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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Editor Author Relationship...

I've worked with my editor at TN, June Ford, going on four books now. She's a very insightful lady with a real gift for analyzing the pacing of a story. I've learned tons from her about such things as:
1. Eliminating most passive verbs
2. Working with short, salient blocks of description for settings
3. Giving each character a signature--either in their dialog or something in their physical description. A scar on one cheek, a limp, a thick neck, the overuse of a word, etc.

Great stuff.

But one thing I've noticed--and this I find both hilarious and somewhat disturbing--is that we are starting to think alike. Perhaps more accurately, I'm beginning to write and think at times the June does.

Just last night working through a set of edits for Isle of Swords, I came across one of June's notes about a scene where Ross, the roguish but affable pirate, attacks a Spanish Galleon. June suggested that my character Ross would most likely know the Spanish language, but he could test Father Dominguez (a special passenger on Ross's ship) by asking him to translate what the Spaniards are saying. Funny thing was, I had completely fleshed that out in one version of the manuscript--before June had ever said anything about it!

And this was one of many instances where I found myself reading June's mind or vice versa. Scary, eh?


Joshua Mason said...

Hello there, My name is Josh . . . and I really don't know what my glimpses name is. It has been about a year since I read The Door Within. My feelings about the book were mixed. Don't get me wrong, alot of what you did I found very amazing. I liked the concept behind the glimpses (is that spelled right?). I liked how they were all connected to humans on earth. The main character was pretty good too. But . . .

What I didn't like about the book was how the majority of the characters didn't seem like people, they seemed like war was the only thing they understood. They were described by the kind of weapons they used "The guy with the hammer" "tall man with sword". I just felt like everyone in his (the main character) party lacked depth. I know you might be thinking that I am some cruel and arrogant online bully who has fun ripping apart author's works of art. Maybe you even are picturing me siting on my computer chair smiling like some dark lord. Maybe even doing one of those evil laughs that allways start with a "mwa" instead of a "hah". But I am not. I am just trying to be honest with you. I hope you don't take it to seriously because obviously alot of people got alot of good from your books (the amazon reviews say so).

Moving on, the adventure was nothing I could really have a problem with. I have read the Belgariad, Lord of the Rings, Thomas Covenant, Narnia, and alot of the other fantasy/adventure classics. I just felt like the adventure was . . . more of the same. The dark maze felt like a few other scenes I have read, also the grim walk seemed familiar. But this had more magical elements than the average epic fantasy (and I thought that helped it out). I think it is maybe a more Fatasy-like Narnia. I think you will be doing yourself a favor by reading Narnia, then maybe reading a Song of Fire and Ice (A Game of Thrones is the first book in that series). Because in the end I think the concept to your book was really good. Reading Narnia isn't going to pervert your mind, and turn you into Lewis. If it did some how do that . . . well, your banker would be one happy (wo?)man. I just think reading those two series would help you alot, because to me, your book seemed to be a mix of epic fantasy and fairy tale (both genres I love).

The last thing is this: the morals of the story felt too strong. They felt like they were spelled out in bold print when they could of just been said plainly. I think maybe this would be good for younger readers how are maybe having their parents read the book to them, and then going over what they learned today afterwards. But I personaly think that the way it is written is not really for people over 14 years old. Maybe in the future be less direct? But I am guessing maybe it is your editor who had to do with how strongly the morals were written into the story. Because in every Christian fantasy book the Christian elements seem to be like this. Even in Lamb Among the Stars series I get the feeling that the editor has to tell Walley to tell his readers the moral everyone can already see as plain as day.

Uhhhg, I am really a perty nice fellow. I try to be Christ-like in everything I do, I would hate if this came across in a negative way. What I am saying is, I am not a dark lord with a "mwahaha" laugh. I am not trying to make you feel rotten. I understand that this book is in some way, you. I am just trying to be honest. I dislike it when people just tear down authors for the sake of building themselves up. I wanted to tell you where I (Personaly) felt your book needed improvement. You have alot of potential to be a great auther. You had alot of new ideas in your book. More new ideas the David Eddings ever had. So keep writing ok?

God Bless you (with many more books in the future . . . hopefuly).


WayneThomasBatson said...

Hey, Josh

Thanks for writing in! And don't worry about the feelings. I like constructive criticism. I by no means think I've got the whole "writing gig" figured out.

And as I (God-willing) continue to write future novels, I'll keep some comments in mind.

Joshua Mason said...

Ok thanks :). I was a little worried that you might take it the wrong way. Have a good day (night in this case)