From Dixie Gillaspie –
[The] delicate and nuanced touch of editor extraordinaire Maria Rodgers O’Rourke… not only helped me hone the transformational arc and the nuances of The Truth About Winter, but also helped me create resource materials for readers.
Her editing, polishing and deep understanding of story and of my work in the world made this book more powerful and more palatable.”
The Truth About Winter
Dixie invited me to read and critique her manuscript, The Truth About Winter, which was at about 70,000 words. This book was over ten years in the making, as she’d added to and refined her vision over time. She asked that I apply my training and experience in both creating and editing compelling, accessible stories to her work.
Dixie says, “I didn’t tell the story of my life the way it happened, but this is the story of my ‘journey of the soul’ from childhood trauma through denial and grief and into a life filled with love, joy, and freedom.”
The Truth About Winter is part memoir, part autobiography. One reviewer called it “a parable, wrapped in a memoir, wrapped in fiction.”
At first read, Dixie’s allegorical memoir was enchanting, riveting and potentially transformative for the reader. Her compassionate perspective on trauma and healing came through in her vivid descriptions, dialogue, and characters.
An already compelling manuscript was enhanced by integrating my “First Reader” thoughts, and exploring ways to polish the flow and engage the reader more deeply. My work also included refining scenes according to story structure, recommending and editing new material to hone and complete individual character arcs relative to the transformation of the protagonist.
In addition to the Manuscript Migration, I helped Dixie craft the back cover sales copy, and created a complete Reader’s Guide with thoughtful discussion questions, which is available for download from Dixie’s author website.
Dixie’s final manuscript was THE expression of the story that she’d envisioned publishing. Together, we upleveled the story’s transformational arc, making it more accessible to the reader. One character’s arc, in particular, was strengthened by exploring how the reader might better understand his role in the protagonist’s transformation, and further developing that arc of the story.
I was honored to complete a Manuscript Migration on Dixie’s magnetic story. It was a delight to work with her every step of the way. She listened deeply to my feedback and embraced suggested new material that resonated with her vision for the story.
As an editor, it is vital to me that an author feels heard and understood. Dixie and I shared many of these moments, and I’d like to think that my receptivity encouraged her to create scenes of great depth that further empowered her message.
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