Write Em Cowboy

I am starting to work in earnest on my upcoming blog series “So You Want To Write A Book.”  (or some other wonderfully colorful fictitious title).  I think it will be informative and helpful to readers at every stage of their writing.

It will be free, a part of my blog. I may put together a package of worksheets and references and samples and offer that for purchase. Still working on that.

As I put together this series I also did the final read through of my first book. I said final — I HAVE to say final — or I will be nip and tucking this thing for the next 10 years.

This last nip and tuck a few days ago yielded a cut of 243 words. And those were just the same words I used too many times.

You see? We all have positive and negative writing habits that we cannot see. We read and reread and proofread and still miss the bigger picture; a smooth reading ride on the Writing Railroad.

The advice I will share is good for all lengths of writing: novels, novellas, short stories, magazine articles. Memoirs and science fiction. Romance and mystery. It doesn’t matter what you write — you have to proof it with a fine tooth comb.

My comb is always full of hair. Pity.

But that’s what makes the final work worthy. Worthy of publication, of entering into contests, into being a story in a magazine or a column in a newspaper. Clean, entertaining writing.

I am living proof you have to put in the work.

Some may toss off stories like trick-or-treat candy. Maybe they’re that good. If you are that good, I envy you. For it’s not easy to get exactly what you want to say out and down on paper the first time around. The first ten times around.

Practice, practice, practice. Edit and change and stand back and do it again. That’s one of the tips I’m going to share in my blog come Christmas time.

One of my favorite movies is Tombstone. I love Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp. And he has the best line about cleaning up your writing.

“The Cowboys are finished, you understand me?! I see a red sash, I kill the man wearin’ it! So run, you cur… RUN! Tell all the other curs the LAW’S coming! You tell ’em I’M coming… and Hell’s coming with me, you hear?! Hell’s coming with me!

Hehe….bring the brimstone down on your writing. You won’t be sorry.

Just don’t set your computer on fire…..

Proofreed Everything!

I got soooo ticked off the other day.

I want to finish proofing/editing my first book so I can:

  • make it into an e-book
  • try a publisher
  • sell it through my website
  • throw it in the garbage

So I’m going through it ONE LAST TIME, and I keep coming across all these  ; ‘s  and and and overusing first names in conversation.

And THIS is one reason why you shouldn’t be the only editor of your publication.

I will cover this in my series “How To Write That Book”, but being as ticked off as I am I need to share this life lesson NOW.

You can be as meticulous as you can be; you can read and reread and spell check and go through each sentence 10,000 times and you will still miss something that an outsider would see.

This has happened to me throughout my writing career. That’s why I don’t hit “send” or “publish” right away.

You never know what will pop up.

Most of us cannot afford an editor to look over our book/magazine article/term paper. If you CAN spend a few bucks on any part of your writing, this is where to spend it.

If you just can’t, and still want/need/should look professional, have someone else read your paper for grammar, punctuation, and repetitiveness. They don’t have to get into the “flow” of the story (although that helps, too).

But an outside eye can catch things your mind cannot.

To prove my point, this came through on my Facebook feed yesterday:

Now. What did you just read?

Maybe you read it right the first time. Most likely you did not.

Neither will your readers.

If you edit your own pages, no matter what they are, either read them out loud, take note of punctuation, sentence structure, think of how people speak. We write faster than we think — we also read faster than we think.

Hope you got a chuckle out of my post.

Thank goodness it was proofread first.