Getting It Right: Part Deux

red-inked manuscript

(C) 2008 Nic McPhee, used under Creative Commons

I started work with my new editor on Gypsy’s Kiss last week. I will give her a shoutout when we’re finished, but so far I like it.

To the six of you who read the original “Gypsy’s Kiss,” it had the questionable premise of high-priced call girl Gypsy (from “Roofies”) wanting Nick to be her final client before she leaves the sex trade. I subbed that one to an anthology before really having time to work on that story. As a result, I wasn’t happy with it.


Expand it to a novella (or, if you want to be picky, novelette, but that’s a silly term), make it about the end of Nick Kepler as a PI and about his history with Gypsy, and we have a workable story. The trick Gypsy wants to turn initially is no more than Nick showing up with a bottle of wine and a dollar (because you don’t work for free) to watch old movies on a Friday night. Someone decides to make Gypsy’s exit difficult, and Nick is suddenly bartering services. (He reminds Gypsy that a bullet she took pays for much more than finding out who trashed her apartment.)

I reworked it and reworked it, at one point even killing Nick off in an interim draft. The story I sent to my new editor has a happier ending.

I can’t tell you how much it means to have a longer work edited. My editor is building a client list, so the rates were right. Since I was already aware of her work and her editing style (We are currently tag-teaming a mutual friend’s novel.), I saw this as an investment in what’s my final independent long-form release as Jim Winter. (Unless Holland Bay tanks.) She confirmed a lot of my story decisions and had me already thinking of ways to shore up the weaker sections of the story.

It pleases me to no end that Nick Kepler’s story will end edited as well as (if not better than) it was in the beginning. As I said before, Road Rules survived without a formal edit, as did Bad Religion, but as Holland Bay will soon go back to an agent, I want to end Jim Winter’s time as an indie writer with a better story.

And begin Dick’s run as an indie. My new friend has already agreed to do my first science fiction novella.

It’s been an awesome time to be two different writers.