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 Professional proof reader

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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Professional proof reader   Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:47 am

I'm meeting this afternoon with Carol Jose, my proof reader. I've known Carol for years. She was a columnist with Florida Today and has co-authored, ghost-written, and consulted for many books. She recently appeared on NBC to discuss this book:

http://www.amazon.com/You-Are-Not-Forgotten-Founding/dp/0918339715

I retained Carol to read and critique my work and assist me with finding the best agent to represent it.

(Or to tell me it sucks so bad I ought to reformat my hard drive and forget it.)

This will be the first time anyone outside the household (Judy and me) sees the book or even knows its premise. I am eager to hear her opinion, no matter what it is. Naturally, I want her to love it and predict a Pulitzer, but whatever way it goes, I am ready. Carol won't candy coat anything.

Wish me luck.
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alice
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PostSubject: Re: Professional proof reader   Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:54 am

Great luck! I have a hunch you will do well.


Last edited by alice on Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: Professional proof reader   Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:19 am

You don't need luck; you need encouragement. Carol will encourage you to improve the manuscript so that your pitch to an agent succeeds. Then you'll have to step up to the plate.

_________________

Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ęShelagh Watkins 2017


Last edited by Shelagh on Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:26 am; edited 1 time in total
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: Professional proof reader   Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:23 am

What Shelagh said.
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: Professional proof reader   Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:04 pm

Shelagh wrote:
You don't need luck; you need encouragement. Carol will encourage you to improve the manuscript so that your pitch to an agent succeeds. Then you'll have to step up to the plate.

Mixed baseball metaphors. Cool. :-)

What you say is what I'm hoping for. We had our first meeting today. (Yesterday, actually. I'm a night person.) Spent some of it on the book--just discussing it in general terms since she hasn't read it yet, and going over and revising the agent query letter--but most of our meeting was spent catching up. Whatever happened to whatshisname?

We used to be fast friends but fell out of touch. Then last month I heard from her. I played jazz saxophone while they scattered her husband Dale's ashes from a boat into the Banana River. He was a jazz fan. Sad assignment. Military honor guard. Taps always tears me up. That's about when I recruited her for this project.

Carol mentioned a writing book that she thought I should read. She gives copies to all her associates. When she told me the title, I reminded her that I gave her her first copy about 20 years ago. I recall she said then that the book changed her life. She didn't remember today that I had given it to her. She said she bought it. Yes she did, but after she returned my copy to me.

http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Story-Dramatic-Nonfiction-Reference/dp/0452272955/

I plan to re-read it next week on my trip to Kentucky.

Today was an upbeat day. I am encouraged. I eagerly await Carol's input. I feel useless without a work-in-progress.


Last edited by Al Stevens on Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:17 pm; edited 2 times in total
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Professional proof reader   Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:06 pm

Sounds great, Al. Good luck
(I'm not among the people who have convinced themselves luck is a major part of literary succes...hope some gets on you)
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alice
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PostSubject: Re: Professional proof reader   Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:12 am

Sounds great--I am happy for you.
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: Professional proof reader   Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:21 pm

Had the first session with Carol today on Chapter 1. The idea was to see how well we work together and whether we should continue. If so, she will hit the whole book.

She is an artist at managing the flow of narrative. Chapter 1 is now much better than it was. And being my age, she is familiar with the era and can spot historical inconsistencies. She is definitely part of this project.

I go on a trip next week. When I return she will probably have the rest of the book hacked up. I can't wait.
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alice
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PostSubject: Re: Professional proof reader   Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:14 pm

Excellent news! Have a great trip.
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: Professional proof reader   Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:36 pm

Update:

Carol refers to herself as a "writing coach." She is that indeed. We've made our way through Chapter 3. She had to take some time to do other things, and is now on a cruise.

In the meantime, I got ahead of her and applied some of the things she taught me to the later chapters so she won't have to teach them again.

She's very strong on character development. She won't let a character be a passing pedestrian. She wants to know what they look like, how old they are, what they had for breakfast. And she wants the reader to either like or dislike the character depending on the role in the story.

She also wants as much of the story to be told in dialogue as possible. Show, don't tell. But I have places in the story in which the POV is alone for long times doing stuff. Can't have the guy talking to himself. I inserted some italicizes thoughts here and there to break it up, but I don't really care for that idiom. It seems contrived.

I also don't like to have characters tell one another things they ought to already know just to convey something to the reader.

