Category Archives: Editing
Tags: Amazon, Beyond Faith and Sharon A. Crawford, Beyond the Tripping Point, Blue Denim Press, Book Promotion, Editor and author collaboration, Fiction Plot and Characters, Marketing your book, Rewriting Fiction, writing
The contract for Beyond Faith, my third Beyond mystery book is signed and yesterday I completed the second last rewrite for the publisher. There will be one more kick at the … no, not cat – no cats in Beyond Faith – there is a dog,but I do not kick dogs, or cats either. I will get one more chance at any rewrite after the editor at the publisher has another look at it.
He and I have worked together to get Beyond Faith ready for publication this fall and once the last rewrite is done, I will pull our the book promo ideas now running round in my brain (and some no doubt taking a nap), and what I have read in emails and social media and get them going.
But the rewriting has been intense. Shane, my editor has pointed out things that are unclear, silly and inconsistent, and like all editors (myself too when I wear my editor hat), things that can just be deleted. I found a few of all those on my own. From there I was able to rewrite a better story, make my characters more interesting and realistic and hint at what’s to maybe come in future Beyond mysteries.
It is an experience for me to be the one whose novel is being edited instead of the other way around. I do say that I work from both sides of the fence – writing and editing. This full fence position (positions?) gives a wider perspective of the writing and rewriting process.
I like going deep deep into the story with its rewriting. Sometimes I get so carried away I forget to get up and eat lunch at a reasonable time. And I find myself acting out scenes – although many times it is to get the logistics of what is happening. Without going into a lot of details to spoil it, Beyond Faith has a whole lot of pushing going on (and I don’t mean the drug-dealing kind). Trying to see how someone would fall when pushed (as opposed to tripping and falling) isn’t as easy as you think.
What do you do? Get a friend to push you or persuade them to let you push them so you can see it from behind? It is important to get these details right, but at what cost? No, I didn’t get friends involved, but I did some research online and I moved around inside and outside to get a better idea.
This going inside your novel’s story and characters and seeing where it takes you and then having it make sense and flow, but be interesting and different is what I like doing. It is like going into another world, although it is debatable who controls it – you or your characters.
But if I didn’t do it, the novel would be superficial.
And while I’m doing it, God or somebody else help anyone who phones or comes to my door; If jerked suddenly out of this intense creative state, there is no telling what I will do. Although I seem to be more mouthy (as in “what do you want?”) instead of pushy.
What about you? .
Sharon A. Crawford
Tags: Author editor relationship, Beyond Blood, Beyond the Tripping Point, Blue Denim Press, book promo, Charactistics of good fiction plot, Editing versus Writing Fiction, Fiction Plot and Characters, Novel writing, Rewriting Fiction, Sharon A. Crawford, writing
I’m wearing my Editor’s hat today and the hat pin is keeping it firmly in place. There are several “concerns” (to put it gently) I come across when editing an author’s fiction manuscript. Today, I’ll highlight three of them with quick suggestions on how to avoid.
- Point of View does the lice movement, i.e., switches heads a lot. Sometimes this switch occurs many times within one scene and it is confusing for the reader. The scary part here is some of the POV switching occurs in published novels. Somebody was dozing at the wheel. Yes, you can have multiple points of view in a novel. Often, depending on the novel’s plot, multiple POV is very necessary. But the rule of thumb is to keep the same POV for the chapter, or a scene in the chapter. Get inside one character at a time. If it helps subhead the POV character’s name for the chapter or scene (you can remove that subhead later). Refer back to that subhead when you finish writing the scene’ or chapter’s draft.
- When detail becomes expository. This can happen with describing rooms, towns or history and when it gets out of hand can put the reader to sleep. Why? Because the prose is coming across as a lecture. Even putting it as dialogue doesn’t always help. Yes, put the character in the scene and if describing rooms or towns, beaches, etc. do it as the character goes into the room, etc. and what they see. If the room is untidy, maybe they trip over something. For history, keep it to a minimum – what actually is connected to the story’s plot – not the area’s whole history from BC. Yes, use some dialogue, but keep it short and have the characters do something while talking, have other characters ask the history teller questions or make comments. And have the conversation interrupted with something else happening. For example, if they are in a car, maybe the car blows a tire; maybe they are being followed (but watch the POV here); and maybe there is a sudden storm.
