With Award-winning, Best-selling author Linda Goodnight!
The End is in Sight!
Linda Goodnight here, thrilled to be invited back to Seekerville to share some editing tips and other fun things. Hugs, kisses and bows to the fabulous Ruthy for the invitation.
For a month now, you brave, brilliant writers have pounded away on Speedbo full steam ahead, compasses pointed true north. No limits! You are, in short, doing something that the majority of the populous will never do. You’re writing a book.
Pause here for cheers and to ring Mary Connealy’s cowbells and blow those blower things you have leftover from New Year’s Eve. Really. If you’re still writing anything, you’ve earned the high praise.
In celebration of all you’ve accomplished I give you this extra bit of encouragement to keep on keeping on:
What could be more encouraging than a little Superman eye candy? Henry Cavill, aka Superman, was my visual aid for Eli Donovan, the hero of The Memory House, which-ahem-releases today!
I’m actually launching my first women’s fiction novel from HQN here at Seekerville. At this moment, somewhere in the world, a copy of The Memory House is sitting on a shelf, waving its branchy arms, awaiting a reader. So, remember handsome Eli and grab a copy (or leave a comment and win one!) And with my compliments, have a virtual glass of peach tea made my heroine, Julia, at her antebellum bed and breakfast in rural Tennessee.
I’ll even throw in a delicious banana nut muffin for sustenance because, let’s face it, sometimes writing is hard. Lots of times it’s hard, but those times separate the real writers from those who mostly wish they could or those who talk about writing but never do.
The Memory House was not an easy book to write. If I’d quit all the times the writing was hard, I wouldn’t be celebrating today. That’s another key to perseverance. Envision the day your book launches, the day when you hold your book in your hands or see it on the shelves. Visualize. Dream.
Though I have about fifty titles under my belt, I’d never stretched as far as I did with The Memory House. There were days when I sat with my head on my desk and prayed more than I wrote. But I also experienced days of pure joy and creativity and the absolute wonder of seeing the ideas and people in my head come to life.
Isn’t that the best feeling?
So, if Speedbo has brought you to the end of your manuscript, congratulations! Now, it’s time to edit. Don’t groan. Editing is fun because-think about this-the hard work is over! The story is on the page.
To edit, I usually go through the manuscript a minimum of three times, and each pass has a different focus. I also use little sticky flags to mark places that need work. Below are some of my editing strategies. Keep in mind everyone has different techniques so this method is not in concrete. But it works for me.
1. Print a hard copy and move away from the computer. This tells your brain you’re in editing mode, which is different from writer mode.
2. Read through the pages paying attention to major developmental items. Does the story make sense from beginning to end? Are the characters believable and realistic? Would they really behave this way? Is the dialogue stilted or silly or out of character? Is there enough white space? Are there too many pages of narrative? Would you want to read this scene/book if it wasn’t yours?
3. I generally scribble notes at the top of each chapter about the content and whether I think it needs a little or a lot more work.
4. Flag any areas where your attention drifts. You may need to rewrite, tighten, or cut those passages because if you lose focus, so will your readers. Also pay attention to scenes that feel flat. If so, make a note to check for those all-important five senses, especially crucial in scenes where the emotions are heightened. (If you struggle with this, read Julie Lessman’s books. She does a great job of squeezing in those five senses.)
5. The second pass is to fix all the things you found on the first pass! Sometimes during this edit, I find places I can deepen and strengthen. I also find where I’ve overused the characters’ names in dialogue or used my demon words too often. We all have them. Figure out which words you overuse (Really? Just? Heart?) and reduce the number of them or grab Rodale’s synonym finder for an alternative.
6. The third and final edit is for grammar, punctuation, typing errors, and those tiny tweaks you may have missed before. And voila’, you’ve reached the magical, The End!
In honor of your accomplishments this month, I’m giving away a signed, print copy of The Memory House. All you have to do to be entered is to leave a comment!
Now, let’s get this conversation started. Tell me how Speedbo went for you. Was it hard? Did the words flow? Did you carve out the whole week or thirty minutes here and there? Will you keep going? If you’d rather, share an editing tip or a favorite line from your manuscript. Or just talk to me about anything. I’m a good listener.
NY Times and USA Today Bestseller, Linda Goodnight’s stories have won the RITA, the Carol, the Reviewer’s Choice, and numerous other industry awards. A small town girl, Linda remains close to her roots, making her home in rural Oklahoma. She and her husband have a blended family of eight, including two teenagers recently adopted from Ukraine. Connect with Linda on Facebook, Twitter, or at www.lindagoodnight.com, and look for her new book, The Memory House, available right now!!
Linda’s blog tour continues all week. For details and more chances to win a copy of The Memory House, see the blog schedule posted here. www.lindagoodnight.blogspot.com
Ruthy here: I love Linda, she's such a great example of all that's right in this business and the world that I had to get her over to Seekerville and celebrate the release of her new single title "The Memory House". I can't wait to buy it and read it, and I'm grabbin' hold of a nice, tall glass of peach tea right now!
And Ruthy-cookies, of course!
And Ruthy-cookies, of course!