writing text, random text, text, paper, notebook, pen.

Final Edits

Bah Humbug has gone off to the anthology organizer! I’m happy to have one thing done. I did the final edits on Saturday! It always feels good to check off a to do list item.

I started the final edit on Sacrificed to the Sea Monster. I got through 10 chapters last night and hope to finish the last 8 chapters tonight. Once that’s done, I’ll send it off to my formatter and ask her to get it set up so I can upload files and get the paperback started.

From there, I have a couple manuscripts and stories to read / edit. I have client work for editing I need to focus on. I’ll also be sending off quotes to my graphics person for her to make me a bunch of ads.

It’s only about 5 1/2 weeks until Sacrificed is released so I’ll be ramping up the promoting for this book. With my read through, I have discovered how much I enjoy this story. I am looking forward to writing the next one.

I’ve got an appointment with my cover designer so I will be starting a list of tasks I need her to do.

Fractured made it to #6 which is FANTASTIC in New Releases Colonization Science Fiction! I’m so grateful people enjoyed it! However, I need to keep moving forward with the next project.

laptop pencil and book on bedclothes

Editing Part 2

Tonight I got started later than I wanted. My own fault completely. Family drama and a long day made it hard for me to settle.

Once I settled I finished reading through four chapters. I have three left. While I’d love to just barrel ahead, I am too tired to do a good job of catching errors and issues. So the three chapters will be tomorrow night.

Hopefully I can finish off Bah Humbug this weekend and turn it in the organizer for the anthology. Once I finish off Sacrificed and upload it to KDP, I’ll work on client editing for a bit. I have two to get done. So I’ll work on that.

I have some specific writing I want to do. But I will be starting either the second in the Sacrificed series or the second in the Alien Mate series which I still don’t have a good name for.

As I write, I need to figure out when I want to publish each story and slide them into my schedule. I don’t want to crowd my schedule too much but ideally I’d like to publish the second Sacrificed and all three of the Alien Mate ones. I also have to think about the next steps for a few other series.

I read through three rather fast paced chapters tonight. I really enjoy this story. He’s a dick but he’s reached a point in the story where he realizes he’s been a dick. Now he has to decide how to make up for his dickish behavior and admit he loves her.

close up of words printed on book page

Editing… again

I go through a lot of stages for editing. Right now I’m working on three stories. Bah Humbug – a short story for a Christmas anthology, Sacrificed to the Sea Monster – an Ava novel, and Alien Mate book 1 (bad WIP name).

Last night I finished the paper edit – meaning I actually print out the story and edit it on paper. I know I should try not to use paper but I never feel the story is done until I do this stage. Bah Humbug didn’t take a lot of time but it needed some updates. Sacrificed took two nights.

My sister has those two. She takes my edits and puts them on the computer. She also pulls out any quotes I want – when I remember to watch for quotes.

Tonight I did a bunch of stuff like get through my emails, schedule posts for a release party, obsess about what place my books was at, begging people to buy my book in the hopes of driving up the standing, and you know stuff.

When I was done with the stuff, I tried to decide if I was awake enough to pay attention to client work or if I should write or edit or what? I opened Alien Mate. Now what I’m about to say sounds like I don’t like my writing but there’s always a point where I don’t think my work is good enough. It happens with every book. It comes and it goes. I publish and people tell me one way or the other.

I opened Alien Mate and started editing. I thought – at the beginning – I’m not sure I can stick doing this. Then it went from 10ish to midnight. I looked up at noted the time. It was like – wait what?

I’ve gotten five chapters gone through. I’ve had some biggish changes and noted a few inconsistencies. It’s almost 12:30 and I have to be up at 6:00 am so it will be a short night. But the reality is, I want to keep reading and editing. I know what’s coming up and I cannot wait to read it.

However, the day job is needed and I like my pay check. So I’m off to bed and tomorrow night I’ll work on this some more.

writing text, random text, text, paper, notebook, pen.

Summer Vacation Part 3

Yesterday I worked on getting Solana into blogs. Having different bloggers post about my books helps different people see my book. It also means I have to write something to go with. It might be a character interview or to answer specific questions. These take time to write so I got several done.

