Tagged: book review

A Tale of Two Editors – Part 2

In my last post on editors, I talked about the last editor I worked with, and my experience with her. There was a lot of criticism – some warranted, some crushing, and some that left me with more questions than answers received.

Now I’d like to discuss the latest editor I worked with, and the night-and-day different experience I had with her.

Networking Works

I met my most recent editor through a friend. My friend, we’ll call him MV, is part of a Catholic Young Professionals group in Omaha. There he met a woman who had self-published two books. Through their conversation MV learned that this woman had her sister edit her books, and through several emails they put the two of us in contact.

I was skeptical at first, but sister of this editor has done exceptionally well for herself and her books are still selling. It helped that her price was a fraction of what most editors charge as she was just getting her editing services off the ground. Jackpot!

The Process

Over a four week period my editor and I worked through my manuscript, first two copy-edits, and the finally an in-depth content edit looking at story structure, flow, identifying plot holes, and strengthening certain points such as one main character’s growth from meek to strong and the culture of the fictional people I am writing about.

My most recent editor was very thorough with grammar and punctuation. She was able to catch quite a bit of what the previous editor and I had missed. My editor was also able to go through and help make sentences and even paragraphs more clear and concise to better get the story across to my reader.

Through the in-depth content edit, my editor identified areas of confusion which need clarification, and areas where the story was weak and need additional dialogue and/or description.

Drawbacks

It wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns. While my story is now stronger, there were times I wasn’t sure about my most recent editor. In all edits, and especially the last, she gave me a lot of pumping up and “your story is great, you’re a great writer” type of compliments. While this is a stark contrast from my previous editor, I don’t think it’s what I need to hear. I needed a hard, critical perspective and many times it seemed I was being provided too much positive reinforcement in a place where it wasn’t warranted.

Sometimes too many compliments and the like can be debilitating to identifying problems and fixing them, in this case in my manuscript. It can lead us into believing we have a great story when, in fact, we don’t.

With my current editor I had to be even more critical of my work, and bring things up to her and try to have her look at them in different ways. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes she replied with, “I actually feel that’s really good and I don’t feel it needs to be changed.”

Regardless of whether it is actually good or not, she said things like that so often that my blood pressure spiked a little and, after our meetings, I would go back and comb through my manuscript more.

So maybe it was a good thing?

Conclusion

Most recently (within the last two years) I have had two very different editors. One was overwhelmingly critical and, after paying a hefty sum for a single edit, cut off her availability. The other was much cheaper, but the constant positive reinforcement on things I thought were wrong made me concerned about the quality of her edits. The result: I believe I have a completed, ready to publish manuscript. Unfortunately, these, and one other editor many many years ago, are the only benchmarks I have for what editors should be like.

After reading both posts, what are your thoughts on these two editors? What have been your experiences with editors? I’d also like to hear the thoughts of editors/agents in the business.

Until next time!. . .

Advertisements

Book Review – Decision Points by George W. Bush

I don’t normally wax political on my blog. I attempt to keep my political views out of my love of all that is geeky. This has been made more difficult of late with the current U.S. election cycle.

That said, I do enjoy reading history, both long past and more current. I hop from ancient history circa 500 BCE, to the history of Prussia beginning in 1500 CE, up to present times, and everything in between at a whim. Ancient Roman, and Viking history interest me most.

Recently I had the opportunity to visit the George W. Bush Presidential Library. Within I purchased a copy of George W. Bush’s book Decision Points, and began reading in ernest.

Erenest is a relative term when you have children. It took me the better part of 2-1/2 months to read.

George W. Bush is without a doubt one of the more controversial Presidents of our time. He has been criticized for everything from No Child Left Behind, to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was far from perfect, as all human beings are. But, he is a man and leader I greatly respect, with all of his faults. I miss a president, like him, who not only preaches love of America, but lives it.

Decision Points itself is organized by topic, not chronology. Bush chose a series of major decisions in his life, and in his time as President, to discuss. From his decision to finally kick alcohol, to his decision to run for President of the United States of America. It is a deep insight into how he thought at the time, and why he acted as he did.

Once thing that stands out most in the book is his willingness to give credit where it’s due. He generally does not halt at party lines. Whether Democrat or Republican, Bush equally honors those that he worked with and helped him to make, what he sees, as a legislation and decisions that made for a better country, or that kept the country safer. At times he does talk about his work with the Republican Party and strategy meetings for elections. But more often than not he discusses striving to work with both sides of the aisle in congress to pass pass legislation, and to help Americans and others around the world.

