What “Killing Your Darlings” Means to Authors

EDITS – The Ugly Truth

by Carol Browne

I met with a new proofreading client recently and looked at his manuscript. It needed a lot of work. In fact, he needed an editor not a proofreader. He had no idea what the difference was any more than he knew what an editor does. As I tried to explain it all to him, it took me back to my own beginnings as a newbie author and I remembered what a shock the editing process had been. I had no idea what was involved; writing the book turned out to have been the easy part! So, aspiring writers, here is a brief description of what lies in store for you.

Let’s assume that you were able to construct a fairly presentable manuscript and submit it to a publisher with strict adherence to their submission requirements and that said publisher has agreed to publish the work. Let’s also assume that you have thrown your hat in the air, danced on the table, bought a round of drinks for everyone in the pub, day dreamed about fame, fortune and winning the Booker Prize and now await the next step. Once the excitement has worn off, the real work begins.

This is what happened to me: I was told who my editor was, that they were editing my manuscript and it would then be emailed to me so I could address the editor’s changes and suggestions. I had done a fair bit of proofreading by then but proofreading is to editing what a string quartet is to the London Symphony Orchestra. Straightaway, I was shocked when I saw that most of Chapter One had been removed (“You can condense it into a small paragraph somewhere if you really must.”) and great chunks of the narrative had been torn out. Thousands of words were scattered to the four winds, never to be seen again. Thousands! The book I had given years of my life to was purged and purified. And this is what you call a structural edit.

And guess what … I ended up with a much better book. Did I manage to condense the pruned pages into one small paragraph? You bet I did! It was the sort of exercise that tones up the writing muscle. I learnt how to write more succinctly and move the narrative along without unnecessary clutter. Editors I’ve had since have not been so ruthless, but it’s probably because I have become a more competent writer.

Once the structural editing is done, it’s time for line editing. This is exactly what it sounds like: going through the narrative line by line, addressing punctuation, spelling, typos, syntax and word choice. The editor will often suggest the author uses a better word or adds some description or makes the dialogue more natural. There will be all kinds of errors or inconsistencies in continuity. Have you used the same word three times in quick succession? Perhaps a character does something incongruous and you never noticed? Did you just mention someone, having forgotten you killed them two chapters ago?

You can imagine how long and involved a process this can be, particularly if you have a book as long as mine was. (‘Was’ being the operative word!) But your editor is trying to make your book the best it can be. You may have to lose your favourite metaphor, pluck out padding you enjoyed reading, delete swathes of dialogue that made you laugh but did nothing to further the plot or develop the characters. In the end it is all worth it.

Hopefully it is at this point that your publisher will give their blessing to the final edits of the manuscript.

But that’s not the end of the process, because it‘s then that a proofreader takes over and that proofreader is very often YOU. Having worked your way through your manuscript umpteen times already until you could happily throw it at the wall and walk away forever, it is up to you to read through ALL of it carefully and look for any errors that have been missed.

Yes, the editing of a manuscript is a lot of work: Weeks of daily toil; long hours at the keyboard; chewed finger nails; bloodshot eyes; gallons of coffee. And finally, if you are lucky, your book emerges, all sparkly and beautiful, like a polished jewel!

One more thing – and this is extremely important advice for aspiring writers – you need to familiarise yourselves with the Track Changes function of Word, because you are gonna need that knowledge! I was lucky in that I had a proofreading course under my belt before I started, so Track Changes didn’t come as a complete surprise to me. This is a function that allows many people to edit and proofread a document without the changes they make to that document being lost – hence the changes are tracked, very much like sending a parcel – but Word also remembers the original document so nothing is lost (we can’t always say the same about the mail service!). Delete a paragraph, say, and it will be held in the margin in a sort of bubble. Only when the author accepts that deletion will that paragraph be completely removed from the document.

Well, this isn’t an article about Track Changes! Suffice it to say, as with many things, there are tutorials on You Tube if you really feel this is beyond you. Trust me, it isn’t. If I can manage to use this function, anyone with a modicum of computer skills will have no problem.

So, budding authors, prepare yourselves for the editing process; but don’t worry about it because it’s not all hard work and learning the craft, it can also be a lot of fun.

Godwin’s adventures in Elvendom left him a changed man, and now bereavement has darkened his world.

