Monday, November 17, 2014

Publishing Fairyeater - update

hey FFFers - it's been a while since I posted about the process. Lots going on. Sometimes, the process doesn't go smoothly, and that's happened to me. We all know we'll go through the editing process, right? I expect and even look forward to making my story better for the reader. Every editor has a personal preference on how they'd like the books they publish to read/look. Bigger houses have more than one editor, so you can change editors if things aren't working smoothly. Small houses usually have only one editor. So, if an author and editor in a small publishing house don't agree, hard decisions have to be made.

This has happened to me. I started the editing process, even though I didn't care for what the editor asked me to do; specifically, take out pretty much every dialog tag. And the tags I left in could not be "said." I like using said because it's invisible. It doesn't slow down the action. It's simple. I've taught at conferences and I teach my editing clients to use said, in most cases, especially when writing for children. But my editor didn't care for it, so I worked to eliminate as many dialog tags as possible. It was hard at first, but I got the hang of it, and I think I did a pretty good job. I tightened sentences, fixed the timeline, and changed a major plot line. That was the first round of edits.

For the second round of edits, my editor asked me to read a book about using Deep POV, so I could change the style of my writing to what she liked. Doing this would change my voice, so I declined. And I used the clause in the contract to terminate things. My editor said the changes she asked for were "industry standard." I'm not sure what that means, as I'm reading books in the industry (Christian publishing) and I see different approaches in different books.

This brings up the question of voice. We've talked about voice in the past, but it's been a while, so I think it's probably a good time to discuss it again. Some authors are willing to change their style (and their voice) according to what the editor wants. Nothing wrong with that. It's a personal decision. I've worked hard to find and develop my voice and I want to keep it. God gave it to me, after all. I remember telling our pastor several years ago that other people can teach Sunday school, sing in the choir, sit on the missions board, etc. but no one can write what God has called me to write. So, I'm pulling back and regrouping for the time being, and I'm starting to work with a mentor in January to see what I can do with the story and pray about what my options are.

So, what do you think about voice? How important is your voice? Are you willing to change your voice to be published? Let's talk!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Publishing Fairyeater - the process, part two

I've been working on the first set of revisions for over a week. Just turned them this morning. Revisions are tough. If you've never been through the editing process, it can feel very personal. But, really, it's not. It's always an editor's goal to help make your book the best it can be. That's always my goal when I do edits on someone else's project.

We all know our stories are our babies. We pour so much of ourselves in each character and storyline. We live in that world for a good part of our lives. In fact, Terry Brooks said in his book, Sometimes, the Magic Works, that authors are not all there. Because at all times, part of our brain is in whatever world we're working on. That's sure true for me. No matter what I'm doing, part of my brain is living and breathing and working in the story world of my novel. It's kinda cool, and nonwriters just don't get it.

When an editor comes into the picture and starts messing around, it can be jolting. The thing we all have to remember is to remain teachable and open minded. Not always easy. For me, Fairyeater has been part of my life for almost 8 years. I know the characters like I know my best friends. I've lived in their world, ate their food, wore their clothing, and had conversations with them. But sometimes, that makes me too close to see where I've assumed the reader also knows the characters and the world like I do. I need a fresh pair of eyes to see the places where there are plot holes or things that aren't clearly explained. This is where a good editor comes in.

Something you also need to know is that you can talk to your editor. You don't have to accept every suggestion just the way he or she makes it. If you like the suggestion, put it in your own voice. If you have a good reason for not wanting to make that plot change, let your editor know. Between the two of you, you'll come up with the best thing for you story.

Another thing to work out with your editor is the title for your story. A title needs to be eye catching, easy to remember, and give some sort of idea about the story. My working title for almost 8 years has been Fairyeater. It's a cool title! But it's not what the story is really about. We've kicked some ideas around, and I'm waiting to see what the final outcome is, but I like this: The Fairy Guardian Chronicles: Akeela and the Quest for the Fairystone. I've started the prequel, and I have the germ of an idea for a sequel, so a nice set of three would be under the same series title.

