No Wankers! Praise for Savvy Authors Editpalooza 2012

Savvy Authors: “Wouldn’t it be great to have an editor available to help you polish your manuscript? Wouldn’t it be great to learn to self-edit like an editor?”

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

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!


44 thoughts on “No Wankers! Praise for Savvy Authors Editpalooza 2012

  1. Carlene,
    I’m up and ready for today! This looks fantastic! I will have to look into the Editpalooza for next year but just checking out Savvy Authors was great! I’ve been out to their site a time to two but keep forgetting to go back and use it in my point of reference for sooooo much writing info.

    Thanks for the reminder and the information! Sounds like a great class to really help tighten a manuscript to perfection.

    Hugs! (oh and happy Leap Day!)

    1. Hi Mermaid Loni, Happy Leap Day to you too! I have to thank Mermaid Robin for introducing me to Savvy Authors a while back. I’ve gotten so much out of the site this past year, it’s just incredible.

  2. First, I am jealous:)! But really, I am sorry I missed it, and wish I’d had it on my agenda. But I am thrilled you found it so valuable! You also made it sound like a great experience. Sometimes even the best workshops can be draining, and you sound energized. Can’t wait to read your book!

    1. Yay! I’ve been so jealous of you, Mermaid Denny, for having attended Michael Hauge’s event! Now maybe the scales will even out just a bit 😉 Just kidding. What was so energizing about it was that we were seven crazy people for the month and it was that collective adrenaline to get our business done on time. Loved it.

    1. Thank you, Mermaid Princess Alethea! You may have picked up on my insecurity in the past about writing. It wasn’t about my feelings of the storytelling but in the mechanics of it. I kicked that insecurity to the curb with this class. I can make it shine now! Yay for me! 😉 In all seriousness, thank you. I truly appreciate your words. Happy Leap Day!

  3. Carlene, I am so excited for you and so proud of you!! I love it when I learn something that takes my writing to the next level, and it sounds like you just leaped (ha, ha) a whole bunch of levels. What a Happy Leap Day!

  4. Thank you, P.H.! Great summation for the day–yes, lots of leaping. It’s just one of those things that helped me so much. I want to share it with other writers who might still be looking for that one missing link to bring together everything else they’ve learned.

  5. Carlene–it was great to meet you during Editpalooza–this was my second one, and even though I got dragged off by a deadline, it’s the best best best workshop out there for whipping a manuscript into shape! Lots of work, but oh-so-helpful. Really enjoyed reading some of your work!

    1. Hi Suzanne! Great to “see” you again and thanks. It was strangely fun, wasn’t it, while at the same time a ton of work. I’m glad to know that you liked it enough to do it twice. I can see where even if the lessons stayed the same, what you would get out of the experience would be vastly different each time. I wish you all the best with DJ and your wizards! Thank you so much for stopping by the pond.

  6. A-ha! So this is editpalooza. Great to learn about it finally after all the positive raving. Sooo interesting! I’m also totally jealous! 😉

    1. A-ha, Mermaid Kerri, so it is! I mean, I don’t think I can properly say how valuable it was to have an editor there working things out with us. Questions like, “Did I start the story in the right place?” and then your editor reads the first page and in my case, it started with a flashback scene. She was able to guide me and advise me about how much more powerful that scene would be if I allowed it to happen organically in the book later on.
      I appreciate your jealousy, truly I do. But let’s not forget how jealous I am of you, Miss USA Today!

  7. Carlene,
    Congrats on learning to edit your own work. I need to really learn that. Sometimes it’s hard to let parts of your story go because they’re not working–it kind of feels like amputating your character’s limbs. LOL. You work hard on the backstory, and then you just dump it….I’ve had to do that, but, in the end, it helps you understand your own characters better so that they’re completely real.
    It sounds like you had an amazing experience! That’s so awesome.
    Happy Leap Day.

    1. Hi Mermaid Kim! I thought about you a few times while doing this. I know you’ve said you aren’t the biggest fan of revising. I wasn’t before this class. That’s why I liked how applicable these lessons were. And, I won’t lie. When my editor suggested ditching some of that back story, I felt like I had her power on my side whereas I had allowed myself to be too wishy-washy over those types of decisions in the past.

      One of the great things she had us do was to “dump” that backstory into a separate document called “pearls”. What a pace lifter it is for the story that remains.

    1. Thank you, Kathleen! And I got the chance to plug your second hubby, Mr. Gore’s, favorite hangout! Whoo Hoo!

  8. Carlene, I’ve heard of Editpalooza but never checked into it. Guess I was totally missing out! Sounds like an incredible experience. I’m definitely going to find out more. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    1. Hi Jenna, welcome to the pond and thank you for stopping by! When I first read the description for what was being offered, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. The monetary value of what you get is incredible as this 33 day long workshop costs about the same as entering two contests. Keep an eye out around November/December time frame to sign up early.

  9. I’m thrilled you got so much out of Editpalooza. Since it was my first, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the group’s enthusiasm and willingness to consider changes to your stories made it a pleasure. I’ll definitely do it again.

