Working With An Editor: An Ally, Not An Adversary

Office worker sat at desk proof-reading document

I am extremely lucky.

I have editors that love my writing and love the idea of my book. What they didn’t love was all of my book, and as a writer, that’s not always an easy thing to hear. After all, this book is  my baby. These characters are my family – I know them inside out.

But I also know that an editor’s job – a good editor, anyway – is to make my book better. And they do that by challenging me to find a way to do it. They haven’t “taken over,” they haven’t slashed and hacked with a red pen while cackling wildly, they haven’t burned all the earlier drafts in a bonfire while I watched in anguish. Continue reading

Traveler Is DONE. Finito.

Finito

That’s right, I printed it up. Old school. Paper and a binder, just so I could see that I, in fact, had finished it.

Re-writes are done, spell-check and grammar check complete, went through the hard copy manuscript with a red pen checking for the odd typo, continuity error or repetitive phrase (how many times can someone roll their eyes, you idiot! And you’ve got to stop using dashes when you could use commas. Or periods. Honestly!)

And then I said a little prayer, drank the blood of an owl, painted my body blue and danced under the waning moon, lit a candle, rubbed some crystals, tried to find my chakras and whispered on the wind to the universe before I attached it, plugged in my editor’s email address, and pressed “send.” Continue reading

So I’ve Read My Edit Letter And Let It Soak In…

I finally sat down and read my edit letter, in its entirety, telling myself to keep an open mind as they flogged and eviscerated my baby, reminding myself that all of this was good and needful because my editors have “professional eyes” and know what makes a good book and how to make a good writer into a great writer.

I am occasionally very, very right, and this was one of those occasions.

This letter was spot-on.

Continue reading

The Edit Letter Is Here

Proofreading red pencil

That’s right – after months of anticipation, it’s finally, finally here. Actually, my editor handed it off just before the holidays and I’ll make a small confession: I haven’t looked at it yet.

(Holly and Lauren, if you’re reading this…breathe. It’s chill.)

With the hubbub of the holidays, and the joy (?) of being trapped in a house with a couple of stir-crazy kids on winter break, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to give it a thorough read or get a substantive word written. So I deliberately tucked it away in the binder with my printed manuscript, and tonight, it gets pulled out.

Continue reading

Once The Rough Draft Is Done, It’s Time To Paint #amwriting #writing #YA

watercolor paints in a box with paintbrush

So I’ve got a good rough draft done of a new project, and of course, I need to sit down and edit the hell out of it, but there’s something else I need to do.

I need to paint.

My problem (especially with rough drafts) is that these characters are so brilliant and alive in my head (and on occasion – sometimes they’re just not and need to be) so I write them a bit…generically.

Continue reading

I Revisited A Moment Of Magic – And Found What My Story Was Missing

So I was talking with my daughter yesterday about some of the differences between where I grew up and where I live now. I grew up in the desert Southwest (though my early years I was bouncing around – my dad was military), in a small New Mexico town. Now we live in semi-rural Pennsylvania, and the topography is more than a little different.

I was trying to describe to her the first time I saw fireflies. I was seventeen, and vacationing in Illinois at the home of some old family friends, when they all came out at dusk. I was blown away. I’d heard of them, of course (except, I think they called them ‘lightening bugs’ instead of fireflies) but to actually see one – let alone a whole yard full of them – was honest-to-God just a moment of magic.

Continue reading

Lesson Learned: Stay With Your Protagonist

One of the things we weeded out of my story was a big plot twist that would have essentially stolen the story from my protagonist and made someone else the hero.

Along with that, I had a really intricate subplot (the time travel I referenced in Tuesday’s post) that I thought added a huge new frontier to the story but again, it was going to take a lot of the focus off the protagonist and put it on somebody else and their cool new ability.

So away they go because (if you’ll allow me to paraphrase Shakespeare), To thine own protagonist be true. Continue reading