In another dimension, a new Elvendom is threatened by the ambitions of a monstrous enemy. Who—or what—is the Dark Lady of Bletchberm?

And what has become of Elgiva?

Reeling from the loss of their Elwardain, the elves ask Godwin for help.
Transported into a strange world of time travel and outlandish creatures, will he succeed in his quest against impossible odds, or will the Dark Lady destroy everything the Elwardain fought to preserve?

EXCERPT

His heart thumping in his throat, Godwin took in all the details of the goblin’s appearance. The creature was probably four feet tall at most and was wearing a sleeveless leather tunic and short leggings over his skinny frame. His arms and legs were hard with thin bands of muscle; sinews moved like taut wires beneath the scant flesh. Godwin fancied that the goblin’s skin had a sickly, greenish tint, but in the firelight it was impossible to be sure.

The goblin moved in an awkward manner, not upright like a man or an elf, but slightly stooped and with bent knees, as though on the verge of pouncing. The dome of his head was as bald and smooth as a pebble, and his very long, pointed ears were attached on either side like those of a lynx. His large eyes glittered like wet malachite and between them a long, sharp nose protruded with all the aesthetic attributes of a small parsnip.

The goblin’s large eyes widened as they swivelled in Godwin’s direction, making his stomach curdle in fear and revulsion.

“Only two of you, then?” said the goblin with a smirk. “Not much of a challenge, is it?” He beckoned with his sword and others of his kind began to creep into the circle.

Godwin glanced around. There were six more of them, each carrying a sword of a curious design, the blade like a thin, metal spiral with a very sharp point. A visceral fear welled up inside him at the sight of these weapons, but he didn’t know why.

AMAZON BUY LINK

Born in Stafford in the UK, Carol Browne was raised in Crewe, Cheshire, which she thinks of as her home town. Interested in reading and writing at an early age, Carol pursued her passions at Nottingham University and was awarded an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living and working in the Cambridgeshire countryside, Carol usually writes fiction and is a contracted author at Burning Willow Press. Being Krystyna, published by Dilliebooks on 11th November, 2016, is her first non-fiction book.

Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

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“Saving It All” Pt. 10|Sci-fi Romance Video Short Story Series by Gina Briganti

Start with parts 1-9 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Jf8PaCYAQE&list=PLsyCFecRhPx0b4snlMltynBu9KaSVUvmc

“Saving It All” is a second-chance-at-love dystopian sci-fi romance video short story series.

It’s not looking good for Ariel and Hagrid’s marriage and that’s bad news for everyone because the all mentioned in the title is humanity.

It’s freaky in a good way.

Why did I turn a short story into a video series? I did it for love. The love of writing and making videos.

I bet it won’t surprise you to know that I grew up watching Twilight Zone and Outer Limits. There were episodes that touched on romance, but they weren’t the focus of the story. I want more romance with my sci-fi, and that’s part of how this story came about. The rest of it came from my muse who asked, “What would happen if…?” The answers included alternate timelines, testing the strained bond between the couple, and a life lesson we can all identify with.

Are you reading an interesting sci-fi romance? Tell me about your favorites so I can check them out. I’m always up for an enthralling tale.

Universal Book Link for Deep in the Dreaming: https://books2read.com/u/mBr2zy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ginabrigantiauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/briganti_gina

Instagram: https://instagram.com/ginabriganti

Video created at http://animoto.com

Scrambled Eggs With Feta and Chives Plus a Preview of a New Cookbook|Guest Post by Sloane Taylor

Some people claim breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I believe that’s true, but it doesn’t mean you have to stuff yourself with mountains of borderline healthy food. This menu is satisfying, delicious and won’t cause a coronary. For a more festive morning or brunch add Mimosas. The recipes are gauged for two people so you need to adjust the amounts if you are serving more.

Serve with Fresh Fruit Salad, Croissants or Fresh Rolls, Jam or Jelly,
Orange Juice, and Coffee, Tea, or Milk

Scrambled Eggs with Feta and Chives

4 large eggs
2 tbsp. feta cheese, crumbled
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tbsp. butter, you may need a little more
2 tbsp. fresh chives or 1 tbsp. dried

Crack eggs into a medium-sized bowl. Scramble well with a fork.

Stir in the feta and pepper.

Add butter to a medium-sized frying pan. Melt over medium heat. Pour in egg mixture and then carefully scramble. Be sure to flip the eggs so the cheese melts.

