Archive | July, 2014

Writing Tips: Number Something or other (I’ve lost count): Editing tips and it’s importance!

9 Jul

 

Preview

Haven’t posted in a while, been so swamped, with work, life, writing and editing that I have been naughty and neglected my blog a bit. But I’m back today with a hopefully helpful post.

Today we are going to talk about editing, first I’ll go through the steps I take when editing, and then I’ll edit the first chapter of Ryder’s Story using these steps for an example. First off I’d like to say this is only how I do things, I’m not saying it’s the right way or the only way, but it’s my way, and hopefully it could give you all an idea of where to start if you  were having trouble. So let’s get into it then my editing technique.

 

Now for the purpose of this I’m doing it in steps, but in reality this is all done at once when I sit down and edit. When I write I’m one of those writers that believed in just writing, sit down, write until you can’t no more and edit later. Ryder’s Story is an excellent example of that. It was my challenge to myself to see if I could get an entire chapter out in a week, and while it did have a basic (and I mean just me and my bff reading it quickly before posting it) edit, it’s by far not perfect, in fact, there are a lot of big no-no’s, and stuff I would cut out if I had spent the months on it I usually would when editing and getting it ready.  So yeah, I know it’s rough, but that’s why every first draft needs second- to maybe  100th give or take 😛

 

First things first, cutting, when I edit I cut, a lot. Which from what I gather is what you should do, getting it down to the bare bones, is what’s writing is about. If you can say what you want to well,  with few words then you are a good writer. But no one can do that in their first draft, even amazing authors like Stephan King have multiple drafts before they are ready. So as hard as it is cutting is essential.

First things I cut are any unnecessary words.  And there is a list of words that can be cut 90 percent of the time, I found an awesome blog post going into more details about this and that’s the link below if you want to check it out.

http://justatasmanian.com/2014/01/25/day-256-9-words-to-get-rid-of-in-your-writing/

 

For now though I’ll just point them out these words are:

Was

Really

Just

Said

Can

Seem

Suddenly

That

Am

Were

Now there are expectations, of course, and the post explains this in detail but if you can, cut them.

 

The next thing I take out is any prefix related to talking, if I can. Again not all need to be removed, but the less, the better. So that’s your he said, she said, they argued, he yelled, ect. All those have to go, it requires minimal rewriting and it is the quickest and easiest way to improve your writing quite a bit with little effort.

 

Next any unnecessary actions that the character does. This is my big downfall,  I’m terrible at unnecessary actions, it’s awful. When I’m editing I found myself cutting more of these than anything else. Though at the same time they are some of the hardest thing to cut, because cut the wrong action and the reader are lost, leave the wrong one in and it’s unnecessary. I still haven’t gotten the hang of this, but I’m getting there, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. What I mean by unnecessary actions is characters, smiling excessively, nodding, and doing anything that’s receptive. It’s a hard one to explain without context but if you make it to the end hopefully I have an example in the part I’m going to edit to show you.

 

Last thing to cut and probably the hardest, is anything that doesn’t help the story along. If you have scenes that are awesome, but you have them there just because they are awesome then they are probably unnecessary. This is a judgement call you as an author have to make if you don’t think it really needs it, then it’s probably best to get rid of it, your writing will thank you.

Other things to look out for are typos, and yes, this is another thing I’m terrible at I often miss my own typos, because I know what it’s meant to say, and more often than not read what’s supposed to be there, rather than what actually is. This can be helped by reading it aloud, getting a Cp to proof it, if you have one who is willing to do this. ( I tend to find people willing to spell check you hard to find, though I do have two lovely ladies who help me out here, love you guys!) Also time will help, it’s the reason I choose to use Ryder’s Story as an example. It’s been almost a year since I’ve even looked at the first chapter, so I’ll be more likely to see mistakes I missed.

This helps, with editing, always put it away, work on something else for a while, and I mean a reasonable while, a few months at the least so you can get it completely out of your mind, then edit. You will find it easier this way. Now this is only step one, once you’ve done this, put it away and do it again, and again, until it’s done. Some parts will take more work than others, and sometimes you notice huge thing you missed in the first draft. It takes time, it’s hard works, but no one ever said writing was going to be easy. If you put in the time and effort, it will show and your writing will be better for it.

