Lea Schizas is a mother of five and tenderly referred as ‘Mother Hen’ by many writers.
Many have asked me where I find the time to do all that I do. Easy, when you have a deep passion for your work, you will always find time to complete your projects.
Lea Schizas is the founder of The MuseItUp Club, an online critique community, the Muse Online Writers Conference, and co-founder of Apollo’s Lyre. Each of these venues has consistently been in Writer’s Digest 100 Top Writing Sites since 2005.
For more information on her blogs, upcoming books, zines/newsletters, go here: http://www.leaschizas.com
Lea is an editor as well as a talented writer.
In a previous interview, Donna Mc Dine asked her: What do you find to be more challenging: editing other writers’ manuscripts or developing your own?
I don’t have a hard time developing my ideas into penned words, nor the editing stage. I do have a hard time figuring out if I’m objective enough and deleted inconsequential passages to the fullest extend. That is why a critique partner or an editor comes in handy. We need another pair of eyes to catch things we are too involved with to see.
I have absolutely no difficulty editing other manuscripts because I am totally objective to this work and can spot plot holes, passive writing, weak dialogue easier than its creator.
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Since Lea is editor in chief of Red Rose Publishing and edits for several other publishers including 4RV, a publisher of children's as well as adult books, it seemed like a good opportunity to get her views on what an editor looks for in a submission. She also gives me gives me a plug for Summer's Story, a mainstream romance novel being released by Red Rose Publishing on December 18th. Lea is a wonderful promoter for other people. Thank you, Lea.
As an editor, what do you look for in a book that you might consider for publication?
That’s easy. I’m looking for a twist in a story. Reading so many submissions after a while you can predict the ending. If a writer can surprise me along the way and throw me off track, then they’ve done their job. This doesn’t mean they can have a passive voice, or tell a story – a book needs to draw a reader into that make-believe world using an active voice, a showing mode, and strong characters with dilemmas that keep a reader hooked.
Do you look for different things in a children's book, as opposed to an adult romance novel for example?
Most definitely. First off I look at the age appropriate content for the author’s intended audience. The topic matter must be something that particular age group can relate to and understand. As in adult books, strong characters (and in kids books the main character should be either the same age or 2-4 years older – kids love reading books where the characters are slightly older than them), interesting situations, and a fully fleshed ending are important aspects in kids books. Mysteries, spooky horror and fantasy continue to be two strong genres for kids books – the 8 and over crowd.
In adult romance, I want to read more than the Cinderella/Pretty Woman theme. That’s been done, over and over again. HEA (Happily Ever After) are still strong, but writers need to add new twists. Let’s take your romance novel for example. I liked Summer’s Story because you gave your character a unique career: a horse breeder. You bring your reader into the horsing world, giving them a glimpse of the behind the scene action in horseracing. That competition between one horse owner and another, the sneakiness and underhandedness in others…these were just some of the qualities that drew me into your story and why you got the contract. A novel must maintain a reader’s interest throughout. That’s the quality I’m looking for as submissions editor.