Editors, The Basics of Crafting Fiction, and Apple’s iPad…

Yesterday I spoke at length with Shonelle Bacon, who completed the first copy editing for my soon to be released novel, “The House.” It was a great experience.

I always learn so much from the editors with whom I work. Their comments on my work not only show where corrections are needed, but provide great insight into writing patterns, those I want to modify, eliminate, and improve, and those that I want to continue.

I am always surprised when they mention my accomplishment of an aspect of writing that I had no idea I was performing.

From Shonelle I learned I have a good sense of pacing.

More specifically she revealed how I pulled the reader’s tension in the area of anticipation to a near breaking point, then deliver the much needed and desired reward or answer to a staggering question that has been nagging the reader for some time.

This is what we call suspense. Every reader likes it.

And all good books hold a fair amount of it. While I have much room for improvement in other aspects of my writing, it was great to receive this unexpected compliment.

It’s not something I had been thinking about. Being a novice at writing fiction I focus my efforts on addressing the basics–character, plot, point of view, dialogue, setting.

Discussing our writing with anyone who can and does offer critique provokes much anxiety.

I sent my manuscript to Shon and gave her little beyond the synopsis posted on my website.

I wanted her true and honest opinion, not that I doubted she would give it. That is what I was paying her for.

And yet I wanted to convey that I was ready to hear the truth. It’s better to make the corrections now, before the book goes out, than to wait.

Words offered to the public cannot be retrieved.

A writer should never underestimate readers. And yet many authors and the publishing world do just that every day.

Much of the financial crisis that has overtaken the publishing world has occurred in part to the belief that readers will take anything printed and bound or made available for reading on the screen of a computer, Kindle, Nook, and pretty soon Apple’s iPad.

Physicians, when honest, will admit that when delivering challenging information to a patient about her or his physical health, they judge what the patient can tolerate hearing and can accept.

They choose words to soften the blow, responses, that while omitting the serious nature of what is occurring, or will be taking place in the patient’s body, but that also do not change the circumstances.

The doctors are not outright lying. And yet knowing the truth would assist the patient in better treating their condition if not preparing for what will come.

How people, if able to hear and absorb the truth of their health, would have made decisions that produced a more favorable outcome, tied up loose ends, assisted them in spending their last days in ways they would not regret when facing their transition from this life to the next?

We will never know.

The best writers want editors to not choose words to soften the blow about our writing. We want the truth delivered with trust and respect.

~ by Anjuelle Floyd on April 2, 2010.

2 Responses to “Editors, The Basics of Crafting Fiction, and Apple’s iPad…”

  1. Yes Shon is great and honest! Glad you received what you wanted and needed!

    • Ditto. She is definitely the best.
      Every writer needs a editor that not only “gets them and their story”, but who can also bring a loving and critical and loving eye to our work.
      Shon and her edits taught me so muchd–about my story, my writing skillsll, and me as a person.
      I truly value our relationship, and will be using her for future writing projects.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment on this wonderful and Good Friday.

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