May 11, 2015 by Suzi
I haven’t been blogging much lately because I’ve been busier than usual. Mostly because I’ve started something new. Something I love.
The amazing Kelley Lynn and Cassie Mae invited me to be a part of Cookie Lynn Publishing Services. I love editing, getting to read spectacular books and help that author make them better. So how lucky am I to get paid?
The answer: very lucky.
Go here to see Cookie Lynn Publishing Services
Kelley is doing developmental editing, and I can assure you how much of a help she is. She’s worked with me on several stories, always pointing out things to make them stronger. Whether it’s plot or character development or any related story issues, she’ll help make sure your story is on the right track. And Cassie is doing the formatting, getting your story ready so it looks pretty when you put on Amazon.
And I’m doing line editing and copy editing.
Line editing is a little more extensive. I look at style issues such as word choice (misused or overused words), smoothing out awkward sentences, finding excessive passive sentences, and improving clarity and flow. I’ll also look at those pesky punctuation and grammar issues.
A copy edit is more basic and covers the punctuation, grammar and typo issues.
If you’re in need of any editing services, or query critiques, please check out our site. Kelley and I offer a sample edit if you’d like to see what we do before you chose us to edit your story.
So that’s what I’ve been doing. As I said above, I’m lucky to have found something that I love and get paid for it.
Do you love what you do?
Category Editing | Tags: About Me,Books,Editing,Writers,Writing | 5 Comments
March 16, 2015 by Suzi
I’ve got something kinda cool to share. The very first story I ever beta read is coming out in about a month. In early winter 2011, I hooked up with Stacy Stokes through AgentQueryConnect.com when we were both looking for beta readers. I’m not sure how many she’d critiqued before, but it was my very first time. Kinda scary and all that. What did I know about critiquing? Would she think it was too much… too little? Critiquing with someone new for the first time really gets your nerves going.
In December we exchanged stories and I think it went okay. She still talks to me, at least. But that was the start of something new for me. I’ve learned so much from critiquing other people’s stories, and I’ve become a better writer, but I’ve also come to realize how much I enjoy critiquing and editing.
Back then I was trying to connect with writers and I didn’t know anybody who was published. (Now I know lots. ) It was so cool to think then, and even now today, that I had a part in the journey of a story I was reading. That it could someday be published. And now for Stacy, that is happening soon.
So for those who have not heard of it, Where the Staircase Ends by Stacy A. Stokes will be released next month and is now available for pre-order. Check it out here on Goodreads.
Congratulations, Stacy. I can’t wait to read the final version (which she’s said has much changed).
What about anybody else. What was the first book you ever critiqued and was it published?
Where the Staircase Ends by Stacy A. Stokes
After her best friend orchestrates the lie that destroys her reputation, Taylor wants more than anything to disappear from her life. But when an accident turns this unspoke wish into reality, instead of an angel-filled afterlife, Taylor must climb a seemingly endless staircase into the sky. Instead of going up, the journey plunges her into the past. As she unravels the mystery behind her friend’s betrayal, she must face the truth about life and find the strength to forgive the unforgivable — unless the staircase breaks her first.
Category Writing | Tags: About Me,Books,Critique,Editing,Writers,Writing | 5 Comments
August 11, 2014 by Suzi
I’m actually excited about editing again.
But back up first. My summer plan was to get my ms almost ready for querying, but I lost my motivation and haven’t done too much. I had several critiques from my betas/friends and I needed to make those fixes they suggested.
Luckily there wasn’t big structural things, but more character issues to fix. Which is mostly adding to develop characters or cleaning things up. So I was glad about that.
Still, there was a lot of stuff to fix. Which is why I lost my motivation.
But now I got it back.
I was reading a series of blog posts about tightening your writing. Words to cut. Most of those word are in my big edit list, but I found a few new ones to add.
