If Only I'd Known: Writing Lesson by Diana Rubino

Today, popular author Diana Rubino shares some knowledge she learned the hard way: by experience.

About Diana Rubino: In Her Own Words

I'm a self-confessed history nut, my favorite eras being Medieval and Renaissance England, and all American history.

I've written several novels set in England and the U.S.: two time travel romances, a vampire romance, and an urban fantasy, Fakin’ It which received a Top Pick award from Romantic Times.

I'm a longtime member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society, and the Aaron Burr Association.

In my spare time, I bicycle, golf, play my piano, and devour books of any genre.

My husband Chris and I own an engineering business, CostPro, and spend as much as time as possible living the dream on Cape Cod.

Find Diana Online: Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Amazon Author Page * Authors Den * BookGoodies * LinkedIn.

Please give a warm welcome to Diana Rubino.

If Only I’d Known: Editing and Patience
by Diana Rubino

When I was a beginner, that is, up to my third or fourth novel, I didn’t grasp the crucial importance of editing. Editing is the general term that covers all the revising, polishing, and deleting that turns a draft into a marketable work.

By deleting I mean obliterating superfluous scenes that don’t push the story forward. I also mean superfluous words—adjectives and especially adverbs. Oh, the adverbs! Always remember, strong verbs make adverbs unnecessary.

Learning that simple fact took me the better part of two decades--I wrote the first draft of my first novel in 1982. Learning to chop, hack, cut and polish without feeling like I was cutting off my arm was difficult, but I learned to look at my work as if I were critiquing and editing someone else’s writing, not my own. Words and scenes fell to the cutting room floor and I didn’t even flinch.

The most valuable lesson I learned, which is related to all this cutting and polishing is: do not be in a hurry to send a manuscript out. I collected many rejections because my work wasn’t ready. I rushed it out way too soon.

I read an article a long time ago, it may have been in Writers Digest, where the author said your work is ready when you’re no longer editing, but merely tinkering—when all the cutting and chopping and slashing is done.

Learning patience was harder than the numerous rounds of cutting, chopping, slashing, hacking, and polishing.

With the help of a few trusted critique partners who write in your genre--family members and non-writer friends, despite their good intentions, are not qualified to critique your writing--and numerous rounds of editing and infinite patience, you'll achieve your goal of a publishable manuscript much faster than trying to rush the process!

The New York Saga by Diana Rubino

Poverty, prejudice and murder won’t stand in the way of true love.

The New York Saga is composed of 3 novels. The sage spans 3 generations of the McGlory family, starting in 1894 amidst the poverty and crime on New York’s Lower East Side, through the wild, boozy years of Prohibition, and ending in 1963 as the country mourned President Kennedy’s assassination.

Book 1, From Here to Fourteenth Street

It's 1894 on New York’s Lower East Side. Irish cop Tom McGlory and Italian immigrant Vita Caputo fall in love despite their different upbringings. While Tom works undercover to help Ted Roosevelt purge police corruption, Vita's father arranges a marriage between her and a man she despises. When Tom’s cousin is murdered, Vita’s father and brother languish in jail, charged with the crime. Can Vita and Tom’s love survive poverty, hatred, and corruption?

Book 2, Bootleg Broadway

It’s 1932. Prohibition rages, the Depression ravages, and Billy McGlory comes of age whether he wants to or not. Musical and adventurous, Billy dreams of having his own ritzy supper club and big band. On the eve of his marriage to the pregnant Prudence, the shifty “businessman” Rosario Ingovito offers him all that and more: fame, fortune, his own Broadway musical.

Can anything go wrong for Billy? Only when he gets in way over his head does he stop to wonder how his business partner really makes his millions, but by then it’s far too late…

Book 3, The End of Camelot

This book begins on the day Camelot truly ended—November 22, 1963. The assassination of a president devastates America. But a phone call brings even more tragic news to Vikki Ward—her TV reporter husband was found dead in his Dallas hotel room that morning.

Finding his notes, Vikki realizes her husband was embroiled in the plot to kill JFK—but his mission was to prevent it. When the Dallas police rule his death accidental, Vikki sets out to find out who was behind the murders of JFK and her husband.

Vikki falls in love with Aldobrandi Po, the bodyguard her godfather hired to protect her. But he's engaged to be married, and she’s still mourning her husband. Can they find happiness in the wake of all this tragedy?

Add The New York Saga to your Library

You'll find this 3-book collection at: Amazon Kindle * The Wild Rose Press.

Takeaway Truth

I'm grateful to my published author friends for sharing their hard-won wisdom. If you get something from these posts, thank the guest author by buying one of her books.


  1. Looks fabulous, Joan! Thanks for hosting me!

  2. Thanks for the advice. I hate adverbs, but sometimes it's hard to find that stronger verb. But I try, oh, how I try! Your books sound great. I looooove history, too! Good luck to you!

    1. Hey, Kara. Thanks for stopping by. Adverbs are everyone's bugaboo.

  3. Thanks, Kara! Sometimes you can't avoid an adverb, but I always go adverb hunting when I'm editing.

  4. Good advice, Diana, esp. about those dreaded adverbs!

    1. Hello, Linda. Thanks for visiting. Have a wonderful weekend.

  5. Great advice about not sending out a ms too soon. I did that too often. After a conference (when an editor or agent asked for a partial or full), I rushed to send it out. I showed.

    1. I think we've all been guilty of that at least once! Thanks for visiting, Diane.

  6. Great advice Diana!
    Sorry I'm late visiting
    Good luck and God's blessings