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Posts Tagged ‘editing’

Calling myself a writer these days is a stretch since it’s been a very long while since I’ve actually written anything besides a blog post. Of course I’ve had a very good reason, with my recent cancer diagnosis and subsequent poor mental and physical health as a result, but still, I need to get back in the saddle so to speak.

woman laying on couch

Because my energy has been at an almost imperceptible level, I’ve tried to spend my time reading short chapters and articles rather then getting engrossed in a novel. Yes, I haven’t even had the energy or desire to read, that’s how bad off I’ve been.

But, treatment is going well and I’ve to the worst behind me. So, I’m trying to get back into not only reading, but writing. It’s been hard.

Writers are our own worst critics, especially those of us who strive for perfection. I once read an “inspirational” quote that I tried to apply to my life: If you reach perfection, aim higher. Well folks, that can be paralyzing. In fact, it’s counter-intuitive if you want to publish a book. At some point, that book is going to have to be good enough. I understand that the quote is encouraging us to try to improve and be better every day, but when it comes to a manuscript, throw that advice out the window.

woman at computer

I’ve had a hard time wrapping my brain around that concept though. Good enough.  What is good enough? That means I’m settling right? I’m not trying hard enough? WRONG. I’ve been putting my best foot forward with my writing since the day I typed my first sentence. I attend workshops, read books on craft, watch videos from “experts,” all necessary things to improve my craft. By doing these things I’m trying harder, I’m aiming higher.

Recently I read an article written by Roseanne Bane entitled: “Good enough, may be the best thing for your writing.” Say what? That article started with this quote: “The best is oftentimes the enemy of the good; and many a good book has remained unwritten . . . because there floated before the mind’s eye the ideal of a better or a best.” – R.C. Trench, 1861. I read that sentence a dozen times before it dawned on me. That’s me. I’m preventing my own publishing journey because I’m holding out for something better.

roadblock sign

The article went on to say, “If you refuse to accept good enough, you can’t move on.” That’s right, I’m becoming paralyzed by my goal to reach perfection. I have to allow myself to be more vulnerable, to take more risks and just let my above-average writing speak for myself. After all, not everyone is going to like my book even if it is perfect. I need to remember that I’m not writing for everyone, I’m writing for those people who believe my work is perfection. For every person who doesn’t like what I write, there’ll be at least one person who does.

vulnerable quote

Shortly after I read the above article I read this passage in a book called “The Irresistible Novel,” by Jeff Gerke, which I highly recommend by the way: “It is inevitable that you will encounter people who will say you’ll never get published if you do (or don’t do) X, Y, and Z . . . I hope you understand that these people are merely giving their preferences, their opinions, and their own person brand of paralysis. ” That really resonated with me because I do hear so many differing opinions on what you should and shouldn’t do as a writer. Also, I hear all the things you absolutely should not do and then I read book after book where those “taboo” things occur repeatedly. Say what? It’s confusing. How did they get published if you absolutely should not do those things? Why can they do it, but I can’t?

don't do it sign

Mr. Gerke went on to say: “If you keep letting the “experts” cause you to doubt yourself, you’ll end up in misery.” Exactly! He wrote that “. . . at some point you have to stop being so flexible and just decide how you want to write the thing.” It is my book after all. I like that Mr. Gerke.

I know my manuscripts are better than a lot of books out there on the market, and there are millions. I’ve read several books lately that really should not have been published without another good proofreading or round of edits. I’ve read books with weak plots, boring characters, confusing dialogue. I know my books are better than that.

So, bottom line. I’m going to take a look at my manuscripts with a different perspective. Sure, I have to edit out the bad grammar and typos, but as far as the story goes . . . I’m going to believe it’s “good enough.” I’ve read them umpteen times. Beta readers have read them. Critique groups have read them. I’ve even had editors read them. It’s time to let actual readers read them.

the irresistible novel

It’s time to take Mr. Gerke’s advice – I have to stop being so flexible and just decide how I want to write the thing. Bam. Done.

Look for something from me later this year. There, I’ve said it. Now, I have to do it. Right? You’ll all hold me accountable?

leap of faith

So, tell me readers, are you perfectionists? How do you know when your craft is “good enough?” What advice resonated with you for anything that created a change for the better?

Word of the day: uglification

Fun fact about me: I didn’t read a single Christmas novel this past year. (I barely read anything for the past 3 months of the year.)

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, January 2018. Photos courtesy Google Images.

 

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Usually I like to “work ahead.” I do things today that will make my life easier tomorrow. Like chopping onions or veggies for dinner or putting together a casserole for breakfast.

food prep

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woman readingLike most writers, I am a voracious reader and have been most of my life. While I do tend to gravitate toward certain genres, I usually enjoy reading anything well written. And, like most readers, I have favorite authors. (more…)

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lady working outExercise is not my favorite activity. I know it’s a necessary evil and I know there are great benefits to be had from daily partaking in this event. But, I don’t like it. Over the years I’ve tried to find a form of exercise that I enjoy. (more…)

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1sts and lasts 1

Two or three or fourteen weeks ago, I posted some opening and closing sentences from my manuscript entitled On Hallowed Ground. That book is the second in a series (the Grounded series) that has been professionally edited and is nearing its final phase of production before presentation to the world. Stay tuned for more info on that. (more…)

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I know, I know, being your own cheerleader is hard. That’s why we have friends and support groups and such. But, sometimes, only YOU can talk yourself off the ledge.

swear-wordsLast week I ventured down a path I rarely travel and there’s a reason for that; it’s the road of disappointment and discouragement. Usually I keep the gate shut on that life exit, but sometimes the wind blows it open and that little bastard demon living inside me wants to go exploring. Damn that little demon! (more…)

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chapter oneWell, I finally did it; I started a new book. That’s right folks, after nearly 2 years, I’ve starting composing fresh characters in a fresh setting. I was beginning to wonder if this day would ever come again, but – whew – it’s here. (more…)

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It’s been a busy week and I’ve been lax in getting my blog ready to post. I’ve been steadily forging through a jungle of edits on my manuscript and am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

jungle

So, in lieu of actually writing something witty and clever this week, I’ve decided to take the easy way out.

