Multi-award-winning novelist, Gail Gaymer Martin is the author of Christian contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and women’s fiction with 55 contracted novels and nearly 4 million books in print. Her novels have received several national awards, including: the ACFW Carol Award and RT Reviewer’s Choice Award. CBS local news listed Gail as one of the four best writers in the Detroit area. She is the author of Writer Digest’s Writing the Christian Romance and a cofounder of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) where she serves on the Executive Board. Gail is a member of Advanced Speakers and Writers (AWSA) as well as Christian Authors Network (CAN) and is a keynote speaker at churches, civic and business organizations. In her earlier career, Gail was a teacher of English, literature and public speaking at high school and university levels and still enjoys teaching workshops at conferences across the U.S. Gail lives in Michigan with her husband. Visit her website at www.gailgaymermartin.com
FOR THE LOVE OF SUSPENSE
One of my favorite genres is suspense, so when I became a romance writer I wove a suspense plot through the romance. This worked fine until Love Inspired started a separate line for romantic suspense with each novel providing an immediate life and death hook. This wasn’t the style I wrote. I like to build the suspense with each chapter raising the stakes and heightening the danger. An example is my Love Inspired from 2000, a stalker story that I titled See Jane Run but published as A Love for Safekeeping. The novel is still available as a Kindle.
When digital eBooks grew into a respected option for novelists, I made the decision to use some of the completed novels I’d never sold and publish them as a hybrid novelist (traditionally and independently published). Though I have been successful in traditional publishing, I had no idea how successful my novels would be, but I wanted the stories to live and I plunged ahead.
Whenever using an older novel, I’ve learned to edit it so it reflects my present writing skills. I read it and either make changes or take notes on what needs to be updated.
Here are techniques I used on an older novel to make it new:
• Cut dialogue and scenes that do not move the story forward in a dynamic way.
• Look for redundancy such as: repeating the same word (use a Thesaurus), telling and then showing, repeating major points fearing the reader won’t “get it.”
• Use dialogue tags only using the two words: said and asked. Anything else is weak writing. Let your words show the emotion.
• Cut dialogue tags when you can make the speaker clear through action or introspection.
• Read each scene and enhance emotion. Do not state the emotion but show it both internal for the POV speaker and external as viewed by the POV speaker who can only speculate the action’s meaning.
The first book I decided to Indie publish with the help of my agent is Treasures of Her Heart. It was one of my favorite novels with characters who remained in my memory.
Don’t let your older manuscripts collect dust. Study them and see if some might be perfect for Indie publishing. I loved envisioning the cover idea and seeing it come to life through a designer and I enjoyed the challenge of reworking the book and working with a professional editor to make it even better. Use the eBook opportunity to see your novel in print. Treasures of Her Heart is available on Amazon as a Kindle and a trade book. Drop by Amazon and read the first two chapters. Click here to view