Did you ever meet someone in a large gathering, someone you thought you’d never thought you’d ever see again? In September 2014, I attended a large Christian Writers Conference in St. Louis, MO. With a gathering of over 600 people, I can’t remember the name of everyone I met. Some, however, left a lasting footprint on my heart.
On the last night, after the awards ceremony, some of us gathered together. We shared about ourselves, our goals once we returned home, and what we planned to do with all this ‘new’ knowledge we’d acquired throughout the week. I took goofy pictures of Ane, Pam, Joy, and Kristena, to name a few, to remind me of the wonderful friendships that were taking roots. Little did I know what’d happen a year down the road.
In Sept 2015, I’d completed my second novel, Emma’s Prayer, and needed someone to edit/critique it. I posted a message on our writers’ loop, asking if anyone was interested AND available to work with me. I received several offers from members of the group but one in particular struck me. Once she’d told me what was expected of me, and she’d listed her fee–which was more than reasonable–I told her I was interested and would give it 200%. She and I were members of the same writers group, but we hadn’t connected on Facebook, so I looked her up. Her name sounded familiar, but I’d attended two more conferences since, and had met a lot more people. She could be any one of them. Finally, I pulled out my pictures from the September 2014 conference in MO, and sure enough, she was one of the beautiful people I’d met on that last night.
Over the next four months, I learned that Joy Avery Melville and I have so much in common, it wasn’t long before we started calling each other sisters.
Joy worked very hard with me on this novel, I can’t wait to release it. It’s been a long haul but a great and amazing adventure as one by one, we saw the characters come alive more and more, to the point that when they laughed we laughed, and when they cried, we cried. Now THAT’s a great feeling.
A good and competent editor is someone who knows how to critique, edit, and improve the weak moments in your manuscript. It is someone who cares enough to tell you-in a gentle way-that you need to strengthen and/or tighten certain scenes, and yes, she can and should tell you when “that’s never gonna fly, delete it.” Oh, it hurts sometimes. You’d poured your blood, sweat, and tears into that story, typing away until your fingers tripped over each other. Know this, though: she’s got your back. In the end when everything is said and done and you look at the big picture, you’ll know it’s stronger, tighter. You will have a better story.
If you’ve written a novel, and are planning to publish it, have another set of eyes look at it. Hire an editor. It’s well worth it and your NAME depends on it.
Thanks, Joy. Because of you, I’m now ready to release Emma’s Prayer, the story of a teen mom who gives up her son for adoption, and her struggle once she realizes it may have been the worst decision of her life. Is it too late for her to get him back?
Emma’s Prayer will be available on Amazon on February 12 (eBook). Paperback coming soon.