Category Archives: proofreading

Part six of The Whiteboard

You can find part five of The Whiteboard here http://wp.me/p3VxaG-1QS

part

So, here is the sixth part or installment of our strange tale. The Whiteboard is about a woman whose dry erase board at her job suddenly starts issuing someone’s opinion and becomes the object of their interest with her as the recipient.  Today we find out what happens next.

©The Whiteboard Part Six by Kim Smith

The writer didn’t put out new whiteboard writing at all on Thursday. By the time Anne got ready to leave work, she had convinced herself it was just a silly office game someone was playing with her and best left ignored. She wanted no part in it.

But when she prepared to leave for the day, she couldn’t locate her keys.

She was fastidious to a fault and to misplace anything was not her norm. She checked her sweater hanging on the back of the door, took every item out of her purse. turned it upside down and patted it to make anything inside fall out.

Nothing did.

And she had an immense set of keys. They were impossible to miss when they were lying on the desk or in the bottom of her purse. She checked her desk, every nook and cranny, even looking all around on the floor.

The keys were officially missing.

She gazed up at the whiteboard. Nothing there to give her a hint.

Or was there?

In very tiny writing, using the yellow marker this time, was one single line that she had completely missed.

“I like your car.”

Now, a cold drip of fear sucked through her belly. Did the writer take her keys?

She had to go to her car.

Of course, the writer had taken the keys.  Why else were they missing? The writer was taunting her. Anger made her breath come out in a whoosh as she strode from her office headed straight for the elevator.

If this lunatic had done anything to her car…she’d kill him. Or her. She didn’t care. When she got her hands on them, they’d be a believer.

When she walked outside, she blinked at the brilliance of the sun as it shone on her face. She would love to be able to just sit on the concrete steps and enjoy it. But instead, she thought about how unfair life was. She couldn’t even enjoy the seasonal beauty because someone had gotten focused on her and now had her heart filled with hate.

When she arrived at the car, her keys were lying just underneath the car’s door. Did she accidentally drop them? Had she been all keyed up over the writer’s activities and been at fault all along?

She scooped them up and walked around her car, suspiciously. She had had to have them in her hands to lock the vehicle’s door’s with the clicker. It was obviously locked. Besides, hadn’t the writer said in the latest writing that they liked the car?

Frustrated, she rushed inside the building to go straight to her boss’s office. Enough was enough. When she walked into her supervisor’s office, it was like it wasn’t even her moving her legs. She was a robot performing some weird pre-designed action.

“What’s up?” Mr. Stanton asked.

“I…I have a problem,” she replied, looking at the various items on his desk, formulating her thoughts.

“Like?”

He was being kind.

She was approaching this all wrong. She dove in anyway.

“Y-yes,” she stammered. “I’ve been having a visitor at night in my office.”

She glanced at him.

He steepled his fingers together and sat back.

“A visitor?”

__________

Well, there you have it, my friends. What do you think will happen next?

 

 

 

5 Writing Errors You Need to Kill

Have you ever witnessed errors in a book and wondered how on earth that passed through the editing process? I have, and it was not only in a big-time published book, it has been in my own work as well. No matter how you go through editing, revisions, editing, revisions, sometimes typos come up.

errors

It happens.

But there are a few things that SHOULDN’T happen in your work, no matter what genre you write in or how many books you have already put on the shelf. These errors just shouldn’t be allowed to exist. Stab ’em to death.

Here are 5 points to make about writing errors.

