Category Archives: Editing

EDITING 101: 35 – Using the five senses…

In Part 35 of her Editing 101 series on The Story Reading Ape, Susan Uttendorfsky discusses using the five senses in our writing. I especially enjoyed her examples for the sense of smell, e.g., A gym bag in September that hasn’t been emptied since June. Visit Chris’ blog to read the rest of this superb article and link to the previous 34 in this series…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy ofAdirondack Editing

Using the five senses

I love it when an author decides to use the senses in writing their descriptions. It’s so rarely done, it seems, that it keeps the story fresh and exciting for me. Let’s talk about some ways to incorporate each of them into your descriptions—without going overboard, of course! Nobody wants a blow-by-blow listing of everything your main character smelled in a day, especially if he’s a homicide detective in the morgue!

When using any of the senses in writing description, you want to remember “Show, don’t tell” to get the most effectiveness out of it.

  • Taste

Your first cup of coffee in the morning—does anything taste better? Or, on the other hand, it can be your biggest…

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EDITING 101: 25 – Style Guides for Fiction…

Susan Uttendorfsky is a guest on The Story Reading Ape, bringing us Part 25 of her Editing 101 series: Style Guides for Fiction. Even though The Gregg Reference Manual is typically for business, I’ve used it for decades and find it an invaluable resource. Susan lists several other editing guides that you might find helpful. Bottom line: If self-editing, a style manual is a necessity!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing

Style Guides for Fiction

In order to make the English language (or any language) consistent, style guides and manuals have been developed to use certain consistent rules or standards. Most industries or professions have their own style manual, so that all materials written for that industry are of the same standard. This not only includes punctuation, but also capitalization and grammar.

For instance, all newspaper articles in the US are written using AP (Associated Press) style. For business, there’s The Gregg Reference Manual, and for web publishing, there’s the The Yahoo! Style Guide. Each of these style guides has different rules, and someone writing for those industries must follow those rules.

If you’re working for the United States government, it has…

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Introducing: Sunrise Editing Services…

Author Andrew Joyce spells out the reasons why writers should have their work professionally edited. He introduces his editor, Emily Gmitter, whose rates are very reasonable. Speaking metaphorically and from personal experience with Emily, she will find a needle in a needle stack! Hop over to The Story Reading Ape‘s blog for the details, and check out Sunrise Editing Services. It will be well worth your time …

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

aj-author
My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. I’ve been lucky enough to have three of my books become best-sellers on Amazon, and two of them have won prestigious awards. I only tell you this because I want you to know that I am serious about my writing and will not publish a book until it is free of errors, and that means not until it has been edited many, many times.

I am also associated with another writer that you may have heard of, the famous (or infamous) Danny the Dog. He is also serious about his writing.

One thing both Danny and I agree on is that a writer cannot edit his or her own work.

Let me repeat that: YOU CANNOT EDIT YOUR OWN WORK!

Excuse me for yelling, but it is important that I get that thought through to you.

The number…

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EDITING 101: 18 – Writer’s Block…

Susan Uttendorfsky brings us Part 18 of her Editing 101 series on The Story Reading Ape. The focus is writer’s block, and she lists 14 ways to attempt breaking through. I love it when an editor helps the harried writer hike the hurdles.  🙂

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing

Writer’s Block

Ok, so maybe you’re not quite done writing. Maybe you’re stuck. Horribly stuck, and you have no idea where to go next in your book. You are so completely, terribly, frantically stuck that you can’t even write a darn thing! (Yes, that’s a lot of “ly” adverbs there, isn’t it?

What now?

Aha! Super Susan to the rescue. I can’t say I’ve ever been there, because I don’t do a lot of writing. But I can imagine how horrible it is, and I’ve read a lot of threads in LinkedIn writing groups talking about writer’s block. So I’ve stored up quite a few hints and ideas to get you over the hump. No, not Hump Day—that’s the Geico® camel*…

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EDITING 101: 17 – Powerful Protagonists…

Susan Uttendorfsky brings us Part 17 of her Editing 101 series on The Story Reading Ape. She discusses powerful vs. ineffective protagonists and includes links to two articles that speak of this in detail. Many parts of this series helped me immensely in writing my latest novel. If you’re an author and have missed any parts or all of this series, do yourself a favor and check it out. I’m sure you’ll find it enlightening …

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing

Powerful Protagonists

The protagonist is the chief actor, or main character, in your book. It might be a man or a woman, or even a fictional character with no gender (such as a tree). For today’s post, we’re going to refer to the protagonist as “him” for continuity’s sake.

