Tag Archives: Editing

Writers’ Group: Chapters and Editing

28 Aug

We tried a new format in my writing group and I have to say, it went really well! Instead of a single person talking on a topic of their choice for an hour, we had a few people talk about a topic they wanted for about ten minutes. With the discussion that came after, three people filled up our hour! I’m going split this up over two posts because I have so much to say about each one.

First, Rachel talked about chapters. A chapter is a narrative unit of a larger story. It helps to facilitate the transitions in the story. Historically, chapters divided up non-fiction works so they could be referenced for particular subjects without having to read the whole book. Later, they were used to show a change in time or place.

Now, chapters move stories along in many ways. They help with pacing, point of view changes, time jumps, location changes, dividing events, and moving to different storylines. Chapters are only one way of dividing a story. Writers can also use volumes, parts, and sections.

Rachel presented some tips about chapters as well. Some that stood out to me were:

  • Chapters don’t have the be the same length
  • Ending chapters with cliffhangers keeps a reader’s attention but don’t do it too often.
  • Numbering chapters is not mandatory

Our next mini topic was editing types. There are three major types: developmental (also called structural), copy, and proof. Developmental focuses on the story arc and contents and should be pursued before the other two. Copy edit deals more with accuracy and readability of the material, also looking for consistency of things such as tense and characters. Finally, a proof edit is a grammatical read-through to make small changes for linguistic accuracy.

Clearly, doing a proof edit before a developmental edit isn’t going to help anyone. Doing edits in this order is important or else you’ve erased the impact of earlier edits which will have to be repeated. There are several places online one can find editors such as Fiverr and Upwork. Be sure you understand fees and the type of edit you’re going to get from a freelance editor before working with them.

We had one more topic to discuss but I’ll save it for next week to keep this post a reasonable length. Besides, I’ve got something special saved for Thursday!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!


NaNoWriMo- My Official (ish) Intentions

20 Oct

Is it obligatory for a writing blog to post about NaNo? No, not yet? Well, I’m sure it will be in the near future so I better get this out-of-the-way.

I had two NaNo-related things happen to me so far in October and I thought it would be best to roll out this post before November 1 approached. I’m going to participate but not in the traditional sense.

For those of you not familiar, NaNo is short for National Novel Writing Month (also called NaNoWriMo). The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel between midnight on November 1 and midnight November 30. You start with a blank page and finish with ‘The End.’ I did this in 2013 making me a ‘Winner.’ (May or may not have a shirt…) In 2014, I was a ‘rebel’ and instead of writing an average of 1,667 words per day, I edited for the time it would have taken me to write that much. Hate me if you want, but I can normally pound out 1,667 words in about a half hour, give or take. So that meant I got at least 15 hours of editing my 2013 NaNo in last year. I finished that up earlier this year and I’ve set it aside for now while a friend reads it.

This year, I have a big obstacle in my way: School. I’m in an MBA program and the class I’m taking is very demanding. Fortunately (or not), it’s on a shortened semester schedule and wraps up November 16th. So I know that I’ll be up to my eyeballs in finance until the final is finished. I don’t want to go half-in on school and I don’t want to be stressing about NaNo so I’m pretending NaNo starts on November 17th. If I can do some work earlier than that, I will, but I won’t hold myself to a schedule. My goal until then is getting an A in this class.

Starting the 17th, it’s NaNo season for me. I’ll still end on the 30th, so it’s a shortened season. All told, I should get at least 7 hours of editing in. That’s right, I’m going to edit again. I don’t like having so many projects going that I can’t keep track of them all so I want to use the time to edit again. I really enjoy the camaraderie and friendly competition that come along with NaNo and I don’t want to skip out on the encouragement and focus I find in November. So I’ll be editing at write-ins and the annual Midway Madness event that my lovely home chapter hosts. I’m really pumped to get back into the frenzy. It’s the carrot waiting for me at the end of the semester.

