Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Good Edit

Getting a good edit is important. Do it yourself or hire someone, it doesn’t matter. But be careful of random editors soliciting on the web.

 I just read an advertisement from a, so called, editing company that bordered on unbelievable. I hope writers are not this gullible. The article explained why a cheap edit was a bad edit, and writers should hire this company to get a good and correct edit. The problem? In one paragraph their math said editing eight pages at two dollars per page netted ten dollars.

Hum –

8 X 2=10, new math I guess.  They also used the word here for hear and rambled so bad that their entire argument for hiring them seemed laughable.

My take, edit. But do it yourself, research and find a good professional editor, or with good luck, get a book contract and let them edit.

Good Luck!

**NOTE – If you find errors in my stuff, the above is an unedited post, but then again I do not claim to be an editor.

But then again, if you want to send money my way, oh never mind.

Fort Laramie Officers Quarters

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Writing a Better Book - Like Building a Better Mousetrap

I have been a fan, most of my life, of the works and words of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Recently I, once again, heard someone quote him as saying, “if a man can build a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to his door.” The meaning? If you do something better than everyone else, or better than most everyone else, you will be in demand, along with your product. I think authors are the same, if they produce a better product, book, than everyone else, the world will read it. I might add here, if it is marketed well.

J.k. Rowling and Lee Child have proved over the last few years that a writer can build that better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to the bookstore. How do they do it, like Emerson, write about the world through yourself? Create great characters and put them in situations as if you were there, then get them out.

 Seems to me that all great writers have one thing in common, at least one great character. Much like Rowling’s, Harry Potter and Child’s, Jack Reacher, a great character drives the story. I love great characters in novels and will often read every book the author has about a character that I like.

And for today’s, by the way, moment. Emerson said, “If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor the world will beat a path to his door.” Unfortunately Emerson was long gone, having passed away several years before, when this quote was widely attributed to him. So my guess is he probably never said it.

 But he did say, “If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods.”

Write On!



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Is It Good Enough?

Two questions that every author asks -- When is it finished and is it good enough?

There are two, cult classic, movies that I have watched at least a dozen times, Eddie and the Cruisers and Eddie and the Cruisers II. The movies center on a 60s rock band that is ready to break through to the big time, but Eddie, the band leader, is not sure they are ready. In one scene the bass player says, “We’re not great, we’re just a bunch of guys from Jersey, and Eddie says, “If we can’t be great then there is no reason to make the music.” I am paraphrasing from memory here, but those words are close enough to get the meaning of the scene.
Who is right and how does this apply to writers? Do writers write to be great, or do they write with just a hope of being good enough to sell something? I have two complete novels, one complete non-fiction historical, two collections of short stories and various other finished and unfinished works. All are unpublished. Why? Not good enough, not by my standards anyway. One novel I have edited at least a dozen times, I like it, like it a lot, but the beginning is weak, too weak for me.

I have paragraphs that I rewrite every time I edit, never satisfied with what I have on paper. In my mind there seems to be no definitive end to when it is finished. I want perfect, not sure that’s going to happen. And in case you are new to my posts, I have published a dozen short stories, travel pieces and news articles in the past few years. Somehow I have hit publishing block with the longer stuff.

So what do I do? Write a new story for my grandkids, they love them all, and for them I don’t care if it’s perfect, just want to make it fun.
My Idea of Perfection - Wyoming Sunset Aug 10, 2014

Write on!