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Help get your book ready


Help get your book ready for publication with an editorial service

One morning last week I found myself peering over the shoulder of the Brimstone Corner Police Chief studying the body of a young woman found floating in a weedy pond. For the rest of the day I followed the chief around town in search of the killer. But along the way there were a few moments of disorientation and confusion and I found myself a little perplexed.

You see, I wasn't actually in Brimstone Corner -- I was sitting in my recliner in Colorado reading a manuscript written by a good friend of mine. I told my friend I thought her book was great, so far, but there were a couple of "speed bumps" along the way. I pointed out what I had found to be confusing. She agreed (somewhat reluctantly) and asked how she could fix the problems.

I told her she needed to hire an editorial service. They would help her with:

  • spelling or grammar errors;  
  • punctuation;
  • content;
  • consistency;
  • pace and energy;
  • structure.

In other words, I told my friend, an editorial service will remove all of the "speed bumps" from your book! Then I shared with my friend some of what I learned from my editorial service.

Keep it simple!

Don't try to mix too many ideas into one book; don't make the plot too complicated or you will confuse yourself and your readers. If a good idea comes along that doesn't exactly fit into your current work, write it down for use in the future. If one of your original ideas no longer fits as your story develops, don't be afraid to discard that idea - keep it to use some other time. And, outlining your story can help keep you on track. An editorial service will help you keep your story simple, but not simplistic.

Keep it personal!

Without personal stakes, not only will your characters not be interested in your story, neither will your readers. What is your protagonist's primary obstacle? What can happen to increase that obstacle? What can happen to make the situation even more dire? What is the ultimate point-of-no-return for your protagonist? Imagine how your protagonist feels at that moment. That is a feeling you want your readers to share -- and an editorial service can help you accomplish this.

Keep them communicating!

My editorial service taught me that a story needs action, dialog and narrative communication. This helps create a three-dimensional feel to your story. One of the best tips I received was to show feelings first, then action, then speech -- for example, instead of using this line:

"I am sorry, but no way will I go along with that," said Henry angrily. His face turned red and he pounded his fist on the table.

use this line:

Wham! The dishes jumped as Henry pounded his fist on the table, his face bright red and his eyes bulging. "No way will I go along with that!"

Keep the story moving!

Keep your descriptions brief. Use one or two important details, then let your reader fill in the rest using their imagination -- this gets the reader more intimately involved in the story.

Begin your story smack in the middle of some important action. Getting your protagonist involved in the problem right away will also immediately get your reader involved.

Keep your chapters short and structure your chapters to begin with a specific goal for the protagonist, the middle of the chapter should focus on a conflict, and then end the chapter with a disaster. This keeps the characters, and the reader, moving on to the next chapter.

I settled back into my recliner with a new book, and my friend went off to share Brimstone Corner with an editorial service -- then on to a publisher!


This article was written by Marti Norberg, who has worked as a reporter and managing editor for several Colorado newspapers and is an expert in the
Freelance Writing category at