Cover to Cover #459: How and Where to Get Started

Would you be interested in receiving PDFs of sample chapters from authors, writing prompts or assignments or items of that ilk? Let us know your thoughts on that!

Feedback: Dan Dan the Art Man looks forward to the new Dragon Page direction; Dan in Rochester has his own science book coming out soon, and looks forward to more ebook tips in the future; Laura from NJ wonders if and how editing will be covered during the steps of ebook production to be covered here.

Mike S lays out some steps to keep in mind when you start your 2012 writing projects:

1) Finish your drafts FIRST
2) DO NOT EDIT while you're still working your drafts
3) Make notes as you go to add them in during editing LATER

Next, the guys mark Mike M's starting point in tackling the re-edit of his book, itemizing what he should do for character and story breakdowns.

Submitting Listener comments: If you have any suggestions or comments, please let us know!

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Promo: Slice of SciFi
Promo: Dragon's Fire, Wizard's Flame by Michael R. Mennenga


  1. Well, after listening to your latest podcast, I will try to face the second short novel I wrote and tag along with you two. To be upfront, it was my NaNoWriMo attempt, of which I manage to reach the word count and beat down the edit-as-you-go monster out of sheer necessity. The whole tale needs a ton of work, but basically, I like the idea of the story, and really like my main character. The last third of the book needs a major overhaul though, and here is my question:

    The ending is bad. My biggest problem is not beginning a book but finding a satisfying ending. I don't know how to find the basic flavor of my ending - I think putting the entire story in order would be easier if I know, generally, where my ending might be. Might you have any advice for that?

  2. Gregory Lemon says

    Would you be interested in receiving PDFs of sample chapters from authors, writing prompts or assignments or items of that ilk?

    You bet! I'm more interested in the writing assignments. A PDF listing the 2-5 action items that I need to accomplish before the next show, based on the information provided during the podcast.


  3. I'm on board with the writing assignments/prompts too.

    As far as content from interviewed authors and such I think that is a great idea, if nothing else it can give us an extra feel for if we want to read the rest of the work. Hearing about it from the author is always great but unless you already follow them you won't know if you like their style or not.

    Also, thanks Mike S. for the editing reminders, I've been trying to get back into the work I started in November but the itch to edit has been bugging me (and my first draft is not done)

  4. Paul Skelding says

    Yes I'd love some PDFs with writing prompts and assignments! It would also be good to add notes from the episode about editing, writing, and the like. Sample chapters are always welcomed!

  5. I am thrilled about the new format for the show. The advice for this episode was just what I needed to hear as I begin my third draft after the second draft was a rewrite. I took notes for myself from what Mike S. said and thought you all might benefit. This is a paraphrase/quote:

    20 min mark: Write in a general outline format the shining stars of story and character.

    20:35: Scene inventory: Line out three things that happen in each chapter (single line items); at end of each item, content label (highly magical, dark chapter, romance) to get a sense of general flow. This helps identify key development points for characters (are they too spread out?), or if you have too many combat chapters in a row. Then you can easily shuffle or rearrange them to make it flow better.