Mandy Eve-Barnett's Official Blog

Inspiration for Writers & Building A Community ©

Editing – A Necessary Chore

May 14, 2019
mandyevebarnett


Normal programming will continue with an author interview. Slight hiccup with the interview being completed. In the meantime I am re-posting this. It is rather apt as I am currently in the midst of editing a sequel myself and also involved with a small NaNoWriMo editing group where five authors and I are going through each other’s manuscripts. Several chapters a month works well for our process.

edit

As writers we love to be immersed in our own creations -weaving plots, planning and following story arcs, creating character profiles as well as their trials and tribulations. Our minds are full of questions : What happens next? How would my character react? Is that plausible or believable? Can I improve on that scene? Have I shown not told? Is there too much exposition? Would the reader have enough description to envisage the scene?

Freytags_pyramid_svgGraph – speedofcreativity.com

All these questions need to be answered but not when we are writing the first draft. This initial phase is the most enjoyable part of creating a story. Remember to give your inner editor time off enabling you to create freely and get the basic story line written. Once you have finished, the ‘real’ work starts. Continuity, grammar, spelling, character development, revisions to scenes etc. the list is long and sometimes overwhelming. Where should you start?

Once the story is complete put it to one side and go onto new projects. Leave it for a month or more (I’ve left two projects for nearly 6 months). When you go back to re-read you have fresh eyes giving you new insights. Your revision process may be to correct everything above as you read each page or you could concentrate on one item at a time, re-reading each time giving you a particular focus. This second method does lean itself to sharpening the process as you are not trying to ‘spot’ numerous revision types at the same time. With your editing done let your favored readers have it. Take note of their suggestions and correct any  errors they may find. No matter how many times you or your beta readers go through the manuscript there will always be a word missed, mis-spelt or a continuity slip up. How do you make your manuscript as good as it can be?

editor

A professional editor – if you can afford one – is a good investment. However, one trick that may work for you in finding those elusive errors is to read the book from back to front page by page. Another is to read it out aloud to yourself or a understanding friend (a glass or two of wine helps with this one!) 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 is hard – it is your creation and your words were written through hard work. 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.  They are a writer’s jetsam so to speak, which is my link to today’s calendar word. I had to squeeze it in somewhere!

These ejected words from our ‘ship’ may float on our hard drives or become washed up in a document folder but wherever they end up they are part of our creative soul and never truly lost. We may pick them up from the shore in the future to use in another piece of writing or they may stay hidden in the depths of our files. No matter which scenario occurs, they are born of you and precious all the same.

As writers we endeavor to produce the very best manuscript or article we can and that is why we endure the editing process. Without this method of 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.

I wish you fortitude in your process to make your work excel and delight your readers.

What is your editing process like?

 

New Year Schedule Begins -Events…

January 2, 2017
mandyevebarnett


events

As I begin 2017 my first week includes my writers group meeting on 3rd January. The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County meets every first Tuesday of each month year round. We share our writing for constructive critique, exercise our writing muscles with prompts and on occasion enjoy a talk on a particular writing related subject.

I find these meetings to be a wealth of inspiration, a great place to network and allow me to receive feedback on writing projects.

This week also sees our new Writers in Residence for Edmonton and area. This scheme allows writers/authors to receive excellent feedback on sections of their manuscripts. https://www.epl.ca/news/libraries-name-2017-writers-in-residence/

Our ‘local’ author will be: http://www.albertanativenews.com/edmonton-metro-libraries-welcome-2017-writer-in-residence-richard-van-camp/

richard_1

I welcome you to share your first week’s events, projects, meetings here as well.

Happy New Year to you All.

new-year

 

Idea Factory or Empty Void..?

December 30, 2014
mandyevebarnett


images (4)

APOLOGIES this post should have gone out yesterday! I was reveling in my day off…

A recent comment by a writer I know stunned me into silence. What did they say you may ask? This is the statement :

I’m not sure I have anything to write at the moment.

If you are like me the the fact of this sentence is mind blowing. How can you have nothing to write I thought. I have so many ideas in my head I worry I may not get them all written before I go to MUSE central!

Maybe it was not a lack of ideas my friend had but the problem of deciding which one to pursue? Many of us have numerous story ideas bouncing around inside our heads.This may seem a good problem to have, however, too many ideas and no focus can be just as debilitating as staring at a blank page or screen. Symptoms can include indecision, procrastination, failure to meet deadlines, insomnia and anxiety.

The problem is how do we ensure these golden nuggets are not lost?  We endeavor to keep them by making frantic notes but musing over where they could possibly lead to can lead to devastating interruption to our current project. So how do we identify if this ‘new’ idea is worth pursuing?

