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Tag: editing

Home > ArchivesTag: editing

On writing…Getting Started

April 19, 2017 by in category On writing . . . tagged as , , ,
John Atkinson cartoon, Wrong Hands

Thank you Mr. Atkinson www.wronghands1.com

E.B. White (co-author of Elements of Style) said, “An editor is a person who knows more about writing than writers do but has escaped the terrible desire to write.”

OK, I’m certainly not E. B. White but I am an editor and I’ve worked with writers of every genre for 20 challenging and enriching years. There is nothing more exciting than helping a writer move through the process of writing. With no skin in the game I can be objective about where a story has taken a wrong turn, hear a particular turn of phrase or a plot point that doesn’t ring true, see inconsistencies in characterization — and spot the typos and those pesky homophones that get overlooked to the great peril of publication. I ask the hard questions, I offer possible solutions. It’s a grand give and take.


You’re a writer. Your head is filled with bits of story: the perfect setting — a women watches in her rear view mirror as the wedding cake dumped on the highway recedes in the distance. A character — Mistress Renfrew is overly tall and awkward and harbors a secret passion for Lord Dumfrey’s collection of assassin’s knives. Odd events — the deadly rivalry for Miss Abundance at the Apple Valley fairground, a lake in summer, tidbits of history, the perfect love triangle ripe for explosion. But where to start? How to corral all those creative bits into a cohesive whole?

One method: start with a simple premise.

Can you express the premise of your book succinctly? If you can write the essence of your story in as few as fifteen words you are on the road to writing a novel. What happens next? The plot will come from the premise.

It’s the way you dress up that simple premise, populate it and move it forward in narrative form that makes the story emerge. Starting from a succinct premise gives you a foundation on which to build a great story. Whether it’s the characters that drive the action or action that drives the characters, the premise provides the blueprint to keep the work moving forward.

The premise should be carved in stone, but only as long as it supports the creative effort. Stone can be reshaped; Michelangelo did it all the time and look at those results.

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned writer I look forward to sharing On Writing again here at A Slice of Orange to explore methods, tools and tricks of writing that can help your story shine.

Jenny Jensen
Editor
www.e-bookeditor.com

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How I Got Bit In The Butt And Survived!

February 20, 2017 by in category A Bit of Magic, Writing, Writing: It's a Business tagged as , , ,

 

This past year I authored my first fiction series, The Witches Of New Moon Beach. Like all new authors, I was totally excited to share what I had written and couldn’t wait to see my books posted up on Amazon. I had such a blast writing the series and had fallen in love with both my characters and my newly created beach city. I felt confident that my book covers were strong and that I had a solid plan for marketing each of the three (now four) books in the series.

Unfortunately for me, I let my excitement to share override my common sense. Sure, I had checked and rechecked for spelling errors and I even had three different people read my first book. I knew that there were individuals out there that you could pay to edit your books, check for typos, misused words or grammatical errors. But since I hadn’t yet made a dime I was resistant to spend money on the above mentioned even though in the back of my mind, I had a pressing fear that I might just have missed something. Grammar is just not my thing!

And so I proudly posted my first book for all to see and was immediately bitten in the butt by reviewers. Yes, there were a few kind comments, but then the bite came as I read “the grammatical errors were sometimes humorous” and “the book is filled with typos that simple editing could rectify.” One reader said I wrote like a teenager. Ouch!

How had this happened? I had done more than simple editing. What had I missed? I immediately took the book down and got some help. I repeatedly read the book back to front searching for errors. I tried out several editing software packages before purchasing Ginger and I ran book one past a high school English grammar teacher who I respected. I agonized before putting it back up. But the cleaning apparently worked since 73% of my reviews from then on were 4’s and 5’s and I’ve not been hit with negative remarks on spelling or typos again.

Let me say this clearly, I deserved to be bitten in the butt for posting a book with internal errors. I own this and boy did that hurt! I’m sure that I lost more than a few readers who were disappointed by my poor editing skills and either didn’t finish reading book one or never ventured toward purchasing books 2, 3 or 4. I’m saddened that they never got a chance to get to know my characters or to experience the magic within the pages.

Skip forward to my 5th book which will be out in early February 2017. I have spell checked it repeatedly, used my Ginger software for grammatical screening and had two different people read it for possible errors. However, this time, I’m also going to spend a few bucks to have a professional edit my book. Why? Because I can still remember how badly I felt when reading those negative reviews; reviews that I had earned. There is nothing worse than being disappointed in yourself.

