Keep Your Self Editing on Track

Secret in the Mist: An Abi Wunder Mystery
has taken many months to write and revise.
I never gave up on it. It will be available soon.

By Linda Wilson   @LinWilsonauthor

It’s been a while since posting my Writers On the Move article, “One Last Edit: Re-think before Submitting,” https://www.writersonthemove.com/2022/09/, and yet I’m still editing the same book as when I wrote that post. It’s my latest chapter book, the second in the Abi Wunder Mystery series, Secret in the Mist. As we all experience, life intervened, and I had to delay the project. I picked it up again and have been editing and revising ever since. In a nutshell, here are some of the points made in the section, “Take One More Look,” of the above article that I haven’t yet covered.

  • Making sure each character has an arc.
  • Making sure my main character’s flaw/need is satisfied by the end.
  • Doing scene checks to give them a beginning, middle, and end, and to make sure each scene moves the story forward. 
  • Checking the clues and red herrings to make sure they are in place.

A More Detailed Final Check

  • Timeline: Make a sketch of the timeline to make sure the days and times of day are accurate. In Mist, Abi, the main character, has come for a visit at her friend, Jess’s house, at the end of the summer. There are only a few days left before the first day of school, and due to circumstances beyond their control, the mystery needs to be solved during this short visit, or it could be too late.
  • Do a Story Overview: After a timeline check, I found that studying the story overview was valuable as the next step. The overview is for continuity, to make sure the events follow in sequence. Most important is making sure that each scene moves the story forward. Before  embarking on a story overview for Mist, I realized the word count had swelled beyond the suggested word count for Chapter Books, 1,500 to 10,000, or for Young Middle Grade books, which is 15,000 to 25,000 words. I took a hard look at scenes and realized about three of them—which were long— could be cut out. I took the ax to these scenes, but I’ve saved them in a separate file for later use if needed. The word count is about 25,000, for a Young Middle Grade book.
  • Check Chapter Word Counts: Some Mist chapters were too long. I broke these chapters up to make them shorter, being careful to leave cliff hangers at chapter endings. This sometimes took a bit of revision.

Tie Up Loose Threads by Making Lists

Make sure there is follow through with each part of your story, and avoid repetition. My method for doing this is by making lists. Here are a few examples from my recent work on Mist.

  • List each time the ghost appears: Each time the ghost appears I hope to give my readers the goosebumps. I have copied and pasted these scenes into a new document titled, “Ghost Sightings.” I have given the text throughout the book from this list a beginning, middle, and end. I’m making sure each appearance escalates the tension, from a somewhat “soft” first appearance to a grand-finale story climax. I’ve paid special attention to the way the ghost appears, making her appearances as eerie as possible, to how she’s dressed. Also, other details are checked for accuracy.
  • List the characters: This can be done in Word by using “Find.” I copy and paste each mention of the characters to make sure the changes they experience are the result of their efforts, and that their arcs come to a satisfying conclusion. Particular attention is paid to the main character, Abi, followed by her sidekick, Jess. Also, it’s important to make sure each character has a role in the story. Characters who don’t have a role need to be removed.

In the first Abi Wunder mystery, Secret in the Stars, thanks to the help of Chris Eboch, the professional editor I hired to review the book, www.chriseboch.com, I had to remove an entire chapter about kittens. Chris was very gentle with me. She said she knew that the chapter must have been dear to my heart, but it didn’t move the story forward. I took her advice and left it out of the story. At the time I had photos taken with two kittens by a professional photographer because of that chapter. Regardless, I have used these photos. And now in Mist, a kitten has a teensy part as a supporting character. I'm hoping the kitten in the story along with the photos will find their way into readers’ hearts.

  • List each time special symbols are mentioned. A locket is an important symbol in Mist; listed is how the locket is described and when it appears in the story.
  • List the clues and red herrings to make sure they’re done correctly.

Now that the Mist story is complete, there are still some checks I need to do before sending it off to beta readers and a professional editor. I’m preaching to the choir when I say that editing and revising our work seems like a never-ending job. I thought Mist would have been finished long ago. As an editor once told me, it’s not so much the talented among us who make it to publication, it’s those writers with determination. Reader, you must have the talent and determination to aspire to publication to be reading this article all the way to the end. Please be sure and let us know here at Writers on the Move when your book(s) comes out! We’d like to congratulate you for a job well done, and mainly, for sticking with it!

