33 Responses to “The view from the other side of the desk”

  1. Rob Charron July 16, 2009 at 6:36 AM #

    Hi πŸ™‚
    That was an incredible blog post.
    It’s not just advice on submitting to a specific editor it is fantastic advice on editing your work before you submit to ANY editor.
    I cut and pasted this and added it to my permanent writing advice folder to be re-re-read.
    Thank you very much for sharing.
    Love from Canada
    PS – I love that you have read the Valor series from Tanya Huff. Aren’t they great?

  2. Michelle Frank July 16, 2009 at 6:47 AM #

    It’s refreshing to know that editors/ agents suffer the same literary pitfalls as the writers they represent. πŸ™‚ Thanks for taking the time to share your fantastic advise. I’m looking forward to reviewing these points in my MS.

  3. Nancy Wade July 16, 2009 at 6:57 AM #

    I also have an issue with time lines and seeing the word ‘that’. Love the post. Very instructional. I have your updates on my sidebar.

  4. Jessica July 16, 2009 at 7:01 AM #

    Great post! I never knew that repetition was called an “echo” in the biz. It bugs me as a reader, for sure, so I am glad y’all are trying to keep it to a minimum.

    Would love to win one of your books!

  5. Violet Hilton July 16, 2009 at 7:01 AM #

    Thanks for the great post! This gives a lot more detailed insight into the editorial process than other blog posts I’ve found, not to mention solid advice for any writer. πŸ™‚

  6. MJ July 16, 2009 at 7:12 AM #

    LOL—Anne Scott is my editor, and I can see so many similarities, esp. the timeline and the echo!

  7. Chris July 16, 2009 at 7:15 AM #

    Timelines and echo are two of my readerly pet peeves, so yay for Angela!! There’s a rather well known paranormal author I can’t read because of her incessant echo issues. Oy.

  8. Sewicked July 16, 2009 at 7:28 AM #

    Huh, good to know that some of my pet peeves (I really need to get a zoo to hold them all) as a reader & writer are held by others. Thanks for the valuable editing insight. Echoes drive me nuts, though I just called them repetitious. It’s one thing when it is done deliberately, for emphasis; otherwise it comes across as lazy. Ahhh, perception versus reality, right?

    *crossed fingers to win book, cause now I _have_ to see result of that writing & editing*

  9. Kwana July 16, 2009 at 7:29 AM #

    How much do I LOVE this post! Thanks so much. You really took us into the process and let is know that even published writers have to go through some pain.

  10. Natasha July 16, 2009 at 7:52 AM #

    This is a very informative post. Excellent work!
    I’m not an author and I don’t plan to become one (don’t have the imagination for it! unfortunately!). But I AM a reader. This post highlights how much work goes into creating a world that I devour in a few hours. We readers definitely appreciate all the hard work that you gals/guys put in! πŸ™‚

  11. Lisa J July 16, 2009 at 8:10 AM #

    When my boss writes anything he uses the word that at least once in every sentence. Being the good admin, I remove all but the most essential when I type his work and hand it back to him. He didn’t even realize I was doing it until I told him.

  12. JC July 16, 2009 at 8:15 AM #

    that was great post, thank you very much. I’m very guilty of the that-profusion in my own writing, and it’s nice to know (that) professional writers have the same problems.

  13. Joyce Lansky July 16, 2009 at 9:01 AM #

    This is good information for polishing any writing sample. Thanks for a great post!

  14. MarnieColette July 16, 2009 at 10:20 AM #

    Wow thanks for this post! I like to see the whole picture and this definitely gives the author prospective.

  15. Dana Marie Bell July 16, 2009 at 10:38 AM #

    Don’t enter me in the contest, but here’s something Angie hates (and Moira Rogers/Bree will back me up):

    ADVERBS! Oh, the agony of adverbs. I think she actually did a *headdesk*. Go through and look for anything that even remotely looks like “softly” “gently” or “slowly” and remove it. Hum the Schoolhouse Rock song “Lolly Lolly Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here” if you have to. I know I did.

    Last I heard she was thinking of putting together a Adverbs Anonymous group for authors just like me.

  16. ms bookjunkie July 16, 2009 at 10:56 AM #

    Interesting and informative post, thanks. Lots of fun to read, also. *g*

  17. Laura July 16, 2009 at 11:28 AM #

    LOL. Thanks for the advice. ‘Then’ is really easy to use too much if you aren’t aware. It’s just… so easy to shove into a sentence. LOL. Terrific post. I’ll definately be thinking about it when I am editing something I write.

  18. Lynne Connolly July 16, 2009 at 1:01 PM #

    Fantastic post!
    Angie is a terrific editor, doesn’t let you get away with a thing, which is all to the good. It’s all about the book. If you don’t leave your ego at the door, then you are doin’ it wrong.

    So, for some of my favorite comments, how about:

    “Now it’s tomorrow and the doctor was supposed to come but didn’t.”
    “Three adverbs in one sentence is quite impressive ;)”
    “Doesn’t this week have two Tuesdays in it?” (yes it did – erm).
    “I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here” (Actually, neither did I once I reread it).

  19. Pearl July 16, 2009 at 5:24 PM #

    Saying hi in awe of both you and Angie!

    I’ve never had writing aspirations (I’d rather read and have no imaginative gene in my body) and reading this makes me realize all the more how much hard work it is and how lightly some people seem to take it.

    As for editing: I want to be Angie when I grow up LOL. I’ve read some books edited by her and must say I find practically no inconsistencies or typos compared to other books. However, I don’t know if my assessment is of any value since English is not my mother language.