Sprinkle on the chives. Heat through and then serve.

Fresh Fruit Salad
1 apple, cored and sliced
1 pear, sliced
1 banana, peeled and sliced
Lemon juice
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
10 seedless red grapes, cut in half
Small handful blueberries
Small handful raspberries

In a glass serving bowl, combine the apple, pear, and banana. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent the fruit from turning brown. Gently stir. Add in the remaining fruit.

Cover with plastic wrap then set in the refrigerator to chill until time to serve.

COMING SOON to a kitchen near you!

Book 2 in the Meals to Make Together series

Starry summer nights are ripe for romance and dining al fresco. Enhance the mood with Romantic Meals to dine al Fresco, candles, wine, and your favorite music. Fire up your grill and share a romantic dinner with your someone special. Then let the night take you away.

Create 45 delicious and complete meals for two that can be cooked on your grill or stove. No exotic or expensive ingredients needed. These 103 recipes use everyday products already in your kitchen cabinets. Increasing the dinners is a snap for those fun nights when friends or family join you.

Romantic Meals to dine al Fresco, Book 2 in the Meals to Make Together series, is an ideal gift for a hostess, bridal shower, anniversary, or the couple who crave a fresh flavor in their lives.

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning author with a second passion in her life. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Taylor currently has seven romance novellas released by Toque & Dagger Publishing. Her first solo venture into non-fiction is a Couples Cookbook with eighty of her favorite recipes, DATE NIGHT DINNERS, Meals to Make Together for a Romantic Evening.

Excerpts from her books and free reads can be found on her website, blog, Amazon Author Page.

Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with laughter and seated around a well laden table!

It’s Launch Day! Blackflies and Blueberries by Sharon Ledwith

Here it is, the long-awaited second installment in Sharon Ledwith’s teen psychic mystery series, Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls. Lost and Found featured a protagonist with the ability to talk to animals and the local animal shelter in peril, now trouble has found its way to Fairy Falls once more, this time in the form of Hart Stewart – an illiterate young man with the ability to touch and object and know its past!

About Blackflies and Blueberries:

BBcoverlowres

The only witness left to testify against an unsolved crime in Fairy Falls isn’t a person…

City born and bred, Hart Stewart possesses the gift of psychometry—the psychic ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. Since his mother’s death, seventeen-year-old Hart has endured homelessness, and has learned ways to keep his illiteracy under wraps. He eventually learns of a great-aunt living in Fairy Falls, and decides to leave the only life he’s ever known for an uncertain future.

Diana MacGregor lives in Fairy Falls. Her mother was a victim of a senseless murder. Only Diana’s unanswered questions and her grief keeps her going, until Hart finds her mother’s lost ring and becomes a witness to her murder.

Through Hart’s psychic power, Diana gains hope for justice. Their investigation leads them into the corrupt world threatening Fairy Falls. To secure the town’s future, Hart and Diana must join forces to uncover the shocking truth, or they risk losing the true essence of Fairy Falls forever.

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal

Publish Date: May 17, 2019

Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing https://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/

Follow the Tour: https://saphsbooks.blogspot.com/2019/05/virtual-book-tour-schedule-blackflies.html

Sharon Ledwith and pets #3

About the Author:

Escape to the past and have a blast

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith at the following online places:

Sharon’s Website: www.sharonledwith.com

Sharon’s Blog: http://sharonledwith.blogspot.com/

Sharon’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/seledwith

Sharon’s Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Sharon-Ledwith-210150205690477/

Twitter: @sharonledwith https://twitter.com/sharonledwith

Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5821744.Sharon_Ledwith

Goodreads Book Page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45259122-blackflies-and-blueberries

Amazon Author U.S. Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Ledwith/e/B0084DUHJO

Amazon Author U.K. Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B0084DUHJO

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/seledwith/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharon-ledwith-4a33b213/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/seledwith/

Café Press Shop: http://www.cafepress.ca/sharonledwith

Readers’ Favorite: https://readersfavorite.com/author-area/358311

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sharon-ledwith

Buy Blackflies and Blueberries:

Mirror World Publishing:  Paperback: https://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/poetry/products/blackflies-and-blueberries-paperback

Ebook: https://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/poetry/products/blackflies-and-blueberries-ebook

