Category Archives: Editing

Her One and Only by Becky Wade

heroneandonlyThis was my third or fourth Becky Wade book, and honestly, I didn’t enjoy it as much as the others.

From my time as a fiction intern, I know that generally, publishers put less time and effort into a successful author’s subsequent efforts. The name alone is enough to sell the book, so the quality of the writing isn’t as important. (At least not on the business side of things. I’m willing to bet the editors feel differently about the books they work on.) I think that’s what happened with this one.

Wade writes great Christian fluffy romance that I love to read, but this one just wasn’t at the same level as previous books. It felt like it could have used another draft.

The characters weren’t as deep and developed. And because Her One and Only is the fourth book in a series, Wade threw in a minor storyline about a few characters we learned about in a previous book, but it wasn’t fleshed out enough to fit with the rest of the plot.

All that said, if you’ve read the other books about the Porter family, you’ll still want to read this one to round out their story.

3 stars—It was okay and I might recommend it to those who might be interested.
(Read more about my rating system here.)

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. The opinions are my own and were not influenced by the publisher or author.

While on Vacation

This spring, I spent a good chunk of time line editing, copy editing, and proofing While on Vacation, a devotional for people who are, well, on vacation. The author, Joe Graves, develops a “theology of play” and explores what the Bible has to say about rest, celebrations, and how God fits into our “breaks.” It even includes a few Sudoku puzzles! It’s up there on my list of favorite projects. If you’re taking a vacation this summer (or even taking some time off to stay home), it would be a great companion. Check it out!

Available June 15 | colorcanvasmedia.com

I’m not receiving compensation for this post. I’m sharing it because it was a fun project that I believe will add value to your life if you take the time to read it :)

Am I a Writer?

Startup Stock Photos

Startup Stock Photos

Somewhere along the way, I stopped calling myself a writer and started calling myself an editor because it was easier. I was afraid of failing, and editing is easy. At least, easy enough. With most of the editing jobs I get, there’s usually a right and a wrong answer for everything. And I know the right answer. So that makes me an editor, right?

But the type of editing I really love is the line editing—the developmental editing that gets down into the guts of the words and moves things around. It’s like surgery. It looks at everything in there, takes out what doesn’t belong, moves things around, and adds in what’s missing. It’s problem solving.

And really, that’s what writing is, too. At least for me. It solves lots of problems by providing a form of communication, fostering understanding, forcing reflection, and encouraging learning and growth.

Guys, I’m finally writing a book.

It’s a memoir. I’ve been avoiding it for a while because, honestly, I’m afraid. I’m afraid it will be hard to write, that I won’t finish, that people will judge me, that my family will hate me, that I’ll have put so much time into something no one ever reads or even wants to read.

But all of those fears don’t matter if I think of writing as problem-solving. Writing this book will answer a lot of questions for me. It will teach me a new level of discipline. It will force me to wrestle with difficult relationships where I just feel stuck. It will be an act of faith and identity—I’m going to have to come to terms with who I am and be confident enough to share that with others.

So . . . I guess I’m a writer?

Introducing Editionally Editorial Services

Did you know I offer editorial services? Whether you’re looking for proofreading, copy editing, or even help with structure and organization, I’d love to help you polish your writing. Learn more on my editorial services page.

Writer Off the Leash by Michelle Griep

writer-off-the-leash-bookOkay, writer friends, I’ve got a great book for you to read—Writer Off the Leash by Michelle Griep.

(Does that name sound familiar? I just reviewed her new novel, Brentwood’s Ward.)

Michelle has been writing for a long time. As a writing teacher, an avid reader and book reviewer, a member of ACFW and MCWG, and the author of four other books (all novels), she knows a few things about writing.

In her endearing and snarky voice, she shares her best advice and favorite tips for writers, alongside a few one-liners that’ll make you giggle.

Writer Off the Leash is geared toward fiction writers, but it’s a quick read for anyone who enjoys (or wants to enjoy) writing. She covers motivation, the creative process, publishing, rejection, perseverence, the basics of putting a good story together, and the responsibilities of a writer.

Now, I have to admit that I edited this book for Michelle. But that doesn’t mean I can’t love it, does it? Because I do. If you’re looking for some writing inspiration, give this book a try. You can buy it here.

