Posts tagged: editing

Jan 09 2017

Writing Tips for January 9, 2017

From Facebook on January 3, 2017:

One way to make sure what you’ve written makes sense is to read it out loud. Sometimes our physical ears can pick up on something our “silent reading ears” miss.

Big words won’t make you sound smart if your audience doesn’t understand what they mean — you’ll just sound pretentious. Make sure you know who your audience is so that you don’t overestimate them — or underestimate them!

Singular “they” can be grammatically correct, but it may not be acceptable depending on where you’re writing for. Always check to see if there’s a style guide, and if need be you can ask your editor!

Do you have any tips and tricks you’d like to share? Let me know via the comments here! You’ll get credit when I share it with the world!

May 23 2016

May 2016 :: Personal Projects

I’m still working on How to be GLAD (my dystopian Pollyanna); finding time to write when you have a toddler is difficult! Hopefully I will finish that up soon so that I can get back to Tumbling, as I want to get this next rewrite finished as soon as possible.

I’m also currently working on an edit of my “musicians’ mob” short story, which is the first in a series that I think people will quite enjoy. It’s farcical and should be quite funny even if you aren’t a musician!

I have begun to get some of my music up on a site for sale. You can find the first piece here. I’ll also be updating my Music Page (linked in the sidebar) with links to the pieces I have for sale, and I intend to continue placing church music for free download on this page as well.

I’ll be doing an editing workshop in Saskatoon on June 4. If you’re interested in attending, please register using this Google Form.

Oct 14 2015

Writing Tips :: Avoiding Jeopardy Sentences

You know how on Jeopardy! (the game show) you get a statement and then you have to provide the question the statement answers? So you might get “By writing post-dated cheques and mailing them, and by setting up bill payments using online banking” as your statement, and the question is “How does Mary keep her accounts from going into arrears?”

A Jeopardy sentence would be “By writing post-dated cheques and mailing them, and by setting up bill payments using online banking is how Mary keeps her accounts from going into arrears.”

The problem with structuring your sentences this way is that it distances the action from the subject, so that it’s harder to understand what the subject is actually doing. I’ve seen the first part of a Jeopardy sentence get so long that the author forgot to put the second part in, so it was just a list of things with nobody doing them (that started with the word “through”).

To avoid writing a Jeopardy sentence, do what you were told in school when you started answering long answer questions on tests: restate the question and then put the actual answer. Written this way, our example now reads “Mary keeps her accounts from going into arrears by writing post-dated cheques and mailing them, and by setting up bill payments using online banking.”

And if you absolutely must use a Jeopardy sentence, leave out the “is how”; a comma will do just fine to separate the clauses here: “By writing post-dated cheques and mailing them, and by setting up bill payments using online banking, Mary keeps her accounts from going into arrears.”

Clear writing is often just that simple, believe it or not!

Sep 06 2013

Back to the Daily Grind

Work

I had a couple of weeks off right at the end of August, and now things are beginning to start up again. If you have a project you would like me to work on, please fill in the contact form on the main site. Quote SEP13 to get 10% off my regular rates.

Play

The anthology (A Method to the Madness; see sidebar for ordering info) came out in June. Please buy it and read it! I’m working on some promotional materials to add to the page for Dr Revenge (my alter-ego for this anthology), and they will be added to that page here on this blog (linked in sidebar) as they are completed.

I’ve been writing music and entered a hymn competition. Mine didn’t win, but that means I can now offer a midi recording and the sheet music for all and sundry to enjoy. That is on my Music page (also linked in the sidebar).

I’ve also finished a few pieces that aren’t being submitted anywhere just yet, and I have an essay being considered for inclusion in an anthology about disability.

In Progress (First Draft)

  • 4 short stories
  • 4 pieces of music
  • 1 presentation
  • 2 essays
  • 2 novels

In Progress (Editing)

  • 6 short stories
  • 1 novel
  • 1 graphic novel script

I’m hoping to enter two music composition contests in the next couple of months, submit an essay for a disability forum, and submit a short story for an anthology. I also have National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo – http://nanowrimo.org) to prepare for: there are events to plan and prepare for, not to mention the importance of making sure I know what I’m writing!

