Advice, Dialogue, Editing, Fiction, Novel, Scene, Tips, Writing

Practice makes perfect!

This photo has nothing to do with today’s post topic. I just wanted to share an amazing photo of two of the loves of my life.


You’ve all been dying to know how my novel editing is going, right? (Aw, come on, pretend.)

Surely, you’re not tired of the subject; My Topics shows I’ve only written 37 blog posts about editing. But then, this is a blog about writing and editing is a major part of that. That’s why I do it again and again and …

I’m still working my way through recording the chapters and editing from the playback. I’m not editing only for rhythm in my writing this time. I’m also keeping these questions in mind:

  • Did I make the setting clear?
  • Can I make actions clearer?
  • Am I showing emotion by action as well as—or more than—by dialogue?

Fortunately, my answers to these questions haven’t resulted in too many changes … so far. My final step will be to check what I’ve not given a lot of thought to while I was writing. I think I have a fair instinct for paragraphing, but scene and chapter breaks I’m a little iffy on, so I’ll ask myself these questions:

  • Does every scene (and chapter) have a purpose and is that purpose achieved?
  • Does each scene (and chapter) start and end at the proper points?

I know several of you are also in the midst of editing. How’s it going?

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Characters, Editing, Fiction, My Books, Novel, Poetry, Reflections, Writing

Since you’re all busy anyway …

What with Thanksgiving for most of you and NaNoWriMo for some, I figure not many of you will read this anyway, so I’ll indulge in a post of little consequence.

My exotic man, circa 1983?

While cleaning a cupboard for NaHoCleMo, I found a box of old Polaroid photos that I had set aside to scan to disk. In my writing, you may find a handsome Persian, Greek, or—considering my last post—possibly a Moroccan. I’ve been attracted to that type all my life. (My second grade “boyfriend” was Greek.) So, it was no surprise that I ended up with the man in this photo.

I don’t use Facebook professionally, it’s just for friends and family, and it helps me keep in touch with those who live elsewhere. But I must be the only one in my circle of the world not playing Farmville, or Fishville, or whatever those games are, and I was overwhelmed trying to sort through the announcements of new ugly ducklings and clown fish to find status updates. I admit, I never took the time to learn the ins and outs of Facebook, so this is probably something you all have known for ages, but I finally learned that I can hide all those game announcements. Yay! Now, I can just read the good stuff.

The last two days have been good writing days. I wrote a new opening paragraph for Brevity, and edited some wording in the next few, which is just enough change to set the proper tone. So now, I can drop the idea of making my current first chapter the second and writing a whole new first chapter. I think that may be, at least in part, what my Sean Penn dream was about. I also wrote a terrific new opening line for my wip, as well as the kinda okay poem below. (Which has nothing to do with the wonderful man pictured above.)

If you are reading this during the Thanksgiving holiday, I hope you have a wonderful one.


Truth Revealed

Between us,
I don’t like
your new receptionist.

You slide your eyes away.
You clear your throat.
You say nothing.

And then I know,
it’s over
between us.


Fiction, Novel, Writing

It’s always great at the beginning!

I’ve started a new novel. Ta da! Beginnings are always fun … and exciting. You just know it’s going to be the best thing you’ve ever written. In fact, it’s going to be brilliant. You’ll have a perfect blend of plot and sub-plot; your characters will be so real you wouldn’t be surprised to meet them on the street; the beginning will captivate, the middle will amaze, and the ending will linger in the reader’s heart and mind. Your book will do nothing less than astound the publishing industry!

But seriously, folks …

snoopy-typingThe idea for this book is one I’ve had for years. At the time I made preliminary notes, I imagined it as a short story, but now it seems better suited to a novel. We’ll see. If I get to 10,000 words and the story runs out, then hey, I’ve written a short story.

It’s not the book I thought I would write next. I had planned to rewrite my first novel sans the horror/paranormal element. But maybe the horror genre is about to blaze hot again and I’ll have a novel (with some editing) already good to go.

In any case, I’m writing. And this time, I’m trying not to edit too much while I write … I said trying. I know I have topics to research, and I may not be starting at the right point, and to be honest, I don’t even know what viewpoint I’m writing in—is it simple third or omniscient? I’ll figure it out soon, but for now I’m having fun.

Oh, and somebody smack me, if I start worrying about how I’ll categorize this novel!

Advice, Editing, Fiction, My Books, Novel, Revision, Tips, Writing

Adventures in Editland!

redpenmark I’ve been held captive in a foreign land. Editland, it’s called. It’s a paper kingdom, ruled by Pencil the Red. Blog access is severely restricted, Facebook is but a shadow, and there’s barely a peep from Twitter. Too long a stay there could take the shine off the apple of your eye.

Today, I thought I’d share some things that came to light while editing my novel. They may or may not apply to your work.

  • Character slip: I have three main characters, two are poetic and one is streetwise. As I read, one poetic description of the houses along the shore jumped out at me. Why? The scene is supposed to be in the POV of my streetwise character and she would never use such a description.
  • Overused words: I‘m doing well in culling superfluous “that”s, and in an earlier post, I noted that I’m aware I use far too many “buts.” However, I was shocked to find I’ve used the word “stood” a ghastly number of times in my manuscript. Crutch words are not always the usual suspects.
  • Yadda, yadda, yadda: A few places, I summarized, when I should have detailed. One particular scene described a party. I elaborated a bit, but I was anxious to get to aftermath of this party … the chocolate scene. I think the aftermath now has more impact, for two reasons: the reader will sympathize more with Jalal and the reader will get another indication of Meredith’s tendency to avoid confronting the unpleasant.
    I’m continuing to fine tune, so if you have tips for things to watch for, share them in the comments section.

    Next step: working on that dreaded query letter!

    Critique, Doubt, Editing, Fiction, My Books, Novel, Publish, Read, Writing

    What if I have an ugly baby and don’t know it?

    How can you edit a book you love? My critique partners will attest to my ability to be a nitpicky line editor, so I have no problem doing the same with my own writing. What I’m having a problem with is looking at the plot objectively.

    My novel?
    My novel?

    I wrote this story. I like this story. Correction: I love this story. But do I love this story like a mother loves her child—no matter what? Or am I right to love this story? Does it deserve my love?

    If I had written the story just for myself, I wouldn’t even question this. My goal, however, is to see this novel published, therefore I don’t have the luxury of not questioning.

    That brings me to another question.

    I plan to ask both writers and non-writers to beta-read this novel. What if those who are just readers like the plot, but the writers find problems with it? Or vice versa? Whose opinion should I value more?

    Bah! I’m just borrowing trouble, now!