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Irene Eng
12-26-2018, 08:34 AM
A memoir - a small step

I think I've finished my 2nd draft of the memoir, finally. It's been a few years since I first started.
As a green tomato, I can always find something to change whenever I re-read a paragraph, a section or a chapter.
My next step is looking for an editor ...

Happy holidays

Lolly12
12-26-2018, 03:26 PM
You have to tell yourself you've gone as far as you can with that particular work, and some of us never get to that point. The beta readers may tell you that it feels finished properly or that it's does not, that's helpful as they are not involved as you are.

Irene Eng
12-26-2018, 04:38 PM
Thanks Lolly.
Beta readers come before or after the editor?

Lolly12
12-26-2018, 05:14 PM
Thanks Lolly.
Beta readers come before or after the editor?


I had someone operating with me in an editorial capacity - though she might not call it that - from the third draft. I didn't really give it to beta readers till further along than that.

My process may not be like yours. I don't edit at all first draft and for someome who plots and plans carefully, it may look like a unreadable shambles. So it's really up to you where you think you are and at what point you need fresh eyes.

Chris P
12-26-2018, 05:46 PM
I've just kind of known when I was done writing. There was a point of diminishing returns where I was changing stuff just to change stuff, or changing stuff I didn't agree with because I imagined what critics might say. Time to stop then.

As for a beta, my personal preference is to use one before hiring an editor (more in a moment; particularly if you are thinking of paying an editor). Editors are expensive, while betas are free, and I would be really reluctant to change anything a paid editor recommended based on free beta advice. It would just need to be edited again. Also, a beta is likely to catch many things an editor will, although this isn't absolute by any means.

I would also ask why you need an editor? If you are self-publishing, you need an editor. If you are going the commercial publishing route, the publisher will assign you an editor as part of their investment in the book (any why you are only getting a much lower percentage royalty versus self-publishing!). I agree it's a catch-22; the book need to be good enough for a publisher to take it on, but some books won't be good enough until they're edited. My so far only commercially published book wasn't edited before the publisher picked it up, and very few people here at AW say that editing before submission helped them.

Lolly12
12-26-2018, 05:57 PM
I've just kind of known when I was done writing. There was a point of diminishing returns where I was changing stuff just to change stuff, or changing stuff I didn't agree with because I imagined what critics might say. Time to stop then.

As for a beta, my personal preference is to use one before hiring an editor (more in a moment; particularly if you are thinking of paying an editor). Editors are expensive, while betas are free, and I would be really reluctant to change anything a paid editor recommended based on free beta advice. It would just need to be edited again. Also, a beta is likely to catch many things an editor will, although this isn't absolute by any means.

I would also ask why you need an editor? If you are self-publishing, you need an editor. If you are going the commercial publishing route, the publisher will assign you an editor as part of their investment in the book (any why you are only getting a much lower percentage royalty versus self-publishing!). I agree it's a catch-22; the book need to be good enough for a publisher to take it on, but some books won't be good enough until they're edited. My so far only commercially published book wasn't edited before the publisher picked it up, and very few people here at AW say that editing before submission helped them.


To add to this, I never paid for editorial help. So it wasn't a difficult choice to go and get it.

Irene Eng
12-26-2018, 06:58 PM
Thank you Lolly and Chris

I thought everyone pays an editor (if not editors), to better their work... Guess I just answered my own question. I'm thinking to publish with Amazon, and would feel More confident with an editor since English isn't my native tongue. I write out of being compelled from my research.

Lately I joined a small writing group and the leader suggests me to go agent/publisher route, which I'm still Debating.

Chris P
12-26-2018, 07:41 PM
If you are self-publishing with Amazon, you definitely need an editor. I recently gave up reading a decently-selling but apparently unedited Amazon novel. One of the character's names was spelled differently on successive paragraphs, among many, many other errors. Self-publishing does not have a lower bar for technical excellence, although some people still do try to pull the whole "it's self-published! Cut me some slack" arguement. I'm sure you know this already, but it's a frustratingly persistent cop out.

I'm in danger of speaking beyond my expertise here, but in self publishing you, or someone you hire, do everything a publishing house does. Editing (both structural and copy editing, as well as proofreading), cover design, marketing, publicity, etc. all fall on you in the role of the publisher. The good news is that many people have done this successfully, and will drop everything to help you out. It seems to be an incredibly supportive community.

Patty
12-26-2018, 08:33 PM
Heya Irene--

I'm an endless reviser, and wondered if I would ever reach the end. YES! You will reach a point where you know it is done.

For me, the bit about reaching a point where you are just changing things around is part of it, but I reached that point several drafts ago and was still unwilling to call it quits.

For me instead, the "I'm done" moment came when I felt that truly, at this point, I will learn and grow more on the next book than on this one. I've learned about as much as I can on this one. In other words, yes I am happy with this one, but more importantly, there's more learning/growth to be found on the next one.

I've hired a couple different editors for different purposes mostly because I view self-publishing as a great option.

Irene Eng
12-26-2018, 09:55 PM
Thanks Chris

My group leader did say that publishing on Amazon is work ... but it's an option, especially when I read how difficult it's to get an agent. Amazon books aren't as nicely produced. :Ssh:

Cop out, at least I won't do it or try to avoid. But each person is different. They may see that finishing/publishing a book supersedes the quality, or that is the quality they're satisfied with. Mental note: try to eliminate as many elementary mistakes as possible.

