23 Ways to Control Your Attention to Succeed


control-your-attention

“23 Ways to Control Your Attention to Succeed” by Joan Y. Edwards

Giveaway details below the post.

Most of the information in this blog post came from a handout Copyright © 1988 from Bjorn Secher Achievement Systems in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1988. I’ve reworded some of it to make it more meaningful.

You are today where your attention has brought you.
 You will be tomorrow where your attention takes you.
You cannot escape the result of your attention.
Attention is your most vital tool…Bjorn Secher

Is your focus scattered with distractions? I’ve had a little trouble focusing my attention lately, too. So I thought I’d read over notes I saved from Bjorn Secher. He was an expert in focusing attention in the 1980s. Reading these ideas might help you focus your thinking and feelings to achieve your goals.

Thought is the key to your success — and thoughts start from a single source…your attention. For increased health, happiness, and success, a change in your attention is essential. In the following, review how your attention influences every moment of your life.

Write 3 of the following statements that appeal to you on a 3″x 5″ index card. Refer to it 10 times a day for a month. It will help to activate your self-awareness and thereby automatically instigate positive behavior changes. Attention is the flow of your thoughts, consciously or unconsciously, in one direction or another, either positive or negative.

  1. When you focus your full attention on something with your thoughts and your emotions, you give it strength, energy, and power. It automatically becomes your priority.
  2. What you relate and identify with becomes your reality, positive or negative, depending on the focus of your attention.
  3. Any road can become a scenic route, depending upon your attention.
  4. Your attention creates the way you perceive the world around you.
  5. The direction of your attention determines what you see, think, hear, and feel.
  6. In any given situation, two interpretations of the same situation exist. Your attention with its beliefs and emotions decides the outcome.
  7. You are not responsible for other people’s actions, but you are always accountable for your own reactions. Your reaction depends upon how well you control your attention.
  8. Control your attention and you control your destiny.
  9. No event, situation, or circumstance can influence your thinking or emotions before you allow your attention to dwell upon it.
  10. When you deliberately change the focus of your attention, it is the first step for a discovery of possibilities that have existed all along.
  11. Attention with its beliefs and emotions is the basis for all decisions.
  12. By changing your attention, you automatically change your mood and attitude.
  13. Depending upon your attention, the problem will appear as an opportunity or turn an opportunity into a problem.
  14. Changing your attention with its thinking and emotions is the beginning of challenging any belief that you assumed was true in the past.
  15. To loosen shackles of your negative assumptions, place your attention on the concept of possibility.
  16. There are always new possibilities, answers, solutions, and techniques for a person with creative, open-minded attention.
  17. Attention creates images — and images are life’s controlling mechanisms.
  18. When you change the focus of your attention, you enter a whole new world and ways to think and act.
  19. Your good intention gets the job started; your controlled attention finishes it.
  20. Commitment and attention are synonymous. It’s very difficult to have one without the other.
  21. Your attention is your constant companion.
  22. In your attention lies the secrets to your strength, determination, and endurance.
  23. The most important thing to remember is wherever you fully put your attention, you will succeed.

When you concentrate your energy purposely on the future possibility that you aspire to realize, your energy is passed on to it and makes it attracted to you with a force stronger than the one you directed towards it.
― Stephen RichardsThink Your way to Success: Let Your Dreams Run Free

Thoughts Become Things… Choose The Good Ones!
― Mike Dooley

You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”
James Allen

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope these ideas help you focus your attention to receive what brings you joy!

Please leave a comment between now and February 21, 2017 to let me know which numbered points in this post spoke the most to you and your needs. Random.org will choose the winner who will receive a free logo with the favorite saying to focus his/her attention.

COMMENT

Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

***************************************************

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  3. Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators

 

References

  1. Bjorn Secher. Your Appointment with Success: The Way to Get Rich:
    http://www.amazon.com/Your-Appointment-With-Success-Rich/dp/0811901971/
  2. James Allen. As a Man Thinkethhttps://www.amazon.com/As-Man-Thinketh-James-Allen/dp/1514698692/
  3. Joan Y. Edwards. “God Will Show You How” by Mary L. Kupferle public domain:  http://wp.me/pFnvK-1c
  4. Mike Dooley. Choose Them Wiselyhttps://www.amazon.com/Choose-Them-Wisely-Thoughts-Become/dp/1582702330/
  5. Stephen Richards.  Ask and the Universe Will Provide: https://www.amazon.com/Ask-Universe-Will-Provide-Straightforward-ebook/dp/B01FWWKSSY/

 

Why Not? Day 10 Submit Your Manuscript. Go Ahead.


