How Editing Can Make or Break Your Book Explained by Bernice Fischer AUGUST 23, 2015
Bernice Fischer is an author hailing from South Africa who was virtually born into the world of literature and has recently published her first novel, Jeff Madison and the Shimmers of Drakemere , a work largely acclaimed as brilliant and promising.
When most aspiring authors think of writing their first book they are extremely focused on the writing itself. How should they get started, develop characters, create the setting, describe appearances... and so on and so forth. While learning about the process of writing is certainly important in the creation of a novel (after all, very few of us can make an enthralling story with instincts alone), there is much more to it. As a matter of fact, what comes after you've finished writing will take up a lot more time and effort than you imagined.
Though book editors aren't exactly heralded as heroes by most readers, they play a role equally important to the author's in shaping the final product. Frankly, I could go on and on all day about how important editing is, but I believe it can be far better explained by author Bernice Fischer, as she did in an e-mail exchange:
Bernice Fischer says:
“You asked how I managed get my book so polished and complete –well… I would love to say that I am brilliant… but I can’t - I used two awesome editors.
The first one is James Thayer from Seattle. His 14th book will be published next year and it has been noted by Clive Cussler that James is a “master storyteller”. He is brilliant, expensive, but brilliant. He helped me with line editing throughout the book –of name just a few issues: show rather than tell, he pointed out where to remind the reader on what the characters looks like, descriptions etc. No, he did not do the work for me but he “opened up” my mind to think differently and to see a picture and then to transcribe that picture into words. It was a lot of work but well worth it. I feel that I have learnt a lot from James during the whole process (he also teaches writing at the University of Washington), he never puts the author down but builds the writer up, points out the strengths and how to grow it and also points out weaker areas and how to fix and work through it.”
And so as we can see, a good editor will read your book from the cover page to the very last word and concentrate their efforts on making it more pleasurable and accessible to the reader. On a certain level, editors can be described as the middlemen (or middlewomen, of course) between the author and the reader, helping the former cater to the latter. On another level, they are teachers who try to elevate writers, their students, as high as they possibly can. But even that is only a part of the editing process, as Fischer further explains:
“Then due to the publishing process I was in… it was insisted that another editor also had a quick read through to make sure that all was in order. I was introduced to Maya Fowler-Sutherland who now lives in Canada. She was just WOW!
She polished the manuscript until I had to wear sunglasses to read it (okay, yes… I did most of the work but she held my hand all the way, I sound like a baby but in the writing world… I am). She chopped up the chapters and requested scenes to be added in various places to make the story flow. She tweaked and again pointed out parts where I could “show” some more.
She approached the book in a totally different way. She was also brutal when it came to deleting scenes… if they did nothing for the story and I could not provide a good enough argument as to why they had to stay –then they had to go. I cried as I cut but I knew that she was right. (after the book was done –I have NO REGRETS about the deleted scenes… did not even miss them).
This was my first book –I could not have done it without them. Book 2 in the series has just been sent to James, there after it will go to Maya –there is just no other way for me. I am dying to know from James if I have made progress since he edited my first book”
Editing isn't just about taking a ready product and smoothing it out... rather, it's like taking a raw and jagged sculpture to work it over until it becomes presentable to the rest of the world. After all, we would do well to remember that the writings we intend to publish need be approached differently than the ones we do for ourselves. It's certainly not a part of the process you can afford to skip over...as a matter of fact, the more of your time and resources you dedicate to it, the more likely you'll be to make a name for yourself in the vast world of literature.
David Ben Efraim, Sunday, August 23, 2015
Read more of this interview.
INTERVIEW MIT BERNICE FISCHER by Hatem Tubaileh. 15th January 2016
Bernice Fischer is a fantasy author and is already working on the third volume of her fantasy series about Jeff Madison. The first volume has already been published as an audio book, and was nominated for the 2015 Voice Arts™ Awards 2015th.
Hatem Tubaileh.: Dear Mrs. Fischer, first of all, it's great that you took the time for this interview. Mrs Fischer, you write books. What does it mean for you and what role does it in your life?
Bernice Fischer.: I love to tell stories and I love that I am able to harness my imagination and project what I see into a novel. I love the fact that my stories are available worldwide for everyone to read and enjoy.
H.T.: Since when do you write? How did you recognize that writing belong to you?
B.F.: As a child, I grew up living in a family of avid bookworms. One day my older brother and sister introduced me to the world of fantasy; it all started with Enid Blyton’s “The Enchanted Forest” and “The Faraway Tree”.
My aim was to create my own fantasy world with words and transport the reader on a mad, wonderful, funny adventure full of magic, dragons, warriors, witches and other wonderful creatures.
One night…. a warrior peaked at me in a dream and my story started to unfold. My characters sprang to life and took me on a wild adventure.
H.T.: You have a job in an agency for booking hotel trains. How do you combine your job with the writing? Is writing a kind of protection from your everyday life?
B.F.: I try and spend mornings in the office and then work on my writing in the afternoon, however, as it sometimes happen in life, the best of plans do not always work out. If I can’t work on my novel during the day then I write in the evenings. I try and write every single day.
H.T.: Mrs Fischer if you have written a book to the end, what is the feeling? How does it feel when wrote the last words of the last chapter?
B.F.: The feeling is of elation and intense pride when you sit back after the last change is saved and you can say with a sigh... „It‘s finished.“ It’s overwhelming when you realise how the book had changed and grown in depth and size from conception to finished.
H.T.: September 2014 you have published your first book: "Jeff Madison and the Shimmers of Drakmere". The book is available as an eBook in various stores and has already been translated into several languages. Which is the target market of your books?
B.F.: The target market is aimed towards young adult, however many of my readers are adults. I think that book 1 is suitable for avanced readers from the age of 8 years old upwards. I feel it’s important to give “life lessons” within my story such as loyalty, honesty and progressing my characters through situations that the reader may relate to in some way.
H.T.: Why have you chosen a fantasy story? What fascinates you about Fantasy?
B.F.: I believe that the best stories happen in books that allow you to enter a world of fantasy. Just a touch of imagination is needed to colour the reality of today. I love that you can experience the impossible.
H.T.: Which genres do you read beside fantasy? Is Fantasy necessarily your main genre or have completely different favorites?
B.F.: I read all kinds of genres, but I think my favourite stems from fantasy such as Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien.
H.T.: Recently, in December 2015, Volume 2 has been released and the adventure with Jeff go further. What awaits the reader new?
B.F.: I am currently working on book 3 of the Jeff Madison series which is scheduled for release during the latter part of 2016. Book 2 is currently been translated into German and is scheduled for publication by September 2016. The French translation for both books is in progress. The English audio for book 2 is underway with Cedar House Productions in Seattle.
H.T.: How many books with Jeff Madison can we expect? Are more volumes planned?
B.F.: Jeff Madison started out as a three book series however as the characters grew, so the fantasy world of Drakmere broadened. The series is currently unlimited which my characters are very excited about as they get to tell about their adventures.
H.T.: Would you call the Jeff Madison series as your life's work? Can we also expect other stories?
B.F.: I dont think I can call the Jeff Madison series as my life’s work however I am concentrated with this series only... for the moment. I do have plans to write other stories down the line but right now... Jeff Madison is keeping me very busy.
H.T.: Mrs Fischer, what do you do if you are not writing or working? Do you have any other hobbies?
B.F.: When I am not working or writing then I am reading. I sometimes take breaks to drive my husband a little crazy... I am quite good at that.
H.T.: Mrs Fischer, many thanks for the interview. We wish you furthermore success with writing and that you bring the readers closer to the fantastic world!