How many times have you heard, Writing is a solitary task.? To a degree it is true. Duet typing is overrated. Getting the Magic 8 Ball out to decide when to ask for help may be to blame for the quote.
We have extensively covered the Mine principle. The story is no less yours if you ask for help. 99.6% of the people you would ask for help are not interested in a byline, editor or contributor credit. Want to get out of beta in only three rounds?
Ask for Help!
Granted, you may want to be particular about who you ask. The person whose email signature contains the copyright symbol is not the one to ask for ideas. Complete strangers are a great source of inspiration. Friends are terrific for what if scenarios for your characters to model. Writing groups make great story solution suggestions.
If your book has hit a wall and more than three writing sessions has not provided a wrecking ball, call in troops. Identify the problem.
- I cannot get my character out of this situation.
- This is out of character for my character.
- What happens next?
Story solutions are easy to solve with more heads thinking. Occasionally, our characters get into things we cannot get them out of because we would or could never have gotten into them ourselves. Call your partner in crime, especially if it is your evil twin.
Sometimes, you find your out-of-character character scenario really belongs in another book. In the throes of writing a novel, you are likely never going to say, I think I need to scrap the last 18 pages I wrote. As painful as it may be, someone else telling you is actually easier. You then have carte blanche to hoard the cut piece for another fabulous tale when you finish this one… mayhap, a sequel.
Not Writer’s Block
In self-help, reference and historical books, you may run across a dearth of information. Fictioneers are not off the hook here, though. Character development is based on knowledge of the human psyche. (What would my character do in this situation?) The solution: Help!
Get away from your screen. Yes, turn off the (laptop/ tablet/ cell/ computer). Go outside. Walk or drive to where other people are. Ask questions. Take notes. Go home and sleep on it.
Despite billions of web pages devoted to millions of topics, spoken language has experience behind it, inflections for veracity, emotions to convey depth. Whether you are making a documentary or creating people, this level of humanity is the difference between a bullet list and a book.
Grammar is unpossible.
One author admitted his novel was one 50,000+ word paragraph with questionable punctuation, horrible spelling and completely made up words when he finished writing it. He has more than 30 titles. How? He has help.
Despite rumors to the contrary, not all authors are Grammar Nazis. In fact, some of the best storytellers could not accurately complete and punctuate a sentence for love nor money.
Knowing and admitting your limitations when it comes to the rules of an unruly language take the first steps toward the help you need to produce a quality book.
If you are not already, join the ranks of a writing cooperative. Not all writing groups are created equally. You will need to shop for a good fit. This needs to be the comfortable place you slip into when you are intellectually exhausted and find respite.
Help is not necessarily in a critique group. Those groups more resemble beta readers who are looking for a (at least partially) polished piece to judge. What you are looking for is a group where WIP are welcome while they are still raw.
Some authors choose to pay for a story editor. It is not as cheap as copy editing, which runs $2.25-$3.50 per page. Most story editors will copy edit as they read, but will give you invaluable advice for your investment. Look to pay $50-75 per hour (10 pages per hour) for a good story editor.
The path of most resistance is choosing a co-author for your book. Another example of Choose Wisely, co-authorship is not as easy as it sounds. Authors who begin a book have a harder time accepting story changes a co-author can bring to the table when it deviates from the initial concept of the book.
On the other hand, if you are creating a book which is slightly (or largely) above your pay grade, a co-author can complement your expertise to create a far more balanced book than you can accomplish on your own.
You do not have to do it all by your lonesome to be the author of a book. Some of the best books you ever read had help.
Have you ever asked for help with a book? Have you ever given it? What stops authors from asking for help?
Hashtags: #AtoZChallenge #help #amwriting
Thank you for sharing The M3 Blog with hashtags.