“Why Not? Day 10 Submit Your Manuscript. Go Ahead” by Joan Y. Edwards

  1. You’ve written sentences.

    why-not-copyright-joan-y-edwards-2017

    Why Not image Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

  2. You’ve written paragraphs.
  3. You’ve written an article, poem, short story, manuscript, screenplay.
  4. You’ve written a title.
  5. You’ve written a pitch.
  6. You’ve revised your writing at least three times.
  7. You’ve had your work critiqued by a critique group, a writing partner, and/or a professional editor. You’ve decided which suggestions you’ll honor and revised your manuscript again. You’ve proofread it and had others to proofread it, too.
  8. You’ve picked out one publisher or agent.
  9. You’ve written your query/cover letter.

 

Reread the guidelines of the publisher, agent, or contest you’ve chosen. Make sure you are following them.
Proofread your manuscript.
Proofread your query/cover letter.
If appropriate, proofread your proposal or story summary.

If you have decided that this is as good as you can possibly get it with the information you have, the talents you have, and the understanding that you have, go for it. Submit your manuscript! Say a prayer. Go ahead. Do it. Submit your manuscript.

I call this Pub Subbing. Here are the links to the three weeks before you submit during the third week. Of course, you can speed up this process or slow it down to suit your situation.

Pub Subbers
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

I hope you’ve enjoyed these 10 blog posts to help you get from story idea to submission. You can also use these ideas to help you get your illustrations ready to submit, too. You can put illustrations on a post card with your contact information and send it to a long list of publishers and agents. Please share them with your Facebook friends or with your Twitter accounts. 

  1. “Why Not? Day 1 Write. Go ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3t0/
  2. “Why Not? Day 2 Write a Sentence. Go ahead.” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3u1
  3. “Why Not? Day 3 Write a Paragraph. Go Ahead.” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3uf
  4. “Why Not? Day 4 Write a Snappy Title. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3wG
  5. “Why Not? Day 5 Write a Pitch. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3xh
  6. “Why Not? Day 6 Revise Your Writing. Go Ahead.” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3xl
  7. “Why Not? Day 7 Get Your Writing Critiqued. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3xj
  8. “Why Not? Day 8 Make a List of Good Publishers. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3xp
  9. “Why Not? Day 9 Write a Query Letter or Cover Letter. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3xm
  10. “Why Not? Day 10 Submit Your Manuscript. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3xw

Thank you for reading my blog. I believe there may be a problem with the emails. I don’t believe many of you have been receiving emails when new blog posts are published. Please leave a comment and let me know whether or not you’re receiving emails. 

COMMENT

Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

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Join over 385 Valued Subscribers and receive entertaining, encouraging posts PLUS 3 free gifts:

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Why Not? Day 9 Write a Query Letter or Cover Letter. Go Ahead.


Why Not image Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

Why Not image Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

“Why Not? Day 9 Write a Query Letter or Cover Letter. Go Ahead” by Joan Y. Edwards

  1. You’ve written sentences.
  2. You’ve written paragraphs.
  3. You’ve written an article, poem, short story, manuscript, screenplay.
  4. You’ve written a title.
  5. You’ve written a pitch.
  6. You’ve revised your writing at least three times.
  7. You’ve had your work critiqued by a critique group, a writing partner, and/or a professional editor. You’ve decided which suggestions you’ll honor and revised your manuscript again. You’ve proofread it and had others to proofread it, too.
  8. You’ve picked out one publisher or agent

What is the difference between a query letter and a cover letter? A cover letter goes along with a copy of a manuscript or a proposal. In the days before emails, these letters would cover the main manuscript or other enclosures. Thus, the name cover letter. With a query, it doesn’t go on top of something. It doesn’t have attachments. It’s all alone. A query letter’s purpose is to ask if someone would like to see a manuscript. It’s asking a question. If there’s nothing attached or enclosed, it’s a query letter.

A cover letter means you have permission to send part of a manuscript. If it’s a non-fiction manuscript book, the guidelines might say to send a proposal with the first three chapters. If a publisher or agent’s guidelines specify that you send ten pages or a whole picture book manuscript, then you’re writing a cover letter to go with it.

Both a query letter and a cover letter follow the same format – one page, single spaced, one-inch margins. Your address, phone number, email address, and date on the right side at the top. The name and address of the editor or agent on the left side.

