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Monday, November 19, 2012

A Chat with The Writer Whisperer, BARBARA SCOTT

Okay, I'm biased. But one of my most valuable business relationships occurred when a little publisher I didn’t know much about hired a new senior editor for their fiction line. When Barbara Scott accepted the job at Abingdon Press, I had no idea how profoundly my own life would change (both personally AND professionally, as it turned out).

Finding an editor who really “gets you” is that beautiful lightning-in-a-bottle miracle that every writer hopes to land. Since she bought my first single title novel for the Christian market (The Big 5-OH!), Barbara has established herself as an editor (and agent, for about a year) who truly loves writers and feels that it is her special calling from God to nurture and guide them through a sometimes-treacherous, often-confusing journey. I can tell you from firsthand experience that she is successful in following her commission. So I thought perhaps Novel Rocket readers might also benefit from getting to know her.

Barbara Scott has more than 35 years’ experience in newspaper, magazine, and book publishing, including adult, youth, and children's fiction. She also co-authored two bestselling novels for Thomas Nelson—Sedona Storm and Secrets of the Gathering Darkness—as well as numerous gift books and ghostwritten pieces. Barbara was responsible for acquiring and launching a new bestselling YA fiction line at Zondervan Publishing before taking on the adult fiction line at Abingdon Press.

About the authors with whom she’s worked, Barbara says:Sandie, discovering you was like finding the Hope diamond. You make me laugh, and you make me cry. Not every author has the ability to move me emotionally. Through the years, I’ve also worked with unique stand-out authors such as Melody Carlson, Brandilyn Collins, Nancy Rue, and dozens of others. I don’t think I steered their careers, but as their editor, I hope I contributed to the success of their projects.”

@BarbaraScott01: Avoid writing your first scene about a character staring out the window, thinking about his emotions or what he's about to do. #writing

When Barbara recently returned to work as a freelance editor, she really dug into her desire to mentor and guide authors. One manifestation of that desire came when she began tweeting little nuggets of advice. The response, she says, has been overwhelming.

@BarbaraScott01: Don't switch point of view in the same scene unless you want your reader's brain to short out from confusion. #writing

About the tweets, Barbara says:I realized I had years of experience in writing, editing, and agenting and could help new and experienced authors learn more about their craft and the Christian book publishing industry in general. I’ve gotten into a rhythm and post five or six nuggets of knowledge every day of the week. I also include encouraging quotes or Scripture, usually for my 6 a.m. post. Writers seem to enjoy and look forward to learning in a shorter format. I’ve almost decided to give up my blog because I’m more effective with the format on Facebook. I also have a Twitter following because my Facebook page posts connect to that site. It’s been fun receiving comments and answering questions. If I don’t know the answer to a question, I’ll do research and find out the answer for my readers.”

@BarbaraScott01: Your main characters should be complex and four-dimensional (physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual). #writing

On the role she feels she is meant to play in the writing journey, Barbara says:
My gift as an editor is to encourage authors and edit their manuscripts so their voices are strong and their prose sings. They should be able to accept all of my changes, read through their manuscripts, and not be able to tell what I’ve done. Edits should blend seamlessly into an author’s work.”

@BarbaraScott01:  Don't overplay your description. Use bits of action, dialogue, and the five senses to show a character's reaction to pressure. #writing

On her blog, Barbara states:This becomes a two-way conversation when you post a comment. Often I jump back on the blog during the day and will answer your questions or respond to your comments. I have both published and unpublished authors who read this blog, and we’d love to hear from you so that we can learn from your experience. Let’s talk!”

If you’d like to keep up with Barbara, here’s how you can find her on the net:

Twitter: @BarbaraScott01
Her Blog

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For more than a decade, Sandra D. Bricker lived in Los Angeles and, while writing in every spare moment, worked as a personal assistant and publicist to some of daytime television's hottest stars. Since then she has published 17 novels, including the popular Another Emma Rae Creation series that started with Always the Baker, Never the Bride.

The final book in the Emma Rae series hits bookstores this spring with Always the Baker, FINALLY the Bride, now available for pre-order at Amazon.


  1. I do follow Barbara on twitter and I've appreciated her hints. Wish more CBA agents/editors would post tips! Great way to use your experience to help others.

  2. Great post! Barbara's nuggets are always full of grace and wisdom, making her a joy to follow!


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