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Archive for February, 2009

Editing, revisions, taking a machete to the manuscript – call it what you like, the process remains the same and it’s something I don’t enjoy … or do I ?

Having been at various stages of editing recently with my next novel Ice Angel and my Regency short story collection, Midsummer Eve at Rookery End, I’ve realised that I feel a great sense of satisfaction when it’s done.  Editing might be hard graft and a pain in the authorial rear, but it’s a necessity and leads to a sharper, more professional end product.  The result: hopefully, a finely crafted, successful romance that will leave the reader emotionally satisfied and craving more of your work.

Editing requires different skills and a different mind set to writing.  You have to train yourself to view your ‘baby’ as a new reader would, to react to scenes as a reader not a writer.  It’s not easy, but you can gain objectivity by setting your writing aside for a while.   When that’s done, it’s time to get out the red pen or the on-screen equivalent.  There are many books and tips out there on editing, but my method is to print out the draft and read through a hard copy.  I pick up so much more this way than reading on-screen.   Making notes in the margin as I go, I check on the overall flow of the story, plot points and pacing, characterisation.  I look out for scenes that don’t move the plot forward, check proportion of dialogue vs. description and POV, etc.

Then, I go back and proof read for grammar, punctuation, spelling, style and eliminating any word repetition.

Finally – no, it’s not finished yet! – I read through for a third time and polish.  Polishing involves a final check for any typos, spelling mistakes and repeated words I missed on the proof read.

And that’s it.  Simple, huh? Nope, it’s a long slog, but worth it and – hurrah  – where once there was a dirty draft, there should now be a fine, sparkling romance.  Editing might be a chore, but, like filing paperwork or cleaning out the kitchen cupboards, you feel much better after doing it and a real sense of achievement and satisfaction!

Of course, the editing process starts again when the manuscript gets to the publisher, but that’s another story….

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Don’t worry, I’ll be keeping it clean!

The other day I read a chick-lit author’s view on Valentine’s Day that rather depressed me. She seemed to think it was a waste of time on the basis that a) if you are in a happy relationship you don’t need to wait until Valentine’s Day to celebrate, and b) if you aren’t, you certainly don’t want to be reminded that others are enjoying true love.

I can see where she’s coming from and I realise that Valentine’s Day – like Christmas and Easter – is overcommercialised, but I still think a special day is important. Some of us need prompting in the midst of our everyday rountines to make a romantic gesture. Some of us prefer to buy a purpose-made card to express what we feel, because we can’t find the words ourselves. And some of us like Marks & Spencer’s Valentine’s Day meal deals!

Mind you, what I found on the shelves of my local M&S food store last night bore no resemblance to the gourmet repast I’d been slavering over all week in their TV adverts. A slab of pate (starter), still-to-be-cooked fish (main course), three wedges of cheese in a box (dessert). But I’d left it until the last minute, so I shouldn’t complain. And the food (and wine) were good and the company (in case my husband reads this) even better.

Any other thoughts on Valentine’s Day?

Juliet x

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twilight_spanLove it or hate it, this Saturday is Valentine’s day.

I thought I would recommend a great romantic read to get you into the right mood: Twilight by Stephanie Meyers.

Ok, it’s a vampire love story, but it’s not a dark book – and it is incredibly romantic. So why not go and buy yourself a copy?

Here is a picture of Robert Pattinson and Kirsten Stewart who play the two main characters in Twilight – the movie.

Love

Jenna
x

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