Tag Archives: editor

Multiple Choice Test: Are YOU ready for conference?

Are you going to conference in a few weeks? Are you nervous, wondering if you’re really ready to face what awaits you? Well, fear not, my fellow writer…I’m here to help ūüôā . Below is a multiple choice test to see if you really are ready to sit down in front of an agent or editor and–with a straight face–say, “Yes. I’m a writer.” They just may ask to see your score from this test…or maybe not. But take it any way.

1.  ACFW stands for:

A. Always Crafty Fickle Wordsmiths

B.  Antsy Creative Friendly Weirdos

C. American Christian Fiction Writers


2.   If facing a sagging middle, a writer should:

A.  Slip into a girdle.

B.  Think about someone fatter.

C.  Revise, Cut, Polish


3.¬† What’s the best way to view a prospective agent?

A.  With binoculars

B.  From under the partition in the bathroom stall.

C.  As a respected professional.


4.  When told you have a POV problem, be sure to:

A. Cover your entire body in antibiotic cream and ask someone to scratch the places you can’t reach.

B.¬† Cover your face and yell, “Unclean! Unclean!” whenever someone approaches.

C.  Seek help from a critique partner or an editor.


5.¬† What is Writer’s Block?

A.  A neighborhood where only Authors live.

B.  The place writers go to get their taxes done.

C.  A frustrating time of little or no progress.


6.  What is genre?

A. A brother to Barbra. (Sound it out and think about it)

B.  A snooty Frenchman.

C.  A category of literature characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter.


7.  What is a metaphor?

A.  For cows to graze in.

B.  Half of a meta-eight.

C.  A figure of speech containing an implied comparison.


8.  When addressing an editor, you should begin by saying:

A.¬† “What’s shakin’, Oh mighty Gatekeeper?”

B.¬† “I hope you brought your stretchy pants, ’cause you’re gonna feast on my manuscript tonight!”

C.¬† “Thank you for your time.”


9.  Self-publishing is:

A.  The photocopies you made of your hand, face, and whatever else before you were thrown out of Kinkos.

B.  The short story your wrote on your belly with a permanent marker.

C.  A growing trend in Fiction.


10. The most exciting thing about this year’s conference is:

A. That creepy Larry W. Timm¬†won’t be there.

B.  The opportunity to see if you can break your indoor dessert eating record at the banquet.

C.  Seeing old friends and making new ones.


If you answered all the questions with “C”, you are ready. If, however, you chose anything else, you are sick and should wait a year before going to conference. Okay, that’s harsh, but don’t come crying to me if someone asks you one of these important questions and you get it wrong. I tried to prepare you. ūüôā



Filed under books, Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, editing, Larry W. Timm, Writing

Poem of a really bad pitch

Somewhere a writer is preparing to pitch to an editor. They want to stand out from the crowd, but aren’t sure how to make themselves different. The following poem is an example of how NOT to pitch. It is part poem, part song, and all one big mistake. ūüôā

I stared back at the editor

and flashed a nervous grin,

and thought about her question

and how I should begin.

“What’s the book about? you ask?”

She nodded so polite.

“It’s about 400 pages,” I said,

“I counted them just last night.”

“There’s lots of words and pictures

and so the story you will know…”

I opened up my leather case

and pulled out my banjo.

“I wanted to be different,” I said.

“And, my pitch, it won’t take long.

You’ll find all of your answers

in the words to this here song….

[I played the theme to The Beverly Hillbillies and sang…]

Come and listen to the story of my bestseller

about a lady teacher and a wine-maker,

who met one day while walking on the vineyard path;

and this is a story I call The Grapes Of Math.

Love it was, purple love, bubbly love.

The next thing ya know the trouble did begin,

her kinfolk said, “Ellie, why did you pick him?”

Angrily she answered, “I don’t care what you say.

I derned proud to be¬†Ellie Chardonnay!”

A grape that is, smushed by feet, for the juice.

Well now it’s time to say good-by to Ellie and Merlot

(that’s the winemaker’s name, I guess you ought to know);

they had a son, as the story will tell…..

and after a toast, the named him Zinfendel.

A boy he was, with big feet, for stompin’ grapes.

Just Book One in a series…ya hear?

