keep going. Your prayers are, as always, appreciated.

I’m working hard on setting goals for myself and striving to achieve them and here’s a few other things in the works:

  • At conference, I co-taught a workshop on “Essentials of Writing a Good Devotion” with my friend and mentor. We had good feedback and it stirred my teaching juices. SO, I just sent in my first submission to teach a different class at a one day conference in Virginia. I’ll also be working on some other workshop ideas to present to a few other local conferences.
  • Along with working on my nonfiction book, I’ve kind of come up with a new idea for a fiction book. It’ll be humorous – something I haven’t really written before. I’m hoping to get it done in a year’s time and self-publish it as I did my other novels.
  • The editing part of my work continues to ebb and flow. I have made a few new contacts and even started working with some new clients. I LOVE my long-term clients and wouldn’t give them up for the world, but it’s always exciting to get new writers working with me, too. In the end, it’s all about me getting to read a bunch of new writers and books before anyone else does and that makes me feel special. PLUS, I can help writers to hone their work so writers will flock to buy their books. I want everyone to succeed!

As we traverse into another week, in another month, that much closer to the dreaded winter (ugh), I’m determined to keep moving forward just as the time and the calendar does. It might not be huge strides I’m making, but it’s at least baby steps.

God bless and Happy Monday!

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If you liked this post, or others, please share with your friends. Also, I LOVE comments so please feel free to comment below and share what goals you’re trying to achieve!

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The Next Steps To Take After Writing Your Book

Writing

I follow a blog called “Dixie Helps Writers” which is a helpful blog that centers on the editing process of your book. I agree with a lot that Dixie has to say. One of her recent posts, “Don’t Beat Up Your Editors” is not only aptly titled, but also a plethora of helpful information you should consider before seeking out an editor for your manuscript.

However, I wanted to touch base on a few minor things I thought Dixie didn’t cover in this post.

In the beginning of her post, Dixie tells a story about an author who went to an editor and she said of the editor: “All he did for me was fix typos and grammar mistakes.”

I agree with Dixie. That is NOT a good reason to beat up your editor. You should be thankful if an editor corrects your typos and grammar! It’s what some of us are born to do! No author can possibly correct every issue within their manuscript. There is always something that is missed. However, if you wanted more feedback about your book, then you need to fix some of those things before sending the book off to an editor.

Dixie’s post goes on to offer four things you should do before sending your work off to an editor. I like her list – you should read it – but it’s missing a few things.

  1. She says to let the book sit for awhile (I agree) and then to read it as a reader. I don’t think that’s realistic. If you’ve spent any amount of time with this manuscript, you will not be able to truly read it as an unbiased reader would. If this book took you more than a month to write, you’ll need at least two months or more to distance yourself – if you ever can. But, yes, do distance yourself. And then, find some way to hear it read out loud. If you don’t have someone you can get to read it to you (my critique group reads sections of manuscripts out loud during our meetings), let the computer do it. Most writing software programs (like Word) have features that will read your text back to you. It isn’t perfect, but by listening to your words instead of reading your words, you might hear something you missed. (This helped me when I wrote my two books. I was TOO close and simply couldn’t read it again – even after having let one manuscript sit for more than a year! But the computer reading helped me fix several mistakes.)
  2. Dixie also suggests using guides for self-editing. I agree with that as well. Check out my post “Get Your Novel Edited for Less” that gives a few helpful tips about self-editing. HOWEVER, all the self-editing in the world doesn’t replace a good editor, but it will help to cut down the costs and aggravations.
  3. She also suggests beta readers. I cannot agree more with this statement as well, but I want to clarify what a good beta reader should be. Dixie is right – your mom, sister, best friend or spouse is NOT a good beta reader. I don’t care if they each have a PhD in writing. To some extent they cannot separate your possibly inferior writing from you as their loved one.

A good beta reader should be:

  • Someone who is an avid reader of the type of book you’ve written. If you write Romance, find someone who reads Romance.
  • Someone who has good grammar. If you email this beta reader and they don’t use punctuation or correct grammar in their reply – they won’t notice it in your work, either. They might be good for plot holes, but not line edits.
  • Someone who is willing to give of their time (perhaps in exchange for a small token – like a free book or a small gift card) for an honest and thorough review. “It’s a great book!” is not how a beta reader should respond to you. Most of the beta readers I’ve used offer me at least a one-page, detailed synopsis of what they liked and disliked about the book as well as things they would change to make the book a better read. I often use other writers as my beta readers. They know the way a book should flow and they can spot the errors, too.