Why is it important for your protagonist to be powerful? I don’t mean physically strong. I don’t even mean personally effective or likeable. Your protagonist may be on your readers’ hate list, but perhaps they have a grudging respect for him. I’m talking about powerful in terms of making an impact with your readers. A main character who doesn’t make an impact with your readers is going to lead you down the…

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EDITING 101: 16 – Homonyms, Homographs, and Homophones…

Susan Uttendorfsky brings us Part 16 of her Editing 101 series on The Story Reading Ape. She discusses homonyms, homographs, and homophones, the latter of which can be a challenge for writers …

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing

Homonyms, Homographs, and Homophones

I had a lot of fun researching today’s post. (Yes, I’m an über-geek, but let’s just keep this to ourselves, shall we?) You may be wondering what these words are (and how in the world they pertain to writing), but you’ll be surprised once I define them. I’m sure you know exactly what they are; you just don’t know the official words for them. And we’re only interested in one when it comes to writing and editing.

Homonyms are words with the same spelling and the same pronunciation, but they have different meanings:

  • bear (animal) and bear (tolerate)

  • rose (flower) and rose (past tense of “rise”)

  • spruce up a room and a spruce tree

See? You knew…

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EDITING 101: 14 – Self-Editing Part 2…

In Part 14 of her Editing 101 series on The Story Reading Ape, Susan Uttendorfsky brings us Part 2 of Self-Editing. She discusses proper and improper usage of semi-colons and commas. Consider these examples: Woman without her man is nothing; Woman, without her man, is nothing; Woman, without her, man is nothing. Hop over to Chris’ blog and enjoy the fascination of punctuation 🙂

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing

Self-Editing Part 2

Last week in Self-Editing Part 1 we talked about some specific tasks that can be done while self-editing.

Today we’re going to talk about tasks involving grammar.

Grammar was developed to make writing understandable since you’re not there to correct any misunderstandings.

Your writing needs to stand on its own two feet!

  1. Using commas properly. The first use of the comma is to replace the word “and.”

  • I went to the store and bought apples and pears and bread and milk.

  • I went to the store, buying apples, pears, bread, and milk.

The first example is not wrong, but the excessive use of the word “and” makes it hard to read. A comma is generally not used…

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EDITING 101: 13 – Self-Editing Part 1…

In Part 13 of her Editing 101 series on The Story Reading Ape, Susan Uttendorfsky presents Part 1 of self-editing. She discusses searching for weak verbs and overused words, and how to vary sentence constructions. As I’m finalizing my manuscript and preparing to publish my next novel, this series has been extremely helpful. I’m sure you’ll find it helpful as well …

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing

Self Editing Part 1

Some of the things we’ve discussed previously are good to be on the watch for and remove, but there are other, specific tasks that can be done when a manuscript’s completed to help polish it. Since there are many of these odd jobs, this specific post will continue over time.

Editing your own work involves hard labor. Other authors have mentioned they make as many as ten to fifteen passes in editing, revising, and reworking, focusing on one or two aspects of self-editing each time. Those authors are to be commended, since writing a book is only one third of the work. Editing is the second third, and publishing and marketing take up the final third. You’re…

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EDITING 101: 12 – Directions and Impossibilities…

In Part 12 of her Editing 101 series, Susan Uttendorfsky covers directional redundancies and impossible actions. Do we stand up or do we stand? Do we throw our eyes across the room or do we throw someone a scathing glance? Hop over to The Story Reading Ape to read this enlightening post . . .

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing

Directions and Impossibilities

Welcome to today’s article! I hope you’re keeping busy and life is not getting in the way of your writing schedule too much.

