Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Editing::Meeting Two

Had another great meeting with "my" author today.  I love saying that ... "my author".

Since our last meeting, Christin has been working hard at rewriting the prologue, and rewriting and fleshing out the first chapter (which will now be at least two chapters).  the primary focus has been on clarifying POV, though some story and character restructuring has been involved, as well as some style refining.  Having had taken more general notes during my last read-through, and having reviewed the revised prologue, we had a great conversation about further story points, character development, emotional weight of specific scenes, and overall style.  As always, Christin was very open to suggestions and specific input about style, construction, and flow.

One thing that I think has made this process much clearer in the past few weeks came from my asking Christin to provide me with samples of published authors within our genre/classification whose writing style she enjoys reading and would like to emulate.  She gave me a specific example, which I have been reading, and which will make the editing process much smoother for both of us.

So, Christin has her homework and a few pages of notes to refer to, and I get to wait with anticipation for the next rewrite.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Boys and Rain and Toads! Oh, My!

One of the reasons we moved to Georgia was to provide the boys with an environment where they could be BOYS! and have more and better access to natural spaces.  Which, as it turns out, now includes our yard.

It's been a really wet summer.  REALLY wet.  Like, raining every other day, for months.  Which brings out a variety of critters who thrive in the wet.  And, of course, one particular little boys has a knack for finding those critters.

"I found a toad" (and brought it in the house)

"Look at the toad I found"

"I am a Master Toad Finder"

"Can I go home now?"

Friday, July 19, 2013


One of the biggest editing challenges I have been facing is the issue of Point Of View.  Christen has chosen a format wherein the POV switches back and forth between the two main characters, with each character having a designated section of a chapter.  I've read plenty of books where this worked really well, and I think we can implement it nicely in this case.

The challenge for me comes when the POV "slips" from one character to another within any particular section.  Having been pondering this issue for several month, every novel I have read lately seems to have this subtle (or unintentional) POV slip, and I'm trying to put my finger on exactly why it sometimes works in an almost seamless way, and why it sometimes seems glaring and intrusive.

One example of how this POV slipping works beautifully is Good Omens  by Terry Prachett and Neil Gaiman.  We get a peek inside one character's head, then immediately slip into another character's head, and back and forth, with deeply humorous results.  We have the opportunity to watch a scene unfold, the exact same events being seen, translated, and understood in two completely different ways by two different characters, all in the same few paragraphs.  This POV hopping allows a distinctive and lovely humor to emerge as the story unfolds.

Another example is Catch as Cat Can by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown.  The fact that the author's co-writer is her cat should tell you something about the tone of the book.  In this case, the reader is privy to the thoughts and feelings of each of the non-human characters, as well as the human characters.  The animal's communications with one another are expressed in italics, right there in the middle of the humans' business.  Again, I felt this worked very well, and added to the humor of the story and events.

The rule-of-thumb for writers has long been, "Pick one Point of View and stick with it."  However, I am finding more and more this guideline being disregarded, either intentionally or unintentionally.  Sometimes it works.  Other times, not so much.

So, what makes a POV-switching story work?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Retreat Companions

Before my "Retreat Oops" yesterday sank in, I went down to the blueberry patch to do some picking.

Prettiness on the way to the patch...

Blackberries on the way to the patch

I'd never picked blueberries before, (yes, I know, "Where have you been all your life?"), and Kit and the boys were away for the day, so I was kind of on my own.  But, Kit had assured me there wasn't much to it, explained basically what to do, and trusted me to figure it out.  Which I pretty much did.

Reaching under the bird netting to snag berries

There are four different varieties of berries, each fruiting at a slightly different time.  So, some bushes had bunches of berries to pick, some only had a few, and some had basket-loads waiting to ripen.

Later-fruiting berries

I spent almost and hour and a half picking, and by the time I was finished there was a very large bowlful sitting on the kitchen table.

This isn't the large bowlful; it's the bowl that was too small

Around the time I finished showering after my exertions (it was hot and muggy and buggy, and I, naturally, was picking in my PJ's), my Oops made it's appearance.  Damn.  So, I wrapped up what I was working on, and went for a walk.

