Saturday, May 9, 2015

Between the Bindings with Paty Jager

I would like to introduce Paty Jager, author of the Shandra Higheagle Mystery Series (among others), here to Between the Bindings.  She is going to talk to us today about the layers of editing.  Take it away Paty :)

Layers of Editing
Editing has several layers.  First there are the layers you, as a writer, do to your work.
  • Adding description and emotion.
  • Checking pacing and realistic dialogue.
  • Then, the all important, grammar and flow.
After you've added all the sparkle you think is necessary, it goes to your critique partner or beta reader, and they may have more for you to rethink or make clearer that has to do with the big picture or character development.
            Once your story has gone through your sparkle, your cp or beta reader, and it's ready for an agent or editor to read, you send it off.
            The call comes!  They want your story.  If it's an agent who is very hands-on, he/she may have some ideas for your story that will help them sell it to a publisher.  Depending on how strong you feel about your story, take those suggestions into consideration; after all, they've been in the business longer than you have.
            If a publisher buys your story, it has more edits to go through.  The attitude you take while it goes through the edits could be the difference between you getting more contracts with that publisher.
            The editor will read through your work and perhaps have some ideas to add to the story or ways to punch up the plot, emotion or characters.  Some may resonate with you and others may not.  Don't jump on the suggestions or decline them until you've had time to think about the editor's suggestions.  If you see how they enhance the story, work on the changes.  If you're unsure, open up a calm dialogue with the editor discussing his/her reasoning and your reluctance.  Remember, the editor is working to make your story a best seller, so listen with an open mind.
            Once the editor has the finished project, the line edits may begin or they could have been int he major edits the editor asked for.  Every house and editor does things differently.  Again, keep an open mind, especially if your "style" isn't conventional.  you may have to again go to bat for your sentence structure to keep your "voice."  But don't get snotty or obstinate.  State your reasoning and work with the editor.
            The same goes for copy editing.  They are the last round of edits, and they make sure the commas, colons, and hyphens are correct, as well as spelling and sentence structure.  Here again, you may have to work with them if your style is unconventional.  Remain calm and discuss the reasons for your unusual style or concede here and there to allow them to make it clearer for the reader.
            If you have chosen to go the self-publish route, you still need the critique partners/beta readers, and someone to edit and copy edit/proof your book before you format and put it up for sale.  If you don't put the best product out to the public, it is less likely you will have a readership for the next book you write.
            The thing to remember with all editing processes, from your critique partners to the editors and copy editors: Everyone is on your team and trying to make your story the best it can be.  Don't be a diva and go at edits with the attitude that your writing is perfect and you don't require help.
            No one writes perfectly and having people with experience and expertise look at your work can only make it better.

About the author:
Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon.  On her road to publication, she wrote freelance articles for two local newspapers and enjoyed her job with the County Extension service as a 4-H Program Assistant.  Raising hay and cattle, riding horses, and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.
            She has published twenty novels, three anthologies, and seven novellas.  All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters.  Her penchant for research takes her on side trips that eventually turn into yet another story.
            You can learn more about Paty on her blogher website, or on FacebookGoodreads and Twitter.

About the Shandra Higheagle Mystery Series:
Book 1: Double Duplicity
Genre: Mystery, Cozy
Publisher: Windtree Press
Publication date: 1.10.2015
Pages: 244

On the eve of the biggest art event at Huckleberry Mountain Resort, potter Shandra Higheagle finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation.  She's ruled out as a suspect, but now it's up to her to prove the friend she witnessed fleeing the scene was just as innocent.  With help from her recently deceased Nez Perce grandmother, Shandra becomes more confused than ever but just as determined to discover the truth.
            Detective Ryan Greer prides himself on solving crimes and refuses to ignore a single clue, including Shandra Higheagle's visions.  While Shandra is hesitant to trust her dreams, Ryan believes in them and believes in her.
            Can the pair uncover enough clues for Ryan to make an arrest before one of them becomes the next victim?

Book 2: Tarnished Remains
Genre: Mystery, Cozy
Publisher: Windtree Press
Publication date: 2.4.2015
Pages: 232

Shandra Higheagle is digging up clay for her renowned pottery when she scoops up a boot attached to a skeleton.  She calls in Weippe County deceptive Ryan Greer.  The body is decades old and discovered to be Shandra's employee's old flame.
            Ryan immediately pegs Shandra's employee from the murderer, but Shandra knows in her heart that the woman everyone calls Crazy Lil couldn't have killed anyone, let alone a man she loved.
            Digging up the woman's past takes them down a road of greed, miscommunication, and deceit.  Will they be able to prove Crazy Lil innocent before the true murderer strikes again?

Book 3: Deadly Aim
Genre: Mystery, Cozy
Publisher: Windtree Press
Publication date: 3.25.2015
Pages: 163

The dead body of an illicit neighbor and an old necklace send potter Shandra Higheagle on a chase to find a murderer.  Visions from her dead grandmother reveal Shandra is on the right path, but the woods are full of obstacles - deadly ones.
            Detective Ryan Greer believes Shandra's dreams will help solve the mystery, but he also knows the curious potter could get herself killed.  He's determined that won't happen.
            Until he's blind-sided.  Are Shandra's powers strong enough to save them both, or will the murderer strike again?

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