How to find the best freelance book editor – a no no list

inked hands - how to hire a book editorEditing your novel, possibly resorting to a professional freelance book editor, is a step of paramount importance in the process leading up to the publishing of your book.

In fact, even the most powerful scene falls flat on its face if it’s riddled with typos, grammar mistakes, and whatnot.

The reason for this is simple. Any glitch in the flow of the words on the page is like a tear in the virtual reality the reader is experiencing.

And too many tears of this kind make the fabric of virtual reality simply too flimsy to keep the readers inside it.

Editing a book – an act of balance

The editing process is a particularly delicate and complex one. In fact, while generating new ideas to turn into books, and then actually writing your first drafts, as a writer you have full control over what you do, during the editing process such control necessarily wanes.

Indeed, the moment a freelance book editor enters the equation between you and your book, you no longer have full control over the creative process. Even if ultimately it’s your call to accept or reject the editor’s changes.

Besides, with editing it’s not only a matter of finding a professional freelance book editor. Often, even when you find one, you discover that her style, her sensibility to language is too different from yours, and consequently unsuitable. Continue reading

A writer’s take on the debate about science and religion

science and religion debateThe science and religion debate is probably one of the most long lasting in our society.

It probably started with one of our ancestors finding a way to harness the power of fire and someone else telling him that wasn’t a good idea.

Because it interfered with the will of the gods, of the deities.

Okay, okay, I’m just making things up here, but I think you get the gist.

Debates are important, or not?

Indeed, the science and religion debate has been, and still is, a lively one, even too lively sometimes. Just like it is the debate about the role or art, or whatever other prominent aspect of our society that is of some import.

In general, I think the best way to delve with debates and discussions is to avoid them. But about the religion and science debate in our society I do want to share at least this quote:

“God created two acts of folly. First, He created the Universe in a Big Bang. Second, He was negligent enough to leave behind evidence for this act, in the form of microwave radiation.” — Paul Erdos

 

The reasons I find this quote about the science and religion debate in our society interesting, are simple:

– It shows clearly how futile it is to join any debate believing we can put the word end on it. How naive of us is to believe we can show something to be the case beyond any doubt and win a debate.

In fact, the opposite is true. Because our language is so powerful we can really use it to create something out of nothing. And then we can even give to our creations all sorts of characteristics and meanings. Continue reading

How to write a blurb for your novel

how to write a blurb - manNo doubt, for your book, having an intriguing blurb is as important as having a great cover, an intriguing title and your story professionally edited.

That’s why, if you’re serious about your writing, you should devote a bit of time to learn how to write a blurb.

In fact, if the cover, well, the thumbnail version of it, is essential to catch a perspective reader’s eye, then it’s the blurb that has to persuade him or her to hit the “buy now” button, or at the very least to download a sample of your book.

Now, guidelines on how to write a blurb can seem a bit contradictory at first sight.

But you don’t need to worry. Just bear in mind that any well crafted blurb is based on intelligent synthesis and a grain of inventiveness, and that these are two essential tools all decent writers possess. Otherwise, how could they ever come up with hundred of pages of compelling narrative?

As a matter of fact, the problem of how to write a blurb is only in part a technical one. In reality, it has more to do with perception, with how a writer perceives her book.

I mean, after all an author who has just finished a book has stayed with it for months, to say the least. As a result, even if she is more than willing to spend a sizable quantity of time to craft an effective blurb, she could still find it very difficult to tell the proverbial trees from the forest.

Indeed, she knows the story too well and is therefore no longer able to look at it from the perspective of someone who, instead, knows nothing about it.

That’s why, even if there’s no sure way to foresee how well any particular blurb will do, the following checklist should help you in the process of creating more effective book blurbs. In fact, it forces you to take a step back, so to speak, and look at your story with fresh eyes. Continue reading

Alternative swear words or plain old swear words–which is best in fiction?

pile of stones on a beach - writing a story is an act of balance

Writing is an act of balance, just like knowing whether to use or not alternative swear words.

I’m more than willing to admit that alternative swear words can be useful at times, both when writing fiction and in real life. But old fashioned traditional curse words are so widespread for a very simple reason.

They work. They help us to relieve stress.

In fact, in any language, the moment a word ceases to have any function, it also stops being used. It somehow survives longer in dictionaries. But never in new novels (if they’re not historical ones) and in the everyday parlance of the people.

In a way, evolution works for the words of a language just like for living organisms.

As a result, I think it is essential for any writer to understand that, provided the words they set for are in actual use or have been so, the choice about whether to use swear words or alternative swear words is just that, first and foremost a stylistic choice.

A choice that isn’t in itself good or bad. But a choice that nonetheless requires some considerations. Continue reading

Elements of a horror story – descriptions

man with horror mask - elements of a horror storyWhen man first developed language, life was harsh and merciless to say the least.

Back then horror stories must have been quite common, only that they often had to do with everyday happenings. Tragic happenings.

Given that storytelling is most likely as old as language itself, also the essential elements of a horror story must be just as old.

Indeed, some of them crystallized a long time ago and, in a way, never really changed.

In this post I’m going to focus on descriptions. In particular, on why it can be so difficult to strike the right balance between detail and vagueness when writing horror fiction. I mean, this is a difficult feat in any genre, but in horror fiction it is even more so.

Elements of a horror story – from the beginning

We humans are made the way we are made because it paid well from an evolutive point of view.

For example, when a man looks at a woman for just a brief moment he tends to overestimate her beauty.

In fact, it was better to stop, go back, have a second look and maybe get laid with miss cave woman rather than simply go on with our everyday chores and then, maybe, get killed in a mammoth hunt without having first passed on our precious pool of genes. Continue reading