Welcome to Following the Whispers blog
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.
“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf
“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Smelling the End - Helen Ginger
http://karenfollowingthewhispers.blogspot.com/2009/11/end-is-really-beginning-by-helen-ginger.html. She apparently took that literally because when I begged to post again, she agreed. In that post, I likened writing and editing a manuscript to raising a baby. Well, let's get that baby out of the tub, powder its behind and talk about three more editing tips.
1. Dialogue defines the character not the writer.
Real people talk in half-sentences. We talk around the subject. We speak with improper grammar and slang or idioms, but occasionally someone talks with perfect grammar. Consider this sentence: "He went to the grocery store for Susan, but refused to go near the feminine products aisle." You could see that either as part of narrative or a snippet of dialogue. When a character speaks, you could use those same words but write them in a way to show hesitation, emphasis, or perhaps teasing by writing: "He went to the grocery store for Susan. But refused to go near the feminine products aisle." In the narrative, avoid starting sentences with words like "but" or "and" or "or" or other connecting words (technically called subordinating conjunctives). You can, however, do that in dialogue to show the character and speech-pattern of a person in your book. Keep it to one character, though. Make it their particular tick. One goal is to be able to read all the dialogue, minus tags, and know who is speaking just by the way they talk.
2. Avoid brain farting
When you're in a character's Point Of View, you're in that head - and so is the reader. You can have multiple POVs in a manuscript, but keep the reader in one head at a time and let us know when we switch heads. Don't jump from head to head without warning. When you do, you lose the reader. Instead of listening in on one set of thoughts, the reader is jerked from head to head, staying just long enough to sniff the character's brain fart before moving on to the next one.
3. "I've finally finished my manuscript and would like to see if you are available to edit."
This type of thinking sends up little red flags for an editor. Rather than typing The End, then contacting me or any editor to work on it, set it aside, don't look at it, work on something else. Wait at least two weeks, longer if you can (two months or a year would be better, but not always realistic), then re-read it. Just like the intensity of labor pains, you forget your words over time. Most of what you read will feel new, fresh, and wonderful. Some will make you stop and groan. Work on those what-was-I-thinking parts.
If you don't know the goofs you're making, you'll keep making them. Do as much of the editing as you can before paying an editor to do it for you.
Aren't you glad Karen consented and let me post again? Where else could you hear about powdering a baby's behind and sniffing brain farts and somehow find a connection between both of them and writing?
If you don't already do so, please visit Helen's blog. She's not only a gifted editor, but a gifted writer and a fountain of information. I am actually glad now that I goofed, since we got more of Helen's wisdom.