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42 Posts tagged with the editing tag
2

Kenny Rogers is right. There'll be time enough for counting when the dealing's done. That is to say, it's not a good idea to count your money in the middle of the game for many reasons, but chief among them is that it's a distraction. How does this apply to a writer? Allow me to phrase it in another way. There'll be time enough for editing and rewrites when the book is done.


Simply put, you are distracting yourself from finishing a book by constantly stopping to edit and rewrite what you've already written. Let go and let it flow. You have to condition yourself to not care about the current condition of your book. It is a work in progress. The first draft is a foundation for the final version of your book. Your job is to make sure your foundation is a complete, solid work of fiction. You can dress it up and make adjustments once you have a beginning, middle, and end all worked out.


I promise you aren't sacrificing quality in the favor of speed. In fact, I would argue you're writing a better book. You're giving yourself content to reshape. All the pieces will be at your disposal for you to fit together.


If you are the type to stop and start a book to edit as you write, the "let go and let it flow" philosophy is going to be a hard strategy to adopt, and I'm not saying you should if your way works for you, but if you find yourself having a hard time finishing a book because you can't keep from going backwards, give it a try.


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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How to get through the first draft

When to say "I don't care"

1,439 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, editing, writing, revision_strategies
2

I read my novels out loud as I write them. I am normally a very reserved person, but when I'm reading dialogue or particularly emotional prose, I let loose and zero in on the moment. It's actually quite liberating. It's kind of like a mental massage. Beyond that, here are three reasons you should be reading your work out loud:

 

  1. Consistent tone: Reading your book out loud as you write can help you establish a consistent tone throughout the book. Unintentionally switching tones can take a reader out of the story and cause them to eventually give up on your book. Hearing yourself give voice to the story keeps you on track.
  2. Connection to characters: Alone, in the privacy of our writing space, we are all actors at heart. We hear the voices of our characters clearly in our heads. When we are far from the shackles of inhibition, we read their dialogue out loud, and we feel the emotions our characters are feeling on a much deeper level. We connect with the story like never before. In a sense, we are living the story out loud. I find it very powerful.
  3. Effective editing: Reading your book out loud is a great self-editing tool. Editing your own work is hard because you know the story. There is a tendency to unintentionally gloss over mistakes because, in your mind, you've been there before. You know how the story goes. You just zone out. That’s okay. It's human nature. Reading a story out loud helps you zone in on those mistakes because they will very likely trip you up.


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Keeping a Consistent Tone

Reading Out Loud

1,292 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, editing, writing, tone, characterization
0

The rewriting steps

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 21, 2016

Most authors hate rewrites. I know because I used to be one of those authors. Over the years, I've learned to break down the rewrite process into manageable steps, and it has made the ordeal less of an ordeal. I actually love rewrites now. It's an opportunity to dive deeper and really explore character and plot. Here are the steps I've learned to incorporate into my rewriting process:

 

  1. Give it some time. Don't attempt to rewrite a first draft that took you weeks or months to write immediately after you type "The End." Give yourself some space. I recommend four to six weeks. Fill in the downtime by starting a new project. You need to gain a fresh perspective, and you only do that by weeks of distractions.
  2. Do a reader's read-through. Don't take notes or make corrections. Just power through reading the first draft as is. Soak in the story and characters without your editor's hat on.
  3. React and record. After the first read-through, sit down and write your gut reaction to the material. What worked? What didn't? What do you need to cut? What do you need to expand on? Be detailed. You should have pages of notes at the end of this process.
  4. Now read the material as an editor. Correct, cut, reshape at will. Be brutal. You are not the writer. You are the editor. Don't hold back.
  5. Write a post-rewrite outline. You want to see a sketch of the story to make sure it's coherent and compelling in the broadest possible terms. You should get a good overview of the story using this strategy and find any holes before the next step.
  6. Get feedback. The next and last step is to hand your rewrite off to pre-publication readers to get feedback before you publish. Be on the lookout for consistent criticisms. Particularly pay attention to feedback on elements of the story that you weren't sure about. Overall, trust your gut.


Rewriting is easy when you break it down in steps. Looking at it as one laborious task can be daunting. Take a breath. Give yourself some space and take it one step at a time.


