by Timothy Pike
As the sun rises on her home in Edmond, Oklahoma, where she’s lived for the past eight years, author and editor Alicia Dean is already up, preparing for another day of doing what she does best: helping writers turn their fledgling novels into masterpieces.
“I love my life,” she declares. “I love what I do.”
The enthusiasm she has for her work shines brightly in all of the services she offers: content edits, proofreading, writing coaching, and beta reading among them.
Alicia’s fascination with the written word started early in life. “Writing has been my passion since I was a child,” she says. “I actually wrote my first romance at the age of ten.”
At that age, she probably didn’t know that her love of writing would lead to a career in editing, but as she became more successful as an author, she found herself drawn to a profession where she could help other writers reach the same heights.
At first, Alicia dabbled in the field by taking courses at a local community college. Then, in 2004, while making connections in pursuit of publication, Alicia befriended the founder of The Wild Rose Press, who ended up taking her on to head up their suspense line. It was there, Alicia tells me, working with the founder and the rest of the editors, that she really honed her skills.
Alicia is still on staff there today, but not long ago she decided to extend her reach and start taking on clients of her own. “Four years or so ago,” she says, “I expanded into freelance editing.”
And as her career expanded, so did her appreciation for different genres. “I used to think I would not like editing non-fiction,” she says, “but I have done some non-fiction projects—memoirs in particular—that I enjoyed much more than I expected.”
Alicia’s freelance clients aren’t shy about leaving rave reviews on her website. “Alicia has a unique ability to ‘see’ things in my manuscripts others don’t,” wrote one.
Over the years, Alicia has worked with an impressive roster of well-known authors, including Jordan Dane and Toni Anderson. Her freelance clients, as it turns out, aren’t shy about leaving rave reviews on her website.
This is due in part to her rare talent for instantly spotting problems in stories that their authors may not have seen. “Alicia Dean has a unique ability to ‘see’ things in my manuscripts others don’t,” wrote one of Alicia’s many clients.
All of this makes Alicia the perfect person to guide aspiring novelists from start to finish in the new Novel Writer Boot Camp at ChapterBuzz.
Even though it’s not a real boot camp (unlike a drill sergeant, Alicia won’t bark orders or call you names), the program does encourage focus and discipline for writers. And Alicia’s erstwhile stint in the military may have instilled in her just the temperament she needs to motivate participants. “I was once in the Army National Guard,” she tells me. “People are often surprised when they learn that about me.”
In person, Alicia comes off as laid back—which could explain the surprise—but at the same time, she’s clearly driven and serious about her work. Her affable nature is, in fact, one of her greatest strengths, while her patience is an indispensable asset for working with beginning writers who have plenty to learn from her along the way.
And Alicia has plenty to teach, as an accomplished author herself. For example, she draws heavily on her novel-writing experience to break her editing clients of some of the bad writing habits she sees far too often.
All of this makes Alicia the perfect person to guide aspiring novelists from start to finish in the Novel Writer Boot Camp at ChapterBuzz.
“My biggest pet peeve regarding what I see in edits is head-hopping,” Alicia says, referring to the mistake of telling a story from the viewpoints of several characters without making the switches clear to the reader. “It’s something that authors, especially new authors, should avoid,” she explains.
But that’s not all. “Something I’m seeing more and more of lately are comma splices,” she says about the practice of placing a comma between two otherwise complete sentences—where either a period or a conjunction like “and” would be a better choice. “It’s some kind of new style, I guess, but it doesn’t work. It makes the writing jarring and choppy and pulls readers out of the story.”
As time goes on, Alicia would like to be more prolific in her own writing. “I’d love to one day write a horror novel,” she says. “I am currently working on a straight suspense-slash-police-procedural titled Evil Eye.”
Alicia shouldn’t have too much trouble with that, because in addition to being a gifted writer, Alicia continues to receive plenty of support from the people she meets. “The writing world, for the most part, is inhabited with giving, supportive people,” she says, “who have made my road pretty smooth.”
But while Alicia has set her sights high, she’s not necessarily looking for any big shakeups in her life.
“I have goals and I’m always striving to meet them, but I don’t have to be famous or hugely successful. I would be content,” she admits, “if I remained at this level and continue to do exactly what I’m currently doing.”
Want to work with Alicia? Let her guide you through the journey of writing a novel in the Novel Writer Boot Camp, starting soon!
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