I think I’m obsessed with editing.
I’ve revised my novel so many times it feels different than what I started with. Maybe that’s a good thing. But sometimes I find that I’m my harshest critic and at night, when I most want to rest, I turn into a berserk editor.
Last night I dreamed I was in a commercial demonstrating a slicing and dicing machine.
I was chopping up words, not food.
The previous night I saw myself seated behind a desk with a plaque that read, ‘Veronica Jorge, Editor, You imagine it, we print it.’ A distinguished looking gentleman cringed before me, chewing on his thick mustache and nervously wiping his spectacles with a white starched handkerchief. My contorted face ridiculed his manuscript.
“O.K. bud, let me get this straight. You’ve got an orphan girl; lonely, bored, misunderstood. She gets whooshed up into a tornado and winds up in a magical realm where they’re ready to worship her. And all she wants to do is go back to her dreary life on a dilapidated farm? You just set up your plot to fail!
Try a different spin. This chick; Dorothy, right? Have her use her powers to control the munchkins then march them into Oz and take out the Wizard. She rules, hooks up with the scarecrow and they have some off- the -wall kids.
Now, you’ve got a story!”
In the third nightmare, I sat behind the editor desk again. This time the plaque read, ‘Home Girl Publications, You dish it out, we can take it.’
I tore into the lovely author. My words curdled her milky complexion.
“No way readers gonna connect or sympathize with these March girls puttin’ on plays, gawkin’ at the lanky shorty next door and mopin’ after poor ole daddy gone off to war.
We got sisters out there dealin’ with real-life issues. Some got husbands serving in Afghanistan or Iraq. Others are strugglin’ as single moms with wannabe men and make-believe daddies sweatin’ ‘em. All of them doin’ it for theirselves; holdin’ down two, sometimes three, jobs just to make ends meet and put food on the table for the kids.
You gotsta keep it real, honey. Nameen?”
I wake each time, heart pounding and stressed over getting my novel perfect, and I ask myself whether I should continue writing.
The answer is always a resounding, “Yes”, because the story is the story of me and I must write it, if only just for me. Maybe then the nightmares will cease because it seems that my peace is contained in my novel’s completion.
See you next time on October 22nd.
Manager, Educator, and former High School Social Studies teacher, Veronica credits her love of history to the potpourri of cultures that make up her own life and to her upbringing in diverse Brooklyn, New York. Her genres of choice are Historical Fiction where she always makes new discoveries and Children’s Picture Books because there are so many wonderful worlds yet to be imagined and visited. She currently resides in Macungie, PA.
We’re having the Birthday, but we want to give everyone the presents.
Come for the day and/or join us Friday night for the Write In and Saturday Night for the Pajama Parties
October 21, 2017
Embassy Suites – Brea
900 East Birch Street
Brea, California, 92821
Cost is $50 for OCCRWA Members
$60 for All other Guests
$30 for Past Presidents
Keynote Speaker: Damon Suede
Bestselling Author, Renowned Speaker, and member of the RWA National Board of Directors
Damon’s talk focuses on the modern romance industry, the radical shifts in readership and fandom and how they’re altering what success looks like for professional authors. Genre fictioneers often grouse about writer’s block but more and more what we encounter is something more akin to reader’s block: an unwillingness to step beyond our ruts or move past the shadow of our steeples.
Romance is the literature of hope, simultaneously the most traditional and most provocative of genres. Our industry is evolving, but not necessarily in the obvious ways. Tribalism and division cost us marketshare and media access. In a world expanding and connecting at an exponential rate, where do books land? Who are the readers of tomorrow? What is the future of love stories and genre fiction careers? Join us for a free-range discussion of the art of heart and the business of happy endings.
Bestselling author Panel : Debra Holland, Maggie Marr, Brenna Aubrey, Damon Suede
What Made the Difference!
Lunch will be served
Incredible auction prizes from Scrivenver, RWA, Embassy Suites, Amazon, Major Publishers and authors
Come in Costume!
There will be Prizes. Dress as your favorite book character.
Book Cover Contest!
Enter your favorite covers for prizes. And help judge the winners.
Awards for the Orange Rose and Book Buyer’s Best Contests
At least one hour with Damon Suede
Saturday Night Pajama Parties — Damon Suede, Louella Nelson, Maggie Marr and more.
Cost is $50 for OCCRWA Members
$60 for All other Guests
$30 for Past Presidents
I recently returned from an incredible trip to Europe with my husband. We took a Viking Ocean Cruise, visiting Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Poland, Germany, Denmark and Norway. The ship was awesome, crew amazing and tours incredible. Everyone that we met both on and off the ship were friendly and anxious to share their personal stories. If you get a chance to travel, as we did, on the Viking Star you are sure to make more than a few lasting memories. Throughout the two weeks I had to frequently recharge my phone as there were so many interesting people and places to photograph.
Prior to leaving for our trip I had finished my latest soon to be titled book. After sending it off to my editor for review, I decided that I needed a little break from writing. I was sure that I would be so busy during my travels that I wouldn’t have a chance to even consider any future storylines. But I was wrong, very wrong.
Any of you who have read my books know that I write about witches, magic and mystery. Little did I know that I would discover a magical world filled with witches, Trolls and more as we toured about.
