Tag Archives: editing

Overused

Am in that part of the editing process where I’m totally happy with the story, and just have to do a lot of work on individual sentences – the copy editing stage. 

This is a stage that I would usually tell authors that they can’t do terribly effectively themselves.  And I do think that’s true, and I will be sending the manuscript on to an editor in due course.  In the mean time I’m putting the book chapter by chapter through an automated checker.

What this shows is that I have a real issue with overused words like “was/were” and “could”, and the other frequent flyers are “think/believe” and “feel/felt”.  Most of the time I find ways to rewrite a sentence to remove many of these instances.

Only this book is proving a problem.  The story is a thriller told from two points of view, for the first half of the book, the characters are separate, and they have lots of questions.  Questions about each other and what they are doing and what they are capable of doing.  So there’s a lot of lines like, “Was he doing this?” or “Could she do that?”

What this means is that I am doing everything I can to reduce numbers in line with the program, but I’m just not getting there in some cases.  Still, the thing to remember is that these program have been written against rules.  Rules for general purposes, there will be times when those rules have to be broken and in a story of questions, was and could will be more used than in most scripts, I’m not going to knock myself out with it.

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Virtual Festival

Today, I have been largely at a literary festival.

I know, we’re not supposed to go anywhere, and I didn’t, it was all on-line.  Me and a load of other writers getting together thanks to Showboat TV and talking about our writing.  And in my case my editing too.

We’re talking about our books, old and new, and reading segments of the book.  It made me think that I should read a snippet of each of my books and stick them on my website too, but to do that I’d actually have to listen to me and that is so cringe-worthy I’m not sure I could.

With lockdown, I’m actually finding that there are advantages to on-line literary festivals.  For a start, I don’t have to travel.  Now don’t get me wrong – I LOVE travelling, but it takes up a lot of time, can be uncomfortable and stressful.  It means staying in places you don’t know and buying food you can’t be certain of.

On-line means I only have to travel from one end of the house to the other – and it really isn’t that big a house. I get the comfort of my own chair, let alone my own bed at night, and I can have whatever food I want.  Today I made a jambalaya and it was lovely – and it meant that the place smelt great for the afternoon when I did the second slot.

More importantly, it meant that I got to met up with some old writer pals I’ve not seen in ages because we usually met up at festivals and book fairs and of course, we haven’t had any of those for a year.

So if you’d like to hear what’s going on with writing in Wales, check out www.showboat.tv as they will be putting recordings of the day up on their site.  See how we writers can put words on the page, but can’t always read them out.  😉

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Writer Editor

Writers don’t write as much as they edit.

It’s a odd statement but it’s also true. When I’m really writing, I’m basically spewing the story out onto the page.  I love that part, constantly playing a game of what if, knowing that I have to get these people to do certain things and then wondering why they don’t do them, and trying to figure out how to get them back on track.

But after the story is down, there’s still so much work to do.  The editing.  I reckon I take 4 to 5 times longer to get a book edited than to write the thing in the first place.  The editing is all about getting the story right. Making sure that it flows, is sensible and everything works.  It’s polishing the sentence structure and ensuring that the correct character does what they need to when they need to do it.

Then it’s running through the various writing checkers for spelling and grammar and all the other technicalities.  Only then can you send the manuscript out.

And it it’s accepted, it will invariably come back with more edits to do. Writers write, but they spend an awful lot of time editing too.

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Back to Work

The day after Boxing Day, and already we’re discussing when to take the Christmas Trees down. Yes, trees, plural, we have two up in the house.

Today I “went back to work”.  This isn’t as bad as it sounds since I’m now self-employed.  Even when I had a office job, I quite liked working between Christmas and New Year because it meant most people weren’t in and I could get stuff done, always a great time for getting the filing up to date.

Work today basically meant that I sat down and drafted an on-spec article, then downloaded the edit just returned to me from my structural editor, and started on the updates.  

This has actually been fantastic for me, it has a purpose that has cleared my head and started me out of the depression that hit over Christmas.  My editor is always kind, but he doesn’t let me get away with anything!  There aren’t major changes to make, but it’s detail all the way, which I kind of like.

Anyway, that’s enough for now, enjoy your time till the New Year.

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Finishing

Today I have been mostly finishing stuff.

I finished the washing, and got it out on the line, were if mostly dried.  There were a few bits that needed 20 mins in the tumble drying, but air drying is my preference where possible.  Of course, now I have a pile of ironing that I haven’t even started. I finished typing up my notes for book 5.  I finished the edits on one of my Locked Books from the proof-reader.  All I have to do now is make it available – one of the more useful things about self publishing, it’s easy to change the text if necessary.

It was such a nice day that I got to spend a fair amount of time sitting in the garden. Which was really pleasant, except that the neighbours had their radio on too loud and their choice of radio station is certainly not mine. It annoyed me so much that I ended up coming in just to be aware from it.  Though in all honesty it was also starting to turn cold, so I wouldn’t have lingered much longer anyway.

In a complete change of direction, jeans are a difficult thing to find with a decent fit, but yesterday I took a chance on buying a new pair from Tesco.  Today I’ve worn them all day, and they are so comfortable.  It’s lovely to find a pair of jeans that fit properly and comfortably.  The fact that they didn’t cost a fortune is also a good thing.

Right well, up for a movie night now. Aliens.  Got my pop. Got my popcorn.  Got my feet up.  That’s all now.

