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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Musings on an Epic Journey to become an Editor

Things have been a little crazy in my parts. I have a new job, I’m balancing family life, school work, and other miscellaneous (but still important) activities. I went on a blogging binge and I suppose needed some time to recuperate.

In other news, I have started my journey to become a paid editor (after all, I already am one). It looks like it is going to be a rough road, but I was never one to take it easy.

For now, it looks like I will have to work freelance. I would love to work my way up to Random House (who wouldn’t?).

Start small, Ye Who Types C, start small.

Starting small has also never been my signature. I go for the biggest. The best. The most intense. The piece of pizza with the sauciest sauce and the cheesiest cheese.

I’ll have my pizza, and it will be cheese stuffed crust.

With extra garlic sauce.

 

And parsley flakes.

Fewer vs. Less

Fewer is used with quantities

The rocket ship had fewer than 13 monkeys on it)

There are fewer than 1.5 conscientious calculators in the room. (Hey, there’s that “than!”)

Do not say: the rocket ship had less than 13 monkeys.

Let’s move onto less.

Less is used as an ambiguous comparison. 

Ralph was less handsome than Hanson.

I was less than inclined to engage with Hanson because he was an unscrupulous fellow.

Never Give Up

This is almost a continuation from my last post, except it applies to not giving up in general. 

I like to draw. I like to make people laugh. I thought my pictures were funny, but whenever anyone looks at my pictures, they shake their head.

I could do anything!

Actually, I desire to attend Whitman.

Then reality takes me out for coffee.

This quashes me for a moment.

But then I realize something.

I can do anything I want if I put my mind to it.

I can buy endless bottles of whipped cream. I can eat bananas and mustard. I could even buy pickles!!!!

Tip: reality has Go-Go Gadget arms, so run fast.

The moral of the story? Push forward.

Reality Check for Writers

A moment we all have

No, it isn’t time to switch to the flamethrower. In fact, stop burning those piles of papers. Don’t think about how happy you’d be if you just burned your desk right now.

Don’t be angry you haven’t made millions yet, or that you have writers block. Trust me, burning an abstract idea can be tough- I’ve tried.

So close…

You don’t write because you want to . You write because you have to. I’ve had this idea for years (specifically since the 5th grade).

Yet so, so far.

One day, I just sat down. I wrote in my Harry Potter journal. I wrote about a love lost, the beautiful glint of his brown eyes, his nerdy love of video games.

Love caused me to write.

Anger caused me to write.

Emotions, in general, force me to write. 

I don’t always want to write. I need to write. If I don’t write, I can’t function. I can’t hold things in. It doesn’t matter who sees it, or if I ever see it again. The thing is, it needs to be out there.

You don’t get paid to breathe. You don’t get paid to drink water. You do it because you need to survive. Survival doesn’t come from a monetary gain- it comes from a biological, sometimes all encompassing need.

If you stop writing because you begin to think it isn’t worth it because my well-researched biography of Trotsky isn’t going to sell, throw that idea in the furnace. Go ahead. We all have our little mental furnaces where we burn stuff (especially us pyros).

Keep writing about how the drops glisten on the pine trees in the morning. Keep writing that mystery where no one knows who poisoned the leader of a radical faction by lacing a meatball with arsenic.

You’ll feel a lot better if you do. Just rid yourself of the ridiculous notion that you have a choice. As writers, we don’t have choices here. We need to do what our bodies tell us to.

Maybe your idea will make millions. Maybe it won’t.

If you don’t keep churning out ideas, you’ll never get anywhere.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Secretive Scouring

Scour: to thoroughly look through something, or to clean something thoroughly

Timon scoured the log to find delicious bugs to munch on.

scoured my face with isopropyl alcohol in hopes that the cranberry juice stains from last night’s bingo party would be removed.

Effect vs. Affect

Since this is a grammar bite (don’t worry- only 13 calories and 50mg of brilliance) I’ll try to be as succinct as possible.

Effect describes a few different things:

An output from an input (spending too much time around people had the effect of making Hamlet hallucinate).

The power of influence (her hysterical screaming had no effect on the interviewer).

The effect of the pumpkin falling through the sky was devastating to the town of Little Hancock.

Her effect on him was powerful- he couldn’t stop staring at her Uggs paired with shorts and wondered what in the world?!

Affect follows an effect: it describes how something was impacted by the “effect” in question, produces a change

Jeremiah was severely affected by the noxious gas emitted from the oven.

I knew that slapping the palm tree would not affect it in the slightest, so I proceeded to burn it with a flamethrower.

Hopefully this bit helps. I’m not here to give you the full lowdown on the rules of it to build a foundation- rather, I wish to enhance your current foundation.

Cheers!

Getting into the Characters

There are many different writing styles. In this post, we will review two of these.

The Interviewer

My dear friend writes this way. Her characters speak to her, and tell her the story. Now, this may sound like schizophrenia to you. It’s not. It’s actually a brilliant tactic- one that I have a hard time with. There are many excellent character profile templates out there, with questions about your character.

Rather than trying to answer them, tap into your inner self.

Go on. Do it. 

You may feel a little crazy at first. That’s okay. All writers are bonkers. It’s a known fact. You put it on your resume.

Get a feel for them. Do you find your characters speak easily do you, or do you find yourself imagining them more? My friend, who uses this tactic, has a splendid knack for dialogue. This is why this works so well for her. If you have a knack for dialogue, or at least find you enjoy writing dialogue the most, give this a shot. If not, let’s move onto the next tactic (which I find myself engaging in).

The Observer

As I mentioned in a previous post, I don’t see words.

I see pictures when I read.

I sense the soft glow of the lights, the fury written across the face, the awkward sounds emitting from the room next to me (oh wait, that’s reality).

When I wrote the first page of my book, I felt like I was watching a movie, and simply wrote what I observed (that is the anthropologist in me). I personally find this a very fun way to write. I get to relax (a little) and watch my character’s crazy antics.

Using Music as a Tool

Once you get a feel for your characters, identify what kind of music they listen to.

Create a playlist.

Listen and write.

Music is another way to tap into your emotions, and it will enhance your writing, as well as ensure that you remain consistent in your writing.