Special Note: To read a book review and guest post at Kings River Life online magazine, go here. It’s worth the trip because there’s a giveaway of Nancy’s books going on.
When Nancy G. West was seven years old, she and her mother wrote poems to each other on special occasions. In high school, the Library Journal Pegasus published Nancy’s poem. At eighteen, she realized she might have to get a real job.
She heard journalists were underpaid and English majors were selling lingerie, so she studied General Business at the University of Texas and University of Houston and earned a BBA. A few years later, married, with two daughters, Nancy realized she had to study English literature and write.
While earning her MA in English literature at University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, she began writing Nine Days to Evil, a novel of psychological suspense, Shakespeare, and nonstop-action which won the Blether Gold Award.
As West finished Nine Days to Evil, Meredith Laughlin’s story, Meredith’s “mature” graduate school friend, Aggie Mundeen, took over West’s consciousness. The result was the author’s creation of the Aggie Mundeen Mystery Series. Fit to Be Dead and Dang Near Dead are available in paperback and e-book.
Tempted to Let Your Beloved Edit Your Work? by Nancy G. West
First, better give them this letter:
Dear (beloved) Editor,
Your GOAL is to read this manuscript for the flow of the story and its entertainment value. Follow the logic of the story. Enjoy characters’ personalities. Discern their motives. Do they grow and change?
Different parts of the brain operate when you read for enjoyment as opposed to searching for grammatical or punctuation errors. Therefore, you will have another opportunity to act as copy editor during a second reading. If you feel compelled to correct grammar/punctuation on this page, inform the author (me) that you relinquish your editorial position, effective immediately.
Still with me? Okay. During the first reading, choose a number(s) from the following twelve-item list, bracket the text you’re referring to and pencil comments in the margin of the manuscript:
1. I like this character, description, scene or dialogue.
2. This moves slowly.
3. This made me chuckle.
4. Huh? (Try to explain your reaction.)
5. Two much verbiage.
6. Needs further explanation. (What more do you need to know?)
7. Repetitious. (Find page where this was previously mentioned. Is new info. added here?)
8. Would character really say or do this? (No? Why not?)
9. Contradiction of logic. (Find earlier contradiction, note page number and bracket contradiction here.)
10. Is writer ahead of reader here? (Writer seems to assume something reader doesn’t know.)
11. This part created questions and (a) made me want to learn more or (b) made me wonder why author included this.
12. If you have other comments not included above, pencil them in the margin and bracket appropriate text.
13. Now tell me, TAHDAH! – WHAT YOU LIKED MOST ABOUT THIS BOOK! and what you liked least about this book.
One more thing: If, at any point, you feel compelled to be a smart-alec, try to be a helpful smart-alec.
Thank you, Your (beloved) trusting writer.
p.s. Consider whether editing this manuscript will enhance our long, fruitful relationship, or whether your editing career will begin and end with this assignment.
Nancy, I loved this post because it is an excellent explanation why my husband does not critique or edit my work. I firmly believe he would write “Huh?” at least once on every page to make me crazy…and then he’d try to convince me he was “just kidding.”
The ebook versions of Nancy’s books are on sale for a limited time for $.99 at amazon.com.
For more information about Nancy and her novels, visit her website. She can also be found on Goodreads and Facebook.