“Recommended Tools” added

Site Updates

Before I can release “Out Where the Sun Always Shines” to the general public, I must first learn the dark secrets of the ellipsis from my two editor friends.

In the meantime, I’ve added a new section to the site:  “Recommended Tools.”  So far it features some freeware computer programs I can’t live without, some writing software, and a few of my favorite writing books.

Hope you find ’em helpful!

On polishing

Writing

I think I’m finally in the home stretch of edits for my latest short story, “Out Where the Sun Always Shines”.

What I’ve been doing is highlighting the bumpy passages in red (using Word), then retyping, retyping, and retyping until I get something I don’t hate.  I leave it there for a night, then re-read the next day.  If I’m going, “Why the heck is this red?  This is fine!” I change the color back to black and forget about it.  (In some cases, I even Frankenstein

But in this final run, I’ve noticed I’m dead-ending on a few passages– even though I’ve run through them a few times, they’re just not working for me.  So what I did yesterday was grab some 8.5×11″ scratch paper.  Then I visited each highlighted section in the story.  Instead of typing, I as many variations as I could by hand, just free-writing, almost as if I was writing it brand new.   At one point, I filled 3 pages with different variations on a single sentence.

Tedious?  …Actually, no.  Tedious to me is doing the same thing over and over and over again with no visible result or change at the end.  When I polish, I’m attacking the problem phrase or paragraph from as many different angles I can think of (cerebral!  creative!), and when it’s done, I can see the improvement.  Hard work, yes.  Repetitive and boring?  Nein.

Don’t get me wrong–I’m at the “ARE WE THERE YET?” stage.  I’m ready to be done with the story.  But I’m thrilled to discover that editing is just as satisfying as writing.

Seth Godin on ‘Good Enough’

Recommended Reading, Writing

I’m wrapping up edits to my latest short-story.  It’s been a while since I’ve edited anything outside of a classroom environment and I’m coming to realize that I’m harder to please than any teacher.  I’m working on the fifth and final draft.

Before that I had:

  • the handwritten draft, the typed version of the written draft (known as the “first draft”)
  • the “aha, typoes-are-gone-let’s-send-it-off-to-my-Friendly-Readers” draft
  • the post-Friendly Reader draft

and the dreaded

  • “I read it all.  OUT LOUD.  To myself.” draft.

I’ve long heard that a project is never done, it is only abandoned (because hey, as long as you’re noodling on it, you don’t have to deliver anything)…so I was getting nervous.  Was I, in fear of releasing this weirdo story into the world, noodling on this?  Would I know the right time to call it finished?

Then Seth Godin posted How do you know when it’s done?, a useful post about this very topic!

It’s very useful if you’re a perfectionist (like me!).