Guest Post: Storytelling, and Editing, is About Intent

Manuscript THE ALTERED I

Today I have the honor of sharing a guest post from Krystal Pyatt, one of the editors of Pypeline Editing. When people find out that I wrote and book and it was published the response I often hear is how they, too, would love to write something. That is terrific, I say in reply. But, often these starry eyed dreamers have little idea of what the writing process is all about and how crucial having a clear goal is to a finished, and polished work. Critical too, is the editing process. Few realize what effort goes into making that writing project sparkle and glow off the page. Here to give a glimpse into what objectives you, as the writer, should take into consideration when mapping our your story is Krystal.

 

Storytelling, and Editing, is About Intent

 

Writing is a magical thing. It is the activity where you place on paper ideas, stories and lessons. It is the ultimate way to share knowledge with others and even generations. To read it is to be entranced, immersed, captivated. If you do not believe in the magic of books, then you may not have found the right ones yet.

That being said, I can think of a few books that have failed to become anything magical. Perhaps it was the writer, the concept or even the editing—or maybe it was a combination of all of the above. Anyone reading this blog may have a few stories in mind as well that did not meet expectations.

The good news, intent can impact everything. Tweet That!

Writing is the process to dump all of your ideas and place the contents in your head to that of your story. However, having intent, having a purpose, can greatly impact the success of any book.

Free writing is important; some of the most creative ideas can come from free writing. However, having a clear intent, a clear message, a clear purpose when writing, can make sure the story moves in a particular direction. This can make it so the story is cohesive to the point of excellence. The reader will lack nothing in terms of the story and, in fact, the reader will be treated like an ally rather than an opponent. They will be in on the secrets of your world, they will be privy to foreshadowing even the characters do not know and the readers will then stay along for the ride, even if it is a torturous one for the beloved characters.

Intent extends to editing as well. In fact, this is when intent shines. It is valuable for each and every author to then ask themselves important questions while editing.

  • From the writing stage, what is the overall purpose of the story?
  • Does the chapter apply to that larger goal?
  • Does the character apply to that larger goal?
  • Does the event apply to that larger goal?
  • Is there anything missing the reader would not know?
  • Are you going in chronological order or is the timeline intentional at least?
  • Does the ending serve its purpose?
  • Is there too much going on?
  • Is everything clear and concise?
  • Are the words strong enough to convey the necessary emotions?

At the end of the day, the story should be a pleasure to read, not painful. The way to accomplish this it ensure, through the editing process, that every word, every punctuation mark and every page contribute to that purpose. Editing helps you cut out the excess content, albeit painful at times.

So, decide your intent and set sail. Create the masterpiece readers will find magical.

 

Author: Krystal Pyatt from Pypeline Editing

Pypeline Editing is a local editing firm in Reno, Nevada. Two editors work on every book. That’s two sets of eyes to ensure grammar problems and typos are completely eradicated. With copyediting, Pypeline Editing also offers professional insights in order to make each book ready for publishing using developmental suggestions.

 

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April Voytko Kempler is the author of The Altered I, a  memoir about Joseph Kempler’s Holocaust experiences. Joseph was sent to six different concentration camps throughout Poland and Austria between the ages of 14-17. His story can be found on Amazon and Google Play books. 

Altered I Sample-April Kempler

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New Book Cover Design: The Altered I, a Holocaust Memoir

I am really excited to share with you the new book cover design. This is still a work in progress, but I know so many have asked, “When is the book coming out?” and, “Is it out yet? Where can I get it?”

Well, all these questions will be answered in good time. For now, here is a peek at some of the new changes to the book. I hope you like it! And yes, that is Joseph Kempler’s eye, taken by the lovely and talented Eden Thome of Eden Rose Photography.

Altered I front cover-New with Joe's Eye

 

When Your Manuscript is Rejected by an Agent/Publisher Write a Hate-filled Letter…and Other Ways to Ruin Your Reputation

Rejection hurts. Rejection is humiliating. Rejection is heartbreaking. Does this mean you should write a hate-filled letter to the publisher or agent rejecting your precious work of art? No. While throwing a temper tantrum may feel good, it certainly doesn’t look good.

Write the letter if it helps  purge your feelings. Then invite a good friend (or two) over, let them read your rant, then hold a ceremonial burning of the evidence. Whatever you do, don’t mail the  darned thing off to the agent or publisher who rejected your manuscript. You will be setting yourself up for failure, or at least ridicule and mocking from the recipient of your angst. They will be sure to mark you as non-recommendable and put you in a special file reserved for “never sign this person.”

