Editing is an art.
An art that I have yet to master because I am a free flowing, off the mast writer. I shun structure unless it is keeping the snow off my back or harboring me from lions, tigers, and bears…oh my…uhm. My job is tell a story in a fun, interesting way that keeps the reader amused, grabs their attention, and filled of twist and turns. It is not my job to thoroughly edit every punctuation mark. I am too busy writing to see the errors of my ways so I leave that to the pros. That is what we writers pay them to do.
Now, with that said, a writer should know the basics…I mean come on. Even I can tell when there is a break in sentence flow, sometimes, but not all the time. I write fast. I move from one story to the next with all the grace of Curly falling down a flight of stairs. My writing style, as I stated before, is free flowing. I write off the cuff and seldom if ever use an outline, which may come to a surprise if you read Fly Paper Soup. I used a chart to keep track of the murders and the antagonists.
Many writers I know use outlines and understand the rules of engagement. They write extraordinary stories. In no way am I taking away from their efforts. I am saying that I cannot write like that.
Now for my editing style. I punch out two thousand words or more and then I sit back and have a cup of coffee, walk the dog, eat a donut—anything to take my mind off what I just wrote. After about fifteen minutes or so, I will read it aloud. I find miss-spelled words or word usage errors, I find missing words, (like I said I write fast and do not realize I did not type a “to” or something like that). Then I move on to something else. The next day I will re-read it again and find more mistakes or decide to rewrite the whole thing. That is the extent of my editing.
Why? Well it is not because I am perfect. It is not because I am a grammar wizard, and it certainly is not because I am a writing master. Like Dirty Harry said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” I do not know all the rules to writing nor do I want to know them. I want to write unencumbered by rules and regulations that may inhibit my ability to put forth an entertaining piece. Besides, all the noise in my head makes it hard to find a rule for this or that. I write, that is what I do.
When I’m finished writing I hand off my manuscript to my beta’s, proofreaders, and editor with my chest inflated—my eyes beaming with pride. Then they hand it back dripping in red ink and my ego deflates. Humble becomes my middle name. That is their job. That is what they do. Next, Book Covers.
Words From The Floor
So, you don’t think you are a writer because an editor said your writing sucks. Well, maybe it does, but that does not mean you are not a writer .
Editing is a treasured art only appreciated by writers. If an average editor is worth his/her weight in gold, then a good one is worth twice that and a great one is worth your first born child.
As an artist paints, sketches, molds, chisels, or snaps a shot, an editor meticulously reads each word, examines every punctuation mark, assures the story flows, and the characters remain true to themselves. It is not easy to do.
My recent book, Fly Paper Soup went through seven betas and each one found something worth correcting. Now, let us make something clear, a Beta reader reads for substance, for flow, and their job is to tell the author if the story works. Did it move them, did it capture their attention, was it interesting, or did it drag on, no spark, and cause the reader to jump off a bridge. After they dried off, they may find flaws in word usage, grammar, or any number of things. Your perfect work is not so perfect.
An editor digs, grinds, examines your story from top to bottom and then does it all over again. They are brutally honest and should be. If you have an editor that hands out lollipops and sprinkles everything with sugar, get rid of them.
You want your book top rated.
You want your book to compete.
You want your book in the hands of readers all over the world.
You want to make money…I hope.
If so, then stop being so timid. Write with passion. Write with zeal. Drive those pros and splash those cons. Have no fear. Read your work over and over again aloud, have others read it as you write. Take criticism constructively, even if presented with harsh and cruel honesty. The only way to grow as a writer is to know your faults and correct them. Then write, write, and write. Then write some more. When your betas deliver the news, be open to rewrites or changes they suggest.
Now when the editor delivers your manuscript back and it is dripping in red ink do not be discouraged. Examine the edits. Learn. Grow. Ask questions but never throw the manuscript away thinking you are a lousy writer. Make the chances. Accept your humanity. Swallow that pride.
You are a writer, first and for most. You write…that is what you do. Edit the best you can and move on…NEXT. Leave the real editing to the pros.
How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method [Kindle Edition]
Randy Ingermanson (Author)
A Magical Key to Unlock Your Creative Wizard
Are you writing a novel, but having trouble getting your first draft written? You’ve heard of “outlining,” but that sounds too rigid for you. You’ve heard of “organic writing,” but that seems a bit squishy to you.
Take a look at the wildly popular Snowflake Method—a battle-tested series of ten steps that jump-start your creativity and help you quickly map out your story. All around the world, novelists are using the Snowflake Method right now to ignite their imaginations and get their first drafts down on paper.
In this book, you’ll follow the story of a fictitious novelist as she learns to tap into the amazing power of the Snowflake Method. Almost magically, she finds her story growing from a simple idea into a deep and powerful novel. And she finds her novel changing her—turning her into a stronger, more courageous person.
Zany, Over the Top, and Just Plain Fun
How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method is a “business parable”—a how-to guide written in story form. It’s zany. It’s over the top. It’s just plain fun. Most important, it’s effective, because it shows you, rather than telling you.
You’ll learn by example how to grow your story idea into a sizzling first draft.
- How to define your “target audience” the right way, so you know exactly how your ideal readers think and feel. Forget what the experts tell you about “demographics.”
- How to create a dynamite selling tool that will instantly tell people whether they’ll love your story or hate it. And you want them to either love it or hate it.
