Tag Archives: editing

Writing and Editing Services on Fiverr

Has anyone ever used Fiverr for anything? It’s a great way to find cheap and quick services for just about anything, from creating logos to getting voiceovers to editing services. Well, I’ve joined Fiverr.

I’m now offering a couple of services. One is blog and article writing. With my experience in blogging and writing articles, if you’d like my services, then please check out my gig on writing.

The other service is proofreading and editing. I will track edits, correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and smooth out those awkward sentences. I will not change content or tone, though. I’ve had plenty of experience editing and proofreading in my time as an English teacher, as we offered those services. I have edited a book (and parts of other books), magazine articles, and even scientific papers. My offers are for 1000, 2000, or 5000 word documents, though it can be customized. And since I’m familiar with both American and British spelling, I can adapt to either one. So, if you’re interested in my proofreading and editing services, check out that gig.

I’m dedicated to doing these jobs accurately and with a quick turnaround time.

How to Resume Writing After a Hiatus

One of these days, I’m going to get back to writing. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have any privacy to be able to do any serious writing at the moment. But, I will. To prepare, I need to do a few things.

Have a place

When the room in the basement is ready for me to put my computer on the desk and a chair to sit on, I’ll be there! Once it’s all ready, I can start writing.

Re-read what I’ve written

I need to get myself back into my world. I have to completely reacquaint myself with the story. Actually, I don’t need to do that, since I know it by heart. However, by reading, I get my mind back into it, and I can rediscover the feeling.

Prepare my maps

I have a lot of maps. By going over the maps, I can explore my world again and live there in my mind. There’s still a lot to develop.

Notes, notes, notes

I need to review my notes and write more notes. I need to write notes on all the characters, all the places, all the story lines, everything.

Update my author website

I need to add some content to my author website. In particular, I want to get the Ariadne Encyclopedia started. It’ll be my online reference guide for the world. I plan to have character profiles, country profiles, and star system information available.

Write and edit

I actually have several parts written but not up on the website yet. However, I need to get them critiqued and edit them. I also need to write my novel, not just Journey to Ariadne.

Keep everyone updated

I want to keep my readers updated in several ways. One is, through this blog. Another is on YouTube. Another is through my Facebook page. And the other big one is Twitter. Eventually, once I have a Goodreads author page, I’ll be updating that, too.

There’s a lot to do, but I’ll get it done. If you write, what do you do to prepare? Let me know in the comments below.

Book Unboxing and Video Editing

I edited and posted a video today about my book collection. Since we moved to Canada, my books have stayed in boxes, and I haven’t had anywhere to unpack them. But I decided to show my (reduced) book collection on video. This involved taking 36 short videos and editing them together. More on that after. First, watch the video.

Now that you’ve watched it, I’ll tell you a bit about the process. I used Windows Movie Maker to edit the 36 clips together and add text. I’ve never done a video with so many clips. And although there were 36 clips, the video is relatively short. It started out with about 6 minutes and 30 seconds of video, but after editing out all the unnecessary bits (my arm moving to start and stop the video, mistakes, silence), it was cut down to 4 minutes and 6 seconds. That’s quite a bit cut. But it was a lot of cutting to do!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the video. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve read any of the books.

You’re Probably Using Too Much Space After a Period

periodspacingI’ve been doing it wrong. Actually, I know I’ve been doing it wrong for a long time. You see the space after the period in these sentences? Double spaced. It used to be pretty standard. It was used to make sentences appear more separated. I was taught to do it that way.

You see, I was taught to type on a typewriter. When I started typing in school, we didn’t use computers with word processors. We used electric typewriters. And since their wasn’t variable spacing for the letters, and we only had one font, we used a double space after the periods. I got used to doing that.

These days, word processing software has made this obsolete. In fact, using a single space has been standard for many years. There was no need for me to learn to use a double space. But over the years, I was using a double space because that’s what I was taught and I was used to. Out of habit, I’d been using double spaces while knowing it was wrong.

Now, I’m typing with single spaces after the period. What about you? Do you use single or double spaces?

