Writer’s Wednesday

The word ‘edit’ falls into my bad four letter word column. I have writer friends who claim to love edits. “It’s great to revisit those characters.” Secretly, I think they like to lick a metal bar in the winter because for me it’s about the same.

And while I don’t enjoy edits…I have devised an editing routine that I’d like to share.  This is what I do during my ‘final before submissions’ edits (after I’ve made critique partner changers & filled in any plot holes I’ve realized, etc.)

First, I print the manuscript (I’ve tried to do it vie word & it can be done but I find paper works best for ME) in a landscape, 2 column format. Like a page from a book.  I like this format because it offers nice margins to make notes.

Second, I gather my colored pens. I use red for grammar/typos/left out words, etc. I use green to underline key plot events. Ie for my suspense these are the hints to the ‘creep’ or hints to why my heroine won’t commit to the hero. I use pink for character descriptions. I use purple for ‘promo’ – blurbs, Sunday Six, facebook teasers, etc.

What color is my hero eyes????

What color is my hero eyes????

Once I’ve marked the manuscript up, I’m ready to make the changes electrically. Now I know some writers use excel for their notes making a tab per character and one for settings. I like to use Microsoft Onenote.  I make a tab for EACH character, plot, and promo.

As I come to a ‘green’ marked passages I copy it and past it onto the plot sheet, the promo blurbs and ideas are copy and pasted on the promo sheet. Etc.

Once I’m done with the grammar/typos correction, I review my character notes.  I make sure every time I’ve mentioned a character’s eyes they are always the same color 🙂 Their middle name is the same. Stuff like that. Then if I notice my character went from blue eyes to brown eyes I make the corrections unless the change is due to color contacts 😛

When reviewing the plot notes I make sure I haven’t ‘dropped’ a thread and all my ‘clues’ line up.

The bedroom is down the hallway but now next the kitchen....

The bedroom is down the hallway but now next the kitchen….

The thing I find the most useful is the promo page. This has food mentioned that I can use for my Tasty Thursday blog, scenes, and other ‘promo’ ideas (like the heroine relaxing in a warm bath filled with scented salts – great blog hop giveaway). Once I’ve used a scene/blurb I note where and when.  This has been a proverbial life saver. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scanned my earlier books looking for a certain scene.

So those are my ‘final edits before submission’ tricks. Do you have any to share?  I’d love to hear them – especially if it includes someway to get a editing elf to come to my house.

Get ready, get set, WRITE!

If you’re a writer than you probably know November is National Write a Novel In a Month. While I don’t necessary official participate, I do enjoy hearing how other writers prepare for this. This past week I’ve read Lynn Viehl’s Way of the Cheetah – How to Boost Your Productively. She offers this as free resource during this prep time (at http://pbackwriter.blogspot.com/ )

 One of the first sections is motivation. The cheetah’s hunts because he has to survive – as Ms. Viehl points out there are no cheetah Burger King.

 So why do I write?

 Because I enjoy it. I have other ways for making money to pay my bills – so survival isn’t my driving force.  And this offers a conflict in her number one principal – give writing 100% of my focus. In the past I have wrote when I ‘felt’ like it or could squeeze it into my day. If I’m going to move to a fulltime write, I need to change this mind set.

 How do I make writing my number one focus?

 Since many writers will spend November making this their focus by altering their schedule for ultimate output, I’ve decide to become a more active member of the event.

 My kick-off writing schedule:

 5am – 9 am Blog/breakfast/taking dog for a walk/house upkeep- Since I’m not a plotter I plan on using this time as a ‘mental brainstorming’ period. What better to take my mind off moping than planning a steamy love scene 😉

9 am – 3 pm  New writing (small breaks of no more than 10 minutes with ½ for lunch – this is the longest block of time I’ve ever tried to do any SINGLE activity)

3 pm – 3:30 pm Social networking, e-mails

7:00 pm – 10 pm Edits/new writing/working out plot hiccups

My daily goal to start out with is about 6k new words a day.  Now I have no idea if this writing schedule will work, like I said I’ve never done a major time block for writing.

Do you do writing spurts or large blocks?  How do you keep your focus in during the marathon? Or how do you refocus after each spurt?

Motivation Monday ~ going for the gold

With the Olympics ending it’s hard to think about motivation without thinking about those who were part of them. Be it swimming, track, kayaking, basketball or one of the other sports athletics competed in the desire to be the best shone in them all. No athletic there would say he/she made it to London on their own. I’m sure they could name coaches, parents, siblings, spouses, and the list goes on of people who inspired, supported, or pushed them to be the great athletic they are (and I think anyone competing in the Olympics has outstanding dedication, motivation, and ability). Another thing all Olympic athletics have in common is their many ‘milestones’ along the way.


From a new project – A Year at the Beach Blog

As writers we also share many ‘milestones’ along the way that can act as motivators. Finishing our first novel.  Getting our first novel published (these may not be the same novel – I know several writers whose first novel are hidden away. It was the finishing that was important the honing of the skill came with the second). Receiving our first review (good and bad). Etc.

The ‘milestones’ change for writers as they develop their career as it does for an athletic. For one it maybe mastering a new swim stroke for another it may be to set a new record.  Each is motivated by different things. As with writers. I’ve said in previous post, I’m not extremely competitive so to join a yahoo group that focus on daily/weekly/monthly word counts does nothing to superglue my butt to the chair and keep me off facebook.

I’ve really struggled the last weeks with finding my motivation – hence the reason for Motivation Monday. While my switch from my full time EDJ to full time writing sounded great what I didn’t think about was the personal satisfaction element.  Don’t get me wrong I LOVE e-mails offering me book contracts but it isn’t the same as working closing with a student and helping her/him achieve a goal.

So after WEEKS of gorging myself on M&M’s to the point I can’t wear anything but yoga pants (which have never been worn to a yoga class) and my sweat shorts I realize it’s not the motivation I lack but the sense of accomplishment that I helped someone bury a personal demon. That we made a small step toward good.

Sometimes it’s hard to find your path in life…

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand finishing a book is an accomplishment but for me it doesn’t propel me to take the next step.  I started writing as a type of ‘therapy’ to handle the ‘darkness’ of my job. Gone is the darkness and with it the motivation to write.

So now I have identified the problem, how do I fix it? How do I make myself write? Well, first I decided I need to volunteer or do something that allows to me work with people. I need that interaction and that sense I’m contributing.  Not to return to the darkness that accompanied my EDJ but an outlet for my writing this time.

As each Olympic athletic has their own personal motivation pushing them toward the gold, writers also do it for a variety of reasons. Now that I have figured out what mine is hopefully, I can finish these two WIP‘s before I outgrow my yoga pants.