Two years ago in an old Spanish building in Mexico, I stopped writing. “The ending of this story is is too hard to plot,” I told myself. So, I left Casanova Cowboy, the main character in the contemporary western fiction I am writing, behind, kidnapped on top of a Montana mountain during a blazing forest fire. Should he live or will I kill him?
A few weeks ago I found enough energy to write what I thought were his final chapters and sent the manuscript to a copy editor for analysis. Fiction writing which once put passion in my life had run down like the music of an old merry-go-round.
As I accept or reject the comments and suggestions which came back, not only is the story more readable but I feel the passion to write slowly healing.
Of course, revising a manuscript under the guidance and direction of a copy editor feels like being in school again.
This is remarkable because so few have the talent to teach how to write.
I learn by doing. I see how my use to “to be” verbs is weak (how a person or object gets from one place to another or how they sit or respond). I Head hop (change point of view) and this skill needs upgrading and requires much rewriting. Along with editing Casanova, I am also reading Lew Wallace’s classic, Ben Hur, and study the way he writes “to be” verbs, a way of reading instructive as well as pleasurable.
A year’s instruction, that is if I were taking this rewriting of my manuscript as a class assignments in college, included: three single-spaced pages of the proper names of primary characters where she caught the fact that Stitch ‘N Bitch and Ramirez were spelled three different ways, the listing of all secondary characters and notes listing times and dates of arrivals, festivals, etc. Several pages told how to use Track Changes, the method used in Word for editing. Plus, the critique.
So instead of writing a review elsewhere for Susan Uttendorfsky, owner of Adirondack Editing, here is my assessment of her skills in my blog.
I send her thanks for the tedious work she has done and for the joy of writing which has returned.
Thank you, Susan, for these magnificent gifts. You have not only given this writer a more readable story but also restored my urge to write. Plus, you are affordable.