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An Author’s Guide to Editing, Part One

Loving Tips From Love2edit

Darlene Catlett, Copy Editor

 

Fifteen years ago, while working for a small Christian ministry, I stumbled into editing. Someone handed me a newsletter and asked me to proofread it for typos. I must have pointed out some things of value, because I found myself being assigned to proofread ads and other marketing materials, and finally I was asked to proofread a book. As I gained experience over time, my knowledge and skills grew, and I came to realize that I love to edit.

Is it true that writers consider writing to be the fun part and editing to be the boring part? I’ve heard that editing is the way to turn bland content into a work of art, or milk into ice cream!

As an editor, my perspective is different than yours. In order to sweeten the idea of editing, I put together a few editing tips for you. One of them may be just what you’re looking for!

  1. Let it be. Allow time in your schedule to write one day and edit the next. Or perhaps you can write in the morning and edit at night. If your deadline is too close to do either of those, at least get up out of your chair, walk away, and do something that will take your mind off your writing for a few minutes.
  2. Pretend someone else wrote it. If you have the luxury of setting your writing aside for several days, it may seem like someone else actually did write it!
  3. Round two. For larger works, edit in more than one sitting.
  4. Use highlights as you edit. Start out by highlighting everything. When a section is good to go, eliminate the highlight.
  5. Slash and save. When you edit out a thought, phrase, or illustration, save it somewhere to be used later. Create one document of slashed ideas and call it your Parking Lot.
  6. Read it out loud. Read it very quickly to see if there’s anything you stumble over. Read it slowly with slightly exaggerated expression as though you are reading it to a group of children. Read it to someone else and ask them to give you an honest critique.
  7. Don’t rely on spell check. So many mistakes slip through if you trust too much in technology to find your errors, i.e: though ≠ through ≠ thorough, my ≠ may, the ≠ they, must ≠ most.

 ****************************************************************************************

Please join me in one of the following workshops this July at the Montrose Christian Writers’ Conference to look at your writing from an editor’s perspective:

Aspects of the Editing Process

Let’s talk about what seems like top-secret information! Learn the difference between proofreading and copy editing and gain insight into the typical processes of a freelance editor and a publishing house. We’ll discover what it means to be “serious about editing… but not too serious to enjoy a good laugh over it!

Proofread with Excellence (Proofreaders’ Lingo)

In this lighthearted, hands-on workshop, we’ll have fun mastering all those puzzling proofreaders’ marks. As writers, you may see these marks during the pre-publication proofing stage, in style manuals, or from an editor prior to submitting your manuscript to an agent or publisher. Let’s decode some of the most useful ones together, and I’ll give you a tool that will save you time, should you have a need to use these markings in the future.

Darlene shares her joy of copy editing through various speaking events where attendees learn about her five C’s of copy-editing: to make the copy Clear, Correct, Concise, Comprehensible, and Consistent. Darlene lives by this motto: “I’m serious about editing… but not too serious to enjoy a good laugh over it!”

Learn more at http://www.love2edit.com

I hope to see you at Montrose this July!

Marsha, Director

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THE 2017 MONTROSE CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE

FACULTY SPOTLIGHT

ARTIST DAVE WEISS

 weiss-dave-photo

Real Artists-Ship

There’s a story about a time at Apple Computer when the staff was working double-time to release a new product. But … there was a hold up. A programmer or an engineer was withholding his work. In his defense, he was trying to make his contribution to the project “perfect.” He was tweaking and re-tweaking, testing and retesting. In his pursuit of perfection, the entire project was held up repeatedly.

As writers we do this too. In our hearts we have a story or a nonfiction book that would really help a lot of people, but we just can’t let it go. Many of us work alone, so there is no team (or boss) to breathe down our necks. As a result we just keep tweaking it, and it never goes anywhere. If that’s you, I want to share the words of Steve Jobs.

You see, Jobs was not about to let this project be stalled. He spoke with the person in question and got a sense of the hold-up. Jobs looked the person in the eye and said, “Real Artists-Ship.”

