Thank God for Grace in Editing!


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This is an unofficial blog hop challenge makeup post for #MFRW. 

This is officially the Week 2 assignment – Sorry Editor! My Common Writing Mistakes.

For my first book – Red Wine & Roses,  my editor had just graduated from Oxford and was between jobs. Since then she has landed a prestigious position with Elsevier and has been dealing with some major health issues between herself and her boyfriend.

Enter GRACE! My editor is Grace Augustine, author of the Acorn Hills Series.  Do any of you believe in divine connections? The day I met Grace seemed to be one of those connections. We were attending Romance Rendezvous in Cedar Falls Iowa. I gambled on being able to arrive in plenty of time by driving there and not staying over. It was close,  but we arrived in time. It was very close! Since then, we’ve become good friends.

Friends aside, Grace is a tough editor. I would expect nothing less! I wonder how much it would cost to have some muffins delivered to her each morning . . . . it might soften the task. If you find yourself in need of an editor, aside from myself because I do have slots available to edit next month and through the summer, I can strongly recommend Grace over at edits with a touch of grace.

Anyway, moving on to my mistakes. There are times when I really hate these prompts and this is one of them. Why is it necessary to air my dirty laundry???  Seriously, this is why we have editors because we all have common mistakes. *SIGH*

Misspelled words: Please let me clarify,  I know how to spell, but my fingers have a different plan when I’m typing.

  • Becasue =because
  • friend=freind
  • teh=the
  • nad=and

The use of semicolons –   it’s like someone spilled a bucket full of them all over my computer files.

Switching tense – one of my pet peeves as an author and as an editor. Yet, I do it myself.

Sentence fragments. We don’t think in complete sentences,  but when writing, we have to at least know the rules before breaking them. If the author is adding a bit for emphasis, sometimes it’s acceptable to use a sentence fragment but not when you are in the middle of a descriptive narrative. Recently, I sent the first part of Roxy to Grace,  she commented: this sentence makes no sense!  NO, it didn’t because I  didn’t complete it. I left off the subject of the sentence.

Recently, I sent the first part of Roxy to Grace,  she commented: this sentence makes no sense!  NO, it didn’t because I  didn’t complete it. I left off the subject of the sentence. I do this a lot, which is one of many reasons why I need an editor! Don’t laugh, you’ll need one too.

I remember getting so upset when my then social media coach read my completed manuscript for Faere Warrior: Passion’s Price and gave it back to me with a few comments. “Well, it doesn’t suck.  Where is the rest of the story? The reader doesn’t know the world you have inside your head. You need to write it down, showing them   everything else that is going on.”

I have loads of details inside my head of my characters, their worlds, the settings, their backstory, their pet peeves, quirks – but I sometimes am so anxious to get them down that I forget to write parts.

Sorry Grace, you’ve really got your work cut out for you! What issues do you have when writing your drafts?

You can catch the previous posts from this series here:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

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E-F #AtoZChallenge


 

My A to Z challenge theme is writing terms.

Today is brought to you by the letter F.

However, I’m going to backtrack and include E because I was getting some medical tests done yesterday and it left me completely exhausted.

Edit: To review a piece of writing to correct grammatical, spelling, or factual errors. Editing often includes shortening or lengthening of a piece of writing to fit an available space before publication. Self-editing can save you many headaches once you send your work to an editor. I have started sending my clients a pre-editing form that they make certain edit calls before I see it. It’s in their best interest and it will ultimately result in getting their work back faster.

Epic: A long narrative poem, told in a formal, elevated style that focuses on a serious subject and chronicles heroic deeds and events important to a culture or nation. Nowadays, we see epic attached to just about anything. “That was an epic movie.” “Her response to the instructor was epic!” Epic is used as a subgenre of fantasy. An epic fantasy is like Lord of the Rings. It’s not written in poetic style,  but it vastly encompassing chronicling the heroic deeds of two seemingly unimportant hobbits.

