Shrugging and Sighing and Smiling, Oh My!

I’ve only been at this writing thing for a short time. The mistakes I continue to make are still quite amateurish in nature. My first draft is peppered with way too many shrugs and sighs, smiles and frowns, laughs and nods, and it’s agony reading the manuscript aloud and crafting new ways to move the story along.

Wedding at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort is in the final stretch of editing and revising, but I still have to ferret out all the overused words. It’s too bad there’s not a random word generator that would automatically substitute a more unique or seldom used word into a work in progress. (Note to self: use ferret occasionally.”)

Action beats, such as “Paula folded a dishrag and slung it over her shoulder,“ work well in place of shrugging and sighing and smiling, etc., but the caveat there is in not crossing over into stage direction and/or telling vs. showing. I have to confess, I’m a teller. Showing is so hard.

I seem to take two steps backward for every step forward. I blame my background in teaching and training. So why do I keep writing? For the joy of screwing up, I guess.

I’m on my second read aloud pass through. The number of smiles is declining; however, I’ve noticed that grins are on the uptick. Coincidence? I really doubt it.

Peace, people!

Maybe I need a dog…the cat’s useless.

Gaslighting

Can a computer be haunted? Malevolent or maybe only a bit mischievous? Or have I lost my mind? At this point I’m not sure which would be preferable.

Yesterday, my editor, the wonderful Rachel Carrera, sent me the computer files containing the edits for the last twenty or so chapters of Wedding at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort. Immediately upon receiving the files I added them to the “read aloud” document I’d started the night before. (Reading the manuscript aloud is a good way to find clunkiness and other stuff—it also gives me a headache and a sore throat, but that’s another story.)

Knowing that Rachel was sending me the final chapters, I’d painstakingly saved all my previously revised chapters into a new document. In this new document I deleted the editing notes in order to do my read aloud more fluidly. I never deleted the original file with Rachel’s notes. Thank goodness.

As soon as I’d added the newly arrived chapters I settled into my chair with my laptop and a cup of hot tea and began reading the prologue. About halfway down the first page I stumbled onto the word reverberated—a great word, except I’d already incorporated it three paragraphs before.

Rachel had called it to my attention when we first began edits on the book. Of course I didn’t want the word used twice in such close proximity and I’d revised immediately. So, what was it doing in this read aloud version?

I scanned ahead. None of my revisions based on Rachel’s notes were in these pages. Not a single one. I panicked a little. But, hey. This was fixable. I put the read aloud document on a flash drive and took it to Staples for printing figuring it would be easiest to mark it up as I compared it to the editing notes.

Now here’s where it gets weird. I returned home with the printed copies and fired up the computer, opening the files I’d copied from the night before. The file that clearly reads EDITED AND REVISED WEDDING WITH NOTES.

I began marking my printed copy with changes based on the notes. The prologue was fairly easy and I scrolled down the page to substitute a different word for reverberated. But guess what? It had already been revised. The same document I’d copied and pasted the night before clearly had been revised, even though my printed out pages from the read aloud version more closely resembled my first rough draft.

I have wracked my brain for answers. And I know what everyone’s thinking: “Clearly she copied from an unrevised document.” But the thing is, the unrevised document didn’t have notes attached. Notes that I spent a good chunk of time deleting so I could have a clean read aloud copy.

Yes, I’m sure there’s a rational explanation for what happened, for what I did wrong. but I’ll be darned if I know what it is. I hoped that by writing it down I’d have an epiphany. Unless epiphany is spelled H-E-A-D-A-C-H-E, it didn’t work.

I think maybe William had a haunted laptop, too.

Peace, people.

Revising isn’t for Wussies

A couple of weeks ago I sent my novel, Wedding at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, off to trusted beta readers. It was an extremely raw version of the novel, and it came as no surprise that my readers discovered the book was chock full of blunders and bewildering plot holes.

So now I’m engaged in righting all the wrongs. It’s a tedious process, but I’m going to confess that there’s something satisfying about solving the problems I put into play in the first place.

Some issues are fairly easy to work through thanks to the Search feature on my computer program. Apparently my characters like to say “roust” way too often and if head ducking was a crime, all of my characters would be in jail by the end of the book.

