Posted on Dec 7th, 2012 | 51 comments
Guest blogger: Richard Mabry, M.D. (@RichardMabry)
I had delivered my latest manuscript to my publisher, and a few weeks later received my revision notes from the editor. I was, to put it mildly, caught off guard.
The notes suggested some pretty big changes. As I read through them, I kept saying, “But that’s not what I had in mind.” I wondered why the editor wanted to rewrite my manuscript. Aren’t I the writer here? Isn’t my name on the book? I wasn’t happy.
But after sitting with it a few more days…
I noticed that my in-house editor, my substantive editor, and my beta reader (yes, my wife) had all made the same suggestion for the opening. Hmm.
I started rewriting, and amazingly enough, it was all coming together. By the time I’d reached...
Posted on Oct 17th, 2012 | 76 comments
Whether you’re working with a traditional publisher or you’re self-publishing your book, the only way to ensure excellence in your final product is to put your work through a rigorous editorial process, consisting of more than one round of editing. Following are the three basic types of editing that your manuscript may go through. Every publisher has their own process, and they may call each step of the process by a different name.
1. The Content Edit (developmental, substantive, or macro edit; sometimes simply called revisions.) This is where the editor gives big-picture notes. Fiction: plot, characterization, scene crafting, POV’s, and all the other elements of your story. Non-fiction: logical flow of ideas, readability, strength of argument, interest level. The...
Posted on May 23rd, 2012 | 81 comments
Several of you have been curious about editing inside a publishing house. Every publisher has their own process, and they may call each step by a different name. It’s basically three steps, and they’re usually done sequentially, although there is overlap and not every publisher does all three of these steps. The edits might be done by one person, or two or three people.
1. The Macro Edit (developmental, substantive, or content edit; often simply called revisions.) This is where the editor gives big-picture notes on plot, characterization, scene crafting, POV’s, and all the other elements of your story. They don’t actually edit your work, they simply give you a set of notes and send you back to work on your revisions.
2. The Line Edit. The editor works directly in...
Posted on May 8th, 2012 | 125 comments
Back in the early ’80s there was an ad campaign for Paul Masson wine where Orson Welles famously uttered, “We will sell no wine before its time.”
The message was powerful; it conveyed, “We care so much about producing the highest quality wine that we refuse to rush the process. We won’t try to bring it out faster to increase profit. We won’t skimp on the craftsmanship that makes our wine so good. It takes time, and we will give our wine the time it needs.”
I couldn’t help thinking about that as I considered what I wanted to say today about the time and craftsmanship it takes to write a high quality book. I’m not talking about a book that everyone has to love. I’m talking about a book that has the basics: a solid story,...
Posted on Apr 25th, 2012 | 164 comments
Strategies for Writers, part 3 of 3
Is your book too long? Does it feel a bit wordy, perhaps slightly bloated?
Or . . . does it feel perfect but it’s a little high in word count?
There comes a time in every writer’s life when they need to reduce their word count. Ack! Not my precious words! Even if your word count is fine, most writers would benefit from tightening up their manuscripts before submission. (I, for one, would appreciate it.) But how do you do this?
Most writers can significantly shorten their manuscript simply by eliminating extraneous adverbs, adjectives, gerunds, and passive verbs, i.e. things you don’t need anyway. If you cut 10 words per page in a 350-page manuscript, you’ve already shortened it by 3,500 (unnecessary) words.
So how do we do this?...