Tag Archives: editing

You Gonna Edit That?

Grammar Books -- April J. MooreWhen our son was little and we’d eat out, he often saved his French fries for last. The untouched fries would drive my husband bananas. You gonna eat those? He clung to the hope that our son would be too full to finish them once he finally got around to it. More often than not, our son, right before jetting off to the playground, would pass the few cold, remaining fries to his dad. All was right in the world again.

I’m the same way with editing. I like to organize and clean things up, so when it comes to editing, I bask in grammar glory that there are rules about such things. And yes, I know it comes off as annoying to some, but whether you like it or not, these editing shenanigans matter. They can make or break you as a successful writer.

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t always adhere to these rules and I’ve made a lot of mistakes. Fortunately, those mistakes are fixable and over the years, I’ve learned a great deal. I love reading manuscripts and offering content and copy edits. When I catch plot mishaps and dangling modifiers in a piece of writing, all is right my world again.

There are computer nerds, science nerds, and there are word nerds. That’s me. So I’m thrilled to tell you that I’m now offering editing services. You thought my Grammar Nazi ways were obnoxious already . . .

You see, I just want to get paid for being obnoxious. But helpful and professional, too. Whether it’s a full or partial manuscript, or an essay, or short story, I want to help. Visit my editing services page to learn more about what I can do to help bring your writing project to the next level.

And, on a somewhat unrelated matter, here is the Northern Colorado Writers podcast where Kelly Baugh and I discuss our latest books, our creative influences, and a hot new genre we are very excited about.

Retreat, Revise, Repeat

Writers RetreatThis was my view for the last four days. I just returned from 3 nights in Estes Park for the annual Northern Colorado Writers retreat. As opposed to previous years, this retreat for me did not include drunken nights of playing Bananagrams. I must be maturing. Instead, I tallied 27 hours of writing time. Well, editing and revising time. I decided to wipe off the 10 years of dust and grime of an old manuscript and get it up to snuff. I started Bobbing for Watermelons (women’s fiction) back in 2004. Miraculously, (and I say miraculous because holy crap, did it need help) it became a finalist in 2008 for the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer’s Colorado Gold Contest. I thought I was golden . . . (see what I did there? I love puns) . . . I figured agents would be clamoring to represent me, but alas, after a round or two of unsuccessful querying, I stumbled into the research for Folsom’s 93. Bobbing got shelved. This retreat turned out to be the perfect time to revitalize the manuscript. I’m certainly not the same person I was ten years ago, let alone the same writer (thank goodness). Here’s what I learned from revising the first 34,000 words (over a third) of the manuscript:

1.) With age, comes new perspectives and insight (ideally), which you can apply to your writing. For instance, my main character is a 41-year-old mother of teenagers. At the time I started the book, I was 27 with a 6-year-old. I feel like now I can relate to my character in ways I couldn’t before, plus, I can add /delete/revise scenes, dialogue exchanges, and subplots based on these new perspectives and insights.

2.) Rookie mistakes are just part of the writing game . . . and man, did I make them. I sent this to agents?! What was I thinking? But hell, aren’t you glad you can catch these mistakes and correct them easily? I can’t tell you how many times my character “nodded her head,” and “shrugged her shoulders.” My critique group calls these “outrages.” So, for you rookies out there, lose “her head” and drop “her shoulders.”

3.) I was able to spot issues much easier than before. Stepping away from a writing project, whether it be 10 days, or 10 years, can give you the time you need in order to see major issues, such as bland characters, wonky pacing or stilted dialog. I zeroed in on major mistakes that my eyes glazed over before because I was just too close to the project.

4.) My humor was pretty bad. (Not that it’s much better now) but it was really lame 10 years ago. I promise, my jokes are new and improved in this revised version.

All in all, the retreat couldn’t have gone better. In addition to getting in some quality writing time, we got up close and personal with some Estes Park residents:
ElkGot to experience the first snow of the season:
First snow, Estes 2014And I also learned that  Sarah Reichert is not only a very talented author, but a skillful mashed potato volcano builder as well.
Mashed Potato VolcanoI challenge you to unearth an old manuscript, breathe new life into it—perform CPR if necessary—and see what happens. You might surprise yourself.