    1. Hi Kerri-Leigh! Thank you so much for swimming to the pond today. You’d never know it was your first time at Editpalooza…must speak to your excellent skills as an editor. Thanks for all the advice, the book recommends and somehow managing to be so incredibly encouraging but definitively the editor in the room who knew what she was talking about.

    1. Hi Avery Mermaid, you’d have so much fun with this. Another thing I loved was getting to read and comment on group member’s who are already published and hearing their feedback. You’d rock as an editpalooza-er!

  10. Carlene I’m so with you on this. Kerri-Leigh was brilliant in her comments & suggestions. Plus, all the input from you & the rest of our group made the class priceless.
    The MS I used for the class really isn’t something I plan on publishing, but the skills & tools I learned I am applying towards a project that I plan on submitting soon.
    What a great experience. NO WANKERS!! LOL

    1. Welcome to the pond, Melania! Everyone who came to our group was so unique and at different stages but we all melded so wonderfully. I loved that. Whatever you plan for your forthcoming stories, just know that Eva and her two guys were very interesting and I’m glad you gave them life. Good luck on those future projects and thank you so much for stopping by and saying hello!

      1. Oh my goodness, you remembered my three character. I’m so happy!!! They haven’t gone away completely. Traian is in my WIP and he’s will the girl he was supposed to end up with. I needed to write Beautiful Corpse to lay the foundation of who he is and how he ended up out of his grave, more for myself than anything.
        By the way, I totally love this whole mermaid theme. My other WIP is a merfolk YA romance. *giggles*
        Best of luck to you too darling.
        PS. I just read your profile. You hung out with DP for a day & night??? You are so my HERO!!!

        1. Melania, you are so cute and funny. Of course I remember your characters! I wrote myself a note about them…”Eva, Traian, Ilie–Love Triangle ?!?” I really do get you on writing certain stories to know where future ones take off. You are welcome here at our pond anytime and we hope you come back and say hi whenever it tickles your flippers! Oh boy, you cannot get me started on Depeche. I may drink up all the oxygen in the pond on a note as crazy, hot, cool as those boys…night, night to you ;-& Fishy Kisses

  11. Congrats on concluding an intense & valuable workshop with such a positive attitude and for sharing it and your contagious enthusiasm with everyone!
    Girl power! 😉 HAPPY SADIE HAWKINS DAY! So very proud of you! 🙂

    1. Awww, thanks Mom! You’re the best. I learned on one of my former instructor’s blogs today that back in the 1200’s Scotland, ladies were allowed to propose marriage to the men on Leap Year Day and if the man declined, he had to pay a fine. The fines were things like he had to buy you a dress or cute things like that. Isn’t that cool? If you want to read more about that, check out

  12. I’ll have to check that out Carlene. No wonder it’s always been one of my favortite days! Props to the Scottish women of the 1200’s 😉

      1. Hi Carlene, I just recently found out that the Touchstone’s immigrated to the our wonderful country from Scotland…so cheers to you too!

        1. Hi Aunt Terry, that is so cool! Is that on our McKillip side? Thank you for stopping by. Love you.

  13. I feel your energy here in Tennessee. It sounds like you are renewed and ready to apply your new skills. Good for you. So proud of you.

    1. Thank you, Anna! You are so right about that. It’s going to be a long year to come and I’ll have plenty of time to apply all this great new stuff I’ve learned. Thank you for swimming over today, all the way from Tennessee! Love you.

  14. Hi Carlene:

    Editpalooza was wonderful. The best part about participating in group activities is meeting great writers such as yourself and the others in our group. My story completely changed and Kerry Leigh is a fantastic representative of her publisher. The course spends less time on writing style and more on the bare basics of what it takes to produce a publishworthy manuscript. It was like uncovering industry secrets. I don’t think listing the strategies works either. Taking the course taught us how to create a solid product whereas if I give a rule to a friend, she doesn’t necessarily digest the significance of the reasoning behind it.

    Please stay in touch! I want to be able to say I know the great author, Carlene Love Flores.

    1. Hi Janie! Great to “see” you again 🙂 I agree with you completely. Editpalooza was so much more than I expected. Now that it’s been a few weeks and I’ve had time to digest all we learned, I realize just how much information (felt like insider information!) they shared with us. Definitely stay in touch and I hope to someday soon get to read the published version of Ivy’s story! Thank you so much for coming to the pond!

  15. Good for you Carlene! I am so proud of you and I know all of the new skills you have learned are going to help you with every manuscript you write from here on out. 🙂

    1. Thank you Mermaid Dana! The cool thing is that I have no worries now. Can I write an emotional and interesting story? Yes. Will it come out perfectly the first time I sling all that stuff onto the page? No. But now I know what to do to fix it up and make it presentable for the professional industry.

  16. Editpalooza was amazing. Getting to work with Kerri-Leigh and the rest of the group made all the difference. I feel like all the small pieces of editing I’d been learning over the years came together in one cohesive, easy to understand class.

    1. Hi Kristin! Thank you so much for swimming by, it’s good to see you again. I couldn’t have said it better. Hope all is going well with your story and that you stop by again and keep in touch.

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