And if you want to know more about Michelle or see what else she has to say about writing, head over to her blog (also called Writer Off the Leash). While you’re at it, check out her novels. They’re pretty good, too :)

Living a Portfolio Life

Calling GoinsI’ve spent the last four years (at least) trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. I’ve been working at the church, but that didn’t seem like enough, even though I knew I was supposed to be there. And I made it to the last round of interviews for my dream job and then didn’t get it. I just couldn’t figure out what I was missing.

Until I read The Art of Work by Jeff Goins. In it, Jeff talks about the significance of calling and explains that it goes way beyond your day job. Your calling is the sum of many things—your skills, your job, your relationships, your interests—it’s the whole picture of your life, how you choose to spend your time and use your gifts.

I realized that I don’t have to spend my days agonizing over the ominous and evasive calling God has placed on my life because I’m living it right now.

My calling is to work at my church, to be a good wife and friend and sister, to spend my free time writing and reading and editing and blogging (and crocheting and sewing). My calling is to embrace where God has placed me, do what He has asked me to do, and give Him the glory no matter what.

And I think I’m okay with that.

Are you trying to wrap your mind around the idea of your calling? Check out Jeff’s book. It’ll get you asking the questions you need to ask to figure out what you’re meant to do. Visit this link to find out how to get a free copy and a ton of bonuses—you just pay shipping.

artofworkfree
*As a member of Jeff’s launch team for The Art of Work, I received a free copy of the book in exchange for spreading the word. 

The Giver Gets to Pick the Gift

girl_staring_at_mountains

Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

Oh praise the One who paid my debt
and raised this life up from the dead

As I sang those words on a Sunday morning a few weeks ago, I thought about my almost-four-years of work at the church and the possibility of leaving them behind to take my dream job, the job I had just interviewed for and really wanted. The job I just knew I was going to get.

Your job at the church is a gift, I heard. And this new job, if you get it, that will be a gift, too. You don’t deserve either of them. You haven’t earned them. You’re not entitled to them like you think you are. They are gifts from Me. And as the Giver, I get to pick the gift. I know what you want. I know what you like. I’ll pick the right gift. And even if it’s not what you asked for, you’ll understand why I picked it. Maybe not right away, but you will.

Those words echoed in my head as I went home, as I went on with life, as I waited for the call I had been waiting for for nearly two months—the call that would mean I would finally be getting paid to sit around and read books all day. I’d finally be an editor. A real editor. Not the fake kind that just re-words awkward class descriptions for the church website and has to make sure the date is right on the bulletin. (Okay, so that’s a little dramatic. I know book editors are not the only real editors. And I know what I do at the church is important. I’ve just always wanted to edit books.)

Two months is a really long time to wait for something you’re sure is inevitable. I knew I might not get the job, but everything seemed just right. I interned there. I knew people there. I was encouraged to apply by someone who worked there. I know what they publish because I’ve read little else in the last three years. And the opportunity just dropped in my lap. I didn’t go looking for it. God was going to give me this new job. But in case He didn’t, I told Him, secretly afraid he was using this opportunity as some kind of sinister test, it must be because I’m not supposed to have it. It just made too much sense.

They’d assured me that I’d have an answer by Friday. After weeks and weeks of checking my email every five seconds and jumping every time my phone made some kind of noise and bugging my references to find out if they’d been contacted, the day had arrived. The same Friday our apartment lease expired and we’d have to sign another twelve month lease THAT DAY or pay an extra $80 in rent to go month-to-month so we could move as soon as possible. Since the new job would be a bit of a hike.

The hours crept by with no word. By this point, I’d convinced myself they’d picked someone else. Surely I would have heard by now if I was their choice. Around noon, I called and talked to an assistant. “No, they haven’t made a decision yet,” she told me, “They’ve had a sales conference all week. They’ll probably decide next week.”

So many emotions. I was so done with the waiting. I wanted to move on with my life. So many things were up in the air because of this job. We might have to move. I might have to stop reviewing books on my blog. I might have to give up the extra week of vacation I’ll have earned by the end of this year. I might have to start paying exorbitant rates for my health insurance. I might have to leave the coworkers I love.

Then finally, last Wednesday, my answer came.

No.

Seriously, God? If You knew You were going to tell me no, why couldn’t You do it after the first interview? The sample edit? Or even the Friday when I was supposed to have an answer? Why did You do this to me?

