Have a project that needs editing? Don’t panic. Read this first..

A big thanks to author and editor, Steve Soderquist for his time in sharing several invaluable tips for writers of every kind.  Read his answers to the five questions I posed to him and then check out his book to help you with even more invaluable advice for your own manuscripts.

Steve Soderquist Author picture

  1. For most authors, the word ‘editing’ elicits a fight or flight pattern, most preferring to flee. Why did you bravely decide to tackle this field?

I believe everyone–not just writers–carry the burden of uncertainty when it comes to the English language. Writers tend to feel this more intensely as the pressure is high to produce written work that hopefully, folks will like. It’s important to note a well-written manuscript isn’t the same as a well-told story. The difference is, when the work is ‘clean’ and is as free of grammatical and punctuation errors as possible, it allows the reader and/or acquisition editor to see the story that much clearer. Average stories still sell, and at times very well, however, badly written stories are much rarer.

The reason I got into editing was my love of the language. I found I had an almost idiot savants understanding for the rules that govern English and for me, the hardest part was understanding why I understood what I did. I say ‘almost,’ as no one is born with the ability to know what a dangling participle means or why two of them shouldn’t be back-to-back, but when I look at it, (and many other rules) they seem to jump out at me, and my fingers do the rest when correcting. This didn’t come to me when I attended school, but much later in life. In my high school years, I got below-average marks in English, but loved to read. As a fact, the first few times I even attempted to write short stories were a complete mess. The actual ‘when’ it all came together is a bit fuzzy, but I remember having an urge to learn what made English tick, and soon found myself devouring every rule and grammar book from William Strunk and E.B. White’s ‘The Elements of Style’ to Stephen King’s ‘On Writing.’ I was fascinated with the way words, in certain positions in a sentence, could change the very tone and inflection of the meaning of that sentence, and thus, the story itself. Most writers tackle manuscripts in a linear time-frame, and I spent a large part of my learning time studying the nuances of reflection in the prose and tense as the feature. I began to understand that while we live in a linear world, our minds are forever moving either backward in reflection or forward in expectation. This enables me to help a writer greatly in rounding out their characters in situations when things get perhaps wooden, or boring, or lost, or a combination of those and many others. The bottom line is, I edit because every manuscript to me is a puzzle, and helping a writer achieve the best of their story is extremely pleasurable.

2. What is the hardest part about editing a manuscript?

I would have to say the tedious act of correcting easy-to-know punctuation rules. Every writer should have a strong grasp of basic English 101, and if not, take the time to study and learn. As I mentioned, proper English isn’t something anyone is born with, it’s a skill that needs to be honed. The basic elements need to be in place if a writer ever hopes to be published by a traditional publishing company, and if independently publishing, I always hope the author did their due diligence before uploading their files. I won’t go into all, or even a few of the basics, but do note that when they aren’t there, they stick out like a sore thumb to the reader. One doesn’t have to hold a degree in English to know when something is off. We spent our whole lives reading as we grow up, and most of what we’ve read has been properly proofed and edited, especially if it was for sale. We get used to reading correctly, so when it isn’t, even though a reader may not know that comma should be there in that compound sentence, you can bet a paycheck it will still read wrong to him or her.

3. Most publishers require authors to ‘tighten up their manuscript’ by doing their own self-editing.  With this in mind, what would you recommend a new author do first?

Read it out loud. Nothing will help a writer catch their own mistakes in a more clear and definitive way than simply doing this. Check for inconsistencies in time-lines, plot-holes, names, dates; avoid the deus ex machina whenever possible, and research, research, research! We live in a world that has Google now, so there is never a reason for the alerion of an airplane to ever be called, ‘that flappy-thingy.’
I’ve told many writers and still do, “Edit until you just about hate the thing.” Also, ironically, don’t fully trust an editor to catch every mistake. I mean that, too. We’re human, just like you, and we make mistakes. The difference is, that’s your name on the cover…not the editor. So when you get that final copy back to read over, actually read it, don’t just blow through it. Once it’s in print or ebook, whether you pull it back to make corrections or not, (which looks very unprofessional) those initial copies are still out there. Be diligent, patient and get the job done right the first time.

4. What is one ‘rule of thumb’ to always remember when editing?

Never assume you’re right if you feel that little tickle in the back of your mind that something is off. Double-check it for accuracy and correctness.

5. What is the most common editing blunder you’ve found when editing an author’s work?

That’s a good question but hard to pin down, as every writer has their own unique style and flow of writing. Each manuscript I’ve worked on is as individual as the writer themselves. No two have ever been alike. All that being said, the most common error I run into is punctuation, such as putting a period at the end of a terminal sentence in dialog that proceeds an incomplete past participle, as in:
“We have to leave now.” Jane said.

