Christi Goddard: the editor that saved her writing career

Four In The Morning is the debut young adult fantasy by Christi Goddard.

Being the daughter of a truck driver gave Goddard the opportunity to travel and learn about the world.

Using the skills she developed in life allowed her to become a renaissance woman in the publishing industry.

Goddard is a book trailer designer, a content editor, and an animator. Visit her website to seek her services.

I am honored to be able to share this author’s unique perspective with you all below.

Author spot lights usually feature just the words of the author, but since I conducted my interview with Goddard over the phone, I get to do something different.

Straight from the author’s mouth: the editor that saved her writing career

Can you tell us about Four In The Morning? What inspired you to write it?

Four In The Morning is a young adult paranormal novel that tells the story of Kathleen, a spunky and witty high school student, whose actions result in her being thrown into a police investigation.  One that leads to her reevaluating who she is as a person.

Goddard described Kathleen as an intelligent and clever character who has a lot of mouth.

“The character is how I would like to have been when I was in high school,” Goddard explained. “The person I was in high school was confident, but not like hey look at me, look at me.”

Though Goddard explained Kathleen does not really support the clique system, she says she has a clique. Not really trusting anyone outside of her friends, she can send off an “I hate you vibe,” Goddard said.

When asked how she came up with the concept for the story, Goddard said it was inspired by DL Hammons’ blog.

While on Hammons’ blog, Goddard engaged in an argument with Hammons over who had the best story to tell.

She told him how she used to write poems for a boy to give to his girlfriend while in high school.

Really liking the story, Hammons told Goddard that would make a good book.

It later led Goddard to write Four In The Morning.

How long did it take you to complete your novel? Can you discuss your writing process?

Goddard said she writes in spurts.  “I will write a bunch really fast and then won’t write for a long time.”

That being said, Goddard explained it took her 6 weeks in all to write Four In The Morning, but she did not write it all at once.

“When I am motivated I can go and just write, write, write it.”

What tools did you use to complete this novel?

Goddard strongly believes in being professionally edited.

Beta editors overlook things. When she finally got a professional editor not only did she get advice on overlooked mistakes, she also learned a thing or two about the industry.

After completing Four In The Morning, Goddard sent it off to agents. She got a lot of interest even though they all eventually passed. Their passing seemed to lead her on her path to Immortal Ink Publishing.

She sent it off to an editor, and the editor loved it.

Goddard said she was surprised by her reaction. “This was my play around book.”

Loving the book so much, when the editor discovered Goddard was having very little luck in the publishing industry she told her about Immortal Ink publishing.

The one thing Goddard loves about Immortal Ink publishing is their ability to listen to suggestions. Such an ability allowed Goddard to keep as much of the original idea of her book as she could.

The ending of Four In The Morning was especially important to her.

“The ending had to happen the way it did,” Goddard began. “For books 2 and 3 to make sense.”

Any Editing Tips?

“That, is the work of the devil,” Goddard said. “That is not a necessary word.  I was able to cut out 2,000 words by going through my story and taking out the word that.”

Goddard’s editing process is not of the norm.

She likes to write a couple pages at a time then go back to edit it before moving forward. Such a process makes it hard to keep count of how many drafts she has worked on for any specific novel.

“I want to know exactly what the character is going to say and have the scene perfect in my head before I write it,” Goddard said.

If you could share one tip that you have learned with traditionally published and self-published authors who desire a successful writing career, what would it be?

Goddard suggested for writers to never be over confident in their abilities as a writer. The actual feel of writing a sentence may be different from the meaning the reader gets.

“Your sentence may not make sense to anybody, but you,” Goddard said.

She also suggested learning about Janet Reid and following her blog.

Reid helped Goddard to perfect her query  letter by doing  a critique and posting it on her blog.

Goddard said, she has a database of edited query letters for those to go over.

“Nothing puts off an agent more than horribly written query letters,” Goddard reassured me.

One last bit of advice is to get your books professionally edited. She explained to me there is a big difference between being a storyteller and an author.

“I love to weave a tale. Being an author is more professional. There are responsibilities. You have to abide by the rules of grammar.”

If someone does not have the average $1500 dollars to throw away on a novel, she recommends Freelance.com. On that website, editors can be found for $300 or $400 dollars.

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