Thursday, April 14, 2016


Years ago, the gardening bug bit me. I devoured plant books, magazines, and garden tags. After scorching some poor Hostas in the full sun, I learned what should be planted where.

If we hadn't moved to the country, maybe I'd be a Master Gardener now instead of an author. Out in the country the deer eat everything. My love affair with gardening came to screeching halt.

Now I focus my attention on indoor plants. Even my dead Grandmother would appreciate my African Violets. Everyone thinks I have a green thumb, when in reality I just chuck out the crappy plants. If they are wimpy and require too much coddling, out they go.

And this is how editing a manuscript reminds me of tending plants.

Dead leaves, branches, and limbs need to be removed to improve the overall health of the plant. The same can be said of cutting out words, phrases, or even whole scenes so that the book as a whole can fly.

Don't cut the life out of your manuscript. Just cut out the fluff and fat. Don't let your story take over, either. Don't be scared of it. Make it behave.

Years ago, I wrote my first full-length novel--a fairy tale saga with a word count of 140,000 (that's super full-length, right?). Besides the book being way too long, so were my sentences, paragraphs, and chapters.

So what did I do? Just give up?
No way.
That was just the beginning.

After consulting a professional editor, I cut out the outer story, joined a critique group to help my prose, and read books and blogs and articles galore.

Then I wrote something else. Something completely different.
By then my writing had transformed. I learned how and when to use commas. My chapter length varied from short to medium. Any sentences that strayed longer than necessary got chopped.

Instead of the water and sunlight needs of plants, I researched which candles should be used during spells to raise the dead or to end winter. I learned about the Blood Moon and the Book of Shadows.

I carefully tended the story, adding details and removing adverbs. I found a small beta reader group to help me transform my early manuscript into what became known as:

A happy ending came to both books, actually, because after years of sitting dormant, I once again picked up my fairy tale. The first time, I simply read it through. I still loved the story, but there was so much work to do reworking the manuscript.

But I'm not afraid of a work, and when it was ready I found a publisher for An Occasionally Grim Fairy Tale (to be released in 2016).

And they lived happily ever after... 

About the Author - Ann M. Noser

Growing up an only child, I learned to entertain myself. During summer vacations, my greatest form of exercise consisted of turning the pages of a book. Now I'm all grown up and full of stories half-written in my head. I have to write them down so I can find out what happens next.

Contact info/how to find me:

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