And now I’m ready to get back into it. I need to fill in a few things, maybe make some cuts, and then I’ll be ready to start those little things. Cutting filler words. Replacing words like walk with more descriptive ones. Stuff like that.
Maybe I’m a little behind schedule, but at least I’m back on track.
And that feels good.
Category Editing | Tags: Editing,Varying Degrees of Blame,Writing | 4 Comments
January 12, 2014 by Suzi
So a while back I wrote a pretend letter to my future (and current) CPs about how wonderful a CP I am. Okay, it wasn’t really that, but it was about how I do things… kinda. And it’s funny. Really. Go read it if you want.
But now a year later, I’ve realized something else.
I am much harder on my CPs than I am on published authors. And sometimes I feel bad about that. I can get picky about things when critiquing. Little things. Things that are subjective. Not typos and grammar.
And sometimes I’ll debate, should I write this, especially when it’s so subjective? Usually I do, but I tend to put my disclaimer on there. The I’m not an expert, but…. Or the I’m not really sure, but here are my instincts about this. Or the I don’t remember a reference to this, but I could’ve missed it comment. Just to name a few.
So here’s some examples of what I mean by being harder on my CPs.
1. With a dual POV story. Sometimes I’ll run into a phrase that both characters are using. It’s not exactly an unusual phrase or anything, but it’s something that could be said different ways. (I hope that made sense.)
I know that friends often use similar words and phrases because they’re around each other a lot, but my opinion on that for writing is different. You want to make sure that their voices are not too close to each other.
So was using that phrase wrong? No. Not at all. But my subjective opinion says, don’t do this.
Now when it comes to reading books, either Kindle or real book, do I pay attention to that?
Of course, I have to like the voice to read a book, but honestly, I don’t pay close attention to dual POV voices and see if they’re too similar.
2. Sometimes I’ll see a vague detail mentioned about a supporting character. And then it’s referred a second time, but it’s not fully explained. But since I’m seeing it referenced that 2nd time, my mind starts to wander. Is this important? Why aren’t we hearing more about it? Will something happen at the end that relates to this tidbit of information or is it just a small detail slipped in twice?
So I’ll probably say, “What’s up with this? Why are you holding back? Is this important because you’ve mentioned it twice, and I really want more info here.”
There was nothing wrong with what they did, but my mind is wandering off into directions that might not be important.
But again, would I do that with a novel I read on my Kindle?
No. I’d gloss over it and keep going. So really, I’m being harder on my CPs than I am on published authors and their books. And I kinda feel guilty, bad for my CPs cause there might be a lot of comments in their critique–many of which are just my opinion about the matter.
I have a theory to why this happens.
1. When I’m critiquing, I’m reading it slowly. I’m thinking more about the what and why. When I’m reading for fun, I’m reading quickly. I’m not analyzing characters and things on each page. I’m just reading to enjoy a story.
2. When I’m critiquing, I’m reading on a computer. Which makes things stand out more. When I’m reading for fun, it’s in a book or on the Kindle—once again making it easier to read quickly and sometimes skim.
I have a feeling that if I could take those published books and put them in Word and then go through and critique them, I bet I’d find a lot of things to mark too. It’d actually be fun to do, but I don’t know any way to do that.
So anyways, to the amazing CPs whose stories I get to read, I hope you don’t mind me being so nitpicky. The way I look at it is, I’d rather say my comment, even if it’s totally subjective, than not say it at all. Cause what if it was a mistake on your part?
Well then you’d be eternally grateful for my help. And really, who doesn’t want that?
Are you harder on your CPs than the authors of books you read for fun?
Category Editing | Tags: About Me,Critique,Editing,Writers | 7 Comments
July 14, 2013 by Suzi
Are you one of those people who is overwhelmed with self-publishing? Right now I’m committed to trying to find a literary agent and one reason is that I don’t want go through the whole learning curve for self-publishing. The other is that 100% of the marketing is up to you.
If you want to jump self-publishing but are scared to take that first step in, my friend Jade just started a new business, Black Firefly, that you should check out.
