On Editing

A while back, I posted a call to all writers who wanted to share their editing tips, and my friend, Dena, volunteered.  If you don’t already follow Dena’s blog, you’re missing a real treat.  So without further ado, here’s Dena:

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dms

Please share one to three tips or tricks that you use when editing your work, how specifically you use them, and why they work for you.

My biggest tip is to read your work out loud to yourself or use a program that will read it to you.  I downloaded a free text to speech program (if I was at home I could give you the name) and it helped tremendously despite the computer generated voice.  It’s great for picking up on stilted dialogue or scenes that don’t transition smoothly.

What was your biggest repeated mistake when you first started writing? What is your weakest point of editing and why?

My biggest mistake was info dropping.  I wanted to tell my reader everything and it was difficult to learn how to intersperse tidbits of information throughout the story instead of throwing it all out at once.  My weakest point of editing? No questions about it, grammar structure.  I hate commas! I either use them too often or not enough and they are never in the correct places. Grammar was never a strong subject for me.  I’m better at math, but you don’t find a lot of math in romance novels unless you’re doing an “oops I’m pregnant” storyline and you have to add up the months since well … you know!

Have you used any editing methods previously that just didn’t work for you? If so, what were they and why didn’t they work?

I edit as I go.  Meaning, when I sit down to write each day I look over what I wrote the previous day before moving forward.  Sometimes this does slow down the process, but I’ve tried not looking back and keep pushing forward and it didn’t work.  Because not only am I editing it, it’s also a quick refresher of the place I’m at in the story.

Please tell us something about your current work in progress or your most recent completed work (or both), and tell us where we can purchase your book(s).

My debut novel, Drive Me Sane, released last year.  It’s a second chance romance of a feisty female veteran and an up and coming country music star who find themselves facing their past while trying to deal with problems plaguing their future.  You can find it on Amazon at http://amzn.com/B012E7RHOS

My current work is tentatively titled, When Love Goes South.  I’m actually very close to having this finished. A contemporary romance with characters who are a little older and who have dealt with things in life like death of loved ones, divorce and loss of friendships, I think it’s a story that almost anyone can relate to.  It’s also a little more spicier than I’ve written before with characters who are flirty and fun.

If you have any other news to share with us, please feel free to do so now.

Amazon recently acquired the digital rights to Drive Me Sane, so I’m happy to announce it will be re-releasing  with Amazon’s encore program on August 4th.  It has a slightly different cover and a new price (it’s cheaper and this makes me all kinds of happy!).  Print copies are still available through other online retailers.

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Thanks, Dena, for such awesome tips!  Now, who’s up next?  If you’re game, please contact me at:

email

On Editing

A while back, I posted a call to all writers who wanted to share their editing tips, and my friend, Amy, volunteered.  If you don’t already follow Amy’s blog, you’re missing a real treat.  So without further ado, here’s Amy:

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amy phantom writer

Please share one to three tips or tricks that you use when editing your work, how specifically you use them, and why they work for you.

With every edit I complete, I re-read the entire manuscript out loud to myself. This way, you pick up on any typos you might have skimmed with your eyes, but get tangled on your tongue. You can also find how something really sounds when said aloud. Would a character really say that? Does that sound plausible? Do I need to do more research?

Also, as I go through my re-reading, I make a physical list of questions that I have for myself when I’m done reading. Sometimes it isn’t the right time to address a major plot change or overhaul, so I write it down and come back to it.

Lastly, I physically make a list of all the words I seem to overuse and search for them in the document, changing a good portion of them to vary the dialogue, pacing, and variety of word choice to keep things fresh.

What was your biggest repeated mistake when you first started writing? What is your weakest point of editing and why?

My biggest repeated mistake when writing was that I wrote pretty much every single cliche known to man! And I didn’t even know I was doing it until I started reading books on writing. It discouraged me for a while because I thought my ideas were genuinely unique, but alas! I’m better for it now, though, and can see a cliche coming a mile away.

My weakest point of editing is dialogue. I try to make my characters sound realistic, so I try to make them sound like my friends and I (if appropriate), but my friends and I speak in colloquialisms frequently, and those have to go when editing so people know what the heck you’re saying. But I love them and hate to cut them. Because they mean something special to me.

Have you used any editing methods previously that just didn’t work for you? If so, what were they and why didn’t they work?

