Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Sunday Book Review: "Alive, Alive Oh!"

Today I'm launching "The Sunday Book Review."
Writers must read to immerse themselves in the writing of others. Reading helps writers to see how other writers conquered the blank page. We need to investigate what type of events inspired an author to scribe. Reading other authors' products opens the window to understanding what lures a reader to a book.

My first choice is Alive, Alive Oh! (And Other Things That Matter). It is a rare book. The author, Diana Athill Hill was born in England,
in 1917.  She spent most her life as a literary editor. She scribed her reflections on life. In her nineties, she asked an agent friend to read these "bits" of writing to see if they were worth publishing. Those "bits" became this book. This small publication shares her life as a woman passing through the twentieth century. She reveals her impressions of the tumultuous times experienced by world events. She opens the door to a world never discussed by women of her time. The reader glimpses into her private life as she discloses her reasons for not marrying, for loving a married man, and for deciding not to terminate a pregnancy at age 43. It is a perspective from the "silent generation" and never discussed with such candor.

It is a gem of a book, a great book club selection. This book solidified my premise that everyone over 80 years of age has a story to tell us. It made me feel that I need to communicate more with my elders. 

The book is available
in hard copy and on electronically.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Be Strategic: Hire A Professional Editor

Paul Genesse, Writer
A couple of months ago, Paul, a published writer friend of mine and I were talking about self-publishing. After he went through all my concerns, he asked, "Who is your editor?" My heart sank. I felt foolish. I had done my do diligence on so many levels for my book. I hoped to publish, but I didn't follow through on the editor.

He said, "Pat, Pat, you can't publish that book before you have a "professional" editor review it.

With a humility I asked, "Paul, who is your editor?"

He spoke her name.

I asked him. "Does she take new clients?"

He said, "I'll see her in a couple of days. I'll tell her you'll be getting in touch with her."

His concern about my editing was pivotal in helping me become a better writer.  I am indebted to Paul Genesse.

The process of working with an editor can be daunting, educating, and sometimes awe inspiring. I educated as a business communicator. My focus was research, newsletters, emails, presentations, speeches, letters, instructional materials, to name a few products.

Novel writing is a new product. Yes I can sit down write 50,000 word in 30 days. I read books on plot, structure, point of view, characterization, but it was my editor who placed me on the novel writing path.

Yes, successful writers have written books without an editor, but they are like a 'walk on' to a professional baseball or football team - rare.

If you want to send the best of your writing to an agent, attached to a query, or  publish on the multiple self-publishing platforms, get an editor who edits for a  living. Your relative or friend with an English major helps you when your developing your book, but when you say "I'm done." Contact someone who is a professional editor.

How do you find one? Ask your author friends who they contract with to review and edit their work. Editing is not proofreading. Editing is making sure your story is professional.

Be Strategic: Find a professional editor to take you to another level of writing.

The sites below are sources for making a decision about an editor: