Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fourth Draft, where an editor tell it like it is

While I was waiting to hear back from the agents I submitted to, I was still trying to be productive. At this time I bounced around the idea of self-publishing. Thanks to Amazon the publishing world seems to have tilted sideways. No longer is self-publishing considered to be the ugly stepsister to the traditional publishing world. Self-published e-books account for 25% of e-books sold on Amazon. Of the revenue gained from e-books 40% is earned by indie authors.
I knew if I was going to go this route I needed to find an editor. I have revised my own novel several times, and had friends read though it, but I knew it would not be enough. I did not want to publish anything that was not polished. One of the downsides of self-publishing is that many times authors publish their work before it is ready.
I researched editors for hire who specialized in fantasy. I found an editor who was highly recommended. I sent him my first five pages. This way he can get a feel for my writing and be able to give me an appropriate quote for the price. He promised to give input on those five pages so I could decide if his style of edits were what I was looking for. Below is the edits he made. One thing this taught me was that in order to be a published author one needed thick skin. The editor pulled my novel apart. Still, I found his advice worth my wounded pride.
Chapter One
This is not supposed to happen.[E1] [E2] 
She willed her mother to take a breath, but no amount of strength on Lan’s part made a difference. Her mother decided her own fate, and Fen [E3] had never been a fighter. [E4] 
Lan calculated everything to the smallest of details, and this . . . this was never part of the plan.
 “Breathe mother!” Lan tried anyway[E5] . “Don’t let him win.”
Don’t leave me, she longed to say, but her own escape had been decided for days. She could not have taken her mother with her even before their beatings, bringing her along now was impossible. Fen’s [E6] death made leaving simpler, but this was not how they were supposed to part.

 [E1]Punctuation takes on the formatting of the body of text it belongs to. In this case an italicized direct thought.
    If you switch it to a comma before the tag I urge in the next comment, do not italicize the comma as it belongs to the un-italicized tag.

" . . . to happen, Lan thought. "
     [E2]Always tag the first direct thought in a story to set the precedent and tell readers what it is and what to expect.

 [E3]The names are confusing. It is hard to tell if they refer to these characters or others. Assuming Fen is the mother, I would cut it and use "she" instead.

 [E4]I moved this because it is a much more compelling paragraph that is more likely to get readers to keep reading.

 [E5]Tried what? Pounding on her chest? Administering CPR? What is she doing?

 [E6]"Her mother's"
Not only is it more clear, but it is more personal. Readers will connect more strongly with "mother" than "Fen."

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