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Anyone here write?

 
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John Skaggs wrote:I'm finding editing a book-length manuscript far more challenging than writing it.  


Oh, for sure.  Editing is a whole other huge challenge for so many reasons.  The proofreading has its own challenges of tedium and frustration.  And then the consistency issue when your main character's name is Jane but you discover that in a couple scenes you're calling her Phyllis, or he's the brother of a biologist in one part of the book but later on the brother is an accountant.  And then when somewhere in the middle of the book you realize your hero can't be about to stride through the door of the castle right then because you forgot you wrote that his leg was broken earlier on and he's got to still be on crutches, or that you have absolutely no way for the wife to kill her husband because you've left her in Antarctica absorbed in a scientific experiment and he's drinking margaritas on a cruise ship in the Caribbean.  Or when you realize that a scene you especially love just has to go and it's tearing your heart out to delete it... and then fix everything else that led up to it and the consequences of it, after.

It goes on and on.  Editing is never over - you just have to call it done at some point and then put it out of your mind.  
 
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I have always heard that getting a copy editor is the best thing you can do; for you, and your book. You can find freelancers pretty easily online; about $750 for a decent sized book...
 
Lif Strand
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Travis Johnson wrote:I have always heard that getting a copy editor is the best thing you can do; for you, and your book. You can find freelancers pretty easily online; about $750 for a decent sized book...


Well yeah, but when it comes to writing for yourself (be it fiction or non-fiction) a copy editor doesn't actually make the changes to your manuscript -- that's still up to the author to do.  That's the case anytime when the author holds the rights to the work.  It's a different story if the writer is being paid by someone to write for that person -- then an editor (e.g. for a newspaper) can make direct changes.

The reason for this is pretty clear:  Only the author knows knows what the writing is supposed to be.  What might appear to be a typo to a copy editor might be a deliberate misspelling or an unusual use of punctuation or grammar for a reason.  A copy editor could mess things up by making changes directly without first consulting the author.  It's a different thing with writing-for-hire, of course.  In that case the "author" is the person you're writing for, and then that person can make any changes he/she wants to the work.

Hiring a copy editor should be in addition to your own editing, not a substitute for it!  
 
Travis Johnson
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Well it depends...

It depends really on two things: what kind of writer you are, and what kind of Copy Editor you get.

For some writers like Stephen King, they just sit down to the laptop and start fingers flying and wordsmith fast and furious without really thinking about much really. They are just getting their ideas down on paper, down and dirty. And I was told in school that is exactly what a writer should be doing. So for that style of writer, they are going to go back and do a lot of rewording and editing. And there is nothing wrong with that.

I am not that way.

When I write, I write slow and deliberate, really disliking poor sentence structure, and repetitive words and that sort of thing. In short, when I go back and edit my work, I make very few changes because I have really thought out my words as I went along. So for me "editing" is not a laborious task, because the writing itself was done in that manner. They say this is not an efficient way to write, but that is just my writing style, and I could give three turds less about how other people think I should write.

But with copy editor's, you get what you ask, and what you pay for. Your work is your work is your work, and they can never take that away from you. You pay them for their advice and schooling so that your book has better flow and clarity. How deeply they do that, is based on how much you pay them for that extra time or not, and your comfort level with them. A good copy editor will never change your writing style; they read it, get a sense of how you write, and then rework it.

It is never their work, because you have a simple choice; you can accept their SUGGESTED changes, or you can keep your original manuscript. It is that simple. You still have to pay them for the work done eve if you do not like their suggestions, but ultimately you include their revisions or not.

But...it is very easy for a writer to fall in love with their own words, and it really is to the betterment of the writer to have a professional take an unbiased look at their manuscript, and accept the majority of the suggested changes.

It would be like me thinking I know what is best, and only best for this farm, and refusing to get an agronomist here to give me some advice. A good agronomist I know, will listen to what I want to do, and then make suggestions to get that very thing out of my farm the best way. And after hearing their suggestions, I would be a total fool to just dismiss what they had to say. Now if the agronomist ignores my farming style, and gives me suggestions for poatoe farming when I am a sheep farm, well you can bet that agronomist will never set foot on my farm again. It is the same with a copy editor that destroyed my style of writing: I did not get an experienced copy editor.
 
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I'm not interested in professionally becoming a writer but enjoy the creative process.  I attend a local writer's group where we are given some topics to select and then write on; we then read our work back to the group for feedback.  This is my latest one which was well received so thought I'd share it here.

On the topic of 'see you upstairs' or 'he had fallen very fast asleep'.  
                                                                                           
                                                                     - o 0 o -

A Wake Up Call


He had fallen very fast asleep....AGAIN!  It was in the middle of his favourite programme too.  I thought this really won't do.  Was it down to getting older - his declining health or maybe that large meal we just had?  I settled on it being the latter.  It was annoying since I wanted to talk to him about that phone call.