Amazon.com: https://amzn.to/2VPEljd

Amazon.ca: hhttps://www.amazon.ca/Blackflies-Blueberries-Mysterious-Tales-Fairy-ebook/dp/B07QNSPTXZ

Kobo (CA): https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/blackflies-and-blueberries

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blackflies-and-blueberries-sharon-ledwith/1131285253

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/ca/book/blackflies-and-blueberries/id1460196300

Saving It All Pt. 9|Sci-fi Romance Short Story Video Series


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0tsvmlxy9o

This bag of cat food is so generic it doesn’t even have a flavor! I can’t imagine that Pat The Cat knows how dire life on Earth is since the Trillion happened. This could be his wake-up call.

Thanks for joining me again this week for Saving It All. If you aren’t subscribed and getting notifications on YouTube, please do take a trip over there. I want you to know when any of my videos post.

Thanks for watching!

New Release NA Fantasy Romance! Tangled Roots by Denise D. Young

Tangled Roots

The first in a new series.

A witch lost in time. A man with magic in his blood and a chip on his shoulder. Dark secrets and shadowy magic. Steamy romance meets contemporary fantasy with a time slip in the first book of this new series.

Cassie Gearhart casts a spell in the forest in the summer of 1974. The next thing she knows, she wakes up to find the world irrevocably changed.

It’s 2019, for one thing. For another, all of her coven members have vanished, leaving behind only one man who holds the key to their secrets, Nick Felson, the grandson of her high priestess and a rough-around-the-edges farm boy who wants nothing to do with twenty-year-old Cassie.

For twenty-three-year-old Nick Felson, there are two worlds: one, Willow Creek, Virginia, before everything went to hell. And the other, after.

He’s sworn off magic, until a confused Cassie knocks on his door in the middle of the night, somehow missing decades’ worth of time. But Nick knows falling for Cassie means letting magic back into his life—and that’s one line he swore he’d never cross.

Can Cassie unravel the mystery that transported her into the future? And can Nick resist the powerful magic and heart-pounding passion that swirl in the air whenever he and Cassie are together?

The Tangled Magic Series is intended for readers 18-plus who enjoy short but steamy reads, wild and witchy magic, swoon-worthy kisses, small-town charm, and interconnected books. The series is best read in order.

Now available at all major ebook stores.

Add Tangled Roots to your Goodreads to-be-read list.

An Excerpt from Tangled Roots (Tangled Magic #1)

“Cassie.” Her name slipped off my tongue, tasting of summer—of dandelion salad, mint iced tea, a tiny drop of sweet honeysuckle.

My sleeping magic threatened to surface. The scent of a field freshly ploughed rose up, along with a hint of mushrooms, a wild forest of fir and pine.

She tilted her head. “You inherited your grandmother’s gifts.”

“They’re not a gift,” I snapped.

She raised an eyebrow. “I know some people think that, but you can’t—”

“I’m not discussing this with a stranger.” Her fingers were worrying the wood of the farmhouse table, tracing the pattern of the grains. “Who sent you here? I told them months ago to stay away.”

Her brow furrowed. “Told who?”

“The other covens. I know they want answers. I’m not their man. You understand?”

She shook her head. The quilt fell away from her shoulders, revealing a stained, previously white sundress that skimmed sun-bronzed thighs. The dress had a vintage vibe, as though she’d plucked it off the rack at a secondhand clothing store.

She reached out, tentative, and touched my arm. “Nick, no one sent me, okay? I’m just…lost. I’m so lost, and really far from home.”

“I thought Ginny was your mentor. Were you emailing or something?”

“It’s like you’re speaking another language half the time. Look, the truth is, when I say I’m not from around here, I don’t mean Willow Creek. I mean, now.”

“Now? Are you playing freaking mind games? Is that your style? Gaslight the last witch in Willow Creek?”

Before she could respond, the kettle whistled. I jumped back, grunting as I slammed my hip into the corner of the island. With a growl I turned to the tea kettle. I pulled down two blue pottery mugs emblazoned with pale moons over emerald green mountains. I plucked two tea bags out of the metal canister, not even bothering to check what blend, and set her mug in front of her.

“Honey and sugar on the island.” I inclined my head in that direction.

