Archive for the ‘revision’ Tag

Where Else Am I? Inky Fresh Press Guest Post #3 on Grammar

This month, I’m Inky Fresh Press’s guest blogger, and I’m doing a series on editing (for post NaNoWriters and those looking to polish their non-NaNo manuscripts alike).

Last week, Inky Fresh Press posted the third in the series: Editfication: Revision Tips for Getting Your Work Read & Represented.

The latest one is on grammar.  Check it out!

Where Else Am I? Inky Fresh Press Guest Post #2 on Editing/Revision

This month, I’m Inky Fresh Press’s guest blogger, and I’m doing a series on editing (for post NaNoWriters and those looking to polish their non-NaNo manuscripts alike).

Today, Inky Fresh Press posted the second in the series: Editfication: Revision Tips for Getting Your Work Read & Represented.

This one’s on style.  Check it out!

The rest in the series:

Where Else Am I? My Guest Post Series on Editing (at Inky Fresh Press)

This month, I’m Inky Fresh Press’s guest blogger, and I’m doing a series on editing (for post NaNoWriters and those looking to polish their non-NaNo manuscripts alike).

Today, Inky Fresh Press posted the first in the series: Editfication: Revision Tips for Getting Your Work Read & Represented.

Check it out!

The rest in the series:

In the Blogosphere: 11/15-11/19

“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).

I’m admittedly behind with my Blogosphere posts—I have about 50 links saved, dating all the way back to the summer (oh noes!)—but they are all still worth a look.  I’m getting there!

CRAFTING A WINNER

At Kidlit.com, über fantastic Andrea Brown agent Mary Kole talks about “prime real estate”—and the three places she considers that to be in your manuscript.  Um—sold!

Here, Kole says, if your characters shoot glances, you should be shot!*

In her guest post on Writer Unboxed, the ZOMG-awesome Laura Espinosa (a Write-Brainiac!) tells how getting in touch with your inner actor can help you iron out those pesky, hard-to-write scenes.

Q&A

This question has come up with some international Write-Brained Network folks—yes, we are global, people!!  Here, Mary Kole (yes, again—she’s on fire!!) discusses how to handle your manuscript if you are an international writer and/or writing international settings.

Paranormalcy author, the adorable Kiersten White answers reader questions and dishes on how/when to query as well as how to make blog follower friends.

THE FUTURE

Here, the now-former agent extraordinaire, author Nathan Bransford, debunks the top 10 myths about the future of e-publishing.

In the yeeeeeeear two thousaaaaaaaaaaaaand!

“RE” STUFF (-VISION & -SOURCES)

Many folks have tackled this subject, but here is the Suzie-Townsend-repped Kristin Miller of YA Highway’s take on how to revise and resubmit.

Here, on See Heather Write, Heather Trese outlines some of her incredible takeaways from a session on revising with Gennifer Choldenko. (Really really faboo post!)

The fabulous duo at Adventures in Children’s Publishing (Martina Boone and Marissa Graff) details the seven basic plot types in this equally as fabulous post.  Where does yours fit?

If you’re looking for some awesome Web resources for writers, the good folks of EduChoices.org have compiled 50 of the best in terms of reference; fiction, nonfiction, and freelance writng; and writing in general.

ATTRACTION

Here, author Jody Hedlund suggests how to attract readers to your bloggity blog. (<—Well, she doesn’t actually call it that!)

In her guest post over at Writer Unboxed, Writer’s Digest and the University of Cincinnati’s own Jane Friedman says specificity sets apart the professionals from the amateurs.

Over at the Huffington Post , Denise Brodey gives a five-point plan on how to sell books. Having a Twitter account won’t do it alone.

WHATCHOO TALKIN’ ABOUT, WILLIS?

Write Anything’s Annie Evett did a neat little four-part series on dialogue.  Check it out: part one, part two, part three, & part four.

Over at Inky Fresh Press, the OMGiDONTknowWHATi’dDOwithoutHER Write-Brainiac Bridgid Gallagher offers five tips on how to improve that elusive thing everyone wants to grab hold of: voice.

