Friday, October 29, 2010

Excite Your Editor With Good Plussing

Advice From the Pros, talks about plussing your novel here, When I first saw the word "plussing" in regard to writing I hadn't a clue to its meaning. I quickly typed "plussing" into, my favorite search engine. Voila, I discovered a lot, but none of it seemed relevant to writing.

Then, a writer friend explained to me that book doctors use the term "plussing" as well as "pruning." Both are taken into consideration as they edit a writer's work, especially in the following two areas:
  1. Scene setting ~~ which is often woefully inadequate or entirely missing from the manuscript.
  2. Staging, or moving the story forward ~~ but omitting descriptions of the physical movements called for, or using unclear or impossible actions.
Because writers are "seeing" both their words on the manuscript page as well as a visual picture of the story in their minds, authors especially have trouble writing those two areas well. Both require plussing the manuscript.

Recently, Ann Hite received what every writer wants to hear, a marvelous complement from her editor. It's a terrific example of the value of "plussing" a novel. Her editor wrote the following about the edits of Ann's current novel, Ghost On Black Mountain:

"Very impressive, but what's really impressive is the work you have done on Ghost On Black Mountain. I honestly have been savoring it. I'm three quarters of the way through and I have to say you nailed the Josie and Shelly sections. I'm so over the moon with the work you've done. I'll finish this week and we should chat ... honestly, I also don't want the last page to come so I've been reading the book in pieces as a present to myself after a long day. What a wonderful sign, right?!
"More to come, but I didn't want to keep you in suspense any longer. Your additions really made this story bigger and better. Excited to read more tonight when I finally get home!"
When Ann recovered from the thrill, she knew her editor had increased her awareness of how important it is that as you write, avoid the need to fill in missing details by not omit them in the first place.

Ghost On Black Mountain is scheduled for release the fall of 2011 by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. While waiting for it, enjoy Ann's spellbinding stories on her web site,

See also, Chapter 18 - Book Publishing:

Request - insights wanted

Insights from alumni wanted -- If you've taken one of Writers' Village University's free creative writing courses, please contact me privately. I'd like some insights. ( R. J. "Bob" Hembree's Writers' Village University,, has a link to WVU's  F2K Social, which includes free creative writing courses, run since 1995 at It's staffed and Mentored by volunteers from Writers' Village University members. The next 7-week creative writing course begins January 5, 2011.