It takes a lot to write a book. Some people work on their manuscripts for years and years. I’m astounded that some of these same people think it should only take a few days to edit it. No one is perfect. You cannot expect to write a completely enthralling novel with not a single mistake right out of the gate. J.K. Rowlings didn’t. Stephen King doesn’t. They have editors, beta readers and all the tools of the trade at their fingertips and they still, sometimes, make mistakes.

And it’s okay. Do the best you can do with the tips Dixie and I are providing and, who knows? You might have a bestseller on your hands!

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Looking for a beta reader or editor? Contact me today and let’s get started!

Judge Not, But We’re Judging

Writing

One of the jobs I’ve taken on in the last two years is that of a writing contest judge. It’s been a fun, challenging and personal growth type of assignment. When I first started judging entries, I found it was sometimes hard to walk that thin line between being constructive and being a bit too harsh. I found this particularly hard if I didn’t personally like the entry I was judging. But, still, I tried my best to point out the good and bad about each entry and most of my scores tended to be in the middle arena. I felt like I’d done a service to the authors in the contest.

However, when I received my scores back after my first year of judging, I was shocked to see that many authors felt I had been a bit too harsh in my comments. It made me take a step back and look over the entries I had submitted to see what the authors might be seeing. When the contest moderator gave me additional feedback (and a second chance), I did my best to listen to her (honest, yet a bit reprimanding) comments and I am now striving to do better with this year’s entries.

As an editor, it’s my job to give feedback in a constructive way. I never, ever want to deter anyone from writing with any harsh or out-of-line comments. Their feedback highlighted a bit of editorial flaws that I had to work on. It’s one of the reasons I signed back up to be a judge again this year.

You see, I’ve found that editing people’s words can be a rewarding process for both me and for my authors. I really only want to hone a writer’s words in a way that can be pleasing for the reader and profitable for the author. But if I speak a harsh word or truly JUDGE someone’s work in a way that isn’t constructive to the writer, how can either of us come together in a way that is cohesive?

As I continue my Bible study to work on my non fiction book, I’ve found numerous verses about taming the tongue and offering graceful words to our fellow man. Here are just a few:

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

(PS – Proverbs has MANY verses about the tongue. A good place to start instruction for this problem.)

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

And, finally, a word from the Book of James that gives me hope:

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. James 3:1-2

You see, we all stumble. I stumbled. I’m far from perfect. But it is the daily taking up of our imperfections to try and strive for what God wants from us – to be more like Him each and every day. Will we ever succeed? No. Being perfect is an unattainable goal – only God is perfect. But if we strive to learn and grow from our mistakes, we can show the world what it means to be a God-fearing Christian who is seeking to exhibit the fruits of the spirit.

God bless and have a very blessed weekend.

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If you’re interested in learning about the writing contest, click here.

 

 

 

Expansion on the Horizon

Life and Happiness, Writing

Well, we’re almost at the halfway mark of the year and I’m contemplating my freelance business once again. It’s not taken off as I’d hoped, but I’ve made good progress and accomplished a lot of goals. I’m using each day to try and further my brand by teaching myself new things. I learned how to use MailChimp this year to start periodic newsletters. (If you’d like to sign up for my newsletter – I send one RARELY, but sometimes there is free stuff – click here.) And I’ve been doing work that is outside my normal “editing” work hat.

So here are a few new things I’m adding to my repertoire.