Then I worked on getting my books set up in Asana. Now I use this to schedule the different tasks I need to accomplish between now and the release date like editing steps, ordering graphics (or creating them) and marketing steps. I had seven books to set up. The nice thing is I lumped a number of those tasks on the same day despite the later release dates.

It makes it easier to do all the books at once like researching keywords rather than scattering those tasks over multiple days for the next year. This means I need to look at my calendar so I keep track of what’s on the agenda.

I planned to write last night but I had people around me until late. I read a book instead. I was up until about 1 am and enjoyed getting lost in the story. When it was done, I wanted to keep reading but of course the book was done.

My daughter has started making fruit smoothies in the morning. We’ve had a mix of cherries, strawberries, peaches, blueberries, banana. This is how we’ve been starting our day and it’s delicious and filling. We will probably put the fruits we need for smoothies into one freezer bag so we can grab and make very easily.

Today is a lot of meetings for me. I do an author talk in my Facebook and then a group of authors get together and chat about writing stuff after that. In between today, I need to peel and halve peaches so they can go in the freezer.

After dinner, I plan to send people off to their own spaces so I can write. Yesterday while having a conversation with someone I came up with a plot for the short story I am working on. It all just fell into place. I have an idea of what I want to write and how to solve the issues. It just clicked which is heavenly!

Writing sample created using the Mechanical substitute for the arms, United Kingdom, 1919 (writing sample)

More on Summer Vacation!

Four manuscripts later, I’ve started a short story I wasn’t planning on writing this year. I saw an anthology which this story will fit into nicely. I talked to the organizer and if I can get it written in under a month I’ll be able to join the anthology.

Last night I worked on the short story and got almost 1200 words written. It was an odd day for me yesterday. I had lots of distractions for finishing the fourth manuscript I was editing. Also I found places to add in things my beta readers wanted. I’m pleased with the results and hope my beta readers will be as well.

Last night I also started some client work. This is on my schedule for today. My plan – very loose and adjustable plan – is to switch off from writing to editing as I get tired of one or the other. With any luck (and hopefully few interruptions) I can make a dent in both of these projects.

Unnecessary Words

How does a writer make their writing more dynamic? This is the question every writer wants an answer to…. at least if they want strong writing.

So let’s define the type of writing I’m talking about. I’m not talking about dialog – conversations have their own quirks and breaking the rules is acceptable if it’s purpWoseful. I’m also not talking about academic or formal writing. Fiction writing is different from all those other types of writing.

In fiction writing, we use words which aren’t needed. Are they added to pad the number of words? I think they’re added because it’s easier to write using them. Here are a few of them:


Often we use this in place of other words like who or which. The way to know which word to use is by looking at the clause (huh? what comes after it) it’s attached to. The bike, which is red, has a flat tire. Should which be that? It depends. If there are multiple bikes and the color defines the bike you refer to, you use ‘that’ and there would be no commas. If the color is just additional information, you use which and commas.

When it comes to who, who is used when people are involved. That can refer to people, animals, groups, or things. If people are involved you use who. Now this is English so it’s messed up – when it comes to groups you use either who or that.

There are times when you don’t need that but it’s put in because it “sounds” better. Most often the ‘that’ is not needed. Here’s two examples from Owl Purdue

Wordy: I received your inquiry that you wrote about tennis rackets yesterday, and read it thoroughly. Yes, we do have. . .

Concise: I received your inquiry about tennis rackets yesterday. Yes, we do have. . .

I’ve done a lot of editing and most authors overuse the word ‘that’. Part of the reason for it is because we use it speaking.

Passive voice vs Active voice

I know I’ve talked about this before but here’s a quick review of the topic. Passive voice slows down your pace and is an indirect way of describing something

Passive Voice

The boy was bitten by the dog

Active Voice

The dog bit the boy

In the passive voice sentence the verb includes a be verb (am is are was were are been – per Perdue Owl.

Now in an action scene passive voice slows down the action.

Passive – The boy was chased by the dog he teased.

Active – The dog chased the boy who teased him.

