Friday, February 17, 2012

Guest Blogger: Editing Jennifer Moody "Start Off With a BANG!"

Start Off With a BANG!
I read a book recently that an Author asked me to read. I was about 40 pages into it and asked my husband if he would shoot me so I wouldn’t have to finish the book. Seriously … it was dropping dead, full of unnecessary details, going nowhere, and boring me to death. But I HAD to finish it—I was ASKED to read it, by this Author who’s a super nice person. I prayed that it would get better because I did NOT want to dodge the question if she later asked me what I thought of it.

Jen’s Little Side Note: There’s a reason I’m not a Book Reviewer. When I see negative reviews I cringe, especially when they’re not constructive. As a reader I can appreciate the honesty. Several times a block of bad reviews has saved me from wasting my time on a poorly written book. However, as a Writer, I feel for the Author on the receiving end. When I’m editing a book, it’s a different angle than reviewing. Often the book is still in progress, but even if it’s complete I am still in the position of giving direction with suggestions, constructive criticism, restructuring ideas, etc. With a review it’s just… What’d ya think? (Umm…)

Back to my story… I’m happy to report that this book DID get better. Somewhere around page 60 it’s like the Author found their groove and the story started coming together and getting interesting. I kept reading. And I’m SO glad I did because the story really was quite good. However, if it hadn’t been for the connection I have with the Author, I would have dropped that book like a bug. I’m fickle like that.

So it’s something to keep in mind—starting off with a bang—because if your reader is yawning 40 pages in, and they have a dozen other books on their e-reader waiting patiently, it’s very tempting to hit the “home” button and pick another one to entertain their mind.

If you’re a Writer currently working on a novel, take a good look at your beginning (or better yet, have someone else do it)… Is there a bang? A “hook” that grabs the reader and makes them turn the pages to find out what’s next? If not, consider revising it. I’m sure there are Writers reading this and thinking, “Uggggh… I’ve rewritten my novel a hundred times already!” …I know, I know, I’ve been there. And you DO have to get to a point where your work, like any piece of art, is DONE. Just make sure you’re at that point, or… what’s the point?

Jennifer Moody is a Professional Editor and the Owner of MoodyEdits. To learn more about Jen, visit her website at You might enjoy her take on living a happy life, on her blog “Editing My Life One Day at a Time” at And if you wanted to be nice, you could like her Facebook page at J