I also learned something very important. It’s hard to see your own errors after you have lived with a story from birth to finish. I guess that I read right past mistakes more than once. My brain read the word site when I had actually spelled it sight. And semicolons took the place of far too many commas. I even failed to capitalize a word or two clearly by reading too quickly through the story.

In the end, I survived. Painful though it was, I learned a great deal from this experience. My counsel to you? Protect your butt – take your time, do your homework and then consider getting some professional help.

My best wishes to you as you successfully share your future stories with the world!

The one thing I know, after all my years as an elementary school principal, is that there is magic everywhere and in everyone. When I retired after 35 years in education, I longed to share all that I had learned and created several parenting books on topics from bullying to homework strategies. While I miss those enchanting moments with children and their parents, I always wanted to let my imagination run wild as I sought out my own magic and wrote about it. In short, I was lured into the world of fiction writing where I soon created my first series, The Witches of New Moon Beach. The first book, Morning Magic is currently FREE.


Inspiration isn’t hard to find as I have lived in Redondo Beach, California all my life and New Moon Beach might have more than a passing resemblance to my hometown. Every day I walk on the path that runs along the beach, sometimes with my sisters, but most often with my thoughts as I plot out my next book. I am long married and mom to three great grown kids. When I’m not writing or walking on the beach, you’ll find me sewing, reading or traveling and taking pictures.
Feel free to check out my website: www.meriamwilhelm.com
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A Day in the Life of a Writer via Twitter by Jina Bacarr

September 11, 2016 by in category Jina’s Book Chat tagged as , , , , , , , , ,

A friend recently asked me if I journal.

Wow, a question that struck a cord in me. I haven’t kept a journal in years. I’ve got stacks of journals and diaries from high school, college, etc., but I spend so much writing stories, I stopped writing down my thoughts.

Then I realized I do journal in a way.

I tweet.

I don’t mean the promo tweets or the pretty graphics I love to put together for my books.

I mean the “here’s where I’m at in writing…” tweets.

So this month, I put together my favorite “journal tweets” for you. (I left out the hashtags.) It’s not easy putting your heart and soul into 140 characters, but hey, it’s convenient, like having a cell phone instead of a landline in our digital world.

It works when the power goes out…

———————

Jina’s tweets:

1 — best part abt wearing tight jeans when you’re writing..can’t move so you keep your butt where it belongs..in the chair

2 — Reading aloud edited version of your story is like sex: too slow and you’ll never get there; too fast and you won’t remember it. 

3 — how much of a part do our memories play in writing our stories? performing in Italy inspired my Royal Magic story
4 — is imagination the most important tool in the writer’s toolbox — or is craft more important? What do you think? 
 
5 — writing a novel is like watching your roots grow out…painful and oh so slow, but always, always fixable!

   

6 — Writing sexy romance is like taking off a pair of black silk stockings, inch by inch: the slow reveal is way more sexy 
7 —  the waiting game with yr m/s…you submit…you wait..kinda like dating It can break your heart…but you do it anyway

8 — I have a secret: I keep telling myself “just one more edit” of m/s — which have now turned into 6. Why is it so hard to let go?

9 —  this writer and her m/s have finally parted–re: earlier tweet today, I submitted my story tonight to the publisher!

   

10 — writing is always hard work…grueling actually…you want to quit…then you get a 5 star review on your last book and you cry…

===============
Website: www.jinabacarr.com
Blog: www.jinabacarr.wordpress.com
  ================
 

Getting clean ain’t easy…even for a princess

Zoey’s story from Royal Dare coming in October 2016: ROYAL BRIDE

The magic is in his kiss… 
Love_Me_Forever_500x798 

LOVE ME FOREVER

She wore gray.
He wore blue.
But their love defied the boundaries of war.
And time.

I’d love to hear from you. You can find me on social media:

www.facebook.com/JinaBacarr.author


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You Can Edit Your Own Work by Connie Vines

July 13, 2016 by in category Blogs tagged as , , , , , , ,
‘Do I really need to hire a professional editor?’

