Improving Your Prose

Constructing a plot

Reality Check Maybe a rejection isn't that bad.

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Mar 7, 2018

Other than reading and writing as much as possible is there anything you would recommend that has helped improve your prose?

I read The Anatomy of Story, which I highly enjoyed. Now I would love to improve my scetence structure and vocabulary.

Any books, courses or articles you would recommend?
Critiquing other people's work. That's helping me identify potential improvements in my own work as well. Also listening to others critiquing in a group format. Eye opening.
I agree with @Emurelda. Also, asking other writers to critique your work is helpful, provided you're willing to actually listen to their criticism. Hiring a developmental editor (called an assessor here) is also, in my opinion, well worth the money. I've used different developmental editors for different books, and it's been great, because each one has a different eye and catches different things. Once an editor has highlighted a mistake I make regularly, I can usually start seeing it myself and improve my writing accordingly.
Yes - I did mean vice versa too...thanks for pointing that :)

And I agree you have to be willing to listen to others opinions of your work in order to maximise the benefit. You may not agree but when the same comment crops up more than once it's time to reassess.
I was a bit rushed on the previous post and missed a valuable link:
How to Write a Novel - Nathan Bransford
Within that article are several links that are also valued.

Additional information and tools are available in the Litopia Writing Wiki forum.

And I am in complete agreement with the advice in the previous posts, read and analyze while you read, write and consider options - when you feel a word is weak - use a thesaurus, or consider using a phrase to replace the word. The best teacher is experience - work at being better because there never is a best.
Thank you, everyone. I have sent off three critiques in the last fortnight. So I guess I am on the right track.

Will check out that article and learn about developmental editors.

Any recommendations on where to find a developmental editor?
There's developmental editors, freelance editors, copy editors and publisher's editors.

Developmental editors handle non-fiction projects (textbooks, etc.). A developmental editor will also work on fictional projects that require a substantial rewrite. I have done this on several projects. The time investment for the editor is significant. Care must be taken by the author due to the vast changes and suggestions. The developmental editor could become a co-author or ghost write. For one author, I reworked the first chapter several times, highlighting areas where improvements were required on each redraft. In other words, taught the skills of the trade in stages. When chapter one was acceptable, we move on to chapter two. That took fewer passes, then chapter three, etc. After the rewrite of the last chapter, she went back and rewrote the first half. Her novel had her personality, her voice. It was trapped in high-school level writing skills. After extensive edits, she had my approval to submit to agents. She was accepted by two, chose one and received a two book deal.

An editor or freelance editor will highlight weaknesses in story development, character development, and grammar. Plot holes and inconsistencies are identified. They do not rewrite. They may suggest a better word or sentence structure. They will direct the author to publications on writing when skills are lacking. The manuscript is then returned. The author may or may not act on the edits - it's their novel.

An editor working for the publisher performs the same function as the freelance editor. The difference between the two is the publisher's editor will suggest changes in a politically correct forceful manner.

A copy editor - from Wikipedia - "Copy editing (also copyediting, sometimes abbreviated ce) is the process of reviewing and correcting written material to improve accuracy, readability, and fitness for its purpose, and to ensure that it is free of error, omission, inconsistency, and repetition." In my opinion, copy editors are the final step prior to publication. Writers do hire freelance copy editors to ensure their manuscript is clean prior to submission. If you have the financing, that is fine, if not, leave that task to the publisher.

The cost to employ a developmental editor is significantly higher than that of a freelance editor. A publisher's editor is paid by the publisher.

Read up on the different types of editing before you make a commitment of your hard earned cash.
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Constructing a plot

Reality Check Maybe a rejection isn't that bad.