Aug 29 2012

Myth Busted: Passive Voice Is Not Significantly Harder To Read/Comprehend

Posted by Mathias

Are passive voice sentences really harder to read?  I hear this a lot as a reason to not use, or to at least use sparingly, the passive voice in writing.  So I decided to do a little test.  I took a series of sentences and wrote them in both the passive and active voice.  I then checked their readability statistics using Microsoft Word’s native tool for this.

Example 1: 

Active: “I mailed the letter.”

Flesch Reading Ease: 97

Flesch-Kincade Grade Level: 0.7 (more…)

Aug 15 2012

Why I Like (But Also Sometimes Hate) Audio Books

Posted by Mathias

I like audio books. I am not afraid to admit to it. In fact, most of my reading these days comes in the form of listening to audio books.

Why I like audio books is no great secret.

1. During the course of my two hour commute every week day, I get two hours of reading in. No kids screaming, no wife constantly interrupting me to fix something. It’s just me, the audio book, my car, and that moron in front of me who is now cutting me off. HEY! Buddy, would it kill you to use a turn signal? (more…)

Jul 13 2012

A Good Bit Of Editing Advice

Posted by Mathias

When I’m editing, I find that the most effective means of correcting mistakes is just to simply read what is written out loud. If it sounds bad coming out, then it needs work.

I don’t know what it is, but sitting there, reading silently, just let’s too many awkward sentences pass by. Only by reading out loud do I find the errors.

Somehow, it seems, the mind auto corrects to ignore the problems that clearly exist.

Jul 09 2012

Here I Am … Under the Darkened Moon Update

Posted by Mathias

So, I have, I admit, been spending too much time on Twitter as of late and not doing enough editing on my novel, Under the Darkened Moon. I have been editing, just not as much as I should be. I’m nearly 75% complete with my polishing edit and, of course, after a year is when I now decide to make the main character 23 years old for the bulk of the story rather than 28. That of course means some timeline editing, etc. but nothing major.

I weighed the pros and cons and decided to make the change I have been batting around in my brain for the better part of the last six months. I give up some of the maturity aspect that the character would have had, but that is about it. Plus it makes some of my possible sequels work better by shifting the entire story ahead five years. This allows me to keep certain characters alive more plausibly than having passed to the ravages of time or being 70 years old at best. (more…)

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.

May 30 2012

Why Review Groups Are Helpful

Posted by Mathias

A trusted group of people you can use to review what you write is invaluable. Gathering up the feedback from my own group, I compiled the information into a list that has helped immensely during the latest edit of my novel, Under the Darkened Moon.

My review group consisted of a few published authors, some unpublished authors and friends and acquaintances who like to read fantasy fiction. At the end of the last edit here is what I learned based on their feed back:

Strong points:
1 – Characters and character development
2 – Plot
3 – Pacing
4 – The ability to keep the reader guessing

Weak points:
1 – Comma usage
2 – Non main plot elements/background

So this tells me where I needed to focus. Grammar was the big thing. Sentences weren’t horrid, but many of the could definitely been improved. That is what I am focusing on fixing at the moment.

May 25 2012

Stuck In A Rut

Posted by Mathias

I am compiling my final bits of feedback on my novel Under the Darkened Moon from my review group. Few negative comments. In fact, no real negative comments at all. Just lots of constructive ones. Of course, I’ve been working with some members of this group for several drafts now and we’ve pushed past the negative things long ago. The polishing draft is coming along and I am on page 211 of that and half way through. Lots of yellow markups which are mostly just me rewording sentences for my own preferences.

People are already asking me when the novel is going to be published so they can see the final product. But I haven’t even sent out the queries yet. And still half the group is asking me for the sequel, assuming that there is going to be one. Sequel? Hell, let me get the first one published!

I’ve been trying to work on a couple other projects, particularly Her Lovely Blood which i have really taken a like to but have not been able to concentrate on that with my polishing of UtDM proceeding. Started work on a fantasy/steam punk mix in The Arrow but after about 5,000 words I realized I need to do some more story plotting on that story before plowing ahead. Even Cry of the Golden Wyvern is not moving forward as I try to work out how to get the story to where it needs to go.

Basically I am in a rut I guess. I’m basically done with my first novel and in that place between polishing and submission. It’s been a year of my life dedicated to it and I know the process is really just getting started. It’s time to get a lot of rejections on the way to publication. It’s not the thought of rejection that is getting me down. Everyone who has read Under the Darkened Moon seems to really enjoy it and has high praise for it. So I am certain that someone, somewhere in the publishing world will like it too. And if not? Well screw them is what I say. I’ll put it on the shelf and write one of the other stories. I feel like a parent getting ready to send my child out into the world is what it is. You know what is going to happen, the struggles that will be forth coming for them and you just have to sit back and let it happen.

Mar 27 2012

The Yoke – Third Draft Completed

Posted by Mathias

Last night I picked up my short story titled “The Yoke” and gave it a fresh look. The editing process added roughly 500 words to the story and it stands at 6,534 total words with epilogue.

Current “readability” statistics are:

Passive voice sentences 1%
Flesch Reading Ease 85.7
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 3.8

Not sure if it still needs another edit or not. Will probably revisit it in a few weeks and decide.

Nov 22 2011

The Tickler List Updated

Posted by Mathias

I spent last night updating my Tickler List last night and added about four new, quality story ideas. When I add to this I usually put down just one or two sentences about my idea for a potential story and use it to draw on for my current or future projects.

If I did not keep a list like this I would never be able to order my thoughts properly or even remember them. When I actually turn the item from the tickler list into an actual project I give it a space on my computer.

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