Ever had an editor use the word "muddled" when referring to your work? Sometimes there are sentences that are just plain hard to follow. Overlong sentences can be to blame, but surprisingly enough, verb tense issues are often the culprit.
Our Double Check this week is to go over your tenses and make sure they 1) are the correct form, 2) match or correlate with the nouns in the sentence and, 3) match the other verbs in the sentence.
The dogs chase...
The dog chases...
Other more complicated sentences pose problem number 3. If there are more than one verb in the sentence that points back to the same noun, it can be easy to switch tenses.
The family of the deceased asks for donations and seeks answers from local authorities.
It would be too easy to write the first verb right and the second wrong. (Side Note: Though it indicates plurality, "family" is the singular version of the noun.) If in doubt, cover the chunk of sentence between the second verb and its noun, then see if it makes sense.
If you still have questions ask your editor :)
P.S. If you don't have an editor, Dream Edit Repeat does all kind of edits. Check out our packages or shoot over an email and we'll get you taken care of.
Hey, Hi, what’s up my friends. Hope all your writing dreams are coming true and may the powers that be bless you with correct contraction use. Ah, yes. Contractions.
Side note: I kind of accidentally started the Double Check series on Instagram, which kind of accidentally went well. It did so well on Instagram, I thought I’d expand a little. Today, I’m tackling the contraction Double Check.
Contractions- Use Them
What is it? Why do only some editors offer it and some don't? If its not always offered, is it necessary? Isn't it the same as a content edit? Yes and no.
The Line Edit- What is it?
In its truest form, a line edit is the completion of a content edit. A line edit is an extremely focused and detailed look at individual sentences and lines. It is a content edit of specific lines and paragraphs.
A content edit fixes issues requiring you to look at full pages and scenes at a time. For more on what a content edit is, visit my post The content edit: What it is and why it should be your first edit. After erasing and rearranging and rewriting, you need to do another kind of content edit fine tune the details to help complete the content edit.
Things We Look For: Line Edit vs Content Edit
Hi friends! If you're new to the publishing world (indie pub or traditional), You're likely overwhelmed with the "afterward". You've thrown up a jumbled mess onto some pages and then labored over every single word until it was absolutely correct (and then second guessed yourself a few times), and now you can't do anymore to your piece without going insane or throwing up. (*Deep breath*) Enter Editors.
Oh don't roll your eyes at me, I know. The LAST thing you want right now is someone else pouring over your work with more critiques. But, do you want a successful book or not? Because I contend that every book needs an editor. Even small e-books could use a good copyedit.
So what's the first kind of edit you should look for?.
The Content Edit
So a content edit is the very first edit you should definitely look for. Content Edits address the book as a whole, covering topics such as plot, character development, tone, and world-building. This is NOT as detailed as a line or copy edit because it looks at the main issues and not each individual line. However, it is super detailed about the overall effect of your book. After choosing an editor, this is the first edit you will receive. The main points of the story have to be fixed before the small details can be ironed out or else things become very unproductive.
The questions is not whether you should self edit or not, because I'm sure, for many of you, that's a given. In fact, I can't imagine writing something and not constantly rethinking my word choices. There is, however, one thing I have to stress.
Self editing AFTER your piece is finished is a must.
"I self edit as I go, Ashley, so my piece is already edited by the time it's finished." Wrong. Its important to do a full read through after your piece is finished to check for coherency, consistency and flow. These things have to be viewed overall, not when you're zeroed in on specific scenes.
If a painter is painting a grand picture of nature, zeroing in on a specific corner filled with fall leaves on a beautiful oak tree, he still has to look at the picture overall to see color pallets, themes, texture, and style so that the corner still matches the rest of the picture. In the same way, you should be looking at your piece as a whole to fix your own style issues.
If you're still on the fence, here are three reasons why you 100% absolutely must self edit your piece afterwards, and why I (and other editors) often turn away first drafts.
It will save you money.
Editors will either charge by the hour or by the word count. I wont go into which is better bang for your buck right now, but either way, you will inevitably pay more if your piece is not self edited. Even if you find an editor who works by the word count (like I do), they may come back and ask for more money if the piece is extra rough. Or they'll read a sample before taking the job and decide not to take the piece altogether.
\Hello Friends! I had to use 3 tries just to spell the word "friends". (P.S. I just spelled it wrong again.) Ah... this day... But, I've got my Bulletproof coffee about halfway in my system. I'll be ready to roll here pretty soon! (By the way, if you haven't heard of Bulletproof coffee, its the most delicious coffee filled with coconut oil and grass-fed butter. Its super frothy and super healthy for your brain.)
