A developmental editor might seem as mysterious as a witch mixing ominous potions into a cauldron while you're strapped to a slab of wood, watching with hope or horror. All you have to do is drink this fresh, sparkling concoction, and a) your writing troubles will be over, or b) your book will be destroyed.
In my last post, I mentioned why it can be beneficial to self-edit before we finish writing our first draft. If we leave big issues in the beginning, they're harder to fix later without breaking the story. Problems in a manuscript can snowball faster than your neighbor’s flooding bathtub leaking through your ceiling.
Going back to fix a problem actually helped me move forward with a stronger story. But as we know, there are rewards as well as pitfalls to going back when we're trying to power through a manuscript.
Maybe you have the meet-cute down, but struggled with the climax (ooh-la-la). Maybe your characters have wit but lack chemistry. Maybe the chemistry is hot, but the plot is lukewarm. Maybe you’re incredibly frustrated with not knowing what to revise. Or maybe you’re the opposite: You have a solid novel with just a few kinks. Whatever your writing woes entail, one thing is certain...
Critiques, also known as evaluations, are inherently part of a developmental editor’s work. We do them naturally as a way of organizing all the big pieces that hang together, deciding what a story needs, and drawing up an estimate.
Stephen King had it right when he referred to “the boys in the basement” as a mode of creative process. The “boys” are the muse, the background noise of our consciousness, and a place where our imagination simmers.
In the spirit of NaNoWriMo, I thought it would be a great reminder to talk about “Little Darlings" as Kristen Lamb calls them. Little Darlings are the detailed pieces of our writing we stop and fuss over when there’s a million things wrong with our story’s foundation.
Last, last weekend on September 29th, I went to see Marissa Meyer during her Fierce Reads Tour, and I was so excited to meet her!! I’m not sure what kind of coincidence the universe was playing on me, but I recently discovered Marissa’s books around the same time she was due to stop in at a local bookstore near me.
A while ago I was lucky enough to meet Lisa Langdale and Laura Kreitzer in Napa for a gal-pal get-together and it was so much fun! Since then, I've admired from the sidelines how these two women work together seamlessly, and like many others, I'm dying to know more.
Think of a person who’s had a long day of dropping her kids off at school, going to work, driving her kids to soccer practice, coming home to make dinner, putting the kids to bed, and then finally has an hour or two to herself before she has to go to sleep. Can your book keep this tired person turning the pages before bedtime?
Suppose you’re in the middle of plotting or revising. You have your main antagonist and protagonist outlined. You’ve set up their opposing agendas within your plot. But what about the scenes when good and evil aren’t battling each other? Does the rest of the story fall flat? Feel static? Maybe you need more conflict, just not a lot of the same. Different types of conflict.