Today I'm talking about my freelance editing work, how to switch into editing mode, and the importance of the heart of the story.
Many people within the romance community wear multiple "hats". They have a writer hat, a reader hat, a business hat, a marketing hat, an editing hat, and many many more.
Some people can interchange between them without any problems; and some separate their mornings and afternoons into business time and writing time.
For me it's a little different.
My academic research into romance is part research and part writing, so I wear both hats simultaneously, but switching to editing mode is very different.
My editing work - whether for the PHS webzine or freelance - has different demands from creative research, and I approach it differently. I sit in a different space, I don't have the same background music on as I do when I write, and it allows me to sink into the critical mindset.
Primarily, I'm a line edits kind of girl.
I used to be an English teacher and I am surprisingly pernickety when it comes to the detail in a novel - whether that's grammatical or narratological. And over the last year, I've closely edited three novellas and one full-length novel, giving detailed, annotated manuscript back to the authors based on three primary things:
- SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) mistakes and inconsistencies. When I'm reading, incorrect spelling or grammar pulls me out of the narrative and generally drives me a little wild, so I'm hot on correcting this in a manuscript. (And will often advocate for the semi-colon's place in the romance novel - though I'll bow to the author's wishes)
- Scansion. By this I mean how the sentences and phrases are strung together. Does everything make sense to an impartial reader? Do I think things need to be rephrased to help with narrative cohesion or characterisation?
- The Heart of the Story. I genuinely, passionately, believe that romance narratives can be used as a instrument for change, that they can educate about real issues, and that authors shouldn't shy away from having a message in their writing. Whether that's about self-belief, domestic violence, or the importance of a diverse society doesn't matter; it's the engagement with social issues that I feel makes romance relevant and important. So when I do line edits, I also engage with what it is that the reader should take away from the narrative, and give feedback as to how this can be strengthened so that the author truly shows the truth at the heart of their story.
Cheesy, but I'd argue vital.
And then there are the projects themselves!
I've been lucky enough to work with Trish Wylie on her new Passion Pact series. The prequel, Mostly Married, and the first book in the quartet, Only Oscar, were released in September, and follow a group of female friends in New York who decide to shake things up in their lives and go after love - or at least sex.
He's all in. She wants out.
Talia Morales knew she should never have married Aaron Rudeski. She values her independence too much to give it up, even for a handsome, smooth talking Texan who fulfills all of her sexual needs. So, why hasn't she signed the divorce papers yet? That's what her friends want to know.
Over cocktails one night, they all agree it's time to shake things up and make changes in their lives. They're all smart, sexy, go-getting women! Surely one of them should be in a steady relationship?
All Talia must do to honor her part in the pact is sign her name on the dotted line. But quitting isn't in Aaron's wheelhouse. He's determined to fight for his wife. Lose her and he loses everything.
The race to find happily-ever-after begins in this prequel to The Passion Pact series!
Can the first boy she fell for be the man she needs?
Callie Morris has a plan to make dating simple. She doesn’t see why finding Mr. Right needs to be complicated. Before she gets started, her friends insist she take a good, long look at her BFF, Oscar Levinson, to eliminate him from the running.
The last thing she expects to find is a spark of attraction. What’s more, it appears to be mutual!
Oscar has been keeping secrets and some of them are huge. Now the geek Callie grew up with must find the courage to tell her everything. Their friendship could be a strong foundation for happily-ever-after. But Oscar fears the truth might set him free...
The series is filled with strong women who I want to be my best friends and men who'd I'd almost certainly fall for! They're funny and sexy and utterly empowering.
I've also been line editing some of Tara Taylor Quinn's indie novellas, including Christmas Past from A Heartwarming Holiday boxset, and It Was You in the upcoming Falling For You boxset, the release of which is currently being celebrated in a month-long Facebook party.
What do you do when you live in Christmas Town, Maine, and don’t believe in Christmas or faith or magic? You become their sheriff and protect the town so that her people can have their fantasy.
What happens when a three-year-old child goes missing right before Christmas in this town you’ve sworn to protect? You do whatever it takes to find her and bring her home.
Even if the only lead you have is a gypsy empath you have reason to mistrust?
When the weather cools down, hearts heat up…
Bonfires aren't the only things warming up the night. Across the land, hearts are falling along with the leaves. Curl up with a pumpkin spice latte and warm your heart with ten tales of autumn love.
In It Was You, he has no problem respecting the fact that she is off limits…until the one night he does...
Tara's writing is all about the getting a message across to her readers, and one that is about truth and the importance of love. Emotionally intense and deeply satisfying reads.
If you're interested in my editing work, please feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about my work and rates.
How do you switch between different roles? And what do you look for in a satisfying read? Let me know in the comments!