Changes Coming to Amazon’s Kindle

Publishing to Amazon’s Kindle has been easy for anyone to do, and has flooded the market with self-published eBooks. They range from professionally well-done to amateurishly horrible. Amazon wants to solve the problem of substandard eBooks.

eNovel Authors at Work posted a great article about the changes and what they mean to the average indie author. To get yourself familiar with what’s happening, I suggest you read it. It may make life easier for you.

The changes come into effect in February and will affect indie authors, small publishers, online publishers, and boutique publishers. This does not affect traditional publishers who concentrate on print books. When there are errors in the book, such as spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, formatting issues, and just plain poor quality, the book will be flagged and taken offline. The author is then notified and asked to fix the problems before it can be published again. Even one complaint by a reader can result in a book being pulled. Thankfully, fixing the issues is easy, especially if it’s just a spelling or grammar mistake. In fact, Amazon will tell you exactly where the errors are. Sometimes, they’ll be foreign words. Fair enough, those don’t need to be changed. Before publishing, you can even use Kindle’s online proofer to find the mistakes. If there are no problems, publish away!

My worries are probably minor, but what if a book is constantly being tagged as poor quality because of technobabble, magic words, or unique names that the author has made up? I’d hope that wouldn’t be an issue.

On the positive side, this will force authors to make sure their books are good quality. It may discourage the lazy or unmotivated authors from publishing substandard books. They may try anyway, and get frustrated. I could see the number of books published this year decreasing because they’re prevented from publishing their error-riddled novels.

As always, I’m a wait and see kind of person. I’m interesting in seeing how this goes. What do you think? Do you agree with the new rules? Or do you have any worries? Let me know in the comments.

There’s a New Post Editor!

I’d been using the old editor for quite some time. Then last year, a new editor appeared that lacked the functionality of the old one, and for some reason, only gave me the ability to see three lines in the text field. It was irritating. It only gave me a full view when I edited existing posts. It was fine for that, but not for making new posts. So, I continued using the old editor which is available on the old WP Admin Dashboard.

Well, there’s a new editor! And how does it look? It actually looks pretty good.  I like it. I may actually use it. I’m using it right now just to test it. Improvements over the previous “new” editor include a full list of categories and how they’re structured, larger visual editor, cleaner appearance, and far easier to use.

But, there’s a problem. There’s no option for adding a poll. I wonder why it hasn’t been included. I guess it’s time to visit WordPress forums and ask about it!

What do you think of the new editor?

Authors Answer 48 – Writing and Publishing Isn’t All Fun

It’s the final month of the first year of Authors Answer! By the end of this month, we will have been doing this for a full year. 52 questions answered. I’m glad to have gotten this far. It’s been a lot of fun. But, this question isn’t all about having fun. No, writing and publishing has its difficult side. Authors tend to have some aspect of writing that they hate, or at least dislike. I call this the dark side of writing.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 48 – What’s your least favourite part of the writing and publishing process?

H. Anthe Davis

Right now, I would say the rough draft phase, since I’m currently in it and it is driving me slowly insane.  I have mountains of notes, but translating them from nebulous ideas to coherent text is always difficult, and it ends up feeling like I’m just throwing putty against a wall and hoping it will stick in some sort of pattern.  Not having a clear sense of where I’m headed is disheartening — even though I know I’ll suss it out soon enough.

When I’m not in the middle of a new work, though, marketing is definitely the worst.  Which is why I don’t do nearly enough.

S. R. Carrillo

I’m certain I’m not alone when I say I like marketing the least. As a writer, I’m an inherently introverted person. I crave alone time and not standing out, most of the time. Marketing a book requires all sort of extroversion that I occasionally cower at the thought of. Expose my heart and soul to the general public? Entice total stranger to dissect my innards? HOW COULD I EVER?

But then I do it, and it still sucks, but it’s really not that bad. It’s a mental thing is all. And, sometimes, that can be the worst part of it all.

Paul B. Spence

The business side. I love to write, but I hate the business of selling.

Caren Rich

I really enjoy the planning and plotting. It’s such an adventure to start with an idea and build a world populated with characters you’ve created. Granted they don’t always behave as you would like, but that can be fun as well.

