Monday, November 15, 2010

Mondays Theme: Writing, Edits and Answers.

Update on my edits in progress. I have finished the ‘ing’ and ‘ly’ search and yesterday I added a little over two pages to chapter one. I introduced Rama Muhammad as my heroine’s best friend and gifted pianist. Most of the exchange was dialogue between Rama and Missie to emphasize their friendship and mutual interest in music as well as to discuss a disturbing incident that Missie had with her Professor earlier in the chapter. Rama has the same Professor. I think I nailed it. The next step is to resubmit to my editor and also to my online critique group to see if this addition defines, in a positive light, more of Missie’s personality. If all goes well you may be lucky enough to see chapter one posted here over several days. I’m a big chicken, so that will be extra hard for me.

I want to thank Mohamed Mughal for submitting Rama’s name in my contest last week. She makes a great addition.

Questions and Answers:

Kay Theodoratus and Dominic asked questions last week and I thought I would answer them.

DominicSFF said...
What criteria do you use to determine which –ing and –ly words are acceptable and which need to be changed?

To know which ‘ing’ and ‘ly’ words to change is a gut feeling. First there are some words that don’t have an alternative like the word, nothing. It would take to many words, more than likely an entire sentence to replace this one word. If nothing is gained why change it.

Second and more important; when you look at the entire sentence you can determine if changing either or both adverbs that end in ‘ing’ or ‘ly’ will strengthen the sentence, mood, description etc. Most of the time the sentence will improve. Sometimes the sentence will only change. (The word ‘only’is another word that is hard to change).

Here is an example:

Rippling biceps belying his undyingly brave courage began to subside into fear and knowingly he became angry toward the massing people.

He lifted the 200 lb. weight. His biceps rippled. A crowd gathered to gawk and his fear of rejection turned to anger. Yet beneath the surface he remained brave.

Okay, I invented that terrible sentence to make a point and I know the two don’t jive exactly…but I think it is clear which is the better group of sentences.

You may not write so many adverbs strewn together; in fact I hope you don’t. But even two in one sentence or multiple of these adverbs on one manuscript page will label you as an amateur in today’s market. Don’t let this create a stumbling block in your first draft. Write that first draft and edit later.

As my editor said to me. Think of these words like a strong spice. I added. Too much will spoil the dish and not enough will leave it bland. You want two per page. Sometimes more is acceptable.

Kay Theodoratus said...
Have you thought of a blog that gives the reasons you chose Kindle over the other formats?

Kindle is just a first step. I chose it because Amazon is number one and I’d like to get recognition, sales, etc. But I am not limiting myself to Kindle. I hope to have my story available through other e-formats as well as a paper copy through CreateSpace.

Do you have any other questions for me? Let it rip.


Dominic de Mattos said...

Thanks so much for answering my question. :D
Picking up other peoples approaches has strengthened my own editing no end.

N. R. Williams said...

you're right on that count. A good book to read is Editing for the Fiction Writer, 2nd edition, Dave King and Renne. If you look at my older blog post I have a link on that book as well as the post about my three favorite books that every writer should have.

The Golden Eagle said...

I had been wondering about the -ly and -ing endings. I try not to use too many of them, as I'm typing out the draft, but sometimes they're just the easiest thing to use. Thanks for the information!

N. R. Williams said...

You're welcome Golden. They are the easiest thing to use. That is why when we edit them we can improve our sentence. Make it richer, deeper and stronger.

Dominic de Mattos said...

You are so right! I just edited the first 1000 words of my WIP and found two weak -lys! I am, by nature, rather parsimonious with adverbs and I guess that is no bad thing. Purple prose is definitely not my style either! (not that adverbs and purple prose necessarily go hand in hand, of course!) I would also like to point out that I do not overuse exclamation marks in my WIP like I do in blog comments. (by dint of sheer self will I avoided using a double exclamation mark there! Doh, I used another one! Aaaagh!!)

Joanne said...

I think the Kindle was a good choice. Don't they have the largest inventory of books available, out of all the ereaders? You can also make your blog available on the Kindle too.

N. R. Williams said...

Thanks for dropping back in Dominic. I have noticed a huge improvement in my writing as I have become aware of bad habits. Also, writing short flash fiction or short stories has improved my writing. Thus, the secondary benefits of blogging.

I had no idea you could put your blog on kindle Joanne. I'm not sure that makes any sense since the blog is free but I'm sure someone will explain the benefits at some point.

What few people realize is that kindle versions can be downloaded to other e-readers as well as smart phones and you computer. Cool huh?

mtlogan said...

Great editing advice. I'll have to check my own ms for -lys and -ings as I re-write. Many thanks!

N. R. Williams said...

You're welcome mtlogan.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sounds like you still have several weeks of editing to do! Do you have a release date for next year? Now that I've been through the process, I appreciate the months and months that go into promoting before a book release!

KarenG said...

-ing and -ly search LOL, yes so important! Sounds like you are really working hard, your book will be worth it in the end!

N. R. Williams said...

Alex thanks for stopping by. since I am self publishing through kindle I only know that it will be released this December. I wish I could start planning a promotion but I am still up in the air.

Yeah...editing is so important Karen.
Thank you both for dropping by and leaving a comment.

Holly Ruggiero said...

Wouldn't it stink if you named your character Sally or something and then searched for ly.

L'Aussie said...

Hi NR! You only have to ask all your blogger friends and we will promote you as best we can as we did Alex and are doing for Talli Roland.

I would like to know more about self-publishing. Do you have blog posts already on this? The whole world of publishing seems fraught.

Also glad your editing is cracking along. A question here too: Do you aim for a certain percentage dialogue? One publisher told me they like 60% dialogue and that the wore 'said' is acceptable as it is virtually invisible. What do you think?

Also - I saw your comment on my disability blog and have not got back to you to say how I appreciate your kind words. Thank you.

I don't know if you accept awards, but if you do, I'd like you to drop by my blog and pick up the Beautiful Blogger Award.

Back to NaNo. Happy editing!

L'Aussie said...

Oops, typo above - 'word' not 'wore.' Grrrr

N. R. Williams said...

Holly you made me laugh. The King in my high fantasy is named yeah...he popped up a lot.

L'Aussie you are very kind. Yes I have blog post about self-publishing. I will mention them tomorrow in my whatever Tuesday post. And yes, I do accept blog awards. Thank you very much.

Isn't it too bad we can't use the word 'very' in our manuscripts...its a no, no...I use it so much in everyday life. LOL

Helen Ginger said...

Good advice. Those are two things to look out for. It doesn't hurt to have a list of things to edit - not necessarily all at once though, but rather the way you're doing it.

N. R. Williams said...

I agree Helen. there are many things we need to check. I do think to narrow down items, especially the ones you may be weak in and once you've done your best, hire an editor. I have a list of editors in my blog roll.

Lynda Young said...

I can see why you are so busy. Good explanation of the 'ing' and 'ly' words too. (loved the example)

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you Lynda. I have learned a lot from my editor.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I also do the -ing and -ly searches, usually toward the end of my self-editing phase. I find very few of my adverbs are necessary, so I do a lot of deleting.

N. R. Williams said...

I got you there Patricia. It's at the end when we can really determine if our ms. needs this, that or the other thing.

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