My fellow “creative,” your work is a blessing to the world. As Christians we would say, in many cases, that our work is divinely inspired. Yes, we want to give God our best, but there comes a point when tweaking begins to reek of perfectionism and procrastination. Sooner or later it’s time to give your gift to the world. You need to put your creation out there for the world to see.

“Real Artists-Ship” is one of the workshops I plan to share at the Montrose Christian Writers’ Conference. My goal is to help you take that work you’re withholding, make it the best you can, and get it out there where it can do the most good in the hands of the people it was created to bless.

Creative Block

Have you ever struggled with creative block? Have you felt the mockery of the blank page (or screen)? If we’re going to create professionally, creative block is something we simply can’t afford. But how do we “bust the block?”

The good news is I’m going to help you explore a multitude of ways and offer tips to overcome the block. Did you know deadlines are your friends, and so are restrictions? Are you asking God for a new idea, but it seems He’s silent? I have a possible (probable) answer to that problem, which I’ll share with you as well.

These two workshops are very important to me. The most urgent part of creating anything is to finish it. However, before we can finish it, we have to have the courage to start. I have often wondered how many life-changing, world-changing projects will never be seen because their creators never finished them or, more tragically, never started. The creative life is unique because most of the time we’re the only people who can see our creation. It exists only in our minds until we create it in a form the rest of the world can see. This is doubly important in the Christian realm, where our divinely inspired projects are given by the Creator to do great good in our world.

I know all about these issues too well. I’ve spent most of my life as a professional creative, working extensively in the visual arts. When I felt the call to ministry, I began to see there was a huge need for creativity in the church. I began writing as a way of sharing creative ideas with churches online through my ministry AMOKArts. Eventually, with the advent of createspace.com, I began to compile these writings into books which I now sell at my speaking engagements. I have a blog on creative ministry at AMOKArts.com with over 2500 posts. One of my favorite things to write is presentations in which I use art, storytelling, video, drama, and more to communicate the Gospel. You’ll see an example of that as I share my presentation “Pictures of Jesus,” Wednesday evening at the conference.

One of my other great pleasures is to help people embrace and stretch their creativity. While I know most of the people at the MCWC conference have already embraced their creativity, I’m going to help them stretch it with a paint party on Tuesday evening when I’ll teach you to paint a work of art step-by-step in a fun, casual, relaxed environment. I’m really looking forward to finally being a part of this conference, and I look forward to meeting all of you.

God bless,

Dave Weiss

www.AMOKArts.com

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Need Individual Help with your Writing Project?

 MCWC.Duck.Welcome.Sign.on.Porch.7.22.14

Get published this year! Help is available at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference July 17th-22nd

with three different work-in-progress sessions:

Roper.Gayle.Photo.2015

WORK-IN-PROGRESS SEMINARS (LIMIT 8 CONFEREES EACH)

10:40 – 12:10 Monday-ThursdayIDE.KATHY.PHOTO.TWO

FROM GOOD TO BETTER TO BEST (FICTION)

 GAYLE ROPER

                             HONING YOUR NONFICTION

                                       KATHY IDE

 1:30 – 2:15 Tuesday-Thursday

POETRY (EXAMINING WORKS IN PROGRESS)

SHIRLEYSTEVENS

Shirley.Stevens.holds.stuffed.monkey

What is a “work-in-progress?”

A work-in-progress seminar is designed specifically for a handful of writers at one time to revise a selected portion of their pieces in a private setting with the individual help of an award-winning author and with the critique of the other conferees in the class. The time spent is invaluable, helping each author polish that work and learn the skills needed to revise the rest of the work at home, thus making the manuscript more ready for publication. At Montrose this year, the WIPs are all limited to 8 conferees, who will work on their own manuscripts with the designated faculty member for several hours during the week.

Maybe this is the time you should register for one of the WIPs, dust off that old manuscript, and get serious about getting it published. You could have a book manuscript or a poem or two that an editor just might to be looking for.

Please check http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx for all the details, including a registration form.

