Today I have a special guest, Mia Jo Celeste. Please help me give her a warm welcome. And wait until you check out her cover. It's beautiful!
And now I'll let Mia talk with you...
Welcome Mia! :-)
It’s hard, yet it’s the difference between a sale and “not for us.”
James Michener once said, “I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.”
I think that’s where most of us are, which might be why many writing gurus like Ann Lamott encourage bad first drafts, but we won’t talk about those today. Instead, I’ll focus on revision. I’d like to share my top three tips.
First, put some time between your drafts. At least a few days. A week or a month or two might be better. Most of us fall in love with our stories and we need that infatuation to ebb, so we can read our work without the rosy-everything’s-awesome glasses. At little gives us the emotional distance to view work anew and figure out what’s missing and what might need to change.
Second, have someone else read your work before you upload or send it off to be discovered. This point is particularly appropriate for this post because Jennifer and I were in the same critique group. I still remember Jennifer’s awesome stories set in the Southwest as well as many of her helpful suggestions. Critique partners or first readers can catch story inconsistencies and areas that aren’t understandable in your work. They can tell you which characters they connect to or which one they really don’t understand. Also they can spot spelling or grammar errors.
At a writer’s conference I attended a copy editor admitted that even she makes mistakes occasionally and when she does, she doesn’t let it bother her because she figures it takes an average of sixteen pairs of eyes to get a manuscript to published flawlessness. Your critique buddies can be one of those first sets of editing eyes. Also, one of the best things about having critique partner or group is that you can become great friends, but back to revision tips.
My third tip is to try for good or very good instead of perfect. Because being human, and not possessing sixteen sets of eyes yourself, a totally perfect scene or manuscript is unattainable. Too much revision may add hours to your tasks and if you’re like me—it’s a buzz kill. It ruins the fun. So my advice—do the best you can, look your work over a few times and then stop. Good is good enough.
When I’m not writing, I’m teaching, and I fit the one of the instructor stereotypes. I ask my students to re-think their drafts and to revise more than once. Revision and re-evaluating life decisions are themes that frequently appear in my fiction.
Contact Mia Jo Celeste:
My new release Other Than, a Gaslamp fantasy, features a heroine who makes an unfortunate choice, which results in her death. On an island purgatory, she vows to let nothing stop her from getting her life back. Yet her only hope of escape rests in the hands of the island’s Lord, both the man of her dreams, and her darkest nightmares. He is equally determined to see her fail and spend eternity at his side as his undead bride.
It only takes one drink from the Water of Immortality to kill Evie Woods—halfway. Trapped in undead flesh, the world’s last skin-slider wakens on an island purgatory where a cursed spring bubbles with immortality, and zombie cannibals crave living flesh. Her only hope of escape rests in the hands of the one man who would see her fail. Lord Victor Lowell, the man of her dreams and darkest nightmares. Contrary and intractable, Victor preys on others to maintain his angelic charisma and preternatural prowess.
Trapped in an ever escalating war they can’t stop, Victor and Evie fight time for a cure, but as the long days pass, blackness tears at Evie, ripping her thoughts from her one memory at a time. Victor will do whatever it takes to prevent her from deteriorating into a rotting husk, even if it means dooming himself, but Evie won’t surrender his soul without a fight.
He materialized in the inky shadow.
Or rather his apparition did. His ghostly frame hovered before her, sinuous and lithe. Against his shadowed form, the string glimmered like liquid silver. Slowly he unwrapped her, tossing the spectral bands to the floor until a coil lay between him and her.
Something inside her chest fluttered. “You followed me.”
He nodded. With a slight shrug, he spread his hands. “You shouldn’t be alone.”
She wanted to turn, giving him her back, but her betraying gaze remained fixated upon him. When he paced around her, she waved him away. “Don’t.”
He caught her hand and placed an insubstantial kiss in her palm. “Let me help you…please.”
A gallant gesture, perhaps, but her skin-slider sensitivity noted the rigidity of his stance, the twitch along his jaw, and the slight narrowing of his eyes. How could he think of helping her when he was in so much pain?
Ordinarily, she might be grateful. Might…if loss hadn’t hollowed her.
She ripped her cooling flesh from his spectral arms. “I don’t deserve kindness.”
“Good.” He gave her a rakish smirk. “Because I’m not kind.”
She shook her head, biting back the emerging smile that had no place on her countenance. She couldn’t be civil, couldn’t risk the involvement. “I can’t go on like this—stuck betwixt life and death.”
“You must. Don’t you see, sweet dove? You’re beyond both. You’re immortal. Like me.”