Other

I injured my left foot earlier this year and have been in physiotherapy for it since June. I am currently allowed to walk for 20 minutes every other day and 15 minutes the rest of the days. I have exercises I have to do every day, as well. I’m hopeful that I may eventually be allowed to run again, maybe in the spring as soon it will be too cold outside for that.

Finally, I am hoping to return to school. There have been some snafus in that area, however, so I am waiting to give any details until it’s been sorted out and I know exactly what is going on. So stay tuned for more information!

Jul 31 2012

Personal Projects: What’s going on?

I’ve been pleased with my progress on my personal projects. Over the past two months, I have managed to complete drafts and even bring a few pieces to completion! Here’s the breakdown:

First Draft

Since my last post on this topic, I completed five first drafts. There is Regenesis, an essay about the ebb and flow of interests; Beast, a retelling of the story of Beauty & the Beast; Baptism, a picture book about baptism in the Anglican church; Disability or Difference?, an essay about whether we should call disabilities differences; and Möbius: Dora (series) – Book 1, the first book in a series of picture books about a little girl who has autism (this series fits in with my Young Adult novels and takes place in the same universe).

I’m still working on CAVIES: The Musical, but I’ve finished the songs I originally planned, so now I need to go back over the story and probably rearrange some of the songs and write a couple more. Then I can start working on the music itself. I’m also working on a short story about the green man, for this anthology, and trying to finish up the first draft of a short children’s fantasy called Ballk. Also up for August are a picture book about Lent; a book-length fantasy-type story that I have to plan a bit more; and a short piece of creative non-fiction titled Expo that is styled as an online encyclopaedia of terms one may encounter at a fan convention.

I’m also working on collecting character information for my Möbius series. Things were getting very complicated, and I was starting to get confused about some of the characters. Once I’ve collected the information, I’ll get it organized and then I can look up specific characters when I need to put them into a story.

Second Draft

I’ll be editing three pieces in August: Consideration, a short story about a girl dealing with the aftereffects of abuse; We’ll Write You an Opera You Can’t Refuse, a short story about the musicians’ mob in Halifax and a set of contraband timpani; and This Ability vol. 1, a graphic novel about a group of teens who have various disabilities and super-powers.

Third Draft

I won’t be working on the third draft of anything in August, but I did finish the third draft of I Still Think of You yesterday.

Final Draft

I did manage to finish and submit Education & Qualifications to the anthology on time, so it is just a matter of being patient. The reading period is up at the end of August, so I suppose I could hear sometime in September. I also finished the final draft of Crumbs to a Dog in June, so that is ready if I ever find a market for Bible story retellings. 😉

In August, I’ll be working on the final draft of I Still Think of You.

In the Wings

Assuming all goes well with those first drafts I’ve listed above, I have a few other projects to cycle in as needed:

  1. Kyle the Camel – A picture book that is similar in concept to the song Alice the Camel.
  2. Eucharist: An Anglican Picture Book – Another book in the Advent series.
  3. Karl the Dragon – This will be in verse, I think, and tell the story of a dragon who… well, we’ll see where it goes.
  4. Christmas: An Anglican Picture Book – Yet another book in the Advent series.

The nice thing about these plans is that only some of my personal projects have set-in-stone deadlines. I still try to meet all of my self-imposed deadlines, of course, but since only one of my current projects is for an anthology, everything else is flexible, and I can focus on that if I start to run out of time. I’m finding that I really enjoy writing for anthologies, but I don’t think I could handle more than one at a time. But once this one is finished and sent off, I’ll probably start looking for another one. They get me out of my comfort zone and give me a chance to try my hand at telling different stories from what I usually write.