  1. Basic websites. Obviously, I run and maintain my own website, but I’ve also designed and set up WordPress sites for friends and other organizations. Here are the ones I’ve either set up and/or maintain: Watsontown Baptist ChurchSt. Davids Christian Writers’ ConferenceEmmy’s Heart, and A Legacy Worth Leaving. As you can see, these range from the free WP site to paid ones involving plugins and a variety of widgets. If I haven’t used it yet, I teach myself how to do it.
  2. Ebook formatting. (Through CreateSpace) I set up and published my own ebook this year and have helped several friends to also do so. I’ll be working with one of my clients to also format his non fiction book this year, too. Let me help you format your book for self publishing and you just focus on the writing.
  3. Workshops. I’ll be co-teaching a workshop at St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference next month on devotion writing. I’m looking at expanding my workshop portfolio to include some about blogging, websites, and editing. I’m currently outlining each and looking for conferences and speaking engagements. If you know of someone who would benefit from or be interested one of my workshops, please let me know.

So, once again, I’m continuously trying to expand my horizons and keep this freelancing business afloat. There is a lot of aspects to working from home that I love and I simply don’t want to give it up.

If you or anyone you know would be interested in any of my services, please send me a message and I’d be happy to discuss options.

 

Exciting News!

Writing

I am so excited to announce the launch of K.M. Hodge’s third book in her Syndicate-born Trilogy. True Blue Son is the most thrilling and suspenseful book yet. And I can say that because I helped edit ALL THREE! I grew to love these characters and this story. I’m confident you will too. (Please be advised: This is a suspense thriller series. There is sometimes severe language and elicit scenes.)

True Blue Son:
Dr. Zander Ride grew up a son of The Syndicate, his fate as a career criminal all but sealed. With the help of his mother, he escaped a life of crime…until the night The Syndicate shot his mother in cold blood.

Zander soon finds refuge in the hands of his mother’s hacktivist group, who want his help bringing down the notorious group once and for all. But it comes with a cost. Managed by a different leader and guided by a new deadly mission, the hacktivists force Zander to confront the truth about his parents and the sacrifices they made for the cause.

In the end, Zander must decide how far he’s willing to go and what he’s willing to sacrifice. Can a child born of The Syndicate bring it all down, or will he be another pointless sacrifice in their struggle for money and power?

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Are you new to the series? You can get a FREE sample of the award winning first book in the series, Red on the Run from April 27-29. If you pick up an eBook copy of Red on the Run you will get the first five chapters of Black and White Truth for FREE too! You can also check out the fun Facebook Live video the author did for the second book. (Be advised it does contain spoilers for the first book.) 

The Syndicate-born Trilogy:  

K.M. Hodge does a great job of creating a world of suspense and romance that sucks you in.” – Five Star Amazon Reviewer

The Syndicate-born Trilogy takes readers into the deep underbelly of crime and corruption where men and women seek power by any means necessary. Her flawed and relatable characters will stick with you well after you finish the books. The books take you on an emotional roller coaster as the characters go through heart wrenching tragedies and triumphant wins wins. You might need a box of tissues for this series. Grab your FREE sample now or get your FREE copy of the eBook April 27-29.

GRAB YOUR COPY TODAY: (Available for FREE on Kindle Unlimited)
Red on the Run
Black and White Truth
True Blue Son

Author Bio:

K.M. Hodge grew up in Detroit, where she spent most of her free time weaving wild tales to spook her friends and family. These days, she lives in Texas with her husband and two energetic boys and once again enjoys writing tales of suspense and intrigue that keep her readers up all night. Her stories, which focus on women’s issues, friendship, addiction, regrets and second chances, will stay with you long after you finish them. When she isn’t writing or being an agent of social change, she reads Independent graphic novels, watches old X-files episodes, streams Detroit Tigers games and binges on Netflix with her husband. She enjoys hearing from her readers, so don’t be shy about dropping her a line.

* K.M. Hodge was awarded the winter of 2016 Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for The Syndicate-born Trilogy book #1, Red on the Run.

You can sign up for new release emails and get a FREE gift from K.M. Hodge here: www.kmhodge.com/subscribe

Website: www.kmhodge.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/kmhodgeauthor
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kmhodgeauthor

 

Mini Post Monday – newsletters and book reviews

Life and Happiness, Writing

Here it is Monday again. And April. And almost Easter time. Where did March go? Can anyone tell me?

The next several months are going to be a whirlwind of activity for me, so my blogs might be shorter than usual. Note that I strive to still get my blog out twice a week, even when I’m grieving, sick or have really nothing to say. My readers – you lovely, beautiful people – have been so encouraging through almost every keynote in my life that I just keep writing. You all inspire me to do so.