Overused words

Now you can google and see which words the powers that be say are overused. But slow down your reading of the book and analyze what you overuse. That is one for almost every author. But there are others.

In my early writing everything was done quickly. Apparently my characters did all their action fast. I’ve found other words and also stopped making my characters rush.

But I have a list of words I know I overuse.

How do I eradicate them? I search for each one and highlight them. When I do my read throughs, I look at each highlight and try to get rid of it – especially when there’s a paragraph full of them.

Now I never get rid of all these words – and I don’t want to. Sometimes passive voice is good, sometimes you need That or other words like it. The point is to look at these things and see if the alternate is stronger than what you have.

Morgan Worth, Editor, Beta Reader, Proofreader

Morgan and I bumped into each other on social media. Since she offers services for beta reading and proofreading I thought it would be wonderful to have a description of what these two things are and how they work if you hire someone.

Tell us a little about yourself

I get paid to read books! I am a freelance beta reader, proofreader, and editor.

What is your background for being a beta reader and proofreader?

I have a B.A. in English, and I minored in Printing and Publishing Arts. That minor heavily emphasized editing techniques. Just as importantly, I’ve been a devourer of books for as long as I can remember! I love words and stories and I’m fascinated with how they work. I have also been teaching for eighteen years, so I’ve read and curated books for kids and teens of all ages and I have lots of experience evaluating writing and giving constructive criticism.

Please explain what a beta reader does?  

A beta reader reads a manuscript before it’s published, and usually before it goes through any editing. Beta readers provide feedback from a reader’s perspective. Many authors exchange manuscripts with other authors or try to recruit readers to give them feedback. Sometimes this works out great, but often other writers are busy and have a hard time getting to critiquing someone else’s book right away. Readers are often busy, too, and they tend to have a hard time giving the kind of detailed, honest feedback that a writer can use to make her book better.

As a beta reader, I read unpublished manuscripts just as a reader would, but as I go, I make notes of my thoughts. What do I think is going to happen next? What made me laugh out loud? What grossed me out or confused me? Then, I look at the book as a professional, with a critical eye. I consider the intended audience and genre expectations, and I give constructive feedback on the book as a whole.

And a proofreader 

Proofreaders find errors after the copyediting process. Sometimes when the author makes changes called for by the copyeditor, she accidentally introduces mistakes such as duplicate words or misspellings. Suggesting changes to sentence structure, pointing out passages that lack clarity, addressing widespread punctuation and grammar issues, etc. are beyond the scope of proofreading. This is copyediting, a much more time-consuming task.

Do you have genres you prefer?  Or ones you won’t work in?

I’m always thrilled when I get my hands on a cozy mystery! I read a wide range of genres, and fantasy is another one of my favorites. I also enjoy sweet romance and historical romance. Those who write for kids and teens will be happy to know that I have experience with the unique characteristics of kidlit and YA and am also currently working with kids on a regular basis.

I’m not the right reader for erotica, erotic romance, steamy romance, or horror. I’ve just never gravitated toward them and I wouldn’t be able to give good feedback.

What’s the number one thing you hate to see in a manuscript?

Preaching! I’ve spent many hours with manuscripts that were all message and no plot. The author had something to say, and she was so focused on saying it that she forgot to tell a story. No matter what your philosophy is, the best way to convey it is through a great story. The story must come first!

What is something which has totally taken you by surprise when reading?

I’ve been surprised by many fun plot twists, but I won’t give those away here. I’ve also had a few experiences with books that suddenly changed in tone halfway through. That’s a much less pleasant surprise!

What can authors do to better prepare their manuscripts for a beta or proofreader?

Study your craft. Sure, you’re hiring a professional, but how will you know whether she did a good job if you don’t know how to use an apostrophe with a plural possessive or if you’re not a reader yourself?

When hiring a beta reader, it’s okay to leave spelling and punctuation errors unchecked, but the manuscript should be clean enough that a reader can make sense of it. If you’re hiring a proofreader, remember that her job is to catch mistakes that remain after copyediting has already taken place. In general, the better shape your manuscript is in, the more the pros can help you put a finer polish on it.

What format do you prefer?