Our honeymoon stage was definitely well and truly behind us now.  I tried to recall the last romantic thing either of us did for each other and struggled.  This was no way to continue!  Perhaps I had been shaken by Lucy's phonecall - I thought their marriage would last...it showed no signs of being rocky...what goes on behind closed doors though, I sighed.

It galvanised me into making more of an effort.  The next day I went to the hairdressers with my dowdy hair and left with a perky, springy hairstyle.  I also managed to find that skimpy dress I know he used to like; thankfully it still fitted!  A modest bit of sparkling jewellery - perhaps a little mascara.  I wondered whether he'd think he had forgotten our anniversary!  Ha!

When he came home he looked momentarily surprised but pleased by my makeover.

'Have I forgotten our anniversary?'

I knew he'd think that and teased him.  Was that a twinkle in his eye?

That evening we ate more lightly - oysters, asparagus and a boozy, home-made tiramisu; it's said to be a 'pick-me-up'....hopefully without the aid of a hoist, I thought to myself!

I made a conscious effort to talk on subjects that interested him and that I could learn more about.  So I listened more closely and nodded as he enthused about his allotment and defeating foxes.  He seemed glad of this opportunity.  In turn, I was heartened that he seemed more attentive towards me - asking about my day - and I quietly delighted in this new development; it reminded me of our earlier days together.  We shared an intense smiling gaze.

Just as I was contemplating getting us some drinks, I could hardly believe my ears when I heard him say 'see you upstairs!'


 
pollinator
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Larry Bock wrote:Anyone here write or more specifically? Anyone feel a need to write? when I was in high school, I was a less than perfect student. Additionally, no one could figure out why I would get an "A"'in English/Creative writing and not even show up for the classes I did not care for. Eventually, this led to being " placed" in an alternitive education program for the last year and a half
  Decades and a lifetime sneak past. The last 18 months, I've chosen to eliminate TV from my life. Slowly, I started writing again. Now, I go nowhere without a composition book and a pen. Some writings start off with snippets or observations, some times abandoned for months, others will flow out on paper at a pretty quick pace. I note the date, time and give it a reference " title".  
 Somewhere along the line, this became pretty important to me from a lot of aspects . One being that once things are in ink, they need not rent space in my mind, the other, sometimes ( after many rewrites) I'm pretty happy with the final products. At times I approach a writing with a purpose. Ie. Cancer took my 20 year old daughters mother or could be just something little.



I have written extensive throughout my entire life.

Currently, I journal - utilizing the BestSelf Journal in a morning / evening ritual.

I try to write in blog form periodically, but don't stick with it as I'm convinced it doesn't "serve" me.

I very much wish to execute on the Self-Authoring Suite that someone gifted me...it looks like a great guided platform for writers.

I long for writing, and as I continue making lifestyle changes, I hope to get back into these habits of old.

These are dying habits indeed.  Great post.
 
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Thank you for sharing! I also belong to a group which hands out prompts for each meeting - this morning I rough drafted a response to: If it rained food, what would you want the forecast to look like?

I hope, after the next couple of drafts it will require, to have a comedic story about dealing with food waste in either a middle-grade or young-adult fantasy setting. (The main character can literally ask for any food and it magically rains down - but then she discovers that she's not creating new food, but taking it from other people's plates and fridges... and eventually decides to only ask for food that otherwise would be tossed.)
 
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John Weiland wrote:Just adding this here for those interested.  An interesting book on the alphabet and the origins and magic of words is David Abram's "The Spell of the Sensuous".  One of the concepts that was intriguing to me was the history of the verb "to spell":

"Maybe just the first thing I'll say in relation to the questions you are raising is that I'm not in any way interested in demonizing writing or the alphabet or in saying that it's bad in any way. I am a writer, and I love the written word; I love it. And, I love what it enables for me. What I am saying is that writing is magic and that it is a very potent form of magic. And that, unless we recognize how potent, how powerful this technology is, and how profoundly and how even in many non-rational ways, it influences our experience, unless we recognize the magic of the written word, then we are simply under its spell. And, it's not by chance that the word spell has this double meaning - to cast a spell, or to arrange the letters in the correct order to spell out a word. Because these two meanings were at one time very, very close. Because to learn to read with this new magical technology, to be able to arrange the letters in the right order, to actually conjure, as it were, that thing that you just spelled—it was experienced by oral peoples, who had not met the written word before, as magic, as a very powerful form of magic. -- David Abrams   (  http://www.childrenofthecode.org/interviews/abram.htm#The_Magical_Spell_of_Writing: )


You are speaking my language! I am a total word nerd and I will hunt this bookdown enthusiastically. I love etymology and linguistics. I indulge my love in teaching my kids ot read  and yes I write! I have recently found a way to combine my writing with another passion so now they no longer compete for my attention and are combined. I am not as prolific as DEB, 3000 words a day! I have a few stories I started years ago and I chip away at them when I can, with lots of young kids its hard to have time to be inside my own imagination. Mostly I life young adult fiction righting and fantasy, but I also write childrens stories. I don't have many stories but they are precious to me.
 
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