Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Writers wear a whole lot of hats, and this week, I’m getting a chance to try on every one of them.
Over the weekend, it was the editing hat. I got the copy edits for "Button Holed," the first of the new Button Box mystery series. My own editor at Berkley Prime Crime had already been over the manuscript and made what’s called "line edits." Short and sweet, and he didn’t question much or ask for many changes. Once he was done, a copy editor (usually a freelancer) got the manuscript.

Theoretically, a copy editor doesn’t make changes, and luckily, it was true this time. It’s not always so. I’ve run into a whole bunch of copy editors who want to be writers and who take the opportunity of going over my manuscript to make it sound the way they would if it was their manuscript.

But I digress.

Good or bad, thorough or too-thorough, edits are still edits, and for reading the copy edits, a writer needs one special hat.
On Tuesday, I changed hats and got back to outlining button book #2. Yes, yes, I know . . . I talked about outlining more than a couple weeks ago. And I was hard at work on that outline, too, when I realized I knew enough about the opening chapters of the book to plunge right in. So that’s what I did. I’ve got four chapters finished, but now the victim has met his terrible fate, the heroine realizes there’s sleuthing to be done . . . and I’ve got to finish figuring what’s going to happen, how and when.

This is where my brain can run free. I can explore all options, no matter how outlandish, try different things, create characters and situations and solutions. Oh yeah, it’s all about imagination and for this, I need my thinking cap.

This Saturday, another hat change . . . I’ll be speaking at the 20th Annual Western Reserve Spring Writers Conference at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, Ohio. If you’re a writer and want to hear some great presentations, check out

Presenters will discuss everything from self-publishing to women’s fiction to nonfiction and sci-fi. I’ll be talking about adding drama and tension to both fiction and nonfiction by focusing on three basic elements of writing: titles, beginnings and endings. For this, I need my teaching hat, something more formal without being boring.

By the time it’s over and next week rolls around, I’m sure I’ll be eager to change hats again. Next week, it’s back to the writing hat!


Casey said...

Completely off topic . . .

There's an interview with me posted here today:

Stop by and comment for a chance to win a book!

Sharon S. said...

already been there . I love the picture of the teaching hat. So pretty. What in the world does that other lady have on her head, a salad?