The momentum of the Last Word continues to steamroll the months away. I find myself working every day toward completing the edit for this novel. Every author knows that completing the first draft is only the beginning to any written work of art. In this month’s update, the story roots are brought into focus.

Story Roots Run Deep

An author has to revisit every aspect of a novel. There are many considerations: the plot twists, the character descriptions, and the timing just to name a few. I spend my time creating a story that could be believed though it is only fiction, only to turn around and question every decision a character made, every event that unfolded, and every consequence that happened. Sometimes the questions don’t come with easy answers. The story roots run deep, to the core of the original concept, to a place where dreams are constantly pondered and sometimes scrapped and rewritten.

Story Roots Hold Strong

My eyes run over the lines and enter into my mind like an intense flame, a consuming fire that burns through all it touches. The text is left bare, stripped of the ability to hide, leaving all that has been written on the table of personal opinion. My opinion is unbiased. I am an impartial judge, holding an ax and pen instead of a gavel, not beholden to the cries of my personal creativity. Spare me! Spare me! Oh be merciful! No, no, none of that! If I need to snip a portion of the story roots, so be it.

Every line is questioned and everything is afforded a second glance. If it doesn’t meet the standard, then a sentence or page is stripped. Did I just say page, yikes! Pages? Double yikes! It’s like pulling a small tree up by the roots and examining the structure. Does it hold together well? Are the story roots sound? Are the contents remarkable?

Standards Matter

Aside from my all-consuming eyes, (think Lord of the Rings times two) I have hired an editor. If you are considering writing a novel, don’t skip the editor. These are words of gold, advice that couldn’t be more precious. Even if you have the best idea in the world, aka sound story roots, a second set of seasoned eyes with experience in your genre can turn the mundane into magic. The editor I have found to help me tackle this project thrills me. Believe me, it is a project.

This edit reaches beyond just the grammatical. A developmental edit will tighten the story until the reader is in a box and only able to move forward. An editor will ensure they move forward with delight! I can’t say enough good things about my editor, Debra Kastner. She has plenty of experience as an author and editor and I am very thankful for being able to work with her.

Next Steps

In April, the editing process will be completed. There are other details that I will have to complete before publishing the novel on Amazon Kindle, which is fine for now. All in good time. The best defense is a good offense, and good story roots run deep.

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