Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 8

Part 1: Look it up!Part 2:  Read it out loud.Part 3:  Have someone who knows what they're doing read it.Part 4:  Consistency, consistency, consistency!Part 5:  Dialogue tag...you're NOT it!Part 6: Pick the right word to say what you mean.Part 7: Adverbs--Kill it with fire!Welcome to Part 8: Editors Aren't Perfect.I'm often asked whether anything trips me up as an editor. And the answer is, unequivocally, YES. There are just some things that, even after repeated hammerings-in, just don't make it into my thick scull.I'm not afraid to admit that I don't know everything related to writing, but that's why I own copies of several different editing and/or style guides.But what stumps me? What's bookmarked and dog-eared in my editing reference books?I'll tell you.Keep in mind that these are just a few things, and, for the sake of brevity, I'm not going to go into detail on the correct meanings or usage of them--feel free to look those up, though I might...
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Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 7

Part 1: Look it up!Part 2:  Read it out loud.Part 3:  Have someone who knows what they're doing read it.Part 4:  Consistency, consistency, consistency!Part 5:  Dialogue tag...you're NOT it!Part 6: Pick the right word to say what you mean.This is part 7: Adverbs--Kill it with fire! Or, as Stephen King says in On Writing: "The road to hell is paved with adverbs."Apply adverbs here...That might sound like a little extreme, but trust me, adverbs are not your friend. What's an adverb? It's basically the equivalent of what an adjective is to a noun, but it's a word that describes or modifies another adverb, adjective or, most commonly, a verb--how something is done. Often--but not always--they end in "ly".He walked slowly.  How did he walk? Slowly.She talked quietly.  How did she talk? Quietly.You get the idea.So what's the problem with adverbs? Description is good, right? And I'm always on everyone about showing, not telling (*maniacal laughter* You just wait...there'll be an entry...
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Awesome Writing in Media, Part 4: Book of Mormon

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, I talked a bit about two notable writers from the television and movie worlds: Joss Whedon and Quentin Tarantino.  And in Part 3, I diverted a bit to discuss the movie Horrible Bosses.  Providing you haven't thrown your hands up in despair for my taste in awesome writing in media, here's another one for you.Here in Part 4, I'm taking another turn, this time in to the world of theater.  My husband and I have been very lucky to enjoy quite a few stage productions over the years (though we'd always be happy to see more of them), and, like movies, the hype is often built up so much about one that you're left feeling wanting and let down after seeing it. I'm happy to report that this was not the case with Book of Mormon.  It's a freaking 9-Tony-award-winning musical that's both a satire and comedy, written by the team of Trey Parker...
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Awesome Writing in Media, Part 3: Horrible Bosses

Okay, bear with me on this one.  I've decided to jump around a bit and will, instead of solely focusing on individual writers in this series, also focus on works as a whole. Also, just so you don't feel obligated to stop reading, I won't spoil any of the movies or other media for you. Promise. Or, at least I'll try not to.Hopefully none of these, so rest easy.That doesn't mean I won't talk about the plots or characters, but I'll try not to give something away that would ruin the movie(s) for people.  On the other hand, if there's a movie (or its source material, if it was based on a book) that's been out for a long time, all bets are off.  People whining about Martin Freeman "spoiling" something in one of the Hobbit movies are ridiculous...that plot point has been out for seventy-something years.  Suck it up, buttercup.Anyway, onward!Honestly, Horrible Bosses wasn't a movie I initially had high...
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Awesome Writing in Media, Part 2 : Quentin Tarantino

Back in Part 1 of this series on awesome writing in media, I discussed my love for Joss Whedon. But this time around, I wanted to talk about someone a little more polarizing...Quentin Tarantino.  The more I talk to people about him and his movies (which include Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained, Inglourious Basterds, among others), the more I'm convinced that you either love him or hate him.Most of the movies Tarantino has made he's both written and directed, and has taken home and/or been nominated for quite a few awards for his work.  Like him or not, he's a talented guy.  And I happen to enjoy his movies.Why?  Because they're different.  There's this odd mix of extreme, bloody violence, unique plots, and interesting dialogue--complete with gratuitous swearing.  Tarantino makes movies that aren't formulaic; he makes the movie he wants to make, and because he has his hands in so many aspects of the movie-pies, he has a lot of creative control...
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Awesome Writing in Media, Part 1: Joss Whedon

So I've been in my little writer/editor cave for the past few months, working my little writer/editor butt off on various projects.  The problem with that (besides neglecting this blog, which I clearly maintain with the sporadic manic-ness of a coke-addict), is that my poor husband gets neglected as well. Quality time is at a premium, you know.So, like many busy couples nowadays, we have to make the effort to spend time together.  Our "thing", ever since we started dating, was to watch movies together, which then spread into shared television shows.  And with the plethora--jeez, I've been hitting the thesaurus too hard--of media out there, we've found that we need to minimize our watching in order to maximize our time and enjoyment, if that makes sense.  Let me back up a bit so this makes more sense.  I've never been much of a comic reader, but many of the movies he's dragged me to (the dragging was what happened...
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Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 2

So my first tip in this series was to look things up if you don't know them.  Seems intuitive enough, right?  Well, my second tip for effectively editing your own work might not be as obvious...2)  Read it out loud.I mean exactly what this says...read your work out loud to yourself.  Or you can read it out loud to some lucky person you've suckered into listening.  Doesn't really matter.  Just make sure you read it--ALL of it--out loud.  Slowly. Why do this, you ask?  Won't this take forever? Yes, it can.  But reading your manuscript aloud to yourself can help you find errors, particularly of the kind that result in wonky-sounding sentences, that you wouldn't find otherwise.  Trust me on this.  Something about hearing it for real rather than in your head makes you process the words in a different way.  If it sounds strange out loud, it sounds strange on paper and you can fix it.  This is especially effective...
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Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 1

In this new year, I'd like to do more to help my fellow writers.  I've always been inspired by the lovely Susan Kaye Quinn, who has always been so open to assisting other authors who ask for it.  She even compiled a new ebook that combines a series of blog entries (along with new material) to help folks make up their mind whether they want to self-publish or not, and how to do just that. But what to help other authors with, exactly?  What skill set do I have that I can use for the greater good?Well, I'm an editor.  A real-life professional one.  So we'll start there.  I'll give a few credentials to start...I'm contracted with a mid-size publisher to edit with them. I do free-lance editing, as well as critiquing in various forms for people.  I've also been part of a team that accepts/rejects online submissions to an online story archive.  So I've been editing in some form...
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Oh, the Angst!

Sometimes--for me, anyway--emotions can get in the way of writing.  Ever try to bang out a couple thousand words of a fight scene but you're in a sparkly-unicorn-farts good mood?  Or attempt to write a chapter of happiness, only to discover that the funk you're in makes this next-to-impossible? This usually happens to me when the moods are extreme, but I have a feeling we've all been there.  On the other hand, sometimes emotions take us to strange places as writers, even inspiring us.  I had the dubious pleasure recently of being so upset, so absolutely throw-down-and-kick-some-ass angry, that if anyone was around me at the time, I'm sure they would have spontaneous exploded, or would have gotten this kind of response: But in the middle of my rage, a line came to me out of the blue, and I'm sure if I hadn't been in such a terrible mood, I'd never have thought of it.  And no, I'm not going to...
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