Jul 04 2012

Business: July 2012

June was very busy for me, but things seem to have calmed down somewhat (knock wood). I edited a lot of reports and worked on some templates. The templates were a lot of fun, as I quite enjoy document design (desktop publishing). I have also been working on learning more about how MS Access works, and I will be following that up by learning MySQL. I’m going to know a lot about databases!
I am very pleased to report that I finished the first drafts of two of my personal projects in June. Both are fiction, and one of them I started several years ago. (I am trying to finish up the backlog of unfinished works while also working on new ideas.) I also brought a short story Ive been working on to its final draft. Finishing something to that level is always exciting, though it’s often a bit daunting. If the story is truly finished, that means it’s time to start really looking for publishers and submit it to likely prospects. That’s always a little frightening, because if the story is rejected, you can’t help but feel a little bit slighted. It’s never personal, of course, but it’s hard to remember that in the moment. And if the story is accepted for publication, that means the general public will soon be offering opinions and criticisms! That’s why I often finish a piece and then let it sit while I focus on finishing other works. Also, there are some stories I write just to get the story down; publication isn’t a factor or a goal, so those don’t need to be submitted anywhere.
Given the current state of affairs, I have time for more projects. If you have a project that you would like help with, check out the Services page of the main web site to see if it might fit into some of the services I provide. Even if you don’t think your project fits into any of my services, please fill out the Contact form (also on the main site) and give me the details of your project. I will be honest and let you know if I think it is beyond my current capabilities!
SUMMER SPECIAL! For the months of July and August 2012, any new clients will receive 10% off their projects. This will be indicated on your quote when I submit it for your consideration.

June was very busy for me, but things seem to have calmed down somewhat (knock wood). I edited a lot of reports and worked on some templates. The templates were a lot of fun, as I quite enjoy document design (desktop publishing). I have also been working on learning more about how MS Access works, and I will be following that up by learning MySQL. I’m going to know a lot about databases!

I am very pleased to report that I finished the first drafts of two of my personal projects in June. Both are fiction, and one of them I started several years ago. (I am trying to finish up the backlog of unfinished works while also working on new ideas.) I also brought a short story Ive been working on to its final draft. Finishing something to that level is always exciting, though it’s often a bit daunting. If the story is truly finished, that means it’s time to start really looking for publishers and submit it to likely prospects. That’s always a little frightening, because if the story is rejected, you can’t help but feel a little bit slighted. It’s never personal, of course, but it’s hard to remember that in the moment. And if the story is accepted for publication, that means the general public will soon be offering opinions and criticisms! That’s why I often finish a piece and then let it sit while I focus on finishing other works. Also, there are some stories I write just to get the story down; publication isn’t a factor or a goal, so those don’t need to be submitted anywhere.

Given the current state of affairs, I have time for more projects. If you have a project that you would like help with, check out the Services page of the main web site to see if it might fit into some of the services I provide. Even if you don’t think your project fits into any of my services, please fill out the Contact form (also on the main site) and give me the details of your project. I will be honest and let you know if I think it is beyond my current capabilities!

SUMMER SPECIAL! For the months of July and August 2012, any new clients will receive 10% off their projects. This will be indicated on your quote when I submit it for your consideration.

Jun 27 2012

Hot Topics: Treating your work like work.

If you are really going to make a go of this writing (or editing) thing, you need to treat it like work, because that’s exactly what it is. It’s work to get the words on the page in the right order. It’s work to edit your words to make them say what you mean. It’s work to edit someone else’s words to make them say what they mean without obscuring the author’s voice!

What takes you from being a hobbyist to being a professional? Here are a few things that I think are important in making the switch:

  1. You have (and stick to) a work schedule. It doesn’t have to be 9-5, nor even eight hours a day, but you should block out your days and decide when you’re going to work. You should also objectively evaluate the projects you have on the go, and do your best to ensure that you’re meeting your deadlines (whether self-imposed or given by clients). Paying work should generally take precedence over personal projects, unless you’re finding that you have no time at all for your personal work: then you need to assess your work situation and decide whether you need to increase your work hours or decrease the number of paid projects you take on at once.

    I work afternoons during the week and prefer to work on personal projects over the weekend, especially if I’ve had so much paid work during the week that I haven’t been able to do much personal work.

