Tag Archives: editing

EDITING 101: 64 – Story Organization…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Story Organization

We talked briefly about this in Article #21, “Plotting.”  But now I’d like to go into a little more detail about it.

Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, you’re simply going to have to keep track of some details, especially if your book deals with the passage of time. And that’s just about every book ever written—whether it’s only one day throughout the whole book or a number of years, or even decades or centuries. You must keep track of what is going on when. In addition to tracking time, you can also plot out your story arc (to be the theme of a future article), false clues (red herrings), foreshadowing, and other details.

As I said in Article #21, some authors use white boards or bulletin boards, notebooks or pads of paper, sticky notes, index cards, or…walls. And then there are those who avail themselves…

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EDITING 101: 63 – Are you overwhelming your social media followers?

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Are you overwhelming your social media followers?

Yes, yes—all authors are told to market. You need sales! You need reviews! You need readers! You need beta readers! You need to catch the eye of an agent or publisher! So off you scurry and spend as much time as possible reposting your blog articles or inserting links to them everywhere you can.

Unfortunately, there is something known as “too much of a good thing.” Even your most loyal followers may unsubscribe if they get tired of seeing the same posts everywhere. This is called “social media fatigue,” and you definitely want to avoid it! Think of any popular commercial that seems to play endlessly on several channels for months at a time. You may be able to quote it word for word, but how likely is it that you’ll actually purchase the item?

Linking all your accounts may be easy for…

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The Only Comma Rules You’ll Ever Need!

Just Can't Help Writing

The five basic comma rulesCommas are among my favorite tools for building meaning. Used intelligently, commas are wonderful signposts that tell readers which part of a sentence they’ve stumbled into—and then help them make their way out again. I like commas so much I’ve written multiple posts about them.

If comma rules confuse you, take heart! If improving reader comprehension is your goal, there are really only a few “rules” to remember:

Use commas:

Rule 1: After introductory elements.

This is the one most people seem to know about. But I argue that commas are really only necessary when the introductory element gets long enough that readers may miss the lane change back into the main part of the sentence.

So:

After a moment he left the room. (No comma needed unless you want to emphasize a pause.)

But:

After he spent  an extended vacation in a remote village in the Alps, where did…

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EDITING 101: 62 – Using the Wrong Song Lyrics…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Using the Wrong Song Lyrics

If you’re going to go against standard editorial advice (given in Editing 101 post #8) and use song lyrics in your book, for heaven’s sake, be sure you have the CORRECT lyrics!

Well, duh, Editor Lady. That’s what all those Internet lyric sites are for, silly.

Umm, no.

Do not trust lyric sites on the Internet to have the true, accurate lyrics. Most of them are not any more accurate than the mondegreen you may have heard.

What the heck is that??

A mondegreen is a mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase—as a result of near-homophony (go back and visit post 16 for an explanation of homophones)—in a way that gives it a new meaning. What you heard may not be correct.

An example would be a line in ZZ Top’s song, “Sharp-Dressed Man,” which apparently some people have heard as “Everybody’s crazy…

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EDITING 101: 61 – Passive Voice versus Passive Verbs…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Passive Voice versus Passive Verbs

You may have heard of the great advice to get rid of the extra “to be” verbs as you self-edit. I concur with that task. Not only is it boring for the reader, but using passive verbs makes your writing weak. That’s why they’re termed…well…passive verbs.

However, contrary to what some people believe, every use of “was”—or another form of the verb “to be”—is not inherently using the passive voice. “Was” is the legitimate past tense of “to be” and in many cases is 100% correct. Unfortunately, some people who call themselves editors don’t recognize the difference and ruthlessly edit out every instance of “was” in a manuscript.

These are legitimate, correct uses of the past tense of “to be” (although in the last one, you could get rid of the “to be” helper verb and just write “waited”):

The sky was blue.

The man…

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EDITING 101: 60 – Deleted Material…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy ofAdirondack Editing

Deleted Material

After you’ve finished your first draft, you may decide it is too long and start cutting scenes, and maybe even whole sub-plots. Do you preserve this material, or do you stuff it into the bin without reservation?

Some writers save several (or many!) versions of their work, thereby preserving previous sections. Along that line, some authors email their book to themselves every night. This also guarantees an earlier (or the current) version isn’t lost.

It might be better, though, to place the cut sections into a separate document where you can easily find them. After all, they might fit in beautifully (with a little tweaking) with the next book you write, or in a sequel to the current book!…

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The Stranded Novel #amwriting

Life in the Realm of Fantasy

Good first lines are critical. They have a singular duty, to involve the reader and kidnap them for the length of the book.For that reason, first lines and the opening chapters frequently become all that is ever written of a would-be authors novel. Yet the authors of those few chapters have the entire book locked in their head.

Participating in NaNoWriMo teaches authors to write the entire bookbeforethey begin editing.

In your first draft, DON’T OBSESS over the small things and the finer details as these will derail your work.You will never get past the first chapter if all you can focus on is writing a brilliant opener. Write the entire story as quickly as you can, let it sit for a month or two while you do something completely different, THEN come back to it and focus on shaping the prose. Once you…

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