Elizabeth Rhodes

I despise the editing part of the process.  It’s a necessary evil, but it’s also the one part of the process that makes you question all your knowledge and skills.  “What’s that?  How did I miss the question mark at the end of this sentence?  How did I use the wrong ‘your?’ I know better than that!  This whole paragraph is garbage, just delete it all.  I can’t send this to a beta, they’ll laugh at all the mistakes I didn’t catch!”

Eric Wood

My least favorite part is sending out my manuscript to publishers. The reason I’m not published yet is because the book I’ve written (co-written to be more precise) has been rejected a dozen times. We didn’t go through an agent. We simply sent it straight to the publishers.

Allen Tiffany

I do not enjoy the traditional publishing route. Been there, almost done it. Did not like it.

To be specific, I once sent a manuscript to a publisher after taking a year to write my first novel. This was back in the day…I sent the whole thing unsolicited, printed out and placed in a box. They loved it, offered me contracts for it and two more, and then we went to work editing. And more editing. And plans for a pub date a year in the future, and then they killed their fiction line. So I found an agent and started over. Two years later, after a couple near misses with other publishers, both my agent and I gave up on it. So nothing to show for three years of stress and strain, of which almost none of it had anything to do with writing.

So at this point I’m all about self-publishing, and I really do enjoy all aspects of writing and publishing. Certainly parts of it can get tedious. For instance, before I published my first novella, I surely read through it over 50 times, which got very tiring, and another ten times after my editor made her changes. And researching keywords for loading in the Amazon book setup is a heck of a way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon. On the other hand, I recognize the value of doing both of these things well, and I get excited when I do them well, when I make little discoveries that can help me tell a tale in a more engaging way, or when I figure out how to help my book show up in relevant searches.

The thing I don’t like about the entire process is that there is never enough time to do all of it, especially to do it all as well as I’d like.

Jean Davis

I have to say my least favorite part of the whole publication process is the waiting. Waiting on submissions, waiting to hear from editors on edits, waiting to hold the finished piece in my hands. Mostly, I suppose it’s waiting on all the things that are not in my personal control. I have this issue outside of writing too, which might make me a little bit of a control freak. Maybe.

D. T. Nova

Probably one of the parts I haven’t gotten to yet.

But out of what I have done, I can’t say I like writing about myself, which is a necessary part of promoting my own work.

Gregory S. Close

Honestly, the hardest part of the writing process for me is getting the first draft of a story down.  I tend to obsess over the small details of a first draft, which makes for a fairly clean first draft but also delays the creative flow of ideas to paper/screen.  Once ideas are on the page I feel immense relief and actually enjoy editing and honing them for the audience.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

Well, the very first thing that came to my mind was marketing, because I’ve spoken before on how much I damn well hate having to deal with marketing myself. But then I thought, marketing isn’t really part of the “writing and publishing process”…that comes afterward. So what’s my least favourite part of writing/publishing? Well, I’ll probably have to go with final editing. Some people don’t mind it, but I think it’s a pretty universally hated part of writing because by the time you’ve gotten to final edits you’ve had to re-read your own work a dozen or more times and you’ve gotten to the point where you’re genuinely starting to hate it. Even if you thought it was awesome before, by the time you get to final edits you start to feel like tossing the whole thing into a fire.

At least, that’s how I feel. lol

Linda G. Hill

At the moment I’d have to say trying to figure out how to go about getting published. It seems like a maze with things to do at every corner but I’m never sure I’m going the right way and whether I’m doing it in the right order. I hope once I’ve got it figured out the second time will be easy.

Jay Dee Archer

I haven’t gone very far, but I can see how marketing can be rather daunting. I’m getting practice with marketing my blog with some success, but it’s still an uphill battle. I like writing, I don’t mind the editing process, I love the worldbuilding and character creating. But I think trying to get the word out and actually sell my book are the most difficult things. I’m not certain if I’m a good salesperson. It would be nice if it just sold itself, but that’s not the way it works. From what I’ve heard, writing is only ten percent of the word. The other ninety percent is marketing and selling.

How about you?

If you’re a writer, what do you find the most difficult aspect of writing and publishing? If you’re not a writer, what do you think would be most difficult for you? Let us know in the comments below.

