Tag Archives: Self editing

Winner! Whiner?

Strange blog post title, right? Well, maybe not.

So, November is a memory, but not the November challenge of NaNoWrimo. You’ve – hopefully – gotten your winner banner, letting one and all know you managed to eek out that 50,000 word minimum for the month, and maybe even a little more ( like me!) and now you’re internally debating the next step.

Dive right into editing? Start to query agents, editors, and publishing houses?  Print out the book and give it to one and all of your supportive peeps to read and review and critique?

Well, I hate to give advice because I hate to receive it, but….

Let’s sit back for a second and think this through.

You’ve just spent 30 arduous days giving literary birth to your new baby. A quick pregnancy in potential plotting ( if you’re a plotter) and then 30 continuous days of delivering it into the world. 720 hours, 43,200 minutes, 2,592,000 seconds ( does this remind you of a Broadway show tune?) That’s a lot of time spent in doing one thing, any way you slice and categorize it. The goal of the challenge is to write your story. To get it onto paper or the laptop. Like most writers competing  in the challenge you did not edit along the way. I’m sure your manuscript – like mine – is rife with spelling, grammar, and tense mistakes, not to mention maybe a plot hole or two. Or three. Now is not the time to submit it or allow ANYONE to read and review it.

Now is the time to….sit back for a little bit. Let the manuscript safely stew in your file section. Don’t read it…don’t edit it…don’t start letting the publishing world know it’s available, because it’s not.

I know the excitement of getting the story down – and quickly – is high. Believe me, I know it. But you need to rest your creative brain for a tad and forget some of the words you wrote. Then, when sufficient time has passed – and that can be two days, two weeks, or even a month ( like AFTER the holidays!), you can open it from the file and start to read it with fresh eyes. Eyes that will see all those mistakes, plot holes, and character problems. Those setting mixups and description errors. You’ll be able to SEE you gave your heroine green eyes in chapter one and then realize the hero described them as brown in chapter four. You’ll be able to SEE the motivation you gave your killer to kill was the same internal struggle you gave your hero to. You’ll SEE the escape plan you concocted in chapter 6 is pretty much impossible if you’re penning a contemporary tale and not one filled with dragons and wizards.

Right now you are high on the fabulousness of what you’ve written. Let it stew a while and you’ll realize it’s still fabulous, but needs work. Namely, editing.

Editing with fresh eyes is the best way to find the problems and think of ways to correct them.

Now, as far as querying – don’t. Not now, and certainly not after the first read through. My last three NaNo written books have been published AFTER they went through extensive edits and rewrites BEFORE I even submitted them. The books I submitted to my publisher were the ones where I removed all the mistakes, fixed the grammar and tense, and idealized the plot and story line. My settings were all consistent, my characters fully formed and possessing the correct hair and eye color throughout the book! And even after they were bought they still needed more editing!!!

Do yourself a favor: have a glass ( or two or…) of wine, sit back and put your feet up on the ottoman. Watch a good romance chick flick or even an action adventure movie. Or both. Relax. Rest. Revive. Then you can review, revise, and rework those wonderful NaNoWriMo pages.

Trust me. You’ll be happy you did.

AND ( here comes a shameless plug and I’m not ashamed in the least) if you want to escape into something funny and read a holiday tale, try A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, available right now. It’ll take your mind off writing and put it back on reading someone else’s work for a bit.

When I’m not being shameless you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Editors, Life challenges, love, NaNoWriMo, research, Romance, Romance Books, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Worst pick up lines…

Ever been to a bar during happy hour? A ball-game (any kind)? The hot new club that just opened downtown? A concert for your favorite band? The grocery store? The Laundromat? The gym?

See the connection yet? No? Well, they’re all places guys try to pick up girls.

And they’re all places where every girl who’s ever tried to get picked up – and those of us who were just there for the concert/drinks/workout/to do our laundry – have been hit on and have heard some of the world’s worst pick up lines.

Recently I blogged about two of the worst first – and subsequently last– dates I’d ever had. I asked a lot of girls/women/moms/aunts/females while I was writing that blog, what were some of the most God-awful pickup lines they’d ever been tossed. Here are the ones I absolutely loved – and by loved I mean really hated – the most.

  • “Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?”
  • “Wait. I need to get my sunglasses on. You’re beauty is blinding me.”
  • “Nice legs; what time do they open?”
  • Do you have a map? ‘Cause I just got lost in your eyes.
  • Is it hot in here, or is that just you?
  • Somebody better call God, because he’s missing one of his angels
  • Hey, I lost my phone number … will you give me yours?
  • If I told you you had a great body, would you hold it against me?
  • Something’s wrong with my cell phone…your number’s not in it.
  • I will volunteer as tribute for you.  ( I have to admit, this one I like!!)

As a writer, I try to shy away from my characters using cheesy pickup lines except if the character’s personality calls for it. I never want a reader to dislike one of my characters unless – again – my goal is to make them unlikable. And believe me, if any of my male characters said anything like the above, they would be unlikeable.

Pick up lines can be written with humor – or not! They can make you laugh or cringe; giggle or gag. A well written one will stick in your memory. But then again, a bad one will as well.

So. Worst pickup lines you’ve ever heard…let’s discuss….

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Romance, Romance Books

Writing long…and short

I don’t think it’s a lie to say I’m verbose. As in, long winded, wordy, loquacious, garrulous…you get the message. My daughter read something of mine once and critiqued it by asking, “why do you say the same thing three times, differently? Why not just say it once, effectively?”

So happy her Dartmouth education paid off, because, really, she was right.

I write fast – no surprise there, since I talk and think fast.  Quick witted is what an admirer said of me once. My first drafts go on for hundreds of pages. Dialogue, exposition, explanation. Words and words and words. I just write whatever comes into my head while my fingers follow. I talk this way, as well, so it’s not a bombshell to admit my writing reflects this. If I got paid by the word I’d be a quadrillionaire ( if there is such a thing).

Even now, as I’m typing this, I find myself saying the same thing in different ways just  to make sure you, dear reader, get it.

Robert Parker and Elmore Leonard were two of my favorite writers when I was penning mysteries. Their dialogue was always spot on, even if it was a one word rebuke or answer to a question, and their descriptions required no more than a sentence or two for the reader to get the visual. They trusted their readers to understand what they were trying to convey and we always did. I live to write this way. The nicest compliment a reader can give me is that they “vividly saw what I wrote when they read it.”

I just submitted a story for a new series that will be coming out next Valentine’s Day. The word cap was 10-20 K, maximum. My stories are usually 85,000-100,000 words, easily. Writing this story for submission was an excellent way for me to learn to curtail my logorrhea. First draft was 27,615 words – and I thought all of them should be kept. No. They couldn’t. I had to eliminate at the very least 7,615. That’s a full scene for me.

Second draft I got it down to 22,005. Still not enough.

I had a dream one night on how to tighten a scene and BAM! the next day I got it down to roughly 14,500. This was good. I read the story at least 20 times, gave it to a friend and read little snippets to my coworkers.  They all agreed I should leave it as it stood. Don’t add. Don’t subtract.

I agreed. Today I submitted it to my Editor. We’ll see what happens, but this exercise taught me the benefit of culling extraneous words, tightening longwinded and rambling scenes, and focusing in on the specifics of the story and not worrying about the extra stuff no one needs to know about. As a writer, this is a good thing.

It’s not exactly a bad thing as a person either, since I do tend to ramble on and on and……..

 

 

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Filed under Characters, Dialogue