Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Four Reasons You are not Published

I'm over at Buzzy Mag explaining all ot the things and wearing ranty-pants. http://buzzymag.com/four-reasons-published/

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I Can Tell You Why Your Manuscript Sucks


How can I do this and why would you want to be told such a horrible thing?

Maybe, because you want to find an agent or editor who LOVES YOU DEARLY?

I've found mine and now I'd like to help you find yours. (No, you can't have mine.) So I've started a critique service. Not forever, but for a while.

Why do you think you're any good at this at all?

I've been beta reading since 1990, not only for unpublished authors, but for agented and published ones, too. Quite honestly, I was a terrible reader for the first ten years or so. I was worried about hurting people's feelings, and didn't say when a passage stunk on ice, or when something made me go WTF?! Now I do. This is what you need to improve your writing.

Also, I remember thinking, "I wish someone would just tell me what I'm doing wrong so I can fix it." Seriously, some of you guys are wonderful writers, you have a voice, your sentence structure is strong. But, your pacing sucks, or you just can't quite make your characters come alive for the reader. I can help you with that.

Why would you want to use your time like this when you could be watching Dr. Who or Spiderman?

Quite honestly, I have six kids. Four are in college, and two are in private high school. I'd like them to stay in school, their education is extremely important to me, and that costs a gerjillion dollars.

Why would I want to pay for a critique when I can get one free from my own critique group?

Unless your beta readers are published, or are working with a traditional agent or editor, they don't have the experience to help you. I do.

How much will this cost?

Query Critique and First Chapter (up to 20 pages)  $50.00

First Three Chapters (up to 40 pages) $100.00

Entire Manuscript Critique $1.00 a page

Emergency Fee to Jump the Queue  $50

Temporarily closed to submissions

What do I get for my money?

I'll post notes throughout the manuscript using Word and Track Changes. I'll tell you where, when, and why you're messing up. I'll tell you what you're doing right, and what you shouldn't change. I'll also provide a detailed letter of what I think will improve your work.

Every writer is at a different stage of development. All writers (including me) have problems actually seeing their story because what they've written is colored by what they see in their own mind. The reader doesn't have the benefit of your imagination.

What won't you do?

I will not recommend you to my agent unless I think your book is ready to go into print tomorrow. You should know that I have been with my agent for three years, and have only suggested that she read one writer's work. (While I've read hundreds.)

I don't critique erotica. (For all I know I could be doing it wrong.)

I will not correct your punctuation. You need a line editor for that.

How do I contact you?

You can email me at juliebutcheredits@yahoo.com
You can check out recommendations and *like* my editing page at https://www.facebook.com/JulieButcherEdits
On twitter you can find me at https://twitter.com/Julie_Butcher

I look forward to working with you.
















Friday, April 11, 2014

The DH, the Evil Chainsaw, and Bears

This is the Dear Husband

He is always busy and has all the things to do. (Here he revamped our old swingset for my nieces and nephew.) He was busy with a tree trimming project when the worst thing imaginable happened.

With his mighty chainsaw he was standing in a huge pile of small branches. His right foot was in the brush and his left was on the log. He'd cut almost all the way through and pushed with his left foot to move the log and finish the cut.

Unfortunately there was a stubborn spot there. The chainsaw bounced back and into the calf of his left leg. The brush he was standing on collapsed, he fell, and the chainsaw did what they do--it cut through his calf.

He yelled to youngest son who almost carried him to the truck, and then the DH drove himself to the emergency room because he worried about bleeding out before an ambulance could get there. Meanwhile, while holding his dad's leg together, youngest son calls me and in the calmest voice imaginable says, "Mom, I don't want you to be upset but Dad had an accident and we're on the way to the emergency room."

I told youngest son to run in when they got there and yell for help. Then I did what I do, jumped into the car, and drove like a bat out of Hell. (Youngest son informed me that when he opened the door to get the DH from the truck, blood poured out. I believe it because I had to scrub it.)

When I got to the emergency room, the DH was on the table and it looked like someone had put a giant piece of raw liver on his leg. The entire calf was open. The nurse was so amazed at our joking around the she said, "You guys are sure calm about this." To which the DH responded, "We have six kids." (Evidently this fact is enough for anyone to believe that we're as nutty as fruitcakes.)

He'd cut all the way through the large calf muscle and half-way through the smaller one.

Anyway, after three very long surgeries, six days in the hospital, and two weeks on bedrest we went to the doctor's office yesterday. He removed the stitches on the skin side, put his leg in a full cast, and sent us home for four more weeks of bedrest. After that he will have a walking cast for at least another six weeks.

The DH is very unhappy with this order, but I get it because the scar is huge and C-shaped, and luckily, his name starts with a C so we won't have to change that. (Also he says don't tell people that he almost cut his leg off with a chainsaw (which also starts with a C) because this is an embarrassing fact. So if you see him, it was a bear.)

We do have end-of-the-world insurance so we won't lose the house. (We pay $10K before it kicks in and then they pay 80% up to $100K)

Luckily for us, writers, editors, and agents are amazing and kind people and I want to thank each person who donated such awesome things to the Indiegogo campaign, and also to thank everyone who bought these wonderful items. So many people offered to help that they're adding new stuff everyday.

You have no idea how much it means to us as a family, and to me personally. I don't feel alone in this. Sure it will be hard, and a very long recovery, but not facing it by myself is such an wonderful feeling that I can't explain it without a million adjectives. (I know how you feel about those.) So I won't try except to say that you warm my heart and I won't ever forget. Not ever.

They'll run the fundraiser until the end of April so if you want to check it out, the Reader Edition is here and the Writer Edition is here.

I honestly believe that all of the prayers and good thoughts from you got us through the surgery without needing a skin graft. Thank you. Any extra during his recovery are very much appreciated.

I love you guys.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Why Your Young Adult Manuscript Flushes Down the Toilet of Fail: A Rant


Let me explain something about teenagers. They are not cranky and crabby all of the time. They are not self-absorbed and callous. In fact, they have more joy inside than do adults. When their interest is caught, they follow learning with a fierceness and determination that adults no longer have.

I can state these things as fact because I have three teens in the house. (At one time I had five which is certain to have been illegal in several states.) The reason your YA manuscript isn’t going over is because you are writing teens as the enemy.  So let’s lay this out.

Children are short adults with no money.

Teenagers are young adults with more spendable income than their parents.

You’re writing young adults like they are some foreign tribe on a hidden continent. They’re not the Lost Boys in Never land. They don’t dance around the fire shaking spears and planning to stab-dead every adult they see.

Sure there are psycho teens out there killing people and running away and doing drugs—whatever. Those kids would like your dark and angry characters. Pretty much those teens won’t be reading your book, because of them being all busy with their psychotic murders.

I don’t remember when my thinking jumped from child to teen to adult. Mostly, my brain has been the same. My favorite birthday cake is still the same one my mom made when I was six.  I still like a lot of the things that brought me joy when I was little—a fire in the fireplace, a hug, the wonder of the leaves changing in the fall.

The point is that when I was a teen, I had joy. So totally quit writing these teenagers that are like the cranky neighbor who yells for kids to get off his lawn. Teenagers are like you only they don’t pay rent or utility bills. (There see—they automatically have better lives.)

They’re people. You’re people. Same/Same.

If you don't actually like teenagers, you shouldn't write YA.