Marsha

http://www.marshahubler.com

http://www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

http://www.marshahubler.com

 

(More shameless promotion)

WHOLESOME, SAFE BOOKS FOR TWEENS

SNOW, PHANTOM STALLION OF THE POCONOS

 SNOW

Dallis Parker copes with bullying at school by dreaming about owning Snow, a wild Mustang, who most folks believe doesn’t even exist. Then she actually touches the horse, and her life is changed forever.

http://www.amazon.com/Snow-Phantom-Stallion-Marsha-Hubler-ebook/dp/B013GUF078/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449523382&sr=1-1&keywords=Snow%2C+Phantom+Stallion+of+the+Poconos

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The 2016 Montrose Christian Writers’ Conference:

One Step Closer to Publication!

Conferees.on.Porch

Faculty Member Kathy Ide Critiquing Nonfiction

Plan to come!

As director of the Montrose Christian Writers’ Conference, I guarantee you’ll find faculty members who will help you get published. Besides 43 afternoon classes that cover everything from self publishing to blogging to writing novels to working with an editor to public speaking, we have an excellent line-up of continuing Major Morning seminars, concentrating on a specific genre or subgenre with best-selling authors:

  1. THE IRRESISTIBLE NOVEL – Jeff Gerke
  2. WHAT’S YOUR STORY? (How to Write a Memoir) – Larry J. Leech II
  3. THE INSPIRATION & THE PERSPIRATION (Beginners) – Roseanna White
  4. FOCUS ON JUVENILE FICTION – Jeanette Windle

Editors and Agents:

If you have a manuscript, and you’d like to show it to an editor or agent, plan to meet any of these faculty members, who just might be interested enough to consider it for publication:

  1. SUSAN M. BAGANZ – acquisitions editor with Prism Book Group (romance novels)
  2. JIM HART – agent with the Hartline Literary Agency (fictional suspense, romance, women’s fiction, & some sci-fi)
  3. MARSHA HUBLER – acquisitions editor with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (juvenile & tween fiction, adult fiction)
  4. ROSEANNA WHITE – managing editor of WhiteFire Publishing {non-fiction, romance (both historical and contemporary), biblical fiction, suspense, women’s fiction, and speculative fiction}
  5. JEANETTE WINDLE – acquisitions editor with Kregel Publishing (tween and adult fiction)

Work-in-Progress:

We also have three work-in-progress sessions this year with award-winning authors, who will work with you on your manuscript and get it publishing ready. (These WIPs are limited to 8 conferees each, so don’t wait to register!):

  1. FROM GOOD TO BETTER TO BEST (FICTION) – Gayle Roper
  2. HONING YOUR NONFICTION – Kathy Ide
  3. POETRY (EXAMINING WORKS IN PROGRESS) – Shirley Stevens

Check All the Details:

Please check out the Montrose Bible Conference website for all the details, including a listing of all classes and activities, a brochure, and a registration form.

http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

We’d love to see you at Montrose from July 17th to the 22nd. But…if you can’t make it for the week, plan to come for a day or two. I promise you won’t be sorry.

Marsha

http://www.marshahubler.com

http://www.montrosebible.org

http://www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

http://www.marshahubler.com

 

(More shameless promotion)

A HORSE TO LOVE 

Foster kid Skye Nicholson hates everyone and everything until she meets Champ,

a gorgeous show horse. Then everything changes…for both of them.

Keystone Stables Book 1

http://www.amazon.com/Horse-Love-Keystone-Stables-Book-ebook/dp/B002U80FZK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1459004666&sr=1-1&keywords=A+Horse+to+Love+by+Marsha+Hubler

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February 9, 2015

Getting the Most Out of a Writers Conference

But I Already Know All That!

 Cec.Murphy.MM.Class.7.22.14

Cec Murphey Teaching a Class

This is the fourth post in a short series about writers conferences and why it’s so important for writers, both newbies and experienced, to attend. This time we’ll discuss why it’s absolutely necessary for you as a conferee to choose the correct workshops and learn the essentials of becoming a better writer, no matter what genre interests you.

The best conferences will offer a variety of excellent workshops covering numerous topics to whet any writer’s appetite. But which ones should you choose? How do you decide?