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Pruning

A bit better day today.  Had a bit of a lie in, got up about half nine, which is at least and hour and a half too late.

But I got properly dressed, I took my supplements, and I got a few things done. This included finishing an edit – that is a good book.  And I managed to have some discussions that I needed to sort this week, writing related not work related. 

It was a beautiful day outside so I spent a little time in the garden (in the shade to avoid any more sunburn, and I did some further work on the plot for the next book in the steampunk series and even wrote a few pages. A few actual pages that in, as in in a notebook written with a pen. Haven’t done that for a while.

Even got some pottering in the garden done. We have a hydrangea bush in the back garden that I didn’t cut back last year (I’m not a great gardener). So I cut back the dead heads and that’s revealed just how good and green the new leaves are looking.  Will look brilliant when the flowers kick in.  Must make sure I prune it after flowers this year.

Have been beating myself up again because of my weight, I really need to diet and exercise more, but seem to be missing the drive for it. This is the stuff that I have to stop, it’s so self-destructive. I hate myself for being fat, I get too down to exercise, I eat and get fatter. A true downward spiral.  Maybe tomorrow I can do something about that. Hopefully.

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Missing

I missed a blog last night, just because I just lost track of time.  Was a bit out of it yesterday too.  Today was more of a meh day, better, but not great.  Still every day is a good thing.

Managed to finish an edit on someone else’s novel, only the critique document to do now. Also got my own work to get on with.

Not sure what’s caused this bit of a downturn in my mood, have a worry that it’s the result of the call to work, but hate that idea. I can’t not work, so I’m probably being selfish and stupid in the reaction.  Like the logo says, I just have to keep calm and carry on.

In less fun news, I put a load of bedding plants in my front garden last week (there are pictures in previous blogs), the little four legged friends in the area have only gone and dug up the corner of the bed and discarded at least two of the pansy plants. I did try to save them, but they just got dug up again.  I have absolutely no proof of this, but I suspect the local cats using the corner for a dirt box, charmers that they are.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. 

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Sunshine

Today has been a good day, not terribly productive, but good.

Since the weather was so nice, I actually got around to sitting out in the garden.  It was lovely. I did some editing, I listened to some music, I message chatted with a mate about writing and I attended my first Zoom meeting – with a load of writers.

My cat may have forgiven me for putting Spot On on her.  She hates when I do that, doesn’t understand it’s for her benefit as much as mine.  For the last two days she’s been avoiding me, even refusing to come in the house if I’m too close to the open door. However, when I was outside in the sun, she was there demanding attention, strokes and belly rubs.

I also cooked a fabulous roast lamb dinner – meat virtually fell off the bone it was that tender. I do enjoy a gravy dinner.

Talking of cooking and tender, I forgot the sunscreen. Now my have two shinny hot and itchy shins.  Long sleeves saved my arms, a wide brimmed hat and glasses saved my face.  Nothing below the knee though, except now a far amount of sun burn and pain.  Still, it was a good day.

And no, I don’t like having my photo taken – not even by me.

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Painful

Felt a little down today, but this time is was a physical down not a mental one.

My period started again. Painful periods are not new or unique to me, many women suffer the same and worse. Menstrual pain has been a part of my life since I hit puberty.  Sometimes it’s just general discomfort, sometimes I can’t stand straight and at it’s worse, I’m curled up in a ball, hot water bottle on my back, pain killers in my belly and crying. Today’s experience was just a strong discomfort with occasional sharp cramp when I moved. Which is better than it was yesterday, severe discomfort and unwillingness to move.

But today was painful enough to know that it was not the day to do work that would stress my back, meaning I was in no condition to go weed the front garden which was my plan for today.

Instead I sat at my desk, because my desk chair is the most supportive, and I edited. I managed to get through to the end of the novel I started editing yesterday.  That is the one that I printed and ranted about earlier in the week and edited on paper, I finished transferring those edits to the electronic version today.

It wasn’t what I wanted to do, but it was productive.

All I have to do now is take it from the scenes as I’ve written them into readable chapters.

Oh, and weed the front garden, but both of those are for another day.

Now stay safe and stay well.

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Sleepless

Not been sleeping again.  Got about three hours last night and that was broken. 

Consequently, today hasn’t been great. I’m shattered and feeling off colour.  Had a sneezing fit this morning which was a worry until I discovered that today was a high pollen alert, especially for trees, and it is tree pollen I’m allergic to.  An antihistamine sorted the problem out.

Went out for a bit of a walk today, saw a neighbour hadn’t seen for months, spoke over her garden wall, so at least 2 meters away.  But also found out she’s having a little trouble getting food delivery slots (something I’m sure lots of people are experiencing). I took her phone number so that when I next go shopping I can pick any odd bits up for her.

Editing hasn’t gone well today, because I couldn’t concentrate. I put it aside and decided not to beat myself up about it. Had some good news from my crime publisher, they’re going to release some of my books in American in June.

Also managed to catch up with a mate of mine who I haven’t really spoken to for a while, he’s made a job change and it’s working out well. Am pleased for him, and a bit jealous.

I have been signed off for another 4 weeks, which hopefully will help me get back on track, but I feel at a bit lose at the moment, but things will improve.

Did do the paella today, and the family wolfed it down.  Daughter’s cooking tomorrow, hubby the day after. Hubby on nights, daughter and I have been watching “Alien” because she’d never seen it before (age 21).

Am very tired, so once this is posted, I’m off to bed (have taken a sleep aid, which should help).

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