Category Archives: editing

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

This week I have been editing submissions for my writing group’s Canada 150 book project. All the stories are Canadian themed in one way or another and it has been most enjoyable reading them. I even managed to write one more submission of my own, regarding my first visit to Canada back in 1981. Yep that long ago! At the time I had no idea I would be living here.

My editor and publisher has read my manuscript submission, The Twesome Loop and commented: Yup, it was pretty steamy 😮 – at least a good reaction. I am still working on the cover with my illustrator and final pages.

My freelance client has several important events to attend so has not, as yet, come back to me with the answers I require to continue. I’m hoping it will not take too long as we are edging closer to the deadline date.

I am escaping for several days next week, which will give me plenty of time to immerse myself in two manuscripts – Bubble the Gruggle now over 9000 words. I have sent this text to my other illustrator to give him an idea of the story so far. And I can return to The Giving Thief to enhance the narrative.

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What are your writing plans for the weekend?

If you are Canadian it is a long weekend for Canada Day 1st July, an extra special celebration for the Canada 150 – so even more time to write.

Books:

Merryweather Lodge by Pauline Holyoak.

I’m enjoying this story as it is set near my old home in England. I spent many a childhood visit at Stonehenge chasing my siblings up, over and the stones. Alas no more, it is all fenced off.

merryweather

TBR pile: It will be difficult choosing which one to read first. Both were birthday gifts.

Writing Tips:

Try not to edit while you’re creating your first draft. Creating and editing are two separate processes using different sides of the brain, and if you try doing both at once you’ll lose. Make a deal with your internal editor that it will get the chance to rip your piece to shreds; it will just need to wait some time.

I am sharing an old blog post on editing, which I hope you will find useful: https://mandyevebarnett.com/2013/01/06/a-necessary-chore-editing/

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

I managed to do a final edit for a friend’s manuscript. It is a new genre for J.E. McKnight but he has written an exceptional thriller. The antagonist’s real identity was a real surprise and even after knowing who it was the narrative held other shocking twists and turns. I’m sure lots of people will be thrilled by Joe’s newest novel.

An author I interviewed over three years ago contacted me recently asking for a review of her book and a special blog interview. I’m always open to helping other authors so will be curling up with her book over the weekend. Look out for the interview soon – Manaswita Ghosh is a wonderful young writer based in India.

Earlier in the week I wrote nearly a thousand words for my new YA story, Bubble the Gruggle only to ‘lose’ them on a Mac system. To say I was unhappy is an understatement but what can you do but chalk it up to experience? I did not rush to write again but left the story until the weekend. While sitting on my deck in the sunshine with a cooling breeze, I returned to the narrative and wrote even more words exceeding the ones lost. They say rewrites are usually better than the first try anyway.

My writing spot at the weekend – my front deck.

I also managed to do a review of a freelance project I have been working on – ghostwriting a book – this week. I’m gradually catching myself up.

Work continues with ‘extra’ pages for publishing for The Twesome Loop and ideas for illustrations for Bubble the Gruggle.

Books: Evidence of Life by Barbara Taylor Sissel

Evidence of Life

My review: A woman’s hope through disaster and her an emotional and psychological turmoil are expertly conveyed in this novel. It had me turning pages even when my eyes wanted to close! Great writing and insight into how a woman would cope with the greatest loss but also go on for the sake of her remaining family. The twists in the story kept me guessing as to the truth of the situation regarding her husband and how her friends and family protected her. Really worth a read.

An author friend wrote this book and I thought it time I got around to reading it.

Merryweather Lodge by Pauline Holyoak.

merryweather

Writing Tips:

Instead of adding tags (he said/she said) to every bit of dialogue, learn to identify the speaker by showing him/her in action. Example: “Pass that sweet-smelling turkey this way.” With knife in one hand and fork in the other, Sam looked eager to pounce.

You don’t always need an outline. Give discovery writing a try. (This is me all the time – free flow writing!)

Focus on building tension, then give it a snap.

 

 

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

The final organizing during last week and the set up and running of Heritage Day meant  exhaustion played a part in my not writing over the weekend! However, I did manage to begin a second beta-read and edit for a friend’s thriller manuscript. It is a superb read and the story has shocking twists and turns to keep you turning the pages.

The Twesome Loop

I have devised a book club question section for The Twesome Loop  and now need to write a new bio and create a who’s who for the characters for the front of the novel. I am also thinking of how to convey the story in an image for the cover.

Now I have more time I can return to my ghost writing project as well. Back on track thank goodness.

How is your current writing project progressing?