I won’t go into a lesson, but if you read that sentence and don’t see a problem, please go over the basics of English.

Thanks for the opportunity to share! My email is always open, and I hope to see all of you out there in print. Stay upbeat and focused!

Peace

Where to find me:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/steve.soderquist.3
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/SteveSoderquistAuthor/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/stevesoderquist
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6626657.Steve_Soderquist
Google+: https://plus.google.com/116546158818053309346
Twitter: https://twitter.com/skirascal – @skirascal
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stevesoderquist/
Email: https://steves@foundationsbooks.net
Website: http://www.SteveSoderquist.com/
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCV55b1YWTrqw5ihuBMBfcnw
Foundations: https://www.FoundationsBooks.net
For my book, ‘Practical Tips for Every Author,’ please visit:

Steve Soderquist_Book Cover

 

 

Blah, Blah, Blah

a wish for your day

Hi Readers,

Wednesdays can be so blah.  It’s not the dreaded start of the week nor is it the exciting conclusion but somewhere in between, lost in the middle, standing off by its lonesome.  It can get you down.  It can be so dreary but what is the saying?  See the glass half full or half empty?

At the end of every storm, there is sunshine and calm, peace.  Whatever you’re going through at the time is temporary and things will get better.  Don’t ever forget that.   There are plenty of people who love you and are rooting for you every day though you may not be aware of them or not realizing it.  You are loved and you will get through this!

Check out my brand new Positivity page for more inspiration.

https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Pause-with-Michael-854566458079147/

 

~*~*  Have a wonderful Wednesday, my friends!  ~*~*

 

 

A break for Positivity, please

Take a break from the hustle and bustle and stresses of the day for a bit of Positivity.

Michael and I welcome you.

Article for today concerns my hair needs.  =0)

I will also be hosting promotions and giveaways plus announcing my books later on, for a bit of entertainment and fun.  Join the celebration for the Grand Opening of my Page.  Come interact with me and leave your cares behind.  All are welcome!

https://www.facebook.com/PositivityPause

I choose joy

 

 

 

A Daydream of Paradise

paradise-beach-hd-desktop-wallpaper-08916

 

Sometimes, when we are striving to reach our goals, we forget how very much we have in our lives. We start taking them for granted, feeling we don’t have enough because we want so much more. As an author, we might even compare ourselves with others, colleagues who have hit the big leagues, have titles we covet like “best-selling author”, a book that is a best seller or a book that is in the top 100’s when ours are teetering in the millions.

I want so much more in life and even more with my book business but it seems the struggle continues. I try and try but success seems so far away and I wonder if I will ever obtain it. The more I try, the more success seems to be out of my grasp, not even close enough to slip through my fingers. I don’t want to envy writers with fancy titles but I do sometimes and I wish I knew the secret to own one of those glorious titles because I have no idea how they became successful when I am still here, struggling and trying to remain positive among a sea of unknowns.

So in light of my own personal struggles with: juggling my caretaker responsibilities, my full-time day job that has lost its luster and passion for me, and my book business that most days seems to harbor on the back-burner anymore, I somehow lost sight of all the wonderful stuff and people I do have in my life and I was reminded about this fact, last night.

While staring up at the beautiful lights and ornaments of my Christmas tree, my special friend Michael reminded me to appreciate all that I have. He has been asking me to open my heart, which I did not know was in bad need of damage repair. Instead of love, anxiety and fear crept in. They have riddled my days, for quite a long while now, and I did not know. I didn’t realize, in this season of light and love, how far removed I was.

I am one that advises and encourage others any chance I can get. I help my fellow authors and author friends anytime I can and I work tirelessly to uplift others, even if it means spending hours messaging or talking with a friend so that they can feel better after our conversation. However, have I taken my own advice? Well… no. I encourage and cheer others but I haven’t done the same for myself. The problem is I expect so much out of life and out of myself and I want it Now. And because I haven’t received it and I see others successful when I am failing to achieve my goals, I have essentially forgotten to take care of myself.

I learned so many things yesterday but what I didn’t realize was that we can get caught up in our wants and desires and neglect ourselves in the process- and not even know it.

We need to take care of ourselves first because if we are not in the right frame of mind, we will accomplish nothing.

This is a reminder to look at your own lives and discover all that you have. I have seen several with no home when I have a comfortable one, begging for food when I am not lacking. I have an amazing dog and am fortunate enough to have found my life partner who is also my best friend. These are only a few of the many blessings that I, personally, have and I know you have a list too. During this upcoming New Year, write your list down and reflect upon it, knowing you are starting the New Year on a very good note. And may you receive many more blessing throughout 2018!