He also does two things I see very few leaders these days do. First, he downplays the things he actually did himself. He gives short mention to his slipping past the media and visiting the troops in Iraq for Thanksgiving, or the fact that he cobbled together support from both parties for controversial legislation. Second, he openly admits his failures. I think this second one is more telling of the kind of person and leader George W. Bush is. Few of us, myself included, like to talk about and admit our glaring failures. I’m sure it was difficult for Bush to do the same. But he did in Decision Points. He admits them openly and without reserve. Where he failed spectacularly the reader gets the feeling that Bush is as hard on himself as the media and congress was.

Like I said, George W. Bush was far from perfect. There are things I disagreed with him on during his time in office. But he was also my Commander in Chief for the first part of my military career, and he loves the United States of America. He did good by the troops for the most part, and he backed his men and women 100%. He worked to make what he thought was a better, freer America. Though he was heavily criticized by all sides, he made the hard decisions and drove on to ensure America was more secure.

While reading I did poke holes in some of his reasoning. While he justifies the invasion of Iraq, he completely ignores the genocide of the South Sudanese at the same time. Though he defends bailing out banks and the auto industry, he says himself that companies should be able to fail as the free market and their own decisions see fit – instead Bush pushed to spend billions of dollars propping up failing companies instead of allowing true free market capitalism to reign and, while ripping that band aid off would have hurt, America would have been in a better position, in my opinion.

But he was POTUS at the time, and he was the one who had to make the decisions with the Congress he had to work with. I can arm-chair-politician all I want, President Bush was the “man in the arena.”

I thoroughly enjoyed Decision Points, and it will definitely be a book I reread in the future. I highly recommend this book to any who wish to have further understanding of the Bush presidency and that era of recent history.

Until next time!…

Book Review: White Horse by Alex Adams

I don’t normally stray from my science fiction bubble when reading fiction. When I do it’s rare, and I only stray if something really catches my eye.

So when I came across WHITE HORSE by Alex Adams I was intrigued by the post-apocolyptic world she had crafted.

From Amazon:

“The world has ended, but her journey has just begun.

Thirty-year-old Zoe leads an ordinary life until the end of the world arrives. She is cleaning cages and floors at Pope Pharmaceuticals when the president of the United States announces that human beings are no longer a viable species. When Zoe realizes that everyone she loves is disappearing, she starts running. Scared and alone in a shockingly changed world, she embarks on a remarkable journey of survival and redemption. Along the way, Zoe comes to see that humans are defined not by their genetic code, but rather by their actions and choices. White Horse offers hope for a broken world, where love can lead to the most unexpected places.”

Our story begins with our heroine, Zoe, trekking through Italy, on her way to Greece. The majority of the world’s population has been killed by the mysterious “White Horse.” Those humans still alive live in squalor. Those affected by White Horse and still living are changed. Zoe has to fight her way through this world to reach her final destination: Greece.

Why Greece? Read the book, I’m not going to spoil that for you.

WHITE HORSE is an excellent read that draws you in further to this destroyed future. Each chapter is split between NOW – the post-apocolyptic world and Zoe’s quest to Greece – and THEN – before everything went to hell and during White Horse’s rampage across the world. As White Horse drowns the world in blood and sorrow you are witness to the very best and the very, very worst of humanity.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. So much, in fact, that my boss told me to put down my Kindle. I was drawn in by the struggles of Zoe and the friends she makes along the way as they try to stay alive and stay human throughout the whole book. Sometimes it’s hard. More than once Zoe is forced to make a choice between holding to her pre-apocolypse morals, or forget them and fall to the level of others.

It even has sci-fi in it! So that was some icing on the cake. 🙂 Alex Adams weaves the science fiction part very well into the story – just enough so it’s almost believeable that it could maybe happen.

The end is amazing. Quite a few well placed, Earth-shattering twists. The whole book Alex Adams builds the tension of Zoe getting to Greece. That’s another reason I had to keep reading. Throughout the book Zoe desperately needs to get to Greece. By the end of the book you’re rooting for her and hoping she will get to her destination and find whatever or whomever it is that she is looking for, and find out why. I got a little choked up at the end.

Just sayin’ . . . but don’t tell anyone that. Men don’t cry. Manly men. PROTEIN! and TESTOSTERONE!

I highly recommend WHITE HORSE. Get your copy today, here: http://www.amazon.com/White-Horse-ebook/dp/B005JSV1F6/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1346349469&sr=1-1