Questions from a tongue-tied author

Our theme for this week is what are the first three questions we would ask our favorite author if we were able to meet with them. My all-time favorite author is Jane Austen and I would have a very different set of questions for her than for my favorite contemporary authors. The first one for her would be: How in the world do you revise with pen and ink and handwritten manuscripts. I handwrite a lot of my first drafts, but I can also print them out and make revisions, a much easier process.

If I were to meet one of my favorite contemporary authors, my questions would center on their editing processes. (Assuming I would be able to do more than stare at them in awe.) I am in the middle of the editing process with two different manuscripts with two publishing houses. They have completely different editing styles. Because of the style of one house, I have hit the ‘I hate this manuscript and never want to see it again’ stage much earlier in the process. (Working on that manuscript is why this post is going up so late.) I would ask the author if they ever hated a book and how they continued to work on it during that process. My next question would be related to marketing of the same book if it had been radically altered from their original tone and style.

My questions might be different at another point in this process, but those are the writer/mentor questions I’m struggling with now.

About Joselyn

SAHM writing romance with at a case of the giggles. Former librarian. Avid reader. Runner.
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5 Responses to Questions from a tongue-tied author

  1. I used to write in longhand;I never could type decently on a typewriter. We got an electronic one and I did better, but I wasn’t writing then.I do so well write at my PC that I know that I would never have had the nerve to even start a novel by hand, (poems, short stories, yeah, still do, and notes). I am in awe of those who came before, quill in hand.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. jeff7salter says:

    I know what you mean about editing. When I was performing major surgery on a 165,000 word manuscript — trying to whittle it down to 110,000 words so I could submit it — I alternated between grieving and just giving up altogether. It felt like I cut out the heart of my story.
    And in another example — at the direction of the publisher’s primary editor — I was compelled to strip away over 20,000 words. Sometimes entire chapters and often complete scenes. It was too painful to describe.
    As for the pre-computer days — I’m old enough to remember carbon paper copies and re-typing manuscripts endlessly. The finished copy had to be perfect… and if there was a single error, you often had to do that page over. Lord help you if your mistake somehow affected the subsequent pages of that chapter.
    My father — an unpublished novelist and playwright, though he did publish some of his poetry — would type his stuff over and over. On a manual typewriter, no less.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. elainecsc2013 says:

    I don’t know how anyone can use pen and paper to write. I’d never have written anything without my computer.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jeff7salter says:

      some of my best poetry was composed on an old tiny, portable, manual typewriter — when I was stationed overseas. Thule Air Base in N.W. Greenland (1972-73).


  4. Editing is such a difficult and hard process, especially if you come across your editor wanting to make drastic changes which cause you to feel like it isn’t really your story any more.

    Liked by 1 person

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