  1. Wrong endings-rushed endings. We all know that it is a true gift to be able to write a full-length novel and weave a story worthy of a reader’s time. But why on earth would you go through that whole page count thing only to end up at THE END with an ending that utterly leaves the reader feeling bereft? When the ending feels like the writer just ran out of steam, I want to throw my e-reader out of the window. You cannot give the reader an ending that doesn’t work. The ending is the dot on the end of the sentence, and we want it to feel satisfactory.
  2. Pet words and phrases.  I am a ‘that, very, just’ person. Those pet words crop up in my writing all the time. You probably noted that just reading this blog post. Those pet words that are usually unnecessary can be and should be deleted. Also, if you are a I knew, I felt, I thought, writer, then yes, that too should be examined. Most times if you say “I knew that slamming door meant something” – you can leave off the I knew. It is stronger writing to NOT tell us what you as the first person protag knows, sees, feels, or thinks. We are already in your head.
  3. Neglecting spell-check or grammar-check.  Look, I am from the south. I speak about as disgustingly improper as it gets. But that doesn’t mean I should make my writing sound like I speak. The only one who gets to talk like I talk is a character. Dialog aside, be sure to make everything RIGHT. Be sure to read stuff out loud. You will catch more that way.
  4. Repeat for emphasis, not out of forgetfulness.  It is totally fine to use the rule of three in your books or stories. Dickens even did it. It is not fine to repeat yourself because you were too lazy to go back and check to see if you had said this before only in another way. The readers do not need a two-by-four to the head to get the info you are imparting.
  5. Keep your descriptions relevant. I know, this one is going to get you to raise your eyebrows a little. I know. I am the SPARSEST description writer out there. It’s a problem for me. But there are those who get SO wrapped up in setting and description that readers flip through the pages of it to get to the story. If you have beta readers, they will need to call you on this problem. Description is good, but it can be overdone. No one wants to have to skip over long paragraphs of text about the trees lining the plain.

Well, I guess that does it for me for today. I am going to try to have a few more craft posts on the blog because well, that’s what I like to do. If you have suggestions on subjects you want to see covered, please drop me a line in the comments below.

Happy Error/Errors Checking!

Self-editing is hard. But finding out you need to self-edit is not hard at all. Take my last post for instance…I just reread it this morning and found all manner of issues with it, which makes me mad at myself, but there it is. Honestly in all its glory.

self-edit

But the point of this post is to say, we SHOULD self-edit.

We should not subject our readers to anything less than perfect. Published posts, published books, stories, etc. SHOULD be self-edited (and of course, professionally edited when appropriate), not in its raw form.

I apologize.

Writing is self-editing.

My Teaser Tuesday post even had a typo in it!  I do try hard NOT to include typos. Bad grammar is usual for me, as I write as I speak, and I am a true blue Southerner, but I try to kill all typos.

So, here is a short list of things you can do to self-edit yourself. I am going to try to apply some of this stuff also. Starting with my NEXT post. 

  1. Leave it alone. We should give the post, or other written matter a little rest before we put it out for consumption. Then, typos will appear like magic before our eyes. It did for me.
  2.  Read it aloud. There is something to be said for reading slowly out loud to yourself. You will see things that you didn’t see when reading silently. Then, you can find the bad stuff easily.
  3. Take out pet words. I am a just and very and really person. Those pet words are something you will find in my posts, etc. You should also look for words that you always use as well and consider removing or changing them.
  4. Consider your comma. I am comma-challenged. I admit it. I put them where they shouldn’t be and forget them where they should. Do not be like me. This foible is why I try to get an editor for my books.
  5. Pay attention to the red squiggly lines. Those red squiggly lines mean something is misspelled. Pay attention to that and fix it. Nobody wants to read a work of yours that reads like a furst-grader. <<< see?

Okay, so this is all I have time for this morning…but you get my drift. Thanks for being a fan and follower of my stuff. Even when it sucks.

 

What does my reader want?

Botella con mensaje en la playa

Several things have become glaringly apparent this weekend so far as How to Write is concerned. I guess whenever anyone embarks on such an auspicious endeavor, one must not get overly involved in the stuff behind the scenes. Well, I have. Deeply, truly, madly involved. But it’s all for my reader.

It is because I care. I do not want to be a big fat failure, and have you scratching your head wondering what the heck I am talking about. But then too, I do not want anyone who is a little more advanced falling asleep as we dig into the basic stuff.