It looks really cool because they can help you with whatever you need: editing, cover design, marketing: all those steps that come after you’ve finished writing your story.
I’m really excited to see her new venture because this is something that so many people could use. And… she’s offering a terrific giveaway, so go check out her site and see if it’s something you might be interested in.
Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook | Goodreads
Category Getting Published | Tags: Books,Editing,Giveaway,Writing | 4 Comments
June 30, 2013 by Suzi
So I have this little thing I do, and I’ve often wondered if it’s just me, but before I get to it, I’d better give the background.
(FYI: If you’re a speech therapist, please read this and tell me if you have any insight into this odd problem.)
Back when my son was little, I read him this book over and over—as usually happens with children. Thomas and the Big Big Bridge. One time I was reading the story to him, I realized there’s this line where I transposed one word. I didn’t skip it, but I moved it to another place in the sentence.
The next time I’m reading, I noticed I did the same thing again. And it happens again and again. Almost every time I read that sentence, I automatically moved that word.
Since I was reading aloud a lot, I noticed I did this in other books too. It’s like I move a word to another spot, where obviously it sounds/flows better. While I’m reading, I’m completely conscious of the fact I move words, but I’m not moving them on purpose. It just comes out of my mouth that way. (This might happen once per book on average.)
What is wrong with my brain? Is this why I hated reading aloud in high school? Do I have some weird dyslexic-type thing where people do this? Am I the only one?
Now I know I’m not really dyslexic cause I’ve always been a good reader/writer, and I loved English classes and generally did well in school.
And now that I’ve become a writer and have found I love critiquing, I’m starting to wonder if my brain is so smart and advanced that it’s automatically editing the text before it passes them along to my mouth. I mean, that makes perfect sense, right?
No, but seriously, it’s the weirdest thing, and I have no clue why it happens? Do you ever do this?
Category Reading | Tags: About Me,Editing,Kids,Reading | 8 Comments
June 23, 2013 by Suzi
I was wrong. It happens sometimes. Well actually, it happens a lot in my writing, but luckily I’m discovering how to right those wrongs. I’m learning.
One of the things we’re supposed to do in writing is to vary sentence length. I thought I was doing so, but I was wrong. I’ve gotten several comments from agents and others about my short, choppy sentences, much to my surprise, so I decided to take a look.
First, I looked to two authors/books I really admire. Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols and JH Trumble’s Don’t Let Me Go. I did my super scientific analysis of multiple pages, by counting the number of sentences that were approximately one line in length and the sentences that were less than ½ a line in length. Then I counted several pages in The Proper Way to Say Goodbye.
Imagine my surprise ( 😉 ) when I found that, huh—I had way more short sentences than them.
1 line sentences per page: Range of 6 to 12, with average of 8.
½ line sentences per page: Range of 2 to 6, with average of 3.
Approximately 1/3 of the lines being ‘short.’
1 line sentences per page: Range of 7 to 17, with average of 12.
½ line sentences per page: Range of 4 to 11, with average of 8.
Approximately 2/3 of the lines being ‘short.’
My next analysis was made by Word and their neat feature which counts average words per sentence. According to many sources on the web, here are the general guidelines.
Average words per sentence
< 14 is too many short sentences
14 to 22 is where you want to be
> 22 is getting too wordy
Guess, where I came in? Bet you won’t.
Eight. Yes, 8. And < 14 is supposedly too short. Now, I understand some of that is dialogue, which I consider different than narrative, but even so, it's too short.
Varying sentence length is important because when too many sentences are short, the writing might be choppy and ideas may be hard to follow. Too many long sentences might mean there's too much detail, also making it hard to follow.
So I guess I'm going to be doing some revisions.
How about you, have you ever analyzed your sentence lengths?