On her blog, freelancer and YA writer Heather Trese does it again, relaying valuable info she learned about voice during a workshop with Rachel Vail.

THERE THERE

Here, the inimitable T.H. Mafi (Tahereh), delivers the best writerly pep talk evarrr.  Bookmark it, folks.  Fo’ realz.

Feeling a little bipolar about your manuscript?  Jody Hedlund says that’s normal, and she offers suggestions on how to deal.

BECAUSE IT’S AWESOME

At Querypolitan, the fabulous Kate Hart *just may* be on to something: Edward Cullen and Vanilla Ice—one and the same?

ALSO?

Please check out my new Web site. :)

Happy weekend!!!

*OK—she doesn’t quite put it *that* way!

In the Blogosphere: 9/5-9/10

“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).

I’m admittedly behind with my Blogosphere posts—I have about 50 links saved, dating all the way back to June (oh noes!)—but they are all still worth a look.  I’ll catch up eventually, right?

AGENTS’ TRICKS

Agents are inundated with stuff pretty much year-round, which means a lot of their time is dedicated to clearing out their inboxes and whittling down the slush pile alone!  So, when they give advice on how to get their attention, it’s best to listen up.

Here, Barbara Poelle of Irene Goodman Literary Agency offers six tips on things you can do to make September rock—and, surprisingly, they’re not “revise” or “don’t contact me”—she says you shouldn’t be afraid to use a little shame.

Here, Getting Past the Gatekeeper says it’s basically a no-no to revise and resubmit a manuscript to an agent (meaning, you’ve revised it since they requested pages and you’d like them to look at the new pages instead)—but it *can* be done well.

JUVY

Here, Editorial Anonymous answers the question of whether or not children’s books should take into account entertaining the adults who will be reading them to their kids.

Here, Tahereh makes me feel a lot better about being almost 29 and always going straight to the YA/teen section of the bookstore.  Solidarity! :)

BEDAZZLE YOUR MSS

I have been telling people this for *ages*, but everyone (especially my [former] students!) always thinks I’m nuts.  Or it’s like, “Yeah, yeah—you’re right,” and then you just know they didn’t do it.  Maybe you’ll listen to Heather Trese over at See Heather Write?  It’s really a MUST in terms of revision.

Here, Lydia Kang of The Word is My Oyster talks about and gives examples of character sheets—great tools to make your characters frawesome! <—word stolen from Elana Johnson, and I feel like I can’t use it without giving her a shoutout!  Is there such thing as plagiarism when it comes to Internet slang? She says “fabu,” I’ve noticed, but I have said “faboo” for years . . . (yes, I know hers makes more sense, but I can’t go back NOW!) . . . so I feel like that one’s fair game. :)

But I digress.

Let's bedazzle the crap out of something!

DOH!

Over at Fuel Your Writing, Suzannah Freeman outlines the five mistakes you make when writing a blog postSo, stop it!

Here, Shiver and Linger author Maggie Stiefvater gives you a dose of reality in terms of the publishing industry—and she does it using a ham sandwich.

Here, Kevin Purdy of Lifehacker talks about what caffeine actually does to your brain.  I’m choosing to ignore it. Right now, actually!

I found out about this site by reading this post by Jeff Hirsch over at the League of Extraordinary Writers, where he calls it “The Greatest and Most Horrible Website Ever.”  I mean, how can you not click on something when it’s billed like that, right?

Hirsch is referring to this site, TV Tropes, which lists—in crazy number and detail—just about every trope* (narrative, character, etc.) out there . . . and it breaks them down by categories, genres, etc.  It’s just nuts.  There really isn’t an original thought to be had anymore!  Beware: The site is totally addicting!

ONLINE IDENTITIES

Over on her blog, Kristen Lamb coughs up the single best way for authors to become a brand**—and it may be easier than you think.

And Jane Friedman discusses how to manage multiple (online) identities: avoid.

