Six words inspired by a challenge

I’ve been participating off and on in Sometimes Stellar Storyteller’s 6 word story challenge . If you haven’t visited this page, you should. The challenge is simple. Every Saturday she posts a one word prompt to inspire your 6 word challenge. All you have to do is post your 6 word story in the comment(you only get one) and like at least two other posts.

It’s a fun way to exercise your writing muscles, grab some inspiration and see how others think. Sometimes great minds will think a like and as I’m composing my story someone else composes one very similar… It’s all in fun.

Last weeks prompt was rage and I won third place with my entry. As reward I get to post this lovely prize on my page.

6 word challenge 3rd.png

How fun. Thanks Nicola for hosting a fun contest. This week is Entrance, go visit and have some fun. I like to see what everyone else comes up with it’s very interesting.

My advice about trying something new.
Why not? You have nothing to lose. It is fun.

-Sheryl

A couple wordy posts of my own

Getting a little touchy feely

That is disgusting

I’m ‘that’ kind of writer

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

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Don’t burn the turkey!

Some would say there is a fine, delicate and balanced skill to cook the perfect turkey. The same goes for writing a book. Fresh or frozen(Genre)? How do I dress it(Content)? What temperature and for how long(Word count and style)? Moreover, how often to baste(Revise and edit)? Sure, that’s all fine and dandy for the poultry but how does that apply to my book? I need to pick the genre (Or write the genre my heart picks) Books take a lot of prep work, (even if that prep happens throughout.) Editing and revision is important, but how many times do I edit and revise? How do I know when it’s done and to take the book out and serve it to my readers?

For me I had some guidelines, a list of things I needed to accomplish.

Story flow
Word count reduction
Filter words removal(Started doing this one word at time)
Foreshadow check and instillation
POV check and correction
Action tag revision (Show not tell)
Dialog tag revision (Show not tell)

I ended up revising and reviewing BiaAtlas many times. I had others review it for me and point out the obvious, such as misspelled words (that are technically not misspelled), but clearly wrong. And then I revised again.

Word count became by biggest challenge. As a first time writer and this being my very first book it had to, I mean had to, be within an industry standard word count.

When I finished my first draft I found out my book was 15,000 words over the maximum allowable of 125,000.  Then as I went along and got it down to 125,000 with a lot of work.  I sought professional consultation and the consensus is, it needed to be below 120,000.  That was 5000 more to remove from a book I thought was done.

A little discouraged, yet determined I went about checking filter words and checking carefully for verbose descriptions. During this final review, I discovered one thing that I was stupid kinds of excited about and embarrassed over. I was up to this point reviewing one word or issue at a time. I’m not a professional editor to look for multiple infractions at a time… unless… as discussed in “Well colour me silly” I had a stroke of good fortune and had the idea to highlight all the potential trouble words at one time.

Holy Smokes! It worked!

By making all the words that might indicate a POV change or sentence issue, I was able to do one final and successful edit. I have only 704 words left to remove and 23 more chapters to go.

I made a list( A long list) Of words I know are filter, overused and issue words and made them stand out with bright colours. I made an excel file list with each chapter, the word count, how many were removed per chapter(entered as I finished), how many I had to go(This column was encouraging) and on average how many words I need to remove per chapter to achieve my goal(this changed with each line to reflect previous chapter edits)

As long as I stayed close to or over the removal average things moved along smoothly.

Now I will keep going and finish reviewing each chapter until I’m done and the further below that magic number I can get, the better chances I have of getting a Literary agent to look closer at my work and take me seriously.

I found there was some repetitiveness and verbose sentences that were easily reconstructed to lower word count and I’m beyond happy with how BiaAtlas now reads and flows.

So for me I know that BiaAtlas is nearly done roasting. Once I’m done getting the word-count down below 120,000 I will stop, take it out of the oven and let it rest(query more agents) and serve it to my guests(Get it published).

So thank you to all that bother to read, comment and like my blog posts. I appreciate every single one of you.

— an update since I pre-wrote this post on Sunday. I have 8 chapters left and I am now 233 words below the max!!  Woot woot! Now to keep going, the rest is just gravy.

My advice about not overdoing the editing.
Draw a finish line and stick to it. Know when to stop and say it’s done, potential imperfections and all. My finish line changed, I thought the turkey was done but the professional thermometer said otherwise. I adjusted and redrew my line. This time it’s firm and I’m very excited.

