Fun Fact Friday – Editing Stinks

I am warming up to editing.  I really am.  In fact I can go through about two revisions without glazing over too badly. Printing the story out helps a lot.  What I hate hearing are those sick writers who love to SAMSUNGedit.  It makes me wonder if maybe I am trying to break into the wrong profession.  I breathed in a huge sigh of relief when I found out I am not alone.  There are others out there (sort of sounds like aliens doesn’t it.) And maybe we are; we are the oddball writers who are the aliens in the writing world.

Well – did I say authors, as in plural?  Okay.  Lets try at least one other author.

Kiersi Burkhart has a similar dislike for the editing process. I think she hit the point of loving to write means learning to tolerate editing.  In her words “… over time I’ve been building up my resolve, and packing it together like a mud pie from lots of little shredded pieces of sanity.”

Tabitha Olson actually loves to edit, but has to admit there is a breaking point for even her.  Load off my mind – I almost wanted to despise her for loving to edit. Not really.  But it is a nice comfort to know everyone has a burn out period.

Kelly Hashway is just nuts.  In a good way of course.  She writes a million words a day and edits clients manuscripts.  (Perhaps I am a little jealous of her love of editing.)  She edits for clients, a small publisher, and herself.  Even she admits that editing herself can be a bit daunting, not because she doesn’t like it, but because it’s hard to not see your story as a whole.

Each author blogged about their editing woes on their own blogs – click each name to get to their posts.  These are related articles to my dislike of editing.

How are you with editing?  Do you love it or hate it?  How do you make it through an edit.  Tips and tricks are welcome!


(Next week’s Fun Fact Friday will be on an alternative day due to an authors busy schedule.  Look for it to be swapped with Thoughtful Tuesday.)

Switching Gears – Short Stories vs. the Novel


Have you ever had manuscript burn out?  I have and I am sure more people have.  For me manuscript burn out comes from having to write the same story for 80,000 words and figuring out the centers.  I love beginnings and the climax.  I feel like endings are my stronger points.  What I hate are the middles – or the filler parts.  How do you stop your story from dragging or adding in information that isn’t getting you anywhere?  My answer?  Well I don’t have a good one.  I do on the other hand have a brain break.

I decided to try my hand at a short story or two.  Give my mind a small break from the big picture and work on a few smaller ones.  The outcome is I feel rejuvenated and refreshed.  I feel like I just accomplished something.  A short story can vary depending on who and what you are writing for.  Anywhere from 1,000 words to 30,000 words.  With all the new emerging e-publishers there is a demand for a short story talent. If nothing else you can really focus on your voice and writing style.Refresh

In a short story you can’t have a lot of back story and you don’t want to start in the wrong place.  If you do your short turns in a blob of too long.  It’s easy to pinpoint pointless filler or maybe that you started in the wrong spot.  This can actually help you with your longer stories.  Sure you aren’t going to start a novel in the same place – or maybe you are.  A short story might actually only be the beginning, the minor conflict, and the resolution.  A short story probably won’t have every element a novel would have, there probably won’t be a few minor conflicts and then massive blowup’s.  You simply don’t have the time.

Short story writing can help your novel writing and even editing.  Because there is less to focus on it is easier to train your brain to be patient and make it through to the end.  For me the true benefit was figuring out my show vs. tell issues.  For some reason a shorter story will show your true weaknesses quicker and it’s probably because each word suddenly has more weight on it.

If you are struggling or need something to make you feel accomplishment, try putting down the novel and start a short story.  You can always turn it into a novel at a later time, but at least for now you are giving you mind a shorter plot to focus on.  The short story is an art of it’s own and will teach you so much about your writing.  At least if you are making a colossal mistake that no one has pointed out yet, it is a whole heck of a lot easier to find it and fix it in 20,000 words rather then 100,000.  What a stress free way to hone in a your craft.

What do you do when your going on burn out?


Premature Excitement

UntitledHas anything good every happened to you? I really hope you said yes to that. Well when something really good happens to me I sometimes can’t quite believe it. I feel like if I share my excitement it just might stop being true. So instead of sharing my excitement I hold it in.  Well I think today I need to change that a little.  Becuase shareing a success is as sweet as a Christmas Sugar Cookie.

