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GETTING IT DONE by @JanetLynn4 and @Will_Zeilinger

October 3, 2017 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , , ,

Getting It Done | Will Zeilinger and Janet Lynn | A Slice of OrangeWhen you write with a partner you have a common goal of telling a story and getting it down so it can be edited.  Our process is a bit odd to some because after the brainstorming, research, outlining, and first draft are completed we take turns adding scenes, embellishing the dialog, and massaging or decorating the scenes. We turn the manuscript over to the other and go through the same process.  This back and forth helps us to see the way the other partner is thinking.  During that time, the one not editing can do more in depth research to find some interesting things that will help bring the story to life.

Getting It Done | Janet Lynn and Will Zeilinger | A Slice of Orange

An extra hand

One of the most important aspects of writing as a team is reading the completed chapters aloud to one another.  This allows us to listen to the flow of the story and (since there are two of us) the consistency of voice.  During the readings we sometimes get “AHA!” moments and find the story making a dramatic shift or turn as a result.  At this stage we sometimes eliminate a character who is getting in the way or bring one back whom we hadn’t heard from since chapter three.  We’ll have to admit there have also been times when a character’s name needed to be changed, because we found  their name was too hard to pronounce during the reading.  We also tried to keep vocabulary simple enough that the reader doesn’t have to get out the dictionary to figure out what our characters are saying.

As writing partners, we also learn that inspiration and great ideas can occur at any moment. Recently, we were on a cruise and through a conversation with some of the other passengers, Janet came up with a terrific scene that she couldn’t wait to type in.  We didn’t have access to a printer but when she read it to me, I knew it was perfect for the story.

We may not always agree on changes, but sharing the tasks of editing gives each partner a chance to take a break from the red pen.


Janet Lynn and Will Zeilinger

Published authors Will Zeilinger and Janet Lynn had been writing individually until they got together and wrote the Skylar Drake Mystery Series. These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood of 1955. Janet has published seven mystery novels, and Will has three plus a couple of short stories. Their world travels have sparked several ideas for murder and crime stories. This creative couple is married and lives in Southern California.

DESERT ICE

Buy now!
DESERT ICE

GAME TOWN

Buy now!
GAME TOWN

SLICK DEAL

Buy now!
SLICK DEAL

SLIVERS OF GLASS

Buy now!
SLIVERS OF GLASS

STRANGE MARKINGS

Buy now!
STRANGE MARKINGS

If you’re in the Long Beach, CA area, go see Janet and Will at Gatsby Books.

Saturday, October 7th from 3:00 to 5:00 pm.

Getting it Done | Janet Lynn and Will Zeilinger | A Slice of Orange

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Editing Nightmare

September 22, 2017 by in category Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as , ,

Editing Nightmare | Veronica Jorge | A Slice of OrangeI think I’m obsessed with editing.

I’ve revised my novel so many times it feels different than what I started with. Maybe that’s a good thing. But sometimes I find that I’m my harshest critic and at night, when I most want to rest, I turn into a berserk editor.

Last night I dreamed I was in a commercial demonstrating a slicing and dicing machine.

I was chopping up words, not food.

The previous night I saw myself seated behind a desk with a plaque that read, ‘Veronica Jorge, Editor, You imagine it, we print it.’ A distinguished looking gentleman cringed before me, chewing on his thick mustache and nervously wiping his spectacles with a white starched handkerchief. My contorted face ridiculed his manuscript.

“O.K. bud, let me get this straight. You’ve got an orphan girl; lonely, bored, misunderstood. She gets whooshed up into a tornado and winds up in a magical realm where they’re ready to worship her. And all she wants to do is go back to her dreary life on a dilapidated farm? You just set up your plot to fail!

Try a different spin. This chick; Dorothy, right?  Have her use her powers to control the munchkins then march them into Oz and take out the Wizard. She rules, hooks up with the scarecrow and they have some off- the -wall kids.

Now, you’ve got a story!”

Write from the Heart | Veronica Jorge | A Slice of Orange

In the third nightmare, I sat behind the editor desk again. This time the plaque read, ‘Home Girl Publications, You dish it out, we can take it.’

I tore into the lovely author. My words curdled her milky complexion.

“No way readers gonna connect or sympathize with these March girls puttin’ on plays, gawkin’ at the lanky shorty next door and mopin’ after poor ole daddy gone off to war.