  2. You have (and follow) a policy regarding invoicing and payment by clients. Your policy needs to take into account how often you invoice (e.g., at the end of each project, on a monthly basis), when payment is due (e.g., upon receipt of the invoice, within 30 days of receipt of the invoice), and when you will send a reminder about an overdue payment (e.g., 30 days after sending the invoice, two weeks after you expected payment to arrive).

    My policy is to send invoices on a monthly basis. The invoices list all projects completed for that client during that month. My invoices are numbered (very important so that you and your clients can be sure you are talking about the same document), and they state that payment is due upon receipt. I do, however, keep myself informed of the policies of my clients, so that if a client’s policy is to pay all invoices within 30 days, I wait until that 30 days are up before sending a reminder about an unpaid invoice.

  3. Your communication is professional when dealing with work topics. If you are writing to another writer or editor, you need to ensure that you are using correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation. This goes double for when you write to a client. You should try to avoid being too casual with your business contacts when you are discussing business, even if they are your friends. You don’t have to address clients by their last names if you have known them for a long time, but you should try to maintain professional language in the body of your message.

    My primary client is a company for which I was an employee for about six months. As a result, I know many of the people with whom I communicate on a more personal level than I might had they hired me through my web site. When I e-mail anyone in the organization, I begin with “Hi FIRSTNAME.” Depending on the person and the reason for the e-mail, my language may be more or less formal, but I do my best to maintain a sense of professionalism.

A quick note regarding doing work for free: I consider volunteer (unpaid) work to be on a par with paid work in terms of importance. I know that many professional freelancers will say that doing volunteer work is a terrible way to run a business, but I consider it an opportunity to gain practice with various skills that my paying clients may not require on a regular basis. It also allows you to collect more items for your portfolio. It does not lower the value of your work in any way, and it does not hurt your reputation. My main caution regarding volunteer work is that it is very important to volunteer for things you enjoy doing. For example, my primary volunteer work right now is doing the leaflet for Sunday services at the church I attend. I offered to do the leaflets each week on a volunteer basis for a few reasons: first, I saw a need that I could meet; second, my parish cannot afford to hire any kind of office staff; and third, leaflet design is a skill I learned when I was a church secretary, and it is something that I care about very much.

If you’re going to work at writing, work at writing. Devote time and attention to this activity, and work to become better and better at it. Don’t be afraid to take on volunteer projects, but also don’t be afraid to ask people to pay you if they owe you money. And be professional in your communication as a writer or editor. You can’t expect people to hire you or to keep working with you if your communication doesn’t demonstrate the skills you are trying to put to use.

Jun 05 2012

Business: June 2012

I can’t believe it’s June already! The year seems to be flying by.

I am pleased to report that I did finish my story for the anthology and submit it on time. Now I have to wait until sometime post-August to find out if I made it in!

Projects are continuing to come through my inbox, many with tight deadlines. I am working hard to get things done for my clients, and continue to pride myself in a good finished product!

If you have a project that you would like to hire me to work on, please fill out the form on the main web site. Quote JUN2012 in your message, and I will give you a 10% discount on my quote!

May 29 2012

Personal Projects: What’s going on?

As always, I have many balls in the air. It’s perhaps a rather ambitious schedule I set myself with these, but I’d rather be overly ambitious and have to adjust my expectations than become bored working on just one project at a time!

First Draft

Currently in first draft, I have Regenesis, a personal essay about the ebb and flow of interest and focus; and CAVIES: The Musical, a musical about a bunch of guinea pigs in a rescue. If I finish it, I’ll have to turn it into an animated film script rather than a stage script, because I don’t think all of it will be do-able by people in guinea pig costumes.

Second Draft

I just finished the first edit of I Still Think of You, a film short about a man who may not be “all there”; and Education & Qualifications, a story written as an article about whether or not Mad Scientists should need their doctorates in order to be called doctors. This is the story for A Method to The Madness: A Guide To The Super Evil. The submission deadline is Thursday, so I’m hoping to get my third draft done today!

