Stabby-Murder Editing

Have you written a book?  Do you have trouble getting feedback from friends or CPs? Do you want an unbiased opinion from someone that you don’t know who isn’t just going to smile at you and say “wow, great job?” Are you looking for someone to read your MS and give you the down and dirty on what does and doesn’t work?

I might be able to help.

*extends hand*

I’m Katja (duh, it is my blog after all, it would be kind of weird if I *wasn’t* Katja and was posting this here…), but I digress.

I am throwing my hat into the ring of freelance editing services available to writers. There are MANY freelance editors out there and they are fantastic, I’ve worked with several over the past two years as I figured out my MS and refined my craft. And I will continue to work with them as I write because sometimes it’s nice to have that objective outside feedback from fresh eyes and since I’m paying them for their services, I know that my words will be read and evaluated with a critical eye and in a timely fashion.

kip expert

No. No I am not.  But here is what I bring to the table:

  • I’m a high school Language Arts teacher, I teach my students how to read critically and analyze a text based on word choice, structure, punctuation, themes, style, etc. etc. Combined with my own writing journey, I’ve developed a critical eye when reading and I will be on the lookout for making sure your story follows proper structure, that themes are present throughout, and that your characters are consistent and dynamic.
  • Style and prose: I will provide basic tips and suggestions for making your writing tighter. I’ll help you identify your crutch words, identify areas where newer writers tend to make mistakes (movement words! staging! do your metaphors make sense? dialogue tags! passive voice! Oh my!). It’s not a comprehensive line edit, but it’s going to make you aware of where you need to focus your attention.
  • Ruining your character’s lives: I love ruining characters lives, it’s pretty much mandatory if you’re going to be an author–who wants to read about The McPerfects?  NO ONE, that’s who. I will let you know if I think you need to level up the madness and mayhem you are currently inflicting on your characters and *possibly* offer suggestions on how to do that. Raising the stakes is a huge part of the revision process and not only will it help keep your reader’s attention, it will impact your character’s development as well, making them deeper and more relatable.
  • Fangirling: I’m going to call a spade a spade and let you know where you can make improvements in your work, but I will also leave comments in ALL CAPS TELLING YOU HOW MUCH I LOVE YOUR STABBY CHILDREN (because I rarely love the smol cinnamon children as much–I might, but I usually choose the stabby ones. OMG, what if you had a SMOL-STABBY-CINNAMON CHILD  *dies*).

swoon gif

  • Feedback as a READER: I’m a big proponent of knowing how my reader is reacting to my words. I want to know when they start to put pieces together, when theories develop, when their feelings for a character shift. If they are angry with a character, happy, or crying. Therefore I provide a lot of reader-feedback interspersed with my critical analysis. Some of these will be snarky–If your character does something stupid, I’m going to comment on it. The main goal here is to let you know if you’ve done your job and getting the emotional feedback you want from your reader. 
  • Logistics: I’ve got a pretty keen eye for spotting inconsistencies. Did your characters ride up to the castle on Battle Velociraptors and now they’re fleeing in Unicorn Tanks???  I’m going to help you find these inconsistencies (super common when you start revising as you weave different versions together) and I am going to call shenanigans on anything that doesn’t make sense.  Did your character jump from the roof of a burning building, land on their feet and immediately proceed to take out the 50 attacking soldiers?
hermione side eye
Yeah, I’ll probably be like, “Um, that’s super cool, but NO.”
  • World Building: I’ll help identify areas where your world building needs deepening or characters need more depth. Do you have a magic system?  I’ll help you figure out if it’s obeying the rules of your world and if those rules are apparent to the reader. World building in fantasy is a character of its own and it must be treated with respect. You will need to answer a lot of questions off the page in order to make it smooth and seamless and immerse your reader into your story.

**This is NOT a comprehensive list and depending on what you send I may not need to address the things mentioned above and I will focus on other things, this is just a rough guideline of my critiquing style**

 

My Critiquing Style:

I’m a tough love kind of critiquer. Think Rosa Hubberman from The Book Thief. I’m going to call out anything I think might be problematic, I’m going to give you straightforward feedback, I don’t sugar coat stuff. So make sure that you’re ready.

