Monday, January 21, 2013

Revision & Self-Editing, Part I

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic /

I've spent a lot of time lately editing (seems like forever), so I thought it would be a good time to share some thoughts and links on the revision/editing process. Today's post will cover a few handy links for editing, as well as links to three online editing tools.

Proofreading and Editing Tips

Eight Simple Tips for Editing Your Own Work

Ten Editing Tips, for Your Fiction Mss.

Unleashing the Internal Editor: A Self-Editing Checklist

Red Pencil Round-Up: Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

Self-Editing Tips

Self-Editing: Back to Basics, Part I – Guest Post by Karin Cox

There are also handy editing wizards that flag passive voice sections in your writing and check other writing issues like overused words, adverbs, pacing, cliches, etc.:

AutoCrit Editing Wizard


Pro Writing Aid

This topic will be continued the 3rd Monday of next month, when I'll discuss some of my favorite self-editing books and offer some of my own editing tips.

Don't forget to visit next Monday for the latest "What's New in Horror/Fantasy/Sci-Fi" post!

Monday, January 14, 2013

January "After Hours"

Image courtesy of Karen Shaw /

Here are a few unusual meme questions for this month's "After Hours" post.

1) Would you have one of your fingers surgically removed if it guaranteed immunity from all major diseases?

Now that would make a great story. Yes, I think I would, depending on what diseases it provided immunity for. I'm not crazy about any kind of surgery or medical procedure, but if something like cutting off my finger would insure I never got cancer, then yeah, I'd do it. I could use dictation software to write my stories and have a long healthy life as a writer. But if it just gave immunity to things like the flu, then no (I don't even get flu shots).

2) Which is creepier to see in your kitchen: a mouse or a cockroach?

A cockroach. I hate bugs, which is probably why bugs (in one form or another) are the "monsters" in a lot of my stories. I don't mind mice, though I'm not thrilled about the idea of one running loose in my house contaminating everything it touches. Fortunately, we have cats, so in the seventeen years I've lived in my house, we've only ever had two mice brave enough to try and come inside (and for some reason, maybe because of the cold winters and all the grain that's farmed in this area, mice are a real problem in a lot of households). If I ever found a cockroach, though, I'd probably move.

3) Would you generally be overdressed or underdressed at a party?

Underdressed. My wardrobe staples are t-shirts, hoodies, and jeans, and the most common color in my closet is camouflage.

4) What's the most uncomfortable outfit you’ve ever worn?
Believe it or not, I was once a Realtor and had to wear power suits on a regular basis. I was also one of the youngest Realtors working at the time (if not the youngest), so I was expected to be a bit more trendy and fashion-forward than the older Realtors. It was a nightmare and I'll never do it again.

5) Aliens have arrived and you're giving them a tour in the midst of winter. Describe ice to them.
If they arrived here, they wouldn't need me to describe it. We had freezing rain Thursday night and Friday morning, and a blizzard Friday night. All the roads are covered in ice so smooth and shiny that Hockey Rinkmasters are jealous. What makes it worse is that the city I live in IS NOT adept at maintaining the roads, in spite of the fact that this is not an unusual occurrence in this area. They still hadn't sanded or salted the roads when I picked up my daughter from work at nine p.m. Saturday night (a full 24 hours after the bad weather ended). As you can tell, it's one of my pet peeves about living here--not the bad weather, though that sucks, but having to spend the next three days AFTER bad weather creeping through the city at 25 mph, hoping you don't get into an accident, when a little effort from the city could make it safer.

6) Are you a light sleeper or a heavy sleeper?

I'm a heavy sleeper. If the zombie apocalypse starts in the middle of the night, I'm in real trouble. I'm also one of those "sleep anywhere, anytime" people. I've fallen asleep sitting up, I fall asleep on the piles of rocks lining the shore of our fishing area, and I can't go on a road trip and stay awake (which is why hubby has to do all the driving).

Monday, January 7, 2013

January 2013 Update

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

In my December update, I talked about doing a DecWriMo and continuing on with my unfinished NaNo novel . . . Yeah. That didn't happen. Color you shocked, right?

Once again, I procrastinated and putzed around, and the next thing I knew, I was knee-deep in short stories again.

Someday, I'm going to write, polish, and submit a novel . . . but today is not someday.

It is, however, a new year. And I have drawn up this year's list of resolutions: things I'd like to accomplish this year but probably won't, LOL.

#1) Write and finish at least six new short stories.

#2) Get better at social media; my focus is Blog/Twitter/Facebook. This is a goal that's been on my list every year since I started on social media, and though I've definitely improved at it, there's still more room for improvement.

#3) Self-publish. I’m old-school, so I want to do most of my publishing via traditional methods. However, I have a few reprints that I’d like to self-publish since it’s so terribly hard to find markets for reprints. Plus, I’d just like to take the whole “indie author experience” for a test drive and see how it works. However, I’m a bit intimidated by all the work it takes to “go indie.” (create your own cover, do your own marketing and promotion, etc.).

#4) Read 24 books. Yes, this is a decrease from prior-year goals, but given that I’ve got so much other work planned, I think it’s better to err to the side of caution. I currently have 500+ books in my kindle library, so I should be done reading them all in 20 years or so.

#5) A novel--any novel, for the love of god--done. I have plenty of choices here, so I should be able to accomplish it. If not my Macha novel (which is done, but I just keep rewriting it instead of polishing it), then either my Cryptozoologist novel (which is in the "completed first draft" stage) or this year's NaNo novel (which isn't even a completed first draft yet). Given my track record, I'm not going to set the bar too high on this one. Macha or the Crypto novel needs to be ready to submit, or I need to end the year with a finished first draft of my NaNo novel. One of those needs to happen!

Of course, the first week of January has already come and gone, and I haven't made any progress toward any of the items on the list, LOL. I'm in the process of finishing and revising a few orphan stories (stories I wrote that were set aside and forgotten) and finishing the first draft of a story I started back in October and abandoned during NaNo and deer season.

I'm shooting for having the new story ("From Little Acorns Grow . . .") done by the end of the month. And then I can start working on the resolutions list.

Happy New Year, and may we all do better with our resolutions this year!