-Sheryl

Related blogs

Well colour me silly

The “word count” down.

I’m ‘that’ kind of writer

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Fortune
Fortune

The good…

The good…

Good habits are generally part of a routine or a conscious decision to do something good until it becomes habit. They can be simple like brushing your teeth and flossing daily, or turning lights off as you leave a room to save on hydro. Actions that are done without thought that influence the world around in a positive way.

These actions are important in my opinion as they can round out a character giving them a more human appeal. I’m not talking about blatantly writing in a good habit over and over in an overly obvious way, but a subtle action that fits within the scenario and is maybe repeated with little to no attention. Unless I want the habit to be endearing I might draw attention to it, but not outright.

Good habits can also be seen as kind gestures or acts of kindness because they often are.

Good habit ideas

  • Never talking with mouth full
  • Using please and thank you consistently
  • Sneezing into crook of elbow
  • Wiping crumbs from table(any table) so not to leave a mess
  • Tipping servers
  • Consistently early or on time
  • Double checks locks
  • Lets others go first
  • Holds doors open for others
  • Gets or brings someone coffee or tea when they need it
  • Tidies up after others without being asked
  • Donates to charities
  • Touching someone’s arm or shoulder in affirmation that they are acknowledged or appreciated
  • Puts the seat down. (that’s for the men 😉 )

I can go on but I don’t think it’s necessary.

Sasha finished the last review assuring the presentation was perfect. She glanced at her monitor clock, eleven-eleven. She looked down the hall. Scott approached with his cocky swagger assuring everyone that he was confident and aware they were watching. “Right on time.” Sasha smiled as he knocked on her doorframe and leaned casually against it. “Come in.”
He sauntered into her office, leaned on her desk. “Nobody likes tardy, naughty maybe.” He winked. “But not tardy.” His grin split his handsome face when she blushed and looked down at the file she had ready for him on her desk.
“The presentation is at two. The clients will be arriving, probably by quarter after.” She rolled her eyes. “Will you be ready by quarter to?”
“Absolutely chief.”
“I’m not your boss Scott.”
“No, but you’ve been here longer.”

 …

Sasha double-checked the PowerPoint set up; satisfied it was working perfectly she checked her watch. One forty five. The light rap on the doorframe of the meeting room door made her stand and turn.
“Scott. Come on in.” She smiled as he entered. “Would you do me a favor and set out the pens?”
“Absolutely.” He retrieved the pens with the company logo from the cupboard as she covered the board mock ups. “I was surprised you asked me to do the layout for this one.”
“Honestly I don’t have time to do them all myself. And the Hollander account was more urgent.” She sighed. “Besides you’re the sexy one. I mean you have a knack for sexy.” They both stopped and looked at each other, her face bright red. “I mean sexy layouts.” She put the palm of her hand to her forehead. “What I mean Scott is you made the leather cuffs look sexy.” She stopped as he chuckled deep in his throat.
“I know what you mean Sasha.”
“Those leather cuffs are tacky I don’t know how you managed it.”
“It was a challenge. Thanks. I took a note from your book, they wanted trendy I gave them…” He tilted his head. “Sexy.”
She nodded. “They’ll love it. Sex sells better than cool.”

Scott
Always knocks
Waits to be invited in
Always punctual

Sasha
Thorough
Makes sure things are perfect so they don’t inconvenience others
Asks instead of demands

 I would carry these traits(good habits) into other aspects as well. Sasha would always ask for help or time from her friends or family. It’s who she is. She would also clean and prepare food for company for casual or formal visits. If she had to do something for someone else, she would take care to make it right the first time and double check her accuracy.  Scott may not be a major player but he influences Sasha’s development and even for a casual character, I would be careful to keep him consistent. Flirty, considerate and polite to a fault. His “good” habits might be self-serving in the long-run. Who knows? Well I do, but that’s another side-story.

My advice about good habits.
Developing good habits as a writer is definitely a benefit. Developing your characters good habits is totally worth it. Even if it’s more subtle than what I wrote, the small details will be what endears a reader to the story whether they notice or not.

Sheryl

Some old posts

Tag! You’re it.

Look at the source

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Urgent