Greeting: Dear Mr. or Ms. and the last name. When I’m not sure whether it’s Miss or Mrs. I usually use their first name. Please make it more personal than Dear Submission Editor or Dear Agent. But if that’s the best option possible, go with it. A publisher may tell you to send your query to the submission editor with no name mentioned. Other publishers have an online form to submit your information. If so, you can copy and paste elements in the right places. Usually, literary agencies like for you to study their agents and choose the one who works with your genre. They want you to select one and only one agent.

RE: Put Submission or Query or Fall Conference 2016: Check the guidelines for subject notes

First paragraph: Tell where you met them or why you chose them (conference, website, blog, another writer).

Explain that you love the humor, information, mystery, or another quality of a book that they published or represented as an agent. Tell how your book is similar to this book. Tell your PITCH (2 sentences).

Second paragraph: Tell MORE ABOUT YOUR STORY (125 word selling summary).

Tell why you believe this company or agent would be a good match for this manuscript. If the guidelines mention certain interests of publisher or agent, mention it, if it relates to your book.

Third paragraph: SHORT BIO.

Tell 3 biographical sentences about you and your writing/illustrating. Mention your membership in writer or illustrator professional groups, such as Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators.

Closing paragraph: THANKS AND ASK THE QUESTION.

Thanks for considering my work. If it’s a COVER LETTER, tell what you’ve enclosed or attached. May I send you the complete manuscript of BOOK TITLE? I look forward to hearing from you, but I understand that if I don’t hear from you in _______ months, you are not interested.

If the guidelines accept only email submissions, use email. Make sure your own email address has your name in it, not flowerful@gmail.com or thegreatest@yahoo.com.

If the guidelines ask for snail mail, use your postal service. If they ask for SASE (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope), be sure and enclose one.

Thank you for subscribing. Question for you, subscribers: Are you getting the updates for new posts for my blog by email like you signed up for? Please answer my poll.  

Good luck with writing your query or cover letter. Please let me know if my ideas or resources help you. There are more resources for you below. To comment, click below and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

COMMENT

Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

***************************************************

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join over 384 Valued Subscribers and receive entertaining, encouraging posts PLUS 3 free gifts:

  1. Never Give Up image
  2. 20 Affirmations for Writers
  3. Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators

Earlier blog posts in the Why Not? series:

  1. “Why Not? Day 1 Write. Go ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3t0
  2. “Why Not? Day 2 Write a Sentence. Go ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3u1
  3. “Why Not? Day 3 Write a Paragraph. Go Ahead:”
    http://wp.me/pFnvK-3uf
  4. “Why Not? Day 4 Write a Snappy Title. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3wG
  5. “Why Not? Day 5 Write a Pitch. Go Ahead:”
    http://wp.me/pFnvK-3xh
  6. “Why Not? Day 6 Revise Your Story. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3xl
  7. “Why Not? Day 7 Get Your Writing Critiqued. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3xj
  8. “Why Not? Day 8 Make a List of Good Publishers. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3xp

Resources

  1. Agent Query.com. “How to Write a Query Letter” http://www.agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx
  2. Allena Tapia. About.com. “A Sample Query:”
    http://freelancewrite.about.com/od/getpublished/a/samplequery.htm/
  3. Charlotte Dillon. “Query:” http://www.charlottedillon.com/query.html
  4. Cynthea Liu. “Anatomy of a Query Letter:” http://www.writingforchildrenandteens.com/submissions/anatomy-of-a-query-letter/
  5. Jacqueline K. Ogburn. “Rites of Submission:” http://www.underdown.org/covlettr.htm/
  6. Joan Y. Edwards. “Components of a Good Query Letter:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/components-of-a-good-query-letter/
  7. Joan Y. Edwards. “Will Your Query Letter Sell Your Manuscript?” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/will-your-query-letter-sell-your-manuscript/
  8. Nathan Bransford. “How to Format a Query Letter:” http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/03/how-to-format-query-letter.html/
  9. Nathan Bransford. “Anatomy of a Good Query Letter:” http://blog.nathanbransford.com/search/label/Anatomy%20of%20a%20Good%20Query%20Letter/
  10. New York Book Editors. “How to Write a Darn Good Query Letter:” http://nybookeditors.com/2015/12/how-to-write-a-darn-good-query-letter/
    Preditors and Editors: Sample Query http://pred-ed.com/pubquery.htm
  11. Query Shark http://queryshark.blogspot.com/ 

 

Why Not? Day 8 Make a List of Good Publishers. Go Ahead.


Why Not image Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

Why Not image Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

This is the 8th post in the Why Not Series.

