Thursday, October 8, 2015

It Approaches... aka NaNoWriMo

That is right. After a long silence I'm going to talk about the first thing that comes to mind and right now, with it being already October 8th, the thing I'm focused on is getting ready for NaNoWriMo.

Yep, I'm doing it again this year. Last year was one of my not successful years but I don't have any qualms or regrets about taking part in it or any of the camp ones where I didn't write much. Even not making it to 50k (or in camp whatever goal was chosen) is still an accomplishment if something gets written.

Whether to prepare ahead of time or not is going to be a personal decision. It did help me the first year that I succeeded in getting 50,000 words. However, since then I have both prepped novels and written ones with no prep. Either way can go well and the end result tends to vary on the novel. Some are easier to write than others. I'm prepping this year but not as ahead of schedule as I've been in the past but still making progress. Although I'm finding I don't know much about this story yet. We'll see if that's the case when writing time comes too. Either way, I'll be writing.

One thing I need to work on as we get closer to November is going to be a schedule. I have a lot going on in general, plus will be gone for 6 whole days as my stepsister is getting married and I'm driving out to attend the wedding plus spending a day with family in a different state. I won't have much writing time at all from the 3rd through the 6th. So, I won't be trying to get 50k in 10 days or less this year. In fact, my normal beginning push and end of month slow down will need to be reversed. I will have work at least 5 days a week and the hours will either be closing or middle of day shifts, but not sure at this time. Plus, I have the gym though I will be running a little less by then since after the 10k the goal is just to maintain until spring, when I start training for the half marathon. The last few months, I have struggled to keep up with things, like blogging, and am slowly working on  regaining my ground. Hope to keep it forward so that by 2016, things run smoother.

I do have some suggestions, however, when it comes to November's writing and the results of the excursion. I could talk a lot about tips for during and before NaNoWriMo but we'll keep it to a few things for now.

A couple of things I don't recommend during and after NaNoWriMo:

1. Sending out to publishers or agents right after November ends, or with that novel a few months later. While it's exciting to have a novel written, there is much left to be done and the first is to take a little time away from the story. Plus, many agents and editors are closed to submission over the holidays.

2. Publishing right after November or a mere few months later. I'm not against self publishing and if that's what you want to do then great. However, I do recommend taking a little time between drafts and doing more than one draft of the story before putting it out for the waiting audience. Unless that is your already established protocol of doing very fast drafts and putting it out there where you have a readership that supports such, I just don't recommend it.

3. Fretting over word count often. I have seen a few spend almost more time worrying about how behind they've gotten than actually writing. Don't put too much into panic or talking about how you should be writing. Or posting too much in forums when you have 10,000 words to catch up on. Plus, even if you only write 5,000 for the whole month (I might have made close to that my very first attempt), it's still more than you had October 31. Whether you take a month or three years to finish a novel, doesn't matter. Just write.

4. Ignoring everything for the sake of the novel. Perspective and balance are still good to have during November. Sure, the house can be a little messier and meals take less labor, but it's also not good to completely ignore everyone or skip out on responsibilities just for the sake of getting to 50,000 words. Write, yes, but don't ignore the rest of your life entirely.

Those are just some general pointers. I know not everyone is a fan of the national novel writing month with the quick writing and rough draft results. For me, it works and helps me focus on a single story for exactly one month. Now I'm going to get back to preparing for it and write a few scenes/stories on the side because I multi-task and over commit.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z is for Zealous

Made it to the end of the challenge with a similar Z word for both of my blogs. It was tough this year for some reason even though I've done A to Z for the past few years. I hope to do next year as well but we'll see how things go. For now, I'm glad to be at the end as I have editing to do.



It helps to have zeal towards the novel when editing because it's hard to push through the tough work, especially for me the first time around. The first draft of my first novel was really hard. Then trying to figure out how to do the first rewrite and now that scary last edit. Every stage has its own difficulties. I keep working on it because I am zealous about the story and the series. I still want to see it grow and I want to give it a try at the publishing world.

Even though editing is work and it doesn't have the same fun that just writing can hold for me, through zealous drive, and just making myself work on it, this will get done. In June look for a post on submitting to agents because that is what I will be doing. :-)

Are you Zealous about your novel? Does it help drive you in the editing process?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y is for Years

I'm a tad late on this one. These last letters are hard with the editing topic but I am going to make it to the end. Check out the other blogs over in the A to Z Challenge.

Why years? Well, because that is how long it has taken me to reach this final edit stage and I've been trying to do the edit for over a year now, though didn't actually spend that whole time doing any of it.

One of the good parts about not having a first book out yet, or having any publishing contracts is that you can take your time. No one is waiting at this stage and you can jump between different novel projects, try out all kinds of genres and take as long as you need.

However, the downside is you can take years in order to finish something. I'm better if I have deadlines and without them I meander and spend too much time on the Internet when I should be working. I don't do well if I go by the mood striking me on even first drafts. I need to decide to do something and just get it down within a time frame.

