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A Grueling Task: Editing

A Grueling Task: Editing

A part of writing that I confess, I do not look much forward to usually is editing. Publishers look for not only fresh or unique ideas and evoking story lines. I have come to realize the importance of grammar as well as punctuation. The application of a few well-placed words and descriptions can capture many things.  One thing they cannot do though unless they are in the proper form, tense, as well as spelling is conveying its intended meaning.

Readers see it all the time with word slips such as their instead of they are or they’re. At other times, it is something seeming equally mundane.

A Writer’s Tools

Editors can be expensive. There is no underappreciating what they do. At the same time, there is no replacing thoroughly replacing them either. This is not to say that a writer cannot apply some useful tools as well as resources to improve the quality of their work. In fact, I have found some useful tools right here on the world wide web.

  1. ProWritingAid
  2. Grammarly
  3. AutoCrit Online Editing
  4. Paper Rater

Other Options

Outside of expert guidance, one thing an aspiring writer can use to help the maturation of a work in progress is constructive criticism from his or her peers. Some places I have gotten excellent advice from are listed below.

 

Taking Chances

Taking Chances 

One thing I fear about as much, if not more so than I do spiders is taking chances. Stepping out into the unknown can be one of the most frightening yet exhilarating experiences an aspiring writer can find themselves in. For me, this is becoming a liveable possibility.

Surrounding myself by like minds, whose passion is to take up the pen and write, I have become more and more open to the prospect of doing what all writers must do:

Share their work!

I am not talking asking friends, neighbors, loved ones or the like to read your work. I am talking about something much bigger. All writers who are now authors have done this. They have submitted their work, aiming for the crossing of that final threshold to publication. That is where I am slowly but surely heading!

This though is not just an opportunity for me. I am talking about opportunities for individuals with like minds to come together and creative something magical. To have not one, but two such chances are truly nothing short of phenomenal!

The Opportunities

These opportunities came from one of the most unexpected places, Facebook. Two groups that host a number of creative minds and kindred spirits have given aspiring writers, like me, a chance to get ourselves out there. Given how cutthroat the world of publication can be, these are chances that I would encourage any aspiring writer NOT to pass up!

Creative Writers – Monolith 

One of the most interesting challenges I am eager to jump into is The Creative Writers Anthology Series.  The upcoming anthology is all about ‘New Beginnings.’

Learn more @  Creative Writers Press

Writers Unite –  WU Fantasy Anthology 

Another interesting challenge I am taking a chance with is the Writers Unite Fantasy Anthology. As you may have surmised, it is all about the Fantasy Genre.

Join Writers Unite on Facebook to learn more @ Writers Unite Facebook Group

Xenos, My Land, My Home

“Xenos, My Land, My Home”

Beyond vast fields
Bearing honey gold wheat and barley
Past verdant fields
Growing shimmering jade and needled evergreen
Below high mountaintops
Glistening white peaks of Thistlethorne and Nettlepine
Captive heart as well as soul
To people and kingdom am I duty bound
Straying never too long nor far from home
To her, as a steadfast lover, I return
Beckoning the fire’s warm glow
The heat of passion, on the forge, is stoked
Sating the taste of freshly brewed spirits
Falling soft and sweet as would a kiss
Proud soars the griffon on silken wings
Woven in deep crimson along with ebony hues
A mantle upon which name and reputation
Are borne into battle
To fly in victory and become tattered in defeat
For a ruler and his land are one

@R.D. B.

June 2017

Past Or Present?

Past Or Present?

Most fiction I have read is written in past tense. However, more and more authors I hear about are writing in present tense. As a result, I am at a bit of an impasse in my own works. While most of my writing has been done in past tense, I find myself drawn to living in the present. To me, it feels more active and perhaps as if my readers and I are living more in the moment. This seems preferable than dwelling in the past. At the same time, I have seen a fair number of readers turn their noses up at this practice.

What do you think? Is it possible to write a real page turner in present tense or is past tense the only way to go?

