Saturday, April 21, 2007

Contest, pre-editing, golf, sun-burn, dog's tail tale

Jason Evans over at a newly discovered blog The Clarity of Night (new for me - you've probably known it for ages) is hosting a contest with a photo - you have to write something about it. So I did. When could I ever resist a contest? I'm entry number 8, and here is the link to the blog (not my entry) There are lots of other really great entries there. One is about a were-wolf-wife, another is about a college dorm - all are great. Go read and have fun!

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It's been a busy few days. After stopping my allergy medicine I'm actually getting some work done. I can sit at the computer and work without falling asleep or into a transe. I've been pre-editing some wonderful books.
Pre-editing, you ask? I'm not an editor. Someone called me 'agent Sam' on another blog - but I'm not an agent. I do write and I read a lot. I've been reading the submissions and sending them on to our editor if I like them. One submission needed a little trimming in the beginning to make it move faster. The story moves like a freight train once it gets going, but it was bogging down in the beginning. That is, by the way, not hard to fix at all. Cut, snip, trim! Take out everything that is not essential to the story and that does not advance the story. It's an easy thing to remember, but it's hard to do when you've written a novel that's 250 pages long and you're so involved in the story that you can't sort out what's essential information for the reader and what's not. The information is there, in your head, and it's part of the character or house. Fine. It can help the writer to know as much about his or her character as possible. But some things are not essential for the reader to know.
Here is some good advice:
Let the Reader Use His Imagination!
This is also where a good beta reader comes in handy. "Take this out, I don't need to know this. Explain what that means. You don't have to keep saying that, you said it already before. Trust me, readers remember things."
I cut and trim (nothing is done without the author's consent!), and send the book to the editor for the final polish.

Golf: Played golf again. My elbow (the one I broke) is not happy with golf. It makes strange noises, cracks, hurts, and complains. So I'm complaining too. But there's no way I'm giving up my golf.

Sun-burn: It's still summer weather here. We are covered with sun block. My nose is pink already.

A dog's tail tale: Auguste sprained his tail. It looks funny, but hurts (the poor chap), and will get better in about five or six days. Until then he has doggy aspirin and lots of hugs. He's milking it for all it's worth - sitting at my feet and moaning every once in a while, so I'll hug him.


Rhian / Crowwoman said...

how does a dog sprain it's tail?
golf elbow sounds painful.
i could almost hear the sound effects...shudder. tummy lurching - gotta run....

Oopsy Daisy said...

That was exactly my question too, how DOES a dog sprain it's tail? Did he chase it too hard?

Lyn Cash said...

oh e-GAD - broken elbow???? sprained TAIL? You two are quite the pair.

Enjoyed the post. Bet you're a heckuva critique partner.

The comment I generally get is SLOW DOWN - I need help learning how to extrapolate better. Think it comes from writing short stories so long. *wry grin*

Did you say it's already summer there?

Sam said...

I promised not to tell how Auguste sprained his tail - let's just say it involves a baby bird that fell from its nest, my over-protective daughter, and a chase that ended with someone stepping on someone's tail. Then all hell broke loose as dog screached, bird died, and daughter howled.

I'm not a good critique partner, I'm afraid. I prefer spare writing than fussy writing, so I tend to use a lot of red ink. My two crit partners both have kind, forgiving natures, or else I'd probably be on my own, lol.

Yes, it is summer already. We skipped spring entirely. Very strange.

Bernita said...

Particularly liked how you worked the curtain into the story, Sam, and I wanted to read more...

Sam said...

Thanks Bernita!
I didn't really make it a story, I'm afraid (looking at comment number two) more of a sketch or an idea, I guess. But it's a fun contest - you should have a go at it!