Posted for our own Deb Julienne
The road to publication is a bumpy one, just ask any author. I signed my contract with Lyrical Press in March and have been working with my editor (the woman is a saint) to make the story the best it can be. What does that mean? For me it means I've done a great deal of rewriting, un-learning and re-learning. Confused...imagine how I feel. I'm starting to wonder what my editor saw in my story.

The biggest part of my edit learning experience is discovering what I learned incorrectly, what I accepted at face value from critiques, then relearning the lessons correctly.

If you've taken any creative writing classes, workshops, online courses, you at least get the concept of POV, Show/Tell, Dialogue, Setting, Story Arc, Protagonist/Antagonist, Characterization, Narrative, Plot, Voice, to name a few. Thanks to my editor, I believe I've discovered the key to making any of these sing. What is it you ask? This is where I'm borrowing from Shakespeare.

"To Be..." (Sorry, I condensed it)

How does this help? It's not enough that you create a terrific character and a fabulous plot, no, you must do it with keen focus. In order to write your amazing story you must "Be" your character. You don't write what "you" see, you write what "he/she" sees, feels, hears, etc. Sounds simple, right? Not. We're taught spoken English in school. Topic, sentence structure, grammar and punctuation, paragraph, etc. That's fine for English but not for fiction.

Writing a story takes on deeper meaning, more depth, and emotion, if you flesh out a story that pulls the reader in and holds them captive until the story is done. If you can't become your character, your reader can't empathize, cheer, much less feel satisfied when the story is over.

Here's an example:

Dinner started out casually at a well-known steak house they’d agreed to try. Once their orders were placed and drinks served Trent sat back and smiled across the table at Sabrina. He’d made every attempt to enjoy the end of what started as one hell of a rocky day. Thank God he hadn’t slipped up to either Kat or Sabrina.

Here’s the rewrite:

The hushed and cozy atmosphere of the steak house put Trent immediately at ease. No wonder it was so popular.
Once their orders were placed and drinks served Trent leaned back and admired Sabrina across the table.
“This was an excellent choice. Do you eat here often?” he asked.
“Only on special occasions,” she said then looked over her shoulder.
“Like what?”
Sabrina’s gaze continued to scan the room as if searching for something or someone, but he suspected it was to avoid eye contact.
“Oh, you know, birthdays and stuff like that.”
Her monotone response left him cold. She turned and waved to someone she knew. She looked as if she’d rather go visit but turned back and fiddled with her drink.
Thank God he hadn’t slipped up to either Kat or Sabrina.

In the original paragraph, I was too anxious to get to the next part of the story. When called to my attention, I saw I had missed a chance to let the reader feel what he was feeling.

Round three edits have been completed. What will the next round hold for me? Your guess is as good as mine, but I'm sure it'll be a good education.

Happy reading.

Find me:

Twitter: @debjulienne

11 comments

  1. Mary Ricksen // October 8, 2013 at 4:56 PM  

    I am hoping the next round brings lots of sales to you. It's one of the hardest, but most rewarding things a person can do. And you do it wonderfully MM!

  2. Scarlet Pumpernickel // October 8, 2013 at 5:55 PM  

    Deb, great lesson you've given us with your rewrite. It is so much more helpful when you show us what needs to be done, rather than tell us. I sometimes require an example before I fully understand what I need to do. Thanks for sharing.

  3. debjulienne // October 8, 2013 at 10:03 PM  

    I'm hping to show my ignorance and the lessons I learn, you know the head thumping we do at that ah0ha moment...hope it helps.

  4. Unknown // October 8, 2013 at 11:15 PM  

    The first book is the hardest. Once you learn what your editor is looking for the next books will be easier! Looking forward to your big release day.

    Morgan

  5. Barbara Monajem // October 9, 2013 at 2:42 PM  

    Good example, Deb. I completely relate. Often my first draft is missing the necessary focus, but for me it's often easier to get the gist of the story down, then tidy it up later.

    Good luck... I hope rewrites will be over soon.

  6. Mary Marvella // October 9, 2013 at 2:52 PM  

    Deb, your blog speaks to most writers! Thanks for sharing with us.

  7. Beth Trissel // October 9, 2013 at 2:53 PM  

    Great post, Deb. you were already a good writer before so now you must be amazing. I enjoyed hearing about the process.

  8. debjulienne // October 9, 2013 at 4:36 PM  

    Thanks everyone...I'm still very excited and can't wait to hold that first book in my nubby paws!

  9. Mona Risk // October 9, 2013 at 6:23 PM  

    Great post. Everything you said is so true. Good lesson to be learned and remembered. Can't wait to read your book.

  10. Mary Ricksen // October 10, 2013 at 1:07 PM  

    Sorry I meant to put an MR not MM. Great post!

  11. Mary Marvella // October 10, 2013 at 10:10 PM  

    Mary R, we knew what you meant. So glad Deb has found her way home to us!