- How to get inside the skin of every one of your characters—even your villain. Especially your villain.
- How to find a deep, emotively powerful theme for your story. Do you know the one best point in your novel to unveil your theme—when your reader is most eager to hear it?
- How to know when to backtrack, and why backtracking is essential to writing great fiction.
- How to fire-test each scene to guarantee it’ll be high-impact—before you write it.
I dream of writing,
A book people love,
A book people admire,
Not one that they shove.
It will be an original,
Nothing like it before,
New York will be calling,
Or the West Coast for sure,
I know that I am ready,
So here is the first word, Murder,
Not sure what the second will be,
I will have to explore further,
You see I am a want to be,
I strive to be like the best,
I have several stories,
Time to put a novel to test.
Oh if only I were like you know who,
Or a certain so and so,
I would be writing all the time,
But I hurt my elbow,
The faucet is dripping,
And the dog needs outside,
Car repairs are mounting,
Why don’t I just curl up and die?
To many distractions,
Facebook and all,
If I were a loner,
Is that Baseball?
I make up excuses,
For not writing, you see,
But after all no ones to blame,
Except little ole’ me.
I’m not trying to be critical here, but maybe I should be.
We all write for various reasons; some for pleasure, some for profit, and still others for both. Some write to relieve anxiety or they keep a daily journal and nothing more. Others write because of school or work and do not enjoy it at all.
I’m one of those who write because I love to write and lately found it profitable. In my quest to turn a nickel, I’ve learned from the very best in the business that exposure is one of the keys to making money with your writing. That is why this morning I felt I needed to write this.
I hear way too often from fellow authors that they are not making any money and feel like giving up. I want to help, even though I’m learning the ropes myself. So, I ask for links to their web sight, author’s page, Blog…they don’t have them.
I was in this same position five months ago. I had written several books but my sales were nothing and my hopes were dwelling. Then a friend introduced me to some pros. The first thing I was told was to expose myself…
“Sure,” I said, “but isn’t that illegal.”
It wasn’t that kind of exposure, of course. They looked at my Bio, authors page, and my books. They had many suggestions and I drank them up like a man dying of thirst in the desert. I will not go into detail with all the suggestions, but the main one was exposure.
Writing a good Bio, posting a professional picture, creating a Blog, and get on Social media … i.e. Facebook, twitter, linkin, etc. … let people know you’re out there. No one will buy something they cannot see.
The Biblical reference might be, why hide the light of a candle. Place it where all can see.
Now I’m not saying be a nuisance. What I am saying is simply letting people know you are a writer.
On Facebook create an author’s page and let your friends know on this page you will post about your writing; where to find your books, up and coming events, progress on your latest projects.
Create a Twitter account, Google, Linkin, Goodreads, and so on.
Create a Blog and link it to your Twitter, and Facebook author’s page. Also CSS it to your authors pages on Amazon , Barnes and Noble, etc. Link it everywhere. By doing so, you only make one post and it is then posted on the various sights.
Invite friends and family to join you on those pages…everyone is invited. Post interesting articles, controversial, something that will induce discussion or promote others.
What is your genre?
What is your Hobby?
What have you read lately?
What good movie have you watched based on a book you read?
Post everyday. The rule of thumb is at least three times a week. I post a lot because I help promote authors books. Something I refer to as, Plugging. I also have a featured weekly author. I introduce authors and help them gain exposure. And that’s what this is all about. Exposure.
Getting your name out there so those wanting to buy your books, can find them easily.
A candle isn’t meant to be hidden. Set it where its light spreads out for all to see.
Exposure, do it.
Today was a good day for writing. I finished a short story that I’ve struggled with. It was an Historical Horror piece dealing with a returning Vietnam Vet. The horror part is where the piece lacks, though.
To me, horror is frightening. Not full of gore, but frightening stuff, like ghost. Lincoln, the Vampire Slayer is a piece of Historical Horror, although there is some gory scenes.
So, the idea is to take a piece of history and make it horror, sounds simple. It is really but I have a tendency to over complicate the easy-as-pie thing every time.
Since this is a soldier in Nam I figured he cussed like most soldiers I know. So I added a lot of F***’s to it and some other choice words. It sounded to me like it was spot on and some of the people who read it said it was to. But I had my doubts that it met the criteria for this particular anthology. I was right, so I toned it down a bit, and added some color. It flows pretty good from start to finish but it isn’t horrific enough. There are not any vampires, werewolves, ghost or goblins. It is about people…and people to me can be far dangerous than a vampire. I will have to work on this, because right now it sounds more Rod Sterling than horror.
While we are on the topic of horror, what is so scary about a Zombie? Don’t get me wrong, I love the Walking Dead, but if it was not for the back story of struggle to survive I would have lost interest a long time ago.
Zombies are wussies…there I said it.
Look realistically at it. Everything on them is soft including their skeletons. Hell you can drive a butter knife through their skull. They walk like drunks at 2 am, and for Pete’s sake they can’t think…at all. They are after one thing and one thing only, flesh to eat. So you set a trap, wait for them to come then stab them with butter knives, flame thrower, machine gun….oh and make sure you hit them in the head.
My Idea of Horrific is, The Thing. The thing is at the top of my list. Why, cause it can assume its’ host identity. The Thing can walk around as you do, mimicking you and no one would ever know.
I have an idea…but I need to chew on it for a bit.