Keeping Fiction Focused with a Great Plot Idea

Many new fiction authors make key mistakes by not reviewing the flow of the plot, characters and settings for events. Books can really disappoint the reader by flip-flopping to move a murder setting from day to evening and when characters leap out from the pages with entirely different physical descriptions. Minor errors like these turn a good suspense thriller, mystery or dramatic fiction work into a comedy.

These mistakes are noticed by literary agents and small press publishers with thousands of other authors vying for their time. In the competitive writing marketplace, editing flubs can cost you a real opportunity to present your work in its best light.

If you really believe in your writing then the old school advise to check, re-check and edit again can put your work ahead of newbie authors rushing into the marketplace. Publishers tend to be exactly like your grade school grammar school where everything counts. In today’s market many literary agents and publishers will not devote editing time and resources on a new author.

Case in point, my first book Step 339 was edited by four individuals and by six readers before I ever attempted to present the book. This process took over a year.

Still, in final manuscript presentation another ten errors were found by the typist. Despite the effort, Step 339 landed in the marketplace on the eve of 911. Step 339 is suspense thriller about a terrorist attack. Unfortunately the events of 911 and economic slump sunk the sales for the book. This is the reality of publishing that the right book has to reach the right market at the right time when buyers are willing to buy.


Step 339 by Nathan ShepardNathan Shepard is a Wisconsin native, UW-Plateville graduate and currently lives in the Genesse area. Nathan’s first novel is Step 339 and he is currently editing The Treasure Twist