Editing methods that didn’t work for me: 1. (This is usually prior to editing) Making an outline for my book. I have general outlines or notes of things that need to be included in my books, but I feel too constricted by outlines, so I end up tossing them. 2. Changing every single thing my beta-readers didn’t like or requested I change. While I still take their comments very seriously, it is, in the end, my book, and if I want to keep something now, I do. Outside opinions are crucial, but they don’t know what’s rolling around in my brain so sometimes I have to snuff them out and follow my gut. 3. Adverbs. There’s been a lot of adverb-hating people and editors out there, but you really can’t nix them altogether. They’re very useful in middle grade, fantasy, and YA. And I personally, as a reader, like to see adverbs. Not in every single sentence, but people call it lazy writing, and I just don’t see it that way. Don’t go overboard with adverbs, but they’re not inherently evil as some people say.

Please tell us something about your current work in progress or your most recent completed work (or both), and tell us where we can purchase your book(s).

I have many WIPs, but the one that is forefront is a middle grade fantasy book about a race of magical beings called phantoms that are on Earth to protect humans. It has not yet been published, but I will be sending it out to a second wave of agents in the next month or so. You can read about it at my blog: phantomwriter143.wordpress.com

If you have any other news to share with us, please feel free to do so now.

Sorry, Rachel, I can’t think of anything else. Thanks!

~ Amy

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Thank you, Amy, for such awesome tips!  Now, who’s up next?  If you’re game, please contact me at:

email

I Like Mike

From Antananarivo, Madagascar
To Stockholm, Sweden,
There’s no rhymester better
Than the poet Mike Steeden.

His lovely wife Shirley
Is his best friend and muse;
She’s also on his book’s cover –
Now that’s exciting news!

The humor in his book
Will truly make you convulse;
So go pick up a copy of
Gentlemen Prefer a Pulse!

Not only is it amusing, but
Its brilliance will make you think;
To purchase it, just click below
On the Internet hyperlink.

I got to help Mike with his cover
And formatting for publication;
It was so much fun, I wish I could
Make that my life’s vocation.

It’s a good gift for the holidays,
And looks great in giftwrap;
And I promise you it’s far better
Than this, my own rhyming crap.

(As promised, here’s that internet hyperlink: http://www.amazon.com/Gentlemen-Prefer-Pulse-Poetry-Lunacy/dp/1517436478/ref=la_B015WAUW8C_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1446143038&sr=1-1)

Okay, so as the poem said, I was honored to recently assist my buddy and yours, Mike Steeden, in getting his first book of poetry, Gentlemen Prefer a Pulse, published.  It comes in both Kindle and paperback versions, and features over one hundred magnificent poems by his highness, Sir Mike.  As you can imagine, the poems are not unlike those on his blog… filed with brilliance, lunacy, humor, wit, and WOW!

Of course, Mike did all the really hard work by writing it, but I contributed a teeny-tiny bit by designing the cover and formatting the paperback version.  We searched high and low for a photo that I could manipulate for the cover art, but when we selected the perfect photo, we couldn’t authenticate its owner to request permission to use it.  (A few sources said it was a French postcard circa 1920, but we couldn’t be sure.)  So finally, Mike was able to dig up a photo of his lovely wife, Shirley, taken on the Cob at Lyme Regis (the same spot they used in the film The French Lieutenant’s Woman).

Gentlemen Prefer a Pulse

When I saw this, I fell in love with the scene, and just knew it would be perfect.  So I did a little Photoshop magic, and voila!

Gentlemen Prefer a Pulse

So to conclude, GO BUY THE BOOK!  (You won’t regret it.)

On Editing

 

A while back, I posted a call to all writers who wanted to share their editing tips, and Rhonda Blackhurst volunteered.  If you don’t already follow Rhonda’s blog, you’re missing a real treat.  So without further ado, here’s Rhonda:

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Rhonda Blackhurst

Please share one to three tips or tricks that you use when editing your work, how specifically you use them, and why they work for you.

Putting some time between each edit allows me to see more clearly what works and what doesn’t, making each edit more effective. While extra time between edits takes longer to complete the project, that space between edits allows time to work on other ongoing projects, actually making me more productive. After the first draft is written and the manuscript has been tucked in a drawer for a couple of weeks, I like to read through the entire manuscript in as few sittings, and closely together, as possible. During that first complete read through I don’t make any changes, but rather I have a coding system where I jot down in the margins of what needs to be changed and how. For example areas that don’t make sense, where the plot seems to be dragging, inconsistencies in character development, plot or details, if more needs to be explained or areas need to be cut, etc. After tucking the manuscript away for a couple of weeks once again, I then begin the major overhaul, followed by another break from the manuscript and the final finishing touches.