So, this novel has taken years (started first draft in 2007) but I'm not going to let this edit take up more years. Tomorrow, I get some stuff done.

How many years do you take on different drafts and editing?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X is for Xerox

Oh the dreaded X day. I did have to do some online searching and managed to learn a few words not relevant to editing. Lots of medical, geology and fear related words. Go to the A to Z Challenge in order to see what X word other bloggers picked.

After searching, it hit me when I saw the word on the list, aha!


Photocopy may not seem like an editing term because it's an exact copy/replica of whatever is used, but that does bring up the questions: Which copy are you working on? Where do you save your copies? Do you print out and do a hard copy edit?

Right now, I don't do hard copies of my stories because aside from the cost of ink, there is the fact I don't have a sufficient printer. The library here costs 10 cents a page and I haven't looked into the costs of getting copies made anywhere else. So, at this point all of my edits are done on the computer.

However, when I'm editing I do make copies chapter by chapter within Scrivener (my writing program of choice) because I want to keep the  old version just in case something happens and I make a very big mistake. I also try to get a copy of a draft on Word and save it to a couple locations, including an external and now I have a flashdrive too. It's good to have numerous copies when possible.

I do the new copy for most edits and rewrites, however, for the last one, I am not doing a xerox or extra copy. I am using the draft that I worked on last time, which involved editing a few things. I"m hoping it's the last copy for now, because I will be sending out the story but I also hope that it's not the last overall because edits are necessary when publishing. Anyways, that's my X topic: Xerox and a couple types of copies that relate to editing.

How many copies do you have? Do you make a new copy for each edit?

Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for Weak Words

Near the end of the editing topic month, although not the end of the actual edits. There aren't many days left, so make sure to check out the other blogs still poster over in the A to Z challenge.

I talked a little bit about this in other posts, like J where I focused in particular on the word Just, but it is one that bears repeating because it's something I often have to edit out during a few different rounds of editing. Those pesky, not as useful as I first think in rough draft writing, weak words.

We want our writing to be strong and to hold the interest of the reader, but in first draft the whole point is to just some how get those words onto the page. Which can mean later, in edits there is a lot of muck to deal with in order to take the lump of clay and make it something presentable. Weak words have a use at times, much like everything else (even adverbs) but they also can hold back a story and lesson the readers experience.

I know for me, there are weak words I  use far too often. These include: just, almost, vague uses/descriptions/etc, multiple prepositions, and then, redundancies, something and many more.

I mean, sure it's okay to use them at times. There are instances where it makes sense to say the character almost fell. However, when  it happens too often then it just becomes boring and even I tell myself, "either make them fall or don't mention it" when that shows up a few times in a story. Or in edits I pick between "and" and "then" because most of the time they both don't need to be there together.

It's a constant struggle, determining what words are weak and not necessary in the story and how to make them better.


What weak words do you use often? Do you take out weak words when editing?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

V is for Verb

Another grammar day here on Dawn Embers blog and part of the A to Z challenge. We're near the end and I must admit, it will be nice to get back to a regular, few posts a month, schedule in May. Though I also plan to jump around to others blogs to comment on them during May as that part I didn't quite keep up with well this time around. Make sure you check out some of the other blogs here.


Definition: any member of a class of words that function as the main elements of predicates, that typically express action, state, or a relation between two things, and that may be inflected for tense, aspect, voice, mood, and to show agreement with their subject or object. (source =

All verbs are not created equal, however. Often times, the ones I need to edit out the most that I'm sure others might too, are the ones that show a general state of being. Yep, the "be" verb commonly known as "is" "was" and "will be". Okay, maybe not "will be" often because who writes in future tense? Not that they don't come in handy at times, but it's easy to overuse the "be" verb along with the adding of -ing to verbs. That's something else I also work on in edits, the number of times the action has the -ing added to it.


What are your favorite verbs? Do you have enough action in your sentences?

Friday, April 24, 2015

U is for Under

Near the end of the challenge and we're getting into some of the fun letters. I'm struggling through but will make it to the very end and have a plan to comment on random blogs throughout May too. Check out some of the other blogs here.

Today we are going to look at a few Under options in relation to editing.

under-whelm - This is something we don't want our story to do most of the time. You do not want to under-whelm the reader with the conflict and characters. You don't want to over do things to the point that it's hard for the worry to heighten or to keep the interest that active for too long, but definitely don't want the story to be under in the whelm category.

under-write - This is a depends on style and genre aspect. And will vary on draft too, so it can be okay. My first draft of the one I'm editing was only 23,000 words. Talk about under-writing. I had to more than double the word count during the following drafts in order to get it up to the sufficient 70k that it is now. I still under-write certain aspects, like description and am working on those aspects in my editing. It's not uncommon for a bit of an "edit" to increase a chapter word count, instead of decrease,  for me.

under-emote - I struggle with this because the main thing the beta readers noticed is they wanted more emotion. It's challenging to do it without telling and I'm still working on how the emotion comes across even in this final edit. Want the emotions to seem realistic but not melodramatic either.

What type of Under- do you work on in your edits?