Work Wednesday—The Boring Part

Well, it’s not exactly boring for me because I’m super-organized and I have a plan, but the next few weeks might be a little yawn inducing here on the ol’ blog.

That’s because, one, I do have a business to run and so I spend a lot of time working at my desk; and two, pictures of our current house cannot be posted until it’s market-ready, or potential buyers would be running for the hills.

Unless, of course, they’re used to seeing moving messes. Based on some of the home shows I’ve seen, they aren’t even used to changing a room’s paint color.

But I digress.

Besides working, I’ve also gotten to spend some time with the kid and make sure he at least eats a vegetable or two, and we’ve hung out a bit, watching anime series.

Also, I’ve packed up a few boxes throughout the house and emptied four more bookshelves. The older kid is coming by to get those, and a few other pieces of furniture. Hopefully today.

And, I cleaned up the garage. I’d like to say “cleaned out,” but that’s not happening for a while. However, once that aforementioned furniture is gone, including the pool table, we’ll have more room to work. This week, we’ll be moving everything else out there that’s packed.

The house here in STL is starting to look a little bare, but I figured we spend close to half our time at the farm, so why not?

The tricky question is when to move the winter clothes? It’s snowing as I speak. Er, type.

My husband, lucky man, spent a few days at the farm this last week. Out of necessity, because of the bone-chilling cold coupled with a lack of central heat in the house. Freezing pipes could be very, very bad.

Besides babysitting the well pump, he also had a project:


Yes, folks, the outhouse will be ready for the annual campout, never fear!




The Importance of Editing

Quite a mundane title for something SO VERY crucial. Yes, I said it. You cannot be an author without having an editor.

I’ve read a lot of books lately – I check every one that comes into the store. We have a lot of very talented authors here in STL, and every book has something to offer. But. Roughly half of them could be better. A LOT better.

Some have beautiful descriptions; but there are too many. Some have a unique storyline; but there are so many grammatical errors that a reader would quickly become frustrated. Some use bizarre, unusual words that, while correct, are so obscure that even a reader with an extensive vocabulary has to stop to look them up. And of course, some are just very, very poorly written.

Let me tell you how I edit my books:

I write, naturally, and keep track of timelines and plot lines via notes. Usually the notes are handwritten on scraps of paper, which I often lose, but simply the act of writing them down (usually) assures that I remember them.

After I’ve stopped for period of time, I re-read the last few paragraphs to get myself back on track. I skim from beginning to stopping point, just to refresh my memory of the overall story. And I’m anal enough to make most corrections as I go along.

When the ms is finished, I send it off to beta readers – these are the folks who you know will give you honest feedback. Not your mom. Unless your mom is like mine. 😉 These readers will tell you if they find a plot hole big enough to drive a truck through, they’ll tell you if your dialog is believable – or not. They’ll ask questions, and make you think – and possibly rewrite a chapter; or ten.

Then it goes to my editor. A professional. Yes, it costs money. Writing is fun, writing is a calling, writing is an obsession – writing is also a business. You do have to spend some money. Suck it up.

Only after the ms comes back from my editor do I go over it again. Most of her changes, I accept. Some, I don’t. My point is that it’s YOUR book, so check everything as much as you feel comfortable. Or until you get bored with the whole thing.

Yes, I found errors. There will always be errors. But there’s a HUGE difference between a typo and a well, a boo-boo. If you know how to spell, how to punctuate, how to use grammar, that’s 75% of the battle. But you aren’t perfect, and neither am I – there will still be mistakes. But not misteaks. Get it?

At the same time, you don’t want to obsess over the entire book. Learn to accept those mistakes, correct as you can, and move on. An author could certainly postpone publication for months or years trying to make it “perfect.” Ain’t gonna happen. Deal with it.

It doesn’t matter how you edit – do what works for you. Maybe you write till you drop, then go back and fix things. That’s okay, too. But please, please edit! I can’t tell you how disappointing it is to pick up a book – that, more’s the pity, has already been published – and read the back, thinking, “Wow, this sounds great!” only to discover that you can’t get past page 15 because it’s just so horrible.