Next, I'll talk about the cover design. Most authors don't have a lot of input on the cover, but I've been blessed to be part of the process. Stay tuned!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Publishing Fairyeater: The Process, Part One

Okay, so it's September and I want to get back to blogging regularly again. I've missed the interaction and hope everyone will get back into the swing of talking about fantasy writing with me again.

First, life has been hectic and busy. My youngest daughter, Mary, is back in college for her senior year.  Woo Hoo! Anna continues to enjoy her day program. My grandson started Kindergarten this year and my granddaughter is in 3rd grade. No more babysitting on a regular basis for me. This opens up my schedule a bit, which I'm going to need because I'll be working on editing my novel and starting to do some marketing.

I have a release date of Feb. 17, 2015. That's not too far away and I'm pretty excited, and even a little nervous. What if everyone hates my book? What if everyone loves my book? It's kind of funny, but these things run through your head when you have a book coming out.

As it often happens, an editor will change the working title of your book. I thought Fairyeater was a fantastic title, and so it is.  It's memorable, simple, and a bit startling. However, it doesn't really reflect what the book is about. So, my editor suggested Quest for the Fairystone. It's not as startling, but it does tell you a little of the storyline. I ran it past my writers group and they like it. One friend suggested a series title of The Fairyeater Chronicles, with the first novel being Quest for the Fairystone.  I love that idea, so I sent it to my editor. Am waiting to hear if she likes it. I think it will work because I'm already writing the prequel and plan to call that one Rise of the Fairy Guardian.

We're also talking about cover designs. As you know, a weak cover can kill book sales, especially in fantasy. My suggestion is a circle of runes with the Fairystone in the middle because Akeela's birthmark is a circle of runes and she has to place the pieces of the Fairystone in the middle. I googled rune alphabets and found some really cool ones. Sent them to my editor and am hoping she'll like the idea. I'll keep you posted!

So, that's what I have for you this week. What's up with everyone?  Anyone have any news to share? Let's start talking again.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


hey FFFers!  I'm excited to announce my fantasy novel, Fairyeater, is going to be published! I signed the contract on Friday with Hope Springs Books.  Sooooo excited and still pinching myself. I'll keep you posted on details as they come.

I know I posted that I've moved this blog to my website, but I think I can work it out to stay here. I like the format and the colors, not to mention the fabulous header my friend, Kim Sponaugle, drew for me. (see her info in the sidebar)

Hope to get back to blogging again on a regular basis in September!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I've moved to a new place

hey FFFers - I've decided to start blogging about writing inspirational fantasy on my website:

I can post pictures there, as well as post new topics, much easier than here.  I'll leave this blog up for anyone who wants to check out the archives.

Hope to see you at my new place!

pam <><

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Making A Timeline

Hey FFFers - I've been quiet on the blogging front because I've been working with my agent, Sally, on revisions of Fairyeater. I've learned something big, which I should have known, but for some reason, didn't. MAKE A TIMELINE before you start to write. It would have saved me lots of time and effort if I had done that. So, I'm thankful to have Sally with her good eye and excellent editing. I started revising in January and finished up in April. I not only revised the content, but rearranged the order of the beginning of the story, which was extensive. I should have blogged while I was working, but I was so deep into it, I simply didn't think of it. I'm sorry for that.

There are some different ways to make a timeline. Some authors use index cards so they can switch things up, if needed. Some use a spreadsheet. Some simple write it out. Here's a great article that may help you:

I plan to see if I can improve my timeline before I continue working on my new fantasy novel, the prequel to Fairyeater.  I'm calling it Fairystone and I have the first two chapters done.

I'm hoping to blog more often about the process, starting with a mentoring intensive weekend I spent a few weeks ago.  I learned a lot - the first thing is that writing a novel is harder than people realize. At least, if you want to make it excellent. I hope you'll hang in there with me and share what you're doing and how you're making out.

I'll also report on the Realm Makers Conference, which is the end of this month.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Realm Makers Conference

The Realm Makers Conference is coming!  Mark your calendars now - May 30-31 at Villanova University, PA.  I have an interview with the founder, Becky Minor. For even more information, see the website:

Where did the idea for Realm Makers come from?

