IWSG – JUNE 2021- God Bless Editors

I’m not answering this month’s question “For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting?” because I’m too tired to correlate any sort of thought process onto paper. I hate to blame yet another “issue” on Covid-19, however… (I apologize for rambling.) Have you met anyone that isn’t affected by this pandemic? What a huge influencer it’s been. It’s brought out the worst and the best in people.

I’m through the first stages of editing Kiss of the Assassin. Les Tucker, an excellent content editor with my Canadian publisher, encouraged me to cut as many pronouns as I could. I started off by dreading the idea. Pronouns are a writer’s best friend, correct? I had over 15,000.

I cut hundreds. I cheated a bit, (it felt like cheating) when I switched she to Marina, and he to Mateo. But I soon got into the groove, so much so I then went on to hunt for every unnecessary filter word, adverb, and adjective I could find. The manuscript was almost 2000 words lighter by the time I finished. In fact, I had to shout, “Stop editing.”

Now while I wait for my line editor to send the manuscript back I’m thinking, “God bless you, Les Tucker.”

I began the first draft of Kiss of the Assassin in 1991. Some of you weren’t even born yet. Our house was full of teenage boys–who have teenagers and grown children of their own now. I do remember feeling exhausted. Yet, before I even began Kiss of the Assassin, I’d already written two full manuscripts, Always Father’s Child and Dead Witness 2008, all the while managing a house, a job, 2 cats, 2 dogs, 5 kids and a husband.

Then, for 10 years publishers told me, “Nobody’s interested in Vietnam, sorry.”

Kiss of the Assassin is about how the war changes the lives of two enemies, a Soviet spy and a Mexican-American special forces sergeant. It’s a love story with an X-rating due to extreme violence and coarse language. I’m generally not that type of writer, but I love this story and was compelled to write it. War is ugly. Love is beautiful.

Today I’d like to take a moment to say “thank you” to all the editors I’ve worked with. I’m a better writer because of you.

Have a great day, everyone.


IWSG was created by Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh — because Alex understands we need a safe place to congregate, insecurity is part of our creative nature, and together we’re stronger.

On the first Wednesday of each month, you can write on any subject related to your writing journey or adopt the option of answering the month’s question. Either way, you’re in safe territory.

If this sounds like a good place to be, sign up here.

IWSG’s Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and the hashtag is #IWSG.

Every month, a question is announced that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or a story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

Remember, the question is optional!

June 2 question – For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?
Our co-hosts for the June 2 posting of the IWSG are J Lenni Dorner, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, Lee Lowery, and Rachna Chhabria!


 sure to visit the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Website!



Comments 28

  1. What I have found during the editing process is the repetition of phrases and words. That itself is a task to iron out!
    I am very grateful for my editors, they do an amazing job tightening sentences and scenes.

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  3. I’m so happy your book has finally found a home! Funny how topics and even entire genres go in and out of fashion. There’s so much luck involved in getting published. And you’re so right about editors. I worked with a professional editor for the first time this year, and she was so helpful.

  4. Joylene, I am so impressed by all you’ve accomplished. Seriously, bravo!! You have much to be proud of. And bravo again for attacking those nasty pronouns. Yikes! It makes me want to see how many I have. Bless you, and have a wonderful weekend. You deserve it!

  5. I’m inspired by your determination to stay true to yourself, Joylene, and that you have written your own stories. Well done writing while being the rock of your big family, too.

  6. Interestingly, I had a story come back recently with the feedback that there were too many pronouns. That was a weird edit to do, but it did get done, and it’s back out on submission. Good luck with your book!

  7. Editors truly are amazing. I can’t wait to get to work with one on my own manuscript. Maybe just a few months away? I do feel sorry for them, though. Do they ever enjoy reading for pleasure? I take care of kids for a living and still manage to love my own when I get home, but I’m not sure that analogy fits…

  8. I can’t wait to read “Kiss of the Assassin,” Joylene. I don’t know how you wrote three manuscripts while doing all that you were doing. Wow! You give me hope. I think editors are amazing people. They bring out our sparkle. Hugs to you, my friend!

  9. It never occurred to me that you could have too many pronouns. Now you’ve got me thinking.

    I find it interesting that a publisher would say nobody’s interested in Vietnam. That’s kind of like saying nobody’s interested in war stories, isn’t it? Oh well, glad you’re staying the course and writing the story you want to.

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      That was back in the 90s and the new millennium. I shelved KOTA after that and waited until last year to take another look. Back in the 90s they were consumed by the Gulf Wars and saw VN as a war to forget. But that was our generation so I knew interest would return.

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  10. Oh, how I need honest writers like you who reveal the entire journey of a book. I have one novel I never finished that is almost that old, but I was significantly younger then. It probably will remain an unfinished stepping stone indefinitely for my other works.

    I’ve been actively pursuing publication for over ten years, on and off as life demands it. But I think I’m close, now, having grown (and still growing) as a writer.

  11. Hi Joylene! You never know when a story concept will be en vogue again, so all is not lost! Interesting about too many pronouns. I think finding that rhythm in narration is a balance. You build an ear for when it’s time to have the name vs the pronoun again. But yeah sometimes it just takes those extra pairs of eyes to point it out! God bless them is right!!

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  12. As Patricia said: Let me know when your book is available, and I will buy and review it. This past year has certainly derailed my usual writing practices! Being homeless for 8 months will do that! 🙂

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  13. I just finished reading Kiss of the Assassin (an ARC sort of) and I loved it. I have to write up an advanced review for it (5 stars naturally). While I was reading it, I thought: this woman has a weird thought process. But I then recalled that I do too. Joylene and I are weird in different ways. Well done, Joylene!

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  14. No one was interested in stories about Viet Nam? Wow. A little editorial bias there, maybe? Matterhorn was on the NYT bestseller list in 2010. I loved it. Looking forward to your book – it sounds fascinating! I had two uncles in Viet Nam. War does, indeed, change people.

  15. Congratulations on completing and believing in the Kiss of the Assassin and finding a publisher with an excellent editor. You are living proof that believing in our work, even for over 30 years, can pay off. I admire your unwavering power of intent.
    Over 15,000 pronouns? I’m impressed.
    Lynn La Vita @ http://la-vita.us/write/

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