 

Now, to the editing! Fixes and changes will be bolded and crossed out to give you a working example of what I’m talking about. This example will not be polished to perfection; it’s just an example of the first stages of editing I would go through. There is still probably somethings I have missed but, if I was editing this in order to query about, I would be leaving it a month or two and starting all over again, until I was happy.  Sorry if it’s a little messy, I was going to do the edits in red but silly me couldn’t work out how to change the colour of text lol 😛

 

They say all great stories have humble beginnings and although I’m not entirely sure my story could be considered great, it was not at all humble. No mine is a story of life, loss, war and new beginnings; this is the story of my life and I’ll start from the beginning.

I was born in 1509 the same year that as Henry VII died leaving the English throne to the notorious Henry VIII; of course at the time I had no knowledge of that and doubt I would have cared even if I did. I was born Anthony Edward Cross, but have since changed my given name to become what you know me as now, Ryder Kingston. I was orphaned at a young age; my father killed in a war, my mother totoo poor to care for me, turned to prostitution then died not long after. I don’t remember much of my childhood seeing it was so long ago and such a small part of my life, but it was spent bouncing from orphanage to orphanage, until I was fourteen and old enough to work, to marry and that is where my life really started.

It was 1523 and I was only a boy. I remember the day as if it was yesterday. It was a Monday and it had been raining all morning. By the time afternoon had hit the sun was shining and brighter day lay ahead. Voices in the hall outside of the boy’s chambers caught my attention, and the fact I was the topic of interest held my attention. because I knew it was me they were speaking of.

“He’s a good boy father, quite reserved, but strong. He’d make a good field boy, or worker, and he’s rather dashing.” said the owner of the orphanage I herd the owner of the orphanage speak as I pressed my ear to the door. Seeing it was the middle of the day most of the others children were doing chores or playing outside. but they were almost all younger than me and still had hope for finding a family, my only hope was being put to work, it was all I could have asked for at my age.

“Very well, and it is the boy with blond hair and blue eye, Anthony I believe?” The responding voice was one I didn’t know  said the male voice, he sounded young, and I wondered what a man of the cloth such as him could possible possibly want with me.

“That’s the one. Can’t tell you much of his history father, but he’s a little old for any hope of adoption. I was thinking I might have to keep him on to fix up he place, he has always been a favourite of mine.” she said.

“I do apologise for requesting a favourite of yours, but he’s is the boy I have been looking for, my brothers son. It seems it only fair that he returns to family,.

“Please father, do not take me wrong. I will be happy if the boy goes to a good home, what better a home than with a priest.”

“The boy he is in here?” The priest’s voice was followed by footsteps heading my way. said the priest; his voice was followed by footsteps.

“Yes father thought that door, .

I hurried away from it not wanting to look like I had been eavesdropping.Grabbing one of the few books the orphanage owned, I quickly settled on my bed. I grabbed the book one of the few in the orphanage. Although I didn’t know how to read I liked to look, and pretend I knew the story, even if it meant I had to create my own.

“Anthony, what are you reading son,.said the voice It was the voice I’d had heard in the hall. I looked up feeling quite foolish and wished I knew enough to lie.

“I’m not.” I let the book fall into my lap.,” I said the book falling into my lap. Books were a luxury and it was amazing that we even owned one, granted it was hand written and poorly bound, but printed book were a while off yet.

“That’s strange I do believe you are holding a book.” Gently the father reached,” he said gently reaching for it and looked at the cover.

“I can’t read.”,” I replied softly ashamed of the fact.

My father had been a well-educated man, he had read to me when I was still very young, I remembered it but being as I was, I had no hope that I could, or ever would be anything more than an uneducated peasant.

“Well, I shall teach you son,. Then you will be able to read this book you hold so dear.” He said with a bright smile that  The smile he wore showed how young the man actually was. He seemed kind and his smile was warm as he held out his hand for me to take. “Now come my son, I will show you your new life.”

The weather outside was warm, was warm outside that day which made for a good change in a soggy English winter. The priest had a horse drawn carriage which excited me; I had never ridden in one that I could remember. It was not something a boy of my stature could hope for.

