E – Editor (Your chance to have the power!)

IMG_20140510_084737Authors have the privilege and sometimes plague of working with editors. All would agree that the right editorial choices make or break a book’s appeal.

As an indie author I have more control over my editing choices, and sometimes I just can’t decide on a specific style choice. So today, I’m asking YOU, my reader to choose!

My new steam era series, The Unwitting Journeys of the Witty Miss Livingstone is written in first person. I’m making the final decision on whether it should be published in first person present or first person past. Please read the two excerpts below and vote in comments on which you prefer. Your choice may steer the course of 5-7 books!

PRESENT:

“Afternoon, Miss Caprice.” Abigale nods smartly and passes.

My polite nod in return doesn’t reflect how grating it is every time I hear my given name. No one has ever heard of such a name for a woman, and the word itself has dubious origins. Sometimes my father’s invention is a bit too clever. I much prefer, Livingstone. I don’t suppose they’d call me, Cappy? Oh heavens! What am I thinking of?

Oh! The door to the book shop is just that much ajar. Someone must be inside. I won’t let them elude me.

My heart’s aflutter with the jog. Now I just nonchalantly nudge–“Oh!” Oh my, I-

The most mysterious character is offering me his forearm on which to pull myself up from the boardwalk where he has spilled me with an abrupt thump from the suddenly opening door. I’m aghast, but must take the offered aid.

His countenance enthralls me. He has the fine kid gloves of a gentleman, and the grace to snug them securely before reaching out so I won’t contact his hand. His attire is completely black, from head to toe. With immaculate tailoring. And his gold watch fob is dazzling. The jewel mounted on it is of a quality I’ve never seen before. It’s the deepest emerald tone and richly faceted. But his face… He seems no gentleman at all, but rather a gathering of consternation and weather, so deeply furrowed is his brow and so gaunt his cheeks. His eyes are as black as his waistcoat and as glittering as his gold and jewel. They look through me so…

Oh! here I am, flustered as a pea-brained fool. He’s secured the door, released me and vanished around the street corner. I’ve missed my chance at ascertaining the opening date of the bookshop or details regarding its proprietor or even taking in a good eyeful of what’s beyond the window I’ve been so persistently stalking. Of course, it’s greatly his fault for not offering an introduction–or a proper apology. He knocked me bustle over teakettle for the love of Pete. And now I find I’ve lost the charm from my bracelet in my fall.

“Whatever are you doing, Miss Livingstone?” Abigale’s voice scolds from my rear. “I must say you’re in an awkward position.”

“Oh pardon me. I surely look a mess.” I feel my hat askew and straighten it primly. “And you’re correct I have no business leaning down so, but I have lost my charm.”

“Yes, I see.” The girl offers me the most unsavory sneer.

I imagine her an overripe eggplant in her plum-colored attire. “I’m referring to the gold charm that was attached to my wrist.” I indicate the empty chain with a shake. “I took a fall and it must have come loose.”

She’s looking at me as if my gears are loose.

Let me try, “my father gave it to me before leaving Boston. It was my mother’s. I’m terribly upset. And I was pushed…”

“Oh you poor dear! Henry don’t just dawdle by my arm, help Miss Livingstone find her cha- her keepsake.”

PAST:

“Afternoon, Miss Caprice.” Abigale nodded smartly when she passed.

I nodded politely in return, but it was grating to hear my given name. No one has ever heard of such a name for a woman, and the word itself has dubious origins. Sometimes my father’s invention is a bit too clever. I much preferred, Livingstone. And I wondered for a moment if they’d call me, Cappy? Until I came to my senses. And something exciting caught my eye.

The door to the book shop was just that much ajar. I was sure someone must be inside. I didn’t want them elude me.

I jogged down the block and gave the door a nonchalant nudge. One moment I leaned in to widen the gap in the doorway, and the next I looked up to see a most mysterious character offering me his forearm on which to pull myself up from the boardwalk where he had spilled me with an abrupt thump from the suddenly opening door. I was aghast, but took the offered aid. I failed to see through the gaping doorway to the hidden treasures beyond, so taken was I with the countenance of this man.

He had the fine kid gloves of a gentleman, and the grace to snug them securely before reaching out toward me lest I contact his hand. His attire was completely black, from head to toe. An immaculately tailored shirt and waistcoat with a dazzling gold watch fob which featured a jewel of a quality I’ve never seen before. It was the deepest emerald tone and richly faceted. But his face… He seemed no gentleman at all, but rather a gathering of consternation and weather, so deeply furrowed was his brow and so gaunt his cheeks. And his eyes were as black as the cloth he wore, and as glittering as his gold and jewel. They looked through me, and I lost all thought and purpose.

Before I knew what had happened he had secured the door and there I was, flustered as a pea-brained fool, having missed my chance at ascertaining the opening date of the bookshop or details regarding its proprietor or even taking in a good eyeful of what lay beyond the window I’d been so persistently stalking. Of course, it was greatly his fault for not offering an introduction–or a proper apology. He knocked me bustle over teakettle for Pete’s sake. And then I realized I’d lost the charm from my bracelet in my fall.

“Whatever are you doing, Miss Livingstone?” Abigale’s voice scolded from my rear. “I must say you’re in an awkward position.”

“Oh pardon me. I surely look a mess.” I straightened my hat as I noticed it askew. “And you’re correct I have no business leaning down so, but I have lost my charm.”

“Yes, I see.” The girl gave me the most unsavory sneer. I imagined her an overripe eggplant in her plum-colored attire.

“I’m referring to the gold charm that was attached to my wrist.” I indicated the empty chain pointedly. “I took a fall and it must have come loose.”

She looked at me as if my gears were loose.

I tried, “my father gave it to me before leaving Boston. It was my mother’s. I’m terribly upset. And I was pushed…”

“Oh you poor dear! Henry don’t just dawdle by my arm, help Miss Livingstone find her cha- her keepsake.”

Copyright Sheri J. Kennedy -All Rights Reserved.

E

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About sherijkennedyriverside

Left brain, right brain, I can't decide. After many years of successful visual arts pursuits, I'm working on my other creative inclinations. For the past 8 years, writing has been my second full time job, and it's worth every sleepless night. Sheri J. Kennedy grew up mostly a city-girl coasthopping from Seattle to rural Pennsylvania, Miami and back to Seattle. She currently resides on the banks of the Snoqualmie River in the scenic Cascade Mountains. Her heart has found its home.
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8 Responses to E – Editor (Your chance to have the power!)

  1. I think I like past.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I like past too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Clare! I appreciate your time and consideration of my dilemma. I still haven’t made a final decision. We’ll see…

      Liked by 1 person

      • It will be interesting to discover which way you’ll go. You may find you want to ignore the poll entirely just because you can! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        • After many years of feedback on artwork and writing I have learned that’s true. Sometimes the votes bring up a pushback of my own muse and I discover another reason to choose one of the options and might decide against the majority. So far I’m seeing a bit of a division between very young readers and those who are more used to classics. I think it will partly depend on who I decide the audience is for the book.

          Liked by 1 person

    • I thought I’d pop back in and let you know I went with the majority. I decided the most important thing is to keep the reader comfortably immersed in the story, and the past tense achieves that much more fully for almost everyone who commented here or in my writer’s group. I’m now working hard to keep the energy and immediacy that I liked in the present version while revising it to past. I’m enjoying the challenge, and after five chapters done, I can see that it’s working.
      Thanks again for lending your time and opinion. It was valuable in the decision.

      Liked by 1 person

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