I was especially intrigued at our last stop – Bergen, Norway. Snuggled between mountains, fjords and glaciers, Bergen is a fishing city steeped in history. Viking warriors, The Hanseatic League and the oil industry have all had a lasting effect on this port town. But I was truly surprised to find enchanting folklore and captivating mysteries tucked throughout this city and roaming freely in the hillsides of this quaint fairy-tale city by the sea.
Early inhabitants of Bergen were sure that something supernatural could be found hiding in the dark forests that surrounded their city. Thought to hide in the rocky slopes and pathways, Trolls have been a big part of the local folklore since the 13th century. Feared, revered – yet loved by many, these supernatural creatures have been included in the history of Norway for over 700 years. So much so that
local roads and byways reflect their presence from Trollstigen to Troll’s Tongue and Troll Peaks – Trolls are ever present. Magical trolls are said to roam the hillsides and I was able to capture a few with my camera as I climbed the hillsides. So many strange and alluring tales attributed to these strange looking inhabitants and I was eager to catalog as many of them as I could.
Not content with just chasing Trolls through the countryside, I came upon an ear catching conversation regarding the witches of Bergen and was soon directed to The Witch Stone (Hekse Steinen). Near the center of town, this memorial honors the 350 witches burned between 1550 and 1700. Anne Pedersdotter, perhaps one of the most famous Norwegian women accused of witchcraft, was killed for her beliefs in 1590. Her history is engaging to say the least and her presence apparently still felt in Bergen today. Locals all seem to have their own story to share of how they think witchcraft effected the history of their town. Some share remorse for the killings, others express superstition regarding witchcraft in general and a few thought it best not to speak of it at all. Interesting!
All in all I found this trip unexpectedly ripe with ideas to mine for my next book. Returning home, I couldn’t wait to get to my computer to begin. Witches, Trolls, magic and mystery – wow who knew! Little did I know just how many ideas I’d capture as I traveled throughout this exciting region. You too must take this fun filled, mind engaging journey!
The one thing I know, after all my years as an elementary school principal, is that there is magic everywhere and in everyone. While I miss those enchanting moments with kids, I have always wanted to let my imagination run wild as I seek out my own magic and write about it. When I retired, I started to write my first books, a series called The Witches of New Moon Beach and inspiration wasn’t hard to find.
I have lived in Redondo Beach all my life, and New Moon might have more than a passing resemblance to my hometown. Every day I walk on the path that runs along the beach, sometimes with my sisters, but most often with my thoughts as I plot my next book.
I am long married and mom to three great grown kids. When I’m not writing or walking on the beach, you’ll find me sewing, reading or traveling and taking pictures.
Every writer has to be an editor to some degree. Reading and revising what you’ve written is the first line of attack; the skirmish before an editor gets unbiased hands on the work. What are you looking for when you edit your own work? Search and destroy all worm words, cut down on adverbs and adjectives, delete extraneous dialog tags, trim unneeded prose; there is a ton of excellent advise on the web to help with a self-edit. But can it help you catch the muddle?
When you are on that heady writing roll where the words just flow and the story unfolds in your mind like a film then you write what you’re seeing — it’s a grand feeling. Just be sure you wrote what you meant to convey. When you reread those words you’re fixed on the meaning you intended. When an editor reads those same words they… just might laugh. Ah the consequence of the unintended.
I’ve encountered this muddle most where eyes are involved. Probably because it’s said that the eyes are windows to the soul. We’ve imbued two innocent organs with a near paranormal ability to transmit intent. And I think they can. The face is expressive but the eyes really can appear shifty, or soulful or hurt. And if you’ve ever really pissed your mom off, then you know that eyes can harden in anger. But there’s a thin line between expressive eyes and hilarious word play.
He lied. His eyes gave him away, gaze dropping fast to the floor and remaining there. Well, pick that gaze up for heavens sake. It’s dusty down there. But I get it and it works beautifully in the context of the scene, if it just didn’t conjure an image that makes me chuckle. We went with: He lied. The eyes gave him away. He couldn’t look at us. It was a great thriller and the book did well.
A different author; the scene is tense, the captive character needs to scope out the situation, there has to be a way out. Her eyeballs skittered across the room. Oh my! That hurts — eyeballs rolling away like errant marbles. It isn’t pretty. Please, let’s try: She scanned the room frantically…” It fit the moment and the book sold admirably.
OK, maybe the eyeball fix wasn’t the deciding sales factor — each of these authors is very, very good — but, in the end, neither provided unintended laughter. When you self-edit pay heed to what you’ve written. Do the words convey what you actually intended? Be vigilant of the muddle. No one wants to step on a skittering eyeball.
With a BA in Anthropology and English I pursued a career in advertising and writing and segued into developmental editing. It was a great choice for me. I love the process of creating and am privileged to be part of that process for so many great voices — voices both seasoned and new.
I’ve worked on nearly 400 books over 20 years, books by noted authors published by New York houses including Penguin, Kensington, Pentacle and Zebra as well as with Indie bestsellers and Amazon dynamos. From Air Force manuals and marketing materials to memoirs, thrillers, sci fi and romance, my services range from copyediting to developmental coaching.
Having worked in advertising and marketing, I am always cognizant of the marketplace in which the author’s work will be seen. I coach for content and style with that knowledge in mind in order to maximize sales and/or educational potential. My objective is to help the author’s material stand out from an ever more crowded and competitive field.