Grace's Mosaic Moments

Sunday, August 19, 2012


WELCOME! to the final post in the EDIT THE BLASTED BOOK Series. I hope you've found it helpful. As always, suggestions, additions, and complaints are welcome. Use Comments below or e-mail: Blair Bancroft 

Please note this is a continuation of my last blog and not intended to be read without reading Part 6(A) first.

II.    At the End of Every 5 Chapters   

    Repeat all the steps in Section I.  [STOP SCREAMING! - This is real editing, not giving your book what my mother called “a lick and a promise.”]

    This time, pay particular attention to:

    1.    Has the story really moved forward - a lot - in these five chapters?

    2.    Do you need to add (or delete) certain things now that you know your characters better?

    3.    Is the story moving in the direction you planned? If you’ve strayed, should you get back on track, or is the new version better?  Adjust all details accordingly.

    4.    If you’ve done your due diligence, you should now have five reasonably coherent chapters with a story line that is beginning to make sense.

    5.    Repeat the above process for each 5-chapter segment.

III.    At the End of the Last Chapter.

    Go back to Chapter 1 and repeat all steps in Section I for the entire book. 

    Pay attention to absolutely everything from typos to clarity to continuity. Did the hero have dark hair in Chapter 1 and become a blond by Chapter 6? Do your sex scenes tend toward heaving bosoms, laving tongues, and more parts insertion than can be found in a hardware manual? If so, please add genuine emotion and toe-curling sexual tension. And once again, are your h/h likable? Will your readers want to root for them?

    If you make a great many changes on this editing run-through, you may have to go on to IV.

IV.    Re-edit from the Top.

    I try to avoid this one if I can, but it’s happened. The most important thing to remember is: Nora Roberts may get it right the first time. 99.99% of the rest of us don’t. Writing is WORK. It’s a job. If you want to get paid, you have to treat it with the serious respect it deserves. Spend the time necessary to take your words from vanilla to Rocky Road, from Ho-hum to Oh Wow!

    New apochryphal tale: You’re going to invite your boss (editor/publisher) for dinner. Are you going to wear sweat pants and feed her/him a fast-food hamburger on a paper plate? Are you going to offer a pie you dropped on the kitchen floor and is now flecked with yucky uglies? Or are you going to dress professionally, spend the time necessary to set a beautiful table, cook a good, maybe great, meal, which you eat while indulging in intelligent conversation before presenting a sparkling, spotless Key Lime Pie for dessert?

    A no-brainer, right? Except for all the careless contest entries I’ve seen, I wouldn’t believe it possible anyone would settle for the yucky uglies. But it happens. Moral of this story: don’t let it happen to you. If you want to be successful, don’t shirk the work!

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Grace Note: Don’t hesitate to ask questions about any of the sections of EDIT THE BLASTED BOOK.  For more on the basic Nuts & Bolts of writing, please see the Writing 101 series in the 2011 Archives of Grace’s Mosaic Moments. And if all else fails, I offer a professional editing, copy editing, and critique service as Best Foot Forward. For a brochure, e-mail

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A list of my currently available books can be found on my website,  I believe there are 20 or more now, with a couple lingering from the days before indie publishing. Also, a brand new print  version of Tarleton's Wife (not yet on my website) is just out and can be found at Ellora's Cave - Blush, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Coming next: What Grace reads for the fun of it

Thanks for stopping by.




  1. I find it really helps to print out what I need to reread and edit also. It's amazing how much I miss when reading the screen hour after hour. Also, setting the book aside and working on another, like I'm doing now, can help to give us a new look at the previously "finished" book.

    I doubt anyone can write a perfect book first time out either without a hint of revisions! That's just part of the fun of writing. Once it's "done" in the story is written from beginning to end, it's time to make it shine. :) To me that's the most fun part!

  2. Excellent advice, Terry. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Actually Grace, your advice is quite gentle. I have to say I edit many more times than this! (I'm anal). But in these days of badly produced e-books, I don't want to stand out as the writer who lost the story thread in Chapter 5, or mis-spelled 'convenient.' Thanks for your advice.

  4. Vonnie, thanks for telling me I'm "gentle," as you're also warning authors editing can be worse than described. I didn't want to go any farther for fear of discouraging the faint-hearted! Nor did I want to encourage those who can never stop editing and get the show on the road. Hopefully, I've struck a happy medium where authors realize the amount of effort they need to put into editing but don't become so traumatized they chuck the whole project or fall into an endless cycle of editing and re-editing. The time comes when your baby has to leave home!