Third Draft

I’ve completed the third draft of Crumbs to a Dog, a fictionalized version of the story told in Matthew 15.21-28. This is told from the point of view of the mother whose child Jesus heals. When I rewrite Bible stories, I try to find an angle that will illuminate something in the original text that maybe isn’t always obvious to everyone who reads it. I’m not sure how well I accomplish my goal every time, but I enjoy writing these stories and have a few more on my list.

Final Draft

My Anglican picture book about Advent is finished! Well, the text of it is, at least. When I wrote the first draft of this one, it was in verse and it really wasn’t very good at all. Each draft changed things a little more, and finally I went with prose, electing to tell the story of a little girl noticing the differences about the church at Advent. The purpose of these picture books is to impart information to both children and their parents. If I were a better artist, I’d illustrate it myself, but that’s not going to happen. Next is finding a publisher and possibly an illustrator, depending on the publisher.

In the Wings

As I finish each of these pieces, I try to cycle in the next piece on my list. When next I sit down to do some editing, I’ll be working on the third draft of Experience & Qualifications, as I said, and then I’ll finish it and send it off on Thursday afternoon.

Once Experience & Qualifications is finished, I’ll turn to the latest draft of my novel The Power, which is about a young woman who can see demons and angels. It has changed a lot since its first incarnation as two mildly related short stories I wrote in high school, and I love coming back to these characters over and over again. Someday it might actually be finished enough to be ready to send to publishers.

Along near the end of June, I’ll pull out Crumbs to a Dog to look over one more time and make my final changes. I like to let stories rest between edits; fresh eyes make for better choices, in my experience. It’s hard to find markets for retellings of Bible stories, but I write these for my own enjoyment more than for the possibility of publication, so that’s okay – just adding another story to my list of finished pieces will be good enough!

June is Camp NaNoWriMo, and of course I intend to participate. This time around I’ll be working on a novel I’m calling Data Stream. For fun, I’ll be writing it in Excel and then pulling it into a Word document as a mail merge to get my word count each day. There’s a point to the exercise besides allowing me to use Excel in strange and wonderful ways, but I’m going to wait to talk more about this project until it’s finished.

Also in June, I have five children’s picture books in mind (one of them is already started), an essay, and a short story to finish. They are, as follows:

  1. Baptism: An Anglican Picture Book – Another book in the series that Advent belongs to.
  2. Karl the Dragon – This will be in verse, I think, and tell the story of a dragon who… well, we’ll see where it goes.
  3. Lent: An Anglican Picture Book – Another book in the Advent series.
  4. Mobius: Dora (series) – Book 1 – This is the first in a series of picture books about a little girl who has autism. It doesn’t actually have a title yet.
  5. Christmas: An Anglican Picture Book – Yet another book in the Advent series.
  6. Disability or Difference? – This essay will look at how people who are less severely affected by their disabilities can do serious damage to the ability of those with more severe impairments to get the accommodations and respect they require and deserve.
  7. Beast – A retelling of Beauty and the Beast, from the Beast’s perspective.

Of course, I can’t start working on the first draft of Baptism until I’m finished either CAVIES or Regenesis, so we’ll see where that gets me.

May 01 2012

Business: May 2012

Work continues to flow in and out. I finished a large project and have another one starting right away, along with the usual report editing that I do. Personal projects are taking a back seat to the paying work for now, given the urgency of deadlines. This makes me sad, of course, because I wouldn’t have personal projects if I didn’t want to work on them, but my clients deserve as much of my attention as I am able to give them!

I am very pleased to be finished with the large project and I will be posting information about it to the main web site soon. It required me to edit and copyedit, like I normally do, but I also learned both the current Chicago Style and the current American Psychological Association (APA) Style.

Even with all of this work coming through my inbox, I am able to take on new clients this month. If you need editing – be it fiction or non-fiction – or some writing, please fill out the contact form and quote code MAY2012 to get a 10% discount on your project.

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