J.K. Pendragon Talks Editing, Writing Guides, and J.K.’s latest release ‘Junior Hero Blues’ (guest post and giveway)

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Business Superhero with city

Junior Hero Blues by J.K. Pendragon
R
iptide Publishing

Cover by: Michelle Fairbanks

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have J.K. Pendragon here today to talk about editing their latest release Junior Hero Blues. Welcome, J.K.

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Editing Junior Hero Blues – Before and After

by J.K. Pendragon

Today I want to talk about editing. I was lucky to have a fantastic set of editors for Junior Hero Blues, and the experience was really rewarding. I felt like I was really able to tighten up and improve the book without losing the quirky narrative style, which was something I was worried about.

One of the biggest changes made was an aspect of Riptide’s style guide which says that dialogue tags should be replaced with action tags whenever possible. Here’s an example of the before and after:

Before editing:

“It’s beautiful,” I said, leaning forward and unbuckling my seatbelt. “I think I can see my apartment.”

“My house is over there too,” said Rick. “I never could figure out which one it was though.”

I leaned on the dashboard, standing up a little to see farther. I could feel Rick’s eyes on me as I bent forward, and I almost blushed. I sort of liked it though. I looked over at him and grinned, and he blushed instead.

“Uh.” He looked uncomfortable. “Sorry.”

I sat back. “For what?”

“Nothing.” Rick didn’t seem to know what to do with his hands. He rubbed them together, patted the steering wheel, touched the back of his neck. “I mean, I’m just glad you agreed to come up here with me.”

I fought the urge to hunch forward again. “Do you… actually like me?” I asked.

Rick looked confused. “Of course! Why would I ask you out if I didn’t.”

“It’s just,” I gestured at myself. “I know I’m not like, much of a catch.”

“I think you’re gorgeous.” The way he said it, all serious and passionate sent a shiver down my spine. He was still blushing a little, his neck and face tinged pink. “Really, I even like your glasses and your big sweaters and everything. And I like how you are.” He seemed like he was having trouble expressing himself a bit, but he charged on. “Everyone else is so preoccupied with school, it’s like it’s the only thing about them. But you seem like… like more. Like you’re ready for things to get better, instead of trying to hold on to something that isn’t that great anyway… ” He grimaced and turned his head away. “Sorry, I guess that’s all kind of presumptuous.”

“It’s true though,” I said. “No one’s ever said it like that before, but you’re right. Things will get better. I’ll make them better.”

After editing:

“It’s beautiful.” I unbuckled my seat belt to see better. “I think I can see my apartment.”

“My house is over there too,” said Rick. “I never could figure out which one it was though.”

I leaned on the dashboard, moving forward to see farther. I could feel Rick’s eyes on me as I bent forward, and I almost blushed. I sort of liked it, though. I glanced over at him and grinned, causing him to blush instead.

“Uh.” He looked uncomfortable. “Sorry.”

I sat back. “For what?”

“Nothing.” Rick didn’t seem to know what to do with his hands. He rubbed them together, patted the steering wheel, touched the back of his neck. “I mean, I’m just glad you agreed to come up here with me.”

I fought the urge to hunch forward again. “Do you . . . actually like me?”

“What? Of course! Why would I ask you out if I didn’t?”

“It’s just”—I gestured at myself—“I know I’m not, like, much of a catch.”

“I think you’re gorgeous.” The way he said it, all serious and passionate, sent a shiver down my spine. He was still blushing a little, his neck and face tinged pink. “Really, I even like your glasses and your big sweaters and everything. And I like how you are.”

He seemed to be having trouble expressing himself a bit, but he charged on. “Everyone else is so preoccupied with school, it’s like it’s the only thing about them. But you seem like . . . like more. Like you’re ready for things to get better, instead of trying to hold on to something that isn’t that great anyway . . .” He grimaced and turned his head away. “Sorry, I guess that’s all kind of presumptuous.”

I didn’t think it was presumptuous at all. He’d described me better than I’d ever been able to describe myself. Plus, he thought I was gorgeous? It was lucky I didn’t explode from ego right there. “It’s true though. No one’s ever said it like that before, but you’re right. Things will get better. I’ll make them better.”

So as you can see, there’s not a huge amount of difference, but the differences that are there are important. One particular issue I had was using a dialogue tag followed by an action.  For instance:

“It’s beautiful,” I said, leaning forward and unbuckling my seatbelt.

can easily become:

“It’s beautiful.” I unbuckled my seat belt to see better.