For those of you thinking of visiting the Baer House, I hope this virtual tour sways you to actually book a room. For those of you who can’t visit for awhile, enjoy this virtual tour for now, to whet your appetite for good things to come later.

For those of you who never plan on coming to Vicksburg ever, here’s what you’re missing.

Enjoy!

Shop Main Street video

I’m curious to know where you all spent your spring break, Easter, etc. Leave me a comment so I can be jealous.

Until next week, stay safe and be happy.

Word of the day: Facies

Fun fact about me: I have never ever used my words of the day in a sentence.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, March 2016. Video by LLC ShopMainStreets.com/MainStreetTrail.com

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editor

So, I’ve finally bitten the proverbial bullet and hired an editor. I’m very excited about this process, although I sort of feel like a fish out of water with all of my seemingly stupid questions and need for clarification. Like anything else, it’ll get easier I’m sure.

edited pageAnd, I’m very excited to make some changes to an already strong manuscript. It just needs that last bit of umph and spit shining. Soon. Very soon, it’ll be ready to make its appearance into the world. (I hope anyway.)

But, enough about that. In my effort to bring this precious work into the world, I’m laying some groundwork to prepare it for a warm and welcoming reception. One of the things I’m thinking of doing, is building a book trailer. Well, not me, actually building it, but having one built for me. A one or two minute video clip of my story for those “visual” people.

book trailer

Personally, I like book trailers – IF – they’re not too long or too cartoonish. Recently I’ve spent some time exploring the world of book trailers. I’ve found some fun ones, some very steamy ones, some stupid ones and some good ones. I like to see the author’s perception of their own books. That’s what I find intriquing about book trailers.

Here’s a particularly good one (in my opinion anyway), that made me laugh right out loud. I’ve decided to share it here because it’s very clever especially if you close your eyes and just listen. Oh. My. Goodness. What a different experience if you don’t watch. I dare you.

Enjoy!

Here was the blurb about that video: “A young, free-range chicken. A dominating, ravenous chef. A naughty tale of fowl play. If Fifty Shades of Grey left you hungry and lusting for more (more, more!), satisfy your culinary kink with Fifty Shades of Chicken, a titillating collection of tied-and-true recipes bound to make every meal a turn-on.”

Isn’t that fantastic? I wish I’d have thought of it.

So, here’s a question readers: What’s your opinion of book trailers? Do you enjoy them? Do you use them? Do you think I should have one ready to go when my book is ready to “be born?” Do you suddenly have a craving for chicken?

Word of the Day: Babacoote

Fun fact about me: I’ll never look at a chicken the same way again.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, February 2016. Photos courtesy Google Images. Video courtesy of “The Recipe Club” (YouTube)

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Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

You know, when you write something, and then you finish writing it, and then you read it, and then you fix it, and it’s pretty darn good, so you send it to your critique partners, who point out all of the ugliness and you think, “this is crap,” so you change stuff and fix things until you just know it’s a masterpiece, so you send it back to your critique partners, who confirm that in fact your work is “better,” so you give it another once over before shooting it off to your beta readers, who point out some awkward sentences and misspelled words and stuff and then you think, “I suck,” but you put on your big girl panties and read it again, and then you think maybe they’re right, so you fix the weirdness and make some more changes, to the point where you’re really comfortable with this quintesential all American novel, so much so, that you enter it in some writing

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

contests and hold your breath for the feedback to arrive, and when it does your eyes bulge out of your head, your mouth drops open and steam explodes out of your ears, at which point you think, “who wrote this garbage and why did they think it was good enough to enter it into a contest,” but you stand determined to fix the piece of crap, because you’ve invested months in these strings of words and, after all, you are a writer and you will write, so you edit yet again and then, once more, for good measure, until you’re absolutely sure this is the most awesome thing anyone has ever read, but just to be sure, you beg your critique partners to read it one more time, and they tell you that it’s really good now, so you attach that brilliant prose to your sparkling query letter and e-mail it off to your dream agent, who in turn replies that they’re not interested in your story at this time, but that, as any author knows, all novels are subject to opinion and just because one person isn’t interested, doesn’t mean someone else won’t be, yadda, yadda, yadda, so you swallow half a bottle of tequila and

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

send the same, less-than-stellar manuscript off to the second most dreamy agent on your list only to receive the same boilerplate rejection letter, which is really just a lame ass, cop out way of saying you’re a loser and your work sucks, but thank you for playing our game, but you refuse to cry any more tears over their drivel and decide that maybe it’s time to bring out the big guns, so you hire a professional editor who sends back your work covered in red ink which justifies what you already knew but didn’t want to admit: “I’m a writer!”

Yeah – that’s where I’m at.

Writing is hard. The end.

Image courtesy Google Images

Image courtesy Google Images

So, what’s going on in your world? Any positive advice for the bummed out writer? How do you stay positive when querying?

Word of the Day: Viridian

Fun fact about me: My favorite Disney movie is Mary Poppins.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, January 2016. Photos and images courtesy Google Images.

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