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.

Link: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/a-to-z-challenge-sign-uplist-2015.html

Zealous

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!

Xerox

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.


Links:
http://boostblogtraffic.com/weak-writing/
http://writeitsideways.com/shape-up-flabby-writing-stronger-verbs/
http://goinswriter.com/weak-words/
https://keligwyn.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/weasel-words-and-weak-words/


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.

Verb

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.


Links:
http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/verb.htm
http://www.grammar-monster.com/lessons/verbs.htm
http://www.momswhothink.com/reading/list-of-verbs.html


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?