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Category Archives: Editing

Blocked or Lazy….Same thing Really…


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It’s been a while since I have written for this blog. Health issues have kept me from doing any serious work and now I am just getting to a point where I can jump back into the deep end of the writing pool. I apologize for my absence.

One of the things that I have been dealing with since my butt hit the chair again in procrastination at it’s worse. Being in poor health taught me the joys of sitting on the couch binge watching television shows that I would not have otherwise watched…Wynonna Earp is really good by the way…. Getting back into the chair has been painful enough with the heath issues making it physically hard to do BUT getting motivated has been equally as tough. I found myself last week declaring to a friend that I was “blocked”…I’m fibbing…I’m just being lazy.

When you have had your writing interrupted from any reason it is often hard to get back into the flow of things. Writing means you have to show up and if you have spent any time at all on a couch in a haze of pain pills and television it can get even harder. The easy way is to tell yourself, “one more week and I’ll be ready” but the long and short of it is…it’s now or never.

My health issues are not resolved yet but the writing is helping me focus on the work rather than the pain. I am still finding myself on the couch but now it is with my computer with the television off. I said all of that to say this…if you have a life issue that takes you away from your writing, don’t allow it to do so for very long because the longer you stay away…the harder it is to get back. If you have to write in smaller blocks but write because it is a muscle that needs to be exercised. As for me…I’m back and I have to tell you…I really have missed you all!

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 

OMG Cut That Out! Don’t be a Lazy Writer!


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Texting is the bane of my existence. First off, I’m incredibly slow at it. My thumbs were not created to text and my body reminds me of that every time I try to do it. I often find myself in the position where the person texting me, usually one of the kids, has texted me three times to my one answer. Secondly, there appears to be no true way to convey emotion in a text. (and no I don’t use those stupid little yellow faces to help) Because there is no way to convey emotion I end up with many, many “don’t use that tone with me” responses from my spouse. Tone? Really?

Here is the thing though…while all of those things make me crazy, nothing…and I mean nothing…drives me more nuts that the supposed need to learn a whole new language in order to get and send texts. I personally have no desire to stand in the grocery checkout line and decipher a message from my spouse asking me to pick up creamer. (Plz p/u crmr) You need a damn decoder ring!

The really sad thing is that I am now seeing the short-cut language being used in actual books. It is disheartening that we, as writers, as following the lead of an incredibly lazy generation. Just as there is no way to convey emotion in all those newly created acronyms; these is also no way to tell a story with them either. Reading a book should be an enjoyable task, not one that makes you have to read like a kindergartener just learning to read Dick and Jane books.

People practice responsible wording…please. Use the entire word, don’t get sucked into the I’ll scratch out some letters and hope they pick it up method of doing anything. And for Pete’s sake (and the rest of our sake) don’t put this crap into a manuscript. Use your words people…use your words…..

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
 

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Don’t Waste Your Time Starting Over…and over…and over…and over…


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We are all guilty of this. We start a project, don’t like the way it sounds and rewrite it. Then, after a short period of time, we reread the project, STILL don’t like it…and rewrite it again. This, my fellow writers, can turn into a vicious circle.

I have been there, in fact I still am with what I refer to as my Cluster F@#* novel. (Pardon my language) This particular novel has been an eight year project just because I never seem to find the time to follow through in any given length of time. I work on it, put it down and then when I go back to it my writer brain screams…”no, no, that’s all wrong”. I have literally rewritten the story about 15 times. Will that story ever get published? Maybe…but obviously not with any help from me right now.

There is a reason why seasoned writers will tell you to make it through the first draft before you edit. We are our own worst enemies when it comes to that internal editor. If we don’t get the story down on paper, we will never finish it at all. We will, instead, edit, rewrite, edit, rewrite…and it will go on forever.

Keep in mind that whatever you get down on paper may not be exactly what you originally wanted to say in the way that you wanted to say it…that’s okay….that’s what the editing process is for. This is the place we can take the sum parts of our stories and move them around until we have built the story we meant to tell. Its okay not to say it exactly correct the first time around, at least you have your main pieces on the page.

So before you go over that story for the 90th time…stop and give yourself a break. Just get it out there, say it…then go back over it and edit it.

 
© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
 

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The Friday Writing Pebbles #11


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Like throwing a pebble into the water some writers put advice out into the ocean of hopeful newbies hoping the ripple effects will reach them and they will learn a thing or two. Fridays here at The Writer’s Advice is pebble collection time. I will post some of the pebbles of wisdom I discover and I encourage you all to do the same. Each Friday we will help each other. So here are mine….show me yours!

15 Questions Authors Should Ask Characters – http://writerswrite.co.za/15-questions-authors-should-ask-characters

Killer writing tools that will help you get the job done – http://blog.bookbaby.com/2014/07/killer-writing-tools-that-will-get-the-job-done/?utm_campaign=BB1428&utm_source=BBeNews&utm_medium=Email

15 Words That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean – http://www.buzzfeed.com/patricksmith/words-that-dont-mean-what-you-think-they-mean

Writing tips! – http://taylorgraceauthor.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/writing-tips-2/

It’s Not Cheating to Use Writing Tips and Tools- http://theeditorsblog.net/2014/07/11/its-not-cheating-to-use-writing-tips-and-tools/

 

 
© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 

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Let He Who Can Spell Perfectly, EVERY SINGLE TIME, Cast the First Stone!


