Novel Boot Camp – Workshop #4: Ask the Editor


Week four of Novel Boot Camp is upon us! It’s going faster than I ever expected. It’s been a whirlwind, but it’s been great fun. And of course, it has sparked a lot of questions from all of you wonderful participants.

So this week I want to give everyone the opportunity to ask me your most burning questions! Since there’s no way I can answer a couple hundred questions this week, I am not going to be responding in this workshop. Instead, I will be compiling the questions that I feel will best serve the Novel Boot Camp community, and I will post the answers to these questions in a future blog post.

When will the post go live? This depends a bit on how many questions are asked, the types of questions asked, and how easy it is to pick the best ones to answer. I may use the questions to write full lectures or I may compile them into several blog posts to go up after Boot Camp.

The Rules

Please follow these rules when posting your questions:

  • Each writer may post up to two original questions.
  • You may request a lecture or blog post addressing an issue or aspect of writing or editing if you prefer.
  • If you see that someone has already posted your question, please reply to their comment with “me too,” “ditto,” or an explanation of why you too are interested in the answer. Please try your best not to start a new comment thread for a question that has already been asked.
  • Please do not answer the questions in the comments. This will prevent things from getting cluttered and will also protect writers from getting potentially inaccurate advice.
  • Questions may be directly related to your book, but please do not post any excerpts.
  • Questions may be general in nature and not directly related to your novel.
  • Please keep questions related to writing, editing, or publishing.
  • All questions should be posted in the comments below.
  • Please post your questions before July 27th.

Unless there is a crazy huge amount of questions, I would like to answer all of them eventually. This will most likely not be possible during Novel Boot Camp, so be sure to follow the blog in case I answer your question after camp is over.

Connect with Other Novel Boot Camp Participants

Need a writing friend? Got a question? Need a shoulder to cry on? We’re there for you!

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I will be answering writing and editing questions on our Twitter hashtag as time allows. Due to the insane volume of emails I’m receiving, I cannot provide free advice or assistance via email. Thank you!

What is Novel Boot Camp?

Novel Boot Camp is a free online novel writing course focused on identifying and correcting problems in your novel. Learn more about Novel Boot Camp and find past (and future) posts here.

51 thoughts on “Novel Boot Camp – Workshop #4: Ask the Editor

  1. Chris Hicks says:

    What are your thoughts on getting a master’s in creative writing? Would it help me if I was interested in adjunct teaching part time? Would it help my writing improve?

  2. English Tim says:

    Hi Ellen, Could we have an occasional Favorite First Page Friday in which you critique the first page from a published book (modern classics especially) and show why agents/publishers would have loved it by highlighting the choices, mechanics and devices used? Please use tough love if necessary. Thanks!

  3. ddrespling says:

    I would like to hear your thoughts on what to look for when hiring an editor. How much should price, time limits, and even style play a part in who to choose?

  4. Jessica says:

    Hi Ellen, thanks so much for doing this boot camp! It’s given me so much confidence to write 🙂

    I would like to know what your advice would be for writing good romance in a book, whether it’s a ‘romance book’ or a ‘book with romance in it’. What are the dos and don’ts, and any helpful tips you know?

  5. browndanielle says:

    Hi Ellen.

    I’ve read a few books that switch from first person to third person omniscient, but a few people have told me this is only appropriate when the genre is historical or thriller/suspense/mystery. When is is okay to use this POV switch?

  6. Darnika Zobenica says:

    I have a bit of a complicated question. What do you think about discovery-writing, particularly discovery writers that think they’d develop a better story if they could think of things up ahead, but know they’d had little to no passion to write it down that way? Should we just clench our teeth and go down that road, or try to improve as discovery writers? Of course, if we’re serious about things.

  7. Julie Griffith says:

    Is it okay if the protagonist’s goal changes mid-novel? Mine thinks he wants nothing but to escape and have a normal life, but this doesn’t bring him happiness because he feels guilty for the ones he left behind and decides to return, rescue them, and destroy his enemies. So, can the protagonist reach their first goal and then set another, or is it better to stick with one for the entire novel?

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