Submitting authors need to understand that when they burn bridges (pardon the cliche) they only hurt themselves. What may be rejected today may end up in a bidding war in six months. If an agent or publisher rejects a manuscript that does not mean they reject  the author. I wish more writers would understand this concept instead of deteriorating into an emotional breakdown over it. Perhaps the manuscript wasn’t a good fit for that agent or publisher. This does not mean they might not pass it on to another agent or publisher. That is how the industry works, by word of mouth and a  good reputation.

This is a good time to evaluate yourself as a writer, not your writing skills but your people skills.

  • Do you have the kind of personality that will incite publishing professionals to recommend you?
  • Can you win people over with your kindness?
  • Are you easy to work with?

Believe me when I say this, publisher’s won’t work with a difficult person. Your name will go into a  file called “Life’s too Short.” I have this information on good authority.

As a precautionary warning: you don’t know where your manuscript will end up, and people will remember you for how you behave. Politeness goes a long way.

In the rare instance an author gets feedback as to why the manuscript is being rejected, treat it as golden. If something is pointed out as a flaw or an area that needs more work, then that is the perfect opportunity to go back to the manuscript and make it better. Make it something no one can reject! As Steve Martin so eloquently stated, “Be undeniably good.” OK, so that is too easy and simple, but that is how it works.

Instead of a hate-filled letter, try one full of appreciation for their time and consideration. Thank them for the opportunity, thank them for the feedback. Being grateful works!

Sometimes the rejection letter is just what it is, a rejection, cold and hard. Re-evaluate who you sent your query to. Perhaps they aren’t a good fit for you. Keep pushing forward. Take each rejection as a learning experience, learn patience, learn persistence, these are virtues that will take you far in life. As the good book says, “Shake the dust from your feet, and knock on another door.”

Writing: How to Research Subject Matter for a Book

It seems the old adage “write what you know” really doesn’t apply to me. I take on projects well out of my comfort zone. The subject

A small slice of my 43 folders I use for GTD t...

matter is such that I may know a little about it, or nothing at all. I like challenges. So, if you are like me and like to learn knew things and pass on that new knowledge to others, then you will have to become an excellent researcher!

Research: one dictionary defines research as: “careful or diligent search” or, my personal favorite, “the collecting of information about a particular subject.”

A researcher is like being a butterfly catcher. You may know where the facts are but they may be random and hard to catch. That is why  you need the proper tools to “catch” your facts, or information.

I find the internet to be a useful tool, however, it doesn’t always lead to accurate information. That is why cross-referencing (related information found elsewhere), or comparing notes with others is beneficial . The fastest approach is a Google search. The results can be overwhelming though, so choose wisely and selectively. Don’t let the research take you down a rabbit hole, so to speak.  It is very easy to get side-tracked into reading unrelated material and wind up wasting a ton of time.

Don’t let the internet be your only source of information. Books are a wonderful tool. Go to the library, or borrow the book from a friend. You never know what interests your friends have until you compare books!

Ask an expert. A personal interview is a great source of information. Make sure you have a recorder (I use my MP 3 player, but there

Sixty-One Writing Implements

are a lot of choices out there. Always have a pad of paper and a  comfortable writing implement (pen, pencil, marker, highlighter).

Another option is to take a class on the subject,or  join a group. For example, I wanted to know more about the history of my city. I didn’t just read a book on the subject, or look it up on the internet. I joined the historic society in my city and got involved. Now I assist with historical walking tours, and I attend programs where experts discuss historical subjects pertaining to my town. You can also join specific groups on Facebook or Linked In. You can join in their discussions or add what you may already know. Either way it’s a good place to ask others what they know and begin gathering information.

Good organization is a must. You will be gathering a lot of information from a lot of different places. Keep sticky notes handy, file folders or a bulletin board. (This is a feature I’m still working on!) When your notes are scattered about it makes the job more overwhelming than it needs to be!

When I first sit down to figure out where to start, I jot down every word on the subject that comes to mind. These words may not have anything to do with the subject, it is just my initial idea. I may scrap that line of thought later, but it gets me going in the right direction.

And don’t forget always take careful note of your sources. Those are the building blocks of your Bibliography.

My book, The Altered I, a Holocaust Memoir, started from putting all these suggestions to use. I’m not an expert on the Holocaust, but my father-in-law, Joseph Kempler is a survivor. Who would know more about the Holocaust than someone who lived through it? I interviewed him, recorded his personal testimony, transcribed those recordings, then conducted an extensive research on the things he told me. I learned a lot about Poland, World War II, concentration camps, and ghettos. I also learned about the psychological damage inflicted on someone who lived through that horror, and how they relate (or not) to others.