Irene Eng
12-26-2018, 10:06 PM
Heya Irene--


For me instead, the "I'm done" moment came when I felt that truly, at this point, I will learn and grow more on the next book than on this one. I've learned about as much as I can on this one. In other words, yes I am happy with this one, but more importantly, there's more learning/growth to be found on the next one.


Thanks Patty

So agree.

I feel I've reached a point on this book that I could feel a sense of relief, in a state of 'doneness' - that I'm not toooo sheepish to show it to others. And I'm sort of anxious to move on to the next project (in my present case, is actually going back to the book I've written ...), using the little experience I gained in 'finishing' this one.

Irene Eng
01-03-2019, 08:33 AM
Happy 2019.

Over the long weekend, I added 10 pages ...:cry: ...it'll never done.

Kinsman
01-04-2019, 05:45 PM
Hiya Irene, a few idea that may provoke some thought; and that's what it's about, right? I have used Beta Readers on my first book and I asked them to read strictly for content, just the story. Did it flow? Did it capture and hold their attention? I didn't even ask them to look at structure or provide line-by-line feedback, though a good Beta Reader will likely notice it if your structure falls apart because it'll disrupt how they read it. Editors (paid editors) provide the same thing, except it isn't free and some of them are good at identifying structure and grammar, but not looking at your content. I'd recommend using a Beta Reader(s) first, they'll help you identify glaring errors that you might overlook, being too close to your work. The edit can provide the final polish. My two cents...

Irene Eng
01-05-2019, 01:14 AM
Hiya Irene, a few idea that may provoke some thought; and that's what it's about, right? I have used Beta Readers on my first book and I asked them to read strictly for content, just the story. Did it flow? Did it capture and hold their attention? I didn't even ask them to look at structure or provide line-by-line feedback, though a good Beta Reader will likely notice it if your structure falls apart because it'll disrupt how they read it. Editors (paid editors) provide the same thing, except it isn't free and some of them are good at identifying structure and grammar, but not looking at your content. I'd recommend using a Beta Reader(s) first, they'll help you identify glaring errors that you might overlook, being too close to your work. The edit can provide the final polish. My two cents...
Thank you K .... now I'm looking for beta readers ...

Charke
01-09-2019, 09:14 AM
On the topic of finishing, I agree with the previous posts. I just sort of know. I figure it's a brain and biology thing and why novels end up the length they all end up 90 to 120 000 words. That just feels right. Of course the more you write the more you may find this number stretches. One of my books is 320 000 words but I chose that number because it's the length of one of Tolkien's books.

As for editing, well, I'm a broke writer doing editing, layout, art, web design and everything by myself right now. I go through my books a few times and then I run the book through a couple different spell checkers and listen to friends if they find any mistakes. But yeah, when I'm in a position to afford better spellchecking and art, it's a thing to do.

- Mark Charke

oceansoul
01-12-2019, 09:28 PM
I think there are stages of "done." Even with my published books, there are still things I look at years later and think "yep, could have written that differently."

My first stage of done is when I think the story hangs together well enough that I'm not embarrassed to show it to my CPs. After that, I rely on external validation to tell me when other people along the process think it's done, because I lose objectivity.

Irene Eng
01-12-2019, 11:27 PM
I think there are stages of "done." Even with my published books, there are still things I look at years later and think "yep, could have written that differently."

Would you go back and make the change for the next edition?

Irene Eng
01-12-2019, 11:33 PM
On the topic of finishing, I agree with the previous posts. I just sort of know. I figure it's a brain and biology thing and why novels end up the length they all end up 90 to 120 000 words. That just feels right. Of course the more you write the more you may find this number stretches. One of my books is 320 000 words but I chose that number because it's the length of one of Tolkien's books.

As for editing, well, I'm a broke writer doing editing, layout, art, web design and everything by myself right now. I go through my books a few times and then I run the book through a couple different spell checkers and listen to friends if they find any mistakes. But yeah, when I'm in a position to afford better spellchecking and art, it's a thing to do.

- Mark Charke
.. I've self-publishing in mind to begin with but seeing friends who have done it with great difficulty ... I kind of changed my mind. But then I'm running into the first hurdler - the query letter.

Patty
01-13-2019, 12:02 AM
Hi Irene,

Your ten page addition made me smile. Hang in there.

I take great comfort in authors with long careers, whose first books, in retrospect, are less polished and less developed than their later books. Seeing that adds to the sense of this being a journey, not one book, but a multi-book process. There are plenty of great writers in the world whose first book would look different if they wrote it now!

Irene Eng
01-13-2019, 12:30 AM
Hi Irene,

Your ten page addition made me smile. Hang in there.

I take great comfort in authors with long careers, whose first books, in retrospect, are less polished and less developed than their later books. Seeing that adds to the sense of this being a journey, not one book, but a multi-book process. There are plenty of great writers in the world whose first book would look different if they wrote it now!
Thank you so much Patty :Hug2:
This IS an unexpected and unplanned journey but I plan to stay on it.
Thank you for your encouragement! It means a great deal to me.