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 = dictionary.com)

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?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

T is for the Terrible Trouble

I may have made that up. Maybe.  Remember to check out other blogs in the A to Z challenge.

What do I mean by terrible trouble? First, both start with T and I couldn't decide which one to use, but also because it's a terrible mindset that can cause trouble during edits. It's the "everything is terrible" problem causing thoughts that surface when trying to make that final draft shine.

At some time or another, elements of the story will seem terrible. It happens to us all. One has to be able to tell the  difference between something really needed deleted or fixed versus being in a bad mindset where one might make a poor judgement call. It's also why you shouldn't edit the same copy of the novel. Make sure to have previous drafts as their own copy saved some where, just in case a mistake occurs and you delete whole chapters under the misguiding of "it's all terrible." Don't let a trouble hour lead to days of repairs and make sure to give yourself some space  before going into an edit to begin with because there are times when we are too close to a story. It can go either in the "it's perfect" or "it's all terrible" way of thinking and neither will give you that polished draft.

Also, as troubling as it might be, there will be a time when you can't fix everything. Even years after a book is published most say they had things they would change. At some point you have to let go.

I had a painting professor who would often say "a painting is never finished, it is only abandoned" because there is always something that can be changed. The same goes for novels.

Do you struggle with "terrible trouble" and how do you push the negative mindset away in order to get to a point where you can abandon the edits?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S is for Sentences

Back to the editing chatter. I am going right down to the nitty gritty and basics with this one. We're getting closer to the end of the month and alphabet. See how the other bloggers are doing over here.


Definition: A sentence is a linguistic unit consisting of one or more words that are grammatically linked. A sentence can include words grouped meaningfully to express a statement, question, exclamation, request, command or suggestion.

Grammar. a grammatical unit of one or more words that expresses an independent statement, question, request, command, exclamation, etc., and that typically has a subject as well as a predicate, as in John is here. or Is John here? In print or writing, a sentence typically begins with a capital letter and ends with appropriate punctuation; in speech it displays recognizable, communicative intonation patterns and is often marked by preceding and following pauses.

Basic components:
Source = http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/completesentence.htm

First, it begins with a capital letter.
In addition, it includes an end mark—either a period [ . ], question mark [ ? ], or exclamation point [ ! ].
Most importantly, the complete sentence must contain at least one main clause. A main clause contains an independent subject and verb and expresses a complete thought.

How to edit: Depends on what needs fixed. In some instances it will be taking out the unnecessary, such as extra adverbs, weak words or in my case, the use of the word "just" 4 times in less than half a chapter. Other times, you might need to adjust the comma situation, where the independent subject relates to the verb, or how the complete thought is expressed. On the rare occasion, you will not edit something that is technically considered wrong. There are many ways to edit a sentence and the main point is the method and responsibility is up to you.

How many sentences did you edit today?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R is for Red Nose Day

A slight break from my theme on editing but it's for a good cause, I promise. Make sure to see what the other bloggers come up with for day R over in the A to Z Challenge.

Red Nose Day

What is Red Nose Day?

Red Nose Day, the U.K.'s #1 television fundraising event, is coming to America on Thursday, May 21 (8-11 p.m. ET) on NBC.

Inspired and supported by Comic Relief U.K. - the British charity behind Red Nose Day - NBC will televise the three-hour benefit featuring hilarious stand-up comedy, clever parodies, sketch comedy, incredible music performances from A-list artists and short, compelling films about the cause.

The money raised during Red Nose Day will be used to fund programs that address the immediate needs of children and young people living in poverty in the U.S. and internationally in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Charity organizations include: Boys & Girls Clubs of America, charity: water, Children's Health Fund, Feeding America, Gavi The Vaccine Alliance, The Global Fund, LIFT, National Council of La Raza, National Urban League, Oxfam America, Save the Children and United Way.

Where to get a Red Nose:
The red nose that is so kindly modeled by my stuffed penguin, Peppermint, was purchased at my local Walgreens. They can be purchased all the way up until May 20th and the money goes to the charities. A nose costs one dollar.  They also are encouraging selfie pictures of people wearing the nose with the tag #RedNose to be used on social media.

Links to check out:

I have my red nose. Do you? Do you have a favorite charity you like to support?