Category: why you need an editor

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The Secret to What Makes a Great Book

I don’t know how recently you’ve stumbled across this site…but if you have been exposed to even a little bit about my work, you know there is NO WAY I am going to tell you that in a mini-blog. I hate shortcuts. Or, as Ro$hi says in video #6 from Finish Your Book in Three Drafts,

“If the way presented to you seems easy, it is probably false.”

And yet, a current client – whose book I love, by the way – emailed me this very question, saying: “You promised to tell me what makes a great book and what made you say that mine has the potential to be one. Now is the time for me to work toward fulfilling that potential!”

She says I promised this nugget in an in-person meeting. I honestly have no idea where that miscommunication occurred, but this is what I (fairly predictably) responded:

“That’s what we’ve been talking about all along my friend. That’s been in all of my comments urging you towards greater clarity, connections, and depth. There isn’t any secret to what makes a great book. It’s in the embrace of revision, the effort to not quit on a paragraph, a sentence, or even a word.”

P.S. I believe she has done that.

P.P.S. I believe you can too.

Ro$hi dispensing writing wisdom

Murderer!

I’m sure by now we all know about William Faulkner’s dictum to “Kill all your darlings.” (And if you aren’t, you can read up on it: here.)

A client gave me this “thank you” for all the words I cut from his manuscript. I’m not going to lie, I was a little creeped out at first.

But then I got into the spirit. Yes, that is part of why you need an editor.

  • Because you repeat material without developing it;
  • Because we got the point 100 words ago;
  • Because what you’re talking about now has no bearing on the subject, even though it might also be true;
  • Because you think you’re being cute but you’re just being annoying;
  • Because the best thing you’ve written in ten pages should get a chance to stand out more fully in relief.

These are some of the answers to the question, When is murder not a crime?