Monday, August 20, 2007


No line editing letter yet but I know I'll get it soon. It should be a learning experience to get another person's take on the entire book. Can't wait. Right now I'm working on the synopsis for the sequel to Privy. Almost done with that.

I'm sure the tightening thing will be a biggy for my edits but I'm so looking forward to whipping the book into shape and starting the next one.

Words of wisdom from K. Celeste Bryan at Eternal Press:
I've seen an awful lot overuse of the word "had been" and the word "that." When you use these words, most of the time you have lapsed into passive voice. We want out books in active voice. Must be another Australian/English idiosyncracy. Most often, the word "that" can deleted entirely. Read the sentence aloud. If it means the same by taking "that" out -- you're good to go. You should be able to recognize this. If it doesn't make sense without the word, put it back in. This may not seem like a big thing to you, but if the word "that" shows up 500 times in a manuscript . . . it is a BIG thing.BAD Example: He wished that he could take a walk. GOOD example: He wished he could take a walk.And ... the words "had" and "had been". PLEASE be aware this is a very formal version in the English languge. We seldom talk this way or use all these "had beens."

Once in a while it is necessary to show past tense. She had walked to the river. She had been thinking about her boyfriend. He had been wishing he could buy ice cream. She had been crossing the room.(Bad)Just say it in the active voice in the best possible short version you can.SHE WALKED TO THE RIVER. SHE WAS THINKING OF HER BOYFRIEND, or SHE THOUGHT ABOUT HER BOYFRIEND. HE WISHED HE COULD BUY ICE CREAM. SHE CROSSED THE ROOM.I'd really like to get rid of all these "fluff" words and not see them over and over. Again, read it aloud. See which sounds better. If it MUST be in there occasionally, we'll let it slide.Again, no one really talks like this in America, perhaps in England, like members of the royal court or something, and writers here generally do not overuse these words. I don't want to start a barrage of what's proper here and what isn't. That's not my point. It's being overused and is redundant over and over in a lot of the manuscripts.

One more little thing that's bugging me and I see it over and over. SHOW don't TELL. If anyone doesn't know what this is, please do some research and find out. We don't want to TELL the reader how Johnny felt, we want to show them by Johnny's actions.Johnny was mad at Claire. (bad)Johnny waved his fist under Claire's nose and narrowed his eyes.(Good)This shows the reader that Johnny is mad. We must give the reader a little more credit. They don't need to be told all the time what the character is thinking, rather show them what he's thinking by his body language.

And finally . . . Point of View. Again, there are numerous articles on this. Read up on it if you're not sure. Major publishing houses frown on changing POV in the middle of a paragraph or even sometimes in the middle of a scene (unless it's a sex scene). It takes the reader out of the story and is distracting when in one sentence you are telling us Claire's thoughts and the very next sentence you are telling us Johnny's thoughts. This is called head-hopping. After a while, I don't know whose head we're in . . . and neither will the reader. When you decide to write a scene, stick to either Johnny's POV or Claire's. Show the reader what is happening through his or her eyes only. If you MUST let us know what Johnny is thinking, let us know later or in a separate scene at the end of a chapter.

This is from the mouth of an editor, so if you want to be published, remember these tips. If you want to hear more from this editor or other authors from Eternal Press, click the yahoo groups button and joint the reader's group. We will be having contests and chats on September 7 for the grand opening.

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