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I spend most of my time daydreaming and creating otherworldly tales steeped in myth, magic, and romance. All of my heroes have long hair, and my heroines are strong-willed. Prior to being a writer, I played bass guitar in an all-girl hard rock/metal band in southern California. When I'm not writing, editing, or reading, I enjoy practicing target archery.
 

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Self-Editing Tips

Here are some self-editing tips I would like to pass on to fellow writers.

Tips for Editing Your Manuscript
By Kelley Heckart


Congratulations! You have finished the first draft of your manuscript. Now comes the really fun part of reading through the entire manuscript and checking for typos and other errors.

The best way to do this is to print a copy of the manuscript. This may seem like a tedious way to read it, but it is much easier to read from a printed copy than to stare at a glaring computer screen. Make sure you have a red pen to mark any errors you may find.

In addition to checking for typos and other grammatical errors, you want to check for the following:

Compelling openings. You want an opening that will draw the reader into the story.

Strong verbs. Verbs activate sentences. Be careful not to overuse certain words though.

Use all the senses. Using sight, touch, sound, taste and smell in your writing will help to show, and not tell the story, which will improve descriptions.

Showing/not telling. You want the reader to be drawn into your story by use of descriptive sentences. This can be accomplished by the use of all the senses, using dialogue that reveals the personality of a character, showing action with strong verbs, using metaphors, similes and personification (be careful not to overuse these figures of speech). Strong descriptions draw a reader into the story.

Unnecessary words. For example: The dog was running toward the pond. Instead of “was running” use “ran.” The dog ran toward the pond.

Varied sentence structure. Try to vary sentences so they don’t always begin with “He did” or “The.” For example: He stood slowly despite the throbbing in his head. Try this instead: Slowly, he stood despite the throbbing in his head. Just try to vary the sentences so they don’t all begin the same. When you read through your manuscript, make sure that all the sentences in a paragraph flow together.

Expanded moments. Try to trim the fat off of scenes if they seem too redundant and slow the story down.

It also helps to get another opinion. Have a friend read it through. Sometimes another person might see what you cannot. Give it a few days and then read the manuscript again. Keep doing this until there are no more red marks on the paper. Good luck!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I tried unsuccessfully to write using an outline. Instead, I let the characters take the lead. This method seems to work better for me. The story flows better. It feels like magic when everything starts coming together. I am still working out some kinks, but I have a much better feel for what I want to do. I wonder how many writers prefer to write without an outline.

I think that my storytelling improves in the Fall. This is my favorite time of the year. The days grow shorter, the shadows deepen, and the temperature drops-even here in Arizona! There is a certain, kind of dark, mood that settles over me this time of the year. Does anyone else have a favorite time of the year to write?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Amazon Shorts

Here is a great marketing tool for writers to promote their work. Amazon.com is offering Amazon Shorts, which are collections of short stories of fiction, non-fiction, and essays available in electronic format. Authors are welcome to submit their work. For detailed information, please click on the link above that will take you to the main page. I think this is a great way for a writer to get noticed and to promote their other books. Everything helps when it comes to promotion.

Another way to promote books available on Amazon.com is to create a Listamania. You can list your own books, and other books by your favorite authors. The link for this is http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/browse/-/542566/002-6521005-2888017 Reviewing other books is also a great way to get noticed.

Good luck!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Why did we, as a society, change from a nurturing, live-giving, peaceable society to a war-like, like-taking society that views the taking of life as the ultimate power? Why did the fertile Mother Goddess change into a fierce War Goddess? These are questions that resulted in the book, The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler. I have only read the first chapter so far, but already I can see the parallels in our own modern society. This book is based on archaelogical evidence found in ancient Neolithic societies that points to a matriarchal society where men and women lived as equals. It does raise a lot of questions about how we live as a war-like nation today. As an author this interests me, and my upcoming book will be based on these beliefs. It will be a work of fiction so I will use my own thoughts to come up with the answers to these questions.

This is something that is on my mind, and probably on the minds of everyone in the U.S. The scenes that have been unfolding on t.v. as a result of Hurricane Katrina, and the effects it has had on society there. What really got to me was that most of the people that are still stranded are black, and probably poor people without any transportation. Why weren't these people evacuated by bus prior to the tragedy? Did the city not care about what happened to them? It is very disturbing to think that the poor were left to fend for themselves. Maybe I am wrong(I hope so), but that is the impression I am getting by what I am seeing and hearing on t.v. I don't know what it is like to live in New Orleans so I don't know if there are racial issues involved, but it is unthinkable to have to try to survive in those conditions. And it took way too long for help to get there. Why? I know I am not the only one asking these questions. Anyway, my heart goes out to all those who are going through this horrible experience.