- Weird formatting in Word. I’m talking beyond what a copy editor would do – such as changing paragraphing to traditional style for submission to publisher. I have had hard returns in manuscripts, extra space suddenly appearing at the bottom of the pages, backward quotation marks. And my favourite for “the author is in the doghouse” – submitting a manuscript for editing when the manuscript has already been formatted in Word’s book form. Huh? Keep it simple and basic. If you can’t do this, hire a Word professional to type up your manuscript. Oh yeah, handwritten manuscripts are never acceptable.
These are just a few of the “idiosyncrasies” I have received from authors expecting me to edit their manuscript.and I have received worse.
Okay, back to wearing my author’s hat.
And as usual, if you click on the Beyond book at the top, it will link to more information. Teaser: there may be some news of another Beyond book soon.
Posted by Sharon A. Crawford on March 9, 2017 in Author editor relationship, Beyond Blood, Beyond the Tripping Point, Characters and plot in fiction, Editing, Novel writing, Point of View in Fiction, Settings in Fiction, Writing Critique
Tags: Author editor relationship, Beyond Blood, Beyond the Tripping Point, Charactistics of good fiction plot, Novel writing, Point of View in Fiction, Setting in Fiction, Sharon A. Crawford, Submitting manuscripts for editing, writing
This week I finally got back to rewriting the next novel in my Beyond mystery series. The plan had been to spend a good part of June, July and August doing this. But for a change I had a lot of client work. That I’m not complaining about. Neither am I complaining about spending time gardening. As well as writing, gardening is a passion of mine.
However, I am complaining about all the health issues I’ve had to deal with lately, some caused by others’ negligence. (See my post this week on my personal blog Only Child Writes.).
Still doing one client’s work – but no complaints. Client confidentially doesn’t allow me to discuss the client’s work, but sufficient to say it is interesting and challenging and when it arrives I switch over from the novel rewrite to the client work.
Getting back to the big novel rewrite is also a challenge. Having ideas percolating inside my head while I was doing other things and also some suggestions from the editor at Blue Denim Press (my publisher) have been big helps. So has one of my writer friends and colleagues – Rosemary McCracken – just publishing the third in her Pat Tierney mystery series.And having a wacky main character like PI Dana Bowman is good. At least I think so, although she does get inside my head a lot and likes to have her way in her stories. All inspiration to do more than put the seat of my pants to the chair.
How did I actually get back into the rewriting?
First, I reread the novel and comments I had made for changes and also noted what I had changed. Then I got in and made some changes in the beginning and continued on until I got stuck. But I had ideas for other parts, including the ending which needed a big change, so those are the places I focused on next. I feel better that I made changes in the ending even though I know that some of it will be changed as more changes in parts coming before will be made. That’s okay. Often just doing something that is a change is a good start.
Writing the ending before some of the rest, you may ask? I am following the advice given by another author Ken McGoogan who said when he gets tired of writing in chapter order, he will go the end. Mind you he writes narrative non-fiction. But I think it can be done with fiction as long as you realize it is not written in granite. Well, some writers think their prose, and even their punctuation, should be left exactly as they write it.
That is arrogance and maybe a little worry that the editor will mess up your prose so it isn’t really yours when it’s done. And yes, being an editor myself, and a former journalist who worked with several editors, it does happen. However, there is one thing we writers need to remember.
Writers work in isolation. Writers see their creations with tunnel vision. Another pair of eyes will find flaws and better ways to express something than the author.
So keep up the rewriting. Although you can get carried away with that. Another author colleague is still making changes in his novels after they are published. And yes he does have a trade publisher, so not being self-published he can’t exactly make changes in the print book for sale. But he can do so for his author readings.