We got sisters out there dealin’ with real-life issues. Some got husbands serving in Afghanistan or Iraq. Others are strugglin’ as single moms with wannabe men and make-believe daddies sweatin’ ‘em. All of them doin’ it for theirselves; holdin’ down two, sometimes three, jobs just to make ends meet and put food on the table for the kids.

You gotsta keep it real, honey. Nameen?”

 

I wake each time, heart pounding and stressed over getting my novel perfect, and I ask myself whether I should continue writing.

The answer is always a resounding, “Yes”, because the story is the story of me and I must write it, if only just for me. Maybe then the nightmares will cease because it seems that my peace is contained in my novel’s completion.

 

See you next time on October 22nd.

 

Veronica Jorge


Manager, Educator, and former High School Social Studies teacher, Veronica credits her love of history to the potpourri of cultures that make up her own life and to her upbringing in diverse Brooklyn, New York.  Her genres of choice are Historical Fiction where she always makes new discoveries and Children’s Picture Books because there are so many wonderful worlds yet to be imagined and visited. She currently resides in Macungie, PA.

 

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Say What!?

September 19, 2017 by in category On writing . . . by Jenny Jensen tagged as , , ,

Say What!? | Jenny Jensen | A Slice of OrangeEvery writer has to be an editor to some degree. Reading and revising what you’ve written is the first line of attack; the skirmish before an editor gets unbiased hands on the work. What are you looking for when you edit your own work? Search and destroy all worm words, cut down on adverbs and adjectives, delete extraneous dialog tags, trim unneeded prose; there is a ton of excellent advise on the web to help with a self-edit. But can it help you catch the muddle?

 

When you are on that heady writing roll where the words just flow and the story unfolds in your mind like a film then you write what you’re seeing — it’s a grand feeling. Just be sure you wrote what you meant to convey. When you reread those words you’re fixed on the meaning you intended. When an editor reads those same words they… just might laugh. Ah the consequence of the unintended.

 

I’ve encountered this muddle most where eyes are involved. Probably because it’s said that the eyes are windows to the soul. We’ve imbued two innocent organs with a near paranormal ability to transmit intent. And I think they can. The face is expressive but the eyes really can appear shifty, or soulful or hurt. And if you’ve ever really pissed your mom off, then you know that eyes can harden in anger.  But there’s a thin line between expressive eyes and hilarious word play.

 

He lied. His eyes gave him away, gaze dropping fast to the floor and remaining there. Well, pick that gaze up for heavens sake. It’s dusty down there. But I get it and it works beautifully in the context of the scene, if it just didn’t conjure an image that makes me chuckle. We went with: He lied. The eyes gave him away. He couldn’t look at us. It was a great thriller and the book did well.

 

A different author; the scene is tense, the captive character needs to scope out the situation, there has to be a way out. Her eyeballs skittered across the room. Oh my! That hurts — eyeballs rolling away like errant marbles. It isn’t pretty. Please, let’s try: She scanned the room frantically…” It fit the moment and the book sold admirably.

 

OK, maybe the eyeball fix wasn’t the deciding sales factor — each of these authors is very, very good — but, in the end, neither provided unintended laughter. When you self-edit pay heed to what you’ve written. Do the words convey what you actually intended?  Be vigilant of the muddle. No one wants to step on a skittering eyeball.


Jenny Jensen | A Slice of OrangeWith a BA in Anthropology and English I pursued a career in advertising and writing and segued into developmental editing. It was a great choice for me. I love the process of creating and am privileged to be part of that process for so many great voices — voices both seasoned and new.

 

I’ve worked on nearly 400 books over 20 years, books by noted authors published by New York houses including Penguin, Kensington, Pentacle and Zebra as well as with Indie bestsellers and Amazon dynamos. From Air Force manuals and marketing materials to memoirs, thrillers, sci fi and romance, my services range from copyediting to developmental coaching.

 

Having worked in advertising and marketing, I am always cognizant of the marketplace in which the author’s work will be seen. I coach for content and style with that knowledge in mind in order to maximize sales and/or educational potential. My objective is to help the author’s material stand out from an ever more crowded and competitive field.

 

 

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Voice, Style, Tone

August 19, 2017 by in category On writing . . . by Jenny Jensen tagged as , , ,

Voice, Style and Tone | Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange

 

As much advice exists about how to write as about how to vote. TMI? Sometimes it makes me long for a cabin near Walden Pond, a quill pen and a stack of foolscap. (Not really sure what that is but I love the word!) In my experience the best approach is to just write – and then go back and right your writing. Edit.

