But my sister read it, you say? My best friend thinks it’s awesome. Yes, but they love you. Their opinion is biased. A professional editor is your greatest tool in gaining valuable insight toward developing your story into the polish gem it deserves to be.
As an executive editor for Destiny Rose Editorial Services, I spend hours, sometimes weeks pouring over every word of your story, polishing the book until it shines. I have found there are certain key points to writing a great book:
- Character development—> overblown unrealistic characters are as difficult for readers to feel emotionally involved with as flat boring ones. Finding a balance between madam librarian and Wonder Woman is essential. Real people have flaws and make mistakes. Although Thor is amazing on screen, his giant king-of-the-universe ego might make most women feel inadequate. Give your characters emotional depth, likability (or hate for antagonists), and room to grow. If they remain the same person in the end as they were on page one, something needs to change. If Thor begins the story with that abrasive ego, he must learn to love someone, putting Jane first.
- Filler info/unnecessary words & scenes—> every paragraph and sentence must move the story forward. Readers don’t need to know Aunt Gertrude makes a delicious apple pie if no one ever gets to enjoy a sweet bite. Polish your sentences. Take out the useless fluff. Your book will flow.
- DO, don’t plan & say (SHOW, don’t tell)—> Action speaks louder than “I’m going to do this, then that, and hope for the best.” vs “She jumped in the Corvette and sped away, taking control of her life with one foot on the gas pedal and her gaze focused on the future.” That is ACTION. Make everything happen RIGHT NOW, for a reason, giving it purpose.
- Conflict MAKES a story—> without conflict, drama, or a mystery to solve your story is just a narrative. Give your characters a deep problem, a personal obstacle to overcome. The best books begin with conflict, slamming the readers right into the drama, bypassing that “getting to know you” stage. Jack is shot. He must drive himself to the hospital or die. BOOM—I am interested. Later we can learn who Jack is and who shot him. Grab their attention right now. Keep it. Never let go.
Grammar and sentence structure are essential to the final line-by-line editing, but your supporting structure begins with the storyline flow, character development, and having a conflict that creates emotional tension. These get your readers hooked, making a book readers can’t put down.
Everyone wants to write that next best-seller. Editing is the key to making your story shine.
Stay Creative and Keep Writing--
Leslie D. Stuart / Executive Editor, Creative Director, and Romance Author