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Ted Clifton's   Newsletter   2018

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Book Updates

Murder So Final is the last of the books written with Stanley Nelson.  These three books follow Tommy Jacks as he begins his career as a journalist in the midst of a newspaper war in Oklahoma City.  Stan and I were both involved in this time in OKC; most of the story is pure fiction, but many characters and some events are based on things we experienced. 

No cover design for Murder So Final yet, should be very soon.  The book is targeted for a November release.  If you have not started this series this could be a good time to discover Tommy Jacks.  Murder So Wrong is the first book in the trilogy.

Fiction No More is the third book in the Vincent Malone series.  Just completed the first draft of this book.  Running a bit late but still anticipate a publication date in January or February.  No cover yet to show you.  There has been a great response to the first two Vincent Malone novels: Santa Fe Mojo and Blue Flower Red Thorns.  Thanks to everyone who has helped make that series a success.  Stay tuned Vincent has many more adventures coming.


 

The Santa Fe Mojo audiobook is currently in production.  I have heard snippets, it sounds great.  The narrator is Nas Hedron, and he sounds just like the voice I heard in my head for Vincent Malone.  Very different experience to hear the book spoken.  Strange in a way, I'm very familiar with the story, of course, but listening is a different experience then reading.  No targeted release date but sometime in early 2019.  Even if you have read the book you might want to think about the audiobook, it really is a different experience.
 


THE WRITING PROCESS
This month we are continuing our interview with Stanley Nelson.  Stan co-wrote the Muckraker series with me and is a good friend.  His background is journalism and editing.  My opinion is that he is one of the best on both counts.  I asked Stan a number of questions and he will answer one today.

Ted.  
You have written books yourself. Do you believe someone can self-edit or should everyone have someone else edit their writing?
Stan.  Short answer: Yes.
Writers always edit their own material. They pretty much have to. How they do it can make a difference:
- More or less edit as they go--write some, edit that, repeat.
- Use what I call the Jay Cronley method (I once worked at the same newspaper with Jay, who wrote Funny Farm, Quick Change and other novels that were made into movies). It goes: write, lay it aside a while--he recommended two weeks at least--and go back over it.
- Or a combination, which I think most writers do.
For however little it's worth, like most other writers, I keep an eye on things while I write--check facts, spellings, syntax, etc. And sometimes, especially while writing fiction, I'll set the work aside for a few days before I'll go back to read it from the beginning or some point far enough back to suit me. I'll edit as I go, and pick up where I left off. After I write the end, that begins a whole other, long cycle of rereading and revision, beginning to end.
But every writer is different, and every project is different. Still, the point to be made is that every writer self-edits.
The big question is, can we trust self-editing as sufficient for publication? 
Short answer: No.
Full disclosure: I did, years ago, self-publish a solely self-edited title. How I wish I hadn't. And I never will again. I'm not saying I didn't edit and revise and rewrite, like the experts counsel. I certainly did. And I'm not reticent about my skills as an editor--I'll tell anyone, I'm one of the best I know. But that time I learned that confidence won't catch everything. And it can't stretch nearly enough to cover comprehensive developmental editing of my own work. I see that truth reinforced every time I write for publication, regardless of the project.
In a nutshell, others' eyes see other things. Also, a writer must never forget that she or he may be a reader, but is not and cannot be the reader. Through each story, fiction or otherwise, runs a boundary as real as it is invisible. On one side is the writer, whose understanding of the story and everything to do with it is necessarily more intimate and complete. On the other is the reader, who must be introduced to the story, word by word, idea by idea.
Only an independent editor can be relied upon to make sure the story works for the reader.
Having dealt with all that, the next matter to consider is the editor. The only advice I dare to offer and that even approaches specificity is to find one you can trust. How you work that out has to be up to you.
What kind of editors do I trust? I trust ones who edit for the reader.

 
Ted Clifton (short) bio
Ted Clifton, award winning author, is currently writing in three mystery series—Pacheco & Chino Mystery series, the Muckraker Mystery series and the Vincent Malone series.  Clifton’s focus is on strong character development with unusual backdrops.  His books take place in Southwest settings with some of his stories happening in the 1960s, 1980s and current times.  The settings are places where Clifton has lived and knows well, giving great authenticity to his narratives.  Clifton has received the IBPA Benjamin Franklin award and the CIPA EVVY award--twice.  Today Clifton and his wife reside in Denver, Colorado with frequent visits to one of their favorite destinations, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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