  20. SarahG July 16, 2009 at 6:29 PM #

    This is fascinating, both for the ‘yay, I do that already’ and the ‘oh, no, I do that all the time’ moments! You have my sympathy on ‘then’ and ‘that’… I have the same problem with ‘that’ and also do exactly the same thing with ‘while’, trying to synchronise dialogue and action.

    I particularly liked two of your points… ‘watch your continuity’ and ‘never give characters similar names, or names that start with the same letter, unless you REALLY HAVE TO’. As a reader who has trouble remembering names, I truly hate it when authors make it even harder by making them too alike. And as an avid comic book and sci-fi fan, I believe that faulty continuity should be punishable by death.

  21. JM July 16, 2009 at 6:47 PM #

    I love this post, but I couldn’t help but laugh out loud about not naming your characters names beginning with ‘C’. I *just* changed my MC’s name from Cheryl to Shannon. Go figure. πŸ™‚

  22. CapriceCastano July 16, 2009 at 7:58 PM #

    Great post, very informative. I am going to have to keep this one handy and it’s great to see it from the point of view of ‘going through it’. And I’m so going to change some character names now!

  23. Patrice July 16, 2009 at 7:59 PM #

    Great post, informative and funny. It makes me want to read your books! Thanks for the perspective and for the opportunity to win.


  24. Margaret July 16, 2009 at 8:33 PM #

    Wow, this is a great post and with a viable edit double-check list at the end too. Thanks.

    I knew I liked Angela’s attitude, but it sounds like I edit the same way she does. I wouldn’t want any of the authors who drew the short straw on me to blog about me on my blog though. Brave too.

  25. Lynne July 16, 2009 at 9:25 PM #

    What an awesome checklist to review before you submit to any editor… I’m currently waiting for my first ever edits and I running my ms against the checklist. I’ll find out next week.

    Thank you for a lovely look at the other side of the desk.

  26. Sandi Sookoo July 16, 2009 at 9:34 PM #

    Great post! I’m not an author with Samhain–yet, although I keep trying, but I do have books other places. I am a clean writer as well but it’s always surprising how much stuff is shaken out in the 1st and 2nd rounds of edits πŸ™‚

  27. Jill Sorenson July 16, 2009 at 10:36 PM #

    I just don’t love it, lol. That one hurts so BAD.

    Great advice.

  28. Jill Sorenson July 16, 2009 at 10:40 PM #

    Oh, the name thing–I’ve had two “D” characters, a brother Dylan and sister Dusty. Asst. editor kept getting them confused, so I changed one. Similar names can cause a “whose POV am I in again?” situation for the reader, which is not ideal.

  29. Paula July 17, 2009 at 2:52 AM #

    It’s really enlightening to read about the editing process. I had a vague idea, but “vague” is the keyword here. Thanks!

  30. Jo-Anne July 17, 2009 at 9:10 AM #

    Oh my gosh, Shannon. Thank you for writing an excellent, concise editing blog. This one’s being printed. :O) You’re a legend. Now, off to click print. Then I’ll make a coffee, and then I’ll cut the ‘and then’ out! Hehe

  31. Faith July 17, 2009 at 10:26 AM #

    Excellent post… very useful! Now I feel the need to go back through my recently finished WIP and tag all the ‘that’s … I hadn’t thought about doing [that] before! Great checklist. I’ll be referring back to this in my edits to come.

  32. JenB July 23, 2009 at 12:36 PM #

    Hmm…yep…check, check, and check. I also nail my authors on word repetition, similar names, junk words, excessive description, misplaced modifiers/dangling participles, disembodied parts, etc. Pretty much all of it. Also too many of the same sentence type. If every paragraph on a page starts with a participial adverb, you can guarantee I’ll say something about it. I’m really picky about participial phrases and unnecessary/excessive passive voice at the moment. My authors probably hate me for it during edits, but my publisher has thanked me for it, so I guess it all evens out. I’d hate to see one of my authors criticized in a review for writing quirks I was too lazy to point out.

  33. BernardL August 3, 2009 at 8:30 AM #

    Thank you. That was a great editorial tour.

About Me

Angela James

There is nothing worse than writing a bio. And writing one for your blog sidebar? Blech. Maybe you landed here via Google, followed me from Twitter (does that make you a stalker?) or maybe we met at a conference or you clicked a link from a comment I made at a blog you visited. Hopefully whatever I said didn't make you so mad you came looking for a picture to throw darts at (yep, that's me up above, in my favorite cowboy hat) but instead drove you to find out more about the amazingly witty and intelligent person behind the amazingly witty and intelligent comment.

However you found me, who you found is Angela James, executive editor of Carina Press, Harlequin's new digital-first press. I'm passionate about digital publishing, my mission is to drag people to the digital dark side, one reader (and author) at a time. I'm also Brianna's mommy. At my blog you'll get an odd mix of personal and professional posts about parenting, publishing, books, cooking, sewing and life in general. Come back often, comment frequently and go green—buy ebooks!

Please note that this is my personal blog and my opinions are neither that of Harlequin, nor representative of their opinions.


Find Me Here

First, I blog once or twice a week at theCarina Press blog, talking about the job, the authors, the books and other things Carina Press. And, of course, you can always find me on Twitter. Or Facebook, if you prefer (mostly the same content, one feeds the other). I also run the Carina Press Twitter and Facebook accounts. Social media, it's where it's at (well, it's where I'm at, anyway).

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