“Why Not? Day 8 Write a List of Good Publishers. Go Ahead” by Joan Y. Edwards

  1. You’ve written sentences.
  2. You’ve written paragraphs.
  3. You’ve written an article, poem, short story, manuscript, screenplay.
  4. You’ve written a title.
  5. You’ve written a pitch.
  6. You’ve revised your writing at least three times.
  7. You’ve had your work critiqued by a critique group, a writing partner, and/or a professional editor. You’ve decided which suggestions you’ll honor and revised your manuscript again. You’ve proofread it and had others to proofread it, too.

Now you’re ready to decide where to send your manuscript…a publisher, agent, or contest? A TOUGH decision. If you’ve decided to self-publish your book, make a list of publishers who specialize in helping people self-publish and their fees. This post is not about self-publishing.

Do your homework. Investigate the publisher, agent, or contest. What are their best sellers? Do they publish your genre? What will be your royalty? Are there any required fees?  Do they accept returns? This is a necessity for your book to be accepted widely in book stores. Otherwise, you’ll have to approach bookstores yourself and see if they will sell your books on consignment. If there are fees, they are not traditional publishers. Stay away from them. Go to others.

Decide your criteria. What do you expect from a publisher? For most of The Big Momma Publishers, you must have an agent. If that’s your wish, obtain an agent.

Check the publishers or agents of three of your favorite books in your genre. Read their submission guidelines. Do they accept unsolicited manuscripts?

Study and find more editors, agents, or contests that are good matches for your manuscript. 

After collecting your information, choose three of the most promising ones for submission. Re-read the submission guidelines for each one. Write three reasons why each publisher or agent on your list would be a great choice. Save this information for your query or cover letter. It will come in handy.

If you’re reading information from a guidebook or an online source, DOUBLE-CHECK the latest submission guidelines on the website of the publisher, agent, or contest. Save yourself heartache. Check them again right before you submit your manuscript.

The next in this blog series will be about writing your query or cover letter to go with your manuscript.

 

Resources:

 

  1. Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents 2017: Who They Are! What They Want! How to Win Them Over! by Jeff Herman: https://www.amazon.com/Hermans-Publishers-Editors-Literary-Agents-ebook/dp/B01LA268C0/
  2. Joan Y. Edwards. “22 Literary Agents Who Are Looking for You:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/22-literary-agents-who-are-looking-for-you/
  3. Joan Y. Edwards. “40 Publishers Who Accept Unsolicited Manuscripts:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/40-publishers-who-accept-unsolicited-manuscripts/
  4. Joan Y. Edwards. “Questions to Ask Before You Sign with a Publisher:”
    https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2016/09/02/questions-to-ask-before-you-sign-a-contract-with-a-publisher/
  5. Joan Y. Edwards. “Take These Steps Before You Sign with an Agent:”
    https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/take-these-steps-before-you-sign-with-an-agent/
  6. Poets & Writers-Creative Writing Contests & Competitions http://www.pw.org/content/writing_contests_0?cmnt_all=1
  7. Sally Stuart. Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers’ Market Guide http://stuartmarket.blogspot.com/
  8. Writer’s Digest Books. Children’s Writer’s And Illustrator’s Market 2017, Writer’s Digest Bookshttps://www.amazon.com/Childrens-Writers-Illustrators-Market-2017/dp/1440347778/
  9. Writer’s Digest Books. Writer’s Market by Writer’s Digest Books 2017
    https://www.amazon.com/Writers-Market-2017-Trusted-Published/dp/1440347735/
  10. Writing Contests: http://writersviews.com/writing-contests.php

 

Earlier blog posts in the Why Not? series:

  1. “Why Not? Day 1 Write. Go ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3t0
  2. “Why Not? Day 2 Write a Sentence. Go ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3u1
  3. “Why Not? Day 3 Write a Paragraph. Go Ahead:”
    http://wp.me/pFnvK-3uf
  4. “Why Not? Day 4 Write a Snappy Title. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3wG
  5. “Why Not? Day 5 Write a Pitch. Go Ahead:”
    http://wp.me/pFnvK-3xh
  6. “Why Not? Day 6 Revise Your Story. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3xl
  7. “Why Not? Day 7 Get Your Writing Critiqued. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3xj

Thanks for reading my blog. I’d love to hear from you. To comment, click below and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

COMMENT

Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

***************************************************

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join over 383 Valued Subscribers and receive entertaining, encouraging posts PLUS 3 free gifts:

  1. Never Give Up image
  2. 20 Affirmations for Writers
  3. Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators

 

 

 

 

Why Not? Day 7 Get Your Writing Critiqued.