It can get complicated. Just ask Lana, Lois, and Chloe.

GET WRITING!

September is so back-to-school/let’s get down to business, and a lot of folks are talking about butt-in-chair-and-write time.

Here, Jody Hedlund talks about what to do when your writing routine is disrupted.

This is what I do.

Across the Universe author Beth Revis and my pal, The New Soul Trilogy author, Jodi Meadows—along with Authoress Anonymous (and probably some others) have been “word racing” on Twitter to get the words written.  Here are two great posts Revis did about their little project—what they’re doing and how it’s going.

We’ve got our own little GET WORDS WRITTEN thing going on over at The Write-Brained Network, and that’s WordWatchers.  It’s a little like NaNoWriMo, but you can tailor it to what fits in your schedule.  Details here.

Come play with us!

*Ahem—What is a “trope”?  In this sense, it’s a common or overused theme or device.

**Kyle, this is for you.

If You Missed the SWO LIVE CHAT . . .

. . . you weren’t alone.

For those new to the blog, I just had to move my online writing group from Ning to Grou.ps, and the new network is buggy: I tried to send a reminder about the chat to all SWO members today to no avail (I found out that feature has been defunct the last two days—grr!), one of my regular attendees couldn’t access the network at the time of the chat, as well as a host of other wonky things with the new site.

Eeeeeeeeh - the site is buggy, Doc!

Overall, I’ve been impressed with Grou.ps.  After all, it can’t be easy for them to accommodate the Great Ning Exodus of 2010.  They have a tech support group for administrators, which has been helpful to me, and they seem to be actively taking care of buggy things as people report them.  However, don’t mess with my chat!

I suspect they’ll have all the kinks worked out before the May chat.  (I hope! I hope!)

THE GIST

If you missed our chat on revision and rewriting tonight for whatever reason, here are the highlights:

  • Re: Revision & Rewriting: What’s Your Process & How Do You Know When to Stop?
    • We discussed a method of editing I use: editor Bobbie Christmas’s “Find and Refine Method” as outlined in her out-of-print book, Write in Style: Using Your Word Processor and Other Techniques to Improve Your Writing
      • In the book, Christmas discusses how to tighten your writing and lists words and phrases you can search for within your manuscript to quickly find the problematic areas—all using your word processor’s “find” function (i.e., passive verbs, adverbs, certain words and phrases writers often overuse, etc.)
    • One member mentioned a CD called Writer’s Mind, which is designed to engage patterns of your own EEG and stimulate your creativity
    • We talked about reading your manuscript aloud
      • Doing this not only makes others think you are strange, but it also enables you to catch spelling/grammar mistakes as well as pinpoint problematic syntax, etc.
    • We touched how allowing space/distance between yourself and your manuscript is key
      • If you are too close, you’re not going to catch as many errors—your brain kind of fills in missed words, etc.
      • We debated how much space one needs—how much distance—and this, of course, is subjective
        • Some felt sleeping on it and revisiting the manuscript the next day was sufficient
        • One person suggested you not live, touch, or breathe the MS for at least a month before editing
        • Some mentioned sending the piece to beta readers and working on something else to get your mind off said manuscript
          • By the time the betas have read it, you should be sufficiently recharged

    Make like Michael Strahan's front teeth, and get some space between you and your MS!

  • This led to a discussion about beta readers—Re: where to find them and how to know if you can “trust” someone to give you constructive feedback
    • Some places suggested to find beta readers included: listservs, online writing groups, writer friends you make at conferences, etc.
      • One of my favorite comments of the chat: “Beta readers = fellow writers. Avid readers. Not Mom, Not Dad. No one you’ve slept with.” :)
    • Re: How to know if the betas are going to be any good
      • We pretty much agreed that it’s a crap shoot
      • You want to be on the lookout for someone with a “good eye”
        • You might establish this by getting a feel for the person through e-mails, chats—get to know them—see if they’re a good fit—research them.  THEN, make your decision.
        • One member said he has his betas complete a questionnaire so he can elicit constructive feedback—a very interesting way to guide the beta reader to focus on whatever you need them to focus on!