Euphemism: A phrase used in place of something disagreeable or upsetting. For example – “passed out” for “fainted”. Using the word murder is distasteful, so instead authors will use snuff out, rub out, knock off,  kill, a one-way ticket, and other slang terms. Just as an interesting aside, I  have found many confuse euphemism for colloquialism.

 Fees: Money paid to the writer for his/her services.

 

Flash Fiction: A piece of fiction written in less than 500 words. I first stumbled upon the phenomenon of flash fiction via Chuck Wendig of Terrible Minds. It’s a great way to get the creative juices flowing.

Formatting: The manner in which a manuscript is prepared and presented. There are professionals that do this although many Indie authors do this themselves. Formatting has changed a lot with the advent of ebooks. 

Freewriting: Writing continuously without worrying about how well you are writing. This kind of informal writing is meant to explore one’s thoughts, unload one’s feelings, or reflect on something. This takes practice!  This is one of the ways that I clear my mind. I will set a timer and for thirty minutes just write –  write whatever I am feeling, whatever I am grumbling about inside, whatever is weighing on me at that moment. Then I take a break, get a cup of coffee or a glass of water and then free write my story. I get the most words down like this,  but it will require more time spent in editing. I use this when I’ve been logjammed in my writing. For instance, yesterday I was working on my WIP, and I got hung up on a small detail. This happens often, getting hung up on a detail. This particular detail is the name of my Main character. When I read the beginning of the chapter to my daughters, they began laughing and giggling. My character’s name was Terbius Jaspar. They thought it was hysterical and couldn’t believe that I didn’t see that everyone  – EVERYONE – would hear it as turd bus -AKA the big green rolling turd. *Hangs head* I spent the rest of my writing time coming up with a new character name. 

Then of course there are the rabbits that pop up everywhere!

Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie

Go VOTE


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My special guest today is my friend Cat Banks. I’ve  shared her work before but today I have a special reason to share. One of her books that is up for an award happens to be a book that I edited.  I hope with all my heart that she wins. Yeah,  it’s for selfish reasons as well. 

Please welcome,  Cat Banks!

I need your help! Several of my books have been nominated in multiple categories and I need all of you to vote! It is a huge dream of mine to win an award for one of my novels and I now have that chance.

 

Below are the categories I have been nominated in and the books in each category. Please note that the book that is bold and has the asterisk next to it is the one that I am asking you to vote for in that category. Links for the voting forms are next to each category. You can vote once per day for ten days. I’m up against some great authors, several of them are my friends, and many have large fan bases. So, I’m asking every last one of you to please vote each day. I know it is a lot to ask, but I really need your support.

 

Here are the instructions from the site running the awards: Keep in mind these voting links will not be active until midnight Central US time on the early morning of September 1. Readers and fans can vote in any or all genres at the different links. Voters can choose multiple books in a genre as long as they check mark ALL their selections in the genre BEFORE they click vote the first time! Poll Maker will limit voters to one visit per genre per day, so make sure your fans know if they want to choose more than one book, they must mark them all before voting. Voters can return to vote again each day. Voting will cease at midnight Central US time on the early morning of September 11.

 

Fantasy http://goo.gl/BKB7k4

*Pirate Princess by Catherine Banks
Daughter of Lions by Catherine Banks

NA New Adult http://goo.gl/oviMXu
*Pirate Princess by Catherine Banks
Daughter of Lions by Catherine Banks

 

Novella/Short Story http://goo.gl/6zVg5y
*True Faces by Catherine Banks

 

Paranormal http://goo.gl/pJP0qc
*Daughter of Lions by Catherine Banks
Pirate Princess by Catherine Banks
Mercenary by Catherine Banks
Song of the Moon by Catherine Banks

 

YA Young Adult http://goo.gl/gsq96a
*Pirate Princess by Catherine Banks

Daughter of Lions by Catherine Banks
Song of the Moon by Catherine Banks

Thank you so much for your support and I hope to report good news back at the end of this voting period! Even if I do not win, it’s a huge honor to be nominated. Thank you!

 You can check out additional information about these on her blog:  CatherineBanks 

More of my friends have their books nominated in various categories. Go vote for your favorites!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie Mack

Lemon Pie, Anyone?


