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« You Mean Writing's a Business.... | Main | But She Looks So Sweet: Meet our Despicable Muse »

Despicable Tara

From Diane, Founder of Pitch U and Resident Evil Genius:

Yesterday we introduced you to Despicable Tara, who looks so sweet, yet she’s got some wicked plans for our very new Indie U!!!

Indie U is the place for Independent Authors to cut through the millions of publishing details and career choices, make wise choices, and embrace quality.

Tara brings AWESOME experiences to her role as Despicable Muse.  She’s not only written (and published) thousands of articles, she owns her own business as a Freelance Editor.   Today, we’ll find out how she works with authors as a Freelance Editor.

Tara, Freelance Editor to the Stars (a.k.a. writers just like us)clip_image002

Evil Genius Diane: Okay, Despicable Muse, tell us about being a Freelance Editor.  Some writers are blessed to have savvy, advanced critique partners, and others are not. They get rejected and don’t know why.  How can you help?

Despicable Tara: Let me tell you about a recent experience.  I had the chance to sit down and talk with a writer who needs a professional critique. She needs someone who can read her entire manuscript and provide detailed notes as to what works and what doesn't. The process is more intense than working with critique partners because it looks at things from an editing standpoint.

For example, I'll be looking at the voice to determine whether it is consistent throughout the novel, I'll be making sure she doesn't break any of the "rules" she's set up for her story, and I'll be checking the pacing for the story, as well as for each character.

In addition to providing her with a professional critique of her work, I'll be focusing on a list of questions she has about the novel, and I'll provide her with a complete analysis of the work. It's much more detailed than she would get with a critique partner or a Beta reader. Plus, I can have the entire thing back to her within a week.


As for editing, I believe that an author needs to celebrate at every stage of the writing process. I respect anyone who completes the first draft of a novel. I admire individuals who take their work to the next step by allowing me to help them find ways to make their work even better. That said, I don't sugar coat problems.

I worked with an author who needed to cut her entire first chapter. I gave her my professional opinion and provided several reasons why the chapter wasn't working. She wasn't sure she wanted to cut it, and I respected her decision. After she had received several rejections, she cut the first chapter — she got a request for a full.

To wrap up, I'm all about the writing. My goal is to make a book so real that readers will feel as though they stepped into the story. That, my friends, goes well beyond mere correction of grammar.

Evil Diane: Can writers continue working with you after your feedback? How does that work?

Tara The Despicable and Wise: I always follow up with my writers. If they are local, I schedule a half-hour conference. I also offer this for non-local clients; however, the meeting is by phone.

Additionally, I will answer any question that a writer has about my suggestions. I've had writers contact me six months to a year after I worked with them. And, of course, writers can always hire me to do follow-on work.

But does she Pitch?

Diane, laughs, “mwahahaha”: Okay, you know you can’t escape without confessing your pitching sins. 

Tara, fluttering her despicable eyelashes in an evil flirt: I find pitching easy to do if I start a project with a pitch in mind.

It is harder for me to try to find a pitch if I wait until the end of a project. I am a huge fan of "Save the Cat," by Blake Snyder. I try to incorporate conflict and primal responses in all my pitches.

Diane pauses amid her secret evil deeds:  Conflict?  Primal  responses?  Oh, you are despicable!

Everyone, please welcome Tara and spread the word. 

Indie U is going to tackle new ground.  There are a lot of sites about self-publishing.  We’ll be the first site to talk about strong authors making wise decisions, no matter which route they choose. 

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