The kittens in this photo finally
found their home in the second
book of the Abi Wunder mystery
series, Secret in the Mist

Linda Wilson is the author of the Abi Wunder Mystery series and other books for children. Her two new releases are Waddles the Duck: Hey, Wait for Me! (2022) and Cradle in the Wild: A Book for Nature Lovers Everywhere (2023). You’ll find Linda on her Amazon author page, on her website at LindaWilsonAuthor.com, and on Facebook.




In the Spotlight: An Interview with Author & Freelance Writer Irene Roth

 by Suzanne Lieurance

Author& Freelance Writer Irene Roth

In the spotlight this month is Canadian author and freelance writer Irene Roth. 

 

As you'll learn from this interview, Irene is quite prolific and I’m sure you’ll find her to be most inspirational.

 

Suzanne Lieurance: Irene, please tell us a bit about yourself and your writing background. 

 

Irene Roth: I started writing in my journal when I was 6 years old while I was growing up in Montreal, Canada. 

 

I was always moved by writing and I used it as a form of self-expression. 

 

Growing up in Montreal, I was an only child. 

 

So, writing became a solace for me, a space where I can express myself in ways that I couldn’t with anyone else. 

 

Add to that, I was a loner. 

 

I’d spend hours on end reading, writing, and just hanging out in my room. 

 

I imagined a lot of stories long before I even knew what I was doing. 

 

I even wrote down some of these. 

 

So, when I got an opportunity to write for the school newspaper in elementary school, I jumped at the chance. 

 

My first published story was about how to spend Christmas. 

 

From that moment on, I knew I found something that I can rely on, regardless of what else was going on in my life. 

 

Writing became my elixir. 

 

And it still is, many decades later. 

 

SL: What kinds of things do you write, and who is your audience? 

 

IR: I write in a wide variety of genres. 


But if I was going to find one umbrella genre for most of my writing, it’s nonfiction. 

 

However, within nonfiction, I write in many sub-genres. 

 

I have written over 50 books for writers on how to be successful. 

 

I also have a large library of over 50 e-courses that I am going to be publishing on my website in the new year. 

 

It has been one of my passions to help writers be their best.

 

In the first part of my creative writing career, I focused on writing e-books for this audience.

 

Here are a few of my more recent titles: 

 

-      How to be an Organized Writer

-      How Writers Can Practice Extreme Self-Care

-      How to be a Productive Writer

-      How to Get Some Writing Done During the Christmas Holidays

-      The Excellent Writer



I also write self-help books for the chronically ill. 

 

This kind of writing is a labor of love since I live with several chronic illnesses myself.  

 

Over the years, I have written over 70 e-books for people living with arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, and much more. 

 

Here are a few e-books I published on these topics: 

 

-      Living Life to the Fullest: How I thrive with Arthritis and Fibromyalgia 

-      Living Well With Arthritis: Self-Care Practices for a Vibrant Life

-      From Striving to Savoring: Shifting Our Mindset with Chronic Illness

-      From Surviving to Thriving: The Emotional Resilience of the Chronically Ill

-      Sprint into Spring: A Primer for the Chronically Ill to Renew and Refresh



SL: What is a typical day like for you?

 

IR: My typical day starts at 6-9 am. 

 

This is when I get all my creative writing done.

 

The house is quiet, and I can get a lot more done in the shortest time. 

 

I stay off the internet and I don’t bring in any cell phones for three hours.   

 

At 9 am, I take a one-hour stretch break and make a cup of coffee. 

 

At 10 am sharp, my teaching day starts. 

 

I teach critical thinking online from 10:00 to 2:00 daily. 

 

Then I have my office hours, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. 

 

After 3 pm, I start revising my manuscripts. 

 

I revise every day, except Sunday, from 4 to 6 pm.

 

Then three evenings a week, I coach writers on how to be successful. 

 

SL: What is the most challenging part of writing for you?

 

IR: I think the most challenging part of writing for me is changing gears after I teach. 

 

I’m usually tired and distracted. 

 

Here are a few ways I get into the zone with my writing after a 4-to-5 hour-teaching-day: 

 

·      I take an exercise break. I walk on my treadmill for 20-30 minutes or go outside and take a walk, if the weather is nice. 

 

·      I meditate for 10 minutes. I have two apps on my cellphone, Insight Timer which is free, and Calm which I subscribe to. 

·      I have a protein bar and coffee. This usually centers me to start writing so that my mind isn’t all over the place. 

