Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Tips for Good Editing & Proofreading – Author ToolBox Blog Hop

June 18, 2020
mandyevebarnett


Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2

A good editor is worth their weight in gold. They not only fix your grammar and find and correct major and minor errors , but also improve your book’s content and structure in a way that preserves your style. There are two main processes a manuscript has to go through prior to publication. Both require a systematic approach.

Use these as a guideline to edit and proofread your manuscript before sending it to an editor. Expect a red-lined manuscript back and learn from the experience.

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Editing

This process concentrates on:

Paragraph structure and clear transitions between paragraphs.There is a flow of the story – whether character development or plot.

Highlighting any repetition of words, sentence structure, and the correct use of any technical, historical or factual elements.

Helps to condense and improve the efficiency of your writing.

Questions your flow of the narrative.

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Proofreading

A more focused approach to find common errors and the ones missed during editing. Here are a couple of tips to help you:

Read the manuscript out loud or divide it into sections. TIP Read from last chapter to first.

Rewrite structure if required, such as plot, story line, consistency and continuity. TIP Create a general outline 1 – 3 pages maximum to track the story line.

Scene outline. Read each scene to determine if they require editing or deletion TIP Do they push the story forward? If not delete them. TIP Create a check list for each step of proofreading. Then concentrate on that particular one at a time.

Print out your manuscript – it may seem odd to do this in the computer age but we perceive information differently between screen and paper. TIP Read it out loud. On hearing the flow of the language you will understand your strong and weak points.

TIP from the King!

We can be too wordy in our writing, Stephen King learned: “2nd Draft = 1st draft – 10%”. An average manuscript requires at least three rounds of editing and at each round try to shorten your draft for 10% of its original length.

Linear Edit. This is the point you deal with the minor issues such as rewriting sentences, exchanging with words, and fix grammar, punctuation, proofread for misspellings and typos.

Do you have a particular system or tip you use while editing & proofreading?

I have read about one author who prints the manuscript on different coloured paper for each step but this seems a bit excessive! 

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Author Toolbox Blog Hop – Utilizing Prompts

January 16, 2020
mandyevebarnett


I have been the advocate of prompts to spark imagination ever since I began writing. In fact my first ‘real’ piece of writing was the result of a three word prompt. Here it is:

Fire, Clock & Certainty.

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Fire light flickered on the walls and ceiling as Joan sat with a glass of her favorite red wine. Watching the flames lick the logs and send little sprays of ash and sparks upward, she tried to calm her mind. It was a certainty that Thomas would be angry with her once he knew of her accident. The clock ticked as its hands made their gradual path towards 9 o’clock and the inevitable argument.
Joan had tried to cover up the dented fender with a casually placed cloth but Thomas would immediately know something was wrong as she had parked in his place in the garage. Such a creature of habit, her husband he had rules and very particular likes and dislikes. His routine had to be strictly adhered to or there was hell to pay. She knew he would go over the top with his recriminations and probably ban her from driving for months.
The clock struck nine and she heard the garage door open as Thomas drove up to it. Straining her ears she heard his car drive forward and then shriek to a halt. His place was taken up by her car now he would be mad. A slam of the driver’s door told her he was walking through to the kitchen and she could feel his presence enter the lounge.
She squeezed the trigger slowly as the instructor had told her and Thomas’ face flew apart. No more shouting, no more rules, no more living in fear. Watching Thomas’ foot twitch as the life left him gave her a rare feeling of joy. No more tormentor.

Since those humble beginnings, I have continued to use prompts, whether words or pictures to engage my Muse. At Christmas, I was given a Word of the Day desk calendar and will utilize the words to create a short story or poem. These is the result of the first 10 days of January. As you can see the words are unique and gave me more of a challenge. 

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Kinara, Chronoaut, Ineluctable, Deportment, Palmary, Epiphanic, Kolacky, Bloviate, Cathexis, Redolent

Jensen stood in line with the other candidates listening to the bloviate speech of the head of the facility. As he exalted the program’s cathexis in their training, noting one man stood out above the rest. Jensen saw the commander’s eyes glance towards him and he an epiphanic sensation went through him – he would be the one, it was ineluctable after all, and his tests had all proved top marks coupled with his deportment in any given scenario. Jensen knew his was palmary among these excellent candidates in the chrononaut program.

His first glimpse of the other universe as he emerged as the first time traveler was an elaborately set table with a kinara lighting the room with a redolent kolacky set in the middle.

