And then this happened

Last year, I began working with author Julie Christine Johnson on her debut novel. I can’t begin to describe how wowed I was by this story, by her lyrical writing, by the fact that I literally dreamed about these characters. Read on to learn more about Julie’s journey to publication:

And then this happened

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Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here.

 

Lessons Learned from Writing the Second Novel: Guest Post by Kristen Otte

One of my favorite perks of working as a freelance editor is developing a relationship with an author. I recently had the good fortune of working with author Kristen Otte on her just-published second YA novel, The Evolution of Lillie Gable, the second in her contemporary young adult Eastbrook series. Each novel in the Eastbrook series stars a different main character, but secondary characters carry over in each story.

I asked Kristen to share some of her insights about writing a second novel, and she graciously agreed to share her thoughts about the challenges and lessons she learned. Take it away, Kristen!

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ForKristen Otte writing the second novel most of us, writing the first novel is an adventure. The process is long and arduous with moments of excitement, terror, and anxiety. But once the novel is out in the world, it’s time to start on the next project.

Writing my second novel was a much different experience. The process was fun, pleasant, and fast because I learned a few tricks from the first go-around. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you tackle your second novel.

  1. Outline. I didn’t outline my first novel, so writing the first draft was difficult. I often sat down to write without knowing the next plot point in the story. For book two, I planned the character arcs and created a chapter-by-chapter outline before I started writing. Did I veer from this outline? Absolutely. However, having the general framework plotted allowed me to write faster and better.
  2. Create a Distraction-Free Writing Environment. We all write better when we remove the distractions during our writing and revising time. I turn off the Wi-Fi and flip my phone over so I don’t see any notifications. Some days are easier than others to get the words down, but removing distractions goes a long way to being a consistent writer.
  3. Trust Your Beta Readers. With my first novel, I was terrified to let other people read it in the early stages. The second time around, I was happy to send a draft of my novel to my beta readers. They sent fabulous, honest feedback, and I didn’t hesitate to make changes to my story structure, even if it wasn’t what I originally had in mind. Did I make every change they suggested? No, but when a few readers mentioned similar issues, I knew they were right. Trust your beta readers. They make your work better.
  4. Pay Attention to Your Critics. Some authors don’t bother reading reviews. I am not one of those authors. Maybe some day down the road when I sell millions of books, I will ignore reviews. But for now, I read every single one. Even if a review stings, I can learn from a critical review. For example, many reviews of my first novel, The Photograph, commented that they loved the story but didn’t enjoy the amount of basketball play-by-play scenes in the novel. I kept that criticism in mind as I wrote The Evolution of Lillie Gable. Like The Photograph, the main character is a basketball player. The basketball aspect plays into the plot, but I cut back on the detailed basketball scenes to appeal to a broader audience. Listen to your readers and reviewers for any patterns that can help you write an even better book the second time around.
  5. Learn from Your Editor. I mentioned this tip before, but I think it’s worth saying again. Your editor is your creative partner, and he or she can help you become a better writer. When I began the revision process for my second novel, I pulled out the style sheet from my previous novel’s edit. I used the notes, comments, and feedback from my fabulous editor to aid my revision effort the second time around to create a better novel before my editor laid eyes on it. [ED note: Kristen’s a great student! If she continues at this rate, I’ll soon be out of a job!]
Your editor is your creative partner... #amediting #editingtip #writetip Click To Tweet

Writing my second novel was fun. I loved the process and the final product of The Evolution of Lillie Gable. But now, it’s on to the next project!

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The Evolution of Lillie Gable by Kristen OtteEvolution of Lillie Gable

Meet Lillie Gable—high school sophomore, outgoing, beautiful, athletic, and funny . . . She is the life of any party. Her boyfriend, Jake, is a smoking hot senior, and Lillie is on track to be a starter on the varsity girls’ basketball team this year.

But trouble looms behind the façade. Lillie’s home life is a wreck. Her father is hiding a secret, and Lillie is determined to find the truth, even if it tears apart her family.

While she searches for the truth about her father, the last thing Lillie needs is a feud with Angela Barrett, the brass, bleached blonde senior who is the queen of the rumor mill. Angela is determined to ruin Lillie’s reputation because she has set her sights on Lillie’s boyfriend, Jake.

Heartbroken and humiliated, Lillie can’t return to the life she once knew. Does she have the strength and resolve to forge a new path now that everything is changing?

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Kristen Otte is the author of The Adventures of Zelda series and two novels, The Photograph and The Evolution of Lillie Gable.  Visit her website to learn more about Kristen and her books.