Quotidiandose does not own rights to this clipart.

Quotidiandose does not own rights to this clip art.

Isn’t it amazing  when you get an idea and a plan, you can almost certainly count on a detour up ahead?

*Enter Hurricane force winds to wreck your best laid plans*

I was on a roll, was working hard, head down and focused which in and of itself was close to a miracle. And then . . . life happens.  LIFE ENTERS STAGE RIGHT.

A writer’s ego is a very delicate and fragile thing. Which is ironic because we are also egotistical, thinking that what we have to say is so important that everyone needs to read it!  Conflicted much?  Yeah, I would say so!

Battle hardened veterans become tougher with each new battle.  We may not always win the battles, but we gain experience and training with each new interaction in the arena.  At some point battle hardened can turn into battle weary.

When life gives you lemons. . . . but what do you do if it’s hurling them at you at  the speed of 120 mph breaking ball in rapid secession?

You protect yourself of course! Sometimes that means taking cover, ducking, or running out-of-the-way. Sometimes it means curling up into a tight ball and just crying until it passes.

I was on a roll typing away on the latest WIP when the Seven Things To Know mentioned in Confessions of a Writer post came up.  As I mentioned I did some real soul-searching based on the friend’s comments.  In that searching I made a list of pros and cons about myself as a writer and a person.  So I took the abundance of lemons thrown at me and made lemon pie! 

One of the ingredients in my pie  is my editing skills. I’ve only had two people out of twenty-three that didn’t care for my editing.  One was of the opinion that their rough draft was golden as is. I refer to Stephen King on this one – All first drafts are crap!  The second one was more of a clash of personalities and lack of handholding on my part. Sorry,  but I’m not a coddler. Just ask my kids on that point.

So in that vein,  I am doing a new feature on Thursdays.  Instead of the ‘throwback’ pictures and such which seems to be the phase going on that book of Face, my Thursday feature will be From the Editor’s Desk.  I tried for some alliterative cuteness  but couldn’t come up with anything clever.

In a previous post Reading and Writing, I addressed key elements of writing.

  •  PLOT – what happens, the structure of the story.  There are twenty basic plots, and beyond that are variations on those basic twenty.
  • CHARACTERIZATION – the way that the characters act or are portrayed to convey the plot.
  • POV – the point of view, or perspective that the story is told from.  I have written in first person and in third,  the current one being in third person omniscient.
  • SETTING –  the time, place, or even atmosphere in which the story is set.This is the world building that is crucial to your story.
  • STYLE –   the language used  by the narrator to convey the story. The style of Mark Twain is a more casual laid back manner than that of Jane Austin. You know that Twain’s characters are poor folk, where as many of Austin’s works are about an aristocratic class.
  • THEME –  a universal meaning that your readers will connect to, or most readers will connect to.

My plan is to address each of these  in more depth over the next six weeks.  Then after that, will be common mistakes that newbies made.  (I can speak from the voice of experience here, I think I’ve made them all.) Stay tuned for some tasty tidbits!

Write on my friends, write on!

Pins, Needles, and Uzis


fengshui

Well it seems I’ve managed to  upset the delicate balance of  Feng shui of the writer’s world with my post on editing yesterday.   In one sense I haven’t had this type of feedback since I did my series on Harry Potter.  In another sense, writers are prickly creatures.

I knew,  before I ever hit that publish button, I knew that  when I do these  “things that tick me off” posts I should really let them sit for a day or two before I hit publish, but I didn’t.  Nope, I impulsively wrote out my thoughts, did a quick edit and  hit publish.  Then the clock began to tick.  One comment, then two, then twenty – then  my email is flooded, and my private  messaging on Facebook.  Thank goodness for the option to post or not post comments!

Wow!  People really do read my blog even though I’ve been out for a long, long time battling  injuries  and health issues.  I didn’t want to  dwell on it or post about it because I don’t want  anyone to think I am making excuses for myself.  I simply was trying to work through my issues however slow it was.  Thank you everyone that ever bothers to read  my little platform here, I greatly appreciate all of you!

