So far, so good. I’m keeping up with my resolution to read more for pleasure. I know, I know. It’s only January 16, but still …
I mentioned at the tail end of my last post that I’d started A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman and that even though I’d just started, I could tell he was a master at developing characters. Boy, was I right. The characters he created for this book—not just Ove, but the supporting cast as well—will live with me for a long time. I finished the book yesterday—amid a cascade of tears—and I just can’t quit thinking about those characters. That, my writer friends, is what you want your readers to feel.
How did he do it? Continue reading
I was reading a thread in the Absolute Write forum tonight where the OP (original poster, icydk) asked about others’ editing and revising processes once they finish their first drafts. I love this website and the forum there because there are always great ideas and new ways to do things. I almost always learn something.
I didn’t read all the responses to the question, but I did read probably the first ten to fifteen. They all gave ideas as to how to go about it, and some of them were really good. (My favorite from the responses was to open the first draft in one window and a new doc in a window beside it and just start rewriting. I don’t know if I’d ever go to that extreme—to start over completely—but I liked the idea. My preferred way is to print the whole book and go after it with a pen and highlighters. Then I head back to the laptop.)
What I didn’t see in those responses was “hire a professional editor.” You may ask, “Why was this?” Continue reading
In last week’s post, I began sharing with you the sample edit I did for DF Roberts on the prologue to his novel The Scholars. If you missed it, you can find it here. If you’d like to know what it would be like to have me edit your work, check out my post from April where I offer a free sample edit when time permits.
Since my last post, Mr. Roberts and I have exchanged a couple more emails about the edit, and we talked about whether that prologue should really be chapter 1, which is what I figured it should be. He told me more about the book, and it turns out that my recommendation is to omit the prologue altogether.
As I mentioned last time, prologues are tricky and usually unnecessary. Continue reading
Back in April, I offered to do a free sample edit for anyone who was interested in what it would be like to work with me and/or to see what it would be like to allow their manuscript to go under the knife. This week, DF Roberts contacted me and offered me the prologue to his novel The Scholars. He graciously agreed to let me share the edit here on my blog (which was part of the deal to get it for free), so let’s get started.
First, let’s talk for a minute about prologues in general. If they’re well done, there can be a place for them. Most of the time though, they are basically just “chapter 1” without the proper title, or they’re a backstory dump that the author thinks the reader needs to know right at the beginning of the story. Unfortunately, those backstory dumps can often turn a reader off in the first couple pages as they try to absorb all of this information that could have been more elegantly and smoothly incorporated into the story later on.
What about DF Roberts’ prologue? Because the prologue is all I got to see, I can’t answer definitively, but my gut tells me this is chapter 1.
OK … on to the first bit of actual editing. Continue reading
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