You could also pick up a beta at a pet store for, like, a dollar.

  • Re: How to know when to stop editing
    • We pretty much said it can be kind of a gut thing
    • My rule:  When you’ve revised so many times that you hate yourself—and your manuscript—and you feel like you might physically die if someone made you look at it again, then you *might* be done . . . but you should probably still have someone else look at it at that point.  Get that distance we mentioned.

Rappers from the '90s have surprisingly good advice for revising. (It was a toss up between this and one with "Stop - Hammertime" spray-painted on it.)

  • Re: Miscellaneous
    • We discovered that the new chat has awesome—but random—emoticons that we just stumbled upon
      • For example, by typing “(rain)”, a raincloud appears in place of the words—WHA?
      • This distracted us several times.
    • We discussed light versus edgy YA, as a few of us learned we had been hearing similar comments from agents about our MSS.
    • Marice decided she’s going to host a writing conference at her place Down Under. ;)
    • I invited myself to Australia, Los Angeles, and Macon, Ga.

Now, it’s your turn.  Anything to add to the conversation?

In the Blogosphere: 12/7-12/11

“In the Blogosphere” is a weekly series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week.  Most posts will be from that week, but if I find some “oldies but goodies,” I’ll throw those up here as well.

I never find as much time to read blogs as I want, but here are a few posts that struck me this week.

FOR MENTAL HEALTH

Here’s a handy-dandy little post to bookmark for those rainy days of rejection.  On Inkygirl.com, freelancer Debbie Ridpath Ohi lists famous/successful authors whose famous/successful works were rejected—maybe even more than your manuscript!

WRITER’S DIGESTers

Here, Dana Girard of Novelists Inc. talks literary agents and publishing with my “sort-of” boss, Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest (editor of Guide to Literary Agents, Screenwriter’s & Playwright’s Market, and Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript).  Chuck is gracious enough to give me the opportunities not only to interview agents for the GLA blog but also to write pieces for the 2011 editions of GLA & SPM, so I def wanted to give him props.

In this post on her blog, Jane Friedman, also of Writer’s Digest, discusses how getting professional headshots taken can affect your writing career.  It really struck me, as one who hasn’t quite gotten around to doing that yet…but she makes a good point, and it’s something that might not automatically occur to one.

Here, WD’s Friedman is at it again–only this time, she discusses a big mistake many writers make in story openings.

If you don’t get Writer’s Digest (what’s wrong with you??), here’s an article that ran in the October 2009 issue in which literary agent extraordinaire Donald Maass talks passion in writing.

RESOURCES

This is Plot to Perfection’s first post in their six-part series on character revision.  Although the series is geared toward NaNoWriMo survivors, it’s great info for anyone who wants to examine character in terms of: dialogue, mannerisms, physical attributes, attitudes, and personal growth.

As I reviewed the next URL for this next post on what YA literature needs more of (cultural diversity), I realized I bookmarked another post about the same video. I may have been out of it this week, but apparently, I’ve been consistent as well! Fellow aspiring author Simon C. Larter captured the essence of what I was thinking, but if you just want to watch the video on Kickstarter.com and learn how to support an independent publishing company actively seeking kids’ multicultural books, here you go.

Because I have a name people misspell, mispronounce, and misunderstand, I’ve long been interested in names.  I never really thought about pen names, but in this post, literary agent Nathan Bransford outlines the pros and cons of using a nom de plume.

**Incidentally, another “Ricki Schultz” (who IS. NOT. ME.) has published a poem online.  It’s somewhat difficult to find—especially now that my name comes up a bit more on the Internet because of this blog and my agent interviews—but I always worry someone is going to think I wrote the poem.  Which I didn’t.  Did I say that already? Perhaps I should create a pseudonym.  Any suggestions? ;)

WHAT DO YOU MEAN, he wasn't a real doctor??