Now back to the editing post, If you will reread my post from yesterday, you will notice that I never  used anyone’s name. I did not  slam  anyone’s work.   I have different  avenues that I edit for and it’s amazing to me that  everyone assumes it’s them.  I have made every  mistake that can be made. I am not innocent of  the editing issues. My point is we should strive for excellence improving our work.

None of us are  producing gold right out of the shoot.  Stephen King had an editor. J K Rowling had an editor.  Until the next Shakespeare comes along,  the rest of us need to practice good writing etiquette.

Let’s face it, in today’s competitive market every  advantage that you can get is needed.  If you as a writer have a cleaner, easier to read manuscript than  Tom, Bob and Harry then  you rise above theirs and yours doesn’t end up in the slush pile.

The same principle applies to self publishing and in fact  if you are self publishing take the time to hire a good editor.   Don’t skip steps to speed up the process!  Quality first,  quantity second.

This is the difference between an aspiring writer and a serious  writer.  A serious writer wants to perfect their craft not just get something out there to check something off of a list.  I am guilty of being overly conscious and  obsessive compulsive about  my work.  Trust me there is  no  one as critical of my own work than I am. I have finished manuscripts now that I need to take that next big plunge and actually submit my work.

I briefly  mentioned that point; the  cutting of the umbilical cord step. That is the step I am currently working on.

So, enough nonsense about editing.  I originally wanted to post an excerpt of my writing yesterday.  There are times when I actually am satisfied with a passage that I have written,  it’s rare.   I can’t compare to Hemingway’s obsessiveness but there are times when I  have rewritten a section so many times that I lose count.

Last week  as I was editing and revising Faere Warrior, I hit upon the magical combination and  the secret doors inside the mystery caves of my mind opened.   I hadn’t been in  ” The Zone” like that for some time.   Being off  medication helps.  I think the editing helped even though it has taken time from my writing.  This week  it was easier to  find the combination again.

Here’s just one passage of this week’s contribution to Storytime Trysts.  This  didn’t turn out   to follow my original outline at all.   In fact, I am having to rework my outline but that’s a good thing.  The even that was to mark this week’s goal didn’t happen so in essence I just extended  my work by at least two chapters.

So here it is, a little excerpt from Oral Dilemma.  Let me know what you think!

  The glass shattered on the floor, ice tea went everywhere. NO! It couldn’t be true. Not my mom, it was a mistake – a horrible cruel joke from Tara. My mom was strong, invincible. She was an amazing woman that did it all. She was only 45! Luke came running to see what happened. There I stood pale white, broken glass in a pool of tea at my feet. I’m not even sure if anything was said after that on the phone, it was a blur.

Considering that  none of this was in my original outline, I think it’s turning into a real story  that takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride through the ups and  downs  that are life, including a few curve balls.  Stay tuned though because after the curve ball is an F4 tornado!

H ow can you grow if you never go through a few trials? The trials carve us from a lump of clay into  the  masterpiece.

So while I  sit  at my editor’s desk jabbing  pins and needles at  other writer’s works, I am dodging  live fire from Uzis by  the critics that I have  angered.  It’s all  good,  it keeps me on my toes.

Write on my friends, write on!

From the Editor’s Desk


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I’ve spent a lot of time editing for other writers over the past several months.  I’ve reached a point where I   have to limit my time editing so I can actually spend time on my own writing. Editing for others has a two prong effect:  It encourages me to write my own material because good writing pulls on me to write as well, and bad writing taps my ego to say – I can do better than this.   Just being honest people, writer’s have a good share of ego or else we wouldn’t think our stuff needs to be read by the masses.

So, having said that I’m going to air a few of my ‘Are you kidding me?’ thoughts as an editor.

* clears throat*

When you submit your manuscript — that baby you’ve coddled for however long, that special creation that you’ve birthed through pain and agony — do yourself a favor and  present the best manuscript you can.