I still don’t know.

They told me I had the skills, but another candidate had more experience, and they encouraged me to try for an entry-level position next time one opens up. If those types of jobs still pay what they paid when I was in college, there’s no way we can afford that kind of pay cut. Not if I want to pay off my student loans and start a family some day.

It feels a little like the time my parents went to Disney World without me. When they asked what I wanted them to bring back for me, I asked for a dress just like Snow White—blue and yellow and red with puffy sleeves. But that’s not what I got. Instead, I got a white dress with neon paint splatters all over it. And flip flops with a rainbow of curly ribbons tied to the top. I’m sure my mom was so excited to give them to me. But I was disappointed. They didn’t match the picture in my head.

Now I know that the Snow White dress was too expensive. And the dress I did get was darling. But back then, I was too little to understand why that mattered, to understand that my parents had more information than I did. All I knew was they didn’t give me what I wanted.

So the dream I had for so long and then gave up and then thought might happen anyway has been taken from me again. This time I wasn’t quite so willing to give it up. This time it hurts like heck. This time it feels a little hopeless. And I feel a little angry.

But the Giver gets to pick the gift.

Hope and a Future

The beginning of the school year makes me sentimental.

But who am I kidding?—I’m always sentimental.

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about my freshman year at Taylor and how different my life looked when I started college. I’ve been reminded how awesome God is.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.’” It’s a verse I quoted over and over to myself as I faced my first year at college with utter terror. (You think I’m exaggerating? I cried almost every day of my senior year of high school just because I knew I’d be leaving home on my own—three hours a way from my family and no friends to hide behind.) As many times as I quoted it though, I didn’t understand the depth of its meaning until now, as I look back at how my life has changed and how God has used each step to teach me and further His kingdom.

My college roommate, Dana, has become a life-long friend who understands me better than almost anyone. God used her to push me out of my comfort zone and show me what a Christian friendship looks like.

dana-sarah

I met Jonathan and spent six months waiting for him to ask me out. And then I spent 14 months praying God would let me marry him. We just celebrated our fourth anniversary.

Sarah&Jonathan Edit

I left my beloved home state of Michigan and moved to what one of my friends from home calls, “The Great White North.” It’s not the same, but I really have come to love Minnesota.

I learned what it’s like to be part of a committed, Christ-following community. My days at Taylor were filled with professors, students, and even cafeteria workers who loved Jesus. And now our church (also where I work) has brought us the same gift here in Minnesota. What a blessing to be surrounding by such a faithful, positive, and supportive group of people.

Hewitt Wedding

I discovered a passion for editing and had the opportunity to intern at a major Christian publishing house. What a learning experience! And now I often use my skills to help friends and friends of friends edit the books they’ve written to further the gospel and share hope with the world. Not the way I planned to do things, but it’s been so rewarding.

Either He's God or He's Not

My parents divorced after nearly 27 years of marriage. Not gonna lie—this has been the most difficult thing I’ve ever faced. It caused me to question every aspect of my life and rethink all of my childhood memories. And it’s wreaked havoc on my entire family. But God has taught me a lot about what’s important in life, and I’ve seen my family come to rely on Him in ways they never have before—a blessing amid the ashes.

Now, as Jonathan and I face an unknown future yet again, I’m excited about the challenges it will bring and the ways God will grow us. I can’t share details now, but we might have some big changes coming up before the year ends, and I know they’ll stretch us in new ways. (For the record—we’re not pregnant!)

I can look back on what God has already done in my life and quote Jeremiah 29:11 with so much more confidence: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “Plans to prosper and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.’”

Summer Reading List Reviewed

I like to take the summer off from doing book reviews so I can read whatever I want. Granted, many of the books I review are books I want to read anyway, but it’s nice to be able to read without a deadline looming over me or the constant questions in the back of my mind as I read (What do I like (or not) about this book? Why?) That said, I can’t resist posting about what I did read (I did a bunch of mini-reviews last summer, too).

This summer I read quite a few books, though not as many as I would’ve liked. I did stay on track to read 24 books in 2013. I got sidetracked by crocheting. Usually that’s a cool-weather hobby, but it carried over into summer this year. Instead of reading my Kindle the other night, I made a cover for it.

Kindle-Cover-1

 That’s only one example. I’ve just had an insatiable need to create pretty things.