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Reward Yourself

Rewrites: Make the Hardest Changes First

1,216 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, editing, writing, rewrites
7

Do you spend hours tinkering with a single paragraph to get it just right? I used to do that too. When you're not sure what to write next, do you go back and polish what you've already written? Same here. When I was writing my first novel, Perfect on Paper, I spent a lot of time tweaking every little thing. In fact, some days I wouldn't write anything new because I'd spend all my time (and mental energy!) improving what was already there.


For a long while I thought this "always editing" approach was a productive use of my creative spirit. I finally realized it was the opposite of productive, that in fact, it was a crutch that I was using to avoid doing the hardest part of writing a novel, which is pushing the story forward.


In my opinion, coming up with an idea that is interesting enough for an entire book is the hardest part of being an author. (And on a more granular level, deciding what will happen chapter by chapter.) Once I determine what a scene is going to be, writing it is easy. I now realize that I can––and will––go back and tweak later, after I've finished the first draft.


Because of all the editing I did along the way, it took me 18 months to finish the first draft of Perfect on Paper, and I still ended up doing a ton of editing after the fact.


Since then I've written seven more novels––and none of the first drafts took me more than four months to write. It's always tempting to go back and edit, especially when I'm having trouble thinking of what to write next, but I force myself to stay focused and press the story forward. Write now, edit later. The sooner you learn to do that, the sooner you'll have a completed first draft!


-Maria


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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Save the Wordsmithing for Later

Writing Tip: Just Keep Going

7,967 Views 7 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, editing, author, writing, rewriting
2

In a previous post, I explained the difference between a developmental edit and a copy edit. Today I'd like to dive deeper into the value of a skilled developmental editor by asking a pro, Christina Henry de Tessan, for the most common issues she encounters. Here are her top four:

 

1) Show vs. tell: We all know the old adage, "Show; don't tell." It can be harder, however, to resist the temptation to show and tell. But if you've told us that "Isabel wiped her clammy hands on her too-short skirt and felt a flush of heat in her cheeks when the teacher asked her to stand up and read aloud," you don't then need to tell us that "She was nervous about getting up in her front of her classmates." Nail the details, then trust your reader to figure it out.

 

2) Dialogue: If you want your writing to shine, it's essential that you get this right. At one end of the spectrum, you want to avoid making your characters sound stilted or bland. At the other, you want to avoid the small talk that can drag down a snappy back-and-forth: "Hi." "Good to see you. How's it going?" "Ok. You?" Finally, read it all out loud.

 

3) Beware of metaphors and similes: These tempting little crutches can yank a reader right out of the story. "The clouds meandered across the sky like exhaust from an ailing diesel truck" is just distracting. Creative license has its moments, but straightforward language is often the best way to go. If you can't help yourself, just use sparingly and make sure your selected imagery feels appropriate to the story. Finally, keep an eye out for the dreaded mixed metaphors!

 

4) Character is everything! We don't have to love them, but we do have to care. If your characters are falling flat, you're going to lose your readers. Make them flawed, quirky, arrogant, confused. But more than anything, make them real. And then make them learn something along the way. Write a character who evolves in a credible and compelling way, and you're well on your way.

 

Many thanks to Christina for lending her expertise to this post!

 

-Maria

 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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3 Things To Be Aware Of When Editing Your Manuscript

Vishaal Behl - The Top Ten Tips For Editing Your Own Book.

3,374 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, editing, writing, dialogue, show_vs._tell
1

A few weeks ago I received a nice email from a reader of my blog named Tanja. She had recently self-published a book and had a brief, specific question for me about contacting reviewers. (I appreciated that because I get a lot of emails that simply ask "How should I market my book?")

 

She and I chatted a bit, and she asked if I would have a look at the first few pages of her book on Amazon's "Look Inside" feature. In our conversation she had mentioned that she planned to buy some of my books, so I figured I would check out hers in return. However, I immediately noticed some big grammatical errors, so I stopped reading. I was hesitant to tell her, but I decided to be honest.

 

Her response? She was extremely gracious and appreciative. She explained that she'd had the entire manuscript professionally edited except for the initial pages I'd read, which she had tweaked slightly and forgotten to send back to the editor. She said she would correct the mistakes immediately.

 

My response? I told her I wanted to write a blog post about her response.