One item I want to get out right off the bat is this: If you haven’t already signed up to get my newsletter, you should do so. I’ve been super slack about getting one out – but that’s good news for you because it means I don’t clog up your inbox with mundane stuff. If you’re already on my list, you received a FREE copy of my latest novella, Summer’s Refrain a few weeks ago. If you’re not on my list…you missed out! Now don’t you want to sign up?? It’s easy to do so – just click here, fill out the info and you’re set. I promise (hand over heart) to never sell your email or utilize it for ill will.

If you ARE on my list and DID receive your free copy of Summer’s Refrain, can you PLEASE go here and leave me a review? The more reviews I receive, the better my book does and I would be ever so grateful. Here is what a few people are already saying about it:

Finally, because I am a good reader/reviewer, I want to suggest two books to you that I’ve recently read for my DAR book club. America’s First Daughter is written from the perspective of Patsy Jefferson – Thomas Jefferson’s daughter. It’s historical fiction (which means some liberties have been taken) and it’s a fascinating and compelling book to read. In this retelling of Thomas J’s life, we see that although he was a Founding Father, he still was a man, a husband and a father and dealt with a lot of emotions that come with being those things. I really think you’ll love it.

We just finished The Widow’s War by Sally Gunning. Wow. What an eye opening book! This one is set in Colonial Cape Cod and centers around Lyddie Berry after the death of her beloved whaler husband, Edward. Lyddie soon learns what it’s like to be a widow in this colonial period – I’ll give you a hint, there aren’t many “perks” for a widowed woman. But Widow Berry fights back against the religious and societal norms of her day. What she is able to accomplish will astound you and you’ll be cheering her on by the end. Our book club members said they felt empowered because of her story.

I hope you check out both and don’t forget to leave reviews for books you read! Authors spend a lot of time and money to put out quality books that you can read and enjoy – all you need to do is pay it forward by leaving a quick review. Authors will love you for it!

Happy Monday and God bless!

Mini Post Monday

God, Life and Happiness, Writing

This is going to be super short Mini Post Monday because…

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!

I’m off getting myself a manicure this morning and then probably going to hit up the McD’s for a Shamrock Shake. (Don’t tell me about the sugar and the calories – it’s my birthday and I’ll work it off later. I promise.)

Related image

Better yet – go to Amazon, buy my books, read them and then review them. Best present EVER.

I did want to give one update about my latest church hurt post (Thank you to everyone who commented in some way about that post. It’s both good and bad to know I’m not alone. As a Church – we need to do better. But we are all sinners and all fallen, so we also have to give each other some grace and mercy, too.)

But what I wanted to tell you is this: The Sunday after my post, our pastor got ill and had to call in sick. It’s the first time in awhile that’s happened and we had to scramble a bit. The good news is, we had a woman step up right away to say she’d give a short sermon, someone else pitched in for children’s church duties and the Sunday school class kind of “winged it.” Our choir helped lead singing and it went off without a hitch. It encouraged me so much to see our church cooperate and come together in this way. There is always good there – it just is sometimes harder to see.

Also, I think my original post has spurred some of us to take action. Please keep praying for our church and I pray you and your church are synching, loving and working together, too.

So now…on to the birthday celebrations.

Want to give me an awesome gift? Go to Amazon, buy one (or two) of my books, read it and then leave a review. It would mean so much more to me than any other gift and, guess what? My books are both under $3 (ebook versions). I think that’s a pretty good deal for you, if you ask me. Simply click the bird below to tweet out a sweet birthday message to your friends for me. Much love!

Tweet: You need to buy this author's books! So awesome! https://ctt.ec/lS3eY+

A Quick Look At Scrivener

Editing Advice, Writing

If you’re a writer, you’ve probably heard of the program Scrivener. I hesitated to purchase it for a long time because I didn’t want to put out the money for it. But I’m here to tell you – it’s worth it.

I’m only just beginning in my use of Scrivener, but I’m going to highlight a few things that I love about the program so you can get a general idea if it’d be right for you. I am not getting any kind of kickback for this, I just want to share my knowledge and help my fellow writers make good, informed decisions.