As writers we are always immersed in our own creative world, full of locations, characters, plot lines and scenarios – whether imaginary or real. However, sometimes our brains become stagnant, unresponsive or just plain tired. To leave our current ‘work in progress’ can help us greatly to refresh and regroup. That is where prompts come into their own. With an unrelated word choice or image, comes new insight and fun. They maybe a quick ten minute exercise or, as so many do, take on a life of their own propelling you into a story you had not previously imagined. Three prompts I found lent themselves to the creation of a novella. 

The easiest way to use a prompt is to let the initial thought flow and just let it take you wherever feels right. It maybe result in a poem, short story, a character study, a word association or something else. Many will be forgotten and not saved but some ignite that creativity to renew.

I create prompts for my writing groups website every Saturday, if you feel like visiting: https://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com/saturday-writing-prompt

Have you used prompts? What is your experience with them?  

 

 

Author Tool Box Blog Hop – Tips on Promoting Your Book

October 17, 2019
mandyevebarnett


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 #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop 

As writers and authors, we are formidable in our ability to create narratives but we also have to learn how to market the ‘end product’ of those many months or even years of creativity. We become a book business.

  1. The first avenue many authors take is social media, which can be seen as a ‘soft’ option. After all we are not up close and personal with the public but at arm’s length. However, due to the countless sites available just choosing the ‘right’ one or two can be overwhelming. Then there is the matter of maintaining our ‘presence’ on each platform. We need to research which avenues of promotion will work best not just for our genres but also our ability to sustain them. Do your research on similar authors in your genre and see what they use (and of course ‘follow’ them).

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     2. Following selected authors, genre based bloggers, book reviewers, and writing        groups allows you to gain followers but also to learn about your particular genre   and gain a reader base. When someone is interested in your genre they ‘search’ for more posts, articles, links and books within that specific field. While you are doing that follow 10 ‘friends’ of friends on Facebook and 100 people on Twitter – this can gain a wider audience. However, in light of these two platforms losing participants also follow people on Instagram. (We have to keep up with the ‘in’ thing!)

3. Improve your author bio on all platforms to entice and inform as many followers as possible on all sales sites, your blog and social media platforms. Ask yourself – does it reflect you as a writer as well as a person.

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4. Use hashtags specific to writing, authors, books, genre and associated links – look at what other authors use.

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5. Then there is the personal touch, which means organizing or being involved in author readings, attending book events and participating in Q&A panels. Search your local area for book related events, get to know your local bookstores, inquire at your library, join a local writing group, the wider your reach the easier it will be to find avenues of sale for your book.

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6. Merchandise is another way of promoting your book. It can be as simple as custom bookmarks to T-shirts with the book cover/main character on the front. Make up a prize basket for a contest to be collected at an event (good photo opportunity to use on social media) or create an online contest for a free autographed copy of your book.

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7. An easy promotion is to leave five of your author business cards in local businesses, at the doctor’s or dentist’s office, or anywhere you visit on a regular basis. Many places have community boards too so pin some cards or a poster of an event you are attending there too.

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Do you have any promotion tips you would like to share?

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2

 

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Six Tips to Tame the Story Idea Flood

September 18, 2019
mandyevebarnett


Idea Source

Many of us experience, from time to time, the dreaded writers block, that awful feeling while staring at a blank page or screen when words do not flow but what happens when there are too many story ideas bombarding our brains? It can be just as debilitating as staring at that blankness. Bizarrely the symptoms are quite similar – crippling  indecision, procrastination, and even insomnia and anxiety.

As writers we usually have numerous story ideas bouncing around inside our heads usually gleaned from something we see or hear. This may seem like a good problem to have, however, the dilemma is how do we ensure these golden nuggets are not lost or are even worth investigating?  We can make frantic notes, some which, unfortunately make no sense whatsoever later on! That middle of the night scribble is so common. But timing is everything – musing over where a new idea could possibly lead, can lead to a devastating interruption to a current project. So how do we identify if this ‘new’ idea is worth pursuing without jeopardizing our current writing?

There are strategies we can employ to enable us to identify the ideas that are worth keeping – here are a few.

a) Leave the chaos of your writing space with pen and paper or recording device and go for a walk. Once you are in a new environment the most exciting and prominent idea(s) will stay with you. Write or record them and let your imagination flourish with them for a while.

b) Restrict your time on musing about new ideas by setting yourself a time limit. Even a ten minute burst of inspirational writing will ensure you get the idea down but not ‘waste’ too much time on it. Once it is written put it to one side and continue with your current project, safe in the knowledge the idea has been dealt with.

c) Take some time to really dissect the new idea. Can you envisage the plot arc, the ending, the characters? If the majority of the narrative reveals itself to you, then mark it down as your next project. However, if the idea is vague, do not pursue it – just jot down the outline and file it for another time.

d) Utilize your passion when defining whether an idea is worth reflection. If it excites you or is on a subject you feel passionate about then it should be considered in depth.

e) Get yourself an idea board. Organize each idea into genre or categories and when a new plot, character or scene comes to you place it with the other components of that particular story or idea thread.

f) Bounce your ideas off a few trusted friends or members of your writing group.

