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    What the Editing Process Really Looks Like by Sally Hepworth

    headshot sally

    Firstly, I want to thank Katie for having me on her blog. Readers, I am a huge Katie Ganshert fan. Her books are smart, thought-provoking and full of heart, not to mention full of swoonworthy heartthrobs—hello Evan! Also, she and I have a lot in common. Apart from being writers, Katie and I are both married with 6-year-old sons (well, my son is almost 6) and 2-year-old daughters. If only we lived a little closer (Hello from Australia!) I would have already reached out for a playdate. Alas, given the distance, we’ll have to stick to a cyber-friendship for now. And today, it is a true pleasure and a privilege to be a guest author! And today, I’m talking about one of my very favorite writerly topics. Editing!

    What the editing process really looks like

    Back when I was writing my first novel, I used to give the occasional thought to what it would be like to work with an editor (and by give the occasional thought, I mean I thought about it constantly.) I wanted to know everything. How did it all work? Were there several rounds of edits or just one? Did editors make notes on the actual manuscript, or just send a letter? Were their notes general or specific? Did they tell you how to fix something, or just say that something was broken? And what did the actual notes look like!?!

    On social media, authors talked about the revision process in vague terms but it was rare for them to share specifics. And now that I’ve gone through the revision process myself (twice), I understand why. Editorial notes are sensitive, and to share them is a task comparable to stripping off your clothes and dancing a jig in the town square—not for the faint-of-heart. Also, editorial notes often contain spoilers. Still, back then I swore that if I ever became a published author I would come out from under the veil of secrecy and explain what actually happens.

    So here I am.

    Why don’t I start by answering the questions I posed above? (Keep in mind, every editor is different, and this is just what it’s like for me.)

    How does it all work? Are there several rounds of edits or just one?

    For me, there were two rounds of edits, the first being a joint macro-edit (large scale plot and character stuff) and line-edit (specific comments on word choice or typos).

    During the macro-edit stage, typical comments from my editor were as follows (actual notes from my editorial letter for THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES):

    • I think you need to make the appeal of a midwife-assisted birth more clear.  Make us understand what a midwife brings to the table.
    • Neva’s breakdown at the end of this chapter seems overly melodramatic.  Can you take a look at this and rethink?
    • “(character x’s) name is too similar to (character y’s). Consider changing one.”

    Also during this stage, my editor gave me notes on specific word choices and typos, as per below:

    • Pg 32, line 16 – the word ‘has’ is repeated here
    • Pg 65, line 2 – you used the word thrilling here. Not sure this is the right word choice.

    Once I’d addressed all these changes and my editor was happy, the novel went to a copy editor, who focused on grammar, spelling and style.

    Do editors make notes on the actual manuscript, or just send an editorial letter?

    For the macro-edits (above), my editor did not write on the manuscript at all, she simply sent me a (lengthy) editorial letter via email. For the copy-edits, my manuscript was marked up using Word’s Track Changes by the copy-editor. The copy-editor then sent the marked up document back to me to approve, or counter, her changes.

    Are notes general or specific?

    As per above, my editor’s notes may be as specific as “I think this character’s name is too similar to another character” or as general as “there needs to be more narrative drive in the middle of the book.” Usually the editorial letter contains both general and specific feedback.

    Does your editor tell you how to fix something, or just say that something is broken?

    Often my editor will let me figure out my own solutions to problem areas, though sometimes she offers ideas or suggestions. She is always open and available to brainstorm if I need it, but she trusts that I’m the best one to come up with the right solution for my book and leaves me with the final say.

    So … that’s how it works for me! If any other writers want to chime in about their similar or different experiences in the comments, I’d love to hear them (because I’m still slightly obsessed by the topic)! And readers, if you have any other questions about the editing process for Katie or me, I’ll lurk around the comments.

    Thank you all for having me.

    Sally Hepworth is the author of THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES, a novel about three generations of midwives, published by St. Martin’s Press, NY, in Feb 2015. The novel will be published worldwide in English, as well as in France, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

    Sally has lived around the world, spending extended periods in Singapore, the U.K., and Canada, where she worked in event management and Human Resources. She is the author of Love Like The French, published by Random House Germany in February 2014.

    Sally lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two children. Sally is currently working on her next novel. You can learn more on her website.



    Katie here! Can I take a minute to say how much I ADORE Sally and her writing? And guess what? Her publisher has generously offered to giveaway TWO copies of Sally’s debut novel, The Secret of Midwives, to two of my blog readers. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment below. It can be anything. A simple hello. A quip about midwifery. Your love for women’s fiction. How stunning you think this cover is (or is that just me?) Take your pick! I’ll choose two winners using random.org on Friday at noon, CST.

    cover sally

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    Loving Well: A Valentine’s Giveaway

    It’s that time of year when love is in the air. Whether Valentine’s Day makes you giddy or makes you nauseous, there’s no stopping it. Flowers. Chocolates. Mushy, gushy Hallmark cards. They’re everywhere this time of year.

