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Archive for the ‘Editing’ Category

book club at tableAs I settle into my third year of snow-birding in Florida, I continue to work with my writing group back in Massachusetts by emailing chapters back and forth, soliciting comments and suggestions. Our system seems to work very well, and in fact, I think we’re more productive!

The comedic light bulb above my head blinked on that I shouldn’t sacrifice face to face critiquing sessions simply because I’m 1500 miles from home, and so I googled writing groups in Pinellas County. I was pleasantly surprised to learn several exist within a few miles of me:

Pinellas Writers, Largo … Saturday mornings

Gulf Beaches Library Writers Group, Madeira Beach … Monday mornings

Clearwater Writers Meet-up Group, Clearwater … Monday evenings

Now that I’m penning the 4th story in my mystery series, other pairs of eyes reading my words would ensure that this story can stand alone if a reader delves into the adventures of my amateur sleuth out of sequence.

And so, I need to choose one of these groups and make the commitment to close down my tablet, walk out my door, get into the SUV, and drive to a meeting!

 

 

 

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A_Woman_Reading_Papers_At_Her_DeskWhenever the members of our writers group are unavailable for a face-to-face meeting at alternating houses or libraries located between us, we have found that emailing our chapters for critique works very well.

Over the years, we’ve developed a system that provides suggestions to add, delete, or adjust wording.

Yellow Highlighted … suggests words or phrases that could be eliminated without losing the gist of the story.

Black Bolded … provides either alternate wording or phrasing for the yellow highlighted section or suggests additional words or phrases that will clarify the story.

Green Bolded … this indicates words or phrases that have been moved to another paragraph, scene, or chapter to re-sequence the timing for cause and effect.

RED BOLDED CAPS … questions to the author about the story.

If your writers group has developed a system of critiquing clues, I’d love to hear about it!

Writers groups are precious… treat them with care!

 

 

 

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BB&B front cover croppedSo excited to open my inbox yesterday and find an email from my editor/publisher Stephanie Blackman, owner of Riverhaven Books in Whitman, MA! As scheduled in our contract, yesterday was the due date for her to provide me with suggestions to fine-tune ‘Bed, Breakfast,  & Blackmail’.

So far, her suggestions have been small adjustments, with no major changes to plot, characters, or basic writing technique. My plan is to continue the review process through the weekend, and zip this file back to her bright and early on Monday morning.

After she finalizes the adjustments, she’ll request the galley copy which I will need to review with the proverbial fine-toothed comb before advising any final changes. Steph will then upload to Amazon and order printed copies from the local print shop on my behalf.

Looking forward to the day when I hold the actual book in my hands… nothing more satisfying for an author!

And then the marketing efforts begin!

 

 

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Wordcounter logoAs I approached the final edit of ‘Bed, Bath, & Blackmail’, I loaded my manuscript into a website called ‘Wordcounter.com’, a most useful tool.
This website came back with a list of my most-used words, along with their quantity. Imagine my surprise to see how often I used ‘when’, ‘about’, ‘back’, ‘down’, and ‘time’.
This tendency to use the same words over and over is a trap that writers groups won’t catch, because they see only a chapter or two at each meeting.
Most often, these redundant words … and the phrase that goes with them … can simply be eliminated. On occasion, another word brings more clarity to the context. My total word count for the story has been reduced by 3,000 words, resulting in a tighter story.
For the writers reading this post, I encourage you to give wordcounter.com a try. You’ll be amazed at the result!

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