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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Top 10 Things I Learned From My First Round of Edits

Please welcome guest blogger Ruth A. Casie

For a new author, the thought of publisher edits can be intimidating. Review, re-write, re-plot, re-align subtext, and forget if you have action scenes.

My first round of edits reached me while I was getting on a plane at the Las Vegas airport. Paul and I were returning home after a great vacation. The shows were spectacular. I was excited to see what my editor, Denise, had for me. I tried, without success, to read her edits on my android phone before I had to turn it off. I would have to wait another five hours.

Once back home, I read the message and instructions, made a large pot of coffee and dug in. To start, I read all the track changes and comments to get an idea of what lay ahead for me. After 13 days (one day ahead of deadline), I got the edits back to Denise. I found I worked hard, got frustrated, made changes, had several aha moments, and fell in love with Arik, Rebeka and their story, Knight of Runes, all over again.

Here are the top ten things I learned from my first round edits. Go get your coffee and enjoy.

10. Well-meaning friends, who are ‘in the know,’ sometimes don’t know. The advice of a good friend and published author was to remove irrelevant words in order to stay in the action and make things sound crisp and immediate. It’s the way to hold your reader attention. Not, however, when you splice commas. Words such as and and but, are essential, not extraneous.

9. Cut extraneous exposition and let the reader see it. What some people see as extraneous exposition (which I went through and deleted) my editor said was necessary to set up the next scene or action.

8. Don’t give your editor (and reader) a headache by head hopping. Head hopping, I mean real leaps in the same scene, may work for Nora but not for Ruth. Ever.

7. POV is an art. If your POV character can’t see it, hear it, and doesn’t know it then it doesn’t exist. Unless, the other POV character says it or (this was an eye opener) thinks it in his head. Cool heh.

6. Edits are a learning experience and my editor is a fabulous, and patient, teacher. I learned to see patterns, hear echoes, and feel rhythms. It only took the first 100 pages to get there.

5. Immediate voice is much more powerful and compelling than passive voice. Chopping ‘ing’ words makes the action sound immediate. It’s is essential, although, passive voice has its place, but only occasionally.

4. Filler words do not move a scene along. These words can usually be eliminated without changing the meaning and will also make it more immediate.

3. Questions in the readers mind can be provocative. Some of Denise’s comments were questions that were answered in the next paragraph or scene. I made my reader think. Not bad!

2. My deepest apologies to Mrs. X. My high school grammar teacher must be spinning in her grave. I won’t embarrass her family by mentioning her name.

The number one thing I learned from my first round of edits…

Call me crazy but I enjoyed working through Denise’s track changes and comments. She made me think, make decisions, see opportunities, and ultimately she helped me make the story the best it can be and isn’t that what we both want.

Get ready Denise, I’ll be sending a new book soon.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you learned about your edits. Please leave me your email address and one person will be randomly selected to win a $5 (US) Amazon gift card.

Ruth’s Bio: For twenty-five years she’s been writing for corporate America. Encouraged by her family and friends this ballroom dancing, Sudoku playing, aspiring gourmet cook has given way to her inner muse. She’s let her creative juices flow and started writing a series of historical time travel romance stories. Her debut novel, Knight of Runes published by Carina Press is now available. She hopes you read her stories and that they become your favorite adventures.

Ruth’s web site: www.ruthacasie.com
Ruth’s blog: www.ruthacasie.blogspot.com
Ruth’s Twitter: www. Twitter.com/RuthACasie

Knight of Runes

It’s the 21st century and time travel is still a Wellsian fantasy but not for Rebeka Tyler. While on an impromptu tour of Avebury, she takes a misstep at the standing stones, and finds herself in the right place but tossed back into the 17th century. When Lord Arik, a druid knight, finds Rebeka wandering his lands without protection, he swears to keep her safe. But Rebeka can take care of herself. When Arik sees her clash with a group of attackers using a strange fighting style he is intrigued.

Rebeka is desparate to return to her time. She poses as a scholar sent by the king to help find out what’s killing Arik’s land to get access to the library. But as she decodes the ancient runes that are the key to solving his mystery and sending her home, she finds herself drawn to the charismatic and powerful Arik.

As Arik and Rebeka fall in love, someone in Arik’s household schemes to keep them apart and a dark druid with a grudge prepares his revenge. To defeat him, Arik and Rebeka must combine their skills. Soon Rebeka will have to decide whether to return to the future or trust Arik with the secret of her time travel and her heart.


Hildie McQueen said...

WOW and WOW, you hit the nail on the head about edits. Your pointers are great. I am printing this for my notebook. Your book sounds good too, thank you for a great post.

Ruth A Casie said...

@Hildie McQueen

I'm glad you found my post helpful. I enjoyed writing it.

... Ruth

jen shields said...

I love this post! Thank goodness I found a link on the FFP chapter site! I just recently found out the hard way (horrendous contest feedback) that I have an issue with head-hopping. So, thank you for driving the point home :) I'll be sure to go through and dive deeper into my WIP POV for sure.