Read sample chapters: Altered I Sample-April Kempler

To Pre-order click here.

You never know what will come out of your research, what will inspire you, or where it will lead.

Research can be fun, even addicting. That’s all I have to say. What do you think? Do you write only about what you know? Or, do you research a new subject? If so, what helpful tips have you discovered? I would love to know. Please share in the comments section of this blog.

Related article: Kitchen Timer  as a writing tool.

Matthew Bayan On Marketing: How to Write a Book Event

Wordle Cloud of the Internet Marketing Blog - ...

Matthew Bayan is a traditionally published and self-published author. His background is in sales and marketing. He had some really

good advice for us newbie authors who need to learn this very important aspect to publishing a book. First, Matt explained the difference between sales and marketing. There is a difference!

Sales is information that you know about: someone hands you money (every author’s dream) and you hand them your book. You know where that book is going, it is going to that customer.

Marketing is information that you send out, but you have no idea what happens to it. It is necessary, you must do it, but where it goes you don’t know. Matt used the analogy of fishing: bait the hook, cast the line, wait and see what happens.

Even before you put one word on paper, Matt suggests you develop a marketing plan. If it is fiction,know your genre. If it is nonfiction,  you need to clearly define what it is you want to say, who is your audience, and what are you providing. For example, when you walk into a book store (they do still exist!) look around, where on the shelves does your book go? You need to know this for your marketing plan to work. Keep it simple, don’t mix your genres, don’t re-invent the wheel, no revolutionary ideas. Writing is a business. Remember that word: business.

When a new author starts out every word is precious to him/her. Nothing must be cut from their great work of art. It’s literature! It’s precious! No editing! This is wrong thinking and it won’t sell books. Even Ernest Hemingway needed to make money to sell his books. He didn’t look at every word as precious, or literature that couldn’t be cut. “Write drunk; edit sober,” were Hemingway’s words. (quote my addition, not Matt’s.)

Next, we learned the Four P’s: or in Matt’s world, Five. They are:

  1. Product. For a writer the product is books, or articles, their writing. In order to improve the product feedback is necessary. You can do this by joining a critique group. Matt suggested his, High Sierra Writers. Now, of course feedback will probably come last, but depending on the feedback you receive, you can go back and change the product, or quality of the product. This, theoretically improves the sales of said product.
  2. Price. What is the cost to produce, print, distribute. These are important factors. Take for instance a known author versus an unknown author (me). The marketing plan will have a much bigger budget for the known entity. And if you are self-publishing you will have to foot the bill for all of the above.
  3. People. These would be agents, publishers, buying public, other writers. There are four sales you will have to make: A.) Query letter to agents. This gives them information about you and determines whether they will take you on as a client. B.) Query letter to publisher (either the agent does this, or you query a press that will take unsolicited queries). This will give the publisher information about you. Your image will convince the publisher to buy your book. C.) Publisher’s catalog. This is produced by the publisher, it comes out every quarter, for example: the spring line of books, summer line, fall line, winter line. This catalog goes to the bookseller’s or bookstores for them to peruse and make their book selections to sell in their stores. D.) Someone in a store or online sees the book, wants it and buys it.
  4. Place. Where will your book be sold? A bookstore, online, or a non-traditional place? Think outside the box. Matt related the sales technique of one of his friends. This friend wrote a book and in that book the hero rides a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He thought that people who ride Harley’s would probably be interested in his book, so he went to a Harley-Davidson motorcycle store and asked if they would sell his book there. Genius! Think about it. Where will your book fit in?
  5. Platform. In the publishing world platform is everything. This is how you help the agent or publisher sell your book. These days sales is teamwork. No one will just do it all for you, as an unknown author, you must help sell your own book. To think otherwise is erroneous. Can you do public speaking? If not, learn. Join Toastmasters or Business Networking International (BNI) or some other business networking group that helps train you to speak publicly.

Think about micro-marketing. This involves T.V. stations, radio stations. Line up interviews. Have a link to your book signing event. This works best on the same day as the interview. You can say, “Hey come on down today (insert time and place) to Grassroots Books (or, whatever bookstore of your choice) and meet the author!” Do these together: interview/book signing.