Accidental picture of my Sky Companion

Puppy Companion, Gypsy

Flower Companions on the dock

Geese Companions on the lake

Toad Companion

Kitty Companion, Electra, back at the house

Flowers in the kitchen

Today was much easier to stay in Retreat Mode, since my right hand stopped working last night.  A soreness and ache in my ring finger in the evening turned into restricted movement by night, and by about 6:00 am I was in enough pain I needed some Advil.  Doing a bit of research, it looks like a repetitive stress injury similar to carpal tunnel syndrome.  So, complete rest for the day and night.  Image that on a Retreat ;)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Retreat Oops

How does Life seep in so quickly and quietly?

I came on Retreat for some quiet, some rest, some time to work on some long-neglected areas of My Self.  To re-envision my life, my self, my family.

And I ended up bring a chunk of my life with me, and working on everything else except what I came here to work on.

It wasn’t intentional.  And I truly believed I was doing “good” for myself by engaging in activities that I enjoy and find fulfilling.

But, it was the same old stuff, the same old patterns that led me to need to go on Retreat.

I spent some time picking blueberries today.  The first time I’ve ever picked blueberries, believe it or not.  But, instead of being mindful and present and thinking about picking blueberries, I was thinking about the best way to blog about picking blueberries.  Even though I kept gently reminding myself to come back to the present experience, the Writer Voice kept kicking in, again and again and again.  By the end of the picking session, I had finally managed to settle my mind a bit and enjoy what I was doing as I was doing it.  But it took almost and hour and a half.  Silly, isn’t it?

I did the same thing with editing.  I thought, “This is something that I’m really going to enjoy, so it’s a good thing to bring along.”  Not.  I allowed myself to get completely wrapped up not only in the editing process, but in research on editing, considering how to create a business as an editor, setting up an editing blog, writing blogs posts, searching for a support network of blogs, and just about anything else you can imagine.

Instead of being fully present where I am, thinking about my life, resting and refreshing.

How do we let ourselves fall back into the comfortable, old patterns so easily?  How did I allow myself to bring unintentional stress to my Retreat?

Well, I wrapped up what I was in the middle of, sent a note to my author, took a walk, and am determined to now unplug as much as possible.  I will probably post some nice pictures I took today, especially the ones of my walk.  But, I will resist as much as possible the urge to sit down at my laptop and “look up just one thing”.  I have plenty of novels available to me, plenty of free time to write in my journal, plenty of household tasks to mindfully engage in, and plenty of lovely outside to enjoy.

If I can just bring myself to do it.

Wish me luck.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Laptop 9-1-1

I've had this problem before with my laptop.  Apparently I use it too much.  Or too aggressively.  Or don't store it properly.  I don't know, honestly, what the problem is.  Regardless, I took it in last year for exactly the same problem, and they fixed it (actually rebuilt it).  But, that was back when it was still under warranty.  Now it's not.

Cracked.  Again.

Well, it's falling apart again.  The goop you see on the side is the remains of my previous attempt to stem the tide of destruction with duct tape.  That only works for so long, then the glue starts slipping and the thing is popping open again.  So, time for more duct tape.

Duct tape to the rescue.

Once it's trimmed down, it doesn't look that bad.  Right?

Good as new!  Right?

I think my laptop's traveling days are over.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Editing::Whose Business?

During our meeting on Monday, Christin asked me if I had a link to my “business” that she could include in her author page and in the book.

I was a bit taken aback, because I really hadn’t thought of what we were doing from the perspective of a “business.”  Which, of course, I should have, because offering to proofread her book was the first step in an overall “plan” to start up a little “business.”  Duh.

So, in addition to editing, I spent some considerable time (because I’ve got a lot of it right now) re-reading the book that gave me the original inspiration, The $100 Startup:Reinventing the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a NewFuture by Chris Guillebeau, and going over the notes I had taken during my first read.  I typed up a couple pages of notes – an “outline” if you will – on how I would proceed should I decided to make this a real-life endeavor.  And, just because I feel I need to give Christin something to “link” to, I started setting up this blog that would also support a little business should I get serious about it.

