Learn Writing with Uncle Jim, Volume 1

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

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euclid

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17 days in the hospital, major surgery where they removed the entire lower lobe of my right lung, and parts of the other two lobes. Still, I wrote 2001 words on my novel... so, is that having my priorities in order, or just insanity?

I wondered where you were. Hope you've made a full recovery, Steve.
 

euclid

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Jim, I tried reading my book out loud, but it sounded no different than it does when I just read it. (When I read I verbalize in my mind; I know some people don't). Anyway, I think that's not going to work in my case.

Re talking to the characters: I get each character to write a few paragraphs about themselves. That seems to work well.
 
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Blue Sky

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Jim, as a fly on the wall, I hope your playing and having fun as a pro writer figures prominently in any writing book you decide to publish. Your straight talk about having to continually write new material in order to pay bills and so forth knocks the false expectations away without elaboration.

Along those lines, I recently read If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland. She understood the creative process quite well. Most highly recommended for folks wrestling with the Muse! Another one recently was The Spooky Art--Some Thoughts On Writing by Norman Mailer. He says the book leans toward advanced writers--not much basic "how to." Mailer shares a lot from his interesting perspective. He was certainly a successful writer with two Pulitzer Prizes as well. Fun when he looks back and pans his earlier work, including The Naked and the Dead, his mega-seller debut novel. I've started reading some of his recommendations, among them Hemmingway's In Our Time and Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer. Yowsa!

Welcome back Steve. Great job at the writing.
 

Neversage

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17 days in the hospital, major surgery where they removed the entire lower lobe of my right lung, and parts of the other two lobes. Still, I wrote 2001 words on my novel... so, is that having my priorities in order, or just insanity?

Good sir, that is--as we say in the gaming world--full of win. I am glad you are back, and hope you make a full recovery in a timely manner.
 

HConn

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17 days in the hospital, major surgery where they removed the entire lower lobe of my right lung, and parts of the other two lobes. Still, I wrote 2001 words on my novel... so, is that having my priorities in order, or just insanity?

Note to self: Lack of coffee is no longer an acceptable excuse for an unproductive day.
 

Ken Schneider

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Note to self: Lack of coffee is no longer an acceptable excuse for an unproductive day.

I gave up coffee and soda when my fingers moved faster when I wasn't typing.

Back to busniess, and a question.

When editing a finished ms.

I keep saying as I read, I need to expand on this It should have more info.

Is that bad, and should I be cutting instead of adding?
 
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Salis

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I can type very fast, but there's no way I can do 3,000 words in a sitting consistently. I envy that. :(
 

Chris Grey

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I long-ago decided that when I stopped having fun doing anything that I'd stop doing it that same day.

If only that worked for paying bills, filing taxes, and going to the dentist!

Salis said:
I can type very fast, but there's no way I can do 3,000 words in a sitting consistently. I envy that. :(

I think it all depends on how long the sitting is. If you forbid yourself to unsit until 3000 words are written, you'll find ways to make those words appear faster or you'll go crazy. Nobody said they had to be printworthy (that's what revision is for).
 

lucidzfl

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I can type very fast, but there's no way I can do 3,000 words in a sitting consistently. I envy that. :(

For what its worth, I've set myself a very explicit schedule of

Plan one day,
Write the next.

I literally take one full day to nothing but think about what I'm going to write, and figure out whats going to happen. The next day I write it.

I may write 3000-5000 in a sitting but its every other day.
 

lucidzfl

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If only that worked for paying bills, filing taxes, and going to the dentist!



I think it all depends on how long the sitting is. If you forbid yourself to unsit until 3000 words are written, you'll find ways to make those words appear faster or you'll go crazy. Nobody said they had to be printworthy (that's what revision is for).

I definitely do not force myself to sit there until the words appear.

I actually will typically start writing and then force myself to stop because I either need to eat, or I feel guilty about ignoring my wife, etc etc.

It just so happens that I usually take about 2 hours to write. And that produces 2,000 to 3,000 words.

I could probably write all day if the wine held out :)
 

euclid

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When editing a finished ms.

I keep saying as I read, I need to expand on this It should have more info.

Is that bad, and should I be cutting instead of adding?

Surely, that depends on lots of factors. If expansion is required, expand, where reduction is advisable, reduce. There can't be a simple answer to this question. My current rewrite/edit resulted in the following words added/subtracted from Jul 19 onwards: 1495, 1472, -346, 149, -40, -269, 4, 570, 259, 62, 105, -411, -158, 0, 205, 266, 401, -76, -238, -1378, -2531, 2112, 359, -105 etc.

You get the idea!
 

Me&BacchusGoIntoABar

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Unc Jim and friends,

I love my thesaurus because I love every little word in my WIP. I always take Thesaurius with me on my daily journey to nowhere with butt-in-chair (BIC). Should I go alone? Tell him I gotta fly solo when I'm amassing a first draft? Is my best friend dragging me down? Should we break up?
 

RJK

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I only use the thesaurus when I've found I've repeated a word too close to the first occurrence. I don't bother changing the word until I begin my editing process. Occasionally, I will use it to replace a word to make the sentence stronger or make it stand out, but, again, during the editing process. I can't remember when I last reached for it while writing the first draft.
 

Krintar

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I frequently use a thesaurus or dictionary, regardless of which stage of the writing I'm in.
This is because I frequently have a sense that "there is a word which fits perfectly here, but it's hiding on the edge of memory."
If it takes more than a minute or two to find the word, though, I tend to just throw [] in the space and keep moving. Sometimes it comes to me on the next read-through, sometimes I think long and hard about it later... sometimes the entire sentence/paragraph/chapter vanishes and it becomes a moot point.

(I have this inkling that Uncle Jim will say some variation on "whatever works for you.")
 

Calliopenjo

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I use thesaurus, dictionary, bing.com, and ask.com for variations of a word or for that word that can't come to mind. I know it's gotta be out there somewhere. When all else fails ___ takes its place until a critter reads through it and they find the word in the form of "Did you mean. . ." and the bell rings violently as I'm shaking my head.
 

smsarber

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lol fair enough. I'm not upset at my 140 wpm, 99% accuracy typing :)
Sheesh. I can do about 45-60 words a minute. Due to an injury when I was thirteen my right middle finger is unusable to type, so I never learned the correct way. But for me, the 17 days in the hospital, had it not been for the use of my brother's laptop I may have only gotten half the 3,500 words I did get. Though I may have ended up with more towards my novel. Longhand I might write faster, but my hand cramps up fast. Although, when I write longhand I think I tend to stay focused on one project more. It's so easy to have a little idea and open a new page, but then I know I'll have to retype it later. While I was in there I started two hospital-based short-stories. Wonder where I got the idea for those? Ha-ha
 

Ken Schneider

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Sheesh. I can do about 45-60 words a minute. Due to an injury when I was thirteen my right middle finger is unusable to type, so I never learned the correct way. But for me, the 17 days in the hospital, had it not been for the use of my brother's laptop I may have only gotten half the 3,500 words I did get. Though I may have ended up with more towards my novel. Longhand I might write faster, but my hand cramps up fast. Although, when I write longhand I think I tend to stay focused on one project more. It's so easy to have a little idea and open a new page, but then I know I'll have to retype it later. While I was in there I started two hospital-based short-stories. Wonder where I got the idea for those? Ha-ha

I don't do the conventional type of typing. I've figured out my own system over time. My wife types the right way, she she says I still type faster than she does. But, alas, none of that matters, it's getting the right words down on paper. Ten words a minute, or one hundred, fast or slow, doesn't the writer make.
 
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