Writer’s Tip Monday

I’m still editing and I’m almost there. Here are my Monday tips.

Tip One: There is no there there.

If you are at the polish stage, do a quick search for the adverb there and look for a stronger sentence construction. Often “there” is a filler that can be strengthened with some creativity. Remember, unless you are referring to a place, there is no there there.

Tip Two: The moon was jumped over by the cow.  Or by the zombies.

Look for passive construction. I saw a great tip today on the grammarley blog from twitter user Rebecca Johnson (@johnsonr).  You can find it here:

http://blog.grammarly.com/post/34095768680/writeworld-mightymur-the-final-brilliant

Her idea: Look for your verb. If you can insert the phrase “by a zombie” after it and it still makes sense, you have a passive sentence.  I love this! I don’t want to steal their thoughts, so check out the grammarly blog for the exact examples.

That’s all folks.  Remember, editing doesn’t have to be a painful process, and it doesn’ have to extend into infinity.  My goal is to send the complete manuscript to my editor by the middle of November. I would like to be done before then, but I’m realistic, and considering I work full-time and have two elementary school age kids, I think that’s the best I can hope for.

Write on!!!

If you Self-Publish, Please Please Please Please Hire a Copy-Editor

I don’ t knowhow I can be clearer.Lets just say that I’m so tired of reading messed up print from indy authors. “I’m also tired of missing quote marks, she said.

Did you like reading that? My guess is no.  I didn’t like writing it, either. It hurt my fingers to type it that way. Get the picture?  Ugh!!!

My Bachelor’s Degree is in English Literature from the University of Georgia. I also have a Master’s degree. I read ALL of the time. I chose not to go on and get my Master’s in English because I wanted to write genre fiction, specifically romance, and that kind of fluff was frowned upon in academia. It still is, for the most part.

With two kids close together, I had cut way back on reading, because I didn’t have the time. But with my Kindle, I can read wherever I want — while waiting during my daughter’s dance class, waiting at the school, waiting at the doctor’s office. I’m a fast reader, and having a whole bookstore in my hands at all time didn’t bode well. In fact, I spent a fortune on e-books. More recently, as I have begun to look more at publishing my own novel, I have turned away from the mainstream publishers like Harlequin and have looked at more of the self-published writers.  My thought was if I download their free book and like it, I’ll give them a good review and strongly consider buying something else from them. That seemed like a reasonable trade to me.

I just started a book yesterday that I downloaded last week. It has a compelling story, and a great cover, but there are issues. I won’t name the book, because I’m not sharing negative publicity, and I don’t want to cause any issues or problems. I’m two chapters into it, and while it’s a compelling story, the lack of a copy editor is glaringly obvious.  Words run together. Quotes are missing. I want to know what happens, but I don’t know if I can go on. It’s pure torture! (I’m borrowing my son’s words when I ask him to clean his room). I went back to the book’s listing on Amazon and it has two reviews, both a 3, knocking it for a lack of an editor. These aren’t style issues. These are flat-out typos. All I can say is I’m glad I didn’t pay money for it.

The sad thing is, I really like this writer. I have to check. I may actually be following her on twitter.  I just want to send her a tweet and tell her to hire a d@mn copy editor!  Maybe it’s formatting issues switching from word processing to the Kindle book format, but wouldn’t you read your own book on the kindle and pull it if it looks ridiculous?  She’s self-published, so it’s not an issue of another company giving her permission to pull it to fix it.

Traditional publishing is competitive enough. It seems that Indy-publishing is competitive in a different way. Since anyone can do it, rising above the trash and riff-raff will be difficult. I still have a lot to learn about digital publishing and the indy-author world, but it seems that the only way to make any kind of mark is to make ABSOLUTELY sure that you have a file that’s mistake free.  Most readers will forgive one or two, but when I’m two chapters in and there have already been several, I have to question the author’s commitment to her work.

About “Don’t Call Me Sugar!” or Why GWTW Wouldn’t be Published Today

I was looking around for quotes that might provide some insight into my background and goals in starting this blog, and I returned to an old favorite of mine, Gone With the Wind. I know that the book has faded from the public eye, because of the painful issue of slavery and the famous “rape” scene where Rhett carries Scarlett up the stairs. Frankly, my dear, I don’t care.  The book remains one of my favorite of all times. (And for those not aware of the differences between the book and the movie, there are many, one being that the word Frankly is not in the book.  The line is “My dear, I don’t give a damn.”)

“Don’t Call Me Sugar” is directly from Scarlett herself.  She made it through the Civil War and started a lumber business in a time when there were few women of business.  While sexism has decreased in the workplace, after twenty years of working I still find myself on the receiving end of that condescending tone. My goal as a writer is to create heroines who are strong and independent women, and to help them find their match–someone strong enough to not be intimidated by her intelligence or ambition.

From Wikipedia:

Margaret Mitchell began writing Gone with the Wind in 1926 to pass the time while recovering from an auto-crash injury that refused to heal.[1] In April 1935, Harold Latham of Macmillan, an editor who was looking for new fiction, read what she had written and saw that it could be a best-seller. After Latham agreed to publish the book, Mitchell worked for another six months checking the historical references, and rewrote the opening chapter several times.[2] Mitchell and her husband John Marsh, a copy editor by trade, edited the final version of the novel. Mitchell wrote the book’s final moments first, and then wrote the events that lead up to it.[3] As to what became of her star-crossed lovers, Rhett and Scarlett, after the novel ended, Mitchell did not know, and said, “For all I know, Rhett may have found someone else who was less difficult.”[1]Gone with the Wind is the only novel by Mitchell published during her lifetime.[4]

In one article I read a long time ago, the story is that Margaret Mitchell gave her book to Harold Latham in eleven battered boxes, with scraps of paper everywhere.  If she were searching for a publisher today, this is what she would hear:

  • It’s too long. Cut it in half.
  • No one wants to read about history.
  • You can’t kill Bonnie Blue.  It’s too much of a downer.
  • Why isn’t there a happy ending? You have to end with them together.
  • Last but not least, lose those other husbands. The book should focus on the hero and heroine only.

You know I’m right.

The purpose of this blog is to share ideas and thoughts about writing, publishing, and everything in between.  Please feel free to leave comments.

Happy reading!