Tag: experience

Road to Self-Published – Finding your Perfect Editor – Part 2

everyone-needs-a-good-editor2

This is the second part to a serial post describing my search for a freelance editor. Read part 1 here if you missed it last week.

The first half of the post talked about how I started my search for an editor and the overload of information I needed to sift through before I could contact some editors. Now, what did I ask them? How did I pick one?

What I wish I knew first

Don’t be afraid to ask for a sample edit. Both of the editors I corresponded with happily edited a few pages of my manuscript. It truly gave me insight into their styles and what I might expect when I got the copy back.

Copy editors follow the Chicago Manual of Style. If you don’t know what that is, follow this link to get more information. One of them clung to this more strictly and changed the sentence fragments I used in my writing.

In fiction, fragment have become increasingly accepted. Authors use them to emphasize or make a character’s succinct voice come through more clearly. If this editor intended to correct them all, my manuscript would be a mess of red.

When I asked her about it, she said she would NOT change them if that was my preference. My preference is that they have impact. If they don’t, then they should conform to grammatical rules.

Ask about a time frame. Apparently, many editors are booked as far as three months in advance. I wanted someone to look at my manuscript in 30 days. Luckily, since it is a novella, both of these editors were able to squeeze the estimated 14-hour job into their schedule.

If you’re interested in copy editing, book formatting, proofreading and help writing marketing text, most of the editors I previewed had experience with all these things. Yes, you can get this assistance – for a price.

Both of the editors I worked with offered discounts for bundling copy editing and proofreading. I was amazed at the price for the proofreading service since I figured the manuscript should be squeaky clean after the copy edit.

Apparently, things like spelling and punctuation aren’t priorities during a copy edit. This surprised me. How can you make a sentence grammatically correct and clear without altering faulty punctuation and spelling? That must be the English geek in me that connects these two things.

My Final Criteria

The samples and conversations with both Kristen (Kristen Corrects, Inc.) and Lindsey (Lindsey Alexander Editorial) pleased me. I felt both of them would make my manuscript better – ready to face the public.

Both of them seemed happy to go “the extra mile” with me and answer questions not clearly related to the service I was buying from them. Lindsey even spoke with me for fifteen minutes on the phone before I signed any contract.

In the end, I based the decision on experience. Lindsey had been involved in publishing and editing in a more direct way for several years longer than Kristen. In fact, her freelancing business was seven years older than Kristen’s.

I would highly recommend either of these editors. I hope you’ll take the time to click through to all four of the editorial websites I’ve linked to this post. Research is your best avenue for finding the right editor. Your project might fit more easily with someone other than Lindsey.

It’s true, I haven’t seen more than just a few pages of work from Lindsey Alexander. Her willingness to speak to me on the phone and answer a host of questions that had little to do with copy editing – and much to do with my insecurities about being my own publisher – added a ton of bricks in her favor.

Have you hired an editor? Do you have advice to add? What other information would you like to know on this subject?

How the real horse in my life affects my fictional creation

A Shire – my character only has two white socks in the front

The cat’s out of the bag. Or in this case, the horse. My new work in progress includes a character that is a horse.

Not too surprising since I’ve already admitted my fascination with the beasts. Hopefully, I’ve come up with a unique way to include a horse in my fantasy novel. You can be the judge when the book is finished, published and available from book sellers everywhere.

In my book, the horse is a magnificent Shire stallion. He is nine feet tall and broader than two barrels. Indeed, he is a beast. But a magnificent one.

In real life, I’m spending time with a lovely mare who is about five feet tall at her back (eye height or so for me. I can see over her). Her coloring is delightful, but she can be stubborn and headstrong.

Enter real life experience that I can use in my fiction. Some horses are docile, meek and cooperative. Others are haughty, high-strung and obtuse. Which one most resembles my experience?

Many people are intimidated by any horse. They’re big, weigh five times the average human and have you seen their teeth? Also, their hooves can crush your foot, or at the least give you an ugly bruise. We won’t even go to the kicking angle.

I’ve never really been scared of a horse. Neither has my protagonist. However, I want her and every reader, no matter how experienced with horses they are, to be intimidated by the horse in my novel. But I don’t want him to be mean, just majestic and worthy of respect.

Spending time with Lily has given me some ideas about how to incorporate authentic horse actions and reactions into my writing. Laying the ears back and showing teeth might be an acceptable (and scary) reaction from my character horse. Kicking and biting (terrifying) are unacceptable.

Just as I would study habits of a person to give my characters quirky traits, I must pay attention to the horse. Do her nostrils flare? What about nodding and shaking her head? What do these outer motions indicate about her feelings?

I’m lucky to know people who willingly let me spend time with their horse. If you want to put a horse (or other animal) as a major character in your story, you’re going to need to spent time observing that animal.

Have you used real life experiences to add authenticity to your writing? Can you give an example? Maybe you have some horse wisdom to impart. I’m all ears, believe me.