When I first began to write, I made many mistakes, and I will undoubtedly continue to make more mistakes; so, I gather knowledge and teach myself, to try to prevent those mistakes. There are, however, times when along that sometimes-daunting path of writing that I need help. Friends and family, although well intentioned, are subjective with my writing; therefore, I need the help of an editor.
One of the mistakes I made when I wrote my first story was not seeking out the right editor.
I have comprised a list of what I consider to be a right editor.
An editor that is like-minded
Editors differ and so do their tastes. I had one editor who had a very different idea of the direction of my book. That is not to say, the idea was bad, but it did not match mine. Of course, there are always going to be areas where I don’t agree with my editor but there must be a general agreement on the vision of the book.
A reliable editor
I can have the most skilled and educated editor, but if he/she is unreliable, that will halt my headway and results. Even a contract, if not adhered to, is useless. An editor must be reliable. However, having said that, I also have an obligation as a writer to be reliable, by keeping to my scheduled appointments, deadlines, and payments.
An editor with excellent credentials
An editor needs to be a master in his field. I wanted an editor that knows far more than I do, one that can help improve not just my novel but make me a better writer.
“The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself.” – Edward Bulwer-Lytton
A well established editor
An editor needs to be well established and have worked in the industry many years, one who knows the ins and outs and has ties that I, as a writer, may not have. I have learned that connections are essential to success.
Knowing what I wanted in an editor, how did I go about finding the right one?
Referrals are the best way to go to get a competent editor. Unfortunately, I had no one close to give me a referral nor did I personally know any editors, so I went to the best to find the best. I took books that I had enjoyed reading and looked to see who edited them. From that list, I picked out one and contacted him.
His employment with a publishing house was a conflict of interest in taking on freelance work, but he was kind enough to give me a referral.
Luck is always an essential ingredient in success
I was fortunate to find a great editor, but I also know that luck was involved. I contacted the referral and luckily, we connected well and he had an opening available. Being in the right place at the right time determines success.
Remember, you get what you pay for
I know that for outstanding service, you need to pay well. In life, you usually get what you pay for, and it is the same with a good editor. If you desire the best then be prepared to pay for it. I discovered a good editor is worth every penny.
I was fortunate to find a good editor for my novel. He has not only helped me to improve my book and my writing but has become my mentor. Thank you, Pat Lobrutto!
Pat is an editorial consultant that has been editing for over 30 years, and in my opinion is one of the best. – www.lobrutto.com
Everywhere you look, sadly, there is some form of security to protect our valuables. Alarms and motion detectors for the home, anti-auto theft devices for vehicles, heavy duty locks for bikes, safes for money and valuables, passwords and encryption to protect data, and the list goes on and on.
Computer and Network Security
I wonder if there is anything of value nowadays that doesn’t get secured?
Regrettably not unless you’re asking to part with it.
Because of high theft, we have become a locked up, secured, and highly protected society. Anything valuable must have security to protect it.
So what do I use to protect my writing?
My hard-earned labor of love gets only the best of security from my trusted Iron Key.
The World's Most Secure Flash Drive
What’s an Iron Key?
It’s a type of heavy-duty memory key that travels with me wherever I go, protecting all my written stories. It’s the world’s most secure flash drive with military-grade encryption. Comes with a secure private browser that protects your password when online and cannot be disabled by worms, viruses or other malware.
I accidently put it to the test when I used my son’s infected laptop. Although I ignorantly worked on the laptop for a number of hours, unaware it had a virus, nothing on my key was compromised. Phew!
Should I lose my key, ten incorrect passwords tries will literally disintegrate the data, meaning no trace of recovery and insuring my work doesn’t get into dishonest hands. As well, a rugged, tamper-resistant, waterproof, metal casing that protects against physical damage should I accidently subject it to the elements.
For Backing Up and Storing Files
Of course, in addition, all my writing is backed up to a secure hosting service like Drop Box and a personal hard drive. Unfortunately, once my stories are published or distributed, the protection is minimal. Plagiarism is a thriving industry, but at least, I have the peace of mind of having it under lock and key until it reaches my readers.
Awhile back, I began to practice my, “Motto of the Month”, to help develop, motivate, and improve myself in all facets of my life.
What is my “Motto of the Month?”
At the beginning of every month, I come up with a motto that I incorporate faithfully for that month.
Why for a month?
Because I learned that, it takes at least three weeks to break bad habits.
When I first started using a rule to live by each month, it had been strictly for my writing practices, but I later incorporated it to encompass the rest of my tasks.
One motto that I used was something that I had always impressed upon my children to do: Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability.
I was already doing my writing to the best of my ability, but what about my other tasks.
Tasks you enjoy come easily; the ones you dislike are the ones that need dedication.
By everything, I meant every task like doing errands, cleaning, laundry (which I absolutely hate), grocery shopping, telephone calls, flossing teeth, planning dinner, taking out garbage, car washing, working-out, and so forth. You get the idea. No matter what the task, I would do it to the best of my ability.
It’s amazing when you start to analyze each task you take-to-hand, how much improvement can be added if you do it to the best of your ability. I have to admit that I found it sad how many of my mundane and disliked tasks were not completed to the standard I was capable of doing them.
Doing everything with
can enormously enhance your life and the life of others. Surprisingly, it doesn’t even take that much more time to do things to the best of your ability; in fact, I found it often saved me time in the long run. I didn’t need to redo or finishing doing something that was only partly or incorrectly done.
What it did require was mental energy, the willingness to do it to my best standards.
After applying my “Motto of the Month” for a whole month, it started to become automatic. I have never looked at a task the same again. I do my jobs with pride and have a great sense of satisfaction knowing I did it to the best I was capable of doing it.
I highly recommend you try this motto, everything you do, do to the best of your ability, and see the phenomenal results you get. I assure you, your life we be enormously improved.
I often get the question, “Are your characters based on real people?”
My answer is yes and no.
To answer the question properly, I need to tell you how I develop my characters.
When I see a person who does something, or says something that grabs my attention in a big way, I begin to make him/her into a story character. Of course, when I’m finished with my story character, he/she is no longer remotely close to the person who caught my attention in the first place. However, the substance of that person was the first building blocks for creating my story character, so I like to think that a part of my story character is real.
An alternative book cover for The Alkahest
Not all my story characters are created this way. Some are a conglomeration of traits gathered from many personality types to produce the right story character for the role.
I would never use a real person in my stories because real people are boring in fiction. Story characters must be many times exaggerated and then some. They must be grander than life. Having said that, story characters are more reasonable in what they say or do. They have to be for the reader to understand them. In real life, people do irrational things, and we don’t understand why. In fiction, the reader understands why story characters do the things they do. They need to for the story to make sense to them.
“The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.” – Tom Clancy
That is the great thing about fiction and one of the main reasons that I love to write fiction – it’s different than life, more exaggerated than life is and far more versatile. My characters can do so much more, be so much more, and change so much faster than in real life.
I read and write fiction to escape everyday life. Real life people have their moments, but in fiction, the story characters, by far, outshine reality in a grandiose way.