7 06 2010

Not that I think anyone has looked at this blog in a long time, but if you are here, you should go to the new and improved To Eat a Peach: I wanted one that used the name I will publish with. When I actually have it up and running (with glorious content) I will dig up both my readers and try to lure them that way. Until then, if you are here, go check out my tabbed pages, cause that’s about all that’s up. But I have several post drafts coming, so hang on, hang on, TIGHT!


25 01 2010

Avast! New horizons! Last year, I proved to myself that I could write a book. Then I did nothing about it for 2 months. Now, finally, I am editing! This year I will prove to myself (and learn how in the process) that I can edit a book, and turn it into something good. Or, at least, better.

So, here’s my editing plan. Steal it if you want. But thank me in the acknowledgements of your published book. 🙂

Miranda’s Evil Plan of Editing Awesomeness

1. Scene and chapter breaks

     a. Placement

            i. Sadly, use a spreadsheet

     b.  Flow

         i. does it leave you hanging/cause you to turn the page?

         ii. Is the chapter too long? If so, can it be split differently, or should something be cut?

          iii.  Are the switches from one storyline and POV character to another smooth, rough, unexpected, distracting? Does it add to or detract from the pace?

2. Characters

     a. Are the characters believable/realistic?

     b. Are the characters likeable?

     c. Do you care about them? Is there one or more character you don’t care about? Why?

     d. Does each character have a clear motivation? Are his/her motives believable?

     e. Are any characters stereotypes: too good, too bad, too pretty, too ugly, etc?

     f. Does each character have a clear developmental path?

     g, What obstacles/conflict have I thrown at the characters? How can I make it much worse?

     h. How does the character need to grow? What does he/she end up learning that maybe he didn’t want to have to learn?

3. Plot

     a. Is the plot as a whole exciting? Predictable? Already been done? Confusing?

     b. Is there any plot point that doesn’t work because: 1: it’s too far-fetched, 2: it’s confusing/unclear, or 3: a major action seems out of character?

     c. Did I drop any plot threads? (Tom Bombadil Syndrome)

     d. Is the pace right? Did you find yourself reading because you wanted to or because you are my friend and you promised me you would? (If the latter: which parts dragged?)

     e. Is the ending transformative? Is it satisfying and meaningful in an archetypal way?

4. Physical Descriptions/Setting

     a. Where exactly in California are we?

     b. While we’re at it, what month exactly are we in?

     c. Is the scene set in such a way that readers can see what I see? (enough description? Clear enough?)

5. Fact check

     a. Did anyone change from a blonde to a redhead? Or change their names mid book? (Especially minor characters!)

     b. Do any of the details of time travel (or the whole system of my “world”) conflict?

     c. Other facts. Like, is the wheel of a plane sufficient to protect you from gun fire? etc.

6. Dialogue

     a. Does the dialogue flow? Could you imagine a real person saying it like that out loud? read it out loud and see.

     b. Is any of the dialogue used as expository and should be converted to narration?

     c. Is the dialogue in the style of the character?

     d. Does each character have a style, or do they all sound the same?

          i. Sayings, phrases, idioms

          ii Patterns of thinking apparent in speech

           iii. Attitude toward others apparent in speech

     e. Is the dialogue too obvious? (ie: should more of the meaning be inferred or read in subtext?) How much can I delete and still get the meaning? Could I show an evocative detail that would say more than mere words?

     f. Is the dialogue confusing? (is: should more of the meaning be said aloud, and less inferred?)

7.  Tone of narration

     a. Does each POV character have his/her own distinctive style? Is the voice overdone/obnoxious? Is it understated? Is it too subtle to detect?

     b. Does each character use language differently? What does their word choice reflect about them?

     c. Is it apparent within the first page whose chapter this is? The first paragraph? The first sentence?

8. Tighten Language

     a. Omit unneeded words

     b. Delete as many adjectives as possible

           i. Use Word’s “find” function. Search for “ly”

     c. Beef up the verbs. Verbs=power!

     d. Are more images needed? (Show not tell)

     e. Vary sentence length and structure. Shorten sentences overall.

9. Grammar and punctuation

Feeling daunted yet?


2 11 2009

Yes, that’s right, the annual insanity known as National Novel Writing Month is upon us. The goal is to write a complete 50,000 word novel in one month. I don’t plan to do that. I plan to write 50,000 words of a novel in this month. Or at least try. This is the same amount of work that took me, oh, 6 months with novel 1. But what kind of career novelist can’t pump out a book in two months? (The answer: most of the good ones.)

Ahem. It’s an interesting challenge. And after an entire month of inactivity and watching entirely too much Dexter, it’s time I start producing again. I am posting the first chapter. See what you think.

Humble Pie

17 10 2009

Sigh. Go here. Sign up for the e newsletter. (Use a fake email if you want.) Then read the free e-book now available to you.

This little missive on writing will do several things:

1. Make you realize how truly far you have to go.

2. Teach you something.

3. Apparently make you write on your blog instead of editing your novel, which, face it, you don’t really want to do.

 The thing is, I have written my whole life. I have written short stories and poetry and whatnot my whole life. And I never edit them. It’s always been take it or leave it. I would sometimes show them to people and if they liked it, great, and if not, they didn’t know what they were talking about. How could they? I am awesome.

 And now I have written a book. And it needs editing. Overhauling. Rewriting. Throwing in a drawer. Or a fire.

But this little book on Writer’s (that I’m only half way through, and that I owe thanks to Joan for showing to me) has helped me clarify several specific problems that have been nagging at me. I knew there was something wrong (several somethings) and now I have a few inklings what they are.  

So…I will continue to let this sit while I focus on something else. Then I’ll reread the beast and see how it strikes me with eyes not so accustomed to it…

Edit it till it’s good

30 09 2009

A wise man once told me that the three steps writers follow are:

1. Write a book

2. Edit it till it’s good

3. Publish it somehow. (he may have been more eloquent.)


So now I commence step 2. So far I have a solid page titled “Edits to make.” This depressing document lists 7 somewhat major scene rewrites or add ins, then 7 consistency checks to perform, each of which will require its own reading, and two major questions I haven’t had good answers for yet. And this is just from thinking about it tonight. That does not even touch upon the daunting task of weaving in my minor story threads, making one cohesive whole. I thought this would be a simple case of copy and past, but it turns out to be a little harder….at least I only have two threads to weave in.

So. Baby steps, edit your novel. GO!

The Sweetest 585 words EVER

25 09 2009

I’ve done it!

Really and truly. First I gave birth to a beautiful child. Now I have accomplished something else.


I shouldn’t be so excited considering how much work is left to do….but I SO am!!!! “Write a book” has been one of my life’s goals since time immemorial. And now I’ve done it.

Sort of.

 I didn’t realize at the time the difference between “Write a book” and “Write a good book. Publish it. Become awesome.”  Cause I really meant the latter.

So, new work, here I FINALLY come!!!!

Quick Chronos Update

14 09 2009

I am at 113,063 words, 354 pages (double-spaced). I’ve just finished the escape scene and erased 15 pages of failed attempts at writing the escape scene. Sigh. But the blasted thing is now sufficietnly drafted.

I just reread the epilogue and am forcibly reminded of a Lifetime movie. There’s happy endings and then there’s sappy mush. Oh well. I’ll fix it later. Right now I am turning back to Marlow’s story. It is nearly done. I have two months to finish him and Claire, so I can’t bother with revisions now. I will finish by November 12! I must!