Books:

Evidence of Life by Barbara Taylor Sissel I am tantalizingly close to finishing this great suspense story. The internal thought processes of Abby are well done and you can feel her angst.

Evidence of Life

I need to find a couple of new books for my reading pile in the library this evening, so will let you know next week what I chose.

What are you currently reading?

Writing Tips:

Try to write in simple way. Express your views with most appropriate words.

Right click on a word to use the thesaurus. Do it again on the new word and make the best use of your vocabulary.

If one word will work where three are, replace it! I always find these, where I slip into conversational as I am writing quickly, then go back and purge, purge, purge.

Do you have a tip to share?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

I enjoyed the fellowship of writing friends at a special supper for a member who moved to Newfoundland but continues to be a ‘virtual’ member. We talked up a storm, enjoyed a delicious meal and then attended the monthly writers meeting. It was a packed house! Sharing words, enjoying the fellowship and receiving great feedback. Our group always amazes me how supportive of each other they are. No matter what style, stage of writing or genre, we learn from each other.

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What benefits have you found from your writing group?

My personal writing has stalled due to the major event on Sunday 11th June requiring a lot of attention. After many months of organizing it has become a day full of artisans, cultural groups, musicians, food delights and so much more.

However, once it is done I can plunge back into The Giving Thief revisions. I did managed to submit The Twesome Loop to my publisher so at least I have achieved one of my many goals.

Books:

Evidence of Life by Barbara Taylor Sisselwell written and has me turning the pages.

Evidence of Life

Writing Tips:

Start a blog. Use it to talk about your own writing process, share your ideas and experiences, or publish your work to a reading audience.
Subscribe to writing blogs on the Internet. Read them, participate, learn, share, and enjoy!

I have found my blog has not only covered multiple topics but has also allowed me to connect with writers from all around the globe.

Right click on a word to use the thesaurus. Do it again on the new word and make the best use of your vocabulary.

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

This week I will be attending a special supper with a member of my writing group who resides in Newfoundland. Not only is it exciting to see her, for her visits are few and far between but to really connect with her rather than on social media. A group of us will share stories and gossip (of the writing kind of course!) at a local restaurant  and then attend the normal monthly writing meeting. I know, Sharon is really looking forward to the evening especially the meeting as she so misses the camaraderie of the group.

Writers Foundation Strathcona County

Our meeting will run in its usual format with a review of upcoming events, submissions for the newsletter and our Canada 150 book project and then a writing prompt to inspire the Muse. After this we will share our current writing projects for constructive critique. 

After the workshop I attended last week I did try out an exercise suggested by Jennifer. Read the first five pages of your manuscript and then answer the question, does it give the reader 12-15 points to introduce who, why, when and where of your protagonist. Obviously, some genres do not start with such an ‘info dump ‘ but if your reader can get a sense of who the protagonist is that will help engage them and make them turn the page. It was an interesting exercise with my current five manuscripts and I did change one first paragraph.

Have you tried this technique?

Did it help you identify a revision?

My major event will be on Sunday. It has been months of exhaustive organizing by both boards of the Arts & Culture Council and the Diversity Committee and we hope for good weather and large crowds! Heritage Day of Strathcona County may become an annual event (what am I letting myself in for?) if this initial event does well. With numerous vendors, performers, food providers, music and even a special free shuttle and a magician, we have done all we can.

heritage day

Other events:

 June 8, 2017: The Writing Stick: Sharing Indigenous Stories

“The Writing Stick: Sharing Indigenous Stories” conference takes place June 8 to 10, 2017 at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta. It will foster conversations on editing and publishing Indigenous stories and writers. The conference is intended for Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants from all walks of life including publishers, editors, writers, storytellers, filmmakers, academics.

juxtapostions

Welcome to the WGA Annual Conference 2017: Juxtapositions! This is where writers from all across Alberta come together to socialize, network, learn, and celebrate writers and writing. We’ve asked over a dozen authors to share their talents and experiences in fiction, short story, poetry, and journalism through keynote speeches, author interviews, panel discussions and more. And Saturday night we’ll take it up a notch with our Literary Awards Gala. Join us June 10 and 11 at Lister Centre, U of A campus in Edmonton!

https://writersguild.ca/events/wga-annual-conference-2017-juxtapositions/

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


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Writing

I plan on immersing myself in the ghost writing project for the rest of this and most likely next week. It needs to be propelled forward so a final draft can be approved. A graphic designer is working on the images so the placement of these will have to be worked out as well. With possible sizes of print books and price estimates from the publisher we are nearing a conclusion in the next month. An exciting time for both my client and I as we all know when we hold a physical copy of our book for the first time it is magical and awe inspiring.