[I put my banjo down, then winked at the editor]

She shook her head, her forehead creased;

she swallowed hard, then blinked.

“You might be sick or just insane.

I don’t know what to think!”

I handed her my one sheet,

grabbed my banjo and my straw hat

and said, “You will be sorry

that you rejected The Grapes Of Math!”

I came to a conclusion

as I stood and walked away:

Literature just isn’t ready

for Merlot Chardonnay!


I hope your pitching goes better. Could it get any worse?


Filed under books, Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, editing, Larry W. Timm, reading, Uncategorized, Writing

Manuscript Impossible

Your manuscript needs help. So you’ve called in an expert. He’s supposed to arrive anytime.

There’s a knock on the door. You cast a nervous glance at your manuscript, your eyes briefly settling on the two words The End halfway down the last page. Is is a declaration of a work completed? Or a prediction about your career as a writer.

A more insistent banging jolts you out of your thoughts. You step awkwardly to the door, pausing to¬†wipe your moist palm on the side of your pajamas. Panic pulls your eyes wide. Pajamas! Too late to change into the garb of “normals” now. He’s here.


A different pounding gets louder. It’s your heart¬†thumping against your ribcage. Wait! I’ll pretend I’m not home. I…I…I don’t need his help after all. I can fix this manusc–“

“I’m Mr. Knowitall¬†Foriegnpants. Open up in the name of literacy,” a deep voice booms. “I’m here to edit your manuscript.”

“I’m not home,” you shout.¬†Bad move. Not much¬†chance of a do-over there.

“I know all about your POV problems,” he states with a verbal sneer. If you don’t open up, I’m going to spread it all over town that you have issues with dangling participles.”

Your breath catches. That’s dirty pool.

“You wouldn’t!”

“I already have the first fifty pages of your novel. Remember, you emailed them to me…incorrectly formatted, of course, but that’s a later discussion. Here on page one I read, ‘…skipping along the beach, the moon shone brighter than before.’ Shall I read more?”

Before you can stop yourself, you swing the door open. Standing on the front porch is one of the largest men you’ve ever seen in your life. Even his eyebrows have muscles. And it looks like turtles have crawled up his sleeves and stopped midway between his elbow and shoulder. A t-shirt strained against his wide chest. On the t-shirt was a quote from someone named Hannibal Lector…something about a census taker and a lunch. The words begin to roll, so you glance away. A giant tatoo of a red ink pen covers most of his beefy forearm.

“I’m not home.”


“I mean…welcome to my home.

“I’m here to help you remodel your novel,” he says calmly. Too calmly. And that’s two repetitive “ly” words in a row.

You begin to think that perhaps this won’t be as bad as you fear. Then you notice the camera crew walking up the sidewalk.

So how rough is the editing process? Do you fear the process? Do you look forward to it? How do you feel when you get blunt criticism about your manuscript?

My experiences with a freelance editor have been one of the best learning experiences of my writing life.¬†Every writer needs an editor. There are plenty of places to get good help. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s proof that you are teachable and have a respect for the craft.


Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, editing, Writing

Editor: Coach, Mentor, Friend

I just sent my manuscript to the freelance editor. It’s a game of ping-pong we play where she marks several chapters, emails them to me, and then I make or reject the suggestions. Once I’m done with the section under scrutiny, I email it back to her, and off we go.

I’ve always found the process of creating a story to be an exciting thrill-ride, but the editing experience is just as¬†exhilarating¬†for me. Maybe I’m weird–don’t respond to that–but seeing the story I love become sharper and stronger is amazing. Sometimes I see the things that the editor has marked and want to bang my head on the table and cry out, “why didn’t I see that?”

Okay…a tad dramatic, but you get the point. When I submit my story to “fresh eyes”, I’m doing the story a favor. The fact is, I’m too close to my story to see all the weaknesses. I’ve had people read the story and very often they spot something that I missed.

I have to decide whether I’m after an ego boost or a story boost. Can I take the red ink professionally or will I only take it personally? Is this about me or story? Do I trust the editor?

When I open God’s Word, or feel the conviction of His Spirit in my life, I’m faced with a similar choice. Will I see the Christian life as about me or for Him? Will I trust that His corrections in my life are for the best, according to His purposes?

What is God working on in your life?

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