Image courtesy of ningmilo FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Category Writing | Tags: Editing,The Proper Way,Writing | 8 Comments
June 7, 2013 by Suzi
As writers we are supposed to tighten our prose. There are so many unnecessary words out there that plague my stories; I end up spending more time editing than writing. Way more. But we also need to develop that elusive voice and make sure it’s not blah/boring–which can happen if you just go in and automatically cut all these words. Finding that balance is tough, but I’ll keep working on it, keep learning, and hopefully you’ll learn something new too.
Here is one word that doesn’t usually show up on the words-to-avoid lists, except mine.
I went through The Proper Way to Say Goodbye to look for unnecessary usage of TIME, and surprisingly, I found quite a few. Sometimes the word was repeated too often within a few paragraphs, other times I replaced it with cleaner words. Here are my examples.
-We didn’t hang out all the time.
I changed ‘all the time’ to ‘a lot.’ Not a huge change, but I’d repeated ‘all the time’ 3 times in 8 paragraphs during that scene.
-She listened intently, smiling a few times at the mistakes I corrected.
A few times is unnecessary.
-The others cleared their throats and fidgeted until it was time to leave.
I changed ‘it was time to’ to ‘they could leave’. Much cleaner.
-He sang that dumb song all the time when we were younger.
I changed ‘all the time’ to ‘a lot’.
-Didn’t have time to take my medicine.
Changed ‘Didn’t have time’ to ‘Forgot’, because in this sentence the slight difference doesn’t matter.
I got rid of about 60 TIMEs, which is quite a few. Do you unnecessarily use TIME in your manuscripts?
Category Sloppy Writing | Tags: Editing,Sloppy Writing,The Proper Way | 4 Comments
May 24, 2013 by Suzi
As writers we are supposed to tighten our prose. At the same time, we need to develop that elusive voice and make sure it’s not blah/boring. Finding that balance is tough. The point of doing these posts is to show the ways I’m trying to clean up my writing. There are so many unnecessary words out there that plague my stories; I end up spending more time editing than writing. Way more. So here are some of the things I look for.
FINALLY is another adverb often used unnecessarily. Using it in dialogue is different, but I try cutting the ones in the narrative, unless it’s important. Here are some examples of FINALLYs I cut from The Proper Way to Say Goodbye.
-I told Murphy about when I finally confessed the truth to Brock
-The truth finally bubbled out, mixed in with apologies for not being honest.
-I told Sasha I finally wrote it.
-Because I finally admitted to myself I was a lesbian.
None of these FINALLYs are necessary, and I cut out a little more clutter. Do you use FINALLY a lot?
Category Sloppy Writing | Tags: Editing,Sloppy Writing,The Proper Way | 3 Comments
May 10, 2013 by Suzi
I haven’t done any sloppy writing posts for a while, but trust me, I still have lots of issues to fix. The point of doing these posts is to point out ways I’m trying to clean up my writing. There are so many unnecessary words out there that plague my stories, I end up spending more time editing than writing. Way more.
As writers, we are supposed to tighten our prose, but we also need to develop that elusive voice. We want to get rid of all those unnecessary words, but we don’t want our voice to be blah/boring.
Finding that balance is tough, but I’ll keep working on it, keep learning, and hopefully you’ll learn something new too.
Two (often) unnecessary words I use are outside and inside. They can easily be cut without changing the meaning. And really, most of those times, it’s just redundant saying outside/inside. You’ll see what I mean in my examples below, all from The Proper Way to Say Goodbye.
-Her empty voice matched the way I often felt inside.
-I clenched my fists trying to control the anger inside.
-Nervous couldn’t begin to describe my feelings inside.
Apparently I mostly overuse inside when it comes to feelings. And really, does anyone have feelings outside their body? No.
-The cool air outside was a welcome relief.
I didn’t have as big a problem with outside, but this is one I could cut. You know from the prior sentences that she is outside, so I just don’t need it here.
Do you have an outside/inside problem?
Category Sloppy Writing | Tags: Editing,Sloppy Writing,The Proper Way | 3 Comments