Creative fatigue has no expiration date. It comes and goes, strengthens and weakens, and almost always affects me after publishing a book. This go-around has lasted longer than most, but it's showing signs of dissipating: I wrote a chapter in a recently begun work in progress and got a small start on the Dawn Coyote ghostwriting project. That erotic romance project is a planned series of five novellas.
I've also been working on another ghostwriting project, a YA science fiction novel that's been going on for over a year. The client and I average about two (sometimes three) chapters per month. Both of us think that this single immense manuscript will be split into a series of three or more books. Strangely enough, I don't find that my creative fatigue affects me with this story.
It's not because YA science fiction is my go-to genre, although the client and her teenage son seem to think I'm doing a good job with the story. (Her son is our "test reader" because he's the target age group for this book. Thus far, the developing story has kept his interest.)
I wonder if my continued lack of fatigue with this project stems from the regular phone calls with the client during which we discuss what happens next. Maybe it's because it's not my project, but someone else's, which engages that strong work ethic my parents instilled in all their children. I have an obligation to work on this because I was hired to do it.
Who knows? What I do know is that whatever factors serve to keep me engaged with this project do work. I just need to figure out how to identify them and replicate them for my personal projects.
In the meantime, a client for whom I edit has resumed production of content. I edited and formatted two small books for two new clients. And I edited and formatted a course workbook for another new client. It's wonderful to see the work coming in and I could use more, lots more. Incoming projects really improve my productivity and enthusiasm, because each new project is an adventure.
To that end, I am hoping that the exhortations from me and many others to use the COVID-related lockdowns and shelter-at-home orders have inspired many to use that time to write their stories. The countless hours of not going to work opened a lot of time for people to write the books, fiction or nonfiction, that they've always wanted to write. Months into this pandemic, many of those first-time authors will be finishing their manuscripts. Most will not know what to do next.
That's where I come in. There's a method to publishing madness, especially if the author wants to produce a book that meets professional standards for quality. I can help: consider me your adventure guide or navigator as you explore what seems to be uncharted territory.
If you're one of those people who has produced a manuscript, contact me to learn what comes next. We'll discuss your goals and ambitions for the project and figure the path that best suits you. Then we can get to work in making it real.
You know you want to.
October Book Of The Month: The Mighty Finn
Review 5 stars Loved it
I loved this story! It made me laugh and it made me cry. It was wonderful! I would highly recommend reading!
No one recognized Charlotte Forsythe, author. Even more relieving, no one recognized Charlotte Forsythe, crime victim.
She ended their game a bit sooner than usual, hoisted the strap of the beach bag over her shoulder, and walked Finn a mile to the dog spa. She rather thought that a mile’s walk in the city always seemed to take longer than a mile’s walk in the country.
The spa’s personnel greeted Charlotte and her dog with polite, professional smiles until the spa’s owner came out to meet them personally. He squatted down and rubbed Finn’s ears. The dog moaned happily.
“We’ve got a bona fide hero in here today,” he told the pink-garbed employee who approached at his signal.
“Oh?” the young woman asked obligingly.
“Yes,” the owner said with a bright smile. “Finn here rescued his mistress from kidnappers. It was in national news.”
The young woman blinked with uncaring incomprehension. Then memory sparked and she exclaimed, “Oh! I remember now.”
Charlotte held her silence and felt uncomfortable.
“Ma’am, we’ll take good care of this brave guy, yes, we will,” the young woman crooned as she rubbed Finn’s broad head.
“Thank you for entrusting your precious friend to us,” the owner said, his voice ringing with sincerity as he slipped a temporary lead over Finn’s head. “Do you want to keep his collar and leash with you or leave them here?”
“I’ll leave them here, if that’s all right,” she answered.
He nodded and removed Finn’s collar, not bothering to unsnap the leash. He hung them on a peg behind the registration desk.
“Why don’t you return in two hours?” he suggested. “That will be enough time to make sure our hero’s properly groomed and has a little play time, too.”
“All right,” she answered. “Thank you.”
Charlotte gave her dog a reassuring pat and left him in the care of spa personnel.
Hefting the bulky beach tote, she walked to the café where she was scheduled to meet the rude SEAL and allow him to grovel for forgiveness. She arrived early, double-checked her notes to make sure she had the correct destination and time, and allowed herself to be seated at a table in a sunny, peaceful spot. Not caring to look as though she had been abandoned by her date, she pulled her e-reader from the tote and occupied herself.
The shadow cast by the man’s big body alerted her to his presence. She looked up and squinted.
“Hello,” she said politely, if not warmly.
“Hi,” he replied. As he seated himself, he apologized, “Sorry I’m late.”
