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Question
"Hi, I really don't know if you can help, but Thank you for the time you take to read this.
I am a first time writer, and am currently working on my first novel. I am about a quarter into it, and am enjoying every second of it! I was just wandering there was any professional or non-professional out there who looks through peoples writing to give them advice or constructive critism? I would love to know if I'm going in the right direction with my writing, but I just don't know who I can ask. Any help you could give me to point me in the right direction would be great.

Thank you so much for your time."

Answer
Manuscript editing and evaluation is what I do for a living, but frankly itís always better to finish the manuscript before you get professional feedback on it, because much is likely to change in the plot and characters while you go through the process of writing the novel. Once you finish your first draft, go through it to polish it, tighten the writing, add layering and depth to the scenes and characters if necessary, and make the manuscript the best you can. At that point you are ready to seek advice, feedback, and guidance from a professional book doctor like me. In the meantime, youíll find lots of free information on my Web site (www.zebraeditor.com) as well as an offer to sign up for a free newsletter for writers.

I wish you much success.

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Bobbie Christmas

Expertise

Book Doctor Bobbie Christmas owns Zebra Communications, a book-editing firm in metro Atlanta. She not only edits books, she also helps writers power up their prose to increase their chances of success. She is the author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), a creative-writing guide that won three awards.

Experience

Bobbie has spent more than 40 years in the publishing and communications industry and has run Zebra Communications, a book-editing company, since 1992. The editor of many publications and periodicals, she has worked with book publishers and trade magazine publishers as well as working in marketing communications and corporate communications.

Organizations
Past president, Georgia Writers Association; past vice president, South Carolina Writers Workshop; charter/lifelong member, Florida Writers Association; Southeastern Writers Association; Atlanta Writers Club; Society for the Preservation of English Language and Literature (SPELL); International Guild of Professional Consultants

Publications
Write in Style (Union Square Publishing), A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation), A Cup of Comfort for Friends (Adams Media), A Cup of Comfort for Mothers and Sons (Adams Media), Haunted Engounters (Atriad Press), Remembering Woolworth's (St. Martin's Press), First-Time Home Buyer magazine, HomeBusiness Journal, Apparel Industry Magazine, Edge Magazine, Atlanta Jewish Times, Time Travel Australia, American Writers Review, Points North, That's Entertainment, Atlanta Parent, Agnes Scott Alumnae Magazine, etc.

Education/Credentials
Journalism: University of South Carolina plus four decades of working in publishing, marketing, communications, advertising, newspaper and magazine production, book publishing, etc.

Awards and Honors
First Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers Annual Contest, 2005; First Place, education, Royal Palm Literary Award, 2004; Best in Division, Georgia Author of the Year Awards, 2005; Finalist, Best Books 2005, USA BookNews Third Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers, 1999; Nominated for Georgia Author of the Year, 1998; plus many other awards

Past/Present Clients
Capital Books, Sourcebooks, Olin Frederick, The Writer's Machine, Russell Dean & Company, Outskirts Press, and hundreds of writers.

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