Posts Tagged ‘Developmental Editor’

Exactly the right words; social networking; taglines; job seekers; grammar; manuscripts; Chinese word for heart

I started a new format for my blog posts on November 16, 2011. Once a month, I will write a post to include 3 sections.

As 22-day Platform-Building Coach Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days:

Write Your Story Now! PLAYshop with Mary E. Knippel

Are you frustrated trying to find just exactly the right words
- for your blog posts?
-for that end-of-the-year letter to family or customers?
-to update your profile on your website or social media site?

Come and explore how you can overcome your writing challenges and have fun at the same time!

Nov. 19, 2011   9 a.m. -4 p.m. Free Event
$20 holds your seat (refunded at the door)
Workshop in Half Moon Bay, CA

Click here for more details.

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Mary Tang tells me that George Kao teaches people/small businesses how to gain visibility and find customers via social networking http://www.georgekao.net/
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Learn how to craft your talking-tagline from Guru Elisa Sasa Southard http://breakthroughthenoise.com/ Get Elisa’s book!
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Job Seekers check out http://dearjane.info/
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As Editor & Manuscript Consultantidentify themes and archetypes:

Get yourself a book on grammar. I recommend Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O’Conner

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Teresa LeYung-Ryan & Mary E. Knippel show writers how to polish their manuscripts before:

  • hiring book doctor/developmental editor
  • pitching to agents or acquisition editors
  • self-publishing

As author of Love Made of Heart:

November is:

“Reach out, not stress out, when pursuing your dreams!”

Please click here for details to Coach Teresa’s event.

Sincerely,

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan

To comment on any of my columns (blog posts) or to contact me, just click on the blue title bar of the post, fill in the boxes and press “submit.”

 

What to do before hiring an editor for your manuscript?

 

My advice for narrative non-fiction writers is the same for fiction writers.

“Look at Your Manuscript with an Editor’s Lens”

by Teresa LeYung Ryan–Developmental Editor/Manuscript Consultant/Writing Career Coach


Since writing a story with the intent to engage the reader is so much like meeting a stranger and wanting him/her to be interested in us, I will focus on “how to make the first quarter of your story a compelling read.”

I love working with diligent writers who want to transform their manuscripts into page-turners. However, there are things you can do before you give your work to an editor. Let me show you how you can help yourself.

Does your manuscript pass these tests?

  • Planting hook(s) or story-question(s);
  • Grounding the reader with the three Ws and the big C (Who?  When?  Where? Circumstances);
  • Showing (not telling) what the protagonist wants;
  • Paying attention to language and rules

Let’s learn from the pros.

Planting Hook or Story-Question:

In The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, Maxine Hong Kingston hooks us with the first line: “You must not tell anyone,” my mother said, “what I am about to tell you…”   Then, Ms. Kingston transitions into her story with:  “Whenever she had to warn us about life, my mother told stories that ran like this one . . .”

Grounding the Reader with the Three Ws and the big C:

In Woven of Water, while the story timeline spans from 1957 to 2005, Californian author Luisa Adams brilliantly shows us who she was as a girl (not with a year-by-year narrative, but with a single exquisite chapter).  Because she grounded us with “who, when, where” and the “circumstances” as to why she had left her love affair with water, we eagerly follow as she takes us into her enchanted world of a “cottage in the forest.”  Another device to ground the reader is the employment of sensory details (not long descriptions).  Sensory details put the reader in the scene/story world.  Re-read one of your favorite author’s books. Study from the masters.

Showing What the Protagonist Wants:

In The Other Mother, young Carol Schaefer wants to ask questions:  “Was there any way to keep my baby?  Was there anyone who would help me find a way to do that?”

In Eat, Pray, Love, Elisabeth Gilbert says: I wish Giovanni would kiss me.

In Love Made of Heart, my protagonist Ruby Lin prays: Please don’t end up like Grandmother (while witnessing police officers escorting her own mother out of her apartment).