Here are a few tips that you, the author can tackle yourself.    These are common things, so don’t feel like you’re a hack because you find these things in your manuscript.

  1. If it shows up in Word underlined by red, green, or blue – address it.  Misspelled words, unique spellings, proper names are all tagged as well as sentence fragments and extra spaces. If Word catches it  you’ll be damn certain  the editor will.
  2. Make certain that your formatting issues are addressed; appropriate page breaks and spacing. Check the submission guidelines for each publisher s they may vary.
  3. Correct grammatical use of common homophones: to, too, two; they’re their, there; etc.
  4. Sentence structure matters people! Fragments, dependent clauses, infinitive phrases, participle phrases, run ons, the gerund phrase –  it matters.  If you are going to write – WRITE WELL OR FRIGGIN’  GO HOME!
  5. Mechanics – basic grammatical skills.  I’m not saying that everyone needs to be a grammar Nazi, but could we at least keep it to the same  mechanical structure of the English language? ( As I edit in English I can’t speak for other languages, and slang and backwoods redneck speak do not qualify unless it is part of the dialog between characters. )
  6. Do NOT rely solely upon spell check, it will count something correct because it is a word, but the sentence will not make any sense:  “As  they bled out on the slow covered alley, my heart sank in my chest.  They were truly gone.”  Slow is a word but the correct word should be snow.  READ YOUR WORK!  Better yet, read it aloud, you’ll catch more mistakes that way.
  7. Punctuation:  Can I buy a comma for $500 Alex! Punctuation is important.  EXAMPLE:  Let’s eat mother!  Let’s eat, mother!  It makes a difference!
  8. Dangling bits:  Nope I’m not talking about erotica, although it happens there as well.  I’m talking about the dangling verbals, phrases, clauses, the dangling participle.   Would I be way off base here in suggesting that anyone who is serious about writing should take at least the basic English composition class?
  9. VERBS:  plural versus singular, keeping things consistent.
  10. TENSE: * facepalm* In the latest piece I was editing, I got so confused whether i was in the past, present, or future tense that I literally had to get up and walk away.
  11. PRONOUNS:  Oh good Lord what a mess!  Ever read something where he met  this guy and he  handed his bag to her,  her father giving glowering looks  at their hands touching as she leaned in to kiss him?  Which him????  The author listed four different hims – which one is she going to kiss?   I’m assuming not her father, although giving daddy a kiss is the least offensive thing in this little scene.
  12. Incorrect  word usage: Know the definition of the word you are using because what you are saying  isn’t necessarily what you think you are saying.

This is just a quick down and dirty list, trust me, more will follow.  We all need to edit ourselves before we think our baby is ready for the big publishing world. I’m guilty of  some of these myself, it’s why I am a firm believer in self editing.  My first drafts are not fit for public viewing.

However, there also comes the point when  the writer has to let their baby stand on it’s own and cut the umbilical cord. This post is not a vent about any particular writer.  It’s an overall view from seeing many mistakes in various submissions and  manuscripts.

Write on my friends – and do it to the best of your abilities!

PLEASE!

The True Work of Writing


I mentioned on Tuesday Tidbits that I intended to post about the edits.  I’ve been asked through emails,  pm, and a few unpublished comments on blog – wasn’t ignoring them, just didn’t seem to fit with threads so I’m addressing now – how I edit.  Most of the Facebook pm comments, and emails  came after Editing Isn’t For Wimps.

There are probably as many varied styles of editing as there are for writing. If you’ve followed for any time at all you probably realize that I rarely take a direct path to anything.  It seems to be totally random things that make you wonder what in the world am I thinking or how am I ever going to tie these things together, but in the end I usually do.

Rabbit trails.  Have you ever seen a rabbit hop in a straight line to anywhere?  The hub has often said he’s going rabbit hunting if I go off on yet another tangent.  It may be frustrating for some of you and for that I apologize.  Trust me, the lines can get tangled.  So how in the world can I edit such a jumble of trails?

I use a multipass system.

