As I work through my latest draft, I’m finding that most revisions suggested by my editor fall into just a few categories:

This doesn’t mean getting microscopic or drowning in minutia. Whatever I include must be relevant. In the example below, from my book, JURATA’S DAUGHTER, I’ve changed the description of thunderclouds to remind the reader of their connection to the god of storms and his lightning bolts.
Old version: Thunderclouds hung dark and grim over the courtyard.
New version: Thunderclouds loomed over the courtyard, pierced by jagged streaks of light.

Keep in mind that while sensory descriptions are important, action and dialogue (inner as well as outer) are details necessary to deepen our understanding of characters and enrich the overall storyline.

Action is followed by reaction, not the reverse.
Old version: Nyada cried out at the blood oozing from the Elder’s forehead. “Gods help us, she’s dead!”
New version: Nyada smoothed back the strands of hair hanging over Sister Saule’s forehead. Her fingers came away smeared with blood. “Gods help us, she’s dead!”

Even a well-structured story can suffer from events happening too fast, without a proper buildup. To slow down, it helps to focus on individual scenes. Each one has a purpose and needs to be developed fully. Sandra Scofield’s THE SCENE BOOK (link below) is the best book I’ve found for advice on crafting scenes with the basic elements: event/emotion, function, structure, pulse.

I was familiar with this concept, but composing a GMC chart for every character gave me clarity and insight. With a GMC printout to guide me, I’m less likely to have a character speak or act in ways that don’t ring true—no more “out of character” moments. More importantly, with GMC, your characters should emerge from the pages fully-fleshed and not  caricatures. My editor recommended Debra Dixon’s excellent book, GOAL, MOTIVATION & CONFLICT (link below), and I can’t thank her enough. It’s now available in digital format.

There you have it. Four ways to strengthen revisions. I hope you find them useful.


Links to books mentioned:

Sandra Scofield, THE SCENE BOOK





Are You Giving Up Your Rights to a Print Edition?

Publishers Weekly just ran an article about contracts and book formats that affects anyone looking for a traditional deal.

Agents (most speaking anonymously) are concerned that contracts will soon come with clauses that make no guarantee on format. In fact, according to agent and e-book publisher Richard Curtis, that’s already the case with big houses that are releasing e-originals.

For a new author, this can hit hard. Traditional publishing royalties are generally higher for print as opposed to e-books. That means less money for you.

But unless your contract stipulates otherwise, a publisher can test a digital version of your book before deciding if it’s worth investing in print.

Since I expect to be going the indie route, this isn’t a big issue for me. However, if I were looking for an agent, it would be huge. Why sign away my rights when distribution may be limited?

What are your thoughts? Would you sign a contract that doesn’t guarantee a hardcover or paperback edition?

5 Great Books for Indie Authors

As I begin my journey towards indie publishing, I’ve been buying books aimed at newbies.

Click on the links at end of each synopsis and you’ll be taken to, where you can check out the Table of Contents for each book and then decide which one (or more) fits your needs the best.




I love that Daphne has included a workbook you can print out to keep track of things. Her guidance on market research is spot on. She takes you through the KDP process on Amazon, including how to set up your Author Central profile, Amazon product page, and much more. She notes how Scrivener users can export their books directly into the Kindle format, so there are no extra steps, a huge relief to anyone dismayed about formatting. A fantastic resource.

The Self-Publishing Toolkit



2.  SELF-PRINTED, The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing

Catherine guides you through the process, from building an online platform, to formatting (for non-Scrivener users) and publishing e-books and paperbacks, as well as how to sell your self-published work. You’ll enjoy Catherine’s wit along the way.





It’s hard to miss Joanna, she’s a powerful presence on social media and has a wonderfully helpful blog,The Creative Penn. Her book focuses solely on marketing and it’s full of time-tested strategies she’s used with her own books. I especially enjoyed her section on Amazon reviewers.

How to Market a Book



4. Let’s Get Digital

David is passionate about authors pursuing the e-book route and the first part of his book covers the digital “revolution” and how it’s changed the publishing landscape forever. He covers the basics succinctly, and has excellent advice on why you need to invest in a good editor and book cover designer. He also includes thirty-three success stories to inspire you.

Let’s Get Digital



5. The Frugal Book Promoter

Carolyn is a public relations pro who knows the ins and outs of getting publicity on the cheap. She addresses common worries, takes you through the basics, and has a very thorough section on how to put together a media kit.

The Frugal Book Promoter