What I’m Doing

Time for an update! It’s been a different and unusual kind of year for our family after losing my husband and the boys’ dad last summer, lots of feelings to deal with while trying to find our new normal, establishing new traditions while reflecting on and honoring old ones. I’m quite proud of how our family is transitioning to the new route.

For now, I am working part-time where I used to long ago. But one of my immediate goals is to grow my editing business and provide stellar service to many more clients. (You’ll want to visit the page for Eagle Eye and learn about all the services available.)

I have some fantastic plans for my Eagle Shadow series in the future, but…patience, patience. My current creative project is a Southern Baptist comedy book. My inspiration for this project is a secret only a few people know! But suffice to say (or is it ‘sufficeth to say’ or ‘suffice it to say’? Not gonna research it now. Pick your favorite.) you’re gonna just love Pastor Eugene Romans and his colorful congregation. I have been attending a writers critique group since last fall, and so far they have loved what they’ve heard of it. Their great comments and laughter at all the right parts have been encouraging me—or shall we say egging me on. It’s been a great experience as well to hear their creative works read aloud and to learn how to critique. It makes us all better writers. I highly recommend that all authors find such a group.

I’ve also had the opportunity to read a lot more books than I’ve had in recent years (books of my choice, not for homeschool prep). Some of my favorites have been: a couple Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (you see me advancing in age-level as I go!), Lake Wobegon Days, The Secret, rereading The Jackrabbit Factor, and I’m currently on my way through Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders. My two most favorite and life-transforming books I’ve read this year (for obvious reasons) are: Proof of Heaven by Dr. Eben Alexander and Talking to Heaven by James Van Praagh, both #1 New York Times bestsellers. What amazing books about the ‘other side’.

And recently, my boys and I realized a bucket list dream when we spent two weeks touring London and Paris. For purposes of this blog, I will just mention a couple of our literary adventures: the Treasures of the British Library exhibit where we saw the Gutenberg Bible, the Magna Carta, and many other historical writings dating to the 300s A.D., and the famed Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris where we squeezed through tight hallways lined with tons of books and saw the tumbleweeds (writers-in-residence) at work. It was truly a wonderful gift for us to have this opportunity together and to make better memories than last year at this time of year. We came home with a bigger-world perspective and new resolve going forward. Till next time…

What Every Editor Wants to Tell You

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Be forewarned—I’m on one today. But I bet anyone who works with Joe Q. Public will silently nod in agreement at this. I get lots of queries on a daily basis about editing. I answer every one as briefly and quickly as possible because, as they say, time is money. 🙂 That’s what they say anyway. So I thought maybe I could answer some queries ahead of time with this post.

And now, for your reading enjoyment, here are my pet peeves:
1) Authors who don’t read my Eagle Eye page and ask for services I said I didn’t provide.
2) Students who ask me to do their assignment for them (refer to #1). Stop wasting Daddy’s money and get yourself educated so in the future you don’t have to deal with…people like yourself.
3) Students (and some business people) who had the assignment for weeks but waited too long and expect me to put them ahead of others in the queue and edit their project in the next six hours. (Refer to #2 part B).

And if you’ve read this far, rest assured, I love you all!

When Are You Ready For an Editor?

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As an editor, I am sometimes torn. I love using my talent to help writers polish their work, and I am honored that they trust me to edit their projects. But I also see a lot of work that really isn’t ready yet for an editor, and I think maybe they have spent money they shouldn’t have to have their project cleaned up.

So when are you ready for an editor? First, let’s understand what the editor’s job is not. The editor is not the author. The editor is not supposed to capture the author’s vision and take over his voice. If you basically want to give your vaguely written ideas to someone and have them do most of the writing/rewriting, then you want a ghostwriter, and you’ll pay a pretty penny for that service. I actually had a client who said he’d come to a barrier in his book and actually wanted me to come up with an ending and finish it for him. Perhaps he enjoys storytelling but not actually writing, in which case I would not want to edit the part he had done as he probably does not have a passion for the art itself and it would show in the work. If you truly love writing, it will naturally follow that you will want to study your craft and get good at it.

Writers must learn the difference between rough drafting and revisions, and that both steps are vital, no matter how talented or famous you are. There is no such thing as a writer who only needs to rough draft and it is as good as it needs to be. That’s because rough drafting, what I like to think of as vomiting words onto the page uninhibited, uses a different side of the brain than the analytical side which rearranges those words and polishes them into good reading material. There is no shame whatsoever in rewriting, even several times. It doesn’t indicate that you aren’t as talented as the best writers. It’s just the way the brain works. Get all thoughts onto the paper first, without regard for form, then go back and take out and rearrange words. It’s better to have extra words and not need them than to need them and not have them.

Here’s where many writers steer wrong. NEVER, ever send a rough draft to an editor. You are wasting your money. It is YOUR vision; you polish it as much as possible. If you haven’t captured your vision succinctly, an editor is most certainly not going to be able to see it. An editor can only raise the quality of your work about, say, ten percent (not scientific, just a general figure). So if you send a ninety percent-good job, an editor can get it to 100 percent. But if you send something only fifty percent decent, the editor will probably only be able to get you to sixty percent decent. It is not the editor’s book; they can only work with what’s given to them.

If writing and storytelling are your passions, you will find that both rough drafting and revising can be equally fulfilling tasks as you see your cherished masterpiece take shape before your eyes.

 

Fine-Tune Your Writing Series: Editing for Others

ID-100130371In the last of this series on fine-tuning your writing, everyone knows writing and editing go hand in hand, and I have had the privilege of working for many years as an editor. While it isn’t my dream job, it has given me immeasurable experience in fine-tuning others’ writing, which in turn, helps me to more easily catch blips in my own work. I’ve actually had the bonus experience of editing books about writing. Talk about killing two birds with one stone! Passive vs. active sentence constructions have often tripped me up, but editing a book about such really cleared up some murky waters for me.

I love to look back and see how, in so many ways, life has brought me experiences which fine-tuned my writing without my notice. I firmly believe that if you are passionate about something and willing to put in as much work as necessary for as long as necessary, those experiences will naturally come to you, and it’s your job to grab them and build on them to reach the heights you’re capable of. You’ll be surprised at just how high you can go.

How to Tick Off a Proofreader

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If anyone wants to get into proofreading, I can tell you how I got started. As a little girl I became friends with my neighbor Lynn, and, as is typical, our friendship had its on-again/off-again moments. I guess I was about eight years old or so when we got upset about something (who knows what) and she marched over and handed me a mean letter she’d written. Hmph! I’ll show her, I thought. I took it into the house, got out my glorious red pencil, and proceeded to edit her letter, correcting all the wording and errors I could find. I never gave it back. We were friends again the next day….and the rest is history!

Universally Helpful Proofreading Tip

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When wearing my writing hat, I arrogantly call myself an Artist of Words, but when wearing my editing hat, I equally arrogantly call myself The Original Perfectionist. And here’s a tip from the Eagle Eye department of corrections that I use to help me maintain that reputation I have with myself!

When proofreading for typos, it’s easy to miss left-out words, or words typed twice, because you, as the author, know what it’s supposed to say. So try reading it using a dull, monotone robot voice in your head, enunciating every syllable equally. Yeah, it’s boring as all get-out, but it works. You probably don’t want to read a whole book that way, but when you have passages with lots of little words, like “in”, “a”, “the”, “but”, “for”, “it”, “on”, “is”, “to”, it will help you to make sure the words are there and in the right order. I proofread this post that way, so if I’ve embarrassed myself, you’ll let me know, right?