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Not all ideas will make it and that’s okay. Use your internal writer instinct to guide you on which idea excites your specific Muse, the one that takes hold of your imagination and let the words flow. Story is our power and knowing which ones we are best at telling is key.

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2

Blogger Q & A Tag – My Turn…

November 21, 2016
mandyevebarnett


I have been tagged by Eva Blaskovic at https://evablaskovic.com/ to play along with this Q&A, so here goes.

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Rules: Thank the blogger who nominated you. Thanks Eva (I think!)
Answer the questions you were given by that blogger.
Nominate 10 bloggers, give them 10 new questions, and let them know they’ve been tagged.

The questions I received were:

Country or city?  Most certainly country – I like my space, the sound, smells and sights of the great outdoors. I grew up in the  English countryside and find cities too noisy and crowded to stay very long.

For writing: silence, music, or other? Depends on my mood – sometimes silence, other times classical music, however once absorbed in my words everything around me disappears.

What/where is your favorite writing retreat? A difficult question as I have quite a few – Strawberry Creek Lodge, anywhere I holed-up on road trips, my local library or coffeehouse or even when alone in my house for several hours.

What do you consider to be the most meaningful book to you and why? Another difficult question as different books meant different things to me as I grew. I loved Stig of the Dump by Clive King as a child, the idea of befriending a caveman appealed to me. Ferney by James Long is a book I re-read over and over, it is beautifully written and I love reincarnation theme, it is a subject I researched in depth when nursing and again when writing my novel, The Twesome Loop.

Can you write in a language other than English? If so, what is it? Nope – English is it for me! If I thought I could do it I would love to learn Italian.

Would you like to live in the past, present, or future? If past, what is your favorite time period in history and what do you like about it? If you are asking for the ‘romantic’ view of past eras then porobably Elizabethan England, however if you mean to go back as it actually was then 1950’s. The reality of the 15th century with poverty, short life spans and dreadful mortality it is less appealing. For the 1950’s I could enjoy the music, dance and experience the cusp of the sixties movement.

Spring, summer, fall, or winter? Can I say I love more than one? The sudden greenness of spring after winter brings me joy. The possibilities of road trips in the summer and fall are exciting and a chance to discover new places.

What is your dream goal or dream job, if you’re not already doing it? A multifaceted goal – to write for a living travelling the world for inspiration and publishing novels reflecting the places I stay in.

Have you ever wanted to do anything “out there” like skydiving, spelunking, deep sea diving, or visiting Antarctica? I would love to skydive, go in a hot air balloon, swim the Great Barrier Reef, walk the Great Wall of China, visit Victoria Falls (the place of my birth) and live in Rome.

Would you go to the moon or to Mars? To be honest neither – there is so much to explore in the beauty of our planet.

Now for my blogger nominees:

http://www.mikederegowski.com/

https://ethanjonesbooks.wordpress.com/

https://marthareynoldswrites.com/

https://tobreatheistowrite.com/

https://biancarowena.wordpress.com/

https://kellysamarah.wordpress.com/

http://www.rebeccabradleycrime.com/

https://gerribowen.wordpress.com/

https://authorcharmainegordon.wordpress.com/

https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/

You are my potential nominees. You may post your answers here in the comments or create your own blog post, as I have done.

There is no time limit on this Q&A Blog Tag. Please do not feel rushed or even obligated to take part, I know we all have a lot of projects to complete and life stuff to do!

Your questions are:

Which do you prefer – tea or coffee or something else?

Vacation destination – beach, city, cruise or adventure?

As a writer do you plot your novels step by step or free flow allowing the idea freedom?

Given the choice would you either write your memoir OR the autobiography of someone else?

What inspires you to write?

Do you prefer one genre or many to read? If one genre – why that one?

Which TV show from your childhood was your favorite?

What is your preference for a pet? Dog or cat or some other animal?

List two items you would rescue in the case of a house fire.

What skill do you wish you had?

Thank you for joining in, Mandy

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