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Book Now to Lock In Pricing!

As we head into the final quarter of 2018, we know many of you are starting to plan your publishing schedules for next year. So we wanted to offer you a heads up and a deal.

Starting January 1st, 2019, Touchstone Editing will be raising prices for our editorial letters. As a reminder, an editorial letter critiques the main points of the story, including character development, world building, and plot. New prices will be as follows: 

  • For manuscripts up to 30,000 words: $200
  • For manuscripts up to 60,000 words: $350
  • For manuscripts 60,000-80,000 words: $450
  • For manuscripts 80,000-100,000 words: $525

We understand some of you may have been budgeting for our current prices, so we also have a special offer:

The details:
    • To take advantage of this offer, the scheduled start date for your editorial letter must be before March 1st, 2019.
    • Your slot must be confirmed in Jennifer's or Anya's schedule before December 21st, 2018.
      • It usually takes a few days from when you first contact us to go over everything before a slot can be confirmed, so please plan accordingly.
    • A signed contract and a deposit are required to confirm an editorial slot.
      • For more information on deposits and refunds, click here.
    • Slots are first-come, first-served.
      • This means if all available slots are booked, even if you contact us before the end of 2018, new pricing will apply. So get in touch soon!

And of course if you have any questions, let us know. We're looking forward to working with you!

2018 Writers For Hope Auction for @RAINN!

The fifth annual Writers for Hope Auction is happening this week! Each year, editors, agents, and authors contribute amazing auction items to raise money to combat sexual assault, and 100% of the proceeds go to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), the United States' largest anti-sexual assault organization.

There are over 100 items being auctioned off this year. Whether you're looking for a critique opportunity, new books to read, or a great gift for a friend, this is a wonderful chance to get what you need while also standing up against sexual assault and supporting a wonderful organization that fights back. Bids start at only $10!

Don't forget: this year the auction goes all week, and bidding closes at 11:59pm EST (8:59pm PST) on Friday. Watch out for those last-minute bidders!

Revitalize Your Revisions with One Easy Trick

It can be easy to grow discouraged while revising your story, whether novel-length or shorter. The elation of finishing the first draft wears off, and you're left with multiple rounds of critiques, followed by picking apart & reworking a project into which you've already invested so much of yourself. It can feel endless, or at times even hopeless.

When you're deep in that process, it is also easy to lose sight of the progress being made with each round of revisions. If you find yourself losing perspective, try this trick:
    Use the "Compare Documents" feature in MS Word to see how far you've come from that first (almost certainly messy) draft.

Of course, this assumes that you're saving the various versions of your work in progress—which you absolutely should be doing. (If not on your computer, then in periodic backups. Seriously, when was the last time you backed up your manuscript? Do it now!)

Here's how to find this feature (on a Mac; PC versions of Word may vary but should be similar enough): 
  1. Go to Tools -> Track Changes -> Compare Documents
  2. This will open the menu below:
  3. MS Word Compare Documents menu
  4. For the "Original Document," select your completed first draft.
    • If you don't already have it open, click on the little folder or select "browse" from the drop-down menu. 
    • If you do already have it open, you can select it directly from the drop-down.
  5. For the "Revised Document," select your most recent draft.
  6. Make sure to open the extra settings (with all the checkboxes) and to select "Show Changes in New Document"!
    • This will leave your original files exactly as they are and open a brand new file highlighting the differences.

Why go through the trouble? Because seeing your progress highlighted in bright colors (depending on your settings) will help you appreciate how much you've done and how far your story has come! Whether you save this new document or simply scroll through to see all those changes, it's sure to help you find the motivation to keep working toward that compelling story readers will love.

Mini Lesson: Subjective vs. Omniscient Narration

It's been a long time coming, but as promised, here's a mini lesson on the difference between subjective and omniscient narration!

I first wanted to address this because I keep seeing people call any subjective narration "first-person" narration. In case you missed it, I covered the definitions of first-person and third-person narration in another mini lesson. The bit to remember for today is that "first-person" simply means the use of first-person pronouns: I, we, us, etc.

Subjective narration is when a story is told through the lens of one character's experience at a time. There can be multiple narrators or just one, but each perspective is limited to what the narrating character sees, hears, feels, knows, etc. In fact, another term for subjective narration is limited narration. It places the reader into the body & mind of the narrator, so we experience the story unfolding along with them. This is the more common type of narration seen in fiction nowadays.

Omniscient narration, on the other hand, is when the story is told by an all-knowing narrator. This narrator can dip into different characters' minds and also share with the reader things the characters may not know at all. Everything we may need to know about the world, the characters, and the plot, this narrator knows. While less common nowadays, it is no less powerful a choice, and both types of narration have their strengths.

Both types of narration can be either first- or third-person. However, it's extremely rare to have a truly omniscient first-person narrator. Such narrators often turn out to be unreliable, meaning the reader can't necessarily trust what they're saying and may need to draw separate conclusions about conversations and events. An unreliable narrator might simply misconstrue events and other characters' words and actions, or they may intentionally conceal information from the reader, misrepresent events, and even lie outright. They may also be suffering from mental conditions which affect their perception of events. But an unreliable narrator may still present themselves as an omniscient (or even objective) one.

One last thing to note is that narrative tense—whether the story is told in the past, present, or even (and extremely rarely) future—is independent from whether the narration is in first- or third-person and whether it's subjective or omniscient. So there are many combinations with which you can experiment in your writing!