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MILLLICENT G. DILLON, represented by Harold Ober Associates, is the world’s expert on authors Jane and Paul Bowles. She has won five O. Henry Awards and been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner. I worked with Dillon on her memoir, The Absolute Elsewhere, in which she describes in luminous prose her private meeting with Albert Einstein to discuss the ethics of the atomic bomb. Read more. . .


SASHA TROYAN is a Professor of English at Montclair University and author of the critically-acclaimed novels Angels in the Morning and The Forgotten Island, both Booksense Selections, beautiful stories based upon her childhood in France. I worked with Troyan to develop her new novels, Marriage A Trois and Semester. Read more. . .


LUCIA ORTH is the author of the debut novel, Baby Jesus Pawn Shop, which received critical acclaim from Publisher’s Weekly, NPR, Booklist, Library Journal and Small Press Reviews. I have edited a number of essays and articles for Orth. Read more. . .


BHAICHAND PATEL, retired after an illustrious career with the United Nations, is now a journalist based out of New Dehli and Bombay, an expert on Bollywood, and author of three non-fiction books published by Penguin. I edited Patel’s best-selling debut novel, Mothers, Lovers, and Other Strangers, published by Pan Macmillan. Read more. . .


SCOTT WILBANKS, represented by Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency, is the author of the debut novel, The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster, published by Sourcebooks in August, 2015. I’m working with Wilbanks on his sophomore novel, Easy Pickens, the story of the world’s only medically-diagnosed case of chronic naiveté. Read more. . .


SCOTT WARRENDER is a professional musician and Annie Award-nominated lyricist specializing in musical theater. I work with Warrender regularly on his short stories and debut novel, Putaway. Read more. . .


M. TERRY GREEN enjoys a successful self-publishing career with multiple sci-fi/fantasy series set in the Multiverse, based upon her expertise in anthropology and technology. I worked with Green to develop a new speculative fiction series. Read more. . .


DARREN D. BEYER is an ex-NASA experiment engineer who has worked on every Space Shuttle orbiter but Challenger. In his sci-fi Anghazi Series, Beyer uses his scientific expertise to create a galaxy in which “space bridges” allow interstellar travel based upon the latest in real theoretical physics. Read more. . .


ANIA VESENNY, represented by Beverly Slopen Literary Agency, is a recipient of the Evelyn Sullivan Gilbertson Award for Emerging Artist in Literature and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. I edited Vesenny’s debut novel, Swearing in Russian at the Northern Lights, and her second novel, Sandara. Read more. . .


STUART WAKEFIELD is the #1 Kindle Best Selling author of Body of Water, the first novel in his Orcadian Trilogy. Body of Water was 1 of 10 books long-listed for the Polari First Book Prize. I edited Wakefield’s second novel, Memory of Water, and look forward to editing the final novel of his Orcadian Trilogy, Spirit of Water. Read more. . .


GERALDINE EVANS is a best-selling British author. Her historical novel, Reluctant Queen, is a Category No 1 Best Seller on Amazon UK. I edited Death Dues, #11 in Evans’ fifteen popular Rafferty and Llewellyn cozy police procedurals, which received a glowing review from the Midwest Book Review. Read more. . .


JUDY LEE DUNN is an award-winning marketing blogger. I am working with Dunn to develop and line edit her memoir of reconciling liberal activism with her emotional difficulty accepting the lesbianism of her beloved daughter, Tonight Show comedienne Kellye Rowland. Read more. . .


LISA MERCADO-FERNANDEZ writes literary novels of love, loss, and friendship set in the small coastal towns of New England. I edited Mercado-Fernandez’ debut novel The Shoebox and second novel The Eighth Summer. Read more. . .


JEFF RUSSELL is the author of the debut novel, The Rules of Love and Law, based upon Jeff’s abiding passions for legal history and justice. Read more. . .


LEN JOY is the author of the debut novel, American Past Time. I worked with Len to develop his novel from its core: a short story about the self-destructive ambitions of a Minor League baseball star. Read more. . .


ALEX KENDZIORSKI is an American physician working in South Africa on community health education and wildlife conservation. I edited Kendziorski’s debut novel Wait a Season for Their Names about the endangered African painted wolf, for which he is donating the profits to wildlife conservation. Read more. . .


ALEXANDRA GODFREY blogs for the New England Journal of Medicine. I work with Godfrey on her short fiction and narrative nonfiction, including a profile of the doctor who helped save her son’s life, “Mending Broken Hearts.” Read more. . .


In addition, I work with scores of aspiring writers in their apprenticeship to this wonderful literary art and craft.

  • By Victoria Mixon

    The uninhabited island lay thirty meters to port, and somewhere beyond the white sand beach an ambush. In the star-filled blackness of night neither were visible to the man standing alone on the bow of the ship, but the sound of the waves rolling across the wide, shallow reef placed the island, and the Captain had warned of Fuentes’ presence. Unfortunately, both were more apparent than the family’s destiny the old woman on Haiti had seen when she threw the bones.
    —Sean O’Mordha

    Developmental Edit

    This is a good, vivid image of a cool-headed man in danger, using description and exposition very nicely to communicate the tension. I love the throwing of the bones!

    Tense? check
    Specific? check
    Raises a question? check What’s he going to do about the ambush?
    Drop-kicks us off the end? check WHAT destiny?

    What does this paragraph tell us about the book we’re starting? A male character on a ship at night faces an island where an ambush waits for him. He’s not the Captain of the ship. But he’s recently been in Haiti, where a fortuneteller gave him a cryptic reading on the destiny of a family—possibly his own.

    Do I want to follow this character through a whole novel? He’s level-headed, in danger, and thinking deep thoughts. I like him!

    Genre? Historical fiction, maybe? Adventure. Mystery?

    Do we need to know who the character is, how they got here, where they were before? He’s been to Haiti to see the fortuneteller, and now he’s gotten a warning from his Captain. This guy’s stage is set.

    Does this paragraph drop us right smack in a specific moment in this character’s story? No question. He’s facing some real decisions here, with Big Mean Consequences.

    So let’s talk about the structure of it. This is a terrific example of using description and exposition, rather than action and dialog, to dump this character’s quite serious problems in our laps. This piece has obviously been worked over carefully, extra words removed, the tone sculpted. I’m going to suggest this is one of those situations where you’ve lavished such care on these lines, they’ve begun to lose their flow. It happens to all of us. I’m going to simplify the language slightly to keep the focus on the moment and let the imagery come through as clearly as possible.

    Copy & Line Edit

    The uninhabited island lay thirty meters to port, and somewhere beyond its white sand beach lay an ambush. Neither was visible, in the star-filled night, to the man alone on the bow of the ship, but the sound of waves rolling across the wide, shallow reef placed the island, and the Captain had warned him about Fuentes.

    Unfortunately, both the island and Fuentes were more apparent at this moment than the family destiny the old woman on Haiti had seen, when she threw the bones.

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No Responses to “Free HOOK Edit: The uninhabited island—”

  1. I really like the whole “threw the bones” part. The mystique of the islands!

  2. Oooh…uninhabited island, white sand, starry night…what a great place to start!



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