Posted in A Stone's Throw, Authors, Books, Cloudy Rainbow

Editing for Everyone

creative-108545_1280 I’m on the last leg of my pre-edits for “A Stone’s Throw.” It’s been a long haul, somewhat frustrating but very educational and, hopefully, worth it. For those not familiar with the publishing process, pre-editing is when an author prepares a final copy of their manuscript before submitting it to an editor for further editing. Pre-editing is very important because it provides an opportunity for an author to take another look at their manuscript and make changes before official editing begins.

Although I self-published my first novel, “Cloudy Rainbow,” that I basically edited myself, I still found the process enlightening the second time around. Although I was happy with the plot and characters of “A Stone’s Throw,” I noticed many changes needed to be made. These changes weren’t only grammar, typo, or spelling corrections, most of which are caught by Microsoft Word’s spelling and grammar checker. There were places where the wrong character name was used, a character changed clothes unexpectedly from an earlier scene, a date or age was incorrect,  etc. In addition to checking these details, the overall content of the manuscript needed to be reviewed to make sure the writing flowed well, was descriptive enough, and that every scene made sense.

As I edited, my respect for my fellow authors grew. I think most of us find editing more difficult  and time consuming than writing. It’s the most important part of the job because while writing generates raw ideas, editing allows us to take those ideas and shape them into a form that’s most palatable to an audience. I also realized that editing is not restricted to writers. Don’t we all edit every day? We edit what we write be it in an email, text, or social media post. We edit what we say in conversations on the phone, our cells, and in person. This editing can be unconscious, or we can be very aware of it.

One thing that has helped me edit my novel is feedback. Knowing that most authors use beta readers to read and comment on their rough drafts, I asked fellow Limitless Publishing authors and a few friends if they were interested in being readers for “A Stone’s Throw.” Three people responded. I found a list of suggested questions for beta readers online and emailed it to my readers to use as guidelines for their feedback. I found all the suggestions quite helpful. I have to admit I was initially a little upset by some comments until I realized they were constructive criticism. I discovered some problem areas of my manuscript I would not have noticed on my own. After reading it so many times, I became blind to some of its weak spots. My beta readers didn’t only point out faults. They also told me what they liked about the book and in what areas my writing was strongest.

In everyday life, we don’t have beta readers to help us edit our written and spoken words. We are on our own with only our vocabulary, education, and common sense to guide us. To prevent our “putting our feet in our mouths,” pausing to self-edit our thoughts is a useful practice.

For authors, learning to edit effectively is gained through experience. Classes and workshops on this topic can also be helpful. As your writing skills need to be polished, so do your editing ones. Professional editors can do so much with your manuscript. You’re the author, and no one knows your baby, with all its faults and good qualities, better. With time and effort, you can edit your manuscript into the book your readers will want to read, and you’ll be proud you wrote.

 

 

Posted in Podcasts

Podcasting Plans

sound I’m amazed at the amount of options the Internet offers  authors today to promote their books. One area I never investigated was Podcasting, online audio recording. When I learned that a blogging and podcasting course was offered by Gale Courses, online classes that I had taken through my library, I decided to enroll in it.

I’ve been told by co-workers and friends that I have a good voice for audio and should consider recording my own books. I believed that Podcasting would be an opportunity to test my talent in this area.

My instructor, John Agress,  provided information on the equipment I would need to produce a podcast. Without buying additional software for my computer or a Mic (which I may purchase in the future), I was able to make a simple recording with an app (Voice Record Pro) I installed on my cell phone.  I had to admit the result sounded good, but the following lesson covered converting the sound file into an MP3 format and editing it in Audacity, another free program download. The editing phase allows extraneous sounds, long pauses, or other unwanted notice on the recording to be cut out and even permits copyright-free intro music and/or background music to be added to the podcast for further interest.