Paying Attention to Language and Rules:

Read the first five pages of Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt and you will see how this wordsmith plays with language and rules. (You can “bend” the rules to create flow, but you must not ignore them.)

In Bastard Out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison’s protagonist Bone is a girl.  Bone’s voice is convincing in dialogue and in internal monologue. Brilliant use of dialect.

Sentences Deserve Your Attention:

Remember Groucho Marx’s line “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas…”? That sentence got a lot of laughs.  But, what if you didn’t want to be funny (ambiguous in this case)?

How would you rewrite these sentences?  See the misplaced modifiers?

  • He likes to fish near the Farallon Islands, they jump when they’re hungry at dawn or dusk. (the islands jump?)
  • She insists on knowing when I come home and leave, not to be nosy, but for safety reasons. (who is not nosy?)
  • Being cautious as not to step on the dog’s tail, the children tip-toed away from him while sleeping. (who’s sleeping?)

To improve your sentence structure and other skills, I recommend these books:

  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White
  • Woe is I: Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O’Conner

More Advice:

  • In all the stories I referenced above, the authors present memorable experiences by employing authentic details, unusual story-worlds though real, and poetic language. You want to do the same for your story.
  • Also, these stories have another vital component–all the plotlines have what Martha Alderson, author of Blockbuster Plots Pure and Simple, calls “Cause and Effect” linked scenes.  Another must-read blog:  http://plotwhisperer.blogspot.com/search?q=first+quarter
  • When you’re writing non-fiction and you do not have the luxury of rearranging the sequence of events to create a page-turning plotline, you can engage the reader by using concise expositions to leap over blocks of time in order to focus on the core themes and fast-forward to the next scene.  A helpful website for memoir writers: http://www.memoriesandmemoirs.com
  • You the author must show the reader what the protagonist wants, even if the protagonist doesn’t know at first.
  • We don’t have to “like” a protagonist, but, we do need to connect with him/her on an emotional level. Perhaps what he/she wants is also what we want.
  • Story-telling is a skill learned, practiced, and mastered. May you practice with joy.

In the fiercely competitive arena of the publishing world, how does one stand out in a crowd?  Building relationships is one key to success in this business. Another key is to know how to translate the themes from your life to your writing and articulate those themes as community concerns.  I want to see all hardworking writers realize their dreams. My best wishes to you!

To read other posts in my blog (about writing contests, publishing opportunities, more tips on platform-building), click on [ Home ] and scroll down  OR key in words in the search box to find specific posts. Example: if you key in the words: poetry anthology 2011 into my blog’s search box and click [search], you will see my post containing info about the  Las Positas College Anthology and other contests for other genres (Thank you, Poet Laureate Deborah Grossman!) To read the entire version of a post, click on the title bar of that post.

To see my website for all my books, go to:  http://writingcoachteresa.com

Reach out, not stress out!

Sincerely,

Build-Your-Writer’s-Platform Coach Teresa

Teresa LeYung Ryan–Developmental Editor/Manuscript Consultant, Writing Career Coach, Author, Publisher

Teresa specializes in editing fiction and narrative non-fiction with themes on the human condition.

She likes spunky protagonists in thrillers, women’s novels, memoirs, and children’s literature.

Love Made of Heart is:
• recommended by the California School Library Association and the California Reading Association

• read by students at Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley, CCSF, and many other colleges and high schools.

• used in Advanced Composition English-as-a-Second-Language classes
• archived at the San Francisco History Center

Teresa says: “The more you read, the more your own writing will flow.”  
Please click here for my blog’s home page  http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/

My fun workbook is now available through Amazon!

BUILD YOUR WRITER’S PLATFORM & FANBASE IN 22 DAYS: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW

http://www.amazon.com/Build-Your-Writers-Platform-Fanbase/dp/0983010005/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1297630400&sr=1-1

http://lovemadeofheart.com/BUILD-YOUR-WRITER%27S-PLATFORM-&-FANBASE-IN-22-DAYS.html

 

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