Matt recommends radio station interviews because they will typically have a longer interview time than television. This means more of a chance to “catch” that listener (remember the fishing analogy?) If you are petrified of public speaking and you just can’t do it, can you talk on the phone? Well, consider an interview by phone. It is super easy, and you can stay in your pajamas. The important thing is to put yourself out there, you just don’t know where you’ll end up.

Matthew Bayan has just released The Firecracker King, available in paperback and e-book format. You can learn more about Matthew Bayan on his website, www.mathewbayan.com

I hope you benefited from Matthew Bayan’s advice on marketing as much as I did. What are your marketing ideas? I would love to hear them, please share!

The Altered I: Meet Joseph Kempler

Joseph Kempler was born in Kraków, Poland, in 1928, to a Jewish family. When German soldiers invaded his hometown in 1939, Joseph’s life was completely turned upside down. It would never be the same again. Almost immediately the Nazi regime replaced the Polish government and Joseph and his family faced open prejudice, discrimination and hatred. Suddenly there were specific rules for Jews to abide by, or face punishment. The family business was lost and taken over by new German employers, Joseph was forbidden from attending school, and the family was forced to vacate their home.

So begins the book entitled The Altered I. This is Joseph Kempler’s memoir. It chronicles his early life as a young Jewish boy, growing up in Kraków, Poland. Joseph’s story travels through a peasant village, the Kraków Ghetto and six concentration camps, some of which were the most deadliest camps known. They were: Płaszow, Zakopane, Auschwitz, Mauthausen, Melk, and Ebensee. The story also captures what it was like when Joseph was liberated by the Americans, and what it meant to live in a displaced persons camp.  Along the way, we see Joseph transform from a precocious eleven-year-old, to a callous, numb teenager, who will do anything to ensure his own survival.

Although Joseph was raised with a belief and love of God, while in the camps he becomes a self-declared God-hater. Later,when Joseph emigrated to the U.S. in 1947, he did the most unusual thing by converting to a Christian religion. Why would he do such a thing? Was he really a betrayer of his own people? The Altered I explains it all.

Joseph Kempler and his older sister Dziunka (Judy) Laub

The Altered I by April Voytko Kempler is published by LeRue Press and scheduled for release winter 2012. Stay tuned, or follow, for release dates! To preorder the paperback (scheduled for May 2013) please click here.

To read an excerpt from the book: Altered I Sample-April Kempler

Pat Holland Conner On Writing: How to Write a Book Event

Personal Diary logo from BET

I had the recent pleasure of attending my first ever How to Write a Book seminar hosted by my publisher LeRue Press. I wouldn’t say I had low expectations, I didn’t have any expectations, but this was so awesome and informative that I just had to share what I learned with you.

Three guest speakers explained the various features of writing professionally. Pat Holland Conner started off the event. She explained the benefits of keeping a journal. I’ll be honest, ever since my mom found my personal diary written as an emotional teenager, I haven’t kept a journal. My sentiments were and have been: if you don’t want anyone to know what you are thinking, or doing, or writing about, don’t keep the evidence around in a diary!

My opinion has been changed. Pat went on to explain to us that by keeping a journal we are expressing the emperor/empress of our heart.  Through our writing we express who we are. Journal writing is the precursor to the book inside all of us.

Maybe we have a bad connotation of journal writing. Maybe it’s something our therapist recommended. So, we don’t want to do it. It’s silly. But, have you ever had something within you that you just had to get out? The journal allows you to process more about who you are. Don’t hold back, don’t be polite. These are your intimate thoughts, so who cares? You don’t have to use good grammar, you can even cuss (her recommendation, not mine!), embarrass yourself, be human.

Pat said each of us has an inner critic which can be a friend and a foe.  Then she asked, “Which will you follow to bring yourself into balance?”

Some helpful pointers when undertaking journal writing are:

  • Forget fear of self (shut up the inner critic)
  • Allow the commitment to write. This is the moment you become a writer
  • There is information in our dreams. Keep a tablet and pencil nearby, when you wake up write down the dream symbols. Pat assured us that we would go right back to sleep, however, I haven’t tested out her theory.

Why we should write in a journal:

  • Privacy with self (you will know yourself and become your own friend)
  • Our rich journal entries opens the door to the “higher self”
  • Write to enjoy (remember no punctuation, no editing)
  • Writing keeps our imagination pure (imagine= image in)
  • Honor past memories (first step to writing that memoir!)
  • Hones our senses: taste, touch, sight, sound, smell
  • First approach to healing

I enjoyed Pat’s perspective and I hope you gained something too.

Pat Holland Conner is the author of Doorways to Significance: Finding Peace, Power, and Passion available in paperback and eBook.