Thursday, February 25, 2010

OOPS Factor

Job 19: 4 And be it indeed
that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself.

Oops that was wrong. Did you ever have that happen to you? Have an oops moment in writing? Well allow me.

The oops factor is a term we writers use when we have a, dare I say, mistake? This is why I say oops because it just sounds so much better and comes off as being retrievable but we all know, an oops is non- refundable.

Have you ever submitted a work and breathed that deep sigh of relief as you finally sent your work out and as months pass you think, “Hmmm, I still haven’t heard from them.” Then you pull the piece that you submitted out of the secret file that you have it hidden in, and take a second look at it.

OOPS! There it is, shining right in your face, a mistake glaring at you like an eyeball in the sky! It is plain as day so why didn’t you see it BEFORE you clicked that little submit button? Why? Because you were already excited about sending it out into the realm of the unknown and thought for sure it would bring you joy as it got the old accepted letter (one that you quickly print out and make a beautiful new wallpaper out of.)

Lesson learned. Before you ever submit, click submit, or send out your work, there is a checklist that you as a writer need to be aware of that will make the wait less tense filled and maybe a more pleasant outcome will result by doing the list!

1. Always check the guidelines. If it calls for 1200 words, don’t ever think that your writing is so special that the editors will overlook that one word extra that you added. In poetry markets they usually ask for 20-26 lines, don’t give them 30. It will get tossed in the trash. Also check the requirements for font and spacing. No editor wants fancy font! Remember that.

2. Always check for grammatical errors. This is important for submitting to magazines or workshops that you might be in. Putting your best work forward shows the reader that you have taken the time to know what it is that you are submitting. Editors are not going to fix your punctuation errors, nor is any writing group. Learn the concept.

3. Always check the correct spelling. If you are in Canada, then editors want the correct spelling, ie: labor/labour. But in America, they want the American spelling or else they will ask for the proper English spelling.

4. Don’t assume. Don’t assume that your work will be critiqued by a magazine editor. If she/he drops you a note saying fix this or that, then good for you! But they will NOT correct grammar, spelling issues for you, this should have been done before hitting the submit button!

5. ALWAYS and I mean always after writing, revising and preparing to submit, let it STAND for a day or two and come back with an eagle eye and read it. Read it OUT LOUD so you get the right sound to a sentence.

These are simple five tips that will aid you in the rechecking of your work before submitting. Don’t let the editors have to work for what they are reading. Give them something clean and professional and chances are you’ll get that acceptance letter sooner than expected.

Write Right Folks!

p.s. Thanks Raven :-)


Stormcrow said...

Step 5 is the most important, I think. Letting something sit for a day or two will help you look at it more objectively. That's true of everything, not just writing.

joni said...

Give me a day or two to think of an objective response. lol (kidding)

So true isn't it? Even in life we need to just step back a moment (or two) and say, "hmmm."

It's a moment you won't regret in the long run. :-)

June said...

Awesome advice, Joni!

And no matter how careful I am, an oops can still happen.

Take care,

joni said...

I think we were created as an 'oops' moment.
There is a chapter in Geneis that says, "And God breathed life into man."
I'm thinking just after he did that, he said, "Oops!" lol

Hey, I also believe God has a sense of humor. :-)