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Writing

Running Out of Time

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I’m running out of time. The closer I get to launch date for Faith Alone, the less ready I am. I’m about to drive my formatter crazy with the last-minute changes I’m making. Why am I just now noticing how often I use certain words and phrases in dialogue between characters? And doesn’t this need to be hyphenated? Oh, and this word needs to be italicized. And how did we miss that comma through all the rounds of editing? Sigh. For a “final” proofread, I sure am finding a lot of changes yet to be made. In some ways, I feel like the editing could go on forever.

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The Secret to Success

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It’s been said that writing is a lonely pursuit, and yet, in the end, it couldn’t be done without a lot of team effort. There’s a reason most books have a long list of people in the acknowledgments section at the back. Publishing a book is complicated. Writing the manuscript is the easy part. Okay, maybe not easy, per se, but enjoyable at least. I love writing the story, arranging the plot like pieces of a puzzle to reveal the finished picture. It’s challenging and time-consuming, but I enjoy it. Once that’s done, you might think I’m pretty much finished. And you would be wrong. Finishing the manuscript is only the first step in a very long process, and can only be accomplished with the help of many others along the way.

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Three Types of Editing You Need (Even if You Aren’t an Author)

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One of the more tedious parts of being a writer is the editing phase. When you proudly send off a manuscript and get it back with over 1,000 suggestions, it’s pretty discouraging. But once you get the nerve to start looking at those suggestions, you find that most of them make sense and do indeed improve the flow of the story. You make the changes, knowing that the story is better as a result. But in the vast majority of cases, one round of edits isn’t enough. Most writers go through at least three rounds of edits before they reach a final manuscript. So once you’ve sent back the revised manuscript implementing the suggested changes, know that you aren’t done. You can expect to receive yet another marked-up manuscript. And another…

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The Accidental Author

imageIn all honesty, I became an author quite by accident. I didn’t take a single English class in college. I was a music major, after all, and I passed the AP English exam from high school, which counted as my college credit. Good enough for me. And for years after graduating, my focus was still music. Writing wasn’t even on my radar. I played the organ for church, directed a few choirs over the years, and had no intention of becoming an author. But then a student of the week project for my second-grade son gave me an idea for an A to Z poem that eventually became the book Our Faith From A to Z. Now, that’s the sort of book I can handle. There were specific parameters under which I had to operate- one word for each letter of the alphabet, each verse had to fit the meter of the poem, and I had to write an explanatory paragraph for each of the 26 words or concepts. I can do that. Fiction, on the other hand, is an entirely different sort of beast. You can pretty much go anywhere and do anything in your writing, so long as it’s interesting enough to capture people’s attention. It’s sort of daunting for someone like me who likes specific boundaries. I even told my best friend once, “I have no desire whatsoever to venture into fiction.” And that should have been the end of it. Because once I did try fiction, I did everything wrong. Continue reading “The Accidental Author”

What are You Waiting For?

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I hate waiting.

So says Inigo Montoya in the well-known movie The Princess Bride, and I have to say, I agree with him. He is, of course, waiting for the man in black to finish climbing the mountain so he can sword fight him. My life isn’t nearly that thrilling. The most exciting thing for which I’m waiting right now is the publication of my first novel. I’m learning that a lot of writing involves waiting- waiting to hear whether or not they like my manuscript when I send it in, waiting to receive an edited copy, waiting for a second edited copy, interior design, proofreading…  You get the picture. There are a lot of steps, and the whole process takes more than a year from start to finish. While I’m in the middle of the process, that seems like an awfully long time. But all things considered, that’s not a terrible wait time. And I need to remind myself that it’s actually good that it takes as long as it does. I don’t want to rush through the steps of editing and proofreading only to end up with a sloppy end product. Even though I may wish it was a shorter process, in the end, it’s totally worth the wait.

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Everyday Editing

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I love to write. I love the thrill I get when I have a good idea for a plot development. I love holing myself away in my little closet office as I race to get the words onto the screen before I forget what I’m trying to say. I love talking about my characters to anyone who will listen. I love that I can use my imagination and not have to follow a set of directions. I basically love everything about writing. Well, that’s not exactly true.  There’s one part of writing I could do without: editing.

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Why Fiction Matters

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I made an idiot out of myself not too long ago.  Okay, granted, that’s not as uncommon as I’d like to believe, but this took the cake.  Over Spring Break, a friend told me she was taking her daughter to Chicago, and when I talked to her the morning they were leaving, I asked, “Are you coming back yet today?”  There was an awkward pause, and she reminded me, “Ruth, it’s 17 hours away.”  Oops.  That’s right.  We live in Texas, don’t we?  I made the excuse that I’m still in the mindset of living in Michigan.  But that’s not the whole truth.  And the real reason is even more embarrassing.

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Beginning with the End

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I have a bona fide obsession.  Actually, it’s probably more like an addiction.  I cannot stop writing.  Now, I find this odd, since I didn’t grow up hoping to write a book someday.  It was never even on my radar.  But suddenly, all I want to do is write.  Once I started, I couldn’t stop.  In the past half year, I’ve written two novels that actually stand a decent chance of being published, and I’m a third of the way done with another.  Additionally, I just came up with an idea for a new book series, and have written a handful of scenes for those as well.  I talk about my characters as if they were real people.  I’ve laughed through chapters and sobbed while writing others.  Like I said, I’m obsessed.  And I don’t know how other authors write their books, but in my case I’ve found a pattern.  I have to write the end first.

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