When you are busy writing your first draft, you can definitely edit your own work.  An editor is usually brought in only when you have a complete manuscript. Whether you’re at an early stage of writing your novel or you can’t afford to hire an editor at present, you can learn to edit your own work. Begin these 6 easy steps:
1. Take a break
This break in between the time that you finish your novel and the time that you return to it for editing is essential for several reasons.
During the time that you are apart from your novel, your subconscious will still be working on it. You will be surprised at the types of connections that you’ll make on returning to the work. If you are a writer who edits as you go, taking small breaks between finishing sections like this can also help. Thus resulting in the growth of fresh story ideas.
Distance from the work allows you re-read with a fresh perspective. On returning to your novel, you will be surprised to find passages that you don’t remember writing; passages that affect you emotionally as though someone else were the author. I call this the ‘goosebumps’ factor (remember the scene in Romancing the Stone?  If not, rent the movie).
With this re-read you will find weaknesses, plot holes, sentence structure that simply doesn’t flow, etc.   Assessing your book realistically is easier after a break as well. While in the process of writing it, you probably experienced times when you thought you were writing an extraordinary novel as well as times of great self-doubt. Now your judgement will not be clouded.
Try not to think about your novel very much during your break (work on one of my other WsIP). If something does occur to you, make a note to come back to when you start your revision. Do not dwell on your new ideas. Calendar your re-read a week or two after completion of your novel. 
2.    Get organized
  • When you sit down to do your revision, you must first get organized both physically and mentally.

Prepare your work-space. Have your writing reference resources within reach.    
Make a schedule for your revision just as you did for writing your novel. Set a goal and stick to it. Do you need a tracking system? Sticky notes? Spreadsheets, a notebook with sections and multicolored pens/highlighters, or a filing drawer?
Whatever planning you did prior to writing your novel, when you revise you will need to track things such as structure, characters, scenes and plot points to ensure that they all fit together. During your revision, you’ll need to do things like examine each scene to ensure that it moves your novel forward and does what it sets out to do. Your system can be as formal or informal as you like. The most important thing is that any editing system you use is intuitive for you and helps rather than hinders you.
3.    Develop a plan
You should make yourself a checklist for dealing with all the large and small issues you want to examine over the course of your novel. A romance novel, will have one thread showing the progression of the love story.  A crime novel, will require clues are appropriately placed and reveal just enough to the reader. While science fiction or fantasy, will require world-building that is very solid.
4.    Questions to ask yourself
·         Does the book work structurally? If you followed some version of the three-act structure, did you maintain that structure and does it create a satisfying form?
·         Does your plot make sense? What about the subplots? Are there any logical errors? Do the subplots work with the plot, or do they distract from it or make the book seem like too much is happening?

·         Are your characters well-developed? Do they seem like they could exist as flesh and blood? Do they behave in ways that are plausible for them?
·         How is your setting? Is it fully realized? Does it need more or less detail? Is it integral to the story?

·         Are there places in the book where the narrative seems to drag?
·         Do you deliver information to your readers in a way that is engaging?
·         How is your prose? Are your sentences grammatically correct?

This is just a start; you will have your own questions you’ll want to consider. Once you’ve made your plan, it’s time to start the actual revision:

5.    Make multiple passes
Editing is seldom a one-step process. First do a read through. Make notes, about problems, new ideas, structure, language problems. Don’t stop reading and begin revising.  Just make notes.
Next, go through the book more carefully and address the major elements. (# 3) Use your checklists to look at plot, structure, character, setting and the other major parts of your novel. If you find that you are going to be doing major rewrites, you should work on those rewrites before you do any line editing.
After addressing any major issues and completed your line editing, take a look at your prose. It’s now time to read your book out loud. This may seem time-consuming, but nothing compares to reading a piece of fiction out loud for finding clunky phrasings, repetitions and other things that just don’t work (if I’m not careful, my characters spend too much time drinking coffee).
6.     Get feedback

The final step in your revision is having others read your work. You may already have writing friends or belong to a writing group. Some writers(I) find it useful to ask my reader(s) to focus on certain aspects of the book. Remember readers who are not writers notice things, both views are valuable.  

The value of having others look over your work is that they will spot mistakes or inconsistencies you might miss because you are so immersed in the craft of writing.
Editing and revising are not separate from the process of writing. They are just as important as writing drafts. Editing and revising will sharpen and strengthen your novel.  After all, we want our novel to be ‘exactly’ a publisher has been waiting to acquire.
Happy Writing,
Connie Vines


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