The Pros And Cons Of Writing In Present Tense

To every choice, there are pros as well as cons. We see this in the selection of Point of View. This is something we can also see in the application of past or present tense. Considering that present tense is a fresher trend,  I examine what is being said by authors, publishers, and the like so as to get a broader grasp on the responses had to this particular writing style.

The Pros

  • Readers are able to experience the action within the pages as if it is happening right that very moment.
  • Reflects the characters nature
  • Simplifies the use of tenses in your work
  • Works the overall theme of the work
  • Makes for a great way to illustrate a character with a disoriented mind

The Cons

  • Restricts ability to manipulate time
  • Can diminish suspense
  • Presents more of a challenge in the creation of complex characters

Living in the present does present a few challenges in terms of writing. It is up to you, the reader, and perhaps even the writer to determine if you enjoy the way the story is presented. Does it engage you? Is it relatable? Are the characters loveable, reliable, even ones you despise?

Helpful Links and Resources

Writer’s Digest: The Pros and Cons of Writing Present Tense

Thanet Writers: The Benefits and Drawbacks of Writing Present Tense

Self Publishing Advice Center: Writing Past Or Present Tense?

Evoking Emotion: Most Moving Moments

Evoking Emotion: Most Moving Moments

Have you read something that has brought tears to your eyes? Have you flipped the page to see something that, for a moment, left you breathless? Have you finished a chapter only to ask yourself if you dare to read another page? Has a book’s plot line ever inspired such strong emotion that you wanted to hurl it across the room just to resume turning it’s pages after you have had a good cry?

In the reading of select titles, I confess, I have experienced each of these. It is perhaps some of these very same characters, plots, and worlds that nurture my own desire to create as well as write.

dracula_book_cover

Something That I Read That Made Me Cry

As a reader of classics, there is a particular title that still amazes me when I consider my reaction to it. Of all the books that may make a person cry, I found tears at the conclusion of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. 

What is it that brings about this feeling? Why is it that I am brought to tears at the end of this book?  To sum it up in a single word, death. In that one possible, fleeting moment of victory comes the bittersweetness of tragedy in sacrifice.

Mr. Morris, who had sunk to the ground, leaned on his elbow, holding his hand pressed to his side. The blood still gushed through his fingers. I flew to him, for the Holy circle did not now keep me back; so did the two doctors. Jonathan knelt behind him and the wounded man laid back his head on his shoulder. With a sigh he took, with a feeble effort, my hand in that of his own which was unstained.

He must have seen the anguish of my heart in my face, for he smiled at me and said, “I am only too happy to have been of service! Oh, God!” he cried suddenly, struggling to a sitting posture and pointing to me. “It was worth for this to die! Look! Look!”

The sun was now right down upon the mountain top, and the red gleams fell upon my face, so that it was bathed in rosy light. With one impulse the men sank on their knees and a deep and earnest “Amen” broke from all as their eyes followed the pointing of his finger.

The dying man spoke, “Now God be thanked that all has not been in vain! See! The snow is not more stainless than her forehead! The curse has passed away!”

And, to our bitter grief, with a smile and in silence, he died, a gallant gentleman.

~Bram Stoker, Dracula, Chapter 27~

Something That Left Me Breathless

There are moments in life, things we hope for that when happen can leave us without words or breath. I recall experiencing this in my childhood as well as my adolescence in the reading and rereading of  Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty.

I was led to my new home, placed in a comfortable stable, fed, and left to myself. The next day, when the groom was cleaning my face, he said:

“That is just like the star that `Black Beauty’ had; he is much the same height, too. I wonder where he is now.”

A little further on he came to the place in my neck where I was bled and where a little knot was left in the skin. He almost started, and began to look me over carefully, talking to himself.

“White star in the forehead, one white foot on the off side, this little knot just in that place;” then looking at the middle of my back — “and, as I am alive, there is that little patch of white hair that John used to call `Beauty’s three-penny bit’. It must be `Black Beauty’! Why, Beauty! Beauty! do you know me? — little Joe Green, that almost killed you?” And he began patting and patting me as if he was quite overjoyed.