Other problems are structural in nature and require a delicate touch, so I’m treading lightly. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m taking a sledgehammer to that stuff. Chop, chop baby.

Look for my books on Amazon and on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited!

Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08PDRH2Q9/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_T8SXRR2G0J32FFXVTR6W

The Cowboy and the Executive: A West Texas Romance https://www.amazon.com/dp/B095BVSF3L/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_CJYF0023HS4DEEE6HZXJ

Peace, people!

Cross-eyed

I’ve looked at and reread the romance I’m writing a billion times. Well, not a billion, but enough times that I’m practically cross-eyed. I’d sent it off to my friend, Rachel Carrera so she could give it a once over and then design the cover and get it ready for publishing, but then I got cold feet, and asked her to delete the file. I wanted other eyes on it before we took that step.

Now, I’m conflicted. At the suggestion of several beta readers I’ve made some necessary changes (like taking out any mention of stairs in a ranch-style home) and making sure my characters’ names stay the same throughout the book (near the middle of the book one character took on the name of a character in my first novel). But some other suggested changes are tough to undertake, partly because I’m fond of the story as is, even though it’s not perfect.

Writing is fun. Editing is hard. I’m ready for a glass of wine.

Peace, people.

Wine Was Involved

Write drunk, edit sober is good advice unless one’s drunk writing makes sober editing extremely difficult.

There’s really no point to this post except that I’m having TONS of fun (insert eye roll) finding all of the little mistakes and inconsistencies in my manuscript. I can see the finish line, but there are all these obstacles in the way, such as wayward quotation marks, accidental apostrophes, missing words, and redundant chuckles. She chuckled, he chuckled, they all chuckled. Back to back to back chuckles are annoying.

I shall stay the course, though. Let no chuckle go unnoticed.

Peace, people!

Update on the Book: It’s Complicated

Maybe some of you were hoping I’d never mention my book again. Ha! No chance of that happening.

My first book, Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, is still in the process of being edited, but Rachel, my editor, believes there’s a good chance it’ll be ready to publish by Christmas. That would be cool, right? And by publish, I mean I intend to self-publish, even though I believe Mayhem could be worthy of traditional publishing.

So, why will I self publish? Because I’m 63.90 years old and don’t want to spend years shopping my book around. And with the number of folks submitting the books they’ve written during the pandemic, the chances of a publisher picking it up would seem to be slim. If I had connections in the field it might be different, but I don’t.

As Rachel sends back chapters for my consideration, I look over her suggestions and decide between my original words, her suggested words, or a combination of both. Often it’s the latter. I get very excited when she leaves my words as they are. That occurs rarely, but I’m learning a great deal.

While waiting for Rachel to send me chapters I wrote a short romance novel. 50,000+ words of fun (for me, anyway.) I’m not sure what I’ll do with it. I’ve had several folks read it, and none of them seem to think it’s awful, but it is totally different from Mayhem. It was a hoot to write.

Once I finished writing the romance I started on a sequel for Mayhem: Wedding at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, I’m about 12,000 words in. I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed those characters until I engaged with them again. You know, they are totally dependent on me, and I felt guilty for leaving them idle for so long, It’s tough being a deity.

Thanks for hanging in there with me. I’m hoping the next time I mention my book it’s a plea to purchase it. I’ll try not to be obnoxious about it, but it is ME we’re talking about.

Peace, people!

Chapter and Verse

I’m giving my manuscript the once over—looking for stuff that spell check didn’t catch, names I might’ve gotten confused, conversations that might not make sense, etc. I knew that I’d gotten my chapter numbering off at some point, maybe even more than once, but figured I’d come to that sooner or later.

Turns out, it was sooner. I laughed out loud when I realized I’d totally skipped having a chapter 4. How did that even happen? Must’ve been a “write drunk” kind of night. Well, today’s an “edit sober” kind of day.

Now I’m hoping I’ll find an instance where I repeated a chapter number so I won’t be spending tomorrow typing nothing but numerals.

I’d add a number 3. Those who are merely disorganized and pretending to be insane.

Peace, people.

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