Tuesday, October 02, 2012


For many, editing is their least favorite aspect of writing. I’m probably the weirdo in the bunch because it’s one of my favorites. I love the rereading, revamping, revising, reviewing, reconstructing, rewriting, re-, re-, re-, but perhaps the hardest “re-” of all for me is relinquishing. No writer ever feels quite “done”, but there comes a time to move on to your next project. In fact, a couple of years ago, I penned a poem on this very topic, and here it is:

Inside This Writer’s Head…

The second draft, oh what a blast!
The editing is here at last!
Crossing ‘t’s, dotting ‘i’s,
Reread, rewrite, rethink, revise.

The road to “Finish” takes awhile,
Research, outlines, setting, style,
Files full of worthless news,
Stuff I’ll never even use!

All this for that first, sweet copy,
Who cares if it’s a wee bit sloppy?
Because—guess what— no need to whine,
The editing will make it shine!

Some writers really hate this phase,
Fine-tune, tighten, trim, rephrase.
But me? I find it sheer delight
It means the end is within sight.

I approach it with an eye for fun,
Remembering it’s almost done.
And, then, I’ll finally stop my stewing.
But wait! Another story’s brewing!

Everybody’s looking for a shortcut. When you’re traveling from one place to another you want to know the shortest route, but sometimes taking the shortest route can lead you into unfamiliar territory—which can also lead to roadblocks—which ultimately slow the process even more. It’s best to know where you’re heading and how best to get there, even if it takes a little longer. This will mean researching the market, learning who publishes the genre you write, and what types of stories they’re looking to publish. Don’t send your work of fiction to a house that only publishes Bible studies. Read their requirements for submission then follow them. You’ll find them on their websites. If I could recommend just one book on this very topic, it would be The Christian Writers’ Market Guide. Here is a resource book that will teach you everything you ever needed or wanted to know about how the publishing industry works.

SO, YOU’VE COMPLETED your first novel—or maybe even your second and third! And you’ve gained enough confidence to start submitting your work to an agent or directly to a publisher. (Again, know the publisher you want to submit to and note their requirements pertaining to solicited and unsolicited materials. Many houses will not accept your manuscript without an agent’s recommendation.)

Remember that seed we talked about nurturing? God planted it, but it’s your job to bring it to fruition. If you never water, feed, or care for it, it will wither away and never amount to anything. CARE FOR THAT GIFT OF PASSION GOD PLANTED IN YOUR HEART – and then WATCH IT GROW!

***Thank you for coming with me on this writer's journey. Be on the lookout for an upcoming session on "character development"!

Enjoy your journey, and make it count for God's glory and honor!***


Martha Ramirez said...

'm actually a weirdo that enjoys editing too. To a point that is lol. At least every book I finish, the editing seems to be more fun. Very cute poem.

Excellent advice, Shar. As always. I will def keep the below in mind. Well-said! Looking frwd to reading your character develp. post. Enjoyed this segment. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

God planted it, but it’s your job to bring it to fruition.

SHARLENE said...

Mart, as always, I love hearing from you. Thanks for your awesome encouragement. Keep honing your craft, girlfriend.

God is good!!!

Jody T said...

I am a big fan of Sharlene Maclaren. One of the things I love about her books is that her books arent flowery. I love to read and one thing I dont like is to read flowery Christian books that depict living a Christian life as being easy, because it isnt.