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Ask Editor Alison Weiss #8 (right in here!)

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Ask Editor Alison Weiss #8 (right in here!)

Post  Maggie on Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:04 am

Ready? Set? ASK!

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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #8 (right in here!)

Post  Maggie on Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:41 am

I'll start out.

I'm in the midst of revising right now (yiiikkesss!) and so I have quite a few questions, if I can just remember them. Razz

Firstly, one of the major revisions I've had to do was "beef up" my story. In other words, it moved too fast, and there wasn't enough character/relationship development. I'm wondering, what do you have to say about this? What is too much "piddley stuff" (going to the movie with dad, a sleepover w/best friend, etc.) and what do you think a story needs to balance the STORY story with the characters and such.

And let me know if this makes sense. It was much harder to word than I thought it'd be.

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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #8 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:59 am

This is a great question, Maggie! And it's sort of hard to answer without knowing the specific project, but I'll do my best to answer in general terms.

Every scene, every interchage, every word in your manuscript should be there becaus it needs to be. Still those quieter, more mundane moments are a great opportunity to do some character development, to establish and draw out relationships between characters, etc. Do I live for the running around being chased by axe murderers? (Well, some times.) But I also crave those quiet moments when two characters are quietly bickering away and suddenly their eyes meet and they can't keep away from each other. (Okay, serious romantic and I'm coming off a ms that took my breath away. Sorry.)

Often, inserting some quieter moments in the midst of action, action, action, vastly improves a novel because it gives the reader a moment to breathe and process, and varies the pacing, to great effect. Think about it like eating your favorite food. It's awesome and delicious and wonderful because it's a highlight. But think about it if you were eating it truly every day, non-stop. I suspect it would no longer be your favorite food. In fact, you probably would never want to see it again.

It's that way with pacing, too. If it's non-stop action, then it sort of gets, well, boring.

Hope that helps.
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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #8 (right in here!)

Post  Maggie on Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:09 am

Perfect answer! Thank you BUNCHES! Now all I have to do is worry if I'm pulling it off right... Razz

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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #8 (right in here!)

Post  Taryn on Tue Oct 04, 2011 12:46 pm

Silly questions!!!

What's your favorite snack while working on an MS?

If you could have any car in the world, what would it be?

Mac or PC?

What's your favorite font?

Do you use Scrivener?

If you had to write everything in longhand would you . . .

Use a pen or pencil?

If a pen, what color?

Write in cursive or print?
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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #8 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:18 pm

What's your favorite snack while working on an MS?
When I'm editing, food is my distraction. It's very easy to go searching for a snack when you are wrestling with what to say. . . . Chocolate. Maybe Cheez-Its? I really like editing at Starbucks, though. And then it's whatever lovely drink I get my hands on.

If you could have any car in the world, what would it be?
An Aston Martin. It's the James Bond thing before he started driving Jags.

Mac or PC?
PC

What's your favorite font?
Oooh -- I don't know that I've thought of this. I've always thought there was something quite elegant about Garramond, but I feel like anything I'm pulling from MS Word is probably a sell-out.

Do you use Scrivener?
No. But I haven't been writing (aside from copy) in a very, very long time. It might be a smart tool for me if I get started again.

If you had to write everything in longhand would you . . .
Well, my longhand is sort of illegible, but sometimes it makes you think better.

Use a pen or pencil?
Umm. Umm. I CAN'T DECIDE!

If a pen, what color?
Black. It must be black.

Write in cursive or print?
An odd combination.
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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #8 (right in here!)

Post  Maggie on Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:35 pm

@Alison Ack! I love your answers. Now I want Starbucks. And yes, Scrivener is amazing-- highly recommended! And it's true that writing longhand makes you think. How insightful. O_O

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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #8 (right in here!)

Post  Maggie on Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:37 pm

Remembered another question!

What are your thoughts on internal dialogue (in italics)? Do you think it strengthens or weakens a story? And how much do you like to see it / think it should be used?

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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #8 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:39 pm

I have no opinion as long as it's not hurting the story.
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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #8 (right in here!)

Post  Maggie on Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:16 pm

Okay! Awesome. Thank you!