“I’m confused.” She wrapped one hand around the mug and, without asking, opened a drawer and withdrew a spoon. Again, like she’d been here before. Not once. Many times. “Am I staying for tea, or do you want to run me off the property?” She jutted out her chin, and I caught a glimpse of stubborn pride underneath a veil of polite acquiescence.

I scratched the stubble on my chin. “Tell me the truth. Who you are. Why you’re here. No games.”

“No games.” The words, a mere whisper, tingled in the air with a magical sort of promise. Somehow, without knowing how I knew, whatever she said next would be the truth.

Visit www.books2read.com/tangledroots to get your copy from your preferred ebook-store today.

Tangled Roots is also available in paperback at Amazon.com.

About the Author

Denise D. Young may or may not be a woodland sprite who loves tea, crystals, and thunderstorms. As much as she loves a wild forest, she also loves a good story, which is why she is also an indie author who pens fantasy and romance.

If you’ve ever hoped to find a book of spells in a dusty attic, if you suspect every misty forest contains a hidden portal to another realm, or if you don’t mind a little darkness before your happily-ever-after, her books might be just the thing you’ve been waiting for.

Her Tangled Magic Series features witches, romance, and small-town charm.

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and Hollins University, Denise took first place in the Pages from the Heart Contest for her novella Good Old-Fashioned Magic in 2015. Her novel A Prince in Patience Point received second place in the 2016 Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest.

Denise lives with her husband and their animals in the mountains of Virginia, where small towns and tall trees inspire her stories. She reads tarot cards, gazes at stars, and believes magic is the answer (no matter what the question was).

Magic Awaits! Connect with Denise on the Web:

Website | Newsletter | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

Lavender-Patchouli Soap Recipe

In the book, there’s this moment where Cassie, fresh from awakening in 2019 (after having cast a spell in 1974) is feeling really disoriented. Things are the same, yet different. And she takes a whiff of patchouli soap and feels more grounded, more connected to her present surroundings. She realizes that, though many things have changed, some things have stayed the same—and that’s a very comforting thought for her.

Lavender also makes frequent appearances in Tangled Roots, so I’ve whipped up this ridiculously easy melt-and-pour soap recipe. You can use any melt-and-pour base you want. I use Dr. Adorable’s goat’s milk soap base because it works well for my sensitive skin and I like the quality.

I know it seems like a lot of essential oils, but the recipe makes about 12 bars of soap, so you’re only going to end up with a few drops of EO in each bar. You’ll end up with a light scent that won’t be too heavy—though it might seem overwhelming when you first add it into the soap mixture!

Ingredients:

2 lbs. melt-and-pour soap base (I like Dr. Adorable’s goat’s milk soap base)

16 drops lavender essential oil

10 drops patchouli essential oil

Your choice of mica soap coloring (I used olive green to represent the earth magic in the book)

Instructions:

In a medium saucepan, melt chunks of soap base over low heat, stirring frequently.

Once soap base is completely melted, remove from heat and add mica powder in your choice of color, a pinch at a time, stirring until you’ve achieved desired color. Add 16 drops of lavender EO and 10 drops of patchouli EO and stir.

Pour immediately into waiting soap molds.

Allow to cool and harden completely before removing from molds. Soap made with melt-and-pour base doesn’t require a curing period and can be used as soon as it’s cooled. It is best stored in an airtight container, since the soap bars will shrink with prolonged air exposure.

Enjoy!

Saving It All Parts 1-8 – Sci-fi Romance Video Short Story Series by Gina Briganti

Zohtol rhymes with total (1)

“Saving It All” is a second-chance-at-love dystopian sci-fi romance video short story series.

It’s not looking good for Ariel and Hagrid’s marriage and that’s bad news for everyone because the all mentioned in the title is humanity.

It’s getting freaky!

Why did I turn a short story into a video series? I did it for love. The love of writing and making videos.

I bet it won’t surprise you to know that I grew up watching Twilight Zone and Outer Limits. There were episodes that touched on romance, but they weren’t the focus of the story. I want more romance with my sci-fi, and that’s part of how this story came about. The rest of it came from my muse who asked, “What would happen if…?” The answers included alternate timelines, testing the strained bond between the couple, and a life lesson we can all identify with.

Are you reading an interesting sci-fi romance? Tell me about your favorites so I can check them out. I’m always up for an enthralling tale.

I’ll be back with part 9 next week.

 

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