Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Editor Wanted

March 28th, 2014 • by Karen A. Chase • 3 Comments


Last week a freelance editor who I have been working with for over a year, delivered bad news. She could no longer work with me because of larger projects with tight deadlines from publishers. I was nearing the end of editing, expecting a review of my rewrites on the first 50-100 pages only. It felt like I was getting divorced right before retirement.

I don’t blame her–the work was better I am sure. But now the two weeks I had scheduled for her review, had become a week of interviewing new editors. Most asked to see the first 20–50 pages to provide estimates, and to gauge the quality. (They are all developmental editors looking for plot, characters development, POV, etc.). So I sent it and moped around waiting.

Then a funny thing happened.

The responses from the new editors–all of them entirely unfamiliar with my writing or story–came in. Glowing. One said she was hooked from the beginning of chapter one. Another replied, “I think your premise is ingenious, and your execution–from what I’ve seen so far–is remarkable. You are a dedicated, diligent, and detailed writer.”

I don’t say all this to brag (okay, maybe a teeny bit). I say this, because that setback  proved to be one of the best things for me.

Now I understand what my characters experience. Sometimes our stories take us to unexpected places. Perhaps it is through this adventure we find out who we truly are, and where we are going. Door closed, window opened.

Ready, Set, Read…

March 14th, 2014 • by Karen A. Chase • No Comments


On March 21st, a new speed-reading app could help you read 1000 words/minute. Spritz allows your eyes to stay stationary, while the words stream one at a time, just slightly left of center. The sample app in an online article took me from reading 100 words a minute (slower than I normally read) to 500 words a minute in just a few seconds, with remarkable comprehension. Spritz has significant science about how we read behind the technology, but let’s talk about this from the reader and author perspective.

Readers: The trouble with being human is having one pair of eyes and too many books. When I add in research for historical novels, my pleasure reading drops considerably. I love paper books. I have a Kindle. I read online. The words are more important than the vehicle. If this new vehicle can help me read War & Peace (over 300,000 words) in about 5 hours, I say is buckle up and let’s go.

Authors: Does this add extra burden to authors to produce books at a faster rate, if readers can plow through them at a faster rate? Perhaps. If readers can tell in the first 50 pages whether a novel is good or not, they’ll decide to soldier on through War and Peace in fewer than 10 seconds. Do I wish there was a write-faster app? Youbetchya. But for now, authors be strong. This app isn’t permission to produce quantity over quality. Story trumps speed, and soon readers will learn that faster than ever before.

Dealing with Doubt

February 28th, 2014 • by Karen A. Chase • 2 Comments
This painting by Henrietta Rae is actually called "Doubts." There he is behind her, that rascal.

This painting by Henrietta Rae is actually called “Doubts.” There he is sneaking up behind her, that good-for-nothing rascal.

Doubt is a natural thing for authors–for just about any profession. So I’m sharing a method to get rid of it. Personification.

Doubt. He’s a cold fish in a dusty old striped suit, with a ridiculous hat over a sharp nose. Sometimes he slips in a door I thought I’d shut behind me and slithers into a chair. He sniffs at me, clearly unimpressed with my work and determination.

“Really?” he says, “Are you sure you can do this?” His British accent sounds contrived.

I nod and mumble, “Go away. You’re not helping.”

“Ah, so you aren’t quite certain,” he raises a thin eyebrow. He smells stale, but the pompous manner in which he crosses one leg over the other gives the impression he thinks otherwise.

I try to reason away my uncertainty, “It’s not just me, you know. Even famous writers wonder if… If…”

“If today they’ll discover you’re a fraud?”

I hate it when he’s eloquent on days I’m not. I hate the way he picks the dirt from beneath his nails and flicks it to the floor. As if that bit of dirt is me.

Doubt is about to speak again when I hear a woman say, “Doubt can make you work harder. But he’s destructive. Unhelpful. He can’t stay.”

Gumption is here! That chick is kick-ass, and she empowers me. I point to the door, “Get out, Doubt! I’ve work to do.”

As Doubt slinks away, Gumption winks at me, “You’ve got this.” Yes. I do.