Before this starts, I need to do some research. My book focuses on a school in the 1920s, but I’m not able to find a lot of information about the school systems at that time. I need to go to the library and spend some time with a research librarian. Honestly, that sounds like a blast to me.

How about you, Reader? Are you doing NaNo? What are your goals, whether they be rebellious like mine or more standard. I wish you the best in this crazy endeavor.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

My NaNoWriMo Plans; on being a rebel.

30 Oct

I’ve been open with my friends about NaNo, but now I’m going to make a public decry:

I’m not going to participate in National Novel Writing Month this year

…in the traditional sense.

Last year, I powered through 50,000 words in nineteen days and ended up with a manuscript that’s has an okay structure and pacing that needs work with a character I don’t like all that much.

And today, I have the exact same thing.

I need to edit it! What’s the point of writing a NaNo book if all it does is sit on my desk collecting dust (which I removed when a moved but is re-accumulating) and never gets edited? The last thing I want is another 50,000 draft sitting on my desk to bury under this one. So I won’t be adding another draft.

Instead, I’ll be editing the first one. I hope to commit about a half hour every day to working on editing the draft I have. I can write the required 1,667 words in about that time, so this will be my equivalent. I hope to use write-ins around my area to write for even more time, but I realize that my schooling comes first so I’ll have to take care of that. My husband is done coaching for the season so he’s said he’ll support me around the house more.

I hope to update my progress here in place of some of my book review posts. I’ll have to play blog catch-up in December, but I can do that easily. So check back here to see how awesome I am at being a rebel!

Are you doing NaNoWriMo? Are you rebelling like me? Doesn’t it feel great? Any way you look at it, have a happy November.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Novel Girls: Cutting, Adding, and Your Own Weakness

22 Apr

There is no way to describe how much I love meeting with my Novel Girls. It’s the perfect thing to do on a Thursday night to put me in my weekend brain a bit early. Then I float through Friday in a cloud, which is really wonderful.

This week it was me, Katherine, and Nicole and we met at Nicole’s new place again, which is great. I’m super jealous of her book shelf, by the way. It’s so well-organized and mine’s a total mess, haha. We all brought short stories, which was a nice change of pace for us, as we normally bring chapters of our novels.

My story is one I had rejected recently. Not my proudest moment, but I’ll live with it. I took the piece to another writers’ group and got a bit of feedback on it, but I was looking for more. The girls had some good advice on where I can make some cuts in the piece. They felt a part of it was entertaining, but didn’t develop my character. I thought that was really good feedback. The other part where they suggested I cut something is when my character’s finally revealing something about himself, but it gets muddled in the wording. This was hard for me to hear because the other group had said this part wasn’t long enough and needed more because the importance of the secondary character was watered down. One group wants more details on her, my girls wanted less and for me to focus on my main character. I’m still trying to decide what to do here. Reader, what do you do when you get two pieces of advice that seem great but contradict each other? I”m stuck in an author’s limbo!

Nicole seemed to have the opposite problem from me. In her story, we as readers wanted more! We wanted more detail as to what both were thinking, what started the conversation they were having, and what they were doing. The piece was very emotionally charged, very hard for both of the characters to endure, and very detailed. We felt the emotional changes the characters were experiencing merited a more in-dept look because of how their lives were changing in this ten minute window. Because it was such a rough time for both, I suggested giving the story a little more of a starting point and frame of reference so that the reader would understand how out of character some of the things were for these characters and how this was something that was hard for them to do. I think it will be a really strong piece when it’s finished.

When I read Kathrine’s piece, I knew that there were two spots which didn’t show her best writing. When I pointed them out, she agreed. She’s felt that these were two weak points herself when she’d sent it off to us. We talked through some ways to improve them and I think Katherine was glad to have some other people to talk to about those two parts. It was a reminder to us all that if something sounds weak when you write it, the reader will probably notice. It’s better to re-word or re-structure the part then to assume your reader will ‘get it’ or hope no one notices. This shows how helpful a close group of writers can be.

I hope all of your writers groups are going well. Until next time, write on.