As ash falls out of the sky, I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop struggling to write my blog.
The sky is spooky, haunted and surreal as leaves shimmer gold against a smoke blanket. Ash coats sidewalks in small, blowing piles of destruction, and pieces of pinecones curl like oversized eyelashes.
It’s nine days before Halloween, and I feel anything but eidolic, only thinking about fun and candy.
Like everyone else, I’m trying to sort through the tragedies of 2020, how they all seem to focus on breath. …
Editing a novel or a manuscript can’t happen in one round — at least most of the time.
Like with writing, editing is done in layers and it takes time.
Editing can be done in different passes (think of rounds of beer) to identify the missing, the overdone and the boring.
The missing can be missing plot points, missing character identities or a lack of necessary scene description to anchor the character and action.
The overdone can occur through repetition and overwriting, such as creating similar scenes or putting in too much description or detail. …
Editing for editors on occasion can be torture — not when it’s someone else’s work but when it’s your own.
Why? The work seems ready when it’s written and edited a few times, but really it isn’t. What it may need is content and developmental editing in the case of fiction, or editing for major elements like pacing and tension, character and plot arcs, and setting, atmosphere, world building, dialog and repetition in scenic elements and description.
Or if it’s nonfiction or an article, the content may not be well organized, go off topic or lack transitions.
I’m editing a…
I figured that with the slowdown resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, I would become super efficient at my To-Do list.
I figured more time meant more tasks done.
What’s actually happening is that I’m sleeping in and taking more breaks during the day. I’m stressed and anxious about the news, what’s next and what all this means at a personal and global level.
In other words, I’m not accomplishing all of my goals. I want to traditionally publish one book. I want to self-publish two others. I want to regain my freelancing work. I want to be safe and happy.
I started reading an article about a topic where I had the opposite opinion of the writer, and after slogging through the first paragraph, I figured I’d get the message in the second paragraph.
Quite frankly, I wanted to learn something and maybe even change my opinion or alter it in some way, since I try to be open-minded.
Stopping in the Middle
I skimmed to the halfway point, then stopped reading, because the writer never got to the point. I’m busy, even stuck indoors during the stay-at-home executive order for the state of Colorado (and other states). …
Good writing only can go so far if there are errors in it — reading it is more difficult, and it’s hard to get the message if attention gets caught on a misplaced comma or a wrong word choice.
That’s where the chore of editing comes in, though it takes time, precision and repetition.
Editing is best done on multiple levels and in several rounds to be the most effective. That’s because not every error can be caught in a single pass, since there are several things to pay attention to all at once.
What Editing Involves
Editing involves a…
Does blogging lead to anything or is it like holding up a one-inch sign trying to get noticed among the much bigger, flashier signs?
Blogs, just like self-published books, have become the modern business card for business owners, writers and entrepreneurs who want to get their ideas and written content to readers, customers and clients.
For those who see writing as a chore or a time sucker, is starting or continuing a blog such a good idea? Are blogs necessary to promote your writing, your project, your newest product or your business? …
Do you like To Do lists? I find them to be necessary, but there’s another type of list that I adore — top 5, 7 or 10 lists.
Top lists are great to post on the fridge or keep in a special file, acting as motivation and inspiration triggers, while chore lists are reminders of what still needs to be done.
My top 7 list is gathered from my notes about writing advice and tidbits collected from magazine articles and books, writing conferences and workshops, and my own personal experiences. The list is a useful resource for those times when…
New Year’s Eve is sparkly, bubbly, colorful and fun — and then there’s the countdown.
For me, Jan. 1 is both a letdown and an exciting time. First, the holidays are over, presents are unwrapped, and it seems like a long time to Valentine’s Day (and lots of candy) and even longer to spring.
January is my least favorite month (short days, too much snow) until I remember it’s the month for … Resolutions! I love goal setting because of the whole self-improvement thing, but it’s also a way to accomplish something and to have an excuse for self-reward.
Christmas can be a season of joy or not so much depending on your personal story and outlook on holidays in general.
First off, there’s the over-commercialization and the religious aspects. There also can be stress, anxiety and fatigue from a change in routine. I think of it as another month of the year with lots of red and green, repetitive (and beautiful) Christmas music, and a time to practice contentedness.
The Joy Bubble
That contentedness comes from acceptance and a bubble — I accept what is, I try for what I want, and I have a bubble around me…
Shelley Widhalm of Shell’s Ink Services provides writing and editing services. She writes novels, short stories and poems and is published in anthologies.