Sharon A. Crawford
If you click on the Beyond Blood book icon a the top it will take you to my amazon author profile and books.
Posted by Sharon A. Crawford on July 14, 2016 in Beyond Blood, Beyond the Tripping Point, Blue Denim Press, Characters and plot in fiction, Editing, Rewriting Fiction, Rosemary McCracken and Pat Tierney mystery series, Writing Time
Tags: Author Readings, Beyond Blood, Beyond the Tripping Point, Blue Denim Press, Charactistics of good fiction plot, Dana Bowman, Fiction Plot and Characters, Fiction rewriting, Ken McGoogan, Mystery Novels, Novel Rewriting, Rosemary McCracken, Sharon A. Crawford, writing, Writing Time
Last week’s post contained tips for editors dealing with authors who plan to self-publish a book. Today, I’ll present some tips for the authors. These are all from my presentation on the Editors Canada Self-publishing panel held April 26.
And what they call “a word to the wise” – just because you are self-publishing your book doesn’t meant you can skip the editing process. An editor can read your manuscript with an open mind, i.e., not working from the “tunnel vision” authors (and that includes me here) can get into with their baby, their manuscript. It’s more than just where the commas go, but includes whether or not your story flows, makes sense (and in a micro way – does a scene, paragraph make sense?). Is one character’s actions believable (considering the genre and story line) and is the plot, especially the resolution, credible.
Remember authors and editors need to work together, so the first point below is the most important. The rest really flows from that one.
What authors need to know when working with editors (a partial list):
- Mutual Respect
- Don’t have your book printed out before getting it edited.
- Don’t design your book in Word BEFORE getting it edited.
- Your book is still a manuscript before it is edited, so submit it electronically as a manuscript – 12 pt. Times New Roman, double-spaced AFTER you and the editor reach a hiring agreement. However, the potential editor might want a few chapters to help estimate a fee.
- The potential editor and writer can sort out hiring and related matters by email, phone, in person, or some of those three. Don’t be a no-show for appointments.
- Most editors will require a fee deposit and will draw up a contract for work requirements, time-line, and fees.
- When the contract is signed and the editor starts work, don’t bother her with constant emails or phone calls for progress reports and don’t email content changes without an editorial request.
Sharon A. Crawford
Click on the Beyond Blood icon at the top to find out more about my Beyond books.
The self-publishing panel I was on with Ali Cunliffe and Susan Viets presented by Editors Canada last week went very well. We all had interesting and informative points to make. A link to the You Tube video of it is here. Warning: the visual is lousy – we appear in shadows a lot, and it is long – it was an hour and a half panel including Q and A. But the sound is good, so you might want to get it going and listen to it while you eat lunch.
Over the next two or three weeks I will post some tips for authors and editors as that’s what our panel discussion was about. Today I’ll talk about the editor’s side.
Drama queen that I am (or ham actor) I started withe a mini-skit, standing up with a book (not mine and not the client’s). I recreated the scene when a potential client walked into my home office for a meeting. He came in carrying a book, his book, already printed and said,
“I need this book edited.”
What’s wrong with this picture?
Editors don’t edit books AFTER they are printed. Fortunately, he had only the one book printed. So, here are a few tips and caveats, for editors working with authors who are self-publishing.
At the top of the list is MUTUAL RESPECT
- Many authors self-publishing don’t know anything about editing, so you have to educate them.
- Some authors think a book can be edited almost overnight (well in a week or two). Editors need to diplomatically tell them that it’s not so – even if they don’t have other projects on the go (avoid using the word “client” here as some authors often like to think you are focusing on their work only
- Ability to connect with the author about what they are looking for in their manuscript, for example a manuscript evaluation, a copy edit, etc.
- Flexibility in fees and time.
- Use a contract
- Knowledge beyond the usual editing such as illustrators, self-publishing methods, e-copies, promotion.
- Know your skills and what you are prepared to do.
- Keep authors apprised of any problems arising such as time lines and missing content.
Sharon A. Crawford
Click on the Beyond Blood icon at the top to find out more about my Beyond books.