 

The last time I encountered a similar situation, the (many) errors I encountered were in the author's bio on Amazon. However, when I pointed them out and explained that they made me wary of reading his book, his less-than-gracious reply was along the lines of "no one reads author bios anyway." Thus my joy at this recent experience.

 

I hope you will check out Tanja's book, Heroes and Heroines, Stories of Love. I think she deserves a little love herself for allowing me to use her errors as the basis for this post. That takes courage!

 

-Maria

 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Why Grammar Matters

When YOU'RE Writing Marketing Materials, Be Careful with YOUR Grammar

2,931 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, editing, author, writing
1

In our second stage of writing a book, we need to establish the miles you'll be logging on this journey. We've discussed word count on this blog before in a number of different ways. Today, we want to establish what your final word count will be, or if not establish, at the very least, estimate.

 

Wait, you say, I've only just begun. How can I possibly know how many total words my book will be? Establishing a word count goal can be tied to many different factors. Genres adhere to unofficial word count parameters. The type of book – novel, novella, or novelette – comes into play when deciding word count. Are you doing a novel and releasing it in a serialized format? That can impact your total word count on a per release basis. You are a factor in establishing a final word count. Are you on a timetable? Do you have an outline that maps out plot points precisely, and in order to keep to your vision, a certain word count works that breaks the unwritten genre rules?

 

Unfortunately, there's no formula for coming up with a definitive word count, but I will say that every time I've set a word count total, I have either reached that total or surpassed it by 10-15 percent. There's something about knowing how far you need to go that allows you to find your pacing.

 

If you want to make an educated estimate, you can search this blog or the internet for word counts based on genre. That is your best place to start before making your final decision.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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General Word Count Guidelines

Stage One of Writing a Book: Idea Exploration

3,620 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, editing, writing, craft, words, word_count, writing_tips, editing_process
0

In my first job out of college, one of my assignments was to co-write an opinion piece for my boss. (In this case, "co-write" meant "write.") He told me the points he wanted to make, and my role was to turn those ideas into a clear, readable argument that a prominent magazine in our industry would accept. Both of us would get the byline, so I was excited!


 

I'll never forget my boss's reaction when I proudly showed him my masterpiece. He smiled at me, then sighed and said something along the lines of, "Ah, how difficult to part with young words."


 

At first I didn't understand what he meant, but then he (tactfully) explained to me that the essay would be much better if I cut out about a third of it. He also said he understood that it would be hard for me to delete words I'd taken such precious time coming up with in the first place. My twenty-two-year-old ego was bruised by his reaction to my hard work, but when I read what I'd written again, I realized something: He was right.


 

I'd gotten so wrapped up in the thrill of seeing my own words in a magazine that I overdid it and lost sight of the point of the assignment - to make a clear, readable argument. And yes, while it was hard to part with those words, the revised essay was much better as a result.


 

The experience provided me with a valuable lesson. Even though I now write novels for a living, I still have a tendency to, shall I say, overstate the point - especially in the early chapters when I'm still figuring things out. In the revision process of my latest book, my editor marked several sections as "already stated" or "already made clear" and (strongly) suggested that I delete them, which I quickly did. And guess what? My feelings weren't hurt. Growth all the way around!


 

Note: In this post I'm talking about repetition of information or concepts. Click here to read my post about what to do with entire scenes that end up on the cutting room floor.


 

-Maria

 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Writing Takes Discipline

Four Forms of Creativity Fuel

5,146 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, editing, author, writing
0

Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Lessons Learned from 3 Years as an Author-Entrepreneur - The Creative Penn

Joanna Penn describes her journey since leaving her career as an IT business consultant and becoming a full-time author. 

                           

What Does Editing Look Like? Behind The (Crime) Scene at The Editor's Screen - The Book Designer

A detailed look at what an editor actually does to your manuscript.       

 

Film

                                                        

How to Get Noticed as a Filmmaker - Filmmaking Stuff

Make your own breaks.    

                                          

Podcast Episode 41: Writing and Making a Feature - Projector Films

Two writers talk about the challenges, disasters, and triumphs they experienced directing their first film. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Alternative Music Venues: Where Else Can You Play? - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

Bars and weddings aren't the only places to play..

 

Music-making Advice from Musicians That Non-musicians Might Find Useful - Music Thing

A fun tool to help musicians and non-musicians find inspiration.  