When I get to the editing phase of the project I’m working on now, a novel titled Finding Abby, I’m eager to try an editing process I stumbled across in a writing magazine. Each read through will be spent on one specific area of editing, starting with the biggest issues of plot and character, and ending with the proofreading and glitter. That will allow my brain to focus on one thing throughout the run through with less likelihood of missing something. I’ve learned multitasking a project isn’t the most effective way to edit.

The InheritanceWhat was your biggest repeated mistake when you first started writing? What is your weakest point of editing and why?

My biggest mistake of writing was simply not writing. I would wait for huge chunks of time where I could devote purely to putting words on the page, which resulted in no words on the page. I’ve learned to grab every fifteen minute increment I can and work with it accordingly. Lots of time? Work on my novel. Short amount of time? Work on a character sketch, plot ideas, etc.

As for the weakest point of my editing, I think editing is always a work in progress. The more I read what works for others, the more I find what works for me. Ideas like the one Rachel has here are golden learning opportunities for writers.

Shear MadnessPlease tell us something about your current work in progress or your most recent completed work (or both), and tell us where we can purchase your book(s).

My last book, Shear Madness, is the first in a series. I love a good mystery, so writing one was the most amazing journey! The first draft of the second book in the series, Shear Deception, is completed and awaiting the editing process which I will start after I’ve completed the first draft of the novel I’m working on now, Finding Abby. My current work in progress is a complete makeover of a Camp NaNo project from last year. As much as I enjoyed writing it, when I read through it back then, it just didn’t do anything for me so I filed it away (electronically) and forgot about it. One day when I was running I was hit with an idea of what I wanted to do with it. And that was to make it another series. While I’m working with the same “general” idea, the setting, characters, and plot have changed drastically. And I’m loving it! My first book, The Inheritance, and Shear Madness are both available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Inheritance is also available at Old Firehouse Books in Ft. Collins, CO.

If you have any other news to share with us, please feel free to do so now.

This fall is bringing some fun writerly activities. (I’ve made the word “writerly” a legit part of my vocabulary. ) September 5th I have a book signing at the local bookstore. My postcards and flyers arrived today and my personalized pens arrive next week. September 11-13 I’m attending a writer’s conference. Though it’s not far from my home, I’m staying at a hotel to take full advantage of the evening hours to practice all the gems I’ll have learned during the sessions. (Or to crash from brain overload from all the gems I’ll have learned.) Then there are the new books to read on the craft. I’m a sponge when it comes to learning the craft. Nearly every page I read gets marked with highlighter or pen. And last, two fall vacations, one in Minnesota and one in the mountains (well, the one in the mountains is actually a conference for work, but it’s in an amazing, breathtaking part of Colorado, tucked in the mountains) with lots of time for writing and editing.

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WOW!  Rhonda really has her writing game on, doesn’t she?  Thank you, Rhonda, for such awesome tips!  Now, who’s up next?  If you’re game, please contact me at:

email

On Editing

Tap, tap, tap.  (Tapping my microphone.)  Is this thing on? 

Well, folks, I thought I’d have a nice little Tuesday segment during the summer that all of us writers could participate in and share and enjoy, but I can’t get anyone else to play along.  Don’t YOU want to share some of your editing tips and tricks with us here?  In exchange for your participation, you’ll get a shameless plug for your book(s) as well as a heartfelt thank you from many of my followers.

Too many of you seem to think that you don’t do anything special or you don’t know anything that everyone else doesn’t know.  But that’s not necessarily true.  We all do things a little differently, and we want to hear from YOU.  What do you say?

If you’d like to play along, please email your responses to the following questions to my email address below, and include any photos and/or links of you and your blog and your work so we can purchase it.

  1. Please share one to three tips or tricks that you use when editing your work, how specifically you use them, and why they work for you.
  1. What was your biggest repeated mistake when you first started writing? What’s your weakest point of editing and why?
  1. Have you used any editing methods previously that just didn’t work for you? If so, what were they, and why didn’t they work?
  1. Please tell us something about your current work in progress or your most recent completed work (or both), and tell us where we can purchase your book(s).
  1. If you have any other news to share with us, please feel free to do so now.

Would You Rather…?

I was honored when my friend, PhantomWriter143, tagged me for the “Would You Rather” book tag tour!

She’s an amazing blogger and writer (and even a physical therapist!), and how cool is it that she started her blog just a couple of days after I started mine?  If you haven’t checked her out yet, go do so now.  You won’t be sorry.

