Tag Archive | editing

Looking for that special someone?

Only those who possess a wicked sense of humor and a sense of the absurd need apply.

Do you have the following qualifications?

Willing to take field trips (may include stalking) to observe and interview police, hookers, military personnel, farmers, morticians, mobsters, mechanics, Walmart greeters, nuns and prison guards—if you own a pair of night vision goggles even better.

Please note: Some of the above personnel may take exception to inquiring minds and we would therefore venture into Googleland instead. After all, our partnership would be hindered by broken bones or head injuries.

Do you enjoy leisurely lunches, brainstorming ways to dispose of dead bodies, discussing angst, heartbreak, emotional baggage and new and improved ways where a couple could make love? At the same time not feel intimidated or embarrassed if by chance the luncheon conversation is overheard by bystanders?

Deal Breakers:

This is not the partnership for you if:

  1. You won’t share your stash of chocolate.
  2. You suffer indigestion while sharing a bottle of whine with a side order of well done rant.
  3. You take yourself (or a potential partner) too seriously.

If there was such a thing as Match-Critique-Partner.com the above could be an ad for a writer in search of their vocational partner.

For a writer, finding a critique partner could be as daunting as finding a spouse, throw in the requirements that your critique partner must be creative, critical yet compassionate, be as passionate about your work as they are of theirs, be on call twenty-four-seven for a shoulder when bad reviews or rejections come in, be non-judgmental, understand your quirks and accept your swinging lifestyle (I’m talking about mood swings of course).

I’ve been fortunate to partner with two writers; Nancy Lauzon and Denise Agnew. We brainstorm, laugh and cry together on our writing journey.

Although we differ in our outward personalities—Nancy and Denise being the extroverts and me being the shy, demure and very serious one (admittedly, tongue is planted firmly inside cheek)—our differences have strengthened our friendship and working relationship.

Our writing strengths and weaknesses complement each other, helping us to learn from one another with the goal of producing a stronger work of fiction. Our similarities—love of family, books, laughter and chocolate are the added elements that have turned our working relationship into a strong friendship.

The main ingredient when working with a critique partner is to have one-hundred-percent trust in each other and give and take suggestions and opinions with respect for your partner’s work.

There are times when we don’t take each other’s advice, and that’s okay, as with any partnership you’re not always going to agree with everything.

Every writer has their own unique voice and perceives the world differently, and that’s a good thing—vive la difference.

A strong critique partnership embraces those differences and makes them work for the team.

The literary world can be harsh and ruthless and can wreak havoc on your writing confidence at times. A writer not only has to be her harshest critic when looking at her work objectively before submitting, but needs to believe and know that her critique partner has her back and is assured that her partner wouldn’t let her send a manuscript out that isn’t polished enough for submission.

A critique partner is someone who is willing to slay the “I suck at this” dragon when it rears its ugly head.

As with writing, the main thing is to enjoy your partnership and having someone who understands the journey, celebrate each step of the way, even something like finishing a chapter or writing a blog post.

“The desire to write grows with writing.” ~~Desiderius Erasmus

An Erotic Prank.

Besides writing, I also offer critiquing and editing services.

I received an email from a new writer, asking if I’d be willing to critique and edit her novella.

To protect this author’s identity, I’ll refer to the author as Felicia Gallant. Anyone who used to tune into Another World will recognize that name–she was my favorite character. Wouldn’t we all love to write in silk PJ’s, a feather boa, and Mr. Rock Hard Abs holding a flower, and a lampshade? 🙂

 

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Okay, back to aspiring author Felicia who contacted me.

In her request for editing services, Felicia attached her project.

An erotica novella.

 

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I emailed Felicia back to let her know that I don’t write erotica nor have I read much of it, and asked if she still wanted to go ahead and hire me?

She wrote back, saying that wasn’t a problem as she still wanted me to give her suggestions on how to strengthen her story, and to point out any technical issues.

I accepted, because I could still critique any genre based on a story’s goal, motivation, conflict, characterization, plot, and mechanics.

In her communication with me, Felicia always addressed me as Mistress Robins, and her emails read like someone who spoke in broken English.

Felicia then emailed to let me know she wanted to send me payment via snail mail. In cash.

I highly recommended she not send cash through the mail, and directed her to Pay-Pal.

She said she didn’t trust sending funds through the Internet.

I then suggested she send a check.

She said she didn’t have a checking account, and could only pay me in cash.

Although I found this odd, I reiterated that sending cash through the mail wasn’t safe, but she insisted, so I gave her my P.O. Box number.

As I started to read her novella, I realized the content was beyond what I had expected.

This was a hard-core erotica tale, more suited for male readers than females, in my opinion.

I have a close friend (for the sake of my friend’s anonymity, I’ll call her Natasha) who reads a lot of erotica stories written by male authors for men.

I emailed Felicia and asked for her permission to allow me to forward her novella to a close friend of mine to get a second opinion.

I waited a week for a response from Felicia, but she never responded. I took her silence to mean it wasn’t okay for me to get a second opinion, so I didn’t share her work, and kept on with my editing and critiquing.

I finished the edit and sent it back to Felicia with my suggestions. I explained it was a challenge for me to fully grasp the plot, and the characters behavior in the story. I also highly recommended she get a second opinion on my suggestions, and sent her a few links that I thought could help her with publishing her novella, and encouraged her to keep writing, and wished her well with her publishing journey.

A week later, I received a package in the mail at home. It was a CD collection wrapped as a gift with a card attached that said, Thank you for the wonderful critique and encouragement. Here’s a gift to express my gratitude.” Signed Natasha (my friend).

I was confused. Why was my friend thanking me?

I hadn’t critiqued anything for Natasha in a long time.

So I called Natasha to tell her I received her gift and to ask her why she was thanking me in the first place.

Natasha couldn’t stop laughing and then imitated a broken English accent: “Thank you, Mistress Robins.

After a few seconds, it all clicked together.

The author, Felicia, was really my friend Natasha in disguise.

 

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My friend explained it was the reason she purposely wrote in broken English, and why she couldn’t use Pay-Pal or send a check because then I’d know it was her.

She wanted me to critique this novella, without me knowing it came from her, and because the novella was a lot more hard-core than she knew I read, she shied away from giving me a heads up about the project.

I think I put a rib out-of-place that day, laughing so much with her on the phone. She did say it was an awesome critique even though she knew it was a challenge for me to understand some of the actions, dialog, and plot points.

Natasha said she cracked up when she read the email to Felicia about asking a “good friend for a second opinion,” because she knew if she would have said yes, I’d be calling her to discuss the project, and she knew she couldn’t keep a straight face or stop herself from laughing.

I still laugh when I think about that day.

I’ve had a lot of pranks pulled on me by friends and family, it’s not hard, as I tend to be gullible (sometimes), but I must say, this was epic.

 

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