Questions 1-3 are from Eva Caye and questions 4-6 are from Charlotte Liebel. Thank you, authors, for your questions.
Q1. When editors are authors, and authors are editors, and you hire your own editor for your written works, how much does it affect you when you’re writing?
A1. Honestly, I don’t want to send my editor a big mess to clean up. I send her my best work and it makes it easier for her to do the final polish on my book manuscript. My confession, though, is that the first half gets self-edited a lot more than the second half. I do, however, usually rewrite my ending at least five times and then, I pick the best ending and throw out the others.
Q2. Do you re-read your own work a zillion times before sending it to the editor?
A2. I do read and self-edit a zillion times before I send my manuscript to a paid editor. Okay, that’s hyberbole. At least a hundred times.
Q3. Do you try to think in terms of an editor looking at your work, over your phrasing or your plot or your characterization or development?
A3. No, when I am writing, I am only thinking of the reader and my editor is a reader. I don’t write for my editor, to impress her. I write for readers.
Q4. Scrivener and affordable writing software would interest me.
A4. A lot of people, including editing clients, have tried to get me to switch from my beloved Microsoft Word to other writing software. I have tried a few times to use other software, but I am an expert user in MS Word and have taught others how to use some of the advanced features. After decades of using MS Word, I am not going to switch. Let me put it this way: I don’t even have to think about how to use MS Word. It is invisible in my writing process because I know it so well. I only have to think about the creation process, so the technical ins and outs of MS Word never get in the way of my productivity. There is also a learning curve to get up to speed with a new product. I am happy with the old product and don’t have the time and energy to devote to learning to use a new piece of writing software. Also, few other software packages can match what tracking changes does in MS Word, which is important to the editorial process. I do have a few commercial plug-ins for MS Word, such as Grammarly and a few others.
Q5. A great filing system for research, such as: where + how to find criminal types + haunted houses – and – method for storing.
A5. I find crime info and haunted houses, etc., almost exclusively through Google searches. I can’t even remember the last time I used another search engine. I am really, really good at keyword searches. As far as filing information goes, I am pretty low-tech. I email interesting things from my Hotmail account to my old Yahoo email and I use it for storage. I don’t even bother with folders. I have had two bad experiences with storing documents on remote drive spaces that I paid for. Both companies went bankrupt and took my documents along with them, so you will not find me storing documents on a cloud somewhere or even with a data storage company. If I want to find something, I just use a keyword search in my Yahoo email. My double backup is that I email from Hotmail to Yahoo, which means I have the data stored in two email accounts immediately. In my Hotmail “sent” box and in my Yahoo inbox. It is highly unlikely that both companies would go under at the same time, so I feel like my low-tech data storage is pretty safe and also double-protected. I have no love for folders or filing cabinets. I prefer to let a search engine mine the clutter and save me the time and anguish of any organizational rules of order.
Q6. Examples about editing – What the writer says. What an editor hears/ sees and then reinterprets. (Am not sure if anything, mentioned, works.)
A6. I write for the mass market and hope I write clearly enough so that my work isn’t misinterpreted. My grammar checker thinks I write at about a fifth-grade level–that works for most readers because my fiction is meant to be entertainment. Reading novels is not supposed to be work. It’s supposed to be easy and fun and the reader should soon forget she or he is reading a book. Maybe I am just lucky, but it’s been a long time since an editor asked me, “What did you mean by this?” About the only time I get a question like that is if I need a dialogue tag and was lazy about adding one. If my editor would say that something is confusing, I restructure the sentence or more likely, I just throw it out. A long time ago, I wrote very long sentences with many clauses and adverbs, adjectives, and flowery descriptions. I don’t write that way anymore because readers seem to like very short sentences, or even phrases. They like to read dialogue without much narrative. I don’t think of it as dumbing down my work. I just don’t write things that really slow down the story for the reader. I want it to go fast and be a page turner.
Thanks for your questions!