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 Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here.

Writing as Therapy: Sci-Fi Romance TICEES (Book 2 of RIBUS 7) Now Available

Ribus Shae MillsI shared my excitement last fall over a sci-fi/romance manuscript I was lucky enough to proofread. RIBUS 7 by Shae Mills was a dream project from an editor’s point of view—a compelling story that had been revised and professionally edited, revised again, edited again, and was ready for proofreading before publication.

You can imagine my excitement when Shae wrote to tell me Book 2, TICEES, would soon be ready for proofreading. Like the rest of Shae’s fans, I was dying to know what happened next to Chelan and her alien men!

RIBUS 7 and TICEES were originally one huge manuscript (written to stave off postpartum depression; more on that below), so TICEES picks up right where RIBUS 7 left off. It continues with Chelan pitted against the Iceanean culture—her values and desires versus theirs. Where RIBUS 7 explored Chelan’s internal struggles and touched subtly on such topics as abuse, PTSD, and Stockholm syndrome,  Continue reading “Writing as Therapy: Sci-Fi Romance TICEES (Book 2 of RIBUS 7) Now Available”

Or Not to Be Is Now Available!

I am so excited to share the news: today, 11/11, is the release day for Or Not to Be, Laura Lanni’s debut novel.

Alive, Anna considered leaving her husband. Dead, she naively believes she has escaped this difficult choice. How cruel for relationship problems to tag along to the dead side.

On November eleventh, Anna Wixim, mother of two, number geek and palindrome seeker, finds herself dead at forty-four. While wandering the universe and watching her family grieve, Anna learns that the two-way portal between her life and death remains wide open. Still, Anna hesitates to return to the man she loves. She has many reasons, real and imagined, to hesitate. The universe is full of wonder; time is boundless; she doesn’t have to do laundry. And her husband doesn’t want her back.

Based on his own experience in crossing a yawning space-time gap, her husband, Eddie, understands the rules of the universe, including Anna’s free choice to come back to him. He also knows that she doubts his love because he forgot to say that he loved her—for twenty years. On top of that, he wasn’t even nice for the last two months of her life. Don’t judge. It wasn’t fair for the universe to reveal Anna’s deathday to him. Eddie couldn’t function, couldn’t have a conversation or take a full breath, faced each year with the relentless approach of November eleventh.

I’ve had the recent good fortune of working with several amazing and talented writers; if you follow this blog, you already know Laura is on that list. I wrote about her journey here, but today I just want to say:

“Thank you, Laura Lanni, for letting me be a small part of this incredible book!”

Please help me celebrate by visiting Laura’s blog and leaving a comment, and then hurry over to Amazon.com to purchase your very own copy in print or ebook. (No Kindle? No problem— a FREE Kindle reading app is available for most major smartphones, tables, and computers.) And don’t forget to leave a review . . . which you’ll probably write in the middle of the night, because once you start reading this book, you won’t want to put it down!

Read the first three chapters for FREE here.

Happy Reading,

Candace

 

Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here.

For more great writing and publishing information, check out Change It Up Editing and Writing Services on Facebook, where I share interesting articles and links about writing and publishing.

Respecting the Author’s Voice in Editing

Respecting the Author's Voice in EditingAn editor’s work on a manuscript is something that should never be obvious to a reader. In fact, the only time a reader should even think about editing is when it isn’t there or isn’t very good.

When an author who is shopping for editorial services contacts me, one of the points I stress is my commitment to respecting that author’s voice.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or you’re venturing into publishing for the first time, your voice deserves respect. As your editor, my job is to help you remove confusion, suggest improvements, and polish your words—not rewrite your manuscript.

An editor’s work on a manuscript is something that should never be obvious to a reader.… Click To Tweet

Continue reading “Respecting the Author’s Voice in Editing”

Pat Brown: I Always Wanted to Live in a Third World Country and Now I Don’t Have to Move

I just read (and was quite moved by) this post, the first of a new blog started by Profiler Pat Brown, whose book How to Save Your Daughter’s Life: Straight Talk for Parents from America’s Top Criminal Profiler is one I acquired and edited when I worked for a traditional publisher. Pat is not a woman who minces her words, and she is true-to-form in this blog, which I share below.

I Always Wanted to Live in a Third World Country and Now I Don’t Have to Move.

Whether you agree with Pat Brown’s ideas or not, she always has an interesting point of view, and I hope you’ll check out her new blog. I know I’m looking forward to reading her thoughts about this next stage of her life.

–Candace

P.S. Pat has also written other books, including fiction, which you can find here. I recommend Only the Truth!