I'm big on accuracy. (It's a roman a clef.) She's big on literary license, aka "suspension of disbelief." We bump heads on that. She'll say, "It's fiction, Al." I'll say, "Yeah, but there are still people around who were around then. They'll know."

For example, the phrase, "collateral damage," has no other phrase that describes it readily. That's why it's a good phrase. But it was coined well after the era of this book. So I can't let anyone say it. Carol would go ahead and use it. I won't. So I have them speak awkwardly of "innocent bystanders" and "unsuspecting civilians" and the like.

The manuscript was getting bulky (my goal is 100,000 words, and I was up to 108,000), so I also spent some time paring down the chapters, removing scenes that don't add to the story, and taking out excess words. It's fun to watch a page come to life as you do that.

Our goal it to get it to the copy editor by January. I hope we make it.
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: Professional proof reader   Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:00 pm

Sounds like you're having fun with your book. Good, that's how it should be.

I don't understand the book you linked; creative non-fiction? It's geared to non-fic, but you find it useful for fiction? I guess because you've got some much historical stuff in your fiction (a la Pillars of the Earth)? Anyhow, I bookmarked it, and may buy it. Funny, all evening I've been sorting out dozens of desk copy textbooks I've accumulated over the years and checking online buyers. Amazon is usually the most generous, so I've got a pile for them. They pay with a gift card, so maybe that book will be my first purchase with it. Smile
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: Professional proof reader   Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:21 pm

Thanks for the update. Very informative. Character development is a weakness I've had and need to work on.
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Carol Troestler
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PostSubject: Re: Professional proof reader   Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:12 am

Excellent information!! Sounds like some I can use. The books look good. I love the idea of "creative nonfiction."

I've been searching deep within for a project to begin, complete, improve and your info is inspiring, although I don't have any other Carols to work with except the one I am.

I have been searching. Getting rid of pain. Getting better. Accepting the factors that are most difficult to improve upon, but getting rid of pain is a blessing beyond belief.

Thank you, thank you for the inspiration and I wish you good writing and good inspiration.

Love, Carol
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: Professional proof reader   Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:16 am

LC wrote:
I don't understand the book you linked; creative non-fiction? It's geared to non-fic, but you find it useful for fiction?

When I first discovered it, I was writing computer books and magazine articles full-time. Carol was the food columnist for Florida Today. Neither of us was into fiction. Since I revisited the book, I find that its lessons cross genres.

The book teaches how to make boring stuff less boring and more like a story. Some fiction needs that approach, too.
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lyntx
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PostSubject: Re: Professional proof reader   Sat Oct 30, 2010 5:20 pm

So what's happened to your book since the last post, Al? Do you think her help is worth paying a fee? If it costs a lot of money, are you getting your money's worth? And would you recommend her services to someone like me? I just finished my first book, a romance, and would love a pro's opinion and advice.
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: Professional proof reader   Sat Oct 30, 2010 8:00 pm

We have almost reached the end of the project and will begin to shop it around soon. We met today for several hours to discuss strategy.

Originally, Carol was going to invoice me an unspecified amount. Today we agreed that I will spend time with two of her writing projects in lieu of payment.

I certainly recommend her services to any writer who is serious about getting published. She is particularly experienced with non-fiction, which was my genre for years. Now, with my project under her belt, she has some experience with fiction, too.

My book is immeasureably improved because of her influence. When I started this thread, I thought I was finished. Yeah, right.

http://www.caroljose.com/

Oh, by the way, the word count is now about 125,000. And that's after a lot of pruning.
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lyntx
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PostSubject: Re: Professional proof reader   Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:23 am

So would you recomend her for a romance novel? And could you give me some idea of her fee? You could send an email or a private message. Or does anyone here know of someone that works with romace and could help me?

I'll check out 'dreams' on another thread.
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: Professional proof reader   Sun Oct 31, 2010 2:30 pm

I think she would do very well with a romance novel. She is oriented to character-based fiction. I do not know her fee. We never discussed it.
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lyntx
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PostSubject: Re: Professional proof reader   Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:56 pm

Thanks Al. There's so many book docs out there and they all charge so much. A friend hired one who bragged he edited a well-known horror author to fame, paid nearly a thousand dollars and all he did was change some punctuation and sent several pages about how to contact agensts and general info, etc, all that's already on the web. I feel for her but glad it wasn't me.
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