Anyway, here’s what I read (mostly in the order I read them in):

Stretch Marks

Stretch Marks: A Novel by Kimberly Stuart
This one wasn’t exactly a summer read—I read it in May when we were on our way home from Ohio. It was a quick, enjoyable read about a twenty-something girl who finds herself navigating a rocky relationship with her mother in the midst of an unplanned pregnancy. Of course there was some romance thrown in—with someone other than her live-in boyfriend who doesn’t “believe in marriage.”

redeeming love

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
This book ruined all other Christian fiction for me. Seriously—if this book supposedly changed the direction of Christian publishing, why on earth is there so much crap out there? No offense to Christian fiction authors (especially the good ones), but why aren’t more Christian books this good? Even after I finished it, this gold-rush era retelling of Gomer and Hosea haunted me for a good part of the summer. It wasn’t just a good story—it showed me the depth of love and forgiveness God has for us despite our near-constant rebellion. This is a must read. Seriously—stop reading my blog and go read it. Now.

Stopping Words that Hurt

Stopping Words that Hurt by Dr. Michael Sedler
I broke my no-book-reviews-in-the-summer rule for this one. Not because of the writing (it’s not awful, but not fantastic, either), but because of the subject—how to stop what Sedler calls “evil reports” (what you’d probably call gossip). It was a problem I was struggling with, and I wanted to know what to do. This was a great resource. You can read the whole review here.

A Heart DeceivedA Heart Deceived by Michelle Griep
Miri Brayden, who depends on her brother for support while also hiding the fact that he’s losing his mind, takes in Ethan Goodwin, a man she doesn’t know is running from the law, and life takes some unexpected turns. This was one of the best books I’ve read in a few years.

The Subversive Copyeditor

The Subversive Copyeditor by Carol Fisher Saller
Rather than focus on only the nuts and bolts of copyediting, Saller, who edits the monthly Q & A  for Chicago University Press, focuses on the relationships by addressing the most common conflicts copyeditors encounter while editing. She also offers some great practical “best practices” when it comes to managing email, tracking projects, and making changes to a draft. That said, I was reading the Kindle edition of the book and was surprised by the mistakes and bad formatting—extra spaces, words run together, misplaced side bars, and typos. A little disappointing for a book about editing . . .

No Safe Harbor

No Safe Harbor by Elizabeth Ludwig
I read this book thinking it would would be a great cure for my “book hangover” when I finished reading A Heart Deceived. The main character, Cara Hamilton, an Irish girl with no other family keeping her in Ireland, moves to New York in an effort to find her brother, whom she believed dead until he sent her a letter. But when she arrives, he’s nowhere to be found and she has to find a job and a place to live. Unbeknownst to her, she’s not the only one looking for her brother and the others searching for him plan to use her and do whatever it takes to find him. It was a good story, but I felt like there was something not quite right about the story. I still haven’t been able to put my finger on it.

The Total Money Makeover

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
This book got me excited about attacking our student loans and car payment with “gazelle intensity,” as Dave Ramsey calls it. The Total Money Makeover is Dave Ramsey’s step-by-step plan for getting rid of debt and building wealth. My favorite part was the numerous testimonies from people who have followed his plan and experienced real life change—what an inspiration to follow through! I’m sure I’ll post more about the process as we continue to pay down our loans and plan for the future.

There were a few books on my list that I didn’t get to—The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and Developmental Editing by Scott Norton, but I’ll get there eventually.

Writing Tip Wednesday #18: The E’s Have It

Eiffel Tower Kimberly VardemanHave you ever wondered how to spell fiancé? fiancée? I didn’t learn the difference until I got married. And what about blonde? Or blond? I had to research that one for this post—I had no idea.

It all boils down to the same thing—the words are French, and they have gender. If you know Spanish, it’s like the difference between loca and loco.

“Fiancé” and “blond” are the masculine forms of the words. “Fiancée” and “blonde” are the feminine forms. The masculine forms can be used to refer to males and females, and the feminine forms refer only to females.

In American English, as a noun, “blond” is used for males and “blonde” is used for females. As an adjective, “blond” is most common, though you can add the “e” and use it to describe females.

Now you know.

(And in case it’s bugging you—Chicago style would not put an apostrophe in “E’s” in my title. I added it for clarity.)

Photo credit: Kimberly Vardeman via Flikr