If you’re a “pantser” like me – which means you don’t do any plotting of your novels, you simply write – then you’ll like the chapters feature – see my circle below.

scrivener1

When I originally began to write my novel, What You Think You Know, I simply started a Word document and began typing. But as the text grew in length, I realized that it was difficult to scroll around to the different scenes when I wanted to make changes. Let’s face it, a book is about 50,000 words MINIMUM. That’s a lot of text to keep track of. With the chapter breakouts, you can jump around as needed without hours of scrolling for the right section. It cut my editing time in half – or more. In addition, it’s easier to move scenes around – simply drag that file to a different section. Easy peasy.

The chapter files also help when you’re getting bits and pieces edited by your critique group. What I did was print out one chapter at a time and then, once they’d edited it, I’d make changes and mark it as “edited” so I knew it had already been looked at. This helped me be consistent with the changes as well as have each section read by my critique group in the right order with no repeats.

Another thing I love is the Project Targets feature. See here:

scrivenertarget

When you begin your project, you can set up how many words you think it’ll be and set a daily target for yourself. This target is for my non-fiction book I’m working on. When I wrote my YA novel, this really helped keep me on track especially towards the end. It’s an easy way to keep yourself motivated. Towards the end of my novel, I really wanted to get to that 50,000 mark and this little device made it easy to see how much progress I was making.

If you are a plotter, Scrivener has a ton of features to help with that, too, including places for notes, pictures, ideas, background info and a place to outline. At the end, the compile feature puts everything you choose into a lovely and easy-to-use Word document that you can format for printing or ebook conversion. Also, you can have multiple projects going on at once – I have two currently in progress – and it saves the files neatly into a folder on your computer that you can easily back up into any other program like DropBox or the cloud.

In the end, I will never write anything longer than 5,000 words without Scrivener. It has helped me to organize and motivate. I know I need to utilize more of its features, but I’m still learning. If you already use Scrivener – what’s your favorite feature?

You can download the program here. And YouTube has a lot of great tutorials to get you started. Have fun and keep writing!

The Importance of Beta Readers

Editing Advice, Writing

My editing work has hit one of the usual lulls so I’ve been taking this time to work on my own writing. Last week, I sent out the novella I’ve been working on to a few beta readers. We’ve discussed beta readers on here before, but I want to reiterate how important it is to have people who will read your work before you actually get it out into the world.

You might think since I’m an editor that my writing is perfection on every level. You’d be wrong. And it’s why I am an editor – because I know that when we write, we often do not truly see our words with fresh eyes. We use crutch words. We gloss over things in our stories because we just assume our reader will be aligned with the voices in our heads.

Guess what? They aren’t.

For instance, I have a problem with ellipses. (Hi, my name is Sue. I’m an ellipses junky.) Every time I hear a pause in my head…I add ellipses. (See what I did there? That should have been a comma.) I can catch it quite easily in other’s works, but, apparently, not my own.

After I’d written What You Think You Know and several beta readers pointed out my ellipses addiction, I went over my new novella with a fine-toothed comb. Or so I thought. When not one, but TWO beta readers commented on my over usage of those pesky dots, I realized I was not yet over the hump. So I went back through it again and removed almost all of them. (They are actual correct uses for ellipses. Those I kept in.)

My point here is this: beta readers, editors and pre-order readers are VERY important to your writing. Not only are these folks usually good for free feedback, but they also help you to hone your writing skills.

(FYI – Most of my beta readers are also writers so I often exchange their feedback for my editing services. If you have something to give in return – I recommend it. This helps to create professional and lasting relationships. Also, if you have writer friends – ASK THEM FIRST. They will often give you more feedback than you imagined simply because, as writers, we don’t want to be associated in any way with sub-par stuff. Plus, we know the “writing rules.”)

In the end, I know my novella will be sharper, more focused and better defined thanks to my beta readers. Plus, I’ve gained a few new friends this way and look forward to providing something back to them in return.

This week try and connect with some other writers or people in your field. Can you do a favor for someone in exchange for something in return (or even for free)? #spreadthelove

 

Get Your Novel Edited for Less

Editing Advice, Writing

As an editor, I am astounded at the amount of work I receive that includes so many blatant, simple-to-fix errors. And I’m usually further confounded by these same writers who tell me, “I don’t have a lot of money to spend on editing.” I think the solution, many times, is simple: edit it yourself first!