Critiques inevitably hurt. As a writer, I understand that and have definitely shed my share of tears over critiques of my work. Someone is telling us all the ways that our creation, our art, isn’t delivering. But that is the point of a critique. I’ll be snarky, but my intention is never to be mean and I think that sarcasm is a great way to discuss things because it makes it funny. Once you look past the initial sting, you’ll find a way to make your writing better (at least that’s how it worked for me). Ultimately though, I’m here for you, the writer who wants to improve and make their MS better and is willing to dig in and wants to know what does and doesn’t work in their MS.

expensive

And what does this magical opportunity cost you ask?  This is always the difficult part. I will spend HOURS on your MS, reading, commenting, I will compose a thoughtful email to you that rounds out all of my comments, why I am thinking the way I am, and possibly include some links to resources that I think might be valuable in your writing journey based on what was presented in your MS.  This will vary from MS to MS, but I leave A LOT OF COMMENTS. I’m invested in this. For a 50 page document, you’re looking at 100-150 comments/line edits (I use track changes in Word as I cut and rearrange things if needed). 50 pages usually takes me around 6-8 hours to critique depending on what pops up in the MS. With that being said, here is how I’ve decided to breakdown the cost:

 

Up to 15k words- $50

15-30k – $100

30-45k- $150

45-60k- $200

60-75k -$250

75-100k- $300

(for MS over 100k, please email for pricing) 

 

My target audience with these services are writers who have finished their first draft and have done at least one pass over their MS.  I’m not an alpha-reader, but I want your messy first drafts so I can help you see where you need to focus on your revisions. I want to help authors and writers who are just starting on their journey and are unsure of how to CP or haven’t yet found their writing tribe (that is a long process, it’s taken me two years to find mine and that list continues to evolve with only a few absolutes).

Once you book a critique with me, I promise a 1-2 week turnaround time depending on the length of your MS. Once I’ve sent your critique back to you, I’m open to dialoguing back forth to clarify anything I said or to answer questions you may have. Because that is a really important part of the process–you have to talk some of this out sometimes. To clarify, this is NOT a second pass of edits. This is just you and I making sure we’re on the same page. That we’re picking what the other is respectively putting down. 

I’m open to working out payment plans or we can do your MS piecemeal. Ultimately, my goal is to provide a resource to newer writers struggling to navigate the process of querying and editing.

Because if you were like me, you finished your first draft and immediately queried it and IT WAS WAY TOO EARLY BECAUSE WE KNOW NOTHING (Jon Snow). So before you start querying, if this is your FIRST MS, I might be a really good option and at $50 for 15k words, it’s actually a pretty good deal.

I can’t promise that you are going to like or even agree with my feedback, but I can promise that I will be fair and straight forward. My intention is to HELP you improve your craft. Ultimately, you are the goddess/god of your world and you hold all the power there. If you think something I’ve noted doesn’t fit into your vision of the story please talk to me about it. Writing is a conversation. Your MS is only 1/2 of the dialogue. I am bringing all of my human baggage from my life experiences to the table which skews how I read (Seriously read the GoodReads Reviews for a book you LOVE and a book you HATE–there are readers who agree with you and those who will die on the hill of how wrong you are in your assessment, never forget how subjective this industry is).

Still not sure? 

I am willing to do a ten page sample edit for $10, if you decide to book with me that $10 will be credited to your final booking price.

So, am I the freelance editor for you?

If you’re here, you know that I love grim-dark stabby fantasy books. For YA or adult, this is where I feel the most comfortable and will be able to offer up the most assistance. I’m not a good fit for mysteries or contemporary. I’ll critique them, but please realize that my focus will be on structure and prose and literary elements more so than the things that make my heart go pitter-patter in fantasy books. If your fantasy isn’t grim-dark, I’m okay with that too!!

When you submit your pages, I will also ask for your query letter (if you don’t have one, don’t panic!) so I can help you make sure your query letter is actually pitching the book you wrote (OMG, my first query told nothing about my MS….lots of workshops and editors and my amazing CP fixed that, but yeah, it sucked). And I’m not a query expert (hence why I’m not offering query critiques) but I want to see if you’ve captured the essence of the novel in your query.