Authors Answer 39 – Critique and Writing Groups

We’ve talked about beta readers before. But how about other forms of help? There are groups that writers can join to get help in many ways. Critique groups are good for help in whatever way the writer requests, whether it’s grammar, style, whether it’s likeable, and so on. Writing groups vary, as well. Some are online, some are in person.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 39: Do you use critique groups or writer’s groups? Are they helpful?

Allen Tiffany

Yes, and absolutely. Writing is as lonely a task as there is. And the product we create comes out of that isolation, so it is imperative that we get feedback. As I highlighted in an earlier post here reference beta readers, I greatly value the nuanced feedback a critique group can provide. Unlike betas who tend to give you feedback on an entire story, a writers group is much more focused at a more tactical level – word choice, sentence structure, echoes, etc.

Of course, I don’t respond to all the feedback I get…far from it. But I am very attentive to any consensus that develops. I generally get about 10 readers through the workshop of which I’m a member. If more than 3 or 4 are tripping over the same thing and calling it out in their feedback it is indisputable that there is something I must address.

In short, a very powerful way to help you improve your work, and there are a number of such groups online that are free. I’m a big fan of CritiqueCircle.COM, but there are others.

Caren Rich

I have used a few critique groups online.  It can be helpful, if you’re able to find another writer who will be helpful and honest.  Sometimes you don’t know anything about who is critiquing your writing. They may not even write in your genre and that can cause issues as well.

D. T. Nova

Maybe I should, but I haven’t so far.

Eric Wood

I use the kids I teach as my critique group. No one is as honest as a kid. They are usually helpful when prompted with questions. They are also fountains of ideas for new stories.

Gregory S. Close

No.  I’ve tried a couple of on-line critique groups, like Writer’s Café, but left mostly disappointed.  I did find my editor on that site, but since then I think we both left in frustration.  Not many people provided actionable feedback.

A lot of people seem to confuse “critique group” with “mutual ego-stroking group,” or the inverse “mutual condescension group,” neither of which are helpful for honing craft.  I’m not opposed to the idea, but I’ve yet to find a group that was just honest, practical and professional.

H. Anthe Davis

The only writer’s groups I’ve ever been in were my Creative Writing classes.  I figure those count.  They were nice people, and they wrote some interesting stories, but it wasn’t for me, really.  I feel that when you’re trying to turn out a book that will inevitably have a large word count, you need more specialized attention, which is why I have my betas.  Also, I don’t know that I could have done a group’s worth of reading others’ work while still keeping up with my own; I remember that reading and critiquing our smallish class’s batch of short stories was a lot of work, and most of them were only about 15 pages.  Also, in my area, there don’t seem to be a lot of SF/F writers’ groups, and I’m not inclined toward online ones because I know I’ll just get distracted by cat videos.  My Creative Writing group did teach me how to give and take criticism though, which is an essential skill for any writer — so I guess I would recommend that everyone try some kind of writer’s group at least once, just to figure that bit out.

Jean Davis

A good critique group is gold. Finding people you can trust to tell you how it is and having skin thick enough to take what have to say and do something about it is invaluable. I prefer online groups to in person as I think it’s easier to be honest and impartial when not having to deliver the critique face to face. It’s also easier to read the feedback, fume about it, and then take a deep breath and absorb what they had to say over a few hours or days, than smiling and politely thanking someone for shredding your scene moments after the fact.

Linda G. Hill

I did have a writer’s group in which we critiqued each other’s work. There were only three of us. It kind of fizzled out. I should probably join another, and I likely will when I’m finished my edit. Right now, realistically, I’m too busy to read anyone else’s work.

Paul B. Spence

I don’t anymore. I used to. I feel that, to some degree, they are useful when starting out. They are good for meeting other writers and also for getting motivation. The groups I started in were good at telling me how great I was, but not much useful feedback otherwise.

On the other hand, I met some great authors through critique groups, such as Greg S. Close, who still beta reads my work. I’d be happy to read his if he’d write more. ( hint, hint)

So, I guess my answer is yes and no. I think if you find the right group, like the Scribblies, they can be great. Without the right group, you’re probably better off with just a couple of honest friends.