I prefer using track changes in Microsoft Word, but I can work with PDF as well.

What advice do you have for authors?

Read! Read widely, and read in your genre. I believe that most writers absorb some of the elements that make up a strong plot and compelling characters as well as genre expectations if they read a lot. Your experience as a reader is what gives you that gut feeling that something is off with a certain part of your story. Sure, it often takes someone else (such as a beta reader) to reaffirm those suspicions, but the more your writerly senses are honed, the better your manuscript will be to begin with, and the better able you’ll be to consider that feedback and decide whether or not it’s on point.

Links to find Morgan Worth

Please visit my website for more details on my rates and how to hire me! http://www.mybetareader.com

I also have a Facebook page:

A Fresh Pair of Eyes

Barbara Ardinger is an editor I’ve used and trust. When I edit, she’s my go to person for questions because of her background and her extensive knowledge. I asked her to share some of her knowledge in a post. Here is one snippet of what she does.

Trying to finish your book or magazine article?

And you’re tired of staring at that blank screen?

Let Me Be Your Editor

When you ask me to be your editor, how can I help you? I’ve been working with smart people like you since the turn of the century. These are smart people who often have good ideas, but they are not (alas) very good writers. I’ve helped nearly all of them succeed.

I’ve edited more than 300 manuscripts. Most of these were for authors going to literary agents or to small, vanity, or on-demand presses. Nonfiction projects include memoirs and biographies, mind/body/spirit (mostly mainstream metaphysics and a lot of New Age), holistic health, science and technology, political tracts, business topics, Calvinist and Islamic theology and history, and ghost hunting. This is one reason I love my job! I learn something new with everything I edit. Fiction includes romance, action-adventure, science fiction, western, mystery, historical, speculative, noir, and horror novels. Other projects I’ve edited include screenplays (film and TV), children’s books, academic discourse (textbooks, doctoral and master’s theses in the U.S. and the UK), website text, and poetry. (Because poetry is so personal, I edit it very carefully.) I have also taught university classes in writing and public speaking and worked as a technical writer/editor in five different industries. And I earned my Ph.D. in English with straight A’s, which means I know what I’m talking about.

I can help you, too! As your editor, I’ll look at what you wrote with fresh eyes. I can improve your spelling, grammar, punctuation, English usage, sentence structure, and word choice. I know what “gooder English” is. I know how to punctuate dialogue. I know how to help you not write Tom Swifties or make other common errors like purple prose and just plain wrong words—like “a house built of troglodyte” (look it up)—that often lead to unintended humor and may inspire your reader to throw your book across the room. I know how to call out unsupported generalizations and lame exaggeration. I know about history and can correct cultural misconceptions. I also do a lot of fact-checking as I edit. What does this kind of work on my part add up to? You’re less likely to embarrass yourself in print. Together, we can also brainstorm for ideas and structure and then outline your chapters. I’ll help you prewrite, write, and rewrite. And I’ll hold your hand till the very end.

Why “fresh eyes” can help you. Because my fresh eyes have not seen the same sentences umpteen times, they read what is really there, not what is remembered or expected of what you thought you wrote. Fresh eyes catch simple, stupid mistakes that weary eyes swan right over. Fresh eyes see leaps of logic where weary eyes have blinked.

Yes, I’ll be your fresh eyes. That means I’ll see the details you miss simply because you wrote the sentences and paragraphs and think you already know what they say. In other words, I’m likely to catch things you and your spouse and your friends and your critique group missed and correct those often dumb mistakes for you. Especially if what you wrote is not quite what you intended. As I am forever telling my authors—most of whom become my friends—it’s important to remember that our readers don’t live in our heads with us. We have to show them stuff. We need to remember that clarity is everything.

That’s my goal: to help every author I work with write more clearly and more meaningfully.

Send me an email now or call me, and we’ll talk about your ideas and ways I can help you manifest your good ideas on paper……….or at least on your screen. Cheers!

Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D.




And you can find some of my books on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&index=blended&keywords=barbara%20ardinger

Unexpected Blessings

Normally I am really focused on writing, crocheting, and my day job.  I’ve not been soliciting for editing or freelance work.  This summer I’ve been working really hard to get my books noticed more and to draw in more readers. 

