Editing and Enthusiasm…

When I told a friend that I planned to become a writer, she said, I plan to become an editor, so I hired her on the spot.

One day I told an acquaintance that I had written (past tense) a book, she said, I’m an agent. she said, Let me read it. Let me tell you how to fix it. Let me see if it’s okay to take to the publishing market.

When I said, I’m sorry, you don’t understand, It’s already been published by me. She said, after a long sigh. This is the problem. It takes a lot of editing to create a finished book. This is a big problem. Then she asked, Did you know that Amy Tan edits, and rewrites, a book twenty three times?

I said, That doesn’t surprise me at all. And then I walked away.

I edit a lot, I am also really really enthusiastic. I might think my book is perfect 5 or 6 times before it really is. If you’re a beta-reader (thank you Deborah, Heather, and Crystal) you may have had the joy of beta reading a ‘completely finished, absolutely perfect’ copy of one of my books. Before it had been subjected to a good thorough editing. My sincerest gratitude for your patience.


Here’s some statistics for Fly.

  • I wrote the book during NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words.
  • I read it through and gave it an edit that made it readable.
  • I read it through and edited it to make it less awkward.
  • I added a big scene.
  • I read it through and edited where needed. I declared it perfect.
  • My editor was unable to help so I strong armed two beta-readers. I made all the changes they suggested.
  • I read through and edited again. I floundered for a bit declaring it ready and then not releasing it because I wasn’t sure.
  • My editor read it. She said, you can release it now, OR we can make it perfect. I enthusiastically opted for perfect.
  • She gave me notes, saying, see, it’s not much, only some major changes to the story line.
  • I edited through the entire book doing almost everything she asked. I declared it perfect and sent it to a few friends to read.
  • Editor then reread and gave me notes that included almost every paragraph. See below.

line edits, fly

  • I gulped and jumped back in. I did a full book edit, line by line, that while not including every single one of her notes, included most of them. I then sent free e-books to more friends.
  • I then pre-ordered a copy for myself and proofed it. See below.

proofing Fly

  • I proofed the heck out of that book.

If you are one of the friends that received an advance copy, rest assured, the book has been tweaked beyond what you read. Every pass makes it better and better I know that.

That being said, proofing is never really perfect until many eyes have looked. If you are reading a copy of fly and you see something that needs to be fixed, email me. I won’t be offended, as a matter of fact I’ll probably thank you in the acknowledgements — if you’re reading an advance copy, email me and I’ll replace it with a new and improved, and you have my deepest gratitude.

Guess what? When I look back at my list it’s only 14 editing/rewriting passes, but then again, who is comparing me to  Amy Tan?



Fly is almost ready and Bright e-book is free

Fly is based on the book The Light Princess, by George MacDonald. It was written in 1864. Have you ever read it? It’s lovely. Here’s a link: The Light Princess e-book though the print book is good (pictures by Maurice Sendak!): the Light Princess print book

Finding these links has reminded me that I need to include a quote in the front matter of the book when it’s published. This one will do nicely:

Light of Spirit by my charms, 

Light of body, every part.

Never weary human arms –

Only crush thy parents heart !

That’s the curse that the witch placed upon the baby princess. And maybe this one:

Death alone from death can save.

Love is death, and so is brave.

Love can fill the deepest grave.

Love loves on beneath the wave.

This is the message left by the witch, a clue to how the Kingdom may be saved.

I’m going to dust off my copy of the book and look for some more good quotes!

Fly is a mostly finished. It’s had somewhere between 3-10 rewrites of my own direction. Two beta readers that directed minor rewrites and now finally my editor has given me notes. You might think it would be difficult to find fault in something so thoroughly worked over, yet she had twenty notes, some big. One of my favorites is that Fly‘s prince, the surfer, Hank,  needs a job, so that he’s not so trust-fund-y. She is correct, I see that now, and don’t know why I didn’t before. I’m diving back in! Should come up for air in a few days.

For a limited time if you’ll sign up for my newsletter on the top right of this here site, you’ll get a coupon code for the e-book, Bright. 100% off, which last I checked is free. My gift to you, please enjoy.


Editing and the surprise pen and shower.

Perhaps the recurring theme of this blog would be, I’m new to this.

It’s been about a year since I began ‘writing’ as a ‘writer’ and about 3 months since I published my first book. A year that was rife with error and missteps. I’m kind of amazed by what I didn’t know at the beginning and what I think I might know now. Of course I may be wrong. I often am.

With the story Bright, I made about 3 editing passes before I thought it was perfect. I passed it to my editor who declared it highly flawed and handed it back. I took a deep breath and gave the book about 4 more passes before handing it back and then a few more for good measure. I then passed it to a friend to read.

There’s a scene in Bright where Estelle is called into the Office to complete a questionnaire so that her future husband can be chosen. I describe the scene thusly:

The Inquiry Room, the first step in every appointment, was sparsely decorated and too cold. My guess is they kept it frigid, so we wouldn’t dawdle or fall asleep. There were four big comfortable chairs at desks with screens. Was the chair we chose part of the test? I chose the one farthest from the door. 
Once seated, my screen flashed a welcome message, “Hello, Estelle Wells, Welcome Back,” and up popped a short multiple choice test… 

Later, Estelle is called into the Office again, to fill out another questionnaire and the receptionist hands her a pen and a paper. Seriously, I had read this book at least ten times and hadn’t noticed. My editor hadn’t noticed (though in her defense there were a ton of other things she was noticing. I assume she would have eventually.) There was a pen where there shouldn’t have been.

It took new eyes to see.

In my new book Fly, I’m writing a fairy tale about a princess who flies and a Kingdom that is having some serious water issues. A young man named Hank lives in the valley and the water is gone. It’s been dammed and is held in tanks and the villagers are sick and leaving and when we meet Hank he  gives water to a friend in need. He’s a fine, upstanding man, kind, generous. Hot. So I read this book about 8 times. I declared it perfect and handed it to a friend to read and give me feedback.

She pointed out that to prepare to go to a party to meet the Princess and tell her about the water issues, Hank takes a shower. A shower. I hadn’t noticed.

It took new eyes.

I guess what I’m saying is learning new things is grand, and perfection is a worthy goal, but pick a friend and ask them to help with it all. And listen to their notes, they have new eyes.

Thank you Denine Dawson, Heather Hawkes, and Deborah Marcus.