Saturday, January 16, 2010

Reality Check

2010 Goal Tracking:

Writing progress: major rewrites to do
Weight progress: sinus infection has me out of the working out mood, but maybe tomorrow I can try some cardio
Bible in a year progress: I'm starting to really dislike the translation I'm reading, and I think I'm going to have to do some investigating. Also, it's been recommended to me to read a Bible commentary to understand each chapter more thoroughly, so I think I may not worry about a timeline so much, but instead try studying more in depth.

Today has been quite eye-opening. I just met with a fellow writers guild member who was gracious enough to critique my WIP for me. She has technical writing background, and was able to catch things that I never even considered. Things like the overuse of passive voice. WOW... if you could see the markings on the first page alone. Incredible. She suggested doing a search for the words "was, were, have," etc. and take them out. It really does help the story flow so much better. "Was dripping"... change it to "dripped." Why do we need all the extra words? Use action verbs wherever possible, she said. I have a very difficult time with this, and I think it may take me an entire month just to fix all of those.

She also helped me with some formatting that I'd never heard of but needed to know. Widow and orphan controls? I had no idea there was a name for when Word just steals a line or two from one page to put it on the next. You can stop this default by going to Format/Paragraph/Line and Page Breaks tab/uncheck Widow Orphan Control. She also mentioned that there should be 25 lines per page, but I can't figure out how to set this. If anyone knows how to do this on the 2003 MS Word version, please let me know.

I'm axing about 3 chapters completely, adding one or two to make up that length and to control pacing, reworking some dialogue... basically, a whole lot of work. BUT - the end result will be that much better for it.

That's why critique partners and groups are so vital! We are soooo involved in our stories, that we just don't see the big problems with it. And the parts we were questioning, if they are also questioned by someone else, there's your confirmation that you have to tweak it, or take it out.

Another much needed reality check for me today, and I'm excited about the changes coming!

10 comments:

  1. I know how you feel. It is something that can be really uplifting or a real downer at times but revisions ultimately just make a novel more media ready as long as they are done correctly! Good luck and may the pages come to you with ease.

    Sincerely,
    Emma

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  2. Kristin--I'm so glad you found a good critiquer! Sometimes it's hard to hear you're not finished, but every time you revise you make your ms stronger. My critique group (The WAD) is amazing. Everyone sees things that the other doesn't. It's great to join a group, so you can get more input.

    Best wishes with your ms and thanks for stopping by my blog. :)

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  3. There is nothing so vauable to a writer as someone who is willing to point out the flaws, even though it's tough sometimes.

    In regards to your Bible translation dilemma, have you tried the Amplified Bible? It's a little more difficult to read at first, but it so worth it. :)

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  4. Good luck on your rewrites! And it's always good when you can learn something new. : )

    Have a great weekend!

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  5. We're in the same boat, I hate revisions. Blah. You've won your second blog award over on my blog :) http://www.tianalei.com/

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  6. Yeah, when I first saw her markings all over that first page, I didn't know HOW to react. But I know this is all for the better, so I'm not going to complain about the task at hand (even though I'm completely paranoid that I won't be able to pull off the necessary revisions.) I need to work on my confidence!! lol.

    THANKS TIANA! :)

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  7. Revisions are so difficult! My dad is an editor and he did my first 6 chapters--it was brutal. I learned alot though, and hope it helps the rest of my story. ;)

    I read a translation last year that was weird. Good sometimes (fresh), but just odd the rest. I like to try different translations, but sometimes it makes the reading harder. Kuddos to you!!!

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  8. I have my Word spellcheck set to look for passive and try to remove as well. Some I leave in, though.
    Perhaps a Bible that features several different translations side by side?

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  9. A Bible with several translations sounds like a neat idea. I'll have to go exploring the shelves of the bookstore soon. A Bible commentary by Matthew Henry (from the 1700's) was recommended to me by a friend, and so far it's pretty interesting. You're supposed to read it along with the Bible, I guess. The whole commentary is public now, so it's online for free here http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/ if anyone wants to take a gander.

    Thanks for the advice everyone!

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  10. This is Tanner - but on Holly's account - WOW what a blessing this writers guild was, yeah? Great gal you got there to help!

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