Author F.M. Meredith
To describe most of my days as a writer, I am sitting in front of the computer typing away. If not on my work-in-progress, writing a blog for my own blog or for someone else like I’m doing right now.
Once the first draft is done, the work has only begun. Usually, I begin by reading the novel chapter-by-chapter to my critique group. It’s what I think of as the first edit. Usually, though, I’ve gone over the chapter before I’ve taken it to the group and think it’s in pretty good shape. I’m usually wrong. The member of the group who was an Honors English Teacher always finds grammar errors—and she’s great at getting rid of unnecessary words. Another gal is good at pointing out sentences that could be rearranged for better clarity. The youngest of our group always finds ways to update the dialogue. Our one and only man is wonderful for pointing out what the male characters would do or say.
The next day I’ll work on that same chapter. I don’t necessarily make each correction as suggested—but I usually do something because if what I wrote caused someone to make a comment it probably needs work.
Once the whole book has been gone over that way, I’ll start over, looking for ways to make it better and checking for inconsistencies. I do have a reader I always send my manuscripts off to who finds even more things that need to be fixed or clarified.
When it’s where I think it’s the best it can be, I send it off to my publisher. Because I write two series, so far each time I send in a new offering they’ve been accepted. However, this is not the end of the work. Both publishers have editors who will go over the manuscript again, sending it back to me with more corrections and questions. I don’t always agree with what they’ve corrected, but I seldom argue over punctuation because each house has it’s own preferences. Often, despite all the care I took prior to sending the book out, the editors always find more things to correct.
Once it’s printed, a galley proof will be send to me. This I always print out because it’s easier to find mistakes on a printed page than on the computer screen. Despite all the work we’ve done to make it perfect, more typos and errors have made their appearance. I think there are gremlins at work who love messing up a manuscript.
Are we done after I send in the corrections? Sometimes. But with my last book, Angel Lost, the publisher, Oak Tree Press, decide to print ARC (Advance Reading Copies) that we could send out for pre-publishing reviews. You guessed it, The ARCs had more errors. Where on earth had they come from? Gremlins at work again.
Yes, we went through the ARC carefully to make corrections in the finished product, but we still used them to send out as review copies. Unfortunately, one of the review sites commented about all the errors in the book, not explaining that it was an ARC. The main part of the review was great though, so I thanked her kindly for the review.
Maybe you might think that’s all exciting, but it’s a lot of work.
Promotion is a lot of work too whether you’re doing it on line or in person. You don’t have to get dressed up to promote online, but it does take a lot of time away from writing. It’s necessary though, if you want people to know about your book.
You do have to dress appropriately when you’re doing in-person events—and my big worry is whether or not I wore the same outfit the last time I did the particular event. Also if photos are going to be taken, I don’t want to have the same clothes on I did the year before. In-person events consist of talks and presentations at libraries, bookstores, book clubs, schools, writers conferences and mystery conventions as well as selling my books at book and craft fairs. Though these are fun to do, again it takes time away from my writing.
What is exciting is when someone comes up to me and tells me how much they liked one of my books.
--F.M. Meredith a.k.a. Marilyn Meredith
My latest book is Angel Lost from Oak Tree Press.
Blurb: As plans for her perfect wedding fill her mind, Officer Stacey Wilbur is sent out to trap a flasher, the new hire realizes Rocky Bluff P.D. is not the answer to his problems, Abel Navarro’s can’t concentrate on the job because of worry about his mother, Officer Gordon Butler has his usual upsets, the sudden appearance of an angel in the window of a furniture store captures everyone’s imagination and causes problems for RBPD, and then the worst possible happens—will Stacey and Doug’s wedding take place?
In Judgment Fire a battered wife is murdered and Tempe is given a warning by a shaman. She participates in a starlight ceremony, and repressed memories of her own painful high school days help her find the killer.
A shaman warns Deputy Tempe Crabtree her life is in danger. The death of a battered wife leads Tempe to participate in a Native American starlight ceremony that brings back hidden memories of her painful high school days. She attempts to help the delinquent son of the murdered woman, is threatened by his step-father--the primary murder suspect, deals with a man who may be mentally ill, and renews acquaintances with not such good friends from her younger years. A second fire brings judgment to the guilty party.