 

Why Not image Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

Why Not image Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

This is the 7th post in the Why Not Series.

“Why Not? Day 7 Get Your Writing Critiqued. Go Ahead.” by Joan Y. Edwards

  1. You’ve written sentences.
  2. You’ve written paragraphs.
  3. You’ve written an article, poem, short story, manuscript, screenplay.
  4. You’ve written a title.
  5. You’ve written a pitch.
  6. You’ve revised your writing at least three times.

Now you are ready to get someone else to read your work. Now you’re ready for a critique.

Things to remember about a critique.

  1. One person’s opinion doesn’t mean it is the truth. It does not mean what they say is a fact. It is not their opinion about you personally. It is about your writing. Keep the two things separate in your mind.
  2. Don’t change anything you don’t agree with 100 per cent. Remember it’s your story. You are the author.
  3. Let your manuscript and the critique rest in a drawer for at least a week maybe more before you do anything with it. Give time for the ideas to take root in your brain and jog around in your imagination.

Find Compatible Critique Partners or Critique Groups

Writing organizations in your town or state may have critique groups for you to join. I know the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators helps members find critique groups. Join a Facebook group or Yahoo group for writers. Ask in your church, school, or workplace. Look for writers who write in the same genre as you. It’s easier to focus on getting and giving the best advice and feedback when all members in a critique group write in the same genre. I have been in critique groups where members were happy and talented and did multiple genres well.

Hire a professional editor

Choose someone who has critiqued successful books in your genre.

Ask for references, so you can interview the authors who used this particular editor.

Ask for titles of books he edited.

Ask about his fees and what each fee covers.

Ask the authors of your favorite books in your genre who they used to edit their books. Sometimes it is listed inside the book.

In The Editor’s Eye Stacy Ennis suggests using the list from the  Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA).

 

How to Benefit the Most from Your Critique Group

It’s great to have a critique group, either in person or on-line. Here are ways to benefit the most from your critique group:

Be thankful for ways a critique group can help you

  1. Another person can spot those spelling, punctuation, or grammar that you’ve read over 10 times and didn’t notice.
  2. If you want to know if a particular scene in your book is working, the members in your critique group can give you their opinions. They can offer choices for solutions to problems you noticed yourself.
  3. The people in a critique group can teach you, inspire you, encourage you, and tell you the best written passages (Blue Ribbon parts) of your manuscript, query letter, cover letter, proposal, synopsis, summary.

Before you hand your manuscript and pitch to someone for critique: Remember these things

  1. Give others the right to like or dislike your work. Accept that it’s okay if they don’t like it and okay if they do like it. Ask for suggestions they believe would make it better. That doesn’t mean you have to use it. It may lead you to an idea you like.
  2. Be open to change. Change creates a path to a stronger and better manuscript. Decide which parts of your manuscript are non-negotiable and which parts are negotiable.
  3. Share only your best writing. Check your spelling and grammar with your writing software or other sources before you get your work critiqued by others.

Guide for a Good Manuscript Critique

How can you give a good manuscript critique? When you critique a manuscript, you want to do a good job. You want the writer to understand clearly what you think. You want to give them both ways to correct and ways to enhance the manuscript. You want to show the author where the writing is great as well as where it needs improvement.

When you critique a manuscript, make your notes stand out. Be creative. 

  • Highlight in blue or put in blue text at least three of the best written passages – Blue Ribbon passages. In this particular manuscript, these parts win First Prize – the Blue Ribbon like they used to give at the County Fairs.
  • Highlight in yellow or put in red text, and/or cross out words you believe should be deleted like this.
  • Use a different color font for your remarks from the one the writer used.
  • Use all caps for your input. WHAT A STRONG BEGINNING!
  • Devise your own clever way to note your feedback on the manuscript.

Ideas for a Good Critique

When you ask another person to critique your work, you can highlight questions for special emphasis.
If you’re the author, ask yourself the questions below about one of your own manuscripts.

When critiquing an author’s work, keep the following suggestions in mind as you read it.  It will help you focus on the story’s strengths, as well as give the author ideas for enrichment. Feel free to add ideas of your own.

