Me: Oh boy…yes, yes, yes!!!
Savvy Authors: “Because at Savvy Authors we feel, and share, your pain and we know exactly what you need…. EditPalooza!”
Me: You do know what I need…I’m feeling this, you totally get me!
Savvy Authors: “We will teach you how to edit like a professional! We’ll be pairing you up in groups of 5 (or more) to work with our team of guest Editors as they walk you through self-editing your novel to a best-seller’s shine.”
Me: You had me at “Wouldn’t”…where do I sign up?
41 days later (the editors extended our class length to ensure we had plenty of time to complete our lessons) and I feel like a new writer. My editor (it felt oh so good to say that for the month!), Kerri-Leigh Grady, Associate Editor at Entangled Publishing, was phenomenal and my group members, ranging from paranormal to contemporary, YA to adult fiction, couldn’t have been better resources.
“To keep your experience as close to the real deal as possible, we will be utilizing the three pass editing process used by most publishing houses. We’ll spend two weeks on the first pass, where we’ll focus on characterization, plot, and scene structure, as well as major craft issues that might be stifling your voice. We’ll then spend the remaining two weeks on our second pass which will further focus on voice, dialogue, tightening language, and polishing your prose. And finally, you’ll be given the tools to do a third pass on your own, or perhaps stay with your crit buddy after the thirty days to finally fix remaining mechanical issues and those pesky commas.”—Liz Pelletier, Publisher & Senior Editor Entangled Publishing www.EntangledPublishing.com
This was my January/February in a nutshell. It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before but something I will use each and every time I finish a draft from here on out. You may be like me, having taken classes and workshops on craft in the past. I had the tools prior to participating in this year’s Editpalooza, but now I’ve gained working knowledge of how to evaluate each of my scenes to ensure those elements are present and doing their job to give me (and my reader!) the best story possible.
What do I believe made the difference? That’s easy. In Editpalooza, you work with one of your very own manuscripts, applying everything you learn to your story, and you’re not alone. I can’t tell you how valuable it was to have Kerri-Leigh and my group members read my assignments and tell me exactly what was working and just as helpfully, what wasn’t. And then how to fix it, the way a professional editor would. How liberating it felt to have Kerri-Leigh say things to me like, “Good call, Carlene” (in reference to identifying chunks of backstory or “inner-wangsting” (see NO WANKERS pic below) that I admitted needed tossing or the way a plot line could be tweaked to add more conflict) and “Your story sounds meaty and intense.” That was a priceless feeling, that one there.
To the right is my “NO WANKERS” t-shirt from Old Kings Road pub in Santa Barbara, which I have vowed to wear as moral support whenever revising future manuscripts!
The best news, it was a ton of hard work, but it was sensible and applicable and so many wonderful things happened to my story and clicked in my head as I completed the exercises.
If you missed this year’s Editpalooza, be on the lookout for next year’s. And check out Savvy Authors for tons of great opportunities!