Friday, June 5, 2015

Before You Hit the Send Button to an Editor

by Elva Cobb Martin @elvacobbmartin 

At the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers' Conference in May I received a request for a full manuscript after pitching my inspirational historical romance, In a Pirate's Debt, to an editor.
I am so glad I had the forethought to tell her that I'd have it to her by June 5 instead of immediately. I wanted to troll back through it ONE more time. Actually, I've just gone through it two more times. I feel like I've backstroked across the Caribbean!

Here are some things I looked at carefully, besides misspelled words, grammar and punctuation:

1) The first and last pages - for hook and HEA ending with hint of Book 2

2) Deep POV: I didn't want to use she "heard, thought         wondered, felt" (Just  give the thing heard, thought, felt)
      Ex. She heard the boy call him Captain.
            The boy called him Captain.
      Ex. She wondered who he really was.
            Who was Captain Lucas Bloodstone Barrett?

3) Ellipses: space-dot-space-dot-space-dot-space (four spaces,         3 dots) And do not use many ellipses!
       "But . . . Arundel!"
       "Are you hurt? Did he . . .?" 

4) Keep all dialog, action, action beats, thoughts of each character in the same paragraph unless interrupted by other speaker.

5) Avoid ing verb forms and over use of prepositional phrases.
    Ex. He must pursue his goal of finding out about his mother.
     He must pursue his goal. He would find out what happened.

6) Use contractions in dialog and thoughts to make them flow.

7) Watch for POV slips.

8) Watch for telling!

9) NOTE: To use Find and Replace to change the spelling of a name throughout the ms, be sure to put a space before and after both words in the Find slot and the Replace slot. Otherwise, words with the same letters will be skewed up. Example: I had to change Captain Ned Lowe to "Low." I did not put the spaces in and all the words in my ms with "low" in them (slowed, followed) got messed up.Whew. ( :

10) Last, I did an msword spelling and grammar check and it caught some things I had missed in spite of everything. ( :

Finally, I hit the send button and knew how baby Moses' mother felt when she sent him off in that basket.

Do you have some other items you always check when editing your novel?  Please leave a comment.

Thanks for stopping by.

Elva Cobb Martin