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Posts Tagged ‘editor’

hands on laptopAt this point, my editor and I have exchanged the master manuscript several times. In the last round, she pointed out a major discrepancy concerning last names. I had to rethink my characters and their relationships to find a way to make it logical in the narrative.

Another comment involved a walk-on character. My editor’s suggestion?…either eliminate the woman entirely, or make sure she shows up again in the story. I chose door #2 and added this wacky character into two future scenes, liking the effect immensely.

And let’s not forget a few grammar lessons! I love to use ellipses, and sprinkled them liberally throughout my story to indicate an aside remark, which is not it’s proper use. However, since I couldn’t locate even one online article to back me up, I had to replace them all with either an em-dash or a comma, depending on the sentence structure.

In an effort to strengthen word choice, I found the following website of 297 flabby words that rob writing of its power:  http://boostblogtraffic.com/weak-writing/. The list not only indicates the words to be avoided, but provided samples of alternate ways to write around them. I was astonished to see the number of times I used to word ‘so’.  Only a chosen few remain.

However, a word of warning. When you find a dastardly weak word lurking within your story, you’ll sometimes find yourself rewriting the entire paragraph that surrounds it! But have no fear… it will become a better read.

DAMN. There’s another ellipsis!

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hands on keyboardSeveral weeks ago, I purchased ten hours of editing and met my first-ever editor via phone. We discussed the level of editing I was expecting from her, and she explained how to use the “Track Changes” feature of MS WORD.

She emailed my first two chapters with not only comments to deepen characters or clarify a scene, but line editing for minor punctuation and grammar corrections. Time used: 3.5 hours.

When I panicked that my ten hours was being used up so quickly for such a small portion of the novel, she explained that she wanted me to see what a complete edit would include. That at some point, line editing would be necessary before going to print or e-book.

The next three chapters arrived with comments only, using another 2.25 hours.

Although I’m very pleased with her suggestions, and have no doubt that my story will be improved with her input, I’m thinking I’ll tackle my own line editing after we finish fine-tuning the chapter details.

 

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hands on laptop…my road to self-publication that is.

Riverhaven Books forwarded an analysis of my story by one of their editors.

First the good news:

The author has a well-conceived mystery. There are very good twists and turns, especially at the end. The writing is straight-forward and follows a logical structure. There will be little required in terms of correcting punctuation or grammar.

And now the not-as-good news:

However, I think there is developmental work to be done. I would recommend that the author work on character development, backstory, subtlety in dialogue, and that she check with law enforcement professionals on some of the legal practices described, as some don’t ring true.

I can either try to develop these improvements on my own, or hire this same editor to work with me. Her 10-hour contract costs $30 per hour…sounds like a good investment to me!

I’ll keep you posted as we move along!

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fingers crossed behind bckWell, the contest for unpublished authors was moved forward by two months, and closed to new entries yesterday. Within the coming month, the editors on staff will read through the submissions and select their three favorites. These will be passed up to the owner, who will request the entire manuscripts from those three authors. 

Wouldn’t it be thrilling if I were chosen as one of the final three?

All I can do now is make final tweaks and wait for that hoped-for call to ring my phone. 

Of course, I have begun working on story #2, along with the plot issues that come with any new project. My victim is fleshed out, I know how he’s done in. I even know who does it. And I know who is falsely accused. But I haven’t figured out the why yet. Can’t get too far into the story until that major component is created.

And so my waiting game begins…my fingers are crossed!

 

 

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sketch of question personOK… so I’ve been wrestling with my opening chapter for what seems like forever. I’ve read many writing craft books. One craft book says the author can’t mess with normal until your reader knows what normal is.

And so I’ve arrived at a quandary… how do I hook my reader [and my first reader is an agent] with the inciting incident and show my main character’s normal life at the same time?

A while ago, I attended an event at a local library called Author Idol, where the 25 authors sitting in the audience had each submitted their anonymous first three pages. The four agents up on stage raised one hand when the reader came to a place where the agent would reject the manuscript. Two agents’ hands in the air signaled the reader to stop. Would it surprise you to hear that most of us didn’t get past the first two paragraphs???

How scary is that???

How perfect does that opening have to be???

What happened to editors???

If an agent is not willing to read at least the first three pages, what hope do I have of ever getting published?

So it’s back to the drawing board. On Saturday, I’ll submit to my writing group yet another attempt at my opening. My fingers are crossed that I’m at least getting closer.

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In my inbox this morning sat an email from an agent I recently queried. She represents another cozy mystery writer in the Sisters In Crime organization, and was recommended to me by another agent.

My fingers paused above the file, not sure if they wanted to open it or not. Would I be lucky and get a hit on nearly my first try? Or would she tell me ‘Thanks, but no thanks.’ ???

After several minutes of debate, I hit the enter key and zoomed in on her words like a starving writer…only to be disappointed. Her rejection said my hook was not sufficient to interest any of the editors she knows.

Big sigh.smiley face maybe next time

I’ve been told by both my writing groups that I’ve written a good story, so I’ll be pulling down my how-to books about query letters and improving this one paragraph description by echoing the tension and frustration of my main character.

On a positive note, the only way is up!

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I key-stroked “The End” on my first mystery months ago, but continue to revise, revise, revise. Sending chapters through two different writing groups always elicits valid comments. Although the story reads easily with active verbs and definitive description, there might be a glitch with a chunk of dialogue or a mis-match of logic to previous clues. It all needs attention.

And so I’m nervous about sending a query to a publisher who requires that my novel be finished and POLISHED. Will my story ever REALLY be polished enough to submit? I’ve heard it said that we could revise our story forever if we choose to do so. At what point do we stop? I suppose the fall-back position is that even if I think it’s done, my agent–if I ever find one–and the editor at the publishing house—if they ever hold my manuscript in their hands–will have their own ideas about sections that need revision.

Actually, to put a little pressure on myself to finish the first novel, I have begun my second. Not very far in, but I know who is done-in, and who-done-it. The inciting incident has been established. I’m wrestling with the reason behind the crime. Several possibilities are floating around in my head. I just have to pick the one that seems most logical and can be justified to a degree that is believable.

Well, that’s enough moaning and groaning for this morning.

 

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