The ride was long, but it didn’t bother me in the slightest. I had never seen that much of the country side countryside before. It was all so green and beautiful like a place from my dreams and at the time I felt like the luckiest boy alive.

The small village where the priest’s monastery was, was far from any town and the small two bedroom house that would be my home for some years was better that than I could have ever expected. The town itself was owned by the church and in nowadays it would have been seen as more of a training facility than anything but to me, and others like me, it was home.

When we arrived at the house, I was giving new clothes, gentlemen’s clothes, the type of clothes that I could have only dreamed of having back at the orphanage. My life at the small town was greatly the same. I was raised and was taught to be a gentleman, being told that I would soon be working with the rich and the royal, so I need my manners. I was raised to a class that was well above my own, but I had no delusions of nobility or wealth, I was just a lucky boy.  They taught me to read, in both English and Latin, and also I was giving an education, something that I never would have got if it wasn’t weren’t for father Kingston. The priests at the monastery were far ahead of their time, they believe believed in good hygiene and had advances in medicine that wouldn’t be seen for hundreds of years, some of which modern medicine could use now, but were lost over time. I soon found out that I would need these advances and I was very grateful for them.

I liked my new home and I liked my new carer. Father Kingston was a young man of twenty three twenty-three; he was had never married and grew up in the very town we were in. He told me of a time when he was just like me, all alone with no home. He knew what it was like for us, but he said my life held I a different path than his,. He was a scholar and I was not. Despite that, all of the time I sent with him our differences, I believed I was going to be just like him one day. It was the path I chosen as soon as I met him., but it never came about. I loved him like a father and he treated me as his son.

On my fifteenth birthday, I met the boy that who was to become my brother. Like me, he had no family and was taken in by one of the priest priests at the compound.  We met at the river while I was skipping stones waiting for my afternoon lessons. I was rather excited for that one particular.  Father Kingston said I would be soon put to work and was to begin my training in what he called the doing the ‘Lord’s work’. Our first conversation was simple and from that the first moment we were inseparable right until the end.
“Mind the intrusion, you are Anthony right?” Asked a voice from behind me. I stopped and turned on my heels to look at him the new comer.

“Yeah.,” I replied

“Hello, my name is Dashiell, Dash has also been used. I was told to find you, we will be training together.” His quiet tone caused me to believe he was shy. ,” he said shyly and I smiled. That moment was the first and last time I would ever think of Dashiell as shy.

“Pleasure to meet you Dash .” I tossed him the smooth stone in my hand.,” I replied tossing him the smooth stone that was in my hand, “Care to join me?”

“Very kind.”,”

It wasn’t long after I met Dashiell; I learnt exactly what our jobs involved. Throughout the course of my training, I decided that I would risk my life for that boy, and since then I had many times as he had for me.

Training was hard, but the acting was harder,. I was the furthest thing from a gentlemen which only became clearer as I grew older. When the priest pulled me from that orphanage, I was the dirty, son of a whore. I hadn’t the slightest clue what manners were, and didn’t even own a set of shoes. Not that it mattered here because none of the boys had. We were all lost souls, boys that wouldn’t be missed if something unfortunate was to happen and I quickly learned why.

We were trained to eliminate things that defied the church, abominations, the supernatural, make it like they never existed. Our job was dangerous and many of the boys I grew up with did not survive there their teens. I learnt to take loss well early and not to fear death. I knew that the chances were I would die young but I knew what I was doing was right and as it turned out, I was rather good at it.

Dashiell and I quickly moved to the head of our class,. I believed we were unstoppable. I don’t intend to brag, but before we started our first mission, we believe that there wasn’t a thing that could stop us, and I knew as long as my brother had my back I was safe.  I was eighteen years old when I was send on my first major mission. True there were other before but that one, but that was the one the defined my life. It was the domino that started the tumble that lead to my death. If only I knew back then what I know now things might have ended differently.

We were tasked with finding and eliminating a vampire that had taken residence among a set of English nobles. We were to infiltrate the family’s fold by whatever means necessary. I liked to use a playfully playful nature and charm, to befriend the charge, but Dashiell, on the other hand, was to work through the business, he liked the politics. He would go for the father he was smarter and he was older, only a year but back then, in that time a year made a great difference., and he was also smarter. He understood the working of a the business, where I did not.