S. R. Carrillo

I used to have a pretty reliable writer’s group I went to every week. They were super helpful in broadening my worldview and offering outsider perspectives because all the help I had at that point were very familiar with the story and just as used to the world as I was. I wish I could go back to them. I haven’t really found anything close or as helpful since then.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

I don’t currently use any groups, but I have in the past and I definitely suggest them. They can be a great way to get your work read, get help and suggestions on works-in-progress, and meet beta-readers and other helpful people who can assist in making your book better. The only reason that I don’t currently use any groups is that the good ones usually require a time sacrifice. You can’t be the person who just throws down their work and expects everyone else to spend their time and energy reading and critiquing. You have to spend some of your own time to take part in the group, to contribute to other peoples’ works. At this point in my life I just don’t have the time for that kind of commitment if I actually want to, you know…write…so it’s just not in the works right now.

Jay Dee Archer

I’ve mentioned several times before that I use Critique Circle. I find it very useful to get different opinions about my writing. While I’m not concerned about my grammar, I do miss some things, and in particular, they have alerted me to my tendency to use certain words or to use passive too much. That has helped me refine my writing quite a bit. It’s also helped me a lot with flow, dialogue, and narration. You don’t always get great help from everyone, but you’re bound to get some. To get critiques, you must give critiques, as well. I enjoy it.

How about you?

If you write, do you use any critique or writing groups? Let us know if you do and if they help.

Authors Answer 37 – Beta Readers

Authors rarely work alone. They usually have professionals doing editing, book cover, and so on. However, before the book is published, many authors like to get help from other sources, unpaid sources.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 37: Do you use beta readers? How many?

Allen Tiffany

I absolutely use beta readers! But let me share my definition of “beta readers” so I can answer this clearly. I think of beta readers as someone who will read a manuscript “cover to cover” and provide at least as much feedback on the story as they do on grammar, word choice, paragraph structure, etc. Often – for better and worse — betas are not writers.

One thing about betas that we must be attentive to is that they are generally hard to find, and they don’t want to be asked to repeatedly read works in progress, so you usually only get to use them once per novel…maybe twice, if you are lucky. They expect the manuscript to be in very good shape when they read it. And you want it in very good shape when you give it to them to get the most useful feedback they can give.

Separately, I greatly value workshops such as CritiqueCircle where I can submit a chapter a week, and get detailed feedback from 10 – 12 readers who are also writers. This method generally results in detailed reviews of the writing down to the word choice, sentence structure, etc. The readers each week are not consistent, so with this model I usually only see about 50% consistency from week to week. By the time I put an entire novel through such a workshop, only a handful of critiquers have read the entire manuscript. So unlike betas, there is little valuable feedback on the story as a whole.

Both workshops and betas are are extremely valuable, because both provide different insights.

Last, and related, I do use a professional editor. Our contract is that she focuses on line editing, word choice, grammar and the like. Inevitably, though, she will also provide some feedback on the whole.

Back to betas: I generally have five or six. The first three are family. There is of course a built in bias (if not stigma) about using family, but they can be extremely helpful. In my case, I’ve got  well-read twin 16-year daughters who enjoy my work, and my wife has a Masters degree in English Literature. She also enjoys my stories (and she is capable of calling BS when I write poorly and will share great detail as to why some sections don’t work…). The downside, of course, is that not only do they have a built in preference for my work, they think like I think and see the world as I see it to some extent, which makes them blind to what other people – perhaps many other people – would object to.

Beyond them, I can generally find about  three more people to ask to read a manuscript. It is not a consistent three at this moment, though. In the past, some have been writers, one has been a fifty-year old academic, one was a man in his sixties, one was a teenage girl, etc. So it has been an eclectic mix. No matter who they are, my view is that betas, workshop critique partners, and a professional editor are all critical to creating a quality product.

Caren Rich

No, not yet.

D. T. Nova

I’ve only had one experience with beta readers so far. I sent my draft to three, only one of whom actually finished and supplied feedback.

That one was very helpful, though.

