Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Let the Good Times Roll (& Edit) with Guest Blogger: Marian Lanouette



Welcome author Marian Lanouette 
today at the Book Boost!

She's here to chat about the joy of writing and here's what she had to say...


I find tremendous joy in writing and have most of my life. It has gotten me through some tough times, such as, heart surgery and a job layoff. I found writing very therapeutic. While recovering, I completed my first novel. I can’t express the euphoric feeling ones gets when you type ‘The End.’ I didn’t know at the time that my work was just beginning. No work is complete until it has gone through the editing process.

Along with the joy, there’s also an enormous amount of frustration. Rejection after rejection had me contemplating my next step. It even had me questioning if I should keep writing. I loved my story, why didn’t the agents and publishers? One kind editor took the time to write me a note explaining what the work needed before it could be sold. He said the story was great, but I needed some classes on POV (point of view).

Thus, began my journey into writing organizations, conferences and classes. I can’t stress how important they are to a new writer, and even today, I take them to hone my skills.

Now, life consists of writing, editing, editing some more and then editing again. Once the writing’s up to par, I send it out to my critique partners for their opinions and suggestions. When I get it back from them, more times than not, it requires more editing. And that’s okay. Before I submit my work to an agent or publisher, I want to know it’s the best I have to offer.

Recently, I sold two of my books in the Jake Carrington Mystery series. With the contract, the publisher supplied professional content and line editors. More editing? You bet. Did it upset me? Absolutely not.

In the process of working with these editors I learned so much, which in turn, will improve my work going forward. The tweaking they did to each story elevated the content and me as an author. Did I agree with every single change? No, there were minor points I thought should stay in the story.

The editors would point out why they felt something should be rewritten or removed completely. Once we discussed it, the editors agreed; but most times, I deferred to their opinions and suggestions. I write for a living, they edit. I am not so locked on each individual word, that I won’t change it. It’s the story that’s important. If their changes improves the story or make it stronger, I say go for it.  It’s important to respect your editor and their opinions.

In nature there is a time to plant, a time to weed and time to pick the fruits of your labor. Writing imitates nature this way; there is a time to create, a time to edit and a time to let go of your work and move on to the next project.

A Note from the Book Boost:  Well said, Marian.  I've been a writer for over a decade and only this past year, took on the job of a professional editor.  Both jobs make me better at the other.  An amazing process and one that those outside the industry may never understand.  Congrats on your mystery series!  Please tell us more.


Excerpt:

On days like this, Jake questioned if there was a God. He held the broken, lifeless body of the infant girl in his arms, tears running down his face. He didn’t try to hide them. Jake’s emotions reflected in the eyes of everyone. His partner Louie turned away and kicked the chair. Jake knew this horror would live with each of them for the rest of their lives.

Keith Amara, the morgue assistant, tapped Jake on the shoulder.

“I’ll take her.”

“She didn’t have a chance.” Jake handed her to Keith.

“No, she didn’t.”

He lay the child on the stretcher with such care that Jake’s respect for Keith increased immensely. Jake reached down and pulled the sheet up over the baby to conceal her from the morbid crowd that waited in the street below. He never understood the fascination of the onlookers at each crime scene. He believed they hoped to view the body so they could talk about the gruesome details, get their fifteen minutes of fame. Some would offer up a silent prayer of thanks to God for the safety of their children. Tragedy, even the tragedy of a stranger, affected people—it reaffirmed their zest for life, even here in the slums.

Jake composed himself. Turning to face the suspect, he fisted his hands at his side to contain his fury. The line of the law could be blurred here, Jake understood. Each officer wanted a piece of the creep. Knowing he had to keep a tight rein over the situation, Jake held his voice level when he spoke to Washington. He saw no humanity in the suspect; his act alone proved Washington had none. Looking into Washington’s eyes he observed they were dead, like the child he’d killed. He wore a dirty, wrinkled cotton T-shirt with stained jeans. The front of the jeans showed a large, wet patch where Washington pissed himself. The only thing this creep cared about was his next fix.

Jake walked to the body, reached down and uncovered it, and forced himself to look at the baby again. Her head, crushed in on the left side, reminded Jake of a broken hardboiled egg. He could estimate the amount of force that was required to cause such a wound, yet the baby didn’t die immediately. She had lain there suffering until one of the older children snuck out of the apartment and got a neighbor to call the police.

Now he stood in the doorway of the living room watching the police process the room. A child, who knew how to stay out of an adult’s way. Jake guessed his age at nine, though his eyes were those of an old man. They reflected life on the street. No child’s eyes should hold such darkness. He understood the pain on the boy’s face, because every day of his life he dealt with the violent death of his own sister at the age of fifteen. It haunted him, invading his thoughts and dreams at unexpected times.

Could he have done something to prevent it?

Want More Marian?

Visit her on the web here:  www.marianl.com

Follow her blog here: 

Pick up a copy of her book (pre-order) today!  Click here.

22 comments:

Marian L said...

Thank you for having me here today, Kerri.

Anonymous said...

This excerpt pulled me in. Love the blog. A variety of topics...A little something for everyone!
Can't wait to read the book!

Gerri Brousseau said...

Marian, I can't wait to read this book. I'm so happy for you!

Marian L said...

Thank you, Gerri

Marian L said...

Thank you, Anonymous, for your lovely comment.

Kate R said...

I really like that cover! Intense..

Marian L said...

Thank you, Kate. I love the eyes especially.

Cindy said...

Wonderful informative interview, Marian. And your wordsmithing is excellent. You crafted this emotional scene with all the angst Jake was feeling...then you snagged me at the end with his own heartwrenching pain & loss.

Well done.

Cindy Nord
www.cindynord.com

Marian L said...

Cindy, thank you so much for the accolades. Jake's pain is close to my heart. I lost a sister at an early age and feel his pain. Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Hey Marian, I really loved what you said about the editing process and the description of your working relationship with your editors. Absolutely lovely interview and the excerpt has me very excited to read the book!
Much love,
-Tracy Costa

Marian L said...

Thank you so much, Tracy. As you know your book is not yours alone. It gets published with the help of a lot of talented peopl.

Casey Wyatt said...

Yay Marian! Congratulations. I'm looking forward to reading your book!

VICKI BATMAN, said...

Hi, Marian. I loved reading about your journey into writing. You have a perseverance which will take you far. You believed in your work and success. I wish you much with Jake Carrington.

Marian L said...

Casey, Thank you for stopping by today.. I hope you like it

Marian L said...

Thank you, Vicki. I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks for your good wishes.

Cheryl said...

Nice cover! Sounds like a dark story.

Marian L said...

Not so dark, Cheryl, but it has its moments.

Cyan Merck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cyan Merck said...

Wise men say "don't judge the book by its cover" but with a great author and a captivating cover I think this will be a thrilling book worth waiting for.

book editing services

Marian L said...

Thank you so my, Cyan. I'm glad you like the cover and excerpt.

Susan Jaymes said...

Great post. You have to have a thick skin when you are submitting your work. The editors I have worked with have been awesome. They improve my books and I would be lost without them. Congrats on your new sales.

RC Bonitz said...

Hey Marian- great post and quite timely. I'm working with an extremely demanding new editor and that bit about trusting them really hit home. Good luck with Jake and at the Mark Twain House. RC Bonitz