The class also discussed how interviews could be conducted through another app that recorded phone conversations or through Skype. I decided this method might be nice for my Podcasts and invited authors from Limitless Publishing, the publishers of my upcoming romantic suspense novel, “A Stone’s Throw,” and fellow members of the Cat Writer’s Association who might want to participate in author interviews. The response was overwhelming. I have a growing list of 22 volunteers. I had originally planned to post the podcast episodes of “Ruff Drafts” on a monthly basis to my blog. I may need to do it more often to accommodate all my guests.

The first two episodes of Ruff Drafts will include an introduction and some excerpts from my own writing. Look for them here soon. I hope you enjoy the broadcasts.

Posted in A Stone's Throw, Authors, Location

How to Travel Like a Writer

De Louise Family at Kykuit
De Louise Family on Vacation

I recently returned from a long weekend in Westchester with my family. The main purpose of our trip was to attend the New York Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo, New York. My ten-year old daughter was excited to attend this annual summer weekend event, and I thought she would also enjoy touring some of the mansions and historical sites in the Hudson Valley as well as LEGOLAND in Yonkers included in our hotel package.

Although I was only in the early stages of pre-editing my forthcoming novel, “A Stone’s Throw,” I decided to put it on hold along with my other writing as I took a break to spend time with my family on vacation. I didn’t realize that, as a writer, you really can’t take a break from writing. I found inspiration everywhere on our trip. I took a few notes, but mostly the ideas just filled my mind waiting to escape on paper or the computer screen for future projects.

Statue at Kykuit
Statue at Kykuit

Our first stop after arriving in Westchester was at Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow. We purchased tickets for a tour of Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate, that was accessible only by bus. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the views of the Hudson River were breathtaking. The estate grounds were filled with fountains, statues, and flowers. I took photos with my phone but also with my mind. The images became story ideas I hope to use one day.

blogtravelpic5 That evening, we drove some twisty roads to the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers where we viewed various types of art and attended a sky show in their planetarium. I found the information about the summer skies, constellations, and history of the planets added fodder for writing.

Human Chessboard Area at NY Renaissance Faire
Human Chessboard Area at NY Renaissance Faire

The following day, we left Westchester County and drove to the Renaissance Faire in Sterling Forest. We walked through the gates meeting costumed members of the royal court. The Tudor structures resembling olde England contained food stalls, shops, and activity areas. The road signs directed us to such quaint locations as the Gaming Glen, Mystic Waye, and Swan’s Landing. My daughter purchased a silver dragon statue and necklace at one stand, had her face painted as a dragon, and even got elf ears. After watching the human chess tournament, she picked up a wooden sword at another booth. We paddled around the lake in pedal boats and encountered a sea monster. The dungeon museum housed in a castle featured a history of torture exhibit appropriate for adults and older children. My husband enjoyed reading about and viewing the penalty for being a nagging wife. It was a fun family day and one that got me itching to write.

Washington Irving's Sunnyside
Washington Irving’s Sunnyside

The highlight of the trip for me was the tour of Sunnyside, author Washington Irving’s home in Tarrytown. We were lucky enough to end up with a private tour by a lady dressed in historical garb. She was full of details about Irving and his writing. As I walked through the small home and saw the rooms where Irving lived and composed many of his works, I could well imagine writing in that cozy setting by the river.

Legoland Statue of Liberty
LEGOLAND Statue of Liberty

LEGOLAND seemed geared toward younger children than my daughter, but the one room that included  Lego “sculptures” of the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan buildings, bridges, and ballparks was amazing. The 4D movie was short but cute.

Lyndhurst
Lyndhurst

Our last stop before heading home was to Lyndhurst, the previous home of Jay Guild, that is now part of the Historical Trust. The tour guide was an older gentleman who gave a great tour that included interaction with the tour members. Another mansion set near the Hudson River on acres of land, housed in a gothic castle-like structure, retained much historical detail and art. My mind, filled with historical trivia and ornate images, was ready to pen another article or story.

If you like to write, travel can open up many doors in your imagination. You don’t need to pack anything extra. You only need to concentrate and feel with all your senses the places you visit, the things you see, and the new facts you learn. By absorbing these details, you can create unique and vivid works. Even if you aren’t a writer, by traveling like one, you will enjoy the experience so much more.