Tag Archives: editing

Mentoring Programme for Writers

I seem to do a lot more mentoring these days which I find fruitful for many reasons, for both myself and my clients.

We are all so busy in our lives and so writing that novel, finishing that short story collection, completing that project gets pushed aside. But when we have a weekly phone call and an expectation to produce something it forms a focus.

I am not sure how some of you are getting along with your new year’s resolutions but February is often the time when we flounder. So, I am proposing a six-week mentoring programme that begins next month for a small group, let’s say 6 writers with partially finished projects and serious intentions. You would need to set aside at least two- two and a half hours a week to work on it, but really if you call it 3o minutes a day and get up earlier, for example, it is pretty easy to do. And then another 30 minutes to an hour for a discussion which can be one-to-one or we can do a group chat later as we progress so we support one another.

All it will cost (and we do really need 6 of us) is ÂŁ125 for 6 weeks of mentoring and finishing with a meet-up if not too widely dispersed so I am suggesting London. I have not run this before but my feeling is that it will be worthwhile as a way of kick-starting serious projects, so you do achieve that dream this year. At the end of the course I will offer guidance on what to do next including submitting your work.

If you are serious I need an email telling me about your writing project and intentions, how far you are along with it and what time you have available.

Email me now writer@debzhobbs-wyatt.co.uk

Success

 

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Taking stock

Sometimes all you need to do is stand back and look at your life and appreciate just how far you have come to see where you’re heading.

A lot has happened this past month and now I am beginning to get back down to earth and focus on my writing and my editing work. I have work scheduled into April so all good 🙂

I am also still working on the new short story since there is a looming deadline I would like to meet. It’s an odd week as I have a touch of the lurgy and so under advice from the lovely Mr B I am not at the gym! NO!!!!!! I feel fine (ish) but the cough is doing my head in!)… but I am sure the world will not implode if I miss the gym for two days! But I do need to write!!!

If you need a reality check stand still and look at what you have because I promise you there is always always something to be grateful for ❤

That is all. Enjoy your day folks…

 

A photo of us (in glasses) as we read our own vows after the real ones! I am not sure I have achieved the I promise to try to talk less though!

Us 3Debz and Mal with The Revd Canon David Tudor, 19.1.19, St Nicholas Church, Canvey Island, Essex

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Passion and only passion

The only way to feel a real connection to all that you are and all that you aspire to be is by following your true passion.

I have said that many times but it is so true.

I see so many people moaning about things in their life instead of counting their blessings. We all know life can throw tough things at us and there will be times when smiling and getting back up proves to be a real challenge. And you know what, some days it is okay to wallow. But know one thing — in the end, it comes down to choice and mindset.

I make a commitment to myself to follow my heart in all things and that no matter what I would make sure I was enjoying the ride, and learning from the mistakes. I have been working for myself for some nine years this year and it still never ceases to amaze me that I can do it and I can pull together a reasonable enough living to at least pay my bills. And we do have fun and get away, have date days, have meals out. But if pennies are tight we do other things and there are plenty of free things to do. Life is not about how much we spend but how many moments we truly engage in, it’s about how we spend our lives ❤

My husband also follows his passion and has for all his life. If he had followed what other kids from his estate were doing when he was growing up, he might have walked an altogether different path in life. He did not want to end up in trouble, so he built a gym in his shed and made a dream, one that he achieved. He knows about the need for passion, in all things. That what you might not be rich in, financially, can bring much greater rewards in the richness of life.

There can only be one way: following your passion.

The financial rewards will come, but as a side effect and should not be the reason for doing something.

If you love what you do it will never feel like work, right?

It’s been a busy week and I am now taking work on for April and beyond. If you need my services as an editor, for some structural editing through to proof-reading or you need some one-to-one mentoring or fancy taking part in some small group mentoring to finally work on that novel or collection of short stories then please contact me and we will launch the mentoring this spring/summer. Please email me if interested writer@debzhobbs-wyatt.co.uk

If you have passion, then you have drive and if you have drive you will always succeed.

Never Give Up.

follow your passion

 

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The Editing Tree

 

A

simple question:

Why do you write?

Why do you write like that?

Why do you need to tell that story?

Why did you do it that way?

Why did you end it that way?