Have you gotten the sense yet that I’m not 100% committed to becoming a proofreader/editor?  I think I’m kind of holding out to see how this project goes.  It’s not necessarily the relative success of the book itself that will be the deciding factor for me (although I really, really hope it is a wonderful success), but how successful I feel personally about the editing process and working with an author.  Is this something I can actually do?

I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


I have been long overdue for a retreat.  Not like the Mom’s Evacuation (as William called it) I participated in several months ago.  An actual, solitary (as much as possible), non-social, unplugged from my life RETREAT.  Fortunately, our family has been deeply blessed by a loving, supportive friendship with KitMama and her family, and she agreed to take me in for a week or so while I decompress and get a little R&R.  They also happen to live in a lovely house, on a lovely piece of property, with a lovely private lake.  What more could a girl ask for?

View from the wrap-around porch

So, yesterday David and the boys drove me up to Kit’s place and left me with naught more than a small suitcase and a large bag of books (I pack light).  Since I’ve spent time here before and am familiar with the house, it wasn’t long before I settled into my own private little cubby upstairs.

Temporary home

It doesn’t look like much, and I was offered one of the larger beds in the guestroom, but this little nook is just so cozy and secluded-feeling, I decided if I had much of a chance of sleeping at all, this would be the place.  The family pretty much resides downstairs, so there’s little noise or traffic.  Besides, it’s only about three steps from the bulk of the family library, which, of course, I have availed myself of.


So, what did I do with my first full day of Retreat? A little of this. A little of that. Puttered around helping with the kitchen and laundry. And edited.

Yep, I am actually helping a friend with her first novel (which will be the first book of a planned trilogy). Originally, I simply offered to proofread it for her to get some experience. I’d been thinking of getting into proofreading as a part-time work-at-home gig to supplement our family income. But, I needed to get some experience under my belt before demanding payment for my services. And, Christen just happened to be working on her novel at that time. How serendipitous!

Well, as time progressed, somehow our working relationship developed into more of an author/editor thing than an author/proofreader thing. Which seems to be perfectly lovely for both of us. We had our first official “meeting” on Monday. We went over a whole host of “issues”, brainstormed on creative solutions, compared notes on our mutual experience of the story and characters, and generally were very productive. We both took copious notes, then broke in the evening to head off in our own directions with own lists of “to do’s”.

So, one of the only two “responsibilities” I brought with me on Retreat was Christen’s book.

Editing from the kitchen table
I’m a little nervous, but mostly very excited about being part of this project.

I’ll keep you all posted on our progress…

Monday, July 8, 2013

Editing::The Work Begins

Today was my first official Author/Editor meeting with Christin.  I’d done my initial read-through a few weeks ago, had a good conversation with one of the Beta Readers (a mutual friend), and sent the first chapter back to Christin with some specific notes about something I thought we should work on together.  That was the impetus for our getting together.

The meeting went really well.  It was very productive, we covered a lot of ground, and Christin was very receptive to all of my suggestions and observations.  We’ve both got our “to-do” lists in hand (though hers is far longer than mine), and lots of work to do.

Since this is my first “real” editing job, I’m a bit nervous.  I feel like Christin is relying on me to help make her first novel the very best it can be, and I’m determined to do so.  This was the first big step, one of many more to come.

Onward and upward!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

What IS That?!?

Have you ever walked out onto your driveway and saw something you just could not quite identify right off? But you kind of have an uneasy feeling.  So you sidle up to it kind of cautiously.  And it takes a minute to put the pieces together, so to speak...

And then you figure you what it is.

Oh, never mind.

Thank you, cat.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Romeo and Juliet Cast

I rarely get to post pictures of David and Thomas at the theatre, but I was sent these clandestine pix for your enjoyment

David as Prince Escalus

Prince Escalus and Juliet

The Prince and his Household

The Entire Cast