It is truly a balancing act, folks.

So if you would be so kind as to post in the comments below what exactly you would like to know during this series, then I can make sure to answer questions effectively, and cover subjects in a more detail-oriented fashion. My reader is critical to this little series.

Come on you guys, I am doing this for YOU.

If you want to know how to make a plot board, I will make a video for you, (lol, I already bought the tri-fold!) — if you want to know how to create a character or world-build, or any of that stuff, I am here for you. That is what this little series is about. You ask questions, and I answer. And then I write. A lot.

So don’t feel like you will just sludge along behind me listening to my diatribe about writing. This will be much more fun if you are involved! I know there are some readers out there who are feeling shy and feel like your questions will be dumb ones. Well, stop. It is true that no question is a dumb one. It may be the very one someone else wanted to ask but was too shy. Yeah, there will be someone in the group who is MORE shy than you!

So, I will post the first How to Write post on July 1, and I hope you will check it out.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog so you can be sure to get the notice about new posts!

How to sell more books

How do we sell more books? And no, it is not one at a time.
how to sell more books.jpg
You have to know how to do this by now. I mean it is on every tongue in every facet of our writerly lives.

Write more books.

Publish more often.

And MOST importantly–

WRITE BETTER BOOKS.

Write better books means do more research, proofread harder, edit more times, get better cover art. Do it better than anyone else is doing it.

It has become such a cry in the industry that you might be sick of hearing it. I hope you will stick with me while we go over a little more detail as to what you might do to make sure you ARE writing better books.

That “HOW TO DO IT” part of writing better books is the single most worried about item on everyone’s minds these days.

Let me eliminate some of your fears, concerns, and doubts.

WRITING BETTER BOOKS IS MIND CANDY

And no, I am not talking about that British company that makes cute little Moshi Monster games. Rather, I am coining a phrase to emphasize that if you are a writer, you are already writing, and to write better books should be something sweet and effortless for you. It should be something that you WANT to do. Something that you want to indulge in like eating your favorite chocolate.

But how do I know when I am achieving this goal?

Well, you just do. I will read over something that I wrote way back when and say, ugh, that is terrible. I can read over something that I wrote last week and say wow, not too bad. You know it when you see it.

So here are a few things that you should be able to see when you write better books.

A better book will:

  • Be visual
  • When you read a bestselling book, aren’t you struck by the setting and description? Don’t you hug your eReader a little closer and say, wow, I want to go there?

  • Make you feel something
  • I always judge a good book by how it makes me feel. Did I cry during the reading of it? Did I laugh? If there is an emotional element…well, that’s usually a good book.

  • Be invisible
  • I know this sounds a little lopsided when the first point was it is visual, but this is different. An invisible book means that the reader forgets they are reading. They actually become the paper person they are reading about and experience what is happening to the character.

  • Rock Details
  • I think this is more in tune with non-fiction maybe but it’s important. I didn’t specify the type of book. Details are important. If you are trying to help someone fix something, say, a how-to book, then you can’t forget important details. If you are teaching a method, the reader needs all the details. It is important to say, DO YOUR RESEARCH. Even if you are writing fiction, a reader wants to know that you are an authority on the subject or at least know how to make it plausible.

    The problem with writing better books is that it is not easy. AHA! You didn’t expect that did you? It isn’t. Writing better books is hard. It takes more time, more devotion to craft, more effort. But you know what happens if you don’t do this? A book is produced that won’t sell. And isn’t that what you are reading this blog post for? To find out how to sell more books?

    If you are into podcasts, don’t forget to listen to this one, as these guys REALLY know the scoop and give you tips and news you can use to sell more books. It is my favorite.

    SELL MORE BOOKS PODCAST.

    I hope this article has helped you. It made me think again on what to do and why to do it.

    ________________________________________________

    Kim Smith is the author of TEN TIPS FOR GETTING THAT BOOK WRITTEN Available for Kindle and coming soon in print!