25 Suggestions for a Helpful Critique

  1. Write in your questions as you read the manuscript.
  2. Write in your ideas you’d like for the author to consider.
  3. Does the title catch your interest?
  4. Does the pitch (logline, selling summary, blurb) give the essence of the story?
  5. Which parts, if any, confused you?
  6. Note punctuation and grammar errors.
  7. What are the three main errors in punctuation and grammar for the author to correct?
  8. Point out pet words that the author uses over and over? A thesaurus might have other words to use in place of them.
  9. Point out where the writer needs to show, not tell. 
  10. What do you want to know that the writer doesn’t tell you in the story?
  11. Does the story make sense? If not, note in the manuscript which parts that don’t make sense.
  12. Do you know what the protagonist wants? What is he willing to do to get it? What keeps him from getting what he wants? 
  13. What mistakes does the protagonist make?
  14. What are the protagonist’s flaws? (He’s got to have flaws.)
  15. What is the lowest point in the story? The part where it looks like there is absolutely no way the protagonist is going to get what he wants.
  16. Does the protagonist change? How? It makes the story work when the main character has to change to get what he wants.
  17. Does the protagonist face his conflict or run away?
  18. Does the protagonist save himself by human means or is he saved by unbelievable circumstances that seems like magic? The main character seems more human when he saves himself.
  19. What does the main character learn about life from his experiences in this story? (Theme)
  20. Do you know what each character wants?
  21. Does each character have a distinct voice of his own?
  22. Is the dialogue believable? Is it tagged appropriately?
  23. Can you tell when a different character is talking?
  24. What are three of the best written (Blue Ribbon) passages?
  25. Retell my story in three sentences: beginning, middle, and end. (James N. Frey’s suggestion from How to Write a Damn Good Novel.) Through listening you’ll discover the strong parts and weak parts. If you have trouble, tell the author which parts aren’t clear.

 

*****For a fun read and a chance to win a free Giveaway, see my “Interview with Becoming Hero’s Author, Jen Finelli:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2017/01/19/interview-with-becoming-heros-author-jen-finelli/

Resources

Brian Klems. Writers Digest. “Ten Things Your Freelance Editor Might Not Tell You But Should:” http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/10-things-your-freelance-editor-might-not-tell-you-but-should

Ellen Dodson. “Guide for Critique Groups & Individual Critiques:” http://www.scbwior.com/links/CritGroup.html

Jennifer Evans. “Guidelines for Group Critiques of Fiction:”
http://www.slugtribe.org/etiquette.html

Joanna Penn. “How to Find the Right Editor:” http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2014/07/14/how-to-find-the-right-editor/

Joan Y. Edwards. “James N. Frey Books to Improve Your Writing:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/james-n-frey-books-to-improve-your-writing/

Joan Y. Edwards. “Guide for a Good Manuscript Critique:”
https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/08/18/guide-for-a-good-manuscript-critique/

Joan Y. Edwards. “A Critique Is a Gift – It Contains Choices and Possibilities:”
https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/a-critique-is-a-gift-it-contains-choices-and-possibilities/

Marg Gilks. “Fundamentals of Fiction, Part III: Critique Groups and Writers’ Groups:”
http://www.writing-world.com/fiction/fiction03.shtml

Stacy Ennis. “Five Ways to Find the Right Freelance Book Editor:” https://janefriedman.com/find-freelance-book-editor/

Suzanne. Zanzjan.net. “How to Give a Critique (Beginners):”http://www.zanzjan.net/writing/give-critique.html

Suzanne. Zanzjan.net. “How to Take a Critique (Beginners):” http://www.zanzjan.net/writing/take-critique.html

I wish you great success in your writing career. Thanks for reading this blog post. You honor me with your presence. Please leave a comment, resource, or question. I’d love to hear from you.

COMMENT

Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

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Why Not? Day 6 Revise Your Story. Go Ahead.


 

Why Not image Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

Why Not image Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

This is Day 6 of the Why Not? series.

“Why Not? Day 6 Revise Your Story. Go Ahead” by Joan Y. Edwards

  1. You’ve written an article/thesis/story/poem.
  2. You’ve chosen the shortest snappy captivating title.
  3. You’ve developed a catchy pitch/hook/story concept

Let your work rest in a drawer or in your computer for three days if it’s an essay for high school or college, a newspaper article, or short story to one-six months for a novel or screenplay. Letting it rest will give you a fresh look when you get back to it. When your writing’s rest period is up, you’re ready to revise it.

I recommend that that you revise it three times yourself before you take it to a critique group. Sometimes when I’ve gone to a critique group too early, I heard their voices and not my own. Let your gut feelings about it be your guide.

There are many ideas to consider in the revision process. I’ve broken it down into proofreading and revision. To simplify things, I list the ones that are most important in your first revision.

Print out your manuscript with one inch margins and double spaced.