Things I will not critique:

*Erotica

*Books involving on the page rape (it can be alluded to or be in someone’s backstory)

Otherwise, I’m on board with everything!!  I have yet to encounter a book that had too much blood or grit or darkness.

SEND ME YOUR STABBY-MURDER CHILDREN!!

To contact me to discuss booking a critique or if you have any questions, I can be reached at:

bastiandressagedragon(at)gmail(dot)com

Please put: STABBY-MURDER EDITING in your subject line and give me up to 48 hours to reply!

 

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Featured post

Who Am I?

Greeting and salutations! I’m Katja, nice to meet you! 

Who the heck am I?

me and raptor

The Basics:

  • I’m a high school Language Arts teacher. I have taught from 8-12 grade, but my niche is 9th grade.
  • I’m a Ravenclaw.
  • I have several furbabies, including a dog (Magnus D. Doodle, a labradoodle) 1 cat (Amenophus) and 2 horses (Kell, a Paint/Draft cross; Goldie, an Arabian)
  • Favorite Foods: Cheesecake and alcohol (really, do you need anything else to survive?- Fine, TEA.)
  • In college, my friend taught me to write backwards. Surprisingly, it helped me to stay awake during lectures. Also, several chapters of the original draft of my completed MS are written backwards, because it looked like I was taking notes, but really I was in my own world

 

 

I’ve loved writing (and reading, because really, how can you separate the two?) all my life. I started writing when I was in high school. I used it as a way to escape the monotony of my classes (and yeah, I know what you’re about to say, “..but you’re a teacher…do you let your students write in class??”  And the answer is yes. Write or draw.  As long as they get their work done, I let them do their thing, because that’s the other half of that story. I did all my work, I handed it in, I applied to college as a junior and skipped my senior year because I was DONE with high school.  Also, I make my class awesome *grins*) 

So, if you haven’t guessed yet from the title of my blog, I love grimdark, stabby murder books.  Not horror-dark (which is just *meh* for me), but like really conflicted characters who do horrible things because they either enjoy it or because they believe they are doing it for the right reasons. Jaime Lannister- OMG I hated him in book 1, by the end of book 2 though, FAVORITE CHARACTER (disclaimer, book Jaime, not show Jaime because HBO ruined him *sob*).  So much inner conflict and he SAVED the Seven Kingdoms but all everyone thinks of him is that he’s a douche who stabbed the king in the back.

Or Boyd Crowder in Justified. He is the bad guy. THE BAD GUY. And by the end of the first season, you’re starting to love him, and then before long you’re rooting for him, like hoping “can’t this just work out for him?” (You also have to love him for his hair, because that is its own thing over the six seasons of that show).

Anyway, I am always here for complicated, unlikable characters who make horrible choices in life.

I want my stories filled with revenge, betrayal, blood, darkness, grit, evil, and hope. Because hope is what makes all of those things bearable. And please, rip my heart out. I want to experience all the FEELZ when I read or watch something.

So I am dusting off this blog and re-purposing it from a Pitch Wars #pimpmybio page to an actual functioning blog.  This is *mostly* prompted by a crazy idea that Alexandra Overy and I have that will involve having an active blog presence in order to pull it off. (if you don’t follow her, you should because she writes the best stabby-murder children. THE BEST)  Did you click on her name? Did you follow her??

It’s okay.

I’ll wait.

Okay, we’re good now?  Good. (trust me you won’t regret it!)

Back to my bloggish-ramblings. I fully intend to make my blog *worth* reading. I will try to bring my snark to my blog (look, I can’t separate me from my snark, it’s in my blood) and my fiery fangirl-ness in epic nerd style.

But as a teensy teaser for what Ally and I have planned….

fight club

What is #MagicMurderClub you ask?

You’ll just have to come back next week to find out, but its gonna be AMAZE-ZA-ZING.

(and unlike Fight Club, our first rule is NOT “Don’t talk about #MagicMurderClub)

Leave a comment if you’re so inclined, I’m looking forward to connecting with all the lovely people in the reading and writing community!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured post

#MagicMurderClub August Chat!

