Tara's responses for my Six Questions For . . . blog are up today. If you're writing a book, this is a must read. Here's a sample.
SQF: You edit and proofread manuscripts for a number of publishers. What are the most common mistakes you encounter?
TM: . . . I think the number one problem I see in most manuscripts of all genres is a weak chapter opener. This is often where I have to do the heaviest edits. It seems it’s hard to get into a chapter for most writers, but once they get going, the writing flows better. So I would counsel writers, especially those who are unpublished, to go back and rework their chapter openers to make them as strong as the rest of the chapters. And if you are taking workshops to hone that first chapter or two for submission to agencies, be sure to follow up with workshops to hone the rest of the chapters. Too many first novels have great beginnings that have been workshopped to death, and weaker chapters that follow because they only got a cursory glance.
Read the complete interview here.