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Admittedly, I am a writer not a speller. Those who know me realize this early on and after some light ribbing, leave it alone. They enjoy my stories and so they can look past the occasional misspelling that my word processor doesn’t pick up. I love each and every one of them for that because they realize that I am a storyteller not a spelling savant.

But let’s not talk about those who know and love us…let’s discuss those who are faceless readers who, although they are readers and not writers, are all judgey when it comes to the occasional misspelling. Let me say that I am not talking about misspelling in the form of needing a decoder ring to read the thing…I’m talking about the occasional misspelling that everyone does once in a while. For instance, when my first book came out I had someone go through it line by line and then send me a scathing letter explaining that I needed to go back to school and how dare I call myself a writer because she discovered…glup….5 misspelled words in the entire book. FIVE! How dare I?

Yes it hurt my feelings….I was young and idealistic when it came to that first book. I poured myself a drink and spent an entire weekend swimming in self-doubt. Some writers may have stopped writing books right there but I’m stubborn and by the end of the weekend I decided, screw her, from now on I’ll misspell at least a few words on purpose just to piss her off should she ever read anything else I write. Believe it or not, I actually do that to this day 30 years later.

My point is that you can’t let those folks out there who have nothing better to do but to point out other people’s mistakes take you down as a writer. Yes, you should pay attention and try not to misspell stuff but if it happens, and it always happens, don’t let it get you down….everyone does it; even those judgey people who will send you letters. Spelling and the mastering of it does not make you a writer.

There are plenty of folks out there who have degrees in spelling related stuff who can’t write. You are a storyteller…so tell your stories and don’t let the spelling get you down. And if you are a total train wreck when it comes to spelling, hire a good editor….after all they get paid for that.

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
 

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What’s a Galley Copy and Why Can’t I Eat There?


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So you have written a book and you have sent it in and a publisher somewhere has said, “Sure I’ll take a chance on you”. You sent your entire manuscript and after what seems like an enormously long time you get this package in the mail. Inside the package is a mockup of your book. The copy is flimsy and there is no cover but the book is all there in all its glory. You get excited and show everyone, maybe even let a few people read one of the copies. After reading one your friends come to you and ask if you realize how many mistakes are in that copy….your heart falls. You are thinking that your book is going to be crap when it hits the stores and it will be…if you don’t use that galley copy as it was meant.

First let me explain the concept of a “galley copy”. Galleys are your book in book form. The point of a galley copy is so that the writer (you) can go over it and make any corrections. Now let me be clear here…you can make corrections to spelling, punctuation, that sort of thing but not to the story itself. The galley copy is not to rewrite your story; it is only so that you can correct obvious typesetting issues. If you read the galley copy and decide that the story really is that bad, you can’t do anything about that but hope that it gets shelved in the back of the book store. The galley copy is just that “a galley”.

Now many writers receive the galley copies and know what they are but never open them. This would be a huge mistake on the part of the writer. This is your chance to make sure that your novel is presentable, make sure it’s shoes are tied and the buttons are all buttoned up right. This is your chance to give it one last look-see before it is published for the world to see.

With my very first novel I didn’t look at the galley copy because, well, frankly, I had no idea what it was. I am still paying for that today, 20 years later, when someone comes across that first edition and I hear reviews that state, “it is a great story but it needs some editing”. Trust me; you want to spend some quality time with those galley copies or one day you will look back, as I do, and wish you had.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2014 in Editing, Writing, Writing Tools

 

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Write it Raw


writing-in-the-rawWe writers can take ourselves way too seriously. One of the most frustrating things as a young writer is to have those “seasoned” writers in your face touting the rules like they were the 10 commandments from the big guy himself. Yes there are some rules that you need not to break i.e. use commas and such but there are others that can be broken like the way you use tense and point of view. One of the worst “rules” ever; go over each thing you write at the end of the day. Here’s the really cool thing about being a writer…we “create” things, even the rules and when we create we get raw; trust me; you can’t do that if you are editing as you write.

When I am working on a book I always write through the first draft without my internal editor. I ignore spelling, tense rules and all that crap that the editing process is supposed to involve. The first go round is to just write the darn story down. Have you ever woken from a dream and thought to yourself, “I need to write that down before I lose it”…writing should be viewed the same way during the first draft stage. You have to get the story down and then go back and on your re-read decide what needs to be changed or dumped. I find that if I don’t do this I lose a lot of the “passion” I had for a story. Just like that dream, if you don’t get it down, you just might lose it.

Stories are emotional vessels for both the writer and the reader. It is a way to convey a piece of the world that either didn’t exist before or to share how that story is seen through your eyes. Emotion is here and now, it’s raw and bold…it is not edited and forced which is what you will do if you try to both write and edit the first time around. Have you ever told a story, verbally, and had your audience on the edge of their seats and then later tried to retell the story only to discover that it doesn’t sound the same? That’s because you are merely repeating the story the second time around; you were creating it the first time around.

So stop trying to edit as you go, it makes about as much sense as combing you hair after each snip of the barber’s scissors; it wastes time and there is no way you can envision the whole story if you are picking it apart as you go. Get it down, get it raw and then go back and put clothes on it.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2013 in Editing, Writing, Writing Tools

 

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