Eric Wood

I have never used a beta reader, but I’m curious to read what others have to say about them.

Gregory S. Close

I used about 5 for In Siege of Daylight, through different stages of the process.  I don’t think there’s a right or wrong number, but it would distract me if too many readers opinined on plot, writing, characters, etc.  I’d rather get less volume but higher quality of feedback.

H. Anthe Davis

I use beta readers constantly throughout my process.  The highest beta count I had was on Book 1, where 15 people read through it and gave me varying levels of feedback; that decreased to four and a half on Book 3 (one beta got hijacked by real life and never finished it), but all four (and a half) are solid and extremely helpful betas when their lives permit it.  One of them reads my dailies or weeklies, depending on how quickly I’m going, and gives me immediate feedback on characters and dialogue; one reads full chapters; and the other two and a half read the full document once I’ve finished a draft, then give their advice and opinions on it as a whole.  Then we go through the same process on the rewrites!  I’m fortunate to have some very literate friends who also love my genre and have the time to spare — but then I beta read for one of them regularly, and two more whenever their own writing is in need of a critical eye.  So it’s a good relationship.

Jean Davis

I used to use beta readers and made some good friends that way, but when I happened across a critique group, I received exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for, and I’ve stuck with that ever since.

Linda G. Hill

I’m currently using as many beta readers as I can find. It’s not easy to find them when offering up a novel of 166,000 words. As a rule though, regardless of the length of my book, I’d want at least five. If all of two out of three give the same critique in a section of my work, it’s not the same as if two of five think it. And they say that if the majority of your beta readers say the same thing, you should fix the issue. For me at least, it’s a big deal to change what I’ve written.

Paul B. Spence

Yes, I have a small core of people I trust to give me unbiased feedback. I don’t want someone to tell me they loved it. I want to know what they loved. What worked and what didn’t.

Things didn’t quite work out with my last book, and my beta readers didn’t all get the book at the same time. It seems to have worked out.

S. R. Carrillo

I try to. I didn’t for my first novel and I think it shows. But I did for my second and I also think that shows. I try to keep the circle small – with no more than 5 people, but no less than 3. If I had more people whose eyes I trusted, I might reach out to more hands, but at this point, that’s not the case. I find beta readers nearly invaluable.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

I think that beta readers are a definite must, but I don’t have a huge amount of experience with them. For “Nowhere to Hide” I had precisely one beta reader, and I loved her, but that was a bit of happy luck. We already knew each other and decided to swap novels, and it turned out that we synced very well as each others’ beta readers. We had similar opinions on the way things should be written, and every suggestion she made sounded completely reasonable.

That’s the key, I think, is finding someone with whom you can agree with their suggestions. It’s no good having a beta reader who picks the ever-loving hell out of every aspect of your novel and makes you feel like it’s a complete piece of crap that can’t be fixed. You need a beta-reader who understands how to convey good advice and hold their tongue when an issue they have is a matter of opinion that needs not be changed.

Jay Dee Archer

At the moment, I don’t have any. I’m not at that stage yet. But when I do get to that stage, I hope to have several beta readers. But for now, I’m using Critique Circle for similar reasons. But one thing that beta readers do that critiquers on Critique Circle don’t do is read the entire story. It’s good to have beta readers for consistency. But it’s also good to be a member of a critique group where you can get a variety of opinions, though not always what you want.

My question is, when do I start getting beta readers? And who? And how? I need to research about that.

How about you?

Are you a writer? Do you use beta readers? If so, how many? Let us know in the comments below.

Video Editing Software Recommendations

I’ll be making videos on YouTube soon for Life in Japan, and so far, I’ve been using YouTube’s editor. It’s okay for what I’ve been doing, but it’s not the fastest or smoothest editor to use. And it’s entirely online.

I’d like some more precise control over how I edit, as well as the ability to put title pages and other graphics on the video. I’ve used Windows Movie Maker in the past, and that’s when it came with Windows XP. After getting my old Windows 7 computer, I stopped editing videos until I started using YouTube’s editor.

What I’d like is a good free video editor that I can use to make my videos look more professional and less like home videos. Does anyone have any recommendations for good editing software? Let me know in the comments.