Why is key to understanding what. 

What are you trying to say?

What is driving the action?

What does the character want?

What will they do to try to get it?

What will stand in the way of them getting it?

What happens next?

What leads to how.

How does the character set out to get the thing they want?

How much do they want it?

How will they feel if they never get it?

How hard do they try?

How will their own inner demons impact on getting it?

How much do their actions impact on others?

How do they change?

Editing is a string of key questions starting with WHY?

Build

Strong

Roots

But always be prepared to start over and let new saplings take root elsewhere

 

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When to Delete Part 2 {Editing Tips}

editing

As we saw yesterday we can make changes for the flow of the narrative by editing out any words that do not have to be there; but the same can be said of information and backstory (exposition), repeated information, non-functional scenes, plot points, entire subplots and whole characters!

This is the real nuts and bolts stuff because as you start to edit out these things you could potentially weaken the structure of the story or piece and make it unstable. What you do in one place can have serious consequences elsewhere, but structural editing is a vital part of the process. While I have called this Part 2, in reality, this is the editing you will do first before you tackle the things I talked about yesterday. You need to get the shape of the story right before you start playing with scenes that might not even make the final cut, right?

So look at:

  • How you handle the information we need to understand the story: character backstory, historical information, science information perhaps: the stuff you research. Do not include this as ‘information dumps’ but drip feed in on a need to know basis as and when the story dictates! And use the backstory stuff as a tease so you hook your reader as I have talked about before.

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  • Tell the reader once; do not recap, by repeating information we already know, like Janice, my adopted sister… don’t keep saying who she is. If some information has not been used for some time find more inventive ways to remind the reader through their dialogue or a short phrase. Don’t repeat for the sake of it, this is more you reminding yourself of the story!

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  • Make sure all scenes are functional: by that I mean they move plot, reveal character and by doing so explore theme. I talk about this a lot in my reports, narrative and dialogue has to be functional, like repeated information or information dumps it’s FILLER and needs deleting!

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  •  Subplots that do not tie directly into the resolution of the key storyline: delete. The function of the subplot is to add layering to the story but not to add a whole other story!

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  • Characters also need to be functional and assume defined roles. If you have too many then think about how they work and see if you can merge roles, so you have fewer key characters, doing some of the same things. Look at the traditional archetypes so you will have in there a mentor, lover, enemy, shape-shifter and remember characters can assume more than one role! At the editing stage, you might be killing your darlings… literally or writing them out of existence… oh the power of the writer. But remember, like everything keep drafts and maybe you’ll use the ‘decreated’ ones again. Now there’s a story… what happens to all the character who didn’t make the cut… like rejected toys? The victims of the editor’s imagination?

 

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That is all, character voice tomorrow!

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When To Delete {Editing Tips}

 

editing

All I can say is: be ruthless when it comes to anything that’s — clunky (awkward), redundant, superfluous, extraneous, clichĂ©d, telling, overdone…

When it comes to having a nice fluidity to your narrative you have to ensure you remove things that simply don’t need to be there, simple! Take them out and if it still works then you are on the right track. Some writers think they have to say it in unique and interesting ways. While, to some extent, that might be true it can, if you work too hard, really feel forced. Then it simply doesn’t work! I have seen some wonderful metaphors and similes lost in a crowd of metaphors and similes! The trick is to use such devices sparingly and in just the right place. This gives them power. Got it?

 

Here are just a few things to ponder… I will talk about filler and the things you can lose from the actual story tomorrow!

  • Description — this is important for allowing the reader to really ‘see inside the moment’, to visualise it as you intended them to, but they don’t need every single detail drawn in for them — just enough and perhaps more importantly to create the right mood, or tone, perhaps, even, to create the right sense of danger if you are leading them to the edge of a cliff face, for example. Sparing, yet vivid wins the day! So it really does come down to how you use your words and which ones. And if in a moment of great tension then whatever you do don’t stop to admire the view, make the description an active part of the movement itself. Look at how other writers do it!

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  • Look at things like attributions; the ‘he said/she said’ in dialogue. You will find that a lot of the time you can remove these as long as you can stay with the flow of the conversation. Better to show some body language so we know who said it. And don’t write  ‘they paused’ — create the pause with an action! None of us stop and pause, well not really! Lose adverbs that are redundant if we can see how something is done or said. Lose different words for said when said is just fine (I have talked about this before!) Punchy and sharp!