He held out his hand; she ignored it. After a second, he let it drop back to his side. She hadn’t forgiven him yet.
“That’s all right. I’ve got a little while before I have to pick up Finn.”
“Finn. That’s an unusual name for a dog,” he commented as he seated himself so that his back was against the wall and he could command a wide view of the sidewalk. His eyes moved restlessly for a minute, scanning the crowd for potential danger.
“He was … unexpected,” Charlotte explained even as she quietly observed his automatic preparedness, the assumption of protective detail. She filed that away for future use in another novel. “The breeder apparently did not secure the kennel gates well enough and was surprised when the litter included a harlequin Great Dane. He claimed someone slipped her a Mickey Finn. So, the spotted dog became Finn.”
“I like that better than Mickey,” Eric commented. “Mickey has too many associations with a certain cartoon mouse.”
She smiled politely at him, but the smile did not reach her eyes. Eric signaled to the waiter for service.
“I Googled you,” he said quietly.
She nodded and said nothing.
“How I acted toward you was rude and inexcusable,” he apologized. “Considering your ordeal, I feel doubly ashamed. I really am sorry.”
“Thank you,” she said quietly and simply. She hoped he wouldn’t mention that again.
The waiter approached and they placed their orders.
“How long are you in San Diego?”
“I fly out Friday next week,” she said and turned her face toward the sun. “It’s beautiful here.”
“The weather’s very consistent,” he agreed.
“Not so much in Indiana,” she replied.
“You live in Olivia?”
She nodded and asked, “Did you grow up here in California?”
“No,” he replied. “I’m a Nebraska farm boy.”
Her eyes flicked over the broad shoulders and chest, the strong column of his neck, the square jaw, sculpted cheekbones, and glittering gray eyes.
“You’re a long way from the farm,” she commented. “I just don’t see you wearing overalls.”
“I never did,” he replied as the waiter set their drinks on the table.
She put her lips over the straw and took a sip of her sweetened iced tea, thinking, “Well, there goes another stereotype.” Eric’s eyes snapped to the sight and his imagination immediately segued to the thought of her pink lips wrapped around his dick. He shifted uncomfortably in his chair.
“So tell me about yourself,” Charlotte said, oblivious to his sudden discomfort. “Start with your name.”
Eric snorted and replied, “Yes, I suppose we could start with the basics.” He extended a hand across the table toward her and said, “I’m Eric Outerbach.”
Charlotte tilted her head and made the connection. That time she took his hand. He felt a zing of attraction at the skin-to-skin touch, which surprised him. He wondered if she felt it, too.
I had an interview recently with a potential client. It went something like this:
"Did you read the excerpt?"
"I read the first several pages," I replied, admitting not having read the entire 45,000-word "excerpt." Really, I don't need to read such a large quantity of rough draft to determine how intensive the editing will be for the full manuscript. If an editor can't suss that out within a few pages, then you're not working with an experienced professional.
"What will you do to my manuscript?"
I will edit it, which means you will receive a document filled with in-line corrections and revisions and margin comments. I will expect you, the author, to review every single edit and comment and then to: 1) accept it, 2) reject it, or 3) decide that the revision is needed, but that you can revise it better--and then do so.
I never expect a client to blindly accept all edits made to his or her manuscript.
"Do you think it'll be ready after it's edited?"
I think it will require at least two rounds of editing. The first round always results in revisions and rewriting. Sometimes, that's more extensive than others. Regardless, after revising, the revised manuscript will need a second review and you should expect that further edits will be made.
It might not require a third round. That's up to you.
"How long do you think it will take?"
For that manuscript, approximately 100,000 words, expect each round of editing to take four to six weeks. I'll try to work quickly so you get it sooner rather than later, but experience tells me that's about how long it will take.
"I won't be ready for another two or three months. Is that okay?"
That's the beauty of freelancing: my schedule is flexible and can adapt to a constantly shifting workload. Rest assured, I'm not going anywhere and will be here when you're ready.
"So, when we're finished, my book will be marketable and ready to publish?"
That's the goal. I will do everything I can to help you achieve that goal.
"Have you worked in my genre before?"
In this case, yes. With regard to fiction, I've worked in romance, fantasy, science fiction. thriller/suspense, mystery, young adult, and children's literature. With regard to nonfiction, I've worked with motivational and inspirational books as well as a variety of business-oriented content from business guides to blogs to luxury lifestyle magazines. I do not specialize in any one genre or subject; I specialize in helping storytellers tell their stories effectively.
This is just a taste of what it's like to work with me. You'll get candor. I don't beat around the bush and I won't mislead you.
Are you ready for an editor?