At any rate, this fun little tag-a-thon asks us to answer a series of questions as writers/readers, then we pass on the love to five more bloggers.  Here are my answers, and my tagged victims are below:

  1. Would you rather only read trilogies or only read standalones?

Two of my favorite authors are V.C. Andrews and Beverly Lewis.  Both ladies almost always write in trilogy format (though sometimes they have four or five books in a series!).  So, yes, I prefer trilogies.  It allows the writer to give me more information, and it keeps me from feeling empty when the story ends sooner than I’d like.

  1. Would you rather only read male or female authors?

I don’t think I really have a preference.  As long as I enjoy the genre and the story, I don’t care who wrote it.

  1. Would you rather shop at Barnes and Noble or Amazon?

That’s tough.  Last year I got a Nook and have been trying to thin down my paper book collection and go digital.  However, I do still enjoy going into a physical book store and seeing all the different books “in person.”  Can I opt for a third answer and say I actually prefer used book stores?

  1. Would you rather books were made into TV shows or movies?

Hmm, I’ve got to go with movies.  Honestly, if I’ve read a book before it’s made into a movie, I probably won’t see the movie because it’s never as good.  But sometimes I see the movie, then it makes me want to buy the book.  Although I actually found one of my favorite authors (mentioned above), Beverly Lewis, because I saw a made-for-TV movie about one of her books.  How about this:  Ask me how much I despise when I find a movie I love, then I want to know more, and I discover that the movie did not come from a book!  I hate it when that happens!

  1. Would you rather read only 5 pages per day or 5 books per week?

Duh!  That one’s easy.  Five books per week, no contest.  If I only had the time to make that a reality…

  1. Would you rather be a professional author or reviewer?

Come on!  Do you really have to ask?  An author, hands down!  If you’ve followed my blog for long, you know that I don’t even need to quantify that answer with an explanation.

  1. Would you rather be a librarian or a bookseller?

I think I’d rather be a bookseller.  Better yet, can I own the bookstore?  That way, I could order all my favorite authors to sell, and YOU would probably be among them.

  1. Would you rather read only your favorite genre, or every other genre but your favorite?

Oh, I’d definitely rather read my favorite genre only.  I couldn’t give up my love of Amish fiction for anything.

  1. Would you rather only read ebooks or physical books?

That’s tough.  I want to prefer ebooks.  (As I mentioned above, I got a Nook last year because my physical books were swallowing me, and I wanted to thin the collection.)  That said, I do not like that my Nook is heavier than a paper book and I have to keep it charged in order to read.  If I was forced to choose, I guess I’d reluctantly go with ebooks just to give myself the kick I need to make it happen.

So that’s all there is.  I want to thank PhantomWriter143 again for asking me to play along.  I really love these blog tags, but too often, no one asks me to play in their reindeer games.  (Sigh.)  LOL!

Anyway, here are the bloggers I’m tagging:

Ali Isaac

C.S. Boyack

Rhonda Blackhurst 

Mark Bialczak

Elizabeth Melton Parsons

Thanks, guys.  I look forward to reading your answers!

~Rachel

P.S. Dear Writer,

A while back, I took a survey and asked if any of you would be interested in sharing some of your editing secrets here on my blog.  For people who have never written anything longer than a college thesis, the thought of actually writing a novel may seem daunting.  But to those of us who have thrown our hat into the authors’ ring, we know that writing the first draft can actually be the easy part.  We’re creative.  There are a lot of brilliant stories spiraling around in our heads.  But what we want is a brilliant story told magnificently.

So if you’re interested, what I’d like to do is feature one of you every Tuesday from the second through the last Tuesday of each month until I run out of willing victims participants.  The topic will be your editing process, and I’ll ask you to answer the following:

  1. Please share one to three* tips or tricks that you use when editing your work, how specifically you use them, and why they work for you.
  1. What was your biggest repeated mistake when you first started writing?  What is your weakest point of editing and why?
  1. Have you used any editing methods previously that just didn’t work for you? If so, what were they, and why didn’t they work?
  1. Please tell us something about your current work in progress or your most recent completed work (or both), and tell us where we can purchase your book(s).
  1. If you have any other news to share with us, please feel free to do so now.

I’ll then provide a link to your blog (as well as link[s] to anything else you want included), and if you send me a photo of yourself, and/or your book(s), I’ll be happy to include those as well.

If you are interested in participating, please email me at the link in the picture below:

email(*I asked you to share only one to three tips or tricks to keep each post short enough that people will read it in its entirety.  If you have more helpful hints that you’d like to share, I’ll be happy to feature you more than once.)

Time to talk:  Is this a feature that you’d be interested in reading on my blog?  Would you be willing to participate?