We’re going to talk about two short items today. The first is directional redundancies. It’s a big term, isn’t it? It was covered briefly in EDITING 101: 01, Redundancies, but I wanted to go a little further with it. In the previous article, one of the examples was “Her tears ran down her cheeks,” and I pointed out that tears can only run in one direction, can’t they? When was the last time you ever saw somebody’s tears run up their cheeks? (Perhaps if they were hanging upside down on a jungle gym, but…

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EDITING 101: 11 – Using a Thesaurus…

Susan Uttendorfsky brings us Part 11 of her Editing 101 series on The Story Reading Ape: Using a Thesaurus. Do you want your writing to sound colorful or pompous? Hop over to Chris Graham’s blog for the details…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing

Using a Thesaurus

When you were in grammar school, you were taught the terms antonym and synonym. An antonym is a word that means the opposite of another word: love/hate, hot/cold, spring/fall, light/dark. Synonyms are words meaning the same thing (or nearly the same thing): light/bright, traitor/Benedict Arnold, flat/horizontal, soft/cushiony. A thesaurus is a book which lists synonyms for many words and can come in very handy for a writer. The first one you were exposed to was probably Roget’s Thesaurus. The one I like to use is the Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus. If you don’t want to use a book, there are online thesauri, such as http://www.thesaurus.com and http://freethesaurus.net/. Microsoft Word has a built-in thesaurus. You can…

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EDITING 101: 10 – What Happens When You Die? – NOT in a Metaphysical sense…

In Part 10 of her Editing 101 series on The Story Reading Ape, Susan Uttendorfsky discuses the need for authors to plan for how they want their intellectual property handled in the event of their death..

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing

What Happens When You Die?

Wait, wait, don’t run away.

This is not a religious post.

This is a practical, necessary discussion about your writing, your books, your accounts, etc., when you bite the dust.

It’s going to happen to all of us, sooner or later, and writers have additional details to worry about—or their heirs and estates, if the writers don’t address it. What happens to your copyright? What happens to your accounts? Who can keep selling your books? There are lots of questions to answer, and it’s best if you think about it ahead of time. You’ve learned a lot through your journey of writing, publishing, and marketing. How many years did it take you to get where you…

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EDITING 101: 09 – Cutting “ly” Adverbs and Enhancing Scenes… (LINKS RQD from 06)

In Part 9 of her Editing 101 series on the The Story Reading Ape’s blog, Susan Uttendorfsky talks about cutting “ly” adverbs from our manuscripts, which will enhance scenes and add to the word count. “Rover sniffed excitedly, hot on the trail” or “Rover threw his head in the air and barked as he turned toward me, indicating that I should follow. At my first step he tore off ahead, sniffing the ground and wagging his tail, hot on the trail of the killer”? Head over and try your hand at rewriting one of Susan’s easy-way-out sentences…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing

Cutting “ly” Adverbs and Enhancing Scenes

Good morning, proactive, hands-on self-editors! Are you ready for your next task?

In EDITING 101: 03 ‘THAT’s the Problem in Revising’, we talked about cutting out individual words and decreasing word count. I told you then we’d talk further about more cutting, but in a way which would increase your word count. That’s what will happen when you cut out “ly” adverbs.

First off, why are “ly” adverbs so horrible? They’re not. Yes, you heard me right—they’re a perfectly legitimate part of English and their appropriate use is not prohibited. Let me state it another way:

  • It’s ok to use “ly” adverbs!

I think she’s really gone off the deep end this time, Chris. Honestly…

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EDITING 101: 08 – Using Song Lyrics in your Manuscript…

Susan Uttendorfsky is a guest on The Story Reading Ape with Part 8 of her EDITING 101 Series: Using Song Lyrics in your Manuscript. While many of us might think song lyrics would animate a romantic scene, Susan gives us several good reasons why not to use them…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing

Using Song Lyrics in your Manuscript

You’ve just written the most perfect restaurant love scene imaginable. As your two main characters unite on the dance floor, the haunting strains of “Unchained Melody” play in the background. The lovers gaze deeply into each other’s eyes as the song’s lyrics pass through their ears, melding their souls together in acoustical rapture:

Oh, my…”

Wait! Stop! Halt!! Turn off the radio, unplug the phonograph, and disconnect your online radio station! Are you crazy? Are you looking for a lawsuit?

<Author looks around incredulously>

Who, me? Now what does this woman want me to do? Eliminate the perfect words from this scene?”

Yep, that’s exactly what I want you to do. You’re not…

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