Hey all you #MagicMurderClub lovelies!

welcome back.gif

Last month, we discussed Claire Legrand’s Furyborn (which, fyi, the sequel comes out on May 21st, 2019. I’ve already pre-orderd my copy BECAUSE OMG I CANNOT WAIT THAT LONG. I fully anticipate selling the tattered pieces of my black soul for an ARC if they should become available).

Thank you to everyone who participated! We had a fantastic time discussing how Legrand wielded her words and created compelling characters and juggled a dual timeline that comes together sooooo beautifully in the end.  We also spent a good amount of time fangirling and arguing over what the best ships would be. Basically, we weren’t afraid to tackle the really tough questions.

Are you excited for our next chat?  We are! This month, we’re looking at Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer and our focus is on world building and character development and how we can strive for this level of mastery in our own writing!

strange cover

If you’ve never read any of Laini Taylor’s books, get out from under the rock where you’ve been hiding and DO IT.  I ADORE Strange the Dreamer, but my favorite books by her are the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy.  Ziri and Liraz.  That’s all I’m going to say.  (And her world building in this series is every bit as fantastical as in Strange).

But Ziri and Liraz.  READ IT! LOVE THEM.  WEEP FOR THEM.

I’m getting off topic. We hope you’ll be joining Ally and me for our August chat, this Saturday, August 18th at 4PM EST. 

And in case you needed more encouragement to read this lush, visceral, story that will leave you begging for more, there’s a sequel.  Yup. On October 2nd, Muse of Nightmares comes out and you will get to learn the final fate of Lazlo and Sarai and all the citizens of Weep.

We hope to see you there, bring your tea, your cookies and your highlighted and post-it noted copies of the novel.  We’ll be giving away a pre-order of Muse of Nightmares to one of our participants at the end of our chat.

We’re so excited to be discussing this masterpiece!

And here’s a quick reminder of Da’ Rules:

cosmo rules.jpg

  1. Participation is open to everyone, whether you have read the book we are analyzing this month or not (Reading is strongly encouraged!).
  2. NO BASHING OF BOOKS OR AUTHORS: This chat is intended to discuss the things that we like about how the book was crafted. If you disagree or think that something was not done well, that is all well and good and your opinion is valid. We simply request that you not discuss that here. Again, our purpose is to celebrate these books and authors by focusing on what we love.
  3. NO SPOILERS: Although we are operating on the premise that those participating have read the books, we ask that participants avoid overtly discussing spoilers. Here’s our solution: We will give a page number that we feel is the end of the “safe zone” anything up to that page is fair game and can be discussed without hesitation. After that page, please use page numbers or chapter numbers to reference major spoilery type events. This allows participants to discuss those moments, but keeps the surprise and joy of reaching those parts alive and well for those who have not *yet* read.  (For example: What happened to Bob in chapter 39 nearly killed me, that was the point when I realized just how much he’d messed up) ←-Poor Bob 😦

See you this Saturday! 

 

#MagicMurderClub

HEEEEELLO STABBY-MURDER BOOK FANS!!  

 

*waves*  

stitch

Ally and I are so excited to have the chance to not only fangirl over some of our favorite books and authors, but to discuss the *why* behind what makes us love them. As writers, reading is a major part of learning our craft. As we read, the writer part of our brains is keeping track of what the author does well and analyzing why it works.

When Ally and I brainstorm for our MS or discuss comments and critiques or when we run sobbing to our DMs or Skype chats, our discussion often turns to published books that have done what it is that we’re trying to do. But we always look to other examples to help us and then we start to apply that to our writing.

figure it out

And, as is everything in this industry, what makes a book stand out to you is subjective. Each of us has boxes that we tick off as we read, some of us are all about world building, others about plot, and some people are character driven readers. Some of the books we’ll discuss will tick off all the boxes, some of the books we’ll really hone in on an aspect of the craft that they’ve just blown away.

Not only do we want to highlight these aspects of the writing craft, but we want to discuss and swap ideas on how to achieve those things in our writing. Writing Twitter is a fabulous resource and we want to help writers and readers connect with each other. We’ll be directing the conversation around questions we’ve created, but we want these to be the jumping off points for deeper conversations and the beginnings of new writer friendships.  