 

·      I look over my goals that are written in my planner. I usually decide what I’m going to do the next day the night before. Then there are no decisions to make when I sit down to write. 

 

·      I turn off all my devices, cellphone, tablet, and internet. I revise for 25 minutes and take a 5-minute stretch break. And I keep revising like that for two hours, after which time I take a longer break. (If anyone wants to try this, the Pomodoro Method is a great place to start.) You can download the app to your cell phone or computer.

 

SL: What do you enjoy most about writing?

 

IR: I love the freedom of mind and heart that writing gives me. 

 

It is absolutely the best part of my life. 

 

It is a time for me to express myself as I want. 

 

I do so many different kinds of writing, including journaling. 

 

Since I became chronically ill over two decades ago, I’ve discovered a reservoir of wisdom and inspiration in my heart that I want to share with others. 

 

My writing makes this possible, and I feel so honored to be able to inspire others to live their best life with chronic illness. 

 

I can also write about topics that I wouldn’t want to talk about with anyone. 

 

It is a place and space for me to really open up. 

 

And, for me, being a writer allows me to do that with safety and without judgment. 

 

SL: I know you also teach writing. Tell us about that. And what other services for writers do you provide?

 

IR: I have been teaching with Savvy Authors for over 15 years. 

I have worked with literally hundreds of writers. 

 

I also have a mentoring program at Savvy Authors that is in its fifth year. 

 

I meet with writers one-on-one a few times a month, via zoom. 

 

I go over their writing goals and how they are doing. 

 

During our 30-minute sessions, they set goals for themselves for the next 2 weeks, and we go over their schedule for these two weeks to examine any obstacles they may have in completing their goals. 

 

I am in the process of setting up my own mentoring business on my website. 

 

I eventually want to branch off on my own and coach writers. 

 

I will start by keeping my mentoring fees incredibly low so that I can get my feet wet. 

 

But once I do, in a year or so, I will be charging at least $50/month for mentoring. 

 

I am also pretty busy presenting workshops for the Fibromyalgia Group in Ontario. 

 

It is a Canada-wide group, so I have a lot of exposure.

 

I present an ongoing writing program that meets twice a month. 

 

The program is called Writing with Pain

 

My e-book group sales have quadrupled since I became a full-time presenter for the Fibromyalgia group. 

 

It’s also so great to hear that the people who purchase my e-books love them and get so much out of them. 

 

SL: How do you find sources of information for your nonfiction books?

 

IR: I read widely. 

 

In any given year, I generally read over 400 books and e-books. 

So, I am always in research mode. 

 

And I find all kinds of wisdom in these books, and topics to write about.

 

I also use the notes I’ve taken from past books that I’ve read to create my e-books. 

 

There is so much information out there. 

 

SL: What writing projects are you working on right now?

 

IR: Currently, I have four main projects on the go. 

 

1.     I’m writing a book on how to live a fulfilling life and even thrive with chronic illness. It is called Kaleidoscope and should be available on Amazon for purchase in January of 2024.  

 

2.     I’m also writing a memoir. It’s taking a lot of energy to write this book, as I am delving into some difficult parts of my life. I’ve been writing the book for a few years now, so it’s time to finish it up. My projected completion date for this book is no later than the end of 2024. 

 

3.     I’m writing a chapter for an anthology about my late mother. She passed away over ten years ago and I still miss her terribly. This essay will allow me to honor her life and how her memories which allow me to hold them in my heart forever. 

 

4.     Lastly, I am in the early stages of writing a quote-plus book for the chronically ill. In it, I will offer ten ways that chronically ill individuals should take care of themselves and some famous quotes by people who are living with challenges. 

 

SL: What is your best tip for writers?

 

IR: To be most successful, you must write regularly, even if it is for as little as 15 to 20 minutes. 

 

This will give you continuity and help you will complete your writing goals in a timely fashion. 

 

But what’s more, you will become more confident in the process because what you do repeatedly becomes a habit. 

SL: Where can readers find out more about your writing?

 

IR: My books are on https://www.Amazon.com/ as well as Smashwords at https://www.smashwords.com/

 

I also have an author website where all my more recent books are listed at https://www.Irenesroth.com/



Suzanne Lieurance

For more resources and tips for writers, visit writebythesea.com and get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge.


Suzanne Lieurance is an award-winning author, with over 40 published books, and a Law of Attraction coach for writers.





 

 

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