    And whether you like that sort of stuff or not, I think we can all agree that underneath all the frills is something we can all get behind.

    Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love.

    To do just that, I’ve joined forces with some awesome romance author friends to do a special LOVING WELL giveaway.


    I was trying to decide which aspect of LOVING WELL I wanted to cover on my blog, and I think the one that hits home with me the most right now is LOVING WELL when life is distracting.

    Can anybody else relate to that?

    I don’t know about you, but life is hard. Not only are we going through some personal things that leave me wrung dry and distracted most days, my to-do list has grown into this unwieldy, frightening thing.

    And I was thinking the other day, am I loving well in the midst of this season?

    You know, I wish I could say that I was. But honestly, I think I fail more times than I succeed. To which all I can say is thank the Good Lord for His grace. He truly lavishes it on me.

    My point?

    This post is every bit as much for me as it is for any of you on the other side of the screen.

    So without further ado, here are three super simple things that can help us all love well when life is distracting:


    This word shows up 71 times in the Bible, and many theologians agree that the word means To Pause. I just love that, don’t you? It’s such a great and simple thing to do, and believe it or not, I’m a strong believer that pausing helps us love better. It gives us a chance to take a  breath and consider the people God has blessed us with. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life, we forget. Sometimes, the first step to loving well is simply remembering that we aren’t alone in our busy bubble. As we pause, as we selah, why not take a moment to think of one or two simple things we can do to show our people love?

    Eye Contact

    Oh, you guys. I need to remember this! My six year old son grabbed my face the other day and said, “Mommy, just look at me!” Talk about a knife to the heart. I had been staring at my computer screen, trying to squeeze in a few more things. He was in the room talking and I was nodding and making all the appropriate “I’m listening” sounds. But I wasn’t really. There’s a time for multi-tasking. And then there’s a time to stop. Let’s remember to carve out small moments throughout the day to give our people our full, undivided attention.

    Look Out

    And I don’t mean, “Look out, there’s a ball flying at your face!” I mean look outside of yourself. This goes along with taking a pause. I don’t know about you, but in the midst of  stress and consuming life circumstances, I often forget that other people are struggling too. We can get so introverted in our hardship, can’t we? There is something so freeing about taking the focus off ourselves and our problems, and looking out. Realizing, as you selah, and as you make actual eye contact with people, that they have hurts, too. They have stress. They have burdens. Offer a hug. A hand squeeze. A prayer for a friend you  haven’t seen in or talked to in awhile. If you have the time, offer a listening ear. It’s one of the best ways to love well.

    What simple things do you do that help you love well?

    Be sure to visit each of the Valentine’s Giveaway blog stops and you’ll be able to collect a word on each page that will add up to a ‘secret sentence’ by the final stop.  Enter the sentence into the entry box at the final stop and be entered to win a special prize.

    My word is WELL.

     Upcoming Blog Hop Stops:

    Feb 5th visit Dani Pettrey by clicking here

    Feb 6th visit Rachel Hauck by clicking here

    Feb 8th visit Lisa Wingate by clicking here

    Feb 10th visit Susan May Warren by clicking here

    Feb 13th visit Becky Wade by clicking here

    To enter the giveaway, simply complete the form below:

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    Super Bowl Commercials: The Award Goes To…

    footballI spent last night sitting shoulder-to-should with my main squeeze, watching the Super Bowl and eating taco soup.  As I watched, I thought it’d be fun to do some awards, commercial-style.

    If there was an award-show for Super Bowl commercials, here are six categories I would include and the winners of each category, in no particular order …

    Best Soundtrack: Budweiser (1st Half)

    Never mind the adorable puppy, I’m now completely obsessed with Sleeping At Last’s version of I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles). Such a great tune.

    Biggest Plot Twist: Fiat

    Seriously thought I was watching a commercial for Viagra.

    Biggest Head-Scratcher: Dreaming with Jeff

    Still not completely sure what in the world this one’s about. You’d think, if you’re going to spend millions on ad space, that you’d at least make sure the viewers know what you’re trying to advertise.

    Most Successful: McDonalds

    Congratulations, McDonalds. I haven’t eaten your food in years. But you’ve completely convinced me to become a customer. Job well done.

    Most Clever: Coca-Cola

    This one had me wanting to spill some Diet Coke on my awful HP laptop just to see what happens.

    Most Shocking: Go Daddy

    A Super Bowl Go Daddy commercial ad without half-naked women!? Say whaaat?

    I can totally picture it. A bunch of businessmen and women sitting around a conference table, brainstorming ways to stand out. One guy jumps up and says, “Hey, I know! We can throw everyone off by being serious and heartfelt this year.” Little did they know, that would end up being the running theme of Super Bowl commercials in 2015. A for effort, Go Daddy. A for effort.

    I couldn’t find a video for this one. Basically, it’s a man working hard at his desk, committed to hosting life-changing websites, or something serious and heartfelt like that.

    What awards would you hand out if Super Bowl commercials had an award show?

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