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…
The work was to be accomplished in three parts (approximately one-third of the content in each part). Upon receipt of the text for Part 1, 2, or 3, The Editor will review the manuscript and provide guidance to The Client on Content as indicated above. The Client will then incorporate these changes and send a revised version back to The Editor.
Working like this was very motivating for me. It provided me a concrete deadline and someone to bounce off ideas on.
Thank you Thelma for such a professional and thorough editing job and for elevating my novel.
Initial Story Critique
- Author Tina Davis comments on assessment of Missing Chords (women’s fiction novel):
“Thelma’s Initial Critique was obviously well thought out and thorough. She had some outstanding ideas for the story progression and also did a marvelous job at helping me understand the process required to create a more cohesive storyline. I definitely look forward to working with her again.”
- 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.”
- 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 C.A. Balawyder comments on Thelma’s Editing of Missi’s Dating Adventures (novella):
“Oh, Thelma, this is great! I love your introduction and how the entire episode just flows so nicely. And there are some humorous pockets as well.”
“I also 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 also 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.”
“Love the ending. In this final chapter, everything comes together. All the pieces fit into the Happiness puzzle. And to say that it’s because she didn’t let go of her dream is really cool! It’s a very positive ending.”
- Author comments on Thelma’s Editing of Not by Design (novella):
“One of the reasons I like working with you is that you really get involved. Thanks for your feedback.”
“Funny you mentioned the dog. I had the exact idea that she could volunteer in an animal shelter and become attached to a dog. Possibly one that has something wrong with it so nobody wants him … ties into your idea that he’s about to be put to sleep.”
“Thanks for these changes that really tighten the writing. I like how the dialogue is more natural and the dynamics between Marco and Felicity. There’s tension and we can see how much she wants to get close to Marco.”
“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