Dashiell’s dark eyes and dark hair gave him a more professional look; it also made girls from miles around swoon and act rather improper in his presence. He was a lady killer, out of us he had the looks, the charm and the charisma, which was why I was surprised I was even chosen for the job. Although I was not without my own charms.

Before I knew it we were bathed, suited, and had been given two of the most magnificent stallions I had ever seen. I held the reigns, uncomfortable in the formal attire. I knew it was an invitation for thieves to try and rob us on our journey; it was almost as if we were carrying a sign stating ‘free gold enquire with swords’. Although, I did not fear being robbed by mere bandits, though I did think it would be a rather unfortunate waist waste of life and of time. Dashiell and I could more than stop our fair share of bandits; we had fort things that were far more worse than humans in our time. I was more surer of that fact than I was of that than anything else in our entire assignment, not that I enjoyed the thought of it happening.

“Smile Anthony, its ok, are you not excited?” asked Dashiell smiled brightly as came to a stop next to me.

“Excited is hardly the word I would use.”,” I replied I muttered my reply as I looked looking around for father Kingston. As if he had heard my prayers he emerged from the house nearest to me. “Father.” The discomfort and doubt was thick in my voice. I did my best to hide it; I didn’t want to let him down.

He placed a hand on my shoulder. and smiled at me before he said. “What is it my son you sound troubled,”

“Father i…” I stopped unable to tell him I could not go through with it. It was an assignment that was too big to fail; its reach was too great. It had links right back to the royal English court and the last thing I wanted was to piss off the king. It was Dashiell who broke my silence.

“He is just anxious father, he doubts his abilities.”

“Is this true?”  My father met asked meeting my gaze from our similar heights.

“Well…” was all I managed to get out before the cardinal and leader of our group spoke up.

Alright All right, alright all right gather around warriors. I know you have all been anxious to hear who was chosen to lead England from the clutches of evil back into the loving light of god almighty. The decision was not made lightly and our finally our minds have been made. Dashiell, Anthony will you please step forward?”

I passed the reigns to my father and walked to the front of the cognitation congregation to take a knee in front of the cardinal. Dashiell took my side and we bowed our heads as the cardinal gave us our rights.

“You are warriors sent forth from heaven to complete the Lord’s almighty will. You will have no earthly bound but to the duty you have been bestowed. If you are to walk in the valley of death, fear not my sons because you can walk head held high into eternal martyrdom, everlasting youth and life. You serve no man princely or otherwise only the will of the divine, do you understand our mission my sons?”

“Yes my father,” Dashiell and I replied in unison.,” we replied in unison With a gentle hand he the cardinal lifted my head and made the sign of the cross on my forehead.

“Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine

et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Ut requiem in pacem.

In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.”

“In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.” I repeated before he moved on to Dashiell to repeat the process.

“Now rise my sons, you have much to do.”

I looked to Dashiell as we got to our feet his hand clung to the chain around his neck and he said his own silent prayer. As we were walking to our horses, I was stopped by another clergy member.

“Anthony.He The man said in a solemn voice that instantly made me fear the worst. “You have been appointed rider, and will take the lead unto your first rest and then again onto the next, do you understand the responsibility of being rider son.”,” he said and

Much to my surprise Dashiell actually laughed as I nodded and I agreed. “I do father.”

The priest left us with only our horses and father Kingston for farewell.

“Do you understand the responsibilities, we have bestowed on you Ryder?” Said Dashiell in a mocking voice I gave him a disapproving look, but he continued anyway. “No father I have only spent the last four years of my life preparing to die as a young martyr, I could not possibly fathom this which you task me with,”

 

“Must you?” I asked was unable to hide my own smile even though I knew it was wrong.

“Yes brother, come now Ryder we better get a move on.” he replied A wide smile beaming beamed on his handsome face as he mounted his horse. I looked to father Kingston, who nodded and gave me a small smile of his own.

 

“Be safe my son.”

I too hoisted myself onto my own horse. I hated the thought of leaving especially since the chance of returning was were slim, but I knew I must. I looked down the road, coming to terms with my own impending death as best as any man could and smiled down at the priest besides my horse.

“Be well father.And with I said before a gentle stoa of my boots and a quick ‘yah’, I was gone.