I consider proofreading part of the Revision process.

Proofread

Read the manuscript aloud. Derick Wilder, a writing peer and member of SCBWI, says if you read it backwards, you may see mistakes and hear mistakes you might miss.

  1. Correct words that are spelled wrong.
  2. Correct punctuation.
  3. Correct grammar usage.
  4. Vary sentence structure so you don’t put your reader to sleep.
  5. Change passive voice sentences to active voice.

Read, Study, and Revise

  1. Is your title still the best possible one for your story.
  2. Does your pitch show the emotional concept of your story in two-three sentences?
  3. Does the manuscript contain descriptions that would be better as dialogue? For instance, do you tell how Jane and Dave are always at each other’s throats when it would be more interesting to read dialogue using words that make you feel like they’ve slit each other’s throats.
  4. Is there backstory that could be deleted from the beginning and placed at the exact time when the reader needs to know that information to understand the story?
  5. Does your story have a beginning with a problem, a middle in which the problem gets so bad that the protagonist has to make a change or all is lost, and a satisfying ending? Does your protagonist solve the problem on his/her own power?
  6. Do your characters actions and reactions invoke emotional reactions to your readers? Katherine Ochee suggests that you write what you feel rather than what you know. Are your characters believable in the world you created for them?
  7. Chuck Sabunchino suggests making a chart for a picture book with the following headings: character, action, dialogue, feeling, and visual. You could do that for a short story or novel, too.

Resources about Editing/Revising

  1. Chuck Sambuchino. Writer’s Digest. “6 Tips for Revising Picture Books:” http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/6-tips-for-revising-picture-books
  2. Dave Hood. “How Should You Revise a Short Story:” https://davehood59.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/how-should-you-revise-a-short-story/
  3. Holly Lisle. “How to Revise a Novel:”https://hollylisle.com/how-to-revise-a-novel/
  4. Joan Y. Edwards. “Characters Must Show Growth and Change: Interview with Sarah Maury Swan:”  https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/characters-must-show-growth-and-change-interview-with-sarah-maury-swan-au
  5. Joan Y. Edwards. “Get a New Perspective When You Revise Your Manuscript:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/get-a-new-perspective-when-you-revise-your-manuscript/
  6. Joan Y. Edwards. “Get Rid of Passive Voice.” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/get-rid-of-passive-voice/
  7. Joan Y. Edwards. “Goodness! How Could I Have Submitted That Manuscript?” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/goodness-how-could-i-have-submitted-that-manuscript/
  8. Joan Y. Edwards. “Look for Four Writing Errors When You Revise:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/look-for-four-writing-errors-when-you-revise/
  9. Joan Y. Edwards. “Sounds of Words Bring Characters to Life:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2015/05/16/sounds-of-words-bring-characters-to-life/
  10. Joan Y. Edwards. “Stop Boredom: Vary the Beginnings of Your Sentences:”
    https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/stop-boredom-vary-the-beginnings-of-your-sentences/
  11. Joan Y. Edwards. “Vary Your Sentences: Begin with a Different Part of Speech:”https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2011/11/13/vary-your-sentences-begin-with-a-different-part-of-speech/
  12. Katherine Ochee. “Eight Awesome Steps to Revising Your Novel:” https://writersedit.com/eight-steps-revising-novel/
  13. Reedsy. “How to Revise a Novel: Step by Step:” https://blog.reedsy.com/how-to-revise-a-novel-step-by-step-guide
  14. Roane State.Edu. OWL.”Revision Checklist for Essays:” https://www.roanestate.edu/owl/essayrev.html
  15. Stephen Koch. Writer’s Workshop: https://www.amazon.com/Modern-Library-Writers-Workshop-Paperbacks/dp/0375755586
  16. Writing Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. “Revising Drafts (of College Papers):”http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/revising-drafts/

Other blog posts in the Why Not? series:

  1. “Why Not? Day 1 Write. Go ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3t0
  2. “Why Not? Day 2 Write a Sentence. Go ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3u1
  3. “Why Not? Day 3 Write a Paragraph. Go Ahead:”
    http://wp.me/pFnvK-3uf
  4. “Why Not? Day 4 Write a Snappy Title. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3wG
  5. “Why Not? Day 5 Write a Pitch. Go Ahead:”
    http://wp.me/pFnvK-3xh

Thanks for reading my blog. I’d love to hear from you. Please click on comment below and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

COMMENT

Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

***************************************************

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join over 383 Valued Subscribers and receive entertaining, encouraging posts PLUS 3 free gifts:

  1. Never Give Up image
  2. 20 Affirmations for Writers
  3. Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators

 

Why Not? Day 5 Write a Pitch. Go Ahead.