Realm Makers grew out of the rising sentiment among Christian speculative fiction authors that we don’t quite fit on either side of the religious market or secular market fence. We needed a place of our own to relax and be ourselves, whether that involves geeking out over the latest season of Doctor Who or working out the nuances of a costume. The idea of offering a full two days where every class applied to the speculative fiction writer grabbed me by the throat a couple years ago and insisted to be brought to life.
 How did you develop this from an idea into a full-fledged conference?
 Mostly by doing the thing in life that terrifies me most . . . asking other people to jump on board. Having faculty people want to hear is a huge part of enticing attendees to join us, so making connections was the first step. Splickety Magazine editor Ben Erlichman is the king of networking, so his help has been invaluable in initiating those conversations. From there, it was just a matter of analyzing other conferences I’ve been to and figuring out the most efficient way to imitate those events.

Does Realm Makers have a mission statement? If so, what is it?

 Realm Makers strives to provide a faith-friendly symposium for writers and artists who focus their creative efforts on science fiction, fantasy, and all their sub-genres. Whether artists wish to gear their content for the inspirational or secular marketplace, they have a place at Realm Makers.

What makes Realm Makers stand apart from other conferences for writers who are Christian?

 The full-conference focus on speculative fiction as a genre is the key factor that differentiates Realm Makers from other Christian conferences. While we do offer some classes on general writing craft, I’m convinced that nowhere else could you spend two days drinking in content that embraces geekdom with one arm and a walk of faith with the other. Realm Makers is a place where an author can talk about his work and about his faith, and the folks at his lunch table will “get” what he loves. (Because let’s face it, many of us have sat at that “mixed genre” conference lunch table and gotten some wide-eyed looks when we explain what we write.)

How will Realm Makers 2014 differ from the first Realm Makers?

Much of the conference will have a similar feel and approach to the first year. We have a powerful faculty with some returning faces and some newcomers. As for what’s changed, we have added a cool “early bird” session that will occur on Thursday night, which involves snacks, public critique, and prizes. So our general approach is to continue to offer what worked well last year and to tighten the areas that were a little loosey-goosey. We’re learning as we go.

What can attendees expect from Realm Makers this year?

This year, attendees can expect to meet 60-100 cool folks who love what they love (We’re hoping for the sell-out at 100), to enjoy first rate facilities at Villanova University, and to hear engaging experts in many areas of writing they might not find at other Christian writers conferences. We’ll also repeat our Friday night awards dinner where costumes are encouraged but not required.

What are the benefits from attending a conference like this?

Learning and building relationships are by far the top two benefits of attendance. For authors looking for homes for their manuscripts, we also have a growing list of editors and agents who will be listening to pitches during the conference, so attending could very well advance some of those writers toward landing that contract. It’s a well-known fact that authors who meet editors at conferences have a much better chance at publication/representation than those who submit blind queries.

What kinds of workshops are in the works for 2014?


The 2014 schedule will include workshops and panel discussions on

  • the use of science in fantasy
  • what it’s like to be wounded or to have to wound someone else
  • the process of developing graphic novels
  • flash fiction
  • horror
  • networking
  • the role of an agent
  • the inner workings of a publishing house
  • creating story-world languages
  • and more still in development!

Are you going to have a costume banquet and book signing again this year?

Ooops! Got ahead of you on this one, didn’t I? Yes, we are still planning the costumes-encouraged dinner on Friday, though people should definitely feel at ease coming in something from their regular wardrobe. We get that cosplay isn’t for everyone. The programming for Saturday night is still in development.

Do you have any tips for attendees?

First and foremost—even if something makes you feel like you’re going to die of anxiety, give it a go…whether it’s talking to an author or speaker in the hallway, or sitting at a table full of people you don’t know, or trying out flash fiction even though you can’t say “Hello” in less than 2500 words. Judging by last year’s conference attendance, Realm Makers is a great place to take some chances and reap the rewards, whether personal or professional. So I guess my other piece of advice is “Don’t miss it!”" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway