On writing…Getting Started

April 19, 2017 by in category On writing . . . by Jenny Jensen tagged as , , , with 4 and 4
Home > Columns > On writing . . . by Jenny Jensen > On writing…Getting Started
John Atkinson cartoon, Wrong Hands

Thank you Mr. Atkinson www.wronghands1.com

E.B. White (co-author of Elements of Style) said, “An editor is a person who knows more about writing than writers do but has escaped the terrible desire to write.”

OK, I’m certainly not E. B. White but I am an editor and I’ve worked with writers of every genre for 20 challenging and enriching years. There is nothing more exciting than helping a writer move through the process of writing. With no skin in the game I can be objective about where a story has taken a wrong turn, hear a particular turn of phrase or a plot point that doesn’t ring true, see inconsistencies in characterization — and spot the typos and those pesky homophones that get overlooked to the great peril of publication. I ask the hard questions, I offer possible solutions. It’s a grand give and take.


You’re a writer. Your head is filled with bits of story: the perfect setting — a women watches in her rear view mirror as the wedding cake dumped on the highway recedes in the distance. A character — Mistress Renfrew is overly tall and awkward and harbors a secret passion for Lord Dumfrey’s collection of assassin’s knives. Odd events — the deadly rivalry for Miss Abundance at the Apple Valley fairground, a lake in summer, tidbits of history, the perfect love triangle ripe for explosion. But where to start? How to corral all those creative bits into a cohesive whole?

One method: start with a simple premise.

Can you express the premise of your book succinctly? If you can write the essence of your story in as few as fifteen words you are on the road to writing a novel. What happens next? The plot will come from the premise.

It’s the way you dress up that simple premise, populate it and move it forward in narrative form that makes the story emerge. Starting from a succinct premise gives you a foundation on which to build a great story. Whether it’s the characters that drive the action or action that drives the characters, the premise provides the blueprint to keep the work moving forward.

The premise should be carved in stone, but only as long as it supports the creative effort. Stone can be reshaped; Michelangelo did it all the time and look at those results.

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned writer I look forward to sharing On Writing again here at A Slice of Orange to explore methods, tools and tricks of writing that can help your story shine.

Jenny Jensen
Editor
www.e-bookeditor.com

Author Bio
Author Bio
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.
  • WRITERS—Social Warriors

    Writers have always given us more than just great entertainment. Throughout the ages storytellers have had a major impact on society.

  • Hello Hattie

    A long-term client has an eight-year-old granddaughter who wants to be a writer “just like Grandma”. My client asked me to give this young aspirant some advice about writing.

  • Laughter Rx by Jenny Jensen

    I’d love to hear your humorous book suggestions. I’d especially like to read a romance that will make me laugh and sigh with satisfaction.

  • PORTMANTEAUS by Jenny Jensen

    We’re so lucky. The English language is like play dough.

    Oh yes, we have strict rules of grammar, tense, POV, all the way to the minutia of intransitive verbs.

  • Make Mine Slang by Jenny Jensen

    This character, Tall T Reynolds, is growing in my mind. I can see him tanned and raw and a bit dusty. I know his world is the 1940’s rural west and I know he’s going to briefly meet Lottie, a beautiful girl in a gleaming open topped coupe. Their brief exchange will never leave his mind. Soon after, Tall T will go off to war in Europe. He and Lottie will meet again in a most unexpected way.

Mar 29, 2021
The Extra Squeeze Team loves book. So, we're going to hold a book club on A Slice of Orange, and we want to hear from YOU. The post The Extra Squeeze Book Club appeared first on A Slice of Orange.
Mar 21, 2021
The Extra Squeeze Team loves book. So, we're going to hold a book club on A Slice of Orange, and we want to hear from YOU. The post The Extra Squeeze Book Club appeared first on A Slice of Orange.
Mar 14, 2021
The Extra Squeeze Team loves book. So, we're going to hold a book club on A Slice of Orange, and we want to hear from YOU. The post The Extra Squeeze Book Club appeared first on A Slice of Orange.
Mar 7, 2021
The Extra Squeeze Team loves book. So, we're going to hold a book club on A Slice of Orange, and we want to hear from YOU. The post Book Club appeared first on A Slice of Orange.
Mar 1, 2021
The Extra Squeeze Team loves book. So, we're going to hold a book club on A Slice of Orange, and we want to hear from YOU. The post The Extra Squeeze Book Club appeared first on A Slice of Orange.
×
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.
Latest Posts
  • Portmanteau | Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange
  • Sally Paradysz says:

    Loved the post. Always looking to improve my writing and your blog sets up a new challenges. Thanks!

  • Great idea! It seems so simple- a 15 word premise, but I can see that it is the cornerstone. You are a delightful writer, too. Thanks!

  • Copyright ©2017 A Slice of Orange. All Rights Reserved. ~PROUDLY POWERED BY WORDPRESS ~ CREATED BY ISHYOBOY.COM