Sharon Honeycutt, Editor

You write. I edit. You shine.

Page 6 of 9

To Outline or Not to Outline … Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I have a client I’ve worked with for over a year and we’re in the middle of wrapping up the seventh book in a series of eight. The man is prolific. He’s gotten to the point where he’s churning out 60-80K words every two to three months–and this isn’t the only series he’s writing.

The series I’m working on with him is a military sci-fi, kind of Transformers in space. Tons of action. Lots of bad guys. A few good guys trying to save the world. Did I mention there’s tons of action? And the books are fun to read. (I really, really like my job!)

How does he do it? He credits at least part of his speed to being a plotter. He outlines–big-time. Not only does he outline each book, but he has an overarching outline for the entire series. When I asked him about his method, he said he read Libbie Hawker’s book Take Off Your Pants! and has put her method to use. Continue reading

Just Write the Book!

If you’re new to my site, you may not know that in addition to working full-time as an editor, I’m also a fiction writer. In 2014, I self-published my fourth novel, The Dragon’s Daughter, about the teenage daughter of a KKK grand dragon.

And since then, I’ve been rather stuck–in a variety of ways.

Last year I finished a novel, a ghost story set in Tennessee. I really like the concept of it, and I like my characters. The storytelling, though, well … that needs some work. Looking at it as an editor, I can tell that it has perspective (POV) issues. I need to sort out who my real protagonist is (which is extra hard in this story because the protagonist may actually be the character that I thought was the antagonist). I need to figure out who is going to tell the story best. Whose thoughts do I want my readers to be able to fully access–if anyone?

I need to rewrite the book. It’s definitely in first-draft stage. And I’m stuck. So I’ve left it alone for almost  a year, which is quite depressing as a writer and quite frustrating as an editor. The editor side of me is hogtied by the writer side of me who is just sitting on her hands.

To try to alleviate this version of writer’s block that I seem to be suffering with, I decided to work on a different, altogether new book. At this point, I’ve outlined two and have written about 12,000 words of a third. And I’m stuck.

After talking this out pretty thoroughly with my husband and my daughter, here’s what I’ve concluded (and I’m sharing it because I’m hoping it might help other writers out there feeling rather stuck as well): Continue reading

My Clients Like the Way I Edit Their Writing: In Their Own Words

Have you been thinking about hiring an editor, but you’re unsure what it would be like to work with one–to work with me? Are you nervous, scared even, to share your writing? Take a look at what two of my current clients and one very recent one had to say to me after reviewing my edits on their books. They’re still revising–I’m still editing sections of Kasey’s and Lynn’s–so their books aren’t available yet. But as you can see, they’ve found a lot of value in working with me.

Kasey, YA sci-fi:

“I’d like to start by saying, wow. Honestly, your comments and edits are marvelous. You take my jumbled words and transform them into fluid sentences. What a difference your enhancements make, I am just over the moon. …I truly can’t thank you enough for being so diligent and patient with my writing and with me. It means so much, so thank you.” Continue reading

Editing Question: How well do you know your main character?

If I asked you to describe your best friend to me, what would you say? Would you describe their physical appearance? Maybe their personality? Would you tell me what they did for a living? Would you share what you know about their family (and their family life)? What about their hopes and dreams–and the flip side of that, their losses and disappointments?

Would you be able to tell me what their home looks like and why they chose not only that particular place to live, but why they chose to decorate it–or chose not to decorate it–the way they did? Could you tell me what kind of car they drive, or if they’re afraid to drive, or if they’re environmentally conscious and so only ride a bike or the bus in an effort to shrink their carbon footprint?

Would you share with me how they dress–when they go to work, go out with you, go out with their significant other–or on a first date? How do they spend their downtime? Do they have downtime? How’s their health?

I hope that you know your best friend well enough that you can answer all of these questions and then some.

As your friendly neighborhood editor, I hope that you can also answer every single one of these questions about your main character–and most, if not all, your supporting characters–in your work in progress. If you don’t know your MC and their cast this well, you need to get your rear back to the drawing table.

Continue reading

Editing Your Manuscript: Free Sample Edit

Now that you’ve had a chance to watch me begin the editing process on my first novel, it’s time to turn the tables. I hope that you learned a little from what I shared with you of that self-editing process. I intended to go longer with it, but the same mistakes kept cropping up, and I didn’t have much new to share.

So I thought, why not ask my readers to submit samples of their writing for a free edit–with the stipulations that I’ll do them as I have time and that I can share it all right here on my blog with the rest of the world so that we can all continue to learn together. Writing and editing are skills that evolve, so it never gets old and I never stop learning.

Here’s what I’m offering:

Send me an email with no more than your first 2,000 words INCLUDED IN THE BODY OF YOUR EMAIL. NO ATTACHMENTS. (You’ll benefit most from this if you send the FIRST 2,000 words–that’s what readers see when they crack open your book to decide if they want to buy it, and it’s what an agent sees when they are deciding whether or not to ask for additional pages.) Continue reading

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