Later in this episode, we have a showcase from wonderful first-time author James Shover. With his brutally told and honest story.
But first, last month, an author confessed to being afraid of having her work edited. She preferred doing any necessary pruning herself, with the help of a few friends doing some reading for her. That’s all well and good, and it works to a degree.
But, when it comes down to it, it’s as simple as following the advice of Mark Twain, a guy who knew what he was talking about. “Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.” Even with Twain’s tongue-in-cheek advice, how do we know which are the wrong words?
I remember an old joke, set well before the internet. An English guy works on a sheep station in the Australian outback. There’s not much to do for a social life, so the workers have joke evenings. The new guy’s invited and gets confused when the bloke who entertains them with his jokes only shouts out numbers.
‘Number 7. Number 42. Number 29.’
With each call, the crowd goes wild with gales of laughter. When he asks what’s going on, our guy’s told that they’ve got so many jokes that it’d take forever to tell them all, so they’ve all memorised them and they shout out the numbers to save time.
One night it’s our hero’s turn to tell the jokes. He stands up, confident in his ability as a comedian, and calls out ‘Number 58.’ He’s greeted with stony faces and silence. So he tries again, ‘Number 73,’ same response.
He’s a miserable failure, and the evening is ruined. Crushed, the Englishman asks another guy what went wrong. Did he pick bad jokes?
‘No, mate. There’s nothing wrong with the jokes. It’s just the way you tell ‘em.’
It’s the same with writing. You need a winning storyline. But the way you tell it has every bearing on its potential success. It can be brilliant, but it’ll fail if your delivery doesn’t make the reader want to keep turning the pages. It could be too wordy, too long, or go into unnecessary detail over issues that have no bearing on the plot. You need to cut empty words that slow your story down and detract from the reader’s impact. And that’s the just tip of the developmental plot. There’s so much more to consider.
But which are the wrong words? It’s difficult to tell if you’ve written the story. You’re too close to the creation. Every word means something to you. You may know what needs to go, but you remember the hard work involved in the process, making it difficult to step away and have what it takes to improve it.
That’s where a professional editor comes in, somebody that isn’t emotionally connected to the work. They are objective about your manuscript and understand what needs to go. They will proofread and catch your annoying typos. At the same time, they are sensitive to your voice, leaving the author’s intention intact as they strip away the unnecessary words and let the beauty of the story shine through.
At BBE your editor will advise you on the effectiveness of your title, as well as a book cover which will say something pertinent to the story. They can even give you a live-editing session on Skype, to explain and answer your questions face-to-face. Maybe you’d like a book trailer to engage the right people and an author interview on their website for readers to learn about and get to know you. Anybody can write a blurb but having one to industry standards makes all the difference.
If you’re self-publishing and haven’t got a clue how to go about it, BBE can be your best friend. We can guide you through the process.
So don’t let your story fall flat because of the way you tell it. Call the professionals. You know it makes sense. Check out Best Book Editors.
And so we come to James Shover’s showcase. James is a man with a brain condition prevalent to later news in the BBE world. His story is a true account of a changed life and fighting for what’s right.
Here is the link to buy his book directly from Amazon. It’s a read that will stay with you long after the last page is turned. He tells it in a raw and unemotional tone without pity or expectation. Gripping and understated and his wife, the lovely Anna, is his rock.
Amazon Book Links
The Journey I don’t Remember by James Shover. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0B3KFZK1X/ref
And here is the official BBE Review for This fascinatiing book. BBE https://www.bestbookeditors.com/book-reviews/review-of-the-journey-i-dont-remember-by-james-shover/
And a review from our staff Reviewer Laura Lyndhurst. Laura https://www.bestbookeditors.com/book-reviews/review-of-the-journey-i-dont-remember-by-james-shover-from-staff-reviewer-laura-lyndhurst/
Thank you for this week’s blog Laura. As always, much appreciated.
And in final news, on a week when we have secured a brilliant artist and were about to launch our new webpage service, we’ve had a bit of a setback. I was going to explain as part of this blog—but it isn’t fair to James with his showcase this week. So I’m moving it onto next week’s episode.
Katherine Black / Susan (Sooz) Simpson
Founder of Best Book Editors
Katherine has held almost every single job imaginable, from painting gnomes to zookeeper. She spent most of her life in the caring profession and has managed both a nursing home and a care agency. But her passion for the written language always brings her home to novel writing.
Born in Tyne-and-Wear, North-East England, she has settled in the beautiful Lake District, Cumbria, with her partner, two dogs, a cat, an iguana and a python (just don’t ask her which of those six things is her favourite!).
She specialises in content creation and social media outreach, and has been a developmental editor for hundreds of clients. She owns and operates bestbookeditors.com where she helps foundling authors polish their skills. However, after being diagnosed with a dramatic brain condition in 2022, she has had to let 23 staff go, and scale back the business. BBE is still very much open, we are just fewer and can’t take as much work on.
Katherine Black is the author of psychological thriller/detective/fantasy adventure novels.