Posts Tagged With: editing

Sorry Editor–I’m Having Another Dyslexia Moment #MFRWauthor

I’m taking a little different approach on this week’s MFRW Blog Challenge prompt and talk about how my learning disability causes my most drastic editing mistakes.

Mistakes. We all make them and we all hate when people correct those slips. But as writers, we have to quickly get past this feeling. The process starts long before we get our work in front our publishing editor. It begins with our critique partners. Early in my writing career, I had a hard time not taking my critique partners’ suggestions personally when they pointed out what most people would think of as a silly mistake. Now, I actually love when either my critique partner or editor finds those dyslexic moments.

One of these moments is my occasional use of the wrong word. I’m not talking about using “there” for “their”, or “to” for “too”, I’m referring to my heavy reliance on Spell Check. We all know Spell Check can be a both a blessing and a curse. My problem is sometimes I can’t tell which it’s being.

I’ve always hated that sometimes language isn’t easy for me. I didn’t learn to even read until I was in fourth grade. This was when I was moved into special education classes for my learning disability. I’m dyslexic and I also have a similar speech disability. Sometimes the word I want to say isn’t what comes out of my mouth. I sometimes forget totally how to pronounce words or I garble up the syllables. I call it speech dyslexia, because it’s so similar to the way I see words on the page and in my head, which means, I never really learned how to spell complicated, multi-syllable words. Or, more precisely, I’ve had a harder time of it then most.  I’ve overcome so many of  learning issues extremely well, but  sometimes I just lose all my coping mechanisms and mistakes happen.

So, I don’t have just one common mistake that my editors find. I have several, but I think using the wrong word is my most common. The funniest being this example caught in my very first book. I wanted to use the word “inconvenience” but couldn’t remember how to spell it, so when I got the drop down list from Spell Check I picked “incontinence.”  I know, how could this mistake be made? Well, easy, often in these multi-syllable words, the letters jumble together and I only know what’s being said because of context.

For me reading has always been a challenge and writing sometimes an even bigger one… But just like I can’t stop the changing seasons, I can’t stop the stories forming in my head, wanting to be told to the world.

Thank the stars there are editors out there willing to catch my dyslexic moments!
Check out other authors in the Challenge here:

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Categories: Insights, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Long Road of Rewrites

Cross-posted from my blog at Cera duBois.

In December, I received the fifth editor rejection on my first contemporary Western, The Long Road Home. Also at least 15 agents rejected it before it caught the interest of an agent. She like the story but felt it was too long, and before she’d offer representation, she requested a revise and resubmit. Which I did, and she signed me. The book eventually was rejected by Harlequin American, which honestly doesn’t surprise me. I don’t read enough of them to know how to write them.

But this isn’t about rejection. I’m talking about rewriting.  With that fifth rejection, I was offered a revise and resubmit (an R & R). I get a second chance, if I’m willing to rewrite.  Of all rejections, these are the best, because it shows you that the editor/agent liked something enough to give you another chance.  With this particular editor, this will be my third chance. She gave me my very first rejection on this book and gave me an R &R that time, too, but instead of sending it back to her, I queried agents. And the rest, as they say, is history.

So, if  you’re keeping count, I’ve already rewritten this book twice. The third time came when I tried to incorporate some of what the Harlequin editor said was wrong with the book. These don’t count the first rewrite when I shortened the first draft from 120,000 words to 90,000, or the several intense editing and deep revisions I’ve done to clean up the writing as I learned the craft. Yeah, of my five completed original novels, this is the one on which I learned how to write.

I really thought I nailed it this last time, then I got that rejection—ironically from the same publisher (different editor) that offered me a contract for my very first book only 2 months prior.  Her problems with the book were very similar to the problems two of the other editors had with the book—faulty GMCs of my hero and heroine…plus they said I never fullyredeem my heroine. This editor disliked her completely because she doubly betrays her dead husband and the hero—which she continued to betray for most of the book by keeping secrets.

Note to the weary—it’s easier to redeem a hero than it is a heroine.

Since then, I’ve debated on whether to rewrite it again or send it elsewhere.  In fact, I almost did so last week.  Then I reread my rejection letters—and realized why this book has given me so much trouble from the very beginning. And why it was getting some really strong bites, but ended up being rejected. The rejection before this one came from the acquisition team of another big e-publisher and voiced many of the same conflict issues, but they didn’t give me an R & R.

My GMCs and the plot—just don’t work, which was the original reason the first draft was 120,000 words long and it’s undergone at least 6 deep revisions/rewrites. However every time I’ve rewritten it, I’ve never changed the hero’s and heroine’s GMCs or the plot. I’d just rearrange scenes, polish scenes, add scenes or delete them—But I NEVER tackle the real problems—faulty plotting, to include the GMCs and characterizations.

So, I didn’t submit the book to the publisher my dear and trusted friend D’Ann suggested. (Don’t worry; I will submit to her, after I’m finished with the rewrite.) *grin*

I reread what I’ve rewritten thus far and realized how much more I love this story. I’ve always loved it—or I wouldn’t be so bullheaded about rewriting it to get it published. But I never LOVED it. And the reason why I like it so much better now is simple.  The characters have true and honest GMCs—every single one of them. I’ve also added in some suspense with the villain. (In the original versions, the heroine’s husband was dead—in this version, he’s her ex-husband and very much alive and well). Amazing how a couple simple (well, not really so simple) plot changes and re-characterizations can add in the organic motivation and conflict that was missing before.

Originally, The Long Road Home was a secret baby story in which the hero (the father) doesn’t find out until the end. I approached the plot this way because I wanted the story to be different from every other secret baby plot out there.  But in the end, I couldn’t find the right type of conflict. So, let’s see if I hit it by taking some of the secret out of the overused secret baby. The heroine still betrays the hero, but he also betrays her—and they both are betrayed by their mutual best friend (the ex-hubby).

So,  let me know—If you’ve ever completely rewritten a story, how drastically have you changed the plot/characters? Did you like it better when you were done? Or did you hate it?

Categories: Writing Wednesdays | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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