While in the process of writing my first novel, I followed an agent’s blog who warned those wishing to query her not to, unless the manuscript had been professionally edited. She offered a list of recommended copy editors. From this list, I chose C. S. Lakin.
Lakin offered a critique service as an important first step in making sure one’s manuscript contained the essential story elements needed to be a successful novel. So, when I completed my 80k word book, I took a deep breath and emailed it to Lakin.
Amazed, but worried that she returned it in a mere two days, I discovered copious Word doc. margin notes in red on every page. Yikes! Maybe I can’t do this, came to mind. But her personal note of encouragement said I had “a good draft to work with.” She also recommended I study story structure and development.
After a complete re-write, I re-sent. That’s when she suggested I divide the book into a young adult series and develop each one as a stand-alone. The same determination I had as a kid, Conquering the Picket Fence, kicked in. I buckled down and studied everything I could find about character arch, structure, and scene development.
During this study time, C. S. Lakin wrote her wonderful Writers Tool Box Series for serious fiction writers who truly want to nail writing a quality novel. I studied every one of these and applied her techniques the best I could, along with the challenging worksheets. I read and subscribed to her blog, Live, Write, Thrive, for more explanations, and examples.
With my newest first book complete, I sent Lakin an email and waited for her to let me know if it needed an edit or another total re-write. She returned it edited and enthusiastically proclaimed that it would do well.
Recently, Lakin sent an email to her subscribers for a chance to be featured on her blog. The challenge: fill out her chart showing the 10 key scenes from one’s novel with a bonus to those adding the additional 10 key subplot scenes.
I’m excited to say, my book is featured on her blog: Understanding Plots and Subplots When Layering Scenes in Novels.
I highly recommend C. S. Lakin.