Tidy Up Time

Tidy Up Time

While I edit and revise my new book, I’ve been taking small breaks to write my next one(I’m very excited about this) and to tidy up my Blogsite. I’ve changed the look and layout and I’m happy with the outcome. It’s not perfect, but it’s much better than the elementary one I had before. 

Lately, I found that I was receiving a lot of vague spam comments and emails. I just spent the last two hours cleaning up and managing my subscriptions to blogs. I had to unfollow and follow a few as there were double follow links for some odd reason. 

I’ve been trying to catch up with some of the serial stories, articles and poems being written by some fabulous bloggers, and I know I’m missing a few. (Which is why I tidied up my subscriptions) All of this takes time, and my brain is bogged down so it’s taking longer than I would like.

I’m not sure how I’m going to proceed with my blog posts, at the moment the ‘what I’ve learned’ posts will be once a week. I’ll be checking in with a more personal post(such as this one) to say hi and update on progress, randomly.

I do have exciting news, I’m looking into a professional Editor/copyeditor to review my first 50 pages, my query letter and synopsis for Prophecy Ink. After a 100% rejection for BiaAtlas, I figured I would take a step back and revisit some ideas about editing. This is and will be an investment for Prophecy Ink which is a smaller more action-packed book than BiaAtlas which is more in-depth and character driven. 

I’m curious to see what they will say and do to my work. All of which I will share for those interested. I’m letting BiaAtlas sit(Much to my fan’s chagrins) for a little while before I pick it up and revise it again. I feel that the fault is in the query and synopsis. Hopefully, when I get Prophecy Ink done, I’ll have a more clear Idea where to take BiaAtlas. 

If you’re wondering why not get a professional edit on BiaAtlas, the person investing the cost to edit, likes Prophecy Ink more. I’m not complaining, both books are good. That’s not to say I won’t be thinking about it in the future for BiaAtlas. 

This all stems down to live and learn, the query is the most important part of the road to publishing. They are the toll-gate, the barrier through which you can only pass if you get it right. Perfectly right. In every way. As frustrating as that may be, I get it, with hundreds and thousands of people querying their books it’s tough competition. The agents can say nay a lot easier if there are blaring or simple errors. If it’s not catchy or perfect, they can move on to someone else’s query. Just like job interviews, if you don’t nail it, there are hundreds of others lining up for a shot. The market of queries is not in the writer’s favour. Sounds super negative, it’s not. They demand perfection(despite what some might say), and they get it. The trick is to be that writer giving perfection. 

It’s hard to please and easy to get a no. There is something called a slush pile, the imaginary place where all rejections go. Since submissions are digital, that delete button is super duper easy to press. 

So here I go again, preparing for the query battleground. I have some experience, more knowledge(Thanks to some lovely books and articles) and I’m going to tackle it again. This time I’ll go slower, and I’ll share my advice, mistakes and efforts along the way.

-Sheryl

PS, my thanks to a good blogging friend for helping me learn how to create nicer looking links. My next project will be to make my blogs easier to navigate.

 MPFTS.png

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

Vague

Vaguely Passive

It was and there were. Yup I’m going there. Everyone does it. I am aware that I have. Starting a sentence with “It was” or “There were” is passive and… boring.  Chances are if I’ve stuck them in I’ve crippled the creativity of what could have been said.  These should be avoided for obvious reasons they can leave the reader wondering what exactly I meant by ‘it’ or ‘there’.

That can be a problem because if the reader gets bored then they aren’t paying attention. These two sentence starters are often found clinging to cliché phrases that should never be used such as “it was a dark and stormy night.” Blech, it’s been done to death.

So what would make “It was a dark and stormy night.” Better? A better immersive description. Let’s see…

Darkness gave way to the flash that lit up the rivulets of rain on the window.

The only thing louder than the pounding rain on the roof is the barrage of startling Anne.

With her nose pressed against the cool glass; Anne waited for the flash to light up the curtain of rain. 

Now the sentences are no longer passive or vague. It takes the narrative into a better voicing that the reader will enjoy.

So what about “There were” ?  There were plenty of apples. An abundance of vagueness. Assuming there is no option before or after to go into detail I’ll try to fix this one.

Anne’s eyes danced over the lush reds, greens and in between’s of the shiny apples on display.

Anne selected one of each of the ten types of apples from the market stall.

With ten different kinds, Anne selected the granny Smiths to use in her apple pie. 

This is not an exercise for reducing word count, however sometimes making the words count by adding more is more important than worrying about quantity. Taking away the vague allowed me to put a bit more information into the sentence.

Sometimes these are more innocent and less cliché. They just appear in writing because they’re easy to use.

For example: It was sunny today.

What was sunny? We all know sun appears outside but this can be better. Way better.

Anne smiled at her cat rolling in the puddle of sunlight on the floor.

Shielding her eyes as she opened the door; Anne reached for the sunglasses perched on her head.

The clouds parted and Anne lifted her face to the warmth and light that promised a beautiful day ahead.

Writing a sentence in the passive with a vague beginning is definitely something I try to look out for. A quick “search and find” or revision can help track them down in my writing. When I see them I know I’m being lazy and do what I can to make the sentence more valuable.

Here’s a challenge for my lovely followers. Give one, two or all of these a try. Re-write them and see what you come up with and put them in the comments below to share.

It was a dark and stormy night.
There were plenty of apples.
It was a sunny day.

My advice about passive vague sentence starts.
Watch out for them, find them and put them to rest by writing something more interesting.

-Sheryl

That escalated quickly

Bibbity Blogity Boo

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved
Lush
Aware

De-dangling modifiers

While researching something completely unrelated, I came across a term that I didn’t know. Dangling modifiers or misplaced modifiers. Of course once I did some further research I figured it out quickly and I discovered I dangle modifiers. Huh.

So what is it? Modifiers are words or phrase that modify something else. Often causing a confusing statement that can also be funny. Vague I know, the examples make it clearer what I mean.

For example:

Jim almost walked down every street looking for the dog.

Almost is the modifier in that sentence, but it implies that Jim didn’t go all they way down each street.

Jim walked down almost every street looking for the dog. 

Now the sentence reads correctly and the modifier is placed correctly. Now Jim is walking down the streets, just not all of them.

Let me try another:

Rolling down the street, Amber was terrified by the runaway car.

Since Amber comes right after “rolling down the street” Amber is the modifier and is the one rolling. Which is a weird thing to do.

Honestly in this case the “rolling down the street” is superfluous. But if one really felt that it needed to be said, perhaps this would be better.

Rolling down the street, the runaway car terrified Amber.

Okay so now the car is rolling, not Amber. Although the other might make for a more interesting story.

Next example:

Covered in dust, Scott questioned the plates cleanliness.

Because Scott followed the dust, Scott is dusty not the plate.

Covered in dust, the plate caused Scott to question the cleanliness.

What I would write in this case if I see the comma, I know it could be way better anyway. Besides I like to bring the sentence out of the characters head (I write in third) and make it part of the experience.

Scott ran his finger over the dusty plate and grimaced at the smudge on his finger. 

I’m sure I do this all the time. Maybe someday I’ll write without tonnes of errors, but until then I’ll ask others to proof. These sorts of mistakes are caught by proof readers or reading the book out loud to myself.  For me I try to take out the comma if it’s being used. I’s usually a clear sign that I’ve dangled the wrong damned thing.

My advice about Dangling modifiers.
De-dangle them, re write the sentence. Otherwise what the reader reads, might not actually be what’s happening.

-Sheryl

The jerk-face warrior

Wisely Perpetrating Gullibility

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Someday