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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #8 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:47 pm

Having stared at numbers all day - see you thought editors dealt with words, but it's numbers, numbers, numbers - I could really use thoughtful questions (or not thoughtful ones) to get me back in a bookish mindset. So go ahead.

And an announcement: I got in bound galleys of the latest book I edited, ONE MOMENT by Kristina McBride, and I am so, SO excited! It will be out next summer. I wanted to share that little piece of news with all of you.

Okay, questions?
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Question.

Post  KayeM on Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:34 pm

HI!

Ahem. So I took a long moment looking back at Maggie's questions (and wondering why I'm such a spaz and can't be awesome like that) so...I thought up one, which might be quite random, but it's been bugging me for a while.

How do two authors submit one work, together? As in a collaboration. Also pertaining to anthologies too. How do those start out?

If this is too big of a question, or one of those publishing secrets NO ONE need ask, please tell me.

Thank you Smile
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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #8 (right in here!)

Post  Taryn on Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:51 pm

OOOO ANTHOLOGIES! Great question.
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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #8 (right in here!)

Post  KayeM on Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:22 pm

Taryn wrote:OOOO ANTHOLOGIES! Great question.

Thanks, Taryn. Smile
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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #8 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:29 pm

I will absolutely reveal the secrets of co-authors and anthologies.

If it's been written as co-authors, it's often submitted that way. We have a book called NOTES FROM THE BLENDER that's a wickedly funny take on the "he said-she said." Two authors Two agents. One mutually agreed contract. One fantastic book. If it was more of an IP project with the idea generating in-house from a publishing house, you'd find the authors, do the contracts, etc.

Anthologies work a little differently, and they can come about in different ways. Sometimes you'll have an author driving it - they'll bring in these other people. They'll serve as "editor" doing the coordination.. The publisher needs to do the paperwork and be the professional voice of reason, etc. And sometimes it's the publisher who is driving, finding the authors, doing the coordination, and the back office stuff, too. It's A LOT of work.

Does that answer?
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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #8 (right in here!)

Post  KayeM on Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:32 pm

Editor Alison wrote:I will absolutely reveal the secrets of co-authors and anthologies.

If it's been written as co-authors, it's often submitted that way. We have a book called NOTES FROM THE BLENDER that's a wickedly funny take on the "he said-she said." Two authors Two agents...

Very helpful. Thanks so much. Smile

Okay, another question. Is a job in the publishing business one you'd totally say is awesome at a career day? I have a friend who wants to be part of that world - not necessarily as an author, the way I do, but as an agent, an editor, anything like that. Would you encourage her? Where would she start?
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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #8 (right in here!)

Post  Sarah on Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:53 pm

I'm a tad bit late coming to this, I just remembered it was question day today Smile

So, my question is, have you ever had a MS that was just SO great that you couldn't think of any way you would want to change it?
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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #8 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:08 pm

Okay, another question. Is a job in the publishing business one you'd totally say is awesome at a career day? I have a friend who wants to be part of that world - not necessarily as an author, the way I do, but as an agent, an editor, anything like that. Would you encourage her? Where would she start?

I would say it's awesome, because I love it. But it's really hard, too. But if it's something she's interested in, she should definitely check it out

I'd recommend poking around some publishers’ websites, and seeing if she can find an internship. (Agencies and publishers both offer them.) Also, your friend should read and read and read. (I love triplets today!) Knowing the market really well is essential to working in publishing, and it's easier to start now.


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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #8 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:11 pm

have you ever had a MS that was just SO great that you couldn't think of any way you would want to change it?

The answer is really no. And the only reason I say that, is that if a manuscript was perfect, then I don't have a job to do. But I have had projects I thought were in exceptional shape, and it's just a question of polishing. And that's wonderful!
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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #8 (right in here!)

Post  KayeM on Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:21 pm

Editor Alison wrote:
Okay, another question. Is a job in the publishing business one you'd totally say is awesome at a career day? I have a friend who wants to be part of that world - not necessarily as an author, the way I do, but as an agent, an editor, anything like that. Would you encourage her? Where would she start?

I would say it's awesome, because I love it. But it's really hard, too. But if it's something she's interested in, she should definitely check it out...

Thanks so much! I'll pass it on.
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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #8 (right in here!)

Post  Maggie on Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:55 am

*loving the questions and answers*

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