Voice, Style, and Tone Are All Critical

There’s so much to be aware of when you edit what you’ve written. From the macro view voice, style and tone are all critical. Explanations of those elements vary but we all know they each impact our writing. Some definition is required to make the concepts applicable; for me, style and voice are like fraternal twins – really close but not exactly the same.

Voice and Style

As an editor I’m dialed into the author’s voice after the first three paragraphs of a manuscript. As a reader I know within the first three pages if I like an author’s voice – just like we all know what music we like. Voice is a reflection of the author’s mind and personality and like minds and personality, it develops and matures with age. Depending on the writer’s level of skill and experience I can hear a strong voice, or a well-emulated voice or a developing voice. If I hear a voice that’s not distinct and consistent the writer and I work toward finding her natural rhythm for word choice, phrasing, even punctuation – her voice.

Voice shifts from 3rd person narrative to dialog and differs between characters. Look carefully at the voice of each character. Does the language suit the character? A pierced and tattooed good time girl speaks differently than a buttoned up college professor. An author’s style often changes from story to story, but the voice is always there. I think voice comes from the gut and it grows and develops and gets better with use. Style is more a conscious effort and is changeable from book to book depending on what the story needs.

Tone

Tone is less ephemeral. It’s the mood. Every plot has an overall tone and under that umbrella each scene has a tone appropriate to the action; dialog reflects tone. Tone is what moves the emotions of the story. When you read over your 1000 words per day listen to be sure the tone is always appropriate. A cozy mystery has a murder, of course, but the tone is off if it is described in the tone of a gritty noir.

The body lay crumpled at the foot of the staircase. Pepper drew a sharp breath. There was so much blood.
Versus
Sgt. Pepper stared critically at the broken and bloodied body. The fall down the staircase alone was fatal; the twenty or so bloody gashes were overkill.

Edit

If, at the end of the writing day, you listen with a critical ear you’ll hear your voice, feel the style, sense the moods and know if each is clear and appropriate. If not, then this is the time to right what you write.

Jenny Jensen
Editor
www.e-bookeditor.com


Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange
With a BA in Anthropology and English I pursued a career in advertising and writing and segued into developmental editing. It was a great choice for me. I love the process of creating and am privileged to be part of that process for so many great voices — voices both seasoned and new.

I’ve worked on nearly 400 books over 20 years, books by noted authors published by New York houses including Penguin, Kensington, Pentacle and Zebra as well as with Indie bestsellers and Amazon dynamos. From Air Force manuals and marketing materials to memoirs, thrillers, sci fi and romance, my services range from copyediting to developmental coaching.

Having worked in advertising and marketing, I am always cognizant of the marketplace in which the author’s work will be seen. I coach for content and style with that knowledge in mind in order to maximize sales and/or educational potential. My objective is to help the author’s material stand out from an ever more crowded and competitive field.

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Cut the Fluff

June 10, 2017 by in category Charmed Writer by Tari Lynn Jewett tagged as , ,

 

Write short!

While I consider myself the Queen of Run-On Sentences, because I tend to write the way I talk…in run on sentences, I also tend to write very lean. I know, that may seem contradictory, but it’s true. While author friends are trying to bring their word counts down, cut description and wordiness, I find myself short of my word count goals by as much as 20,000 words. Not a small number. And, fiction editors and critique readers tell me that sometimes I need MORE description.

I’m sure this comes from my non-fiction background. When I wrote magazine articles, I generally had a word count goal around 2,000 words. While each word should count in everything you write, when you’re this limited, each counts double. Every editor I knew had the same mantra, ‘Cut the Fluff’.

This works for me. I want to get to the point. Don’t dilly dally and draw the story out with unnecessary details, or you’ll lose me. TELL ME WHAT HAPPENED.

So, I find myself reading for details that matter. Why did an author put that description there? Was it necessary? Does it give the reader a better picture? Does it move the story forward? Is it something I would normally just skim over as too much detail when I’m reading? Does it make the reader turn the page?

You would think that because of my preference for clean sparse words that I’d read (and write) primarily short stories and novellas, but it’s not true. I read long, I read short, I read flash. I love a good story told in how ever many words it needs.

So back to my problem. Writing too short. I’ve decided it’s not a serious problem. The solution is of course to read, read, read…one of my favorite things to do. And write the words that matter, that of course is the hard part. I’ll keep working on it.

And what about you? Do you find that you write short or long? Sparse or fluffy? War and Peace? Or Flash Fiction?

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