Posted On November 10, 2017 by Print This Post

Keri’s Top 3 Editing Tips by Keri F. Sweet aka Keri Ford

Please welcome KERI F. SWEET to Romance University! Keri has joined us before, writing as Keri Ford, but her new alter-ego comes with an exciting new opportunity for Keri. Read on!

I recently had the unique opportunity to take a movie and turn it into a book. I completely enjoyed the process. In some ways this was like taking a book and adding depth. If you think about it, a movie is a complete story from beginning to end. The motivations are largely on the page, the story is certainly there, but the only emotions are what the actors convey or what they’re verbally sharing.

In some ways taking this movie to book was much like filling out the body of a solid story. All the dialogue and plot gets you beginning to end, but the inner thoughts and feelings were a bit slim.

My post here at Romance University timed well with NANO. Once you get that story completed, here’s 3 editing tips to tackle.


  • Know your characters. You’ve completed your story and so by now there should be no more secrets, no more waiting on your characters to reveal something. It should all have been thrown down on the page. Now you need to amplify everything about the characters. These are my favorite questions to ask when editing:


How does this make him feel?

What does she think of this?

What does this make him want to do?

What’s her knee-jerk reaction to this?


Ask these questions as often as possible. You cannot ask these questions enough. This is what defines your characters, what makes them unique, what brings out their background, foreshadows the ending, and adds realism to your story. I like to think of it this way: As people we don’t blindly go through life randomly selecting and making choices or randomly feeling things we feel as the world spins about around us. Your characters should function the same.

If someone says something, you, person in real life, have a thought, a feeling, a knee-jerk reaction to what’s been said. Treat your characters the same. Remember to keep your characters consistent!


  • Unexplained or unanswered elements = opportunities to enhance and add to the story. In my movie-turn-book, the heroine is afraid to fly. Well, why?


“I don’t like spiders.”


“Spiders are scary. Do you see all their legs? They’re all crawly and wiggly and they can run sideways and upside-down—at the same time.”


  • Don’t forget your setting. I know for me as a writer on my first time through, I really don’t care what the floor is or the countertops are. But now it’s time to fill those details in and nothing is worse than pages and pages of sweeping descriptions. Use a soft touch to fill in the background while applying that to your characters to showcase their mood, their history, and their feelings:


For four years she lived in a one-bedroom apartment. It had a frayed red couch and broken tile. She put on her heels, turned off the lights, and left.


She pulled at the fraying threads of the red couch that had come with her apartment, then slipped on her heels. The cracked tile under her steps echoed the emptiness in her chest. With one last long inside the one-bedroom hole she’d called home for the last four years, she flipped off the lights and left.


The first is just information given to the reader. The second hints at her feelings and her thoughts while giving the same information (that I underlined)


Have fun chasing your NANO words, but don’t submit that book until you’ve had time to thoroughly edit it. I hope these tips help you on your publishing journey.




Keri F. Sweet is the author of small town contemporary romance. Raised in a community on the outskirts of town, she brings the flavor of this sweet, charming life to the pages of her books. She’s the wife of an amazing supportive husband, mom of a wit-sharp boy, and pet momma to three adorable rescue dogs. She finds it incredible that her life’s work and passion is creating stories designed to make people happy.

Find out more from Keri at:

Keri also offers Developmental Editing. For more information, visit Victory Editing: She is a teaching editor who offers lots of suggestions and examples in her edits.


Keri’s first release, Love You Like Christmas: Based on the Hallmark Original Channel Movie is now available!


Sometimes getting lost leads you back to what matters most…

Maddie, a marketing executive in New York, is on her way to attend the December wedding of one of her best clients. She’s afraid of flying, and taking her late aunt’s classic Mustang on a road trip seems like fun—until the car breaks down and leaves her stranded in the small town of Christmas Valley.

The first time Kevin meets Maddie, he’s dealing with an accident that left a whole shipment of his Christmas trees scattered across the highway. He hasn’t thought about romance since his wife died: he’s been busy raising a little girl and running a struggling tree farm. But even in the middle of this setback, he’s immediately drawn to Maddie.

As Maddie waits in Christmas Valley for her car to get repaired, she begins to realize that friends and family are at the heart of the holidays—and she can’t deny her growing feelings for Kevin. But sooner or later, she’s going back to her big-city life, and Kevin’s future is uncertain. How can either of them take a chance on love?

This novel includes a free original recipe for Christmas Biscuits with Sugar Plum Jam.

Now available from:



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10 Responses to “Keri’s Top 3 Editing Tips by Keri F. Sweet aka Keri Ford”

  1. I remember Keri from when she was just a young whippersnapper, and I’m so excited about her new project with the Hallmark channel! Keri, thanks so much for joining us today – I’m looking forward to watching this movie and reading your book!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | November 10, 2017, 10:18 am
  2. Hi Keri,
    What great, specific tips you give here. I often have trouble drilling-down the emotions, but I really like asking what the knee-jerk reaction is.
    What a neat new venture for you, too! Do they provide you the script to work from? I would hope so, because transcribing a movie–ugh!
    Other Keri

    Posted by Keri Stevens | November 10, 2017, 11:15 am
    • thanks!!! I’ve realized as I try to explain/define some of the writing terms we know that there’s an easier way to say things. I mean, we know what show vs tell is now, but I think we all remember trying to initially figure it out.

      What’s the knee-jerk reaction here? The reader wants to experience this with the character. This sentence feels like it’s the next day and the character is telling us like it’s friends over coffee. What did the character experience and feel in the moment?

      and yes! I got a copy of the film and a script. I kept the movie open on the computer and frequently paused/play/rewind and referred to the script as I wrote.

      Posted by Keri F Sweet | November 10, 2017, 11:37 am
  3. Keri – I’m not sure if I should ask this, but how did you find out about this opportunity? Was there a contest or did you have a personal contact? I’m fascinated by this whole idea!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | November 10, 2017, 6:12 pm
  4. That is wonderful! You have a really strong voice, and I can see why you’d be a good fit. Huge congratulations – I hope this leads to even more opportunities for you!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | November 10, 2017, 10:52 pm
  5. I miss you Whippersnapper! I’m so happy to see that you’re doing this. How cool is that?!

    Great info! I remember (about 50 million years ago) while she critiqued one of my stories, Becke suggested I “fill in” the character and surroundings to amplify the images and emotions in the scene. Don’t tell them how the character feels—show them!

    I need to keep up with you, kiddo! Good luck with this!

    Ciao, Bella!

    Posted by Rosie Murphy | November 11, 2017, 2:31 am

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