Getting To Mr. Right (a novel): The Editing Process by Carol Balawyder

A novel is never written alone. It really takes a village. One person in my village was Thelma Mariano who did both the content and line editing of my manuscript.

Thelma also brainstormed solutions with me to fix content issues.
I particularly appreciated this. It made me feel that we were partners.

At one point Thelma wrote:
I couldn’t sleep last night (must stop working in bed, my mind kept going)…but this morning I woke up with fresh ideas! I hope you’ll agree, because this would make the scene come alive, strengthen Felicity’s character AND ties in with the plot as well…

Thank you Thelma for such a professional and thorough editing job and for elevating my novel.

Source: http://carolbalawyder.com/2014/12/12/getting-to-mr-right-the-editing-process/


Initial Story Critique

  • Tina Davis comments on assessment of her novel-in-progress, Missing Chords (women’s fiction):

    “Your Initial Critique was obviously well thought out and thorough. I found you had some outstanding ideas for the story progression and also did a great job at helping me understand the process of creating a more cohesive storyline. I definitely look forward to working with you again.”

  • Lisa Brammer, author of Landslide (women’s fiction), says:

    “I found your critique extremely helpful and also validating—letting me know I’m on the right track. I’ve been concerned about the flashback chapters. They are slow, and now I know why! I really liked your suggestions about how to punch them up. You’ve provided exactly the kind of help I’ve been needing. Thank you so much!”

  • E.J. Thomas, upon receiving feedback on Paralyzed (a romantic medical thriller), writes:

    “Thank you for your time and input. I appreciate all your insights and comments. I believe you have a good grasp of the story and have made suggestions that will polish it and make it better. Your recommended Initial Story Critique was precisely what I needed.”

Editing Services (Content & Line)

  • Author William Schreiber comments on Thelma’s editing of Someone to Watch Over (family saga in upmarket women’s fiction):

    [at beginning of editing process] “A debt of gratitude for your inspired input and guidance; it’s so much stronger, tighter and is feeling much more presentable! I feel really good about where we are.”

    [upon completion] “Thanks so much for your valuable input – not only in this final chapter, but the entire book. I knew adapting it from the screenplay would add depth and breadth by virtue that it’s possible to get more inside the characters and their backstories and journeys, but this exceeded my greatest hopes.”

    Note: The completed manuscript won the 2019 Rising Star Award for excellence (competition held by the Women’s Fiction Writers Association) and was accepted by a West Coast publisher.

  • Author Anna Ingwersen comments on Thelma’s editing of The Mentor (novel in upscale women’s fiction):

    “I love all your feedback and see how it makes the story stronger. You’ve really helped to instruct me on tension, among many other things. Now when I watch movies and shows, I am always trying to figure out where the tension is in each scene. I used to think it involved big moments of drama, but now I realize that’s not necessarily so. Can’t wait to work with you on my next manuscript.”

  • Author Lisa Brammer comments on Thelma’s editing of Landslide (women’s fiction):

    “Can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed working with you on this project! I found both your editorial review of each chapter and the comments you provided, especially on the pacing of the story, very helpful. The manuscript is so much tighter and reads so much smoother now. I’m proud of the work we did together. I think it’s ready for the next step!”

  • Author E.B. Corbin comments on Thelma’s editing of Too Many Lies (mystery/suspense novel):

    “Your services were not only helpful but very easy to work with. I found that going one chapter at a time was more beneficial than sending the whole manuscript and then having to review the entire thing at once. The attention to sequencing in the sentences and paragraphs was a big help, too.”

  • Author William Schreiber comments on Thelma’s editing of Trial by Fire (suspense thriller):

    “I want you to know how much I appreciate you and your talents. You bring so much more to the table than a honed writing craft and an editor’s eye for detail, and I really value your creative sense of storytelling when it comes to character and plot. We make a great team.”

  • Author C.A. Balawyder comments on Thelma’s editing of Missi’s Dating Adventures (novella):

    “I really, really like your choice of words and how economical you are compared to me. It reads more smoothly. For example, you replaced ‘put myself through the torture’ by the word ‘endure.’ ”

    “You’re also good at showing, not telling as in: At eight forty-five, he dropped me off at my doorstep. I knew the exact time because I had been glancing at my watch all evening.”

    “I find Missi is more and more coming across as a lovable character. I think a lot of women could empathize and relate to her.”

  • Author comments on Thelma’s editing of Café Paradise (novella):

    “Thanks for these great edits. As usual, I like your choice of words and how you arranged the order of sentences and paragraphs to make it flow so much better.”

    “I like how you handled the scene with the bank manager. You really kept the spirit of what I wanted to say, but much tighter and subtler. Great!”

    “There’s so much that I like about this version. It’s so dynamic and economical. I love the dialogue between Suzy and Coen. It’s tight and has a lot of energy to it. I also really liked this image: ‘I felt as if someone had punched a hole in the balloon that housed my dreams and now the whole thing was rapidly deflating.’ ”

    “Thanks for your inspiring suggestions! You bring great ideas to the work.”

  • Author comments on Thelma’s editing of Not by Design (novella):

    “Thanks for these changes that really tighten the writing. The dialogue is more natural and I like the stronger dynamics between Marco and Felicity. There’s tension and we can see how much she wants to get closer to him.”

    “Oh, you did a wonderful job and it does have a stronger emotional pull. Thanks so much for bringing it up to this level. It’s as if I’ve given you the raw ingredients for a cake and you’ve not only made a great tasting cake with just the right balance of ingredients, but have also added interesting spices and decorated it.”

“I find it stimulating, motivating and fun working with you.”
Author Carol Balawyder