NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS

A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments! and often have guest bloggers.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!


Julie Moffet . Clare London . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A. Miller . Marcelle Dube . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Editors, Revisions and a Double Mummy First

It’s that time again, and I’m stocking up on necessary supplies.

Champagne – my drink of choice no matter what the situation. More practically, Diet Dr. Pepper. Pain au chocolat from this new little French bakery we found. Dark roast coffee. Almond granola bars. And chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

Sounds like I’m anticipating a siege, doesn’t it? Well, I am. I just got the first round of copy edits on my new book and am preparing to lock myself in the office to get them done. More than that, though, to use an old phrase, This Means War.

I am fortunate. I have one of the best editors in the business and like her very much personally. When we aren’t working on a manuscript, I call her a dear friend. However – when we are facing off over the slashed and bleeding bulk of my manuscript, things change.

What does she mean that I have to change a major character’s name? That is the character’s name, and I cannot picture her with any other. It would be like suddenly having to call Jane, whom you’ve known since grade school, Margaret. Of course, I paid no attention to the fact that three other characters have names that begin with the same letter, or that the name is so unusual that some might regard it as a typo.

And what if I left a couple of hours window unaccounted for? Or that a certain character needs more motivation? How does she dare suggest that I change the focus of the ending?

During this process I try desperately to hang on to my vision of my novel, from minor skirmishes over word choice (I was raised to believe that longer is better) to bloody battles over the final resolution. This is my book; it was born in my head and delivered through my fingers, and I know it better than anyone else.

Wherein lies a lot of the problems. There are things in my head that are not on the paper (well, screen, but you know what I mean) and the book is weaker for it. There are things that I simply cannot see are missing, or wrong, or misleading, and that is why we need editors. Good editors. To me, a good editor is one who wants to make my book stronger, not to recreate it into her vision, and I am blessed to have one. Actually, I have two, but being human can only deal with one set of revisions/edits at a time.

Not that we always agree, but our disagreements are always civil, if civil can be stretched to occasional screaming bouts of voluminous hyper-verbosity. (Told you I liked big words!) We’re still friends, so I guess what we’re doing works.

Which does not mean that she walks all over me. When all is said and done, this is my book, my story, my vision, not hers, and it should retain that eternal ‘me-ness.’ (I like to make up words, too.) A good editor like mine recognizes and fosters that.

And a good editor deserves the best I can give, including meeting her deadlines, so I need to get to work. But first I forgot – I need to go get a supply of jelly beans… and maybe some grapes…

However! Before I go… I have news! Before I blog again, which is supposed to be on 26 September, I am going to have a release.

LURE OF THE MUMMY is set in my beloved Cairo and concerns a votive mummy sacred to Sekhmet, the berserker lion-headed goddess. The last time I was in Cairo I was offered such a mummy and, though I didn’t buy it (it’s illegal, I think, to say nothing of how one would get it home) it did give me the idea for the story.

LURE OF THE MUMMY is my first horror novella, but more than that, I have been told that it is the very first EVER horror novel ever published by either Carina or Harlequin! Now does that make me a groundbreaker or a guinea pig? I don’t care – I’m simply delighted!

Now I really must go get those jelly beans and grapes… and maybe some pizza… and definitely some ice cream…

8 comments:

MaureenAMiller said...

Oh my, LURE OF THE MUMMY sounds incredible! I must must must read it.

I would be lost without my editor. She slaps me on the side of my head and says, "seriously?"

Best of luck with the edits, and enjoy the perks of being locked away. :)

Shirley Wells said...

I am definitely coming to your house when you have edits!

I love horror. Can't wait to read LURE OF THE MUMMY. And congrats on being the first ever horror writer for Harlequin and Carina. Wow!

Anne Marie Becker said...

Haha - love the siege image! And I'm with Shirley... I'm coming to your house for goodies. ;)

Can I say how much I LOVE having an editor. Finally, someone who digs into my story and tears it apart... ahem, I mean mends the rips I've been too blind to see. As I'm doing edits, I chant to myself... "This will make a stronger story. This will make a stronger story." That and loads of chocolate gets me through. ;)

Elise Warner said...

Great idea to stock up on goodies. Your Lure of the Mummy sounds delightfully frightening. Perhaps I'll try dessert before I read it.

Julie Moffett said...

Lure of the Mummy sounds terrific! Can't wait to read it! Editors are to authors like cookies are to Christmas. Well, you know what I mean! :)

Wendy Soliman said...

I found myself nodding at everything you wrote. Do we share the same editor? I guess we all feel overprotective about our 'babies' but editors really do appraise with a fresh and more importantly professional eye. Hold that thought!

Marcelle Dubé said...

Oh my -- Lure of the Mummy? How can anyone resist that?! I *may* bring myself to read it, but since I'm a coward, maybe I won't...

I'm with you, Susan, a good editor is worth her weight in gold.

Clare London said...

This book sounds fabulous! I love the Egyptian setting in fiction and myth.

And oh how I recognise that fierce defensiveness when it comes to editing :). The balancing joy is that AT LAST you can discuss your book with someone who knows it in details and already loves it (you hope).

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