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Category Archives: Editing

Recharging you novel’s rewrite

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

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.

Cheers.

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.

 

 

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Tips for Authors Self-publishing Part 2

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

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):

  1. Mutual Respect
  2. Don’t have your book printed out before getting it edited.
  3. Don’t design your book in Word BEFORE getting it edited.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Most editors will require a fee deposit and will draw up a contract for work requirements, time-line, and fees.
  7. 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.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Click on the Beyond Blood icon at the top to find out more about my Beyond books.

 

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Tips for authors self-publishing

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

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

  1. Many authors self-publishing don’t know anything about editing, so you have to educate them.
  2. 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
  3. Diplomacy
  4. Ability to connect with the author about what they are looking for in their manuscript, for example a manuscript evaluation, a copy edit, etc.
  5. Flexibility in fees and time.
  6. Use a contract
  7. Knowledge beyond the usual editing such as illustrators, self-publishing methods, e-copies, promotion.
  8. Know your skills and what you are prepared to do.
  9. Keep authors apprised of any problems arising such as time lines and missing content.
  10. Patience.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Click on the Beyond Blood icon at the top to find out more about my Beyond books.

 

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