Shadow frames the light

A fresh author's journey to actualization.

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Dave Cline of Virginia, Alaska, Colorado, California, Utah and Oregon

Saturday, November 12, 2016

An editor initiated ass-kicking

+Duncan McGeary

I've just had my first ass-kicking by an editor -- and it was glorious!

I can't believe how much I learned. And continue to learn from her edits and comments.

For instance, I had this document that I compiled over time -- just to feed my need of creative "said" and "asked" replacements:

When, little did I know, one should rarely replace said and asked. If you find yourself doing so -- then perhaps you just haven't "shown" how the character is reacting or behaving.

Additionally, passive voice -- boy, what a bugaboo. So often I had reduced the impact of my actions with passive voice. Ugh! what a mind warp it was to change how I envisioned action.

Other things were more mundane, like mixing character dialog and action in the same paragraph. Or redundant action ("she screamed loudly"), or more than one "ing" in a sentence (how can anyone be sawing and splitting at the same time?)

Anyway, I'm a changed writer now. I've got an editor who is willing to correct me and patient enough to watch me struggle. I have become the padwan learner.


Blogger Duncan McGeary said...

I have yet to have the pleasure.

I'm releasing my first book, which I wrote in 1980, Star Axe. I assumed that the publisher would edit it, you know? But they printed it as is. So has every other publisher of my books. Anyway, reading it now, it could have used a good editing. I'm doing little things to it--this has been published, after all, in its present form.

I've have had publishers make useful suggestions on books they rejected.

I think I get the "rules" mostly right.I have an editor I hired who goes through my manuscripts and recommends changes, which I mostly accept. I took a bunch of writing classes when younger where the "rules" you mentioned were taught.

What would be really great is to have an editor who would help me work on the content.

The rules you mention above are all true, but not a straight-jacket. The only "said" and "asked" is true MOST of the time.

The old saying I heard was, Stick to the rules until you know enough to break them. I'm at a point in my writing where I write what works for me. (Always willing to change, of course.)

9:38 AM  

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