Sunday, November 27, 2011

What Edits Look Like (And what the heck do I do with them?)

You remember in school when you'd get a corrected paper from your teacher and there were all these lines and corrections on it? Mine had a lot of red on it. I think it's why I hate the color red so much today. My spelling and grammar was awful--and still I have trouble with both.

But my post today is about edits from your editor, and is for those of you who have never seen such things, or have never had such things sent to you. So anyone here who has had this experience you may step out of the class room. The rest of you stay.

I'll do my best to try and re-create a few sections of my edits. It might be difficult, but bare with me.

First of all the question is what do you do with the edits of your manuscript once you get them?


Well, what you want to do is open up a blank document and copy and paste the edits onto this new document. You'll find something magical happens. All the lines and cross outs are gone. What you have are the edits/changes already made and it looks like a clean, ready to go mss. We'll call this your new edited page.

But wait! It is not quite ready by any means. There may be mistakes in it you aren't aware of and you need to do a read-through to catch them. And what you'll want is to have the edits open along side your new document (remember to save it in a format that both you can use and your editor can open).

I had the experience the first time around realizing I had not caught a few spots where I should have paid more attention. Lines that might be missing have to be rejoined. They may have moved a line from a paragraph below to join the paragraph above it, and now there's  a space where there shouldn't be one.

Let me try and re-create a paragraph for you here. My edits are in blue, but can be in red.

I cracked my eyes open. My Breath came out in wintry frosty clouds as I strove to pull cold air into my lungs. Above, in the crisp, midnight-blue sky, stars glittered coldly, indifferently..Indifferently. Suddenly, I remembered why I was here, naked. I got quite, but became frustrated whenthat I couldn't remember what my activities had been for the last several hours. I didn't see the moon above me, full and bright, as I knew it had been when the transformation began had come over me.

Now, this might be a little difficult to read. If it is, you'll want to magnify it--I remembered to do so only when I was half-way through and my eyes were going bleary. This paragraph is from the first page. The word choices I made and changed are crossed out. Theirs is underlined. Also you'll see where they've added commas (in blue and underlined), these should come through on the new edited page you have up. However, go back and you'll see the word midnight blue was hyphenated. On the new edited page it came out looking like this:
midnightblue--with the red spell check underlining it. Watch for these as it will indicate to you that the hyphen was added, but may not have come through onto your new edited page. You'll have to manually add that hyphen. You may also have to add the en dash (--). Mine comes out in one solid line when I place it into a document. Where they've indicated one should go it sometimes came in and then other times it became a big thick hyphen, like this: - between words. So I had to go in and manually make it an en dash.

Just for arguments sake, let's say that you don't like that they've changed a word here or there. I remember a few I just had to change back because the word didn't really mean what I had meant. I should have probably been a bit more aggressive with some of these, but I let a few of them slide. But not all. When you do read the edits be mindful of the word usage. If it didn't alter your meaning at all, then it should be fine. However, if you find that the word they've placed in there instead wasn't really what you wanted, change it back on your new edited page.

One example (this is taken from a later scene):
Quist opened his hands to getreceive it, looking up gratefully at the barkeeper...

I changed get back to receive because I felt this was a better word. The barkeeper was serving Quist a drink he really needed badly.

I had two more places on the same page where I felt my word choice was better, and I replaced my words back into the mss. I stress that if it's a good word choice and it means what you want it to mean, you have every right to change it back, as long as it doesn't change the meaning, or for some reason the change may have a better flow, or grammar is the issue. In these cases, the words were merely word choices, and you can see why I didn't go with the word "get" here in the line--"receive" is a much better word for what is happening.

Then I came across something quite odd looking:

They brought cheese~*~

Cheese, grapes and some sort of heavy, whole-granined flat bread was brought to me along with a carafe of wine and something that tasted like a combination of bean curd and lobster in a small bowl.

As you can see I had made a little separtion mark: ~*~ and it was centered. The line They brought cheese had been what was to be in the next paragraph, but had wound up there in the center above. This is why you need to read through the mss. You may miss little items that mess up the page, and the thing will look as though no one checked it through. This is your job, as it is your book. Yours are the final eyes that look through this.

I thought I'd share this with you today, in case (and I hope it happes for those of you still struggling to get that first book published), you have this happen some day. I hope this helps you when you need it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A New Writing Project ~ "Like going out with a new guy"

And so I wake up early this morning--I mean EARLY! 3 a.m! Because I have ideas for this different novel I'd like to write. It's going to be a mystery. I've probably mentioned it.

I turned on my light in my office, shoved on my glasses and grabbed a pen and a notebook--a very nice one I bought especially for this novel, in fact. I bought it at Barns & Nobels (on sale HAH! with a gift card HAH!)

I think the note-taking process is just as enjoyable as once you begin writing the book. It's comparable to going out with a new guy. You're trying to get to know him, learn where he's from, what he likes, and any little mysteries you can pull out of him. Yeah. I think I like that analogy.

Penning down those beginning thoughts is stage one of the pre-writing stage. You might have the character's names down (I do--some of the main ones), you might have an idea of where you'd like to go with it (I do, sort of), and you may even have a few scenes written out somewhere--on paper or in a document in your computer (both).

