Me in my (literary) underwear


While I continue to toil with Part II of my Book Cover Design Primer, I’m also trying to put out Blueblood, the second in the Marty Singer crime fiction series.

The good news is that the line edits came back from my editor, the inimitable Alison Dasho. The bad news is that I have to go through my manuscript as meticulously as she did and weigh her suggestions, then either make or disregard them (the latter does not happen very often). The impact Alison’s line edits have made are already obvious to me and I’m only a third of the way through.

Since hiring an editor can be such a difficult decision for many indies (from cost to ego and a million other reasons), I thought you all might like to see a portion of the work in progress and decide for yourselves if hiring an editor is worth the investment. I’m giving you an unprecedented peek at my writing at its (almost) most vulnerable; I’m in my literary underwear before you, so to speak.

I’m not sure what would be more informative and striking: reading the finished version* first or the pre-line edit version. I’ll let you decide.

Blueblood – Chapter One, with edits suggested by Alison Dasho

Blueblood – Chapter One, after implementing edits

* “finished” might be misleading. Blueblood has already been through a developmental edit by Alison, but not a copy edit (which typically happens after the line edit to catch typos, errors, inconsistencies). You’re reading something in-between.

Writer of crime fiction, psychological drama, and dark humor.

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Posted in Tips for eAuthors
5 comments on “Me in my (literary) underwear
  1. yoga-adan says:

    i’m picking through a side by side comparison, actually two tabs side by side ;-) and two things so far :

    very impressive actually seeing edits, suggested or otherwise, in action – this is extremely useful to see, and interesting

    and, the story “rocks” from the start!

    ***

    first personal observation, ie doesn’t reflect anything other than my gut reaction to reading the comparisons :

    most of the changes do clarify / simplify the narrative, but occasionally the uniqueness i have of the sense of the author’s voice gets diluted – not necessarily a bad thing, when the “voice” is too much, but maybe something to watch?

    a nice compromise / interaction :

    at edit AD4, you took the suggestion but deleted one of the suggested words, giving it more of your original rhythm

    ***

    all in all, very impressive, having to read the rest bit by bit because of time logistics, but looks like Alison did a great job and what looks like a really neat story

    • Matthew Iden says:

      Thanks, Adan. I’m glad you’re getting something out of the two versions; great idea to read them tabbed side by side! (and thanks for the compliment on the story). :)

      Yes, as I progress through Alison’s edits, I’m wondering about how much/many edits I should accept. The suggestions that literally clean up the writing (like getting rid of extraneous “be” verb constructions) are no brainers. But there are others about voice and word choice that are personal…they literally sound right to me when everything about them is technically wrong.

      That’s why I hope the examples encourage other indies to consider good editing; I’m learning that this isn’t grammar school all over again, there’s no hard right or wrong. It’s a constructive dialogue between two people who love to read and write.

      • yoga-adan says:

        constructive indeed! what a treat ;-)

        “they literally sound right to me when everything about them is technically wrong” –

        and,

        “there’s no hard right or wrong. It’s a constructive dialogue between two people who love to read and write.”

        you’re a fortunate man matthew iden ;-)

  2. Wo3lf says:

    Thanks for this Matt. It was a super educational read. One of the things I’m battling with is past v present tense. One wouldn’t think such an obvious thing could pose a problem, but it does, especially when you try to retain an active voice in your storytelling. The story I’m working on now I’ve tried to keep in the present tense, yet I’ve discovered that on quite a few occasions I’ve used past tense, which I only discovered during edits. It seems to be a natural state for storytellers to use the past tense, especially when using a first person POV.

    • Matthew Iden says:

      I’m terrible at tenses. I hear the narrative in my head one way, try to put it down–with m writing brain as the filter–and it often winds up in the mismatch that Alison caught at the end of the italicized section. I do it again in 3 or 4 major places farther along in the mss.

      I’m also terrible using “that” for “who,” though I know why I do it (I use “that” for non-named people descriptors, i.e., “the fireman that put the fire out.” In my head, a “fireman” is a thing/qualifier, not a person. I would never say “John, that put the fire out.”). We’ve all got our weaknesses. :) Hence me needing an editor. Glad it helped!

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