Why Not image Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

Why Not image Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

Why Not? Day 5 Write a Pitch. Go Ahead.

A pitch can be called an elevator pitch or a logline (in the case of a screenplay. A pitch doesn’t tell the ending of the story. A pitch for an article, thesis, picture book or novel is 25 words or two sentences telling enough about a story to capture the interest of a possible reader, publisher, agent, or editor. A pitch is used in person, online, in chats, interviews, query letters, cover letters, proposals, and on the covers of books. It’s your door to getting another person interested in what you’ve written.

A blurb on the back of a book is a longer pitch – perhaps 100 words,  ten sentences, depending on the publisher or author’s decision. You can add to it, but the essential information that pulls us in should be one or two sentences.

Write your pitch before you write your story. What? You say you’ve already written your story. That’s okay. Write your pitch now. Write it before your next revision. Doing this will help you make sure your story is what your pitch says it is. Your pitch is your promise to your readers of your story’s emotional impact.

It’s a great idea to practice your pitch. Have it ready when someone asks you, “What are you writing now?”

Start you stopwatch. You’ve got 30-60 seconds to get the person’s attention with the pitch for your book. If you stammer too long, the person will start a new topic of conversation or if leave the elevator and your chance goes down the drain.

Be ready. Write your pitch on a 3×5 inch index card. If it won’t fit on the 3×5 inch index card, it’s too long. Keep it with you in your wallet. Practice saying it in front of a mirror.

Christina Mandelski with Upstart Crow Literary says “I like to always start with who the story is about, what challenges the protagonist faces, and some standout detail that makes it feel unique.”

Amy Burkhart, agent, says the pitch has to tell, “Who, What, When, Where, and Why should I care?”

Kathleen Antrim, award-winning author, says a pitch must tell, “What if… and so what?”

­What if?
  1.  Who is the story about – girl, boy, age or grade, man or woman, occupation if it’s important to the plot, and the main character’s major flaw. (You don’t have to tell the names of characters)
  2. Where is she? Historical Fiction necessary. Not always essential.
  3. When does the story take place? Historical Fiction necessary. Not always essential.
  4. What is her problem? Who or what stands in her way?
  5. So what? Why is crisis important to her? Why does she need to win this challenge? What change has to happen for her to win? Does this pull at your heart strings? Does it invoke a deep emotion for the protagonist’s situation?

Here are some of the words about four New York Best Sellers. I shortened them to the nitty gritty (major essence) from the information given on Amazon.com. I don’t have the exact pitches that these authors sent to their agents or publishers.

The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain.
Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager. What if that’s not true?
The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti
What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she—whoever she is—vanishes completely.

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
Charlotte Davis is in pieces.  You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you. But she’s learned how to forget.

When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin

Pinmei’s gentle, loving grandmother always has the most exciting tales for her granddaughter and the other villagers. However, the peace is shattered one night when soldiers of the Emperor arrive and kidnap the storyteller.

Good luck in writing a pitch that hooks your readers, agents, and editors!

 

top10nonfictionbook

smaller Cover Joan's Elder Care Guide by Aidana WillowRaven

Copyright 2016 Aidana Willow-Raven and 4RV Publishing

As I mentioned when I posted this Pitch blog, the voting for the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2016 was over on January 14, 2017. Thank you to all of you who voted for Joan’s Elder Care Guide and other books in the contest. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. 

Oh my goodness. Joan’s Elder Care Guide came in 3rd Place! Third Place in Best Nonfiction Book! How cool is that! Here’s a link to see the results and to read the sweet comments that touched my heart! 

http://critters.org/predpoll/final_tally_nonfictionbook.ht

Thanks for believing in me!

Thank you for reading my blog. Please click on comment and scroll down and tell me your favorite pitch!

COMMENT

Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

***************************************************

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join over 379 Valued Subscribers and receive entertaining, encouraging posts PLUS 3 free gifts:

  1. Never Give Up image
  2. 20 Affirmations for Writers
  3. Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators

Resources -Other blog posts in the Why Not series:

  1. “Why Not? Day 1 Write. Go ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3t0
  2. “Why Not? Day 2 Write a Sentence. Go ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3u1
  3. “Why Not? Day 3 Write a Paragraph. Go Ahead:”http://wp.me/pFnvK-3uf
  4. “Why Not? Day 4 Write a Snappy Title. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3wG

Here are more articles about pitches:

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