While the insanity of creating a new cover, updating my website, working on my blurbs and so on… new opportunities presented themselves.  I thought about turning down an editing job but bills… they exist and I’m not independently wealthy.  After the editing job, some freelance work came up. 

Digging in, juggling lots of different projects, I signed up for the freelance work too.  This means the last week or so has been stupidly busy and will probably be for the next week (roughly). 

The nice thing – the money and the work.  I love the editing I’m doing.  It reminds me of how important it is and keeps me on my toes for my own writing.  The freelance stuff I’m doing is complex and exhausting but at the same time I like the demand and the stretch it makes me do. 

Long story short, I’m hoping by the time I’m done with both, I’ll be able to pay for the new pantry we are having built and pay off a couple medical bills. 

The new pantry is a necessity for my sanity.  Our kitchen is small but my people like kitchen stuff.  My daughter loves to bake and cook.  Currently we have little storage which means our counters and table are constantly cluttered.  But with the bigger pantry (going from 6″ to 20″ shelves) we will have room for the gadgets to get off the counter and still be accessible without being shoved in the hall closet, living room cabinet, or basement. 

This last week I’ve felt stressed and overwhelmed but at the same time I’m working towards a goal.  The freelance is limited in time and will go so that will ease my work load.  Over the weekend I worked on freelance stuff, editing, and created two patterns which I submitted to the magazine for publication.  (Fingers crossed)

Part of the issue, I want to update covers, blurbs, and do another edit on some of my novels.  In reality it will probably be all of them but it will have to be over time as money is an issue.  I’m butting up against – I want to write and crochet but at the same time I want to take the time to improve the products I have out there.  It’s a lot of work.  It’s a lot of energy.  Of course I want it all done NOW so I need to remind myself it can’t all happen at once.  Prioritize and work on it bit by bit – right?  Yes but in my head my inner voice is saying – get it done NOW!  Apparently I have high expectations of myself. 

I’m grateful for the outside work.  It has come at the right time and in the right way.  I’m appreciative of the added funds so I can get bills paid and things better in my house. 

Back at the Grindstone

With nine days off, you would think I got a lot accomplished.  I did when it comes to spending time with my girls but off my to-do list?  Not so much.

I got 70 stars made but I need to get 30 more done.  I’d like to get them done sooner rather than later.  But it wasn’t this past weekend.  I guess I’ll take them to work with me so I can work on them during my lunch hour.

I still have a shawl to do and I have an idea on how I want to do it but I have to see how I think it will work out.  Part of me is itching to get these two projects off my list.  I know I have two more right on the heels of it which are both started.

The good thing is I got edits on the computer for the next Wayfarer book but I didn’t get the second Wild Magic book edited.  That stays in my bag to work on.

Oh and if that isn’t enough, the girls brought home this fun, addicting game called Ticket to Ride – which is about building trains on all sorts of maps.  We found out there’s a version of it I can have on my phone.  This is a mistake but it’s on my phone.  Oh my goodness – I can’t stop playing.  Saturday night I stayed up till 1 in the morning playing it and I didn’t notice time passing.  I’m going to have to be firm with myself because I have too many other things to do.

On Facebook I’ve been seeing snippets from JD Robb’s books.  It made me want to read them.  I got through the first three in no time.  I’ve got a Dragon book I’m reading too.  I like the premise of the dragon books (and who doesn’t love dragons?) but there is a touch too much repetition for me.  There are 64 chapters in the book I’m reading but they are short chapters.  I’m sort of interested but it doesn’t hold my attention.  I’ll get through it eventually and I’m hoping there’s a tipping point where I get enthralled in the story to the point where I can’t put it down but I’m not holding my breath.  On the JD Robb books, I’m not sure whether I’m going to reread the whole series (she has a new one coming put in September) or not but I thoroughly enjoyed the ones I’ve read so far.  I’m also reading a review book.  I need to struggle my way through the end of it and write the review.  Then I have two or three more to read for reviews.  I hope they are better than I expect.