Sunday, November 27, 2016
The Importance of a Good Editor - Guest Post by Carl Schmidt
Book: Dead Down East
Author: Carl Schmidt
Genre: Mystery, Humor
Release dates: Kindle: 25 May, 2016; Paperback: 26 June, 2016
Length: 241 pages
ASIN: ISBN-10: 1533502188
Dead Down East, a fictional murder mystery, is both detective noir and smart screwball comedy rolled into one. Jesse Thorpe, a young private investigator operating out of Augusta, Maine, receives a mysterious phone call from a former client, Cynthia Dumais. She begs to be rescued from an island south of Brunswick, within a mile of where William Lavoilette, the governor of Maine, was assassinated the night before. She insists that her life is in danger, but is unwilling to provide any further information. Reluctantly, Jesse goes to fetch her.
Within a week, Jesse has three separate clients, each with his, or her, own desperate need to have the murder solved. He assembles a motley team of compadres, including rock band members, a tie-dye psychic and his rousing girlfriend, Angele Boucher, to help him with the case. While the FBI and the Maine State Police investigate political motives, Jesse looks for the woman—Cherchez la Femme—as the trail draws him through the lives, and DNA, of the governor’s former mistresses.
Fresh, witty and loaded with eccentric characters, this first novel in the Jesse Thorpe Mystery Series is both clever and stylish. It’s an old-school private eye tale with inventive twists and local charm. If you enjoy a well-crafted and zesty narrative, lively banter, or take pleasure in the company of Mainers, you’ll love Dead Down East.
The Importance of a Good Editor
Guest post by Carl Schmidt
Every seasoned novelist will tell you that there is absolutely no substitute for a good editor.
An editor doesn’t just alert you to mistakes in spelling, grammar, sentence structure and punctuation; editing goes way beyond that. Your story needs to be consistent, factually correct, clear, and succinct. This might sound obvious, but when you are dealing with a 90,000-word novel, there are plenty of ways to muck it up on every single page.
So. You’ve written your first novel, or maybe you’ve just completed a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Chances are you’ve read it several times, and it looks good to you. You’re excited about it. You’ve created a likable story or perhaps you’ve made some kind of definitive statement. Now you want to have it published.
Hold your horses, Kemosabe.
This last sentence is a perfect example of why you need an editor. I know what “Kemosabe” means, but do you? I was raised on The Lone Ranger and Tonto, but if you are considerably younger than I, you might not have a clue. And if you don’t, I may have just lost you as a reader. A good editor will bring this to your attention and make sure you use references that will be familiar to your target audience.
Every chapter in your novel needs to have a fresh beginning and a logical conclusion. The fresh beginning will keep your reader awake, and will revitalize his/her interest in your story. The logical conclusion will wrap up that particular scene and give the reader a breather. It may have taken you a week to write the chapter, and in that time you have been so wrapped up in the content of the storyline that you may have lost sight of what your reader knows at this point, and the pace of his reading experience. If your editor suggests that the chapter rambles, then clean it up and shorten it. If your editor says that something is missing or unclear, then you probably have left too much to the reader’s imagination.
Another important purpose of editing is to broaden your vocabulary so that highly descriptive words or phrases are not overused. A Thesaurus can help with this, but every author has a tendency to repeat himself in some way, either with specific words or sentence patterns. Repetition will blemish your story, and a good editor can spot it.
JanMarie Moullen edited my first three novels. She has an uncanny ability for recalling my use of unique adjectives and adverbs, and letting me know when they appear too often throughout the book. There were instances where she went back 50 pages or more in the text to find that I had used an unusually graphic word, and when it appeared for just a second time, much later in the book, it stood out to her as tiresome. And…she was right.
Overall, I took her advice about 95% of the time. I learned to trust her judgment, and it paid dividends. Several reviewers have commented on how crisp the editing is in my first novel. She deserves most of that credit.
Purchase Dead Down East via Amazon.
About the Author:
Carl Schmidt graduated from Denver University with a degree in mathematics and physics. As a Woodrow Wilson Fellow he studied mathematics at Brown University.
Carl lived and traveled widely throughout Asia for seven years, including two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines and five years in Japan, where he taught English.
Carl has spent dozens of summers in Maine, on lakes and in the woods. He chose it as the setting for this novel because he loves its rugged natural beauty and the charming idiosyncrasies of Mainers. He has also written and recorded three musical albums. This, along with his formal education, proved invaluable when molding the persona and voice of Jesse Thorpe, the narrator of Dead Down East, and endowing him with both a creative eye for detail and a sense of humor.
Dead Down East is the first novel in the Jesse Thorpe Mystery Series, which includes A Priestly Affair and Redbone. In 2001, New Falcon Press published his non-fictional book, A Recipe for Bliss: Kriya Yoga for a New Millennium.
Currently, he is a freelance writer living in Sedona, Arizona with his lovely wife, Holly, and their faithful German shorthaired pointer, Alize.