3 tips for editing

Summer has almost arrived. One night of frost, but everything appears to have survived, including my tiny basil plants.

It’s 2 weeks until Barbary Kyle’s First 30 Pages workshop and I’ve sent off my partial and received those of the other participants. This week, I hope to review all 9 and leave next week for any second thoughts.

I submit short stories to contests, like the one hosted by Red Tuque Books. Occasionally a critique is offered with the fee, and if I can afford it I request one. It’s a great way to receive feedback from successful authors about my work. How to win is another question.

Dianna Thurban, in a guest post on Daily Writing Tips, details 20 ideas for winning contests. I quibble with #18. She advises choosing to send in paper if the contest gives a choice. I’ve read others who say that those that are sent on paper receive more favourable consideration than those that are sent via e-mail.

I think that is outdated advice. Most sites now are using Submittable or specifically request electronic submission. Paper requires the judge to receive, review and then shred or otherwise dispose of hundreds of pages. The environmental stress of all that paper and ink needs to be taken into account as well.

The Write Life published an editing tips checklist some time ago, that’s handy to have on your desk—yes, in paper—as you start the editing process. I use Autocrit, which identifies most of these problems, but I prefer to check as I go and use the programme nearer to the end of the process.

Another list appears on the Merriam-Webster site. Proofreaders’ marks were a mystery to me until I found this handy document.

Yesterday was our 45th wedding anniversary. The weather was much the same in Kingston that Saturday, a little cool, windy with gusts off the lake, but the tulips were blooming. We were twenty-four years old, a lifetime ago.

That’s about it for this Sunday in May.

Three Sites to Improve your Writing

8:42 on Sunday morning. A big flock of robins came back yesterday, to feast on the fermenting tiny crabapples on the trees out front. And red-winged blackbirds. Now, they are reliable. Spring must be coming, even though it’s still -8C with the windchill this morning.

Sarah Selecky is a writer and teacher of writing. At the link, among other resources, you can sign up for daily writing prompts. As it happens, I like writing prompts and had some of my first success at Wynter Blue Publishing. They ran a monthly contest—24 hours to write a short story including three provided words.

Sarah asks that you write longhand for 10 minutes, daily, in a notebook, in response to a prompt which may be a word or a writing style or a pov. When I signed up, I wasn’t sure about spending those 10 minutes on a creative exercise. However, it turns out it’s not only a good way to jump-start a writing day, but fun. The prompts drag up long-buried memories and ideas. Today’s reminded me of the head nurse of the ICU in one of my training hospitals, more than forty years ago and her vendetta against orange peel in her wastebasket.

I was scrolling through my saved articles again today and came across one titled 5 Key questions to Ask as You Write your Novel. The author was C.S. Lakin, another writer and teacher. Good advice, worth posting on a sticky at your desk.

Ten Literary Devices and where to Find Them in Science Fiction, a post by Annalee Newitz on iO9 makes the devices clear by referencing popular movies and television. I especially liked onomatopoeia, demonstrated by the entire Klingon language, from Star Trek.

That’s about it for today. I’m about a third of the way through a revision of my work in progress and must get back to it.