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MARIE DRY’S EDITING JOURNEY & Giveaway!

We invited author Marie Dry. She's here with her latest release ALIEN UNDER COVER. There's a Kindle Copy Giveaway of Alien Under Cover to one commenter! 


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Marie is a proud member of ROSA, Romance Writers Organisation of South Africa.






MARIE DRY’S EDITING JOURNEY

I tried to think about this brilliant craft blog that would wow everyone and have writers talk about it for weeks afterwards, but I think I may have been over confident. All that came to mind to do was something about editing and I became almost panicky trying to write something fresh and interesting. There are so many good craft posts so I will talk Instead about my journey and where and how I learned and are still learning to edit my work and my CP’s as well.

Somewhere in my life I must have done something really well and was rewarded with the best critique partner a person can imagine. She suggested we take the same courses so that we can grow at more or less the same rate and critique each other’s work. I would suggest this to every writer and their critique partners. 

Cassandra L Shaw (my CP) introduced me to savvy authors and that really put me on the right path. I did many of their short courses and they had something tailor made for me at every stage of my writing journey.  In 2010 Liz Pelletier presented a three month editing course which both Cassandra and I  enrolled for. At the time I still thought checking spelling and grammar was the major part of the editing process. I changed the story structure a bit but mostly I had no clue on how to edit a rough draft into a polished manuscript. With Liz I learned how to check the pacing, to ruthlessly cut out any sentences, paragraphs or chapters that does not serve a purpose.  I will never forget we had a Webinar with Liz and she looked at my manuscript and cut out huge chunks of it and I was secretly horrified. She was cutting out all the good stuff. The long boring scenes of dialogue (I thought it was witty and insightful at that stage), the endless inner monologue (I thought I had some good inner conflict going there) and what little descriptions I had. I had promised myself from the beginning that I would learn from people like Liz so even though I wanted to put every precious word she cut back, I listened to her and tried to put my story into some kind of three arc structure. I did win one argument though and I was sneaky. Liz taught me that you cannot have too many characters in your story and I was determined to have loads of aliens on tap for future stories. She insisted no more than four. So I parked them in a spaceship orbiting earth. Even though the story arc is planned for three books I am glad for the aliens in the space ship. Eventually I can write a few more stories that are knocking at the back of my head.

The other good thing about this course was that Liz suggested a few good craft books. Up to that point I had read Stephen King’s On Writing and found it really helpful. I bought Secrets of the selling writer by Dwight Swain but I was just not on the right level for it yet. That is a brilliant book and never far from me when I edit. I went ahead and bought the books Liz suggested. The one that stands out for me is Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. It made me aware of the fact that the characters in my story needed different voices. This is the first time I really thought about how you would practically manage that. I had this horror of all my characters speaking English with a strong South African accent. Giving my characters different sounding voices is something I struggle with in every book, but being made aware of this helped me take a huge step forward with my writing. Another book that helped me tremendously wais  Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave KIng. It pointed out all the rookie mistakes I made and put me on the right road.

You have to excuse me for raving about the next person that crossed my writing path. Once again Cassandra suggested I do course at WriterU and she specifically mentioned Mary Buckham, who is just amazing and if you ever can take any of her classes jump at the chance. And if you don’t have her craft books on your shelve you have a space there that needs filling. She self published some of her craft books and it was picked up by a publisher so it might be withdrawn from the market for a little while, until the publishers bring out the new versions. I cannot edit without her Active Settings book next to me. It’s like my security blanket. I tend to be very sparse with descriptions. The first thing the editor at Black Opal Books pointed out to me was that my alien didn’t have any clothes on. 

  Doing the active setting course with Mary showed me that I can do descriptions that serve a purpose in my story.  By the way Mary write great fiction as well and her latest book was released this month. The first course I took with her was about the twelve steps to intimacy. I am keeping my fingers crossed that will be one of the first books released. It is a must for every romance writer. It saved me from writing damp panties and peaking nipples the moment the hero and heroine met.

I will continue this blog next week and I’ll talk about Lori Wilde, Margie Lawson and a few other craft books and what I have learned.  Also about the importance of body language for dialogue tags and few other things.

Marie Dry's latest release...


In a bleak and apocalyptic future, Julia Benzoni flees the violence-saturated world of her mafia family to build a peaceful life in a No Name Town, Montana. Now, while civilization disintegrates into anarchy around her and evil men prey on the innocent, she’s pursued by an alien, whose warrior life thrusts her back into the world where might makes right and violence is the order of the day. Torn, she now has to choose between her need to distance herself from war and violence and the alien warrior who holds her heart.
You can purchase Alien Mine from the following stores:
 
Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords
Black Opal Books | Kobo Books | All Romance Ebooks


38 comments:

  1. Thanks for the intro to Marie, and for hosting today. I appreciate her insight. I agree, a good CP is priceless!

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    1. Its great that most of the romance writers organisations now have forums where you can find a CP.