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  • Lose clichĂ©s as these are considered to be lazy prose! The tears streamed down the face… ugh! How about she dabbed her cheeks or some other more interesting way to show she was crying!

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  • Telling tags: These tell why something is done or said when it’s usually obvious! She stopped the man to ask the time because she was worried she was late. Telling! If we see her rush and ask the time as she rushes we can see it, it’s shown! See what I mean?

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  • Lose ‘that’ and ‘very’ and ‘just’: a lot of the time … see some of my deliberate crossings out. Also see the use of italics when I think the word is more functional so I left it in…  The way that he said it made her smile; he was just so angry (more active?); she was very jealous (though better to show this through actions… right?) Also think about some of the adverbs we overuse! Like ‘suddenly‘… So often there is no other way to interpret the action so lose it and just show the action!

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  • Pleonasms: nodding the head; shrugging the shoulders; thinking in the mind… Where else? Get the idea?!!!

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The message here is very simple: if you can lose it, lose it. That way the writing becomes sharper! 🙂 Only repeat expressions or use words that are less functional in a sentence when part of character voice and there is a difference as I will show you later in the week!

Happy Tuesdaying!

5e3d161f9093134762cfbc96928654db--every-tuesday-good-morning-tuesday

 

 

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Create Your Style Guide [Editing Tips]

Welcome to a new and busy week. I thought I would give some editing tips every day this week, of course, some of this will have been covered before but  I think it’s always useful as a reminder.

So hands up who uses a Style Sheet or Style Guide when they write?Do you even know what one is? 

A style sheet is a list setting out the decisions that your editor has made on aspects of the layout and language of your document, in order to keep the document consistent.

This is a really useful thing, especially if you intend to write this as part of a series and so how you do something in one book must be consistent across books as well as within the book.

As you come to edit your work you don’t just focus on the shape of the story and if it works, on filler, character development etc. When it comes to the nitty gritty bits of the narrative don’t just focus on the flow of the language and the construction of the sentences either, you have to think about how you represent things. So, for example, do you use a hyphen in ‘no-one’ like that or ‘no one’, both are acceptable. Which of the OK or okay forms do you use (ok is not generally an accepted form). Do you write -ise in words like recognise or realise OR the more US form of recognize/ realize and how is this in other forms of -ise/ize words. Do you use capitals in some of your expressions, like the Magic Sword, the Golden Knife. Do you capitalise the East and the West? Do you use a capital in Professor? University… here I would say unless part of the official address, his name, the university’s name then use a small letter — get the idea? US or UK spelling?

By writing these things down you can create a guide so you don’t have to remember because, inevitably, you will use forms interchangeably. The sheet helps you create consistency — which is key here. For a final edit/proof, it’s vital, especially if you plan to self-publish. But to submit you also want to show the highest level of professionalism. It’s very rare I am sent a ms with the writer’s own style guide but it happens from time to time and it shows me they appreciate this aspect is important.

 

It might include notes on what font is used, whether the text is left or fully justified, how particular words are capitalised or hyphenated, how much indent your indented quotations have, what is put in italics.

Especially if you’ve learned English as a second or other language, you will know that the English language is not consistent, and it doesn’t even have proper rules for some things! This can be really frustrating, as two people might do things in two different ways, BOTH of which are correct.

For example, in English …

  • We can use -s- spellings or -z- spellings in words like “organisation”
  • We can capitalise or not capitalise words like Chapter 1 or experiment 2
  • We can hyphenate or not hyphenate pairs of words like policy-maker

 

And that’s before you get to decisions like …

 

  • Are you going to use 20%, 20 percent or twenty percent?
  • Are you going to describe America as America, the United States, the US, the USA, the U.S. etc. etc.?
  • Are you going to use double inverted commas for quotations and single inverted commas for concepts, or vice versa?
  • Are you going to refer to other research as (Brown, 2003; Green and Jones, 2005, p. 23) or (Brown 2003, Green & Jones 2005:23) or any other variant

 

Now, the important thing with all of these is to keep it consistent.

 

More editing tips tomorrow!

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