You don’t lose any of the meaning, and the whole thing is tightened up for easier reading. In the case of the last paragraph it’s even better, because when I went to replace the “I said” tag, I ended up having an opportunity to give more insight into the main character’s thoughts, which is always a good thing.

I ended up really liking this style guide rule, and I learned a lot from it. When I’m writing now, I always think “do I need a dialogue tag here, or can the action just serve as the tag?” and I think that’s really streamlined my writing.

Obviously said isn’t dead, and it’s almost always better to just use “said” than an elaborate dialogue tag like “uttered” or “ejaculated.” But there’s also the option of just cutting the dialogue tag entirely, which is something I’ve found super useful, and maybe you will too!

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to leave a comment with your name and email address for a chance to win one of three $15 Amazon gift cards! Bye!

Business Superhero with city

About Junior Hero Blues

Last year, Javier Medina was your average socially awkward gay high schooler with a chip on his shoulder. This year, he’s . . . well, pretty much the same, but with bonus superpowers, a costume with an ab window to show off his new goods, and a secret identity as the high-flying, wise-cracking superhero Blue Spark.

But being a Junior Hero means that Javier gets all the responsibility and none of the cool gadgets. It’s hard enough working for the Legion of Liberty and fighting against the evil Organization, all while trying to keep on top of schoolwork and suspicious parents. Add in a hunky boyfriend who’s way out of Javier’s league, and an even hunkier villain who keeps appearing every time said boyfriend mysteriously disappears, and Blue Spark is in for one big dollop of teenage angst. All while engaging in some epic superhero action and, oh yeah, an all-out battle to protect Liberty City from the forces of evil.

Welcome to the 100% true and totally unbiased account of life as a teenage superhero.

About J.K. Pendragon

J.K. Pendragon is a Canadian author with a love of all things romantic and fantastical. They first came to the queer-fiction community through m/m romance, but soon began to branch off into writing other queer fiction. As a bisexual and genderqueer person, J.K. is dedicated to producing diverse, entertaining fiction that showcases characters across the rainbow spectrum, and provides queer characters with the happy endings they are so often denied.

After writing in the romance community for several years, Junior Hero Blues is J.K.’s first book for young adults. Having been very positively affected by the queer books they came across as a teen, J.K. hopes their young adult books can have a similar effect on teens who may have a harder time finding books about people like themselves.

Notable works by J.K. Pendragon include Ink & Flowers, a contemporary romance novel with coming out themes, and To Summon Nightmares, a horror-fantasy that follows the journey of a young trans man into a world of magic and danger. To Summon Nightmares is the winner of the 2015 Rainbow Awards’ Best Transgender Fiction award. J.K. also contributed to Less Than Three Press’s Geek Out: A Collection of Trans and Genderqueer Romance.

J.K. currently resides in British Columbia, Canada, with a boyfriend, a cat, and a large collection of artisanal teas that they really need to get around to drinking. They are always happy to chat, and can be reached at jes.k.pendragon@gmail.com and on twitter @JKPendragon.

Connect with J.K.:

juniorheroblues_tourbanner

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Junior Hero Blues, three lucky winners will receive $15 Amazon gift cards! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 12, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

14 thoughts on “J.K. Pendragon Talks Editing, Writing Guides, and J.K.’s latest release ‘Junior Hero Blues’ (guest post and giveway)

  1. This sounds like just the book I was looking for. thanks
    debby236 at gmail dot com

    Like

  2. That was super interesting. Good editing is so important for the joy of reading.

    Like

  3. I’ve heard Riptide’s editing can be an intense experience!

    vitajex(at)Aol(Dot)com

    Like

  4. Thank you for sharing about the editing process. I love learning about how books come to be and the before/after was interesting.

    jen(dot)f(at)mac(dot)com

    Like

  5. Congrats and thx for your post about editing and writing. Your book sounds great. What can I say, I’m a sucker for gay YA superheroes.
    Purple Reader – TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

    Like

  6. Congrats on the new book. Thank you for sharing the editing process with us. I’ so use to seeing you publish with LT3, it’s a nice change to see you expanding to different publishers.
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

    Like

  7. Congrats on the release & thanks for the post. It may not be obvious when reading script, but the difference in editing really stands out when listening to the stories on audio. When hearing he said/she said/they said for 8+ hours it begins to become tedious & annoying. Too bad more people haven’t caught on to the tighter/better editing!
    legacylandlisa(at)gmail(dot)com

    Like

  8. I am quite intrigued with this, so thanks for the giveaway chance

    amie_07(at)yahoo(dot)com

    Like

  9. I enjoyed seeing the difference that editing can make. Thank you for sharing.
    ree.dee.2014 (at) gmail (dot) com

    Like

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