Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Guest Author Daniel Audet: Writing, Rewriting and Editing

Today we have a view from the opposite side. I’ve had plenty of published authors, but I thought it might be nice to hear the tale of someone who’s still working on that. So join me in welcoming Daniel Audet to the blog. 

Daniel is a writer of thriller fiction, blogger, and occasional talk radio host. You can find him on Twitter at @danielaudet.

Take it away Daniel…

When I began blogging a few years ago, I was driving a truck and had an idea for a blog, or column, if you will, (which, for me originally was nothing more than a writing exercise). I pitched my concept to several of the major trucking sites online, and they all bit on my idea and all gave me home page placement or my own column page. My thoughts covered every aspect of my life both professionally and personally as I stared out at the world hurtling by through the windshield of my truck. This was the premise. Well, literally overnight I had more than a million readers and was reviewed and followed by every major blog review site out there including a mention in USA Today and featured on trucking sites from several foreign nations, including Russia and Japan. It spun off to a syndicated radio show on Internet and A.M. Talk Radio.

Here’s why I mention this, (it’s NOT to toot my own horn). Honestly, at that point I wasn’t that great of a blogger or even a journalist. Lots of obvious amateur mistakes, bad sentencing, punctuation and sometimes deviating from my original point, and lots of rambling, etc. Realizing I was being read in many foreign countries as well as the U.S. I wanted so badly to be “heard” and “felt” and to write the best I could for the people who would be reading my stuff. People I'm eternally grateful for--they motivated me to work super hard at my craft. They still do.

So, for starters, I learned about the value of the art of rewriting and the craft of editing.

I’m not new to writing but, maybe like you, I’m working on my first novel and bracing myself for the rewriting and editing phase.  Many of you reading this have one or more novels under your belt and rewrites are a second nature thing. Believe me, you truly have my undying respect for that accomplishment. 

At 94K, almost done with the climax and epilogue, I’m looking ahead to two things:

1. Re-writes. (Yay?)

2. Editing. (someone yells: “Hey! We need an editor in here!” )

Re-writes are an author’s refining process wherein our level of skill and mastery are tested and pushed further as we distill our thoughts and words, hopefully resulting in a well crafted story.

Editing can be likened to a skilled diamond cutter sculpting a raw gem to its brightest glimmer and sparkle, giving it much greater beauty and value.

For me it’s not so much that I look forward to the work, but, that, as a long time blogger, poet and songwriter, I know from experience that I almost never get it right the first time. I don’t know anyone who has or does (and I’ve had several songs make it to radio and I have several hit songwriter and bestselling author friends).

Writing well enough for a book to compete in the marketplace is no easy thing.

A quick sidebar: One thing I noticed, a common thread through all my posts, was one key element. I, fortunately, was born with a volcanic abundance of PASSION. Burning, searing, crawl across the world through fire PASSION. It was the fuel that every word I wrote burned on. Now, as a fiction writer it causes me to develop my skill so that I can translate raw emotion and fearless sincerity better into the written word, in such a way that it moves my readers, not just entertains them. Mastery of the craft is the way to do this, for me and in the process I become a better writer with a distinct “voice’.

But, again, beyond the actual writing are other essentials, things I need to look at and make up my mind to undertake too.

Re-writing I can do…I think…

Editing? I’m a subscriber to the thought that the editing of my books should go to a professional, first for line editing, then for overall structure and concept. This may mean two separate editors, or still only one capable of both. Either way I will be using as high a skill level and talent as I can find. Somehow I will find a way to pay them.

The publishing houses use really good editors and some out there are in high demand and they‘re not cheap, as you may already know. This is the type I‘m talking about.

No race car driver can also be his own mechanic and he’ll never win any races without a good one.

Part of every author’s journey, I believe, is finding your own way. To an extent.

If you want to do it then make sure you can. If you can do it then make sure you want to.

Be active in social media, read good writer blogs like Janice’s blog here. Follow her and others in her circle on Twitter - @Janice_Hardy on Twitter -Follow up on links and recommendations regularly. LinkedIn is good for contacts and writer groups, so is Facebook.

Read about and keep up with trends in the publishing industry, both traditional and self publishing.

Research every choice you make and don’t be na├»ve about the pitfalls facing ALL authors.

You’ve got motivation and you’ve got questions. Now go out there and find some answers.

I’ll see you out there on the writer’s road.


  1. Elizabeth Dunn12/27/2011 9:44 AM

    Will do Daniel. I'll flag you down on route 66 if I make it and writers' self doubt doesn't pull me down. You don't seem to fall victim to that one. Good for you!

  2. I love your post here. I am a writer and editor, just trying to find my way. When I tell people I'm an editor, the immediate response is "Oh. I just edit my own stuff." It drives me crazy! I love what you said about "No race car driver can also be his own mechanic, and he'll never win any races without a good one."

    I appreciate your advice and perspective on writing. Your journey is inspiring. Your passion definitely comes through. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Thanks for the comments everyone and a heartfelt THANKS to Janice for graciously giving me this opportunity here today. I not only follow Janice in social media but have been a fan and reader of her blog, this blog, and have been greatly enriched by the posts here. Janice is an accomplished author in her own right and her selfless efforts to share and to teach have helped my writing and given it depth. True, I have been around the block a couple of times, as they say, but as a writer with an eye on competing in the huge marketplace of book sales, well, better writing usually sells more books and that is my goal.

  5. Hi Daniel

    Good post, i'm currently in the editing process, the end of it too, a few weeks from sending it out for one or two people to read, analyse, and no dubt send back with massive streaks of red pen through it

    I'm beginning to understand more than ever the need for others, and i'm hoping to get to one or two conferences this year, join a writing group, and generally look to get my book edited properly. I hate the idea of not finishing this process, whether i get published or not

    Finish what you begin, so important!

    Matt (Turndog Millionaire)

  6. Hi, thanks for your thoughts - passion is an absolute must for writers. And finding your own way - also true, though I'd qualify that as 'finding your own way with due knowledge of the conventions and rules'. Good luck with the editing. Always the best part of the finishing process, for me at least.

    Matthew Wright

  7. Great advice for starting 2012! :)

  8. I'm in the rewriting process of my third novel and will soon start the professional edit process of my second. If you don't mind the shout out, let me recommend my editor, Kaycee Hawn, of Renaissance Wordsmith. She does both line and substantive editing. She is excellent! www.renwordsmith.com