  • Step 1)  Set aside finished work for at least 3 days.  I usually let it sit for a week. This allows time to clear my mind and be able to take a fresh look.
  • Step 2) Read it through in its entirety, making marks as I go.  If it’s in digital format, I have pen and paper on the desk, and jot down page number and corrections needed, but don’t actually make any changes here.  These are things like questions that I don’t feel are explained very well, notes to expand this; cut that;  clarify; check spelling; research locations and names.  I must say here that 500 to 3000 word articles were much easier to tackle in this manner.
  • Step 3) Make corrections noted in full reading. Does the story make sense?  Are the denouements tied up?  Are there any openings left for a sequel or follow-up?  (I tend to work in trilogies.)  Are my characters consistent?  Does my plot and subplots work?  Are there any holes you could drive a semi through?
  • Step 4)  This is the tedious part;

pass 1: grammar check

pass 2: chapters, breaks, transitions.  do they flow together?  Do I need more transitions, are my breaks at kep points; cliff hangers or right after a climax;

pass 3: suspension of disbelief – is it believable?  Can I suspend my disbelief to think that in the scenario I’ve set up that what I’ve written is actually possible?

pass 4:  fresh eyes.  This is where I have prereaders.  I print 5 copies of edited manuscript, or load to flash drives.  I’ve also sent digital forms to friends as well.  I give the printed manuscript in a 3 ring binder; a red, blue, black and green pen and designate what each is for.  I give them a sheet of standard grammar markings to use; and 10 blank sheets of paper for them to make notes on, asking that they do not mark up the manuscript.  After they complete this part I give them a $25.00 gift card.  I’ve used restaurant cards; Wal-Mart; clothing stores, manicure, etc.  add a couple of pieces of chocolate and a thank you card in a small gift bag.  (I’ve only had one person ever say they didn’t want to do it again!)  When I get it back, I make note of their comments and recommendations.  Sometimes I can use their comments, sometimes it’s just a matter of opinion.

The very first time I did this, one reader had hundreds of questions.  As they read they marked out questions, and added different questions.  In the end she only had five questions for me.  It was interesting to see the way I had provoked her to think ahead.  A different time, a reader asked me questions that I knew, but never added into the story.  Valid point, which is why you need someone elses eyes on them.  Sometimes the back story needs to be included.  For taking the time to read my stuff, I gave them a thank you gift.  It’s not required, just something I do.

Which leads me to my current dilemma.  My friend across the pond, Tim Wigley has been editing some of my work.  He is also a writer, and makes some very good observations.  He calls me on poor grammar, on inconsistencies, and when my characters say or do things that are inconsistent.  He pointed out at one point in Kiss Of The Dragon where I had referred to my main character as Lexy instead of Izzy.  Lexy  is main character for another WIP, Faere Guardian.  One of the drawbacks to working on simultaneous projects.

I haven’t figured out exactly how to thank him.  I mean, I really don’t see a gift card for a mani-pedi being his cup of tea.  Likewise a gift card to Wal-Mart or Ruby Tuesday’s wouldn’t work.

What do I get for a man in the UK?   Can’t exactly send him a little gift bag filled with fru fru girly stuff and chocolate!  I must figure something out, as he’s been a tremendous help to me.  Plus, I like giving gifts.  It may be just a little thing, something quirky or even something from the dollar store that I put with a card.  I think it’s important to let people know they matter!

That’s  probably way more information than you wanted.  With some things I tend to be very systematic, following a precise order.  Editing is one of them.  There is a point though that the writer must cut the umbilical cord and send their baby out into the world.  Did I mention that I tend to be an overprotective mom?

Write on my friends, write on!

Editing Isn’t For Wimps


Editing is a big part of a writer’s life.  To me it’s the work part.  I never liked diagramming sentences or conjugating verbs.  Yet, it’s the difference between quality writing and average ho-hum writing.

Yesterday, I hosted Joseph Eastwood and while he was here, I was over there poking around on his blog and found a very interesting post which I shared with my teen daughters.  (They are each writing their own books, which are as completely different as my girls are!) Mr. Eastwood’s post 10 tips for (Teen) Writers! was spot on!