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Roundup- September 19, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- September 12, 2014

1,938 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, music, filmmaking, editing, promotion, indie, movies, writing, advice, inspiration, musicians, filmmakers, author_tips, editing_process, music_venues
0

Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Quick Tip: Conduct an Author Website Audit - All Indie Writers

Is your website working for or against you?  

                           

3 Ways to Pare Down Your Prose - Beyond Paper Editing

Some advice for nonfiction authors.      

 

Film

                                                        

6 Filmmaking Tips from John Cassavetes - Film School Rejects

The art of improvisational filmmaking.    

                                          

How to Generate a Sticky Story Your Audience Will Love - Filmmaking Stuff

Do you know the core of your story? 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

How to Sing - The Definitive Guide - From the Front of the Choir

It all starts with opening your mouth.

 

Studio Headphones: Tips for Best Use - Judy Rodman

Don't forget the value of ambient sound during a recording session.  

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Roundup- August 29, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- August 22, 2014

2,213 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, selling, filmmaking, editing, indie, help, writing, nonfiction, social_networking, social_media, audience, singing, author_website, music_industry, filmmaking_tips, headphones
1

Adjectives modify nouns or pronouns (What a pretty house! She is tall).

 

Adverbs modify verbs (She types quickly), adjectives (She is extremely tall) or other adverbs (Please type more quickly).

 

When an adverb modifies an adjective (e.g. "she is extremely tall," no hyphen is necessary. I see many authors make this error in their book descriptions and personal bios. For example:

 

  • The world in this story is inhabited by fully-functional robots that act like humans (INCORRECT)
  • The tale takes place on a currently-active landfill (INCORRECT)
  • When he's not writing books, John works as a highly-trained specialist managing labor disputes (INCORRECT)

 

A good way to tell that a hyphen isn't necessary is to remove the adjective and leave the adverb, then see if the sentence still makes sense. For example, do these sound correct to you?

 

  • This world in this story is inhabited by fully robots that act like humans (SOUNDS SUPER WEIRD)
  • The tale takes place on a currently landfill (SOUNDS SUPER WEIRD)
  • When he's not writing books, John works as a highly specialist managing labor disputes (SOUNDS SUPER WEIRD)

 

The above sentences don't make sense because once we remove the adjectives "functional," "active" and "trained," the adverbs "fully," "currently"and "highly"aren't modifying anything.

 

Note: when two words are used to modify (or relate to) the same word in what is called compound modifier, a hyphen clarifies that they are both referring to that word and not to each other. For example:

 

  • He is a small business owner (This means he is a small man)
  • He is a small-business owner (This means he owns a small business)

 

I know grammar terminology is a foreign language to many people, so if you're still confused about whether or not to use a hyphen when you have an adverb followed by an adjective, try removing the adjective. If the sentence doesn't work without it, no hyphen is necessary.

 

-Maria

 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, Chocolate for Two, and Cassidy Lane. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.



 

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Grammar Tip: Don't Overcapitalize

Misuse of Pronouns

3,711 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: editing, author, writers, writing, draft, grammar, hyphens, grammar_tip, editing_process
3

I'm in the early stages of writing a new book. To date, I have written about 12,000 words of a planned total of 100,000 words. I'm going to give you a brutal assessment of the work I've done so far: It's horrible. The main character is flat, the villain is over the top, and the setting isn't really that well developed.

 

 

But here's the thing: I don't care. My goal at this stage is to get to the 100,000 words mark with as few distractions a possible. The biggest distraction I encounter when writing a novel is that little voice in my head that constantly asks, "What on earth are you doing?" And for kicks, it chimes in with a "If anyone ever sees this, your career is over."

 

 

Every time my inner voice speaks up, I reply with "I don't care." I say it so many times within the confines of my bald head that it's become my writing mantra. "I don't care. I don't care. I don't care." The truth is no one will ever see this version of my book. I won't be judged by anyone outside of my own internal imaginary critic. My inner voice will try to destroy my ability to sally forth. When I get to the rewriting stage, I'll sing a different tune, but now is not the time to even think about how I'm going to fix this mess. Now is the time to make this mess.

 

 

I invite you to borrow my mantra. Use it every time your own inner critic attempts to halt the progress of your first draft. Shout it loudly if you must and shout it proudly. I don't care!

