Editing Conundrum

July 28, 2019

I have begun line editing Easter Hair Hunt. The problem is that I can’t get past the first page. I keep redoing the opening paragraphs of my manuscript. So I need your help. Let me know which rendition you think is best.

Coming Soon

Number One

“I don’t see Blinky anywhere, do you?” Marla asked. She and her best friend stood on the rear terrace of Tremayne Manor, a historic mansion privately owned but open to the public for special events and guided tours.

“Blinky seems to have disappeared,” Tally replied. “Where were you supposed to meet after the Easter egg hunt?” She rocked the stroller holding her nineteen-month old son, Luke, who sat happily playing with a squeaky toy. Marla had figured the duo needed an outing, so she’d invited Tally to join her. After her husband’s death, Tally was struggling to raise Luke on her own.

Number Two

“I don’t see Blinky anywhere, do you?” Marla asked. She stood on the rear terrace of Tremayne Manor along with her best friend. The historic mansion was privately owned but opened to the public for special events and guided tours.

Number Three

“I don’t see Blinky anywhere, do you?” Marla asked. She stood alongside her best friend on the rear terrace of Tremayne Manor, a historic mansion privately owned but open to the public for special events and guided tours.

Another Question

Should I add last names for Marla and Tally? This would speak to new readers, not fans of the series who are familiar with the characters.

Which choice do you like best? Any changes to the second paragraph? This is why line editing can take me so long. I get hung up on one section and can’t move past until it’s as perfect as I can make it.


• Posted in Blog • Tags: , , , , |  31 Comments

31 thoughts on “Editing Conundrum

  1. I liked the first sample best. I think it’s good to add the last names in the first paragraph to assist new readers. My issue was with Blinky. At first, I assumed the name referred to a pet, probably a cat. Then I read Tally’s comment about meeting Blinky after the Easter egg hunt and realized Blinky was a person. Maybe have Tally say “him” or “her” when referring to Blinky and the meeting so we know if Blinky is a man or a woman.

  2. Hi, Nancy. I prefer Number One. Seems a little more personal, sets the scene and provides a tiny bit of insight into Marla’s and Tally’s personalities or lives. I don’t think their last names are needed at this point.

  3. First one is the best. Last names aren’t necessary at this point. Let’s get in that mansion. Second paragraph is fine.

  4. I’ll be odd man out here, but I’m not in your demographic, so feel free to ignore me. The first example, for me, is too much of an info dump and doesn’t get things moving. However, your regular readers are probably better judges of what they like to see. I’m all for action first, description later.

  5. I liked one and two the best. Last names in my opinion are not nearly as important as describing the relationship—best friends–which you do. Good start, immediate tension.

  6. I like number 1. And yes, I think last names are appropriate. Even as a fan of a series, I can forget details between books. After all, I may have read 100 books in between!

  7. I like the second one best. The sentences are shorter and more to the point. When I would edit a report, I was always conscious of sentence length. People tend to read shorter sentences easier. Of course, my reports were pathology and toxicology portions of an FDA submission and medical terms can obfuscate the actual meaning of a sentence. Good luck!

  8. I liked the third one best. I don’t think you need to add last names unless they don’t show up anywhere else in the series. You could do a page at the beginning identifying the main characters with their full names and who they are

  9. I like version #1. And last names should be included so new readers don’t feel left out.

  10. First, Anna Michels, who edited my novel, White Death, from SluethFest, doesn’t like starting out with Dialog. You can also tighten it by ending the dialog (wherever you put it) with a period and start the next with “Anna stood on the…” I like avoiding “asked” & “said” if it can be replaced with action, implying the attribution. You could put this sentence 1st and the dialog next. Anna also liked a full introduction of characters (names) for new readers to the series. Overall, shorter (tighter) is usually better, so I like the 3rd version best

  11. Hi Nancy. I like number 1. Even though I read this series, a quick refresher is always good, especially because there is time between each book. I do not like the idea of last names, that makes it sound too formal to me.

    1. The opinions seem to be divided on last names. I’m tempted to go with … Marla asked her best friend, Tally Riggs. I wouldn’t need Marla’s last name here because it’s mentioned later.

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