Saturday, April 29, 2017

Editing Tricks

Sisters in Crime recently started a Yahoo! Group for self-published authors. Topic headers allow members to search on any issue. Recently there’s been a number of suggestions on editing – how to, whether to hire an editor, etc. Some suggestions are: Change font, use one color pen (red), read from bottom to top; read back to front; don’t proof on computer screen; print on colored paper; read aloud (must); and draft up reading group questions.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks utilizing the Find feature in Word. I searched for glue words, which are unnecessary words that slow the reader down. My glue words are: Since, although, had, some, and want. During this process I also found extraneous words, sentences and even paragraphs to be deleted. By the end I had deleted almost 4,000 words!

The next step in the editing process is looking for long sentences. You know, the ones often connected by “and.” Those can be double checked by utilizing Find for the word “and.”

The last step in my editing process before I send the manuscript to my beta readers is to check chapter numbers. During writing I have added/subtracted and moved chapters around. I need to make sure the numbers are consecutive.

The devil is in the details!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Fatal Dose – The Next Caitlyn Jamison Mystery

I announced during the Island Branch Library presentation in February the title of my second Caitlyn Jamison mystery is Fatal Dose. I had a different working title, but as the story progressed and the characters did their usual thing and changed the story, Fatal Dose was more appropriate.

There is a lot going on in this book and my challenge is to see if I can manage several plot lines, one of which has a genealogy twist. It’s fun to watch how the new secondary characters took over the story line, vying for prime time against the main characters. I remain humbled by the fact that I am only the author; the characters are in control.

Having said that, I think they have done a good job with the story. I applaud my new characters, Steven Sullivan and Verna Adams, who took the story into areas I hoped to avoid. Pushed beyond my comfort level, my writing has grown.

Thank you, Steven and Verna!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

My Writing Space

My writing space with room to spare

It’s important to have your own writing space. It should be a comfortable space where the muse can stir your creative juices. Although I share my home office with hubby, he’s a quiet office mate as he works on researching and writing his genealogy monographs.

When we returned from Florida, I realized I needed a redo of my writing space. The first step was to clear everything off my desk and clean the wood with mineral oil. Because I wanted more space in order to accommodate reference materials, notebooks and other materials, I decluttered and then repositioned my computer and printer. I moved my printer to the front of the file cabinet and placed the reference books behind where they are still close at hand, but not taking up valuable desk real estate. I now have the workspace I need.

The books I have within easy reach are a Merriam-Webster dictionary, The Chicago Manual of Style, Evidence Explained (Elizabeth Shown Mills), Writing with Quiet Hands (Paula Munier), and You Can Write a Mystery (Gillian Roberts). Of course I have a full bookshelf behind me that has a number of writing aids and research materials like The Wine Bible, used while writing An Unexpected Death. I tend to use the Internet as my thesaurus, though I also have a copy on my bookshelf.

I’m consistent when looking up definitions, antonyms and synonyms. I stay with one source, and that is the Merriam-Webster. It doesn’t matter which reliable source is used, I just think it is important to stick with one.

And so with lots of natural light, soft music and a sign that says, “Create” I have my perfect writing space. I would love to hear how other writers have created their writing space.