Saturday, March 29, 2014

Using Photos In Nonfiction

Do I Use This House
Did you ever start something you thought would be a snap and it became a struggle? What a pain. I posted a couple of weeks ago that I had completed the text of my new nonfiction work. I have since given it a final self-edit and will soon be looking for a professional edit. So it’s ready to go? Well not yet. I have the part I thought would be easy. Putting in a few, 109, photos, most new, some historical.
Hey, Maybe This One
I marked in my text where each photo was to be placed when I did my final edit and I way ready to go. So what is the problem? I need to pull my 109 photos from 1,760 photos, now that is agonizing. I have something marked, for each, such as, photo of bridgework, I go to my photos and have dozens, okay just pick one. Still have high hopes of getting this done and for sale by the first of June. Being the eternal optimist that I am, I will get it done.
Or Maybe This One

Now I must get my camera, I have a few photos to take, some of these just will not do.
The sun is out it is a beautiful day in Wyoming - think I will drive down to the golf course and hit a few balls.



Monday, March 17, 2014

Paper or Screen - Editing

Editing can be tough, as those of you that follow me know, I have a western I have been re-editing for five years. Ok- so I am afraid if I publish it no one will read it. But I have still edited it to death, and do find an occasional mistake.

So which is best? Editing off the screen with all the fun little red marks from the editing program, or a red pen and paper? Give me the hard copy. Seems like I can find things I need or want to change much easier on paper. My non-fiction book was an easy edit, but only after I printed it out, then used my red pen to change, eliminate or add what I wanted.

I do not think it is possible to find errors on the screen as easy as finding them on paper. Maybe that’s just the old school teacher in me. It also is likely the reason I post these, then later, sometimes much later, am horrified when I find what I consider a grievous error. Oh the horrors!

I do use the spell check and editor on word, everyone should. I also use the screen to move large blocks of text around, much easier.

Maybe I am a poor screen editor because when I am on my laptop I also watch TV, mess with my phone, talk to others and constantly interrupt myself. Editing on paper, I sat quietly and did my edit. Yep, I may have found the answer.

One final thought. Younger generations that have always used technology to read and write probably are more comfortable editing on the screen. Now back to that game I was playing on Kindle, and maybe I should check twitter on my phone, oops, a bird on the feeder better check it out, looks like spring.

Where did I put my golf clubs?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Nonfiction Book Finished

Well, I have another one finished. This one is a nonfiction work on the Civilian Conservation Corps and their building of the state park in Guernsey, Wyoming. I still have photo work and footnote work left to finish but the text is completed and one proofing also is complete.

This one I will self-publish, because it is for a small local market, but it has been both educational and fun. I wanted to hold it to 140-160 pages (both text and photos) looks like I will be close, still fitting photos to size I need. The text will run about 26,000 words and 80 photos will make the book and the work of the CCC understandable.

The entire process has taken only about six weeks. Soon it will be weather for the garden, golf and hiking in the park, then my writing will slow down. Oh, and some fishing and lots of photography.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

10 Tips to be a Great Writer

Elmore Leonard passed away a half year ago after a long and productive life. He wrote westerns and crime and western crime. I have always wondered why more writers didn’t write in these somewhat parallel genres. Westerns are almost always based on a crime and the solving of the crime. Move from the old west to modern and westerns and crime novels become interchangeable.

Leonard’s success may have been based on his well-known ten tips for good writing.

1.     Never open a book with weather.

2.    Avoid prologues.

3.    Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue.

4.    Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said”…he admonished gravely.

5.    Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. 

6.    Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose."

7.    Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.

8.    Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.

9.    Don't go into great detail describing places and things.

10.                 Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

 My most important rule is one that sums up the 10.

 If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it


“And she thought if you don't have the desire to fight or wait for something there's no reason for being on earth.”  Elmore Leonard, Last Stand at Saber River