Today I'm sitting down to search for buried treasure. Searching each and every submission for hidden potential is both exhausting and completely satisfying. After a few hours, there comes the brain fog, my eyes start to water, and I desperately need to stand up and walk around a bit, but if I've found my next project, it was absolutely worth it! (Click here for tips on writing your own query and here for synopsis tips)
The last few days of submission searching has been full of female protagonists who shoot flames (or energy, or lasers, etc.) out of their palms. *Deep breath* its going to be okay. (PS if you wrote a book with this trope, I highly recommend you change it. It's a bit over done. But that's just one editors opinion. Feel free to take your chances. who knows who might pick it up.). Speaking of tropes, I'm hoping for a good romance. Follow all the cheesy tropes that make us happy and include some scifi elements. I'm talking reverse harem, rich boy meets only slightly pretty poor girl with a spunky attitude, Add in a rich snob that the rich boy can reject for the poor girl. The more cheese the better! I need it. #mswl
By the way I highly recommend The Crazy Asians Trilogy. It will soon be a movie!
Well wish me luck today! And let me know what romance tropes are your favorite!
Anyone can ‘label’ themselves a writer. Of any sort of material. At any time. It's as simple as that. It is not, however, simple to be a serious writer.
While aiming for a successful career in writing, be aware of the reputation you are building and creating for yourself. It is far too easy to accidentally fall into ill repute. it is hard to reel back from it. Undoing certain damages is nearly impossible; rectifying one's self is never easy. What is easy, though, is creating a solid, proficient repute. A successful creative writer will utilize more than one self-marketing method while branding themselves. Remember you are always branding yourself, whether it is intentional or not.
The next handful of actions will help you on your journey.
First, understand that social-networking sites are one of your best friends. The world of writing can be a tough and highly competitive field of work. At times, it can even seem completely cutthroat. You can take advantage of social-networking sites by creating connections worldwide, both quickly and efficiently. Using these types of sites will allow you to better connect with your readers by sharing samples, up-coming news, and links to other works you have created. Utilize all the internet tools; use them to your advantage. Here is a great article on how to use twitter to your advantage: How to Get Noticed on Twitter — 15 Tips for Writers.
The setting of your story is one of three very key components. The setting itself, if written correctly, is practically a character on its own. It lives and breaths, and contains just the right amount of soul. The happenings that occur in and around the settings will prove to sway and influence different characters and events.
Know Your Setting Well.
Setting is the backdrop or place where your characters and stories unfold. Many different aspects can make up the setting. This is the when and where that your characters will be developing in. By changing and utilizing your settings, you have more insight and control over your character building; hence why ALL of this ties together so well in the end.
While brainstorming on setting details you should not be surprised to find that it can be built in nearly the same manner as the actual characters. You have to take the time to learn and know the setting you want to use. Think of how well you know your hometown, or where you grew up. You can envision all the particulars, right down to the last detail, in your mind. You can see and notice the things that so typical as well as the things that distinguish it from any other ole place. That’s how well you want to know the setting that is to be portrayed in your writing. Once you’ve imagined the environment and circumstances inside it, the words will begin to run down the paper faster than spilled ink. You will be able to create a steady flow.
Bring the Setting to Life
So you want to perfectly communicate to your audience that image in your mind’s eye, right? Get it out of your mind, and let it flow down through your fingertips and into your keys. Writing a description with such vividness can be a daunting task contributing to the writer's block epidemic that's ravaging the fiction writer world as we speak. Often, what stares back at us from the computer screen is either blank or not quite right. And unfortunately, we can't crumble up a computer and throw it in the trash with a satisfactory swish. Because well, it would crunch and not swish and unfortunately we still need our computer. The good news is there are some simple ways to help you use that beautiful writer imagination of yours. Because really, the last thing your reader wants to venture into is the deep abyss of dull imagery translation. Not to mention, it's just not enjoyable to write that way. There is something missing amidst all this brain chatter and it all boils down to one very important fiction writing tip.
Imagery is the language that poets, novelists and a slew of other writers use to create moving images in the mind of the reader. An easy way to fully capture your reader’s attention is to write so vividly they feel as though they are waltzing right on through the story, right beside the characters. One of the greatest example I have of this is Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen. That book made me feel so dirty I had an illogical obsession with showers every time I finished reading a chunk. Everything in the book is covered in dust, soot, and grease. Train cars are full of stuffy velvet I can almost smell. Heat from their oil lamps made my nose feel dry. That's how unbelievably vivid that book is. Writing with that intensity ought to be every fiction writers goal. With out this ferocity, even the most thrilling or compelling plot will fall flat on its back. Like a turtle. Or a flopping fish. There are many different splits, junctures, and hairpin bends in the road that make up the schema of imagery.