I think it is safe to say that I had a short story of mine accepted for publication. There is nothing like being able to say ‘see someone else appreciates my writing too.’ Now that I have said that I should get back to writing another short that was almost done and I decided it needed a re-write.

The Parts of a Story – Mostly a Romance

In as few words as possible what do you think the natural parts of a novel are?  Namely the romance novel?

After thinking about it I think you can break the romance novel into these 5 parts:pieces

1.  Boy meets Girl:  Old friends, new friends, and anything in-between.  They meet sometime.

2. First issue:  What is making it so they don’t fall in love the second they meet?  Fear of failure, different lifestyles, personal motivations, etc.

3. They fall in love:  Did they sold the issue?  Maybe not , maybe they just ignore it.   Either way they start to date and move forward.

4. Second issue:  This is the clincher.  This issue can be resurfacing of the first or something all together new.  It will prey on the doubts of the couple.  This is what will make the reader see what your characters are really made of.

5. Happily ever after:  well duh.  A Romance by definition must end happily.  This is where the knight rides in to rescue is damsel in distress – or sometimes it is the other way around.  Point is, they overcome the misunderstanding or the second issue.

This is a pretty basic chronological order of events.  You can play with things to make your book they way you want it.  I have started stories with the couple already in love but then something splits them apart. That isn’t really having a boy meets girl; it’s more like a boy un-meets girl to meet with her once again someday.  The being said I still had all these elements in order to make the story work.

Do you have anything to add on the order of which events should appear?  The above can be curtailed to all genres, you just have to play with the wording.

Other related posts:

Thoughtful Tuesday – I Am a Planner on Everything Except for Writing

I had Christmas shopping done by July!  I have  a few loose ends to tie up for my husband, but really I was done during the summer.  I think the Easter sales actually are better than those of the Christmas sales – at least for toys. So why don’t I do that for writing?  I realize I am a planner for everything else in my life except for writing.  I write by the seat of my pants, ( a pancer).  I might need to change this though for longer stories.  I tend to forget small details of chapter one by chapter 15.  Why is it I plan everything else out in my life, but my writing isn’t affected? I wish I knew.  Lucky for me I am focused on short stories for now and those I don’t need to plan out chapter by chapter to a fault.  I have everything clear in my mind and my brain works well enough to retain 30 some pages of details.

So how about you? If your holiday shopping completed yet?  Does your lifestyle reflect on your planning for writing (or whatever your hobby or career choices are) or is it opposite?gift

Show Me Don’t Tell Me

A lot of writers can write and tell a story.  The issue is simply that, we tell.  So what does it mean to show vs. tell?  When an editor or an agent comes back with this comment it usually puts the writer into a tail spin.  Isn’t it always easier to point a finger at a general problem rather than point out the exact issue.

To over simplify the problem I think the best summary I can give you is this: any time you say she felt, or he looked you are telling rather than showing.  If you are using 1 sentence to get into the house, you are probably telling.  What can you do?  Stop and envision.  Watch the scene as a movie in your head.  Movies are show not tell – for obvious reasons. When you describe a movie scene how do you show someone in words so they understand?

What sounds better?  Marci walked thru the door.   Or Marci turned the knob and crossed the threshold.  One implies action while the other is stating the obvious. It really all in the word choice.  Is either wrong?  No.  But showing is preferred by almost every agent, editor, and publisher out there.  The idea is to choose strong verbs that entice the reader to envision the action.

Another example:  Jamie felt like her life was over and cried. Or Jamie’s heart thudded and her chest felt tight.  Her eyes burned as she let loose a flood of tears.

Jane walked into a dark room and felt instantly scared. OR Jane was surrounded by black as she entered the room.  Her hands began to shake and her breathing grew rapid. 

 Showing will add more words.  This isn’t bad as long as each word was chosen carefully and aids in helping your reader understand what is going.  I am no expert, but I am working on my own process at the same time so I hope this helps.  Someone told me that telling can actually speed along the story – in a bad way.  So slow it down, add some details, and let the reader escape.

If you have a great example or some useful show vs. tell advice please comment below! Happy Monday and Happy writing.

Fun Fact Friday – Kristin Nelson and What She Wants to See …Maybe

The Nelson Literary Agency is probably one of the most informative agencies I have found.  Yes there are others, and feel free to enlighten me on them in comments too.

