Monday, April 18, 2016

P is for Professional Edit

Ana delights in the professional ten-page edit she won after attending an online workshop.

The workshop was 'Horses for Fiction Writers' and was designed for authors who feature horses as setting or characters. 

I've lived on a farm for forty years and know lots about cows and chickens, haying and gardening. We had a wonderful Palomino mare named Charmin. She was the best kind of horse, one that never moved a hoof when toddlers hugged her legs. 

My daughters spent hours riding. (My son preferred tractors.) The girls raced Charmin up and down our long country driveway, but I watched from the barn, garden, clothesline or kitchen. When the children went off to college, Charmin hung out with the cows, becoming, as she aged, a nanny for calves on pasture. She grew dreamy (senile?) and died in her sleep at the age of thirty-seven.

So I never was an equestrian. I knew enough to think I could write a romance set on a ranch, but not enough to write it right. So this class was perfect for me. And when the instructor announced she'd pulled my name from a hat, I was thrilled.

I received her critique yesterday morning and dove eagerly into the comments. The instructor improved a scene where a gelding slips on wet sod and wrenches its ankle, setting up a scene where the hero and heroine have to ride double. The biggest boo-boo I made was to imagine that when the hero and heroine ride double, the heroine sat in front. That doesn't happen in real life unless the two are riding bareback. Western saddles do not afford enough room for two adults. Either the hero or the heroine has to sit behind the saddle on the horse's rump. 

This correction meant I needed to rewrite much of the scene. The hero doesn't lift her into the saddle like a princess. He mounts first, kicks his boot out of the stirrup, and reaches down. She begrudgingly takes his hand, puts her foot into the stirrup and mounts by throwing her other leg over the horse's rump and sitting. 

As the scene progresses, she can't fall forward when the hero's horse gets spooked. She has to fall sideways, which is easier when you consider that the back end of a horse rises and dips with its gait, so she's always in swaying motion. The hero will still get to save her from falling and being trampled. He'll reach back with his already proven quick reflexes, hook her waist with his hand and then draw her onto his lap. This is a great place for her to land, given the sparks that both are denying.  

The instructor has offered to review the rewritten scene and I'm about to send it to her. She's also agreed to do an edit when I type 'The End.' 

I'm pumped!


  1. Wow! What a wonderful thing to have won. Congratulations.

  2. That's great, Ana! It's so beneficial finding a good editor. Wishing you much luck with the manuscript.

  3. Expert advice on a specialised subject like this is invaluable.

  4. It's lovely when things fall into place out of the blue.

  5. What a great prize! It sounds like you already took her suggestions to heart and made some good changes that will strengthen your story.

    And how nice that she'll take a few other looks for you. You definitely hit the jackpot on this one! :)