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  2. Hi, Maries! I don't have a CP, but I have had several beta readers and they are gems! Truly priceless. :)

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    1. I have one beta reader and she is excellent and fast. I tried a few beta readers and gave up because I did not have the time to wait for them to get to reading the manuscript.

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  3. Thank you Marie for the shout out. I feel truly honored to be included in your list of truly stellar writing instructors. I think you also need to pat yourself on the back for being willing to seek advice, listen and learn. Not only that but you applied what you learned to your own work to make it shine. That's a huge step to take on the road to publication! All the best with your successes ~ I'm cheering you on!

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    1. Thanks Mary, I'm cheering you on too. All the support from other writers is one of the thing I love about writing romance.

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  4. A great article. It is amazing how editing can turn up all those little (and big) mistakes in our work that we think is perfect. Our critique partners are so good at finding these things.
    So nice to meet you, Marie. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Kelly.

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    1. Thanks for having me Kelly. What really drives me bonkers is when I think I have this wonderful manuscript and I'm going to wow some editor and then I put it away for a month and I see it has great potential but it not even close to being well edited.

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  5. My CPs have taught me SO much - made me take chances and try things I had no idea how to try. :)

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    1. Same with mine. Cassandra is stronger on the suspense and plot and I always get a little bit jealous of her great ideas. But she would read my stuff and just zoom in on what needs work and push me just that little bit further.

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  6. Great advice, Marie!
    I think one of the hardest parts of editing is taking out those "large chunks" of our manuscripts. We grow attached to our stories so having someone critique us and tell us to take out paragraphs, and sometimes cut or change chapters, can hurt the ego.
    I have to look into more critiquing for my novel. With my picture books, it's a bit easier to take the edits and suggestions.

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    1. Ha, I can reply suddenly so I'm just copying and pasting what I posted below.

      Gina, I tried to reply directly to your comment and the computer won't let me. I wrote a really good story which I put away and now that I'm working on it again I can see exactly what Cassandra meant with her feedback. But of course I did not want to hear it at the time.

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  7. A great CP is amazing, aren't they? Great post, and love your suggestions. Also, living in Montana, I have to say there are waaaaay too many little towns here, lol! :)

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    1. Meradeth, I would love to see Montana. I plan on seeing Yellowstone Park and a few other sights when I make it over there. And yes a good CP is priceless.

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  8. Great post, Marie and congrats on your latest book!

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    1. Thanks Rachael, congratulaitons on yours too. Did you see RT magazine gave your second book a really good review.

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    1. Sherry, I love the covers of my books. Jack at Black Opal Books did them. And he's super fast.

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  10. Critique partners are the best! Without mine, I wouldn't have grown and improved as a writer.

    Also, I may need to check out that Active Settings book, since descriptions are not my strength.

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    1. Shelley, I can really recommend Active Settings and any other book by Mary Buckham. What I like about the books is she gives examples of descriptions that missed the boat. It lets you see what NOT to do and that helped me tremendously. I am very sparse on descriptions and tend to literally forget to put clothes on my characters. I see it in my head and sometimes don't realize its not on the page.

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  11. Hi Marie - I must say I think you've been pretty excellent as a CP too. And Mary's courses and books are great. Look forward to next weeks.

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    1. Well I can't wait for your second book that is coming out with Black Opal Books. Grave Robber for hire blew me away. And of course with the post office striking for so long over here I still don't have a physical copy.

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  12. I second the need to study. Anyone who ducks out on learning how to build a character arc or develop meaningful scenes needs a punch in the nose. Seriously. =)

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    1. Crystal, I couldn't agree more. I've been writing my whole life and casually read about writing and absorbed some things but it took me seven years of hard work to master the basics. And its frightening how much I still have to learn.

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  13. Gina, I tried to reply directly to your comment and the computer won't let me. I wrote a really good story which I put away and now that I'm working on it again I can see exactly what Cassandra meant with her feedback. But of course I did not want to hear it at the time.

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  14. Hehe! Depending on the book, an alien with no clothes on isn't necessarily a bad thing. ;)

    Great advice! We must always be willing to keep learning and working on our craft.

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    1. Cherie, imagine one of the aliens having one of those naked dreams.

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  15. I think it is awesome that Marie and her CP partner took classes together to learn together. It is so important to keep working on our writing and to have people we can turn to for help and advice. What a wonderful post! Best of luck, Marie!
    ~Jess

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    1. Thanks DMS, all the honor goes to Cassandra. She is the one that suggested we do the same courses and she deserves a gold star for that.

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  16. It's wonderful to have good people help us along this journey.

    Looks like a great read.

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    1. Medeia, I was lucky to have all the right people at the right time cross my path. And I had fun writing the aliens.

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  17. A great critique partner really can make all the difference. Congrats to Marie!

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    1. Stephanie, yes it does. I would be lost without Cassandra.

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  18. Wow, now that sounds like quite a story! Great cover, too.

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