I am now revising a novel I drafted while caring for my best friend in the final weeks of her life. At the time, it was pure escape, a place to put all my strongest, most painful emotions. Only afterward did I see the amazing heart of the piece. It’s required several rounds of being taken apart and put back together the way fiction needs to be structured. This last round follows a long discussion with my agent, who is very excited about it. (As a note, I’ve been publishing fiction for over 35 years, with 15 novels and umpteen short stories, so I have experience with this <g>)
Dear Auntie Deborah:
Why do people advise me not to address an editor as “Dear Sir”?
Auntie Deborah: I strongly advise you not to address an editor as “sir.” The primary reason is the likelihood that the editor is a woman. In 2016, 78% of editors were women. (All 3 editors at my publisher are women.) Do you want to begin your letter with the assumption that an editor must be male?
Instead, say, “Dear editor.” Better yet, address your letter to the specific editor to whom you are submitting. (“Dear Ms. Jones” — not Miss or Mrs!) You should know this as part of researching your markets. Some publishers have a first or slush reader, usually anonymous, in which case, “Dear editor” or “Dear publisher” would be fine.
Dear Auntie Deborah,
What do I do when my main character simply won’t fit the scenario of the plot?
Auntie Deborah: You have a choice: let the character tell their authentic story, or promise to do that in order to keep the character quiet and happy, and stick another, more appropriate character in the current story. The fact that your character is talking back to you is an excellent sign, by the way. I’d go with that. You might discover you are an author who prefers character-driven stories, and this is a great place to start.
When you ask if a Chromebook is a good tool for writers, you’re really talking about Google Docs.
I received a Chromebook as a gift, to replace an aged and very heavy laptop that no longer had a functional battery and had to be plugged in all the time. I loved how light it was for the size of the keyboard and screen. I had to adjust to Google Docs (and then to saving the final manuscript in Word because that’s what my publisher requires). Now I love it! I can switch back and forth from voice recognition (although it’s very stupid voice recognition) and I can access the files from anywhere. I never need to worry about losing my work. I use one file per chapter. One drawback (besides the need to move to Word for the final file) is that if I compile the entire novel into one file for revision, the auto save takes so long that it freezes the process. So when I throw it all together, I move to my desktop and Word.
All of this said, there are other word processing programs that writers prefer. Many of my colleagues swear by Scrivener, which has many helpful features. Because I learned to write novels longhand/typewriter, I’ve figured out my own system. Scrivener means using a laptop or desktop, which means portability, especially if weight is an issue.