I could not say that I remembered him, for now he was a fine grown young fellow, with black whiskers and a man’s voice, but I was sure he knew me, and that he was Joe Green, and I was very glad. I put my nose up to him, and tried to say that we were friends. I never saw a man so pleased.

“Give you a fair trial! I should think so indeed! I wonder who the rascal was that broke your knees, my old Beauty! you must have been badly served out somewhere; well, well, it won’t be my fault if you haven’t good times of it now. I wish John Manly was here to see you.”

In the afternoon I was put into a low park chair and brought to the door. Miss Ellen was going to try me, and Green went with her. I soon found that she was a good driver, and she seemed pleased with my paces. I heard Joe telling her about me, and that he was sure I was Squire Gordon’s old “Black Beauty”.

When we returned the other sisters came out to hear how I had behaved myself. She told them what she had just heard, and said:

“I shall certainly write to Mrs. Gordon, and tell her that her favorite horse has come to us. How pleased she will be!”

After this I was driven every day for a week or so, and as I appeared to be quite safe, Miss Lavinia at last ventured out in the small close carriage. After this it was quite decided to keep me and call me by my old name of “Black Beauty”.

I have now lived in this happy place a whole year. Joe is the best and kindest of grooms. My work is easy and pleasant, and I feel my strength and spirits all coming back again. Mr. Thoroughgood said to Joe the other day:

“In your place he will last till he is twenty years old — perhaps more.”

Willie always speaks to me when he can, and treats me as his special friend. My ladies have promised that I shall never be sold, and so I have nothing to fear; and here my story ends. My troubles are all over, and I am at home; and often before I am quite awake, I fancy I am still in the orchard at Birtwick, standing with my old friends under the apple-trees.

~Anna Sewell~

What Moves You?

Many Faces: Character Interview I

Many Faces: Character Interview I

A good story is going to be found wanting if it does not have loveable, as well as deplorable, characters. Warlock’s Chronicle is a book that I hope, will have a number of these that readers will adore and equally, despise. As I have some strong feelings in regards of several of the characters, you can imagine the difficulty I have in selecting one to interview and give you some insight into the people that encompass the world of Styvynia.

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A Peculiar Feline: Princess Purrl 

A curious addition I admit is not a planned character, but rather one that just fell into the pages is that of unusual feline, Princess Purrl.

What impression do you make on people when they first meet you?

*Pads tiny mitted paws into a pillow, then looking out towards her audience with wide cerulean eyes, sits on the feathered surface where she proceeds to lick her front right paw.*  (On a chair not too far from her sits a half-elven male who translates. )

“Rooowr, what does anyone think when they see a cat?”

What are you most proud of about your life?

*Lowering her paw, the ivory feline’s tail wraps around her as she speaks again, her tiny mouth unmoving.*

“Prow, aside from helping a fiery tempered, master of elements, maintain balance in Styvynia… ”

*Her head tilts slightly as her mitt raises to rub the smokey fur betwixt her ears.*

“I am quite adept in the skill of catching mice.”

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to someone? Why?

*Bows her head, then crouches, before pouncing down from the pillow.*

“I took fish from the kitchen and presented it to the fish lady. I am not sure she liked it as for some reason she threw the fish at me, boot and all!” (At this, the feline’s translator laughs.)

What are you most afraid of?

*Lets out a soft meow before scurrying over to the pointy-eared translator’s feet. Brushing up against one, her tail swishes about expectantly.*

“Honestly, aside from the release of a long ago sealed evil… a world without mice or fish.”

What are your future goals?

*Looks at the interviewer, then the audience with an expression that may be read as curiosity as her eyes widen and she leaves her place beside her translator to sit in an almost regal manner. *

“I have none, it is the job of the world to accommodate me.”

 

 

Sage Advice From One Writer To Another

What is a Writing Style? It is the most important and precious thing a writer or author owns. This is what helps us illustrate, immerse, and communicate beyond the normal means of writing. The style each of us has textures us as unique in the ocean of authors out there in the world. It is […]

via Developing a Writing Style — Val, Tell Me A Story…