Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Guest Blog: Author Editing Interview with Brenda Murphy

Today I welcome author Brenda Murphy to the blog to talking about the editing process.


1)  Tell us a bit about you and your writing
I write women loving women erotic romance and publish with NineStar Press. I had written short stories on and off over the years, but six years ago I began submitting them to various anthologies and actively seeking publication. I had a collection of short stories published but was afraid to transition into novel writing.  After one of my favourite stories was rejected, a very good friend who had read the story, said in the most gentle way, "it's because it needs to be a novel." And that was how I wrote my first book. NineStar press accepted it and I have been with them ever since.
The third book, in the series started by that short story- that-became-a-novel, Knotted Legacy, just made a top 100 vacation reads list from The Lesbian Review and I could not be more grateful that I listened to my friend.

2) What do you enjoy most about the editing process?
I am a fast drafter. I blow through my outline and don't stop to edit myself while I'm writing the first draft. My writing process is like building a house, I get the foundation of story set, and frame the structure with my fast draft. I have a very freeform outline and it's not unusual for my story to change as I'm drafting. Editing for me is a chance to add the things that make a story come together and shine, like foreshadowing, and making sure the theme is clear. It has been said that writing is re-writing, and I agree. What I love about editing is the chance to play with words and find the right words to make my story sing.

3) What do you find hardest about the editing process?
The hardest part of editing for me is the final edits, the copy edits. I am a fast reader and miss things all the time.

4) What are your general thoughts on editing as part of the overall publishing process?
Editing is the most critical part of the publishing process. I have put more than one book aside because of poor editing. It always makes me sad because I can often see the glimmer of a fantastic story, but poor editing makes it onerous to read. I'm not talking about copy edits, in this case,  I'm talking about structure and tightness of the writing. I am a voracious reader and read about 200 books each year, indie published, small press, and big five, the one thing that sets a book apart is solid editing. You can have the most incredible story in the world but, if it's not well edited, no one will ever know.

5) What are your top editing-related tips for authors?
My top five editing tips for authors:

1. Give yourself a cooling off period between finishing the first draft and editing. Two to six weeks is reasonable. Build the time into your production schedule so you can take the time to see the work with new eyes.

2. Use The Writer's Lexicon Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 by Kathy Steinemann. Read them, use them. These two books will elevate your writing, and make editing less painful.

3. Figure out your weak areas and get help. I am hella good at math, biology, chemistry, and physics,  but grammar mystifies me. I use every aide I can find to catch my errors before I submit my work.

4. Keep a list of pet words you over use, use the search feature to locate them and find replacements for them.

5. Embrace it. Editing is your opportunity to let your work shine. Good editing will not fix a poorly thought out story, but bad editing will destroy a good story.

About the Author
Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows and yes, those are her monkeys. When she is not loitering at her local tea shop and writing, she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot. She reviews books, blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted. You can find her on Facebook by clicking here. Or if Twitter is your thing follow @BMurphySideshow. You can also sign up for her email list at www.brendalmurphy.com.

Brenda's books are available from Amazon and NineStar Press