Divas on Writing: Your Team
There are plenty of places on the Internet to search for writing advice. I spoke about Pinterest in another article; it has many great pins that authors can use to help while they are actively researching or writing their books. But authors turn to other social mediums like Facebook and Twitter as well. Recently, an author friend asked her friends on Facebook about the spelling of a word. She got conflicting answers from her friends and each person had a reason their spelling was the correct one. How is an author able to trust these types of writing advice? As an editor, my answer would be the most technical: stick with the Merriam-Webster spelling. Done. And my reason is simple: Merriam-Webster is consistent.
That’s the advice I would give all writers. Stick with what’s consistent. There are so many rules and guidelines and there is no way any author is going to be an expert on grammar. Nor is it their job to know, that’s mine. 🙂 So it’s understandable why many writers turn to social media when they are in a bind. It’s a quick and easy source of information but is it consistent? Not always. The trick is to find a good source of advice and stick with it. Generally, the source should be the most proficient like the Chicago Manual of Style or Merriam-Webster. Some other sources would be finding a core group of editors or like-minded authors you can trust. Your team. Asking the social media masses is too broad. Authors need a trusted few that know their preferences and are able to help them stick to their style.
How do you find a core group if you’re just starting out? That can be a trying process. New writers may have to go through a book or two before they find their team. It’s about trial and error. The first thing you do is find a good editor. This is the most vital part. Make sure you interview your editor, know their style, their turnaround time, even what they like to read for fun. You have to be able to trust and be able to confide in your editor. Then find a group of pre-readers or beta readers. These people can give you sage advice on your story before editing. Formatters are next. If you’re not formatting your own book, make sure you find a formatter that can visualize what you want your book to look like. Cover designs are pivotal to the overall appearance of your book and help you with your marketability. Once you have the right team behind you, you will have a consistent core group that won’t make you second guess your style ever again. Should your group be the end all, be all? Not all the time, but the point of your team is to be your go-to people who you can trust and keep you consistent.
Tell us about your team: How do they keep you on point?