However, prior to that schedule, I invested in a workshop last night for my writing. A local author, Jennifer Snow is currently writer in residence at a downtown bookstore, Audrey’s and she was holding a workshop, which intrigued me. The evening’s workshop title was – First Five Pages & Avoiding a Saggy Middle in your Novel.

There were several other writers attending and it was interesting to hear their questions and the advice given by Jennifer. Although you may not write in the same genre as the presenter or the other attendees at workshops or conferences, there are basic fundamentals required to entice, engage and hold a reader no matter the narrative.

We all need to invest in our writing, no matter how much we think we know. You can always learn from another writer or author and as it happens I did have an idea pop into my head during the evening, which will assist in the revision of one of my manuscripts. (For those of you who don’t know I am editing four manuscripts over this and next year!) I detail my progress here: https://mandyevebarnett.com/current-project-2/

Books

Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn

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My review:
What a wonderful book – stories of life, death and rebirth. Perfectly linking each of the souls/characters lives. Sometimes they linked up, others not. Suzanne weaved a perfect tale of past lives making great use of the ‘echoes’ of past life bringing them forward to the new existence.

If you are intrigued, interested or fascinated by reincarnation you must read this book.

Evidence of Life by Barbara Taylor Sissel   

Onto this novel – a great opening line and the story propels you forward with enticing glimpses of what might have happened.

Evidence of Life

Writing Tips

Invest in a few valuable resources starting with The Chicago Manual of Style and The Elements of Style.

Grammar: learn the rules and then learn how to break them effectively.

Do you have particular resources you use? Care to share?

What ‘writing rules’ have you broken?

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

Writing took a backseat this weekend as I helped my daughter move into her new apartment – exhausting but fun, emotional but proud as any mother would be. It is a big step for her and me and now I have an empty nest. There will be a transition and adjustment in the months to come.

My next ‘writing’ event is tomorrow evening when I will be attending at 7 pm-First Five Pages & Avoiding a Saggy Middle in your Novel – this is hosted by Jennifer Snow (http://www.jennifersnowauthor.com/writer-in-residence) who is resident writer in a local bookstore, Audrey’s in Edmonton. I’m looking forward to the evening and learning new concepts.

Other events:

Wishless_shelfLifePoster01

Wishless: A Graphic Anthology

May 30 @ 7:00 pm9:00 pm
Shelf Life Books,

1302-4th Street SW, Calgary, Alberta Canada

http://shelflifebooks.ca/event/wishless-a-graphic-anthology/

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Thinking in Pictures – Shane Book & Michal Lavi

May 31 @ 7:00 am9:00 pm
Shelf Life Books,

1302-4th Street SW, Calgary, Alberta Canada
 

high level

HIGH LEVEL LIT: SALON SERIES #2
MAY 31, 2017 AT 6PM
MERCURY ROOM (10575 114 St. Edmonton)

In collaboration with Eighteen Bridges Magazine and LitFest Alberta, Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF) presents a Salon Series to highlight the contributors of High Level Lit: Musings on YEG for Canada’s Sesquicentennial.

We’ve chosen 12 writers with a connection to Edmonton to reflect on our city in light of Canada’s 150th and will be featuring these literary heavyweights throughout the year in the High Level Lit Salon Series. In Salon #2, audiences will hear from former Poet Laureate Anna Marie Sewell, LGBT historian and playwright Darrin Hagen, and culinary-culture maven Jennifer Cockrall-King. Hosted by Minister Faust, this is sure to be one of Edmonton’s literary highlights of the year!

This High Level Lit Salon is FREE to attend, but seating is limited and guests must RSVP via Eventbrite here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/high-level-lit-salon-2-tickets…

Seating will be provided on a first-come basis. Doors open at 5PM, presentations begin at 6PM. Following the presentation, guests are invited to stay for hors d’ouvres and mingling with folks from ECF, LitFest, and the YEG literati!

In October the collection of essays and poetry will be printed as a special anthology in Eighteen Bridges Magazine and launched during LitFest, Canada’s only non-fiction literary festival. Stay tuned for more information on the High Level Lit Series salons throughout 2017.

Please feel free to share your local events in the comments – promotion is always a good thing!

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

My escape on a writing retreat from 18th – 22nd May was absolutely fabulous. Surrounded by fresh spring greenery, bird song, blue skies, fellow writers and delicious food (cooked for us!) what more could a writer need? The photos above give only a glimpse of my time there. I particularly love the A frame cabin – wouldn’t that be a perfect place to have to write in?