There are often mistakes that jump off the page to me, but, I’m assuming, they don’t always to the author. So here are three tips to help you spot the issues in your own work and one tip about using others for help – before you spend any money.

Check the timeline throughout the book.
If the narration has moved into winter, make sure your characters are dressed appropriately. When they leave the house there should be snow, or ice, or, at the very least, cold temps. The same goes for summer. I’ve seen too many characters taking off coats in hot southern climates – don’t do it!

In addition, make sure characters’ ages match once another. This is especially true if your book does a bit of time hopping. Maybe the beginning is set when the main character is young and then moves on to when he/she is older. Guess what? Everyone else ages, too. (Unless this is some weird Sci Fi book where they don’t, of course.) Days of the week can be much more hard to determine as a book often doesn’t even mention it. However, if you have kids going to school, you’ll need to pay attention to weekend time when they wouldn’t go.

Here’s another timeline kind of issue. The main character has just closed his eyes, yet just two sentences later he sees his friend sit down and the scowl on the face of another friend. His eyes are closed! He can’t see anything! Think about what your characters are doing. See the scene in your mind – your readers will.

Watch Your POV 
Point of view is one of the most disregarded writing structures with today’s writers. Yes, yes, I know – many people hop around. It’s a thing. However, for me (and many, many other editors and the Chicago Manual of Style) it is imperative to give your readers some kind of indication as to when you’re switching POVs. Here is a good example:

Bob sighed and sipped his lemonade, making his own mouth pucker. “God, that’s awful.”
***
Janice fidgeted with the kitchen towel as she watched the men talk. Their fight earlier worried her.

By using the three asterisks, it shows the reader that something has changed. In this case, the POV. You can also use chapters to change POV. But without the asterisk above, the reader is forced to be in Bob’s head one minute and Janice’s the next without any kind of warning. Also, watch for subtle POV changes. If Bob is our main character and we’re typically in his head throughout the story, but then the text does this: “Bob looked at Mary. She was nervous and thoughts rushed through her head.” Bob can’t know that Mary is nervous – she’d had to be showing some outward signs of it: nail biting, twisting her hair, biting her lip. And he also cannot know that thoughts are rushing through her mind (Again, unless he’s some kind of X-men and he has that kind of power). Be careful of this kind of POV trickery.

Catch Your Crutch Words
Look for words such as that, just, very, -ly words, was, were, and any word that you use too much of. My husband likes the word “ultimately” in his doctorate papers. I use “that” and “just” a LOT. Some people’s characters roll their eyes constantly. I had one author whose characters’ eyebrows “shot up their head” in almost every scene – it made me crazy! And it will your reader, too. Enough for them to pick down your book and pick up another.

If you can catch these “crutch” words in your own writing before you send it off to your editor – it’ll mean less time spent pointing them out to you. If you see you have a favorite word or phrase, simply do a search in Word by clicking “Ctrl” and “F” together. This will bring up a search box that you can put in the words you think you’ve overused. Then simply change them, rearrange and make your writing tighter.

BONUS TIP: Have someone read your work before sending it to the editor
This doesn’t mean have your mother, best friend or significant other read your work. They will think it’s great no matter how badly you’ve written it. Get into a group that will do a “beta read” for you. Sometimes people do this in exchange for other beta reads – which means you’ll read their book and point out their timeline, crutch words and POV issues to them. Or, perhaps, it means you will give them a free copy of your book for their efforts. You can find beta readers in a plethora of online Facebook writing groups or find a local critique group in your hometown.

Once you’ve edited out the POV, timeline and crutch words issues, plus have had at least two other people (ideally, someone you don’t know personally) read your novel, you’re ready to find your editor. I’m guessing that, as a result of your diligent work in these areas, you will spend much less than you would had you not done these things. In the end, your editor, and your wallet, will thank you.

SPECIAL OFFER: Send me the first two pages of your manuscript (no more than 1,000 words) and I’ll point out if you have any of these errors FOR FREE. Use the Contact Sue page to get in touch!