As this was very timely for my own editing, I’m going to add a  variation for the ‘past our teen years’ writers.

  1. His first rule holds for us as well; You’re crap!  The sooner we realize that not every word we write is golden, the sooner we can move on to the edits.  I’ve heard it said often that true writing is in the rewriting.  For me this is true as my first draft is often a massive brain dump of getting the ideas out of my head into a somewhat cohesive flow.  Sometimes it comes out like pohoehoe (pronounced pahoyhoy) lava – flowing in a  river of twisting beauty. Then there are times when it comes out as AA (Ah ah) lava, thick and chunky rocks that don’t fit smoothly and can cause massive upheavals.  Both of these are terms for Hawaiian lava flows, by the way.  Remember I studied rocks and earth sciences? I ‘m a veritable well of geological data that no one really cares about!  Seriously, even Stephen King needs an editor!

OK, now onto my points!  When I edit, there are at least three passes I make.

  1. Grammar  I know, I know, but it’s a must.  Keeping your verb tense correct and your pronouns in check help to ensure that the reader can comprehend the chaos inside my head as an easy to follow – well, mostly easy to follow anyway – story.  For the aspiring authors like myself that have to operate on a tight budget, I found a college grammar course book at a yard sale for a quarter!  This book would cost about $95.00 if purchased new and is very extensive.  I just have to remind myself to reference it more frequently.
  2. Logical flow Does it make sense?  don’t you hate reading a story then suddenly, for no apparent reason a character changes, or a situation is resolved magically.  For instance in romance, the magical vajayjay!  Seriously?  I want my writing to be better than that.  I look for plot holes, reasoning, logic.  The villain may do something randomly good because he has a soft spot for small furry animals, but be vicious to people!  That’s a quirk in his character, but to suddenly show mercy on the heroine because of her charm – that’s so not going to happen.  You have to keep in mind the readers suspension of disbelief!  Basically, does the story make sense?
  3. Objectives  Are the objectives clear?  Are they clearly visible in the scenes?  Are the characters working towards their objectives?  Can you track the progress as you go?  Are your characters objectives in conflict with each other? How can you raise the stakes?  Are the y resolved in the end?  I like tidy denouements, with the exceptions of open strands that lead into the next story.

Sounds simple doesn’t it?  It takes a lot longer than you’d think.  In a discussion with my friend Tim, he pointed out that our writing styles were completely different.  He thinks everything out before putting pen to paper.  Often, I can’t write fast enough to get the thoughts onto paper.  When I’ve finished my massive brain purge and start editing, well this is when the delicate tools of the editing trade come in handy.  I’ve been known to delete huge chunks of my writing because it simply wasn’t working or wasn’t going in the right direction. This is where my Objectives pass comes in.

My mother used to say I was on a tear!  Head down, working hard, extremely focused.  Presently this is when my family says I’m ignoring them.   Well, to some extent I suppose I am.

Have you ever seen a passionate artist getting into their work?  For example, watch Eddie Vedder in concert?  I don’t mean to obsess here, but he’s a good example of a man who puts himself into his work.  Have you ever observed Dale Chihuly when he’s creating?  The man is intense!

When the creative muse is IN, I have to take advantage of it because my  muse is a fickle minx.  If I don’t take advantage at the right time, I get nothing written.  Honestly, I spend more time editing than I do writing.  It’s in the editing that my rough lump of clay that is my writing begins to take shape into whatever I’m molding it into.  I made the mistake of sending a first draft bit of my copy to Tim for edits, and he commented ” You couldn’t have edited this.  This is just not like you!”

Not sure if that’s good or bad, but it was embarrassing for me. It’s one of those ‘naked’ feelings.  Like coming out of the shower and finding your roommate’s boyfriend on the bed waiting for her to finish whatever it was she was doing that left him there, and all I’m wearing is a towel!  YIKES!  (Yes Shelly, I still remember that vividly!)

Now that you know some of my mad secrets and one of many embarrassing moments, let the editing begin!

Write on my friends, write on!