Tell the best damn story you can

I’m not going to pretend that I know everything about writing and publishing, but since my first publication in 2009, I’ve learned many lessons about the craft.

This past week I’ve seen a few authors worrying about the mechanics of publishing, specifically copy-editing and proofreading. This is important, but not as important as STORY. For me, plot, characters, and theme are what makes a good story. The blow-by-blow editing comes after, as a necessary evil to ensure that the plot, characters and theme come together seamlessly. But without a good story as the foundation, the editing is going to become torture.

So, if I’m able to impart anything about editing, it’s this: first and foremost, sit down and write the best possible STORY you can and worry about the editing when it’s time to edit. Get the first draft down. Leave it. Let it breathe, like a bottle of wine. Then maybe send it on to some trusted beta readers for feedback. Take that feedback as constructive criticism and nothing more, and if need be, rewrite. Don’t be afraid to rewrite. Don’t be afraid to hack and slash. I like to edit as I go, re-reading the previous passage or chapter before starting a new one. It keeps me focused on the plot, characters and theme. But this is how I do it. In the end, you should write for yourself, tell the story you want to tell, or would like to read. Then it will be honest. You’re a storyteller, not an editor and that’s why publishers have editors.

Write your story. Live it. Love it. I wish you all the best with it.

About darkscrybe

Two-time international Bram Stoker Award-nominee®*, Greg Chapman is a horror author and artist based in Queensland, Australia. Greg is the author of several novels, novellas and short stories, including his award-nominated debut novel, Hollow House (Omnium Gatherum) and collections, Vaudeville and Other Nightmares (Specul8 Publishing) and This Sublime Darkness and Other Dark Stories (Things in the Well Publications). He is also a horror artist and his first graphic novel Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, (McFarland & Company) written by authors Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton, won the Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel category at the Bram Stoker Awards® in 2013. He is also the current President of the Australasian Horror Writers Association. Greg lives in Rockhampton with his wife and their two daughters. * Superior Achievement in a First Novel for Hollow House (2016) and Superior Achievement in Short Fiction, for “The Book of Last Words” (2019)
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2 Responses to Tell the best damn story you can

  1. As a writer, you hit the nail on the head — write the damn story! 🙂 As an editor, I couldn’t agree more. The last thing you should be sending an editor is a first draft; it’s not going to be pretty when it’s returned. Great post, Greg!

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