You Have a Question? I Have an Answer: Rewriting & Editing – What’s the Difference?

“You Have a Question?  I Have an Answer” is a feature that answers real questions from real writers.

Q: What is the difference between rewriting and editing?  To me, rewriting sounds like starting with a new, blank page.  Editing is going through and proofreading, making sure that plot sequencing and continuity work, and making sure that everything makes sense and remains engaging throughout the work.  Clarification there would be helpful.                                               -E.B.

A: When agents and others in the writing and publishing industries mention rewriting, they aren’t necessarily talking about starting with a clean slate.  I mean, sometimes they are, but not always.

These two terms are used somewhat interchangeably because they tend to be intertwined.  In fact, I would say rewriting is actually the umbrella under which editing falls because you almost can’t have one without the other.  However, I suppose it depends what kind of editing you mean.

The rewriting umbrella can save you from a downpour of rejection.  Yes, I'm a dork. :)

The rewriting umbrella can save you from a downpour of rejection. :)

Line editing is more like proofreading. When line editing, you go through, line by line, and check for grammatical, spelling, punctuation, and formatting errors—and generally, that’s it.

Copy editing takes the aforementioned into account (what good editor doesn’t notice those things?), but this is where you look at everything as a whole and focus more on character, plot, cohesiveness, sequencing, etc. Chances are, if you are wired to do either of these things well, you probably cannot completely shut off your grammar/spelling/formatting switch when you’re trying to focus on the piece as whole, and that is how these two become intertwined.

Rewriting is something that happens whenever the writing transforms.

You almost can’t have one of these without another (unless you scrap the whole thing and begin again at page one) because if you find that you need to alter something with plot sequencing or character, it’s usually not just a matter of changing one word.  You fix those things by weaving in new details in various places of your novel, and you omit what doesn’t work. Any time you tighten a paragraph or clean up a sentence, your original manuscript becomes something else—transforms into something better.  Translation: You are rewriting.

One example of something that toes the line between editing and rewriting is replacing passive verbs with active verbs.  Say you notice that you’ve used mostly passive verbs throughout your manuscript.  If that’s the case, you must rewrite because those are countless opportunities for revision.

Let’s take a look at a very basic example.

She is drinking the tea.

This is a passive sentence in that we’ve used a passive verb form here (present progressive form, for my grammar nerds out there).  We can do a number of things with this sentence, but even using an active verb can transform the writing.

She drinks the tea.

OK, so here, we’ve kept it in present tense, and we’ve cut down a whole word.  If you’ve got a manuscript chockfull of is/are/was/were, cutting down on just that one word per sentence will add up big time.  Paring down word count is definitely a transformation.  Depending on how much you cut, it can mean the difference between an agent asking for pages or rejecting your query.

But this sentence is kind of boring.  Not as much of a transformation as I’d like to see, as it doesn’t give the reader much of an indication about the character.  We could certainly use a better verb to convey something more—even if that’s all we change.

She slurps the tea;  She sips the tea;  She downs the tea;  She gulps the tea;  She ingests the tea;  She swigs the tea;  She guzzles the tea.

And so on, and so forth.  But you get the idea: One verb can mean the difference between proper and boorish.

Each of these verbs does something more than the original sentence, and—though it may be painstaking to some—it’s these kinds of decisions that make the writing clearer and cleaner.

To me, if you’re putting that kind of time and care into your editing (as we all should be), that goes beyond just editing and fits more into the category of rewriting.

I hope that answers the question!

Resource:

This book changed the way I write and edit.

This book changed the way I write and edit.

My favorite editing book—in fact, it changed the way I write and edit—is Bobbie Christmas’s Write in Style.

Christmas’s patented “Find and Refine Method” provides lists of words and phrases to put into Microsoft Word’s “Find” function to make for speedy editing.  If you follow her suggestions throughout your entire manuscript, adding, omitting, and revising where necessary, your writing improves 100%. 

Unfortunately, it’s out of print, but you can still get it here.

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