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Posts Tagged ‘editing’

I am keeping this short today as I am very tired!

We had writing group this evening and it went very well.  I took some poems for improvement and it was remarkably painless: a few lines to tidy was about it. I am planning to read Cicero at the open mic, which is a little political: I still think it needs improvement but none of us could decide what! So I will read it and see how it feels as a performed piece.

When I got home, I had a most unexpected visitor: a lizard on my doorstep.  How marvellous – it’s the first one I have seen since living here in the countryside, and I hope he made it home to a cosy corner somewhere.  I love seeing the wildlife here – from rabbits to foxes, badgers to bats, hedgehogs to bees and beyond, it’s an absolute pleasure.

I can see why so many writers make worlds for them, they positively demand a storyline!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

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Firstly, this is where my mind went after I typed this week’s post title:

This song brings such a strong emotional response to me, that it’s actually a really good representation of my task for the next few weeks.

I am now in preparation for not one but two open mic nights.  I decided not to focus on new work for the next one, but to get some neglected work up to the necessary quality.

It’s all about getting the mood and the language in harmony, really – finding the right word at the right time in the poem.

I’ll give you an example I am trying to fix: I wrote a poem about walking in the countryside; it’s a painting-inspired and natural poem in which I used the word crepuscular. Not a good choice: too technical, a little unwieldy and unattractive, and put in to shorten a line rather than because it’s the right word.

In a long poem a single word might not stand out, but this one is so wrong it needs a precision removal and an artistic, fluid word to go in its place. Not sure what but I have a few weeks to find something!

Editing is the hardest part of writing but when I do find the right word it is immeasurably satisfying!

So here’s to being inspired by Tracy Chapman and to making my poems as good as they can be.

Happy writing, and listening!

EJ

🙂

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Well, after a lovely long weekend celebrating a family wedding, I am back to the grind with the preparation for tomorrow’s open mic night.  I have a pile of poems ready to go, and a group of people now putting their hands up to say they’ll take part – or, at least, turn up with a possibility of taking part!

I decided not to spend too long editing the work – partly because there’s less time than I realised! But also because I will use the event to review them, so I can make adjustments as a result of what I hear.

As it’ll be a late night tomorrow I probably won’t tell you how it goes until Friday – in the meantime, wish me luck!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

 

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I am studying more slowly than planned but so far it’s been a worthwhile exercise to get back to thinking more analytically about writing.

The biggest benefit, however, comes when I get back to putting a story on paper.  Specifically, how less really is more!

I have some great tips and techniques for revising my work, from thinking through each scene to see if it does what it should – and includes the elements that give it purpose – to identifying how to tighten up the language and what type of words to consider cutting first.

All I need now is to take my ideas book, and see what ideas I want to pursue, if any!

One thing I will try in my next writing outing is revising as I go, a technique that works for many people but has never really appealed to me.  However it seems sensible to try it and see if it helps because my whole ethos on the next story is about planning, organising and controlling – I don’t want to write another 50k words before I realise my story is fundamentally flawed!

Now I have a better, more practical understanding of the revision process, I need to make it part of my writing practice.  That will take some time but we all know writing is at least partially habit so I don’t see why editing should be any different!

Until next time – happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

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This week I have been doing too much, and not enough.

There have been a lot of things going on – appointments, extra meetings at work, extra hours at work, reading a script for the drama group and so on – and writing has taken a little bit of a back seat.

It’s frustrating, but just because the words haven’t quite hit the page it doesn’t mean I haven’t been planning – it’s important for me to remember that!

I have mapped out logistically how to take what I picked up from the crime writing convention and apply it to the whodunnit. I have a new storyline because one of the key things I realised as I sat in that audience was that a police procedural is not my style.

Now, that’s a bit of a worry, because I wrote a story wrapped around a police officer. But with some tweaks, I can make it effective as a more angsty/psychological story which is more about perception and not entirely about reality…

It became really clear as I listened to police officers and ex police officers, and civilians who are authorised to go out in uniform in police cars, that it’s not the route I want to take. They are experts and can bring years of experience to their work, they can use the language, the systems, without fear of getting a major detail wrong.

I can’t do that, and I am not in a position to give up work to go around chasing gangs in a police car any time soon, so my best bet, and the one I think will work better, is to work with what I know: people.

At last, a degree in Sociology might have a tangible benefit!

There are resources, of course – but one thing I know from research (yay Sociology again!) is that there’s nothing better than doing your own: only you will know exactly what it is you are looking for.  This isn’t science, it is about people in potentially dangerous situations responding based on their own experience and belief system.  If I only needed a few details to pin it together, I could ask one of my lovely contacts for help.  However, there’s a lot more than that to do, and I have to make it work for me.

All this sounds like another head-hitting-wall moment but it really isn’t, because a) I realised what I can bring to my writing from my own background and b) the whodunnit was never meant to be anything more than an exercise in twisting a tale – the fact I have now seen its possibilities is completely unexpected and quite marvellous!

I am going to leave it there today, on what I truly think is a positive point. Next week I have to get back into sending out my work but for now I’m focussing on the fact that I am working, even when my pen hasn’t really touched my paper.

Happy writing,
EJ
🙂

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As I kind of said most of what’s been happening on Thursday, today’s post is a little shorter than normal!

This week has been all about submissions.  One thing I’m working on, and trying to improve each time, is the accompanying paperwork.

I’ve talked about the synopsis before but it’s also the covering letter, any additional short biographies and so on – all these need to be tailored.  Sometimes there are boxes on a screen to fill in, sometimes documents have to be uploaded, or emailed.  Some agents still only accept postal submissions.

For me, the key is to read the requirements at least twice before I start.  I also have to re-read everything I add at least twice at the end but that’s probably a nervous tic rather than a requirement!

Of course that doesn’t mean you won’t get caught out – when I first sent a submission out I got a response saying the agent was now focussing solely on historical fiction.  Once I contacted – the agent of a writer I thought was a great example of my tone and in the right genre – had decided to focus solely on non-fiction work.  Again, that wasn’t noted on the website or in The Writers and Artists Yearbook which had been my first port of call.

But putting those issues aside, we writers have one opportunity to catch the attention of our agent audience.  For me, that means if I don’t get a positive response I have to review how I am selling my work, and myself as a writer. I am not changing my story but I can change how I describe it, how I engage with the reader.  Even the most basic letter – a two paragraph description of myself and my story – has to be lively and capture attention.

I have to be honest and say that I’m still working on this.  But each attempt gets a little better and more natural, and that’s got to be good for the future.

Until I get picked up (or give up on being picked up) by an agent, part of my job as a writer is to keep improving, editing and revising my sales pitch, as I did the novel itself.

It will all be worth it when I get a positive response.

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

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This post is unexpectedly late due to my husband getting ill, sorry about that, but he has been in need of a little tlc, and I’m going to keep this short for the same reason.

So a quick recap – last week was a positive one: editing was completed, agents were identified, appropriate synopses have been started.

I feel energised in my writing, and have a plan.

My plan involves agreeing with a friend that in 6 months, if no pick-up from agents, I will self-publish. I’m still not sure how I feel about it, but it is a plan, and it gives structure to my aimless amblings earlier in the year about what to do for the best.

It also means I can now get down to work on my next project – either a re-work of an earlier draft book or a follow-up to the one being sent out.  I have a brief timeline for the follow-up so could build on that but I kind of like the idea of revisiting something I’ve done, in my newly-positive editing mindset, and seeing whether it’s got potential to work. That is a decision for the next few days.

Yep, last week was a good week.  This week hasn’t got off to the best of starts but give it a few days and I should be back on track.

Watch this space!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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