Oct 22 2012

For Me, Final Edit Did Not Mean FINAL edit

Posted by Mathias

Ok, so more than one person is apparently confused about my editing process.  Since announcing that I was now moving into compiling my manuscript edit of Under the Darkened Moon, people have been saying to me things like, “But I thought you already did your ‘final’ edit?”

It’s true, I did do something that I did refer to as my “FINAL” (capital letters and all) edit.  But it didn’t mean that is was my “final” edit.
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Oct 14 2012

Warning: Readers Have Comfort Zones

Posted by Mathias

Writers sometimes get a little too crazy.  One thing we often do is try to show how smart we are by using what are known as ten dollar words.  I call it the Plethora Rule.  What is the Plethora Rule?  It is best described from the scene that made me realize long ago that fancy words are not always good.  Here is that scene from ¡Three Amigos! that introduced 90% of people who know what plethora means to the word:

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Jun 16 2012

Update: Under the Darkened Moon (Novel)

Posted by Mathias

Just finished up what I consider to by my first polishing edit for Under the Darkened Moon, my first actually completed novel.  Things went well.

To say that I am 100% pleased with it would be saying too much.  I’m 98% pleased though and I think that is pretty good for someone that is as big a perfectionist as I am.

As one of my friends told me, no novel is ever 100% perfect so don’t fret the last few percents.

Next up is going to be a live read edit.  My wife is going to actually read aloud the words so I can hear them from someone else’s mouth rather than my own.  This will hopefully help catch any final awkward sentences, missed commas, etc that my brain is simply auto correcting for when I read aloud because I know what is supposed to be there even if it is not there.

Hopefully, this edit will commence in the next few weeks.  If we do one chapter a day it will take slightly more than a month to complete.

It was July 18th of last year that I embarked on the ambitious project to write a novel.  Looks like it will be a little more than a year from then that it will be ready to be submitted, and likely rejected many times, to publishers and literary agents.  Keeping my fingers crossed that it isn’t too painful.  My review groups have all given it high praise, sometimes too high of praise if you ask me, but high praise none-the-less.  I guess it is almost time to find out whether or not people with the power to get books published feel the same way.

Feb 21 2012

Using Passive Voice Is Not Wrong

Posted by Mathias

Ok, time to vent on a pet peeve of mine; people who claim that using the passive voice in writing is wrong. It is not wrong. In fact there is nothing grammatically wrong with writing in the passive voice. Yet I just had another encounter with another author, unpublished of course, who swears that the passive voice is grammatically incorrect.

What is the passive voice? Passive voice is when the object of an action becomes the subject of a sentence. For example, saying “Why was the paper written on by you?” is perfectly grammatically correct but is passive in its voice. The paper is being acted on and also where one expects the subject to be. One would expect the question to be asked, “Why did you write on the paper.”

The two sentences however have the same meaning. But the first is slightly more advanced, potentially leading to someone with a lower reading level being confused by it. That’s ok though. And here is why. Because repetitive, predictable sentence structure in prose is boring. I have read enough of it. And a lot of it exists in so called “Best Sellers” that numb my brain with robotic English.

I am here however to say that it is ok to throw in a couple passive sentences as long as they are not overly clumsy. Of course, writing too much in the passive voice can indeed be awkward. If half of your sentences are passive people are not going to like that. But if you judiciously make 3% or so (that’s just 3 out of every 100) sentences in the passive voice, it breaks up the inevitable monotony of your structure. By being smart about when you use the passive voice, a reader probably will not even recognize that you have pulled such a sentence out of your bag of tricks.

Most successful fiction authors seem to have their passive voice sentences down to a very low number. But they do not eliminate them. Remember all this next time someone tells you such a sentence is “wrong”.

Sep 27 2011

The Rewrite Shuffle

Posted by Mathias

For the better part of the last two weeks I have been writing and rewriting the lead up to the end of my novel project “Dark Moon”. As I have talked about before, I stripped out what would have been 30,000 to 50,000 words of story arc around the 100,000 word mark in order to keep the story under 175,000 words. Current projections have this novel coming in under 140,000 words.

This task however of getting to the end of the story has proven difficult. More difficult than I first thought. (more…)