This beginning stage will turn a little more exciting as time goes by. You begin thinking more about the book (him), a niggle of a thought wakes you up and you have to write it down. Is it (love) a novel I really think I can work on from start to finish? When you wake up in the middle of the night, you know it's (love/a serious relationship) something you can commit to. When all you can do is think, eat and dream about the book (him), you know it has to be love. You are smitten. This is a good thing. This one won't let you down, either. You're sure of it because it's all fresh and new.

Yep. I'm in pre-love stages. I want this to happen, but I'm going to be careful (hah! famous last words!!) and do more notes and work up some ideas. Since this is a mystery, I have to figure out the mystery first. I've read somewhere you need to figure that out and work backwards. Well, I work backwards anyway, so it might just be good.

As I write this I'm waiting on word for the second novel Vampire's Trill eBook to be released. I'm told this coming week. I hope so. And with New Dawn having come out, I'm glad. Why? Because I can say to you--promise you there are no glittery vampires that walk around in the daytime, no whiny teenagers, and the werewolves are normal size. And as men they're usually scary, ride Harley's, or are very handsome and smell great. There are elves, and I introduce a leprechaun--and he is unusual even as a human. Sabrina's got a mission--to save her boss, Mr. Tremayne, from going into hibernation in order to make his hearing in Dark World (a bad-ass demon realm). And that isn't even all of the story! That's just part of it!

I will post more about the book's release in the days to come. I plan on having my own NaNoMo coming up. December is when I have some time off and hope to begin doing some writing on the new mystery.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cover Letter Jitters

Hi, everyone! How's your weekend going? Have you accomplished your goals for the time being--whatever they may be?

I'm about to send off a short story to Penumbra Publishing, which is an ezine. I've checked out their "open call" submissions page a few times to make sure what I'm sending them is what they want--they only take their themed pieces--when it closes, length, and so forth. I'm entering a steampunk short story. It's somewhat based on a chapter in my third novel (which is not even finished yet), and since it has everything to do with steampunk, I decided to re-work it into a short story. I haven't written any short stories in a while, as I was concentrating on getting my book(s) published. Well, this sort of falls after having participated in the "Campaigner Challenge",

So, having gotten the story ready, you might think I'm done. No. Not hardly. Now comes the cover letter. If any of you have never written one, I'm about to tell you how. It's not difficult. However you need to pay attention to the rules.

Consider any cover letter/query like a job interview. Sometimes the less said the better. In fact you want a cover letter to be short, to the point and very professional. The editors merely want to know WHO, WHAT, WHY, and your writing credits if any. Nothing more. You want your beginning to sound professional. You never start out with "Hi". This is not your friend you are talking to. You do not want to be cute, silly or funny. You don't know these people and they don't know you. Keep in mind, if you are a serious writer, your query should show it. Many times they will look at the piece you've sent first, read a first sentence, and if they like that, they'll read further. Your query letter might be the last thing they look at closely to see whether you have any publishing credits, awards--writing wise--and that's it. Or it may be the very first thing they do look at. Either way, a bad query can kill the piece you're trying to send them.

Your beginning should look like this:

Dear Madam, or Sir: {if you do not who you are addressing, but see below}

If you know who you are addressing, always use  Mr. Ms. (last name). Usually it's a good idea to see what your publisher's name is, or, if there is an editor, direct it to them.

The first paragraph should be short and to the point:

I have a steampunk story, "Dreadfuls", I have placed in documents sent in attachments and would like you to consider it for your March issue for Steampunk.

At this point you might want to say how you came to find them, and why you want them to consider your work.At this point you might tell them how long you've been writing, if you wish. Sometimes the best way to put it is: I felt that this piece may fit well with your publication. If you have read their publication, or subscribe to it, this would be good to place here too. But don't go on and on about who/what you like to read, except to make it clear that you've read at least one publication.

At this point you've reached the middle of the letter. If you have any publishing credits mention them in a third paragraph. Even if you had a letter published in any publication (newspaper, magazine, etc.) it counts. You don't have to say what exactly you've had published. But if you have had poems, articles, short stories, a book published, this is where you want to place it. The most impressive first.

This is how mine will probably look:
My publishing credits are as follows: With Copperhill Media: book/eBook Vampire Ascending, and soon to be published: Vampire's Trill; Short story anthology eBook: "Campaigner Challenges 2011". Short stories, poems and articles: ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest Magazine, Black Oak Media ezine, Weed's Corner, Mid-America Poetry Review, Liquid Ohio, Rock River Times, The Mid-Week, and others.

Your ending should be just as clean and crisp as the rest of the letter. You bow out gracefully, and get out of the way so that they can get to your piece.

End of letter and salutation:

Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours truly,

Lorelei Bell

There you have it. I'm about to get this written up and send off some time today. I'll let you know if I make it through the first selection. It may be a while before I hear back from them--they said 2-3 weeks. Sending this via email isn't exactly a frist for me, but things are sure done differently when I remember you typed things out, or even printed them out and sent them via snail mail.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dance on Fire: Trying to Read Again

Dance on Fire: Trying to Read Again: Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. I have come before you this week to discuss books. Yes, I know. We're always discussing books. In fact, it's why we...

Thursday, November 3, 2011