Guest Post: Faster Editing with Track Changes

Today we welcome Cyberdyke to Mostly Mystery for a guest post on Track Changes.  I use this in Word but didn’t realize that it was common in most programs so am thrilled to add this to my toolbox.

I recently gave an article of mine to a friend to proofread. I recommended that she use Track Changes, as it would make it faster to see her suggestions. She had no idea what I was referring to. Every writing/word processing program has a form of Track Changes which can help you do just that.

Track Changes are a way… Continue reading

The Fat Lady Sings (Again) – to Beat Sheets

CORRECTION: The wonderful Jami Gold has made a correction to this post. Although a number of “Beat Sheets” below are attributed to different authors, they were actually created by Jami herself. She’s drawn from the teachings of Larry Brooks, Michael Hauge, etc. to assemble them, hence their names. The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet was created by Elizabeth Davis. Confused yet?  Don’t worry. All will become clear as you read further.
Two other suggestions from Jami: first, she recommends this link for her Scrivener Beat Sheet: jamigold.com/2013/12/can-we-use-beat-sheets-with-scrivener . And second, she provides a “clearinghouse” link for all Beat Sheets

Theme? My Story Has a Theme?

 

Begin bookAs we all know, writing, especially fiction, is not as simple as deciding on a story and penning it. Each chapter, scene, paragraph, and sentence must work together to tell the story you want and ensure reader satisfaction. A story has many crucial elements: plot, characters, pacing, setting, point of view, etc. Then there are things like arcs, story and character, to consider. It’s hard to believe how much goes on behind the scenes of each printed page. As an author in the midst of editing, I often find… Continue reading

More on Self-Editing (Will It Ever End?)

Not every great writer writes a great book. That’s a given. Even Agatha Christie had a couple of truly awful mysteries. elephant (“Elephants Can Remember” stands out as boring, repetitive, definitely an un-Christie-like story.)

But still, it’s always a surprise to hit one of those disappointments, much more so when the disappointments are multiple. Three of the last four bestsellers I’ve read have fit into this category.

lawyer revised and flippedOne had so much technical information it got in the… Continue reading

After “The End”

My masterpiece is finished. I’ve gone over and over it, and received many critiques. Am I ready to publish? Not quite. It’s now time to send it to a real editor, and the state of my budget is very much on my mind. I know editing is a vital aspect of creating a successful book, but it isn’t cheap. Even though I’ve pored over the words until I’m cross-eyed, and writing peers have given me wonderful suggestions, an editor will look at the manuscript with fresh, professional eyes that can spot not only punctuation and grammar mistakes but also plot holes, pacing problems, and other potentially fatal flaws in my… Continue reading

Internet Resources, Take 2

Last month, I wrote about some of the more interesting places I’ve recently visited for research purposes. Well, I’ve been at it again, this time starting with “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself into Print” by Renni Browne and Dave King. This gem of a book was hiding in full sight among the1200 or so volumes currently eating my Kindle alive. (Note to Self: Serious Housecleaning Needed ASAP.)

self-editing book coverOnce I started the Browne/King book, I literally couldn’t put it down. The advice is so well… Continue reading

Time to Edit — Tips from the Web

Across one of my bookshelves, there’s a line of fat white notebooks, each one bearing a zippy, call-to-action name: “How to Write Compelling Dialogue. “Building Blocks of Great Fiction.” “How to Create a Page Turner.” ”The Secrets of Deep POV.” Many readers will recognize these titles as courses offered by some of the best in the wordsmithing business — Pat Kaye, Virginia Kantra, Steve Alcorn, and Mary Buckham, among others. When I decided to transition from jack-of-all-trades writer to mystery author, I sopped up every drop of information these folks could give me. Now, as I’m headed for… Continue reading

Connecting with Character – An Unlikeable Victim

I am in the process of editing my novel and have just taken an online class about characters. I realized that as is normal in a cozy, I have a murder off-stage. It’s early so you don’t know much about the victim – and what you see is that he is very unlikeable. In thinking about this and asking the question, the instructor advised to find at least one aspect that makes this character a bit less one dimensional.

So, where to start? I used the character profile questions and soon found that he was a child only a… Continue reading

Found!

Before I begin my post I would like to say how happy I am to again be an active participant in this wonderful blog.  Beginning in late Spring and extending over the summer into September, I first underwent manic preparation of a manuscript for Thrillerfest, followed by a lingering family illness, followed by an all-consuming interest in the subject of this post. Those things combined led me to take a hiatus from the blog, which is now, happily, concluded.

Regarding the post, I experienced for the second time in my life what it is like to be drawn into

How Do You Write?

I love learning about how each writer’s process is different.  Plotters have their method – and then among plotters there are all different processes.  Pantsers have a different method – and again, within that group, each has their own process.  Mine?  I’m a bit of a plotter and a pantser.  I usually have a beginning (which changes) and where I think the story ends (which can also change).  A few of the points in between might also be there but I know the story will shape itself as I work through it and learn more about my characters… Continue reading