Carson Buckingham is touring the internet this week in support of her novel Gothic Revival and today she’s discussing the challenges she faces as both an editor and an author…
Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, I’m Schizophrenic, and So am I
It’s somewhat schizophrenic, but I think it’s the only way the required switch-off between writer and editor can be done when they are both the same person—namely, the author. When I am editing my work, I wear many, many hats.
The first thing I do, if I have the luxury of the time in which to do it, is to put the manuscript aside for a month or two and work on something else in the meantime. This is helpful in that it allows me to read the story later with a fresher set of eyes.
When I go into editing mode, I’m not a writer anymore. I first pretend that I’m the publisher and that my money, and my money alone, is financing the publishing of this novel, short story, or novella. It needs to be great. If it is only approaching great, why is it only approaching? It is at this point that I call in my internal team to deal with various issues. I’m now a weeder. I sweep though the book, weeding out words that were repeated too many times, clichés, typos, formatting problems, weak verbs and any adverbs at all. After the weeding is done, then the new flowers that are strong verbs, correct format, and more interesting turns of phrases are planted.
Following that, I put on my pit crew racing stripes and ‘soup up’ the pace car. The story needs to have the correct pacing to grab the reader and keep him or her involved enough to continue to turn the pages… to thirst for what happens next.
Next, I’m a prison guard, correcting any chapters in which point of view changes within the same chapter. Each point of view must be placed in solitary confinement.
Now, a linguist, making sure that the speech mannerisms and colloquialisms are consistent for each character and don’t stray to the mouth of another. For example, if a character is a lazy speaker, always dropping the ‘g’ at the end of –ing words, then two chapters later, he cannot be saying ‘everything,’ ‘something,’ or ‘going.’
Finally, I’m a psychotherapist, examining the characters’ motivations and making sure they do not stray from these throughout the story, unless they were meant to.
In conclusion, when I’m asked what I do, I generally say, “I’m a writer,” but the ‘writer’ is really just the ‘front man,’ if you will, for all the other professions that the creative must exploit to produce, not only a good story, but a piece that will get readers to turn page after page—and that takes teamwork!
Now let’s take a look at Carson’s Gothic Revival…
Alex and Leo Renfield are a husband and wife contractor team who’ve recently moved to the village of Woodhaven, Connecticut to escape the chaos of life in New York. Pretty close to broke, they meet Theodora Hamilton, a somewhat unsavory and odd individual, who offers them an astronomical amount of money to repaint the first floor of her family home.
But along with the huge paycheck comes a set of unsettling rules that must be followed explicitly if they are to accept the offer; one of which is they must reside on the property having no direct contact with the outside world until the job is complete.
Is Theodora Hamilton just an eccentric woman with a peculiar way of doing things, or is there a more sinister agenda that Alex and Leo are unaware of? What exactly does she have in store for this down-on-their-luck couple who have no choice but to accept the offer and the strange requirements that come along with it?
Gothic Revival can be found online at major retailers including:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Carson Buckingham knew from childhood that she wanted to be a writer, and began, at age six, by writing books of her own, hand-drawing covers, and selling them to any family member who would pay (usually a gum ball) for what she referred to as “classic literature.” When she ran out of relatives, she came to the conclusion that there was no real money to be made in self-publishing, so she studied writing and read voraciously for the next eighteen years, while simultaneously collecting enough rejection slips to re-paper her living room… twice.
When her landlord chucked her out for, in his words, “making the apartment into one hell of a downer,” she redoubled her efforts and collected four times the rejection slips in half the time, single-handedly causing the first paper shortage in U.S. history.
But she persevered, improved greatly over the years, and here we are.
Carson Buckingham has been a professional proofreader, editor, newspaper reporter, copywriter, technical writer, comedy writer, humorist, and fiction author. Besides writing, she loves to read and work in her vegetable garden. She lives in the United States in the state of Arizona.