Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – The Dreaded Editing Process

December 2, 2021
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Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Editing encompasses several elements in order to achieve a well-polished manuscript for submission. Editing includes among other things, continuity, grammar, spelling, character development, revisions to scenes etc. the list is long and sometimes overwhelming.

Where should you start?

Instead of plunging directly back into a first draft, let it sit for a while. Start another project, take a rest, whatever you need to tear yourself away from the world and the characters you created. Ideally, leave it for three to six months, depending on any deadlines you have, of course. This will allow you to ‘see; it with fresh eyes.

When you go back to re-read there will be new insights. Rather than overwhelming yourself with trying to ‘correct’ all the editing elements mentioned above, concentrate on one item at a time.

Limit each read through to a specific task.

When you have completed these tasks let either trusted friends, or members of your local writing group read it. Take note of their suggestions and correct any errors they may find. Remember, no matter how many times you or your beta readers go through a manuscript, there will always be a word missed, mis-spelt or a continuity slip up. Once this is done it is time to consider handing over the manuscript to a professional. A professional editor is a good investment, if you can afford one. A badly edited book reflects on you the author and no-one else.

Here are a couple of tricks that can help you edit more effectively:

  1. Read the book from back to front page by page. This stops your brain putting in words that are not there.
  2. Read it out aloud to yourself or an understanding friend. A missed word is very obvious with this technique.

When editing there may be sentences or even whole paragraphs that you know need to be revised or even omitted from the manuscript to help with the flow of the story line or scene.  Deleting these can be hard. There are different opinions on what to do with these revisions but I think they should be saved in a separate document until you are absolutely sure you do want to delete them and even then you may keep them as a record of how the scene developed. A writer’s jetsam so to speak. These ejected words from our narratives may dwell in our hard drives or document folders for months, sometimes years. They may even be useful if at some point in the future you decide to use them in a sequel!  

Without correcting and improving, our creations will not be polished and worthy of reading and that is the one thing we all want – our work to be read and enjoyed.

What is your editing process like?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Book Choice, Reviews and Racing Towards a Writing Goal

November 23, 2021
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Ferney by James Long.

The great thing about re-reading a book many times is you are immediately transported back to the imagery you have of the characters and their location. It is like visiting an old friend. I will never tire of this story.

Which book do you return to and why?

What I’m reading now: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.

From this description you can probably tell why I chose it. Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?

What are you currently reading?
Why did you choose it?

I am continuing to write the second book in The Delphic Murders trilogy – The Tainted Search through November’s National Novel Writing month and have past 41,000 words so should succeed by 30th November and reach 50,000 words! There have been a couple of surprising twists already from my characters and a solution to one plot point I was struggling with, so in all a good process.

As always I am open to question s about what I’m reading and writing. Take care.

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Prompt to Novel Guest Blog Post

November 18, 2021
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Author Collaborative

I was fortunate to be asked to write a guest post on Heather L. Barksdale’s blog.

My topic – utilizing prompts to spark an idea for a story. As many of you know I have used prompts in this way in the past, and am sure to use them in the future.

Writing Prompt Practice to Published Novel – A Process

https://heatherlbarksdale.com/blog/blog-post-four-misfits-guestpost-mandyevebarnett?fbclid=IwAR0VKkp72xUZYgk6GQG-If2Hd3p9wijZJBROH8iEGO_wzM-nw9iy7b7mfrs

Have you used prompts with your stories or to spark an idea? Care to share?

A Change to the Regular Schedule

November 11, 2021
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The author interview will be posted tomorrow, so don’t miss it. We will meet Nicole Fanning.

Poppy Field

Today I am delving back into National Writing Month and book two of my crime trilogy. I hope, if you are participating, that the words are flowing, and you remember to stretch and eat!

Take care.

Mandy

Author, Freelance Writer and Writing Community Advocate
www.mandyevebarnett.com
https://tailoredthemedtosuit.wordpress.com/

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Crime Fiction and A Sneak Peek

November 9, 2021
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As many of you know I am plunging into National Novel Writing Month* this month to begin the second book in my detective trilogy, The Delphic Murders. This second book is entitled The Tainted Search. My process is not that complicated -bum in seat – so to speak, and to avoid external distractions as much as possible. This, of course, isn’t always the case, take this past weekend for example. I had a board meeting to attend and a radio interview recording to participate in on Saturday and then Sunday was family time. And as I am working full time that has a major effect on my writing time.

*National Novel Writing Month – write 50,000 words in the month of November* As I write this blog post on Sunday morning my total is 11,748 words, which is on track, thankfully.

The crime fiction genre is a new genre for me to write and I have been enjoying the research process, as well as planning a three book series. There are many sub-genres to this type of fiction as you can see from this list.

  • Detective fiction
  • Cozy Mystery
  • Whodunit
  • Historical whodunit
  • Locked room whodunit
  • Locked room mystery
  • Police procedural
  • Forensic
  • Legal thriller
  • Spy novel
  • Caper story
  • Psychological thriller
  • Parody or spoof

The commonality of these sub-genres is a lot of suspense, hidden clues, a charismatic detective and an elusive criminal. I have added a ‘side-kick’ to my main protagonists, which is a fairly common duo seen in most detective TV shows and movies. The first book has a secondary romance, this second a professional conflict and the third? Well, that remains to be seen, I haven’t started writing it yet!

As a special treat, I am sharing the draft prologue from the first book. An Elusive Trail. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Prologue    

September 2005

Three vehicles converge at an abandoned farm, the sun-bleached buildings collapsing and twisting into the earth. Melted snow and slush is piled up against the dilapidated structures glistening in the only illumination for miles – headlights and a full moon. Three men exit their vehicles and stand facing each other. A red glow from a single cigarette gives one man a fragmented face, his eyes watching expectedly. The smoke joins the puffs of cold night air emitting from his companions mouths. A middle aged man with a slight paunch straining against his thick coat faces his colleagues as the smoker, Allan asks.

“What’s so important you drag us out at this time of night in the cold, Craig?”

“We have a problem, Allan, Travis and his name is Detective Daniel Markum.”

Allan stamps out his cigarette before asking.

“How much of a problem is he?”

“I’d say the biggest. He’s been reviewing some of our old cases.”

“Shit! How did you find out?”

“I’d set up an alert on our contrived cases and nine have popped up in the last three weeks. We have to eliminate this threat and real soon.”

“I can set up something with Raul. Can you make sure Markum is on scene first, Travis?”

“Shouldn’t be a problem, Craig, I can patch through to a false call. It’s not like I haven’t done it before, right?”

“You meet him there soon after and Allan and I will set up the ambush. It’ll be easy to make it look like an ‘in the line of duty’ incident. I have several unmarked, untraceable handguns stashed away.”

“How soon can this be set up, Travis?”

“Is next Tuesday soon enough, Craig?”

“Sure. Then we need to consider lateral transfers. We can’t all stay in Edmonton. Raul has been asking for assistance in Red Deer and Calgary to expand his drug operations. This might be the time to do it.”

The three detectives shook hands, returned to their vehicles, and drove away from the remote meeting place. Their plan set in motion, their victim unaware of his fate.

Do you read crime fiction? What do you like about the genre? Who are your favorite authors in the genre?

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