Back in the Groove

Two things have been happening since my last blog post eons ago.

Number 1

I moved.

Moving is much like doing a major spring cleaning of every room in your house. Every nook and cranny and every spec of dust. In a way, it was very liberating and made me practice minimalism. It struck me as incredible and depressing to see how much stuff I’d accumulated throughout the years.

I moved into a smaller apartment and so I needed to downsize and trim my possessions. I still haven’t been able to let go of a small beige colored handbag which I haven’t used in years but it used to belong to my mother. What am I holding unto?

And then there was the move itself during Montreal’s heaviest snowstorm of the season!

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Source

Oops! Sorry, wrong photo!

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Source

My poor dog, Bau, didn’t at all like the move.

Wake me when it’s over!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Number 2

The second reason why I haven’t been posting on my blog is that I had nothing to say.

Then, I received an e-mail from Thelma Mariano, the editor of my women’s fiction novels:

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Thelma was recently interviewed by Duke Diercks where, along with 12 other editors, was asked this question:

What is the #1 mistake that you see first-time authors make?

 Here’s part of her answer:

 Most first-time novelists underestimate the amount of work required to bring their completed draft to a publishable level. This leads to what I believe is the #1 problem with early manuscripts: a lack of story tension.

If we lack a “story-worthy” problem, something strong enough to pull a reader through hundreds of pages, needing to know what happens next, no amount of editing will make it better.

Click here to read more on Thelma’s answer

and here on the editing process

Getting To Mr. Right: The Editing Process

A novel is never written alone. It really takes a village. One person in my village was Thelma Mariano who did both the content and line editing of my manuscript.

Content Editing in which Thelma provided help with structural issues, pointing out problems in the manuscript and making suggestions related to point of view, info dumps, pacing, showing versus telling, an imbalance of inner/outer conflict and lack of story tension, improper sequencing, flaws in character motivation and credibility as well as portrayal, areas needed (or containing unnecessary) description or sensory details, setting, plot holes, inconsistencies, discrepancies and implausibility’s, unnatural or unnecessary dialogue. Thelma also brainstormed solutions with me to fix content issues.

I particularly appreciated the brainstorming with Thelma. It made me feel that we were partners. At one point Thelma wrote:

I couldn’t sleep last night (must stop working in bed, my mind kept going)…but this morning I woke up with fresh ideas! I hope you’ll agree, because this would make the scene come alive, strengthen Felicity’s character AND ties in with the plot as well…

The work was to be accomplished in three parts (approximately one-third of the content in each part). Upon receipt of the text for Part 1,2, or 3, The Editor will review the manuscript and provide guidance to The client on Content as indicated above. The client will then incorporate these changes and send a revised version back to The Editor.

Working like this was very motivating for me. It provided me a concrete deadline and someone to bounce off ideas on.

At this point, The Editor will perform a Line Editing as described below and send the client an electronic version of the text, highlighting revised or added text.

Line Editing –revise the manuscript for better story flow, adding text where writing is choppy or incomplete as well as streamlining sentences; revising for clarity; eliminating awkwardness; improving word choices; removing redundancies and repetitions; correcting spelling, grammar and punctuation.

This entire process took about three very intensive weeks.

THELMA MARIANO is an author of women‘s contemporary fiction who is now offering her services as a freelance editor. You can find her at www.thelmamariano.com.

Thank you Thelma for such a professional and thorough editing job and for elevating my novel.

Getting To Mr. Right is now available on Amazon.