 

 

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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How to Get Through the First Draft

Writing Tip: When You Get Stuck, Use ALL CAPS and Move On

3,447 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: books, editing, author, writers, publishing, revisions, writing, drafts, beginning, rewriting, writing_stages
1

I am fortunate to have a wife who enjoys reading my work at its earliest and ugliest stages, and she doesn't just read it to herself; she reads it out loud for me as I sit next to her and absorb the story from a completely different perspective. I've mentioned before that I've been known to record myself reading pages so I can listen back and actually hear my story. I find it to be a valuable tool for writing a better book, but in a lot of ways, listening to my wife read the material is even more valuable.

 

Why? Because she does more than read - she simulates the average reader's reaction to every twist and turn. She asks questions along the way. She challenges my use of a particular word or description and requires me to think about what I've written. At times, I feel very much like a graduate student defending my thesis, and I love it. It is a golden opportunity to consider aspects of my story I may have taken for granted as the author. Forging this type of relationship takes a heavy dose of patience and respect. You won't always see eye-to-eye on everything, but that's okay. You don't have to.

 

If you have someone in your life whom you trust implicitly, schedule some time with them to read some pages aloud. Test the waters. You may have to agree to the dishes or some other chore for a week, but it's worth it. You'll get a true taste of how your readers will see your story, and you'll likely get some invaluable feedback along the way.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Nix Unnecessary Words

How to Get Through the First Draft

3,774 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, book, editing, author, writing, manuscript, drafts
3

I receive a lot of email from authors who have questions about how to market their books. When the emails are well-written, I naturally assume that their books are probably also well-written. I know we're never supposed to assume anything, but if the authors show attention to detail in their emails to me, it seems logical to presume their books have also been carefully edited - and thus worth reading.

 

One detail that makes me smile is when authors correctly use "its" and "it's." The difference between the two can be extremely confusing because, while most nouns require use of an apostrophe to denote possession (e.g. "this is Maria's blog"), the possessive of "it" does not.

 

Here are some examples:

 

CORRECT:

I'm wondering if you have any tips for how I can promote my novel, XYZ. It's a story about a family in the South and its battle with alcoholism.

 

INCORRECT:

I'm wondering if you have any tips for how I can promote my novel, XYZ. It's a story about a family in the South and it's battle with alcoholism.

 

CORRECT:

I'm having trouble getting my book noticed despite its appeal to teenagers. Would you recommend hiring a publicist?

 

INCORRECT:

I'm having trouble getting my book noticed despite it's appeal to teenagers. Would you recommend hiring a publicist?

 

When I receive messages that correctly use its and it's, I immediately notice the author's grasp of grammar - and take the book more seriously as a result. It makes a good impression, and that's what you want to do when you're promoting your book.

 

Just yesterday I saw a crowdsourcing campaign for a woman trying to get funding for her novel. Unfortunately, the summary of it was riddled with grammatical errors, which made me feel bad for her because I knew it would hamper her efforts, no matter how amazing her book might be. On the flip side, paying attention to detail will help create a positive first impression, which can open doors for you and your book.

                                                               

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

 

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Grammar Tip: She and I, Not Her and I

The Dreaded "Who vs. Whom"

4,208 Views 3 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, editing, writing, grammar
1

Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

How to Make Your Setting a Character -Writer's Digest

How to get your readers emotionally invested in your book's setting.  

                                                    

Self-Pub Personas: Which Type are You? -Electronic Bindery

Planning your career is much easier if you know who you are.

Film

                                                        

You Are the 30% - How to Set Your Crowdfunding Goal - Filmmaking Stuff

Can you anticipate where 30% of your funding will come from before you even start you crowdfunding campaign?

                                          

The Art of Editing in the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - Cinemacuteo

How math figures into the art of editing.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

The Best Food and Drink for Your Voice - Music Makers

Fizzy drinks and spicy foods could hinder your vocal performance.

 

Should You Play a Benefit for Free? -Musicgoat

Is the exposure of playing a charity event worth it? Should it even matter?

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Roundup - November 22, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - November 15, 2013

2,284 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, music, editing, author, movies, writers, venues, characters, films, funding, musicians, music_production, crowdfounding
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