Editing: balancing everything in my head at once

I’ve finished the line edits for His Forgotten FiancéeBack to my regularly scheduled writing.

It was hard to keep track of all the different threads that I needed to update. To clear my head, I read this study on publishing and editing. It’s long, but starting on page 35 there’s a section on how different editors work with their authors. I loved one editor who described the process as clearing out weeds. As soon as you get rid of one layer of weeds, another layer sprouts up and you have to go back in and edit some more.

Bymybk! Bymybk!

Lascaux2I’ve been thinking about my reaction to having my book put up on Amazon for pre-order, and getting the first glimpse of the cover, and all the other preparations for publishing.

I have to fight the urge to run around showing the preliminary cover to everyone within reach. To gabble excitedly while pointing out the Amazon link. To make it clear that there’s a book out there that I wrote, and they could look at it. My inner child keeps jumping up and down saying Buy my book! Buy my book!

Why is this? Inner child would never go stand on a street corner holding out a hat and saying ‘Give me money! Give me money!’ So it’s not a desire to get rich from book sales that drives this urge.

Buy my book! Buy my book!

Chauvet´s cave horsesI think it’s more like a child who’s just completed their first drawing. Say it’s a horse. It’s not a very good drawing of a horse, but if you tilt your head sideways and squint you might be able to recognize it. The child goes running up to people holding out the picture and saying ‘Look! Look what I drew! Look at it!’ That’s what this compulsion feels like.

Buy my book! Buy my book!

Um… excuse me a moment. I’m just going to gag my inner child. Won’t be a sec.

There. That’s better.

Hlp? Icnt spk! Bymybk! Bymybk!

Okay then. As I was saying. It’s not the desire to get rich that makes me want to go around promoting my book. It’s sure not the desire to become famous. I’m comfortable with being a hermit. I’m good at it.

Change is uncomfortable. I’d rather skip it. But I’m making myself keep the blog up, and I’m revising the manuscript and working on another one. Why?

As far as I can tell, it’s the desire to connect. While remaining a semi-hermit, I still want to share my words with people. It’s exciting to publish a book, but more than that it is satisfying to share the moment with people.  Even if I muzzle my inner child, the urge to reach out is still there. I’ll try not to be too annoying about it.

Bymybk! Bymybk!

The most beautiful book cover ever

IMG_1513I’ve seen a preliminary draft of the cover for His Forgotten Fiancée! I’m so excited. I can’t share it here, since it’s not the final version, but I’m still jumping up and down inside. It made the book seem so much more real.

They did a photoshoot with models. Real people, posing as characters from a story I made up. Bizarre.

And not just people. One of the secondary characters in the story (Elijah) is a kitten, so I’d asked if they could put him on the cover. For some reason, I had thought they’d just photoshop a cat onto the background, but no. IMG_1427The Harlequin team went and got a cat model for the photoshoot, bless them.
Even more impressive, the kitten on the cover looks exactly like the kitten I had originally based Elijah on. Black and white and adorable.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been so surprised. Vicki Essex wrote a blog post about her experience as a Harlequin cover model. They brought a horse into the studio for that photoshoot. Up an elevator.

I learned something else today. I’d listened to other authors gush about their beautiful covers, but I never understood why they were so proud. It’s analogous to bringing home a new baby. To someone else, a baby looks nice enough, but to its proud parents, it’s the most beautiful baby ever. I have no doubt that other people could find things that might need improvement. But I can’t see any.

I will share it later, when the finished version becomes available. For now you’ll just have to take my word for it. It’s the most beautiful cover ever. At least, it is to me. 🙂

Here’s an excellent post on what makes a good book cover, with some great examples.

Editing between the lines

Takiyasha the Witch and the Skeleton Spectre

The specter of a Line Edit looming over a defenseless author

At first glance, [Line Edits] can be daunting enough to scare the pink off a pig.
-Amy Woods

Line Edits can be
fun
a barrel of laughs
educational.

The process can damage your self esteem — if you let it. So I am not going to let it.

It is humbling to have an editor asks what a sentence meant. Especially when I re-read it and wonder too. I am sure that the sentence made perfect sense when I wrote it.

I feel like Robert Browning in The Barretts of Wimpole Street, in the scene where Elizabeth Barrett asked him what one of his poems meant.

ELIZABETH BARRETT: Well?

ROBERT BROWNING: Well, Miss Barrett, when that passage was written only God and Robert Browning understood it. Now, only God understands it.

For a Harlequin author, this is the last chance to make any changes to the story. The final opportunity to see any typos or major errors. Even though by this point the manuscript has had several eyes looking at it, I need to go through one last time. Deb Kastner recommends sending the doc to a Kindle, since it’s easier to spot errors when they’re in a different setting.

mugI always think I’ve caught all the typos before I send the story off. Always. And still the pesky things crop up when I’m not looking. In the normal course of things, I do not believe in gremlins. When it comes to typos or other errors in my cherished manuscript, however, they are clearly the only answer.

Quote: Writing & Perfection

Never put off writing until you are better at it. -Gary Henderson
Never put off writing until you are better at it. -Gary Henderson

That’s something I have problems with sometimes. The words on the page never quite match the excitement of the bright shiny ideas in my head. I do believe the experts who say that you get better at writing the more you do it. If I wait for the words to come out perfectly, I’ll still be staring at a blank page next year.

I suppose it’s a form of laziness. I want the first draft to be perfect, so I don’t have to re-write it later. Note to self, learn to love revisions. Really.

Trust me

My hero needs to get other characters to trust him, let him guide them through dangerous situations. He is trying to win the villain’s trust without destroying the heroine’s faith in him.

Becca Puglisi wrote a good post on how to gain someone’s trust. This is a useful skill for my current hero to possess, so I’m going to try to include some of these traits in his portrayal.

  • Good at listening to people
  • Quick to pick up clues from body language
  • Able to control the situation without coming across as manipulative. So he has to appear caring, willing to use his people-reading skills for a good cause.

Might be useful if I ever want to take up a career as a con artist. I suppose there are some similarities between that career and writing. An author is someone who tries to persuade readers that characters she made up really exist, even if only between the covers of a book.