Strawberry Creek Lodge may only be an hour or so away from home but it is a different world away from the normal reality of life. This enabled myself and my fellow writers to indulge in the written word, discuss plots, formats and support each other. With an open or closed door policy we could shut ourselves away to write or be open to conversation and walks through the woods and along the creek. The lodge is a magical place where ‘real’ life disappears allowing your creative muse to flourish. 

I did manage to achieve my writing goals at the retreat so that was an added bonus.

  • Final revisions to The Twesome Loop final word count 75,007.
  • Wrote new YA story Bubble the Gruggle word count 8306.
  • Began revisions on The Giving Thief 70,394 word count.

With my writing goals attained I can immerse myself in the ghost writing project and hopefully have the revised draft to my client by the end of May.

Have you been on a writing retreat?

What benefit did you gain?

Did you achieve your writing goals?

Books:

Her Fearful Symmentry by Audrey Niffenegger- I completed this book while on my writing retreat. The ending had a great twist to it and I found the characters to be intriguing all through the narrative. The story contains complicated relationships, past loves, new loves, strange addictions, cemetery walks, and ghosts. 

Symmentry

Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn – I began this book at the retreat. It has a unique format and is good research for my novel, The Twesome Loop.

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Writing Tips

Make it your business to understand grammar and language. Do you know a noun from a verb, a predicate from a preposition? Do you understand tense and verb agreement? You should.

My tip: Find a way to escape ‘normal life’ be it a road trip, a mini break at a hotel, or a weekend getaway – it doesn’t have to be far away to achieve the tranquility to write.

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

This post is pre-scheduled as today I will still be enjoying my writing retreat, where there is no WiFi, TV or ‘outside world’ to intrude. Immersed in story since 18th May – I may never come back! (Well given the choice anyway). My plan for the retreat is to read, edit and revise two manuscripts – The Twesome Loop and Life in Slake Patch and hopefully be able to share them with beta-readers on my return. I may also have added enough story on my newest children’s book – Bubble the Gruggle to send the manuscript to my illustrator, enabling him to begin chapter header images.

When I do come back to reality I have two events this week. One an ‘extra’ meeting of the Arts and Culture Council on Wednesday to finalize the Heritage Day event organization and then Thursday I will be co-hosting the senior’s writing group at Silverbirch.

So please feel free to share your local writing events in the comments.

Other events:

WGA Alberta Literary Awards Shortlist Reading and Celebration (YYC)

May 24th 2017 from 7:00 to 10:00pm
Shelf Life Books, 1302 4th Street SW, Calgary
Please RSVP via Facebook Invite

Join the Writers’ Guild of Alberta to celebrate the 2017 Alberta Literary Shortlisted authors and their nominated works! There will be complimentary wine and food from Aida’s Bistro, time to visit with friends, and a series of lively readings. Free admission. Authors scheduled to read in Calgary include: Lee Kvern, Paige Feureu, Lauralyn Chow, Gisèle Villeneuve, Mary Graham, Rona Altrows, Helen Hajnoczky, Georgia Graham, Laurie McFayden, Ellen Close with Braden Griffiths, Richard Harrison, Shelley Youngblut, and Sydney Sharpe with Don Braid.

EWF2017 PosterFinal

On May 28, The Elora Writers’ Festival takes place in Elora, ON, with authors announced so far including Andrew Westoll, Brad Smith, and Adrienne Kress. http://elorawritersfestival.blogspot.ca/

Happy writing everyone

keep-calm-and-carry-on-writing-4

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

So my excitement got the better of me and I forgot to write this post – so sorry for my tardiness. I have been busy tying up loose ends, revising freelance projects and ensuring I can leave for my writing retreat tomorrow with a clear desk. On the retreat I will only focus on my writing, which will enable me to ‘complete’ two manuscripts and add to another. These are my retreat goals.

  1. Final read of Life in Slake Patch
  2. Complete revisions and read through of The Twesome Loop
  3. Continue to write my newest story, Bubble the Gruggle.
  4. Enjoy no TV, no cell service and no WiFi.
  5. Converse, share and enjoy my retreat companions company.
  6. Indulge in the most fantastic meals.
  7. Enjoy reading curled up in a cozy corner.

Books:

Her Fearful Symmentry by Audrey Niffenegger – I will most certainly finished this book this week. Just love the characters.

Symmentry

Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn – chances are as this is more novella than novel that I will finish this book over my writing retreat as well.

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Then onto new stories!

Writing Tips:

Learn from the masters:

Read works by highly successful authors to learn what earns a loyal readership.
Read works by the canonical authors so you understand what constitutes a respectable literary achievement.

Creek 2016 7Strawberry Creek