Kristin Nelson, the founder of Nelson Literary and an agent, can’t quite sum up what she wants in submissions.  The good news is, she can’t because she feels like genre categories are limiting. What that means for writers?  Well it means that not all agents feel like you are limited to exactly the definition of a category.  Do you write romance with a hint of horror?  She isn’t going to list horror on her web site, but she’d probably love to see it.  The key take away is that if your book can fit into one of the major categories an agent wants to see, try submitting.  I have no idea how she would market a cross genre book but that’s for her to know and you to find out.

Always follow submission guidelines and obviously play up the parts of your book that fit an agents request, but don’t be afraid to send something with a bit of a genre twist.

Do you know of other agents who blog helpful information?  Share their links here for other writers.  If the agent is geared towards one genre more then another list that.  Happy Friday.

What Happened Wednesday

Daughter to bed, dinner leftovers put away, dogs have been fed, and maybe a load of laundry got done.  Now time to #write.  Hot chocolate in hand I am editing my story – uh, well actually I am writing a post then the story.  I have a short story that might have some promise, so that is taking precedent over my novel length manuscript.  I am working on showing and removing most of my tell. So maybe the post should read like this:

The murmurs of my sleeping baby girl accompany the snores of content dogs as I settle down for a few moments of being productive.  Steam rises from the small green mug that was last-year’s mothers day gift.  Small smiles from my daughters photo great me with each sip.  The aroma of the nights lasagna still linger, permeating the house and reaching me in my office. I tab away at each key forming a word that will change  my entire sentence.

I’m working on it.  I still think there is some tell in there but I have a hard time finding them all.

Drawing You in from the Start

I think I have characters on my mind.  Why? Well because I am running into a slump.  I think my current manuscript has some really great points but it is lacking.  What it is lacking I don’t know.  Could it be missing action in the first chapters?  Well, it is a romance.  So action is subjective.  What am I doing while trying to sort out my issues?  Reading one of my favorite romance authors of course.

I am reading an older book of hers and it has had me since hello.  Okay that was cheesy. But it really has had my attention since the first few pages.  Why?  I can’t say.  The first part of chapter 1 is about an ex football player, in his agents office, dreading a choice he made.  It really isn’t action, it’s even told from the agents POV not the hero’s.  How that works I’ll never know since the man is a bit part for what I can see.

The second chapter is about the mousy heroine.  Yes mousy… I am glad we got away from cliques but It is interesting that you actually want to read on about someone that is plain and ordinary.  I think the line about her mother telling her she is plain and homely might just have made you feel for her. But again no action – well until she shows up at a wild party unknowingly.

You know so little about the Hero at this point, or well you would if the agent hadn’t added his two cents.  But I don’t think that is a  customary way of introducing a character.  Normally you are supposed to stick to 2 or 3 main character POV’s.  So as much as I want to learn from some of my favorite authors I think her style is better left for established writers.  For now I guess I will be adding some internal dialogue and just try to make it catchy.

Oh and to reiterate Tuesday’s post about Writing a Memorable Character , this author uses plot sometimes to show a characters traits such as the mousy girl being somewhat sheltered and craving adventure.  It has created some very good laugh out loud moments.

What do you do to draw in someone?  Yes a great opening car chase or shoot out is action but there had to be something more.  Maybe I am over analyzing my own work but in the mean time I might as well learn and decide if it can be applied to my writing style.

What are you prone to doing to start off your book?  How do you get someone on the side of your characters from the start?

I’d Rather be Blogging

I’d rather blog than write.  Why?  Well blogging is short, simple, and to the point.  But this isn’t helping me finish my manuscript.  I think every person can find a hundred reasons and ways to avoid doing something they don’t want to do.  Don’t get me wrong. I want to write but I hate having to edit and I hate having to worry about failure.

Blogging has a lot of good options and great opportunities. It is great for networking and building up some sort of platform.  A blog is a great way to gain valuable advice, opinions, and information.  Too bad it can also be a time suck and not for all the reasons that most people think.

Everyone knows it’s easier to write a short whatever rather than a long something but in the end it isn’t getting me anywhere.

How do you beat the excuses? I think I am going to start imposing a specific blogging schedule and from there find a way to jot down blog ideas without having to type them up on the spot.  The goal is to finish the manuscript by the end of September.


Is ‘blogging’ officially a verb?