Who knows, you might find the CP or Beta you’ve been searching for! But no matter what, we want you to join in the conversation and come prepared to fangirl over these fantastic books as we dissect what makes them work and why we love them.

best friends

Each month we’ll announce our next book. You’ll have a month to read it! Take notes, highlight favorite passages, bookmark and tab pages. Have your copy handy during the chat to reference your favorite lines and scenes.

Sounds awesome, right??  Books? Writing? Twitter? It’s perfect!

So now comes the fine print.  We do have a couple of guidelines that we’d like all of our #MagicMurderClub participants to follow:

firefly

  1. Participation is open to everyone, whether you have read the book we are analyzing this month or not (Reading is strongly encouraged!).
  2. NO BASHING OF BOOKS OR AUTHORS: This chat is intended to discuss the things that we like about how the book was crafted. If you disagree or think that something was not done well, that is all well and good and your opinion is valid. We simply request that you not discuss that here. Again, our purpose is to celebrate these books and authors by focusing on what we love.
  3. NO SPOILERS: Although we are operating on the premise that those participating have read the books, we ask that participants avoid overtly discussing spoilers. Here’s our solution: We will give a page number that we feel is the end of the “safe zone” anything up to that page is fair game and can be discussed without hesitation. After that page, please use page numbers or chapter numbers to reference major spoilery type events. This allows participants to discuss those moments, but keeps the surprise and joy of reaching those parts alive and well for those who have not *yet* read.  (For example: What happened to Bob in chapter 39 nearly killed me, that was the point when I realized just how much he’d messed up) ←-Poor Bob 😦

poor bob

That’s it–just three simple guidelines. Our main concern is that this be a positive atmosphere and place to discuss craft while also fangirling over amazing books and authors. If the book or author isn’t your cup of tea, please feel free to suggest books in the comments. If you have questions, please feel free to ask Ally or myself, either here or on her blog or on Twitter! We look forward to chatting with you!!

This month’s book!

 

FURYBORN

by Claire Legrand

furyborn cover

 

Personal opinion: THIS BOOK IS PERFECT. Seriously, for me, this book ticked off every single box on my list and I am devastated that I need to wait for the second one.  Read it! (or listen, the audio book is amazingly well done!).

WHEN: Friday the 13th, 9PM EST (6PM PST) 

SPOILER PAGE LIMIT: page 120 (The end of chapter 11) –we respectfully ask that when discussing major spoilery-type things after this point that you reference only by page or chapter number (remember that example about Bob?)

We encourage you to take notes, highlight passages, use sticky notes, however you want to make note of the things in the book that you LOVE.  We’ll be discussing the following elements for our chat:

  • Dual Timelines: What madness is this? What things does the author need to be aware of when using this structure? How do weave the two timelines together so that they merge together for the reader?
  • Female characters: Eliana and Rielle are unlikable and brimming with agency, attitude and confidence.  Examples of how she made these characters relatable and made us swoon over them. Why do we love them?? (For REALZ I either want to be Eliana’s friend or marry her, I can’t decide)
  • World Building: Legrand’s world building is subtle and masterful. What examples struck you as standing out? How does she show the passing of time between the dual timelines and highlight how the world has shifted?
  • Pacing: For us, this book was un-put-downable, how did she use chapter endings to make the reader NEED to keep reading, and keep the tension between two storylines, one of which we already know the “end” of.  

Those will be our four areas of focus and we’ll be sprinkling in some fangirl questions as well  because I need to affirm that all of you are #TeamWolf  

We’ll announce our August book at the end of the chat!  And there might be a giveaway….

After the chat, be on the lookout for our wrap-up blog post where we’ll recap what we discussed and compile the best of the tips and tricks that were shared.  

See you on Friday the 13th!!!!! 

*spooooooky* 

 

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Dana Nuenighoff

Writing through my 20's

yawednesdays

If it's Wednesday, we're reviewing.

Stabby-Murder Book Blog

Grimdark & Stabby since 2017