It’s the little things..

surprise-happy-birthday-gifts-5Hi Readers,

Just some thoughts on my birthday to share.  You know, as the years pass by, it’s funny how our preferences change.  Just yesterday while my husband was running around trying to buy a gift for me, I realized how I would rather have his company instead of a gift.  Many, many years ago, in my twenties, I wouldn’t have agreed with this thinking and would’ve reached for the present instead but now with bills and responsibilities and duties, things like time are even more precious.  Objects can always be bought but company is hard to come by.

I still love receiving presents, though, but it’s the little things…  A special and unusual color of roses (dusty pink) in an arrangement from a man who means so much to me (when he has very little time to spare), whispered words in my ear of affection, generous hugs, pampering, festive communication in the middle of my day, and loving gestures mean the world to me, especially when coming from those I love.

So, as I sit here at my day job and am receiving a few birthday wishes, I am warmed by the recognition.  I’m also a bit sad with the realization that there hasn’t been any comments on my main FB page but it’s okay because it really doesn’t matter in the end and people have busy lives.  Yes, my birthday is special to me and I love celebrating it and the revelry behind it but… that all passes and then life continues.  So, in the meantime, on my special day, I will do little things to help celebrate who I am and where I’ve been.  And I am looking forward to those things that really matter to me and experiencing them with those I love.  That is the real celebration.

 

Top Ten List

Okay lovely people,

Here’s a list of the ones that made the cut.  The top ten things writers with full time jobs would rather be doing:

  1. Writing
  2. Finishing a book
  3. Publishing a book
  4. Chatting with adoring fans (who doesn’t want to hear how wonderful their books are)
  5. Attending book events as a featured author (these are sooo much fun!)
  6. Land a contract with a BIG Publisher
  7. Signing their books at an author event (of course, with wonderful, adoring fans)
  8. Earning big bucks for their published works
  9. Signing a movie contract for one of their books
  10. More writing

So there you have it!  Writers with full time jobs would rather do pretty much anything besides their full time jobs to promote their book business because their passion is all about books and writing them.

Have a terrific day!  xx

R U Okay?

This morning, Michael asked me, “Are you okay?”

Well, no.  Not really.

I’m worried about Hurricane Irma, the category 5 hurricane that is predicted to hit Florida via Miami at a Category 4.  I feel bad for Miami, though my experience at South Beach with the dangerous, hostile drivers and even on the highway leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth and a distaste for the city.  I would never want to live there but that doesn’t mean I want to see the residents undergo devastation.

I am worried for my roof, not having the luxury of nearby residents to have had a new roof installed on my house.  My roof is old and I don’t know how much more battering it can take.  The thought of going through insurance doesn’t alleviate my fears or worries as that will be a nightmare, in itself, if we undergo damage.  I survived Hurricane Charlie and gave up waiting for a roofer, instead, going my own path and taking on a loan with a well known business to fix the roof on my own accord.  If I had waited- a name on the long line of rosters of people waiting for insurance to fix their roofs- I might still be waiting.

At least I have enough water though I’m sure I won’t have electricity.  Our home is old, built in the 1970’s, and due to this, if anyone so much as sneezes, we lose our electricity.  Hurricane force winds are sure to devastate and I’m not looking forward to sweating like a pig in 90 degree Florida weather.

I am hoping once it hits Central Florida, the hurricane will have the decency to lower it’s category to a 2 or even, God help us, a 1.  We don’t need another Charlie!  And I’d like to keep my roof intact as is… please.

So, I am filling all the pitchers I own with water and even my Keurig, just in case and I’m wishing the storm will turn East and fizzle out into the ocean from where it formed.  And I’m busy transferring our food to my dad’s empty refrigerator in his garage.  Since his apartment’s electricity is tied in to the local fire station, he hardly ever loses power and this is our saving grace.  I’m doling through our food, taking to the re fridge/freezer items which cost the most money:  fish and meat first, vegetables last, in the hopes of saving as much as possible from loss of electric/power.

My husband is cleaning out the gutters, bringing in our lovely statue/decorations, outside furniture and to save precious time, buying bags of potting soil to use as sandbags since it’s rumored people are waiting hours in line to get precious sandbags.  With Irma expected to hit Central Florida Sunday- Monday, we are running out of time and we must work with haste.

This has been an ordeal, finding empty shelves in local grocery stores like the picture below where there was no bread to be bought and collecting water bottles when stores were out.  We ended up being lucky three times over and have three cases of water as a result.

I hope everyone in the path of Hurricane Irma remains safe and I wish for you minimal damage to your beloved homes.

#hurricaneirma  #Irma

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