There are many strategies we can employ to decide on which are best to keep  – here are a few to try:

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.

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.

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

It is thought a ‘problem’ to have too many ideas – they densely populate our minds. Crowding out each other and jostling for attention. It can be frustrating when we are embroiled in a current project. We hastily jot down the details of the new idea, too frightened to leave it to chance that we will remember it later. This removes our mind set from progressing with our existing work, if only for a short time. These ‘breaks’ can either be a good thing – returning refreshed and with renewed vigor or a bad thing – lured into the new project and dissatisfied with the WIP.

How do you handle the sparse and dense periods of your writing life?

What obscure stimulus has sparked an idea for you? 

How do you approach new ideas? Frantic notes? Plot arc? Character descriptions?

Have you experienced a story unwilling to stay quiet?

new idea

“The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out.  Every mind is a building filled with archaic furniture. Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.”          

Interview with Elaine Spencer…

October 15, 2014
mandyevebarnett


Please welcome Elaine Spencer – Elaine Spenceran author of historical fiction.

1. What do you enjoy most about writing?
As a writer of fiction, I enjoy escaping to a make believe world where I am in control.  I also like that I’m constantly learning in a way that I enjoy.
2. What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I started getting into writing as a form of self-expression and healing when I was in high school.  It began as journaling then, as I learned more about myself and the world, ideas just started to grow.

3. Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

It has changed from writing for myself to writing for others in a more technical form to writing historical fiction for pleasure, which is what I enjoy most.

4. What genre are you currently reading?

Historical fiction and biographies.

5. Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

Although most of my reading these days is for research, I love reading just for pleasure.  There’s nothing like going on a mini vacation from daily life by getting lost in a good story.

6. Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

I have a wonderful list of family and friends who support and encourage but my husband and sister are definitely at the top.
7. Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

There is a lot of myself in the character of Charlotte Logan (Charlie) but one of my favorite characters is Percival Meade because he starts out snooty, annoying and with many flaws but turns out to be likeable and a little more humble while staying true to who he is.

 8. Where is your favorite writing space?

I have a home office with everything I need including a writing desk and comfortable reading corner.

desk

9. Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants writer?
I create a basic outline where I decide on the setting, plot, main characters and so forth.  Once the writing process actually begins, changes develop, new characters step in and the story unfolds.

10. What inspires your ideas/stories?
Inspiration is all around but we have to go looking for it.  Books, music, news, observing people, traveling, nature, personal experiences and good old imagination are some of the places where I find inspiration.

11. Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

I joined a local group but found that with an outside job, research, and writing, I couldn’t commit to a scheduled time so found an online source that suits my needs and allows more flexibility to share and critique with other writers, access workshops and participate in forums.
12. If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?
There are so many writers to learn from and even more I’ve never read but I love the way authors like John Steinbeck have mastered their use of description, dialogue, and creating believable characters.
13. Do you have a book(s) published? If so, what is it called & where can readers purchase it?
Freedom Reins is a historical fiction available through a variety of sources including Amazon, friesenpress.com, and itunes.

Freedom Reins

14. Where can readers find you and your blog?

My website is http://www.e-spencer.com
15. Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?
I’m currently researching and have begun some writing for another historical fiction.

Thank you Elaine for the insight into your writing journey.

Ideas for Novels Spark From Everywhere, From Anything…

August 25, 2014
mandyevebarnett


Great idea

Our creativity can be inspired from the smallest word to a globally known news worthy article. I was in the grip of such an idea this weekend. It formed from the merging of several obscure news items into a cohesive story and took ‘root’ in my mind. Once I began writing the protagonist came to life and the words flowed. I put down 1000 in less than an hour!

As many of you know I am a free flow writer so apart from a vague idea where I want the story to go, it is a mystery to me. That is the thrill for me. It is an adventure I willingly travel with my characters. They lead and I follow with frantic typing.

What obscure stimulus has sparked an idea for you? 

How do you approach new ideas? Frantic notes? Plot arc? Character descriptions?

No matter what system we use, an idea can grow exponentially once it takes hold. This is wonderful, of course, the only downfall being if we already have a bucketful of ideas already.  I had not wanted another project just at the moment. My children’s chapter book, Ockleberries to the Rescue is in final stages of illustration and formatting, while I am working on edits for my western romance, Willow Tree Tears. These two projects are time consuming enough without a new one being added. My plan for 2015 was to re-visit two previous projects and re-write, edit and revise them. Now I have a story demanding to be written and it is impossible to resist.

Have you experienced a story unwilling to stay quiet?

Obviously, I will have to reschedule my plans and go with the flow. My older projects will have to wait a little longer.

Idea spark

 

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