Using a past brochure from the Montrose Christian Writers Conference, I’ve listed just a few of the 50+ workshops the conference had offered from Monday morning until late Thursday afternoon:

STEPS TO SUCCESS

THE POWER OF STORY

NONFICTION BOOK PROPOSAL

CREATING A PAGE TURNER

WRITING FOR THE YOUTH MARKET

MINISTERING THROUGH BLOG WRITING

TOUCHING HEARTS WITH WORDS

WHY YOU NEED AN AGENT

SO THERE’S A POET INSIDE

CATCH THAT EDITOR’S ATTENTION

UNDERSTANDING RETAILERS

10 MISTAKES SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS MAKE

WHO NEEDS A CRITIQUE GROUP ANYWAY?

PUTTING CHARACTERS IN PLACE

As you can see, this conference, as most others, offered classes and sessions from fiction to nonfiction to marketing to poetry to social media, and much more. The key to getting the most out of any conference is analyzing your strengths and weaknesses, your knowledge of the writing/publishing world or lack thereof, and the genres of writing you’ve attempted. Then, a wise conferee will plan ahead to attend classes all day long and take notes. Also, most conferences offer CDs of the workshops presented, so any conferee can go home with a wealth of information packed in his/her suitcase.

With 60+ conferences under my belt, the only words of warning I have to offer is mainly to the newbie or the writer who’s not sure he/she really wants to write at all, so here goes.

Chapel.gathering.7.20.14My Advice to Newbies: If you plan to spend hundreds of dollars on conference registrations and room/board or, at least, your valuable time and the expense of traveling to and from a conference, then go with the goal of learning. If you’re just starting, you need to evaluate what workshops will be most valuable to you. I can’t emphasize enough the value of attending any beginners’ workshops offered.

“But I’ve been writing for two years, and I want to know how to write fiction better!” you might say. Or maybe you’d say, “I know all that stuff about margins and fonts and what kind of paper to use for submissions. I want to know how to get my poetry published.”

My best advice to any newbie or anyone who’s not yet decided what to write is to go to the beginners’ class. There, the instructor will share information essential for the conferee to become a better writer, no matter what genre you write. It will involve much more than margins and letter fonts.

I’ve been constantly surprised with submissions I’ve received, some from folks whom I assume have attended writers conferences for years, but their quality of writing has much to be desired. I’ve received some manuscripts that had the wrong size font and the spacing was single spaced. Others had no contact information included at the top of the first page, and the writing was so immature, it couldn’t have passed a high school sophomore’s term paper test. I can only scratch my head and wonder if these folks EVER attended any conferences, and, if they did, if they went to the right classes to help them improve their writing.Marshas.Class.Wk.in.Progress.2013

If you’re just starting to write, please don’t be embarrassed to admit your newbie status, and get to those beginners’ classes to learn the vital facts so important to improve. After you have a few of those classes under your belt, then launch out into specific genre workshops and commit to having your work critiqued by a faculty member.

All these opportunities are there to help you become that best-selling author you dream to be. So, decide to attend writers conferences as often as you can, and when you get there, go to those classes that are designed just for you. You’ll come home with a wealth of new information that you can find no place else. Apply what you’ve learned, and that publishing contract will be right around the corner.

Don't.Stop.Believing

Next time, we’ll look at the different ways you can have your work critiqued at writers conferences.

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On Writing

The Montrose Christian Writers Conference

 

Torrey Lodge
Home of the Montrose Christian Writers Conf.

Every year the last full week of July I attend what I think is one of the most beneficial writers’ conferences in our great land. For the last fourteen years, I’ve not missed the Montrose Christian Writers Conference in Montrose, PA, held at the restored home and conference grounds started by the world-renowned evangelist and missionary R.A.Torrey back in the early 20th Century. Nestled in among towering maple trees, the conference grounds invite all attendees to come apart from the busy world and bathe the soul in Christian fellowship.

Over the years, I’ve been on faculty about five times, presenting workshops about juvenile fiction, promotion, writing techniques, and so on. But this year, I went just as a conferee and enjoyed sitting, listening, and fellowshipping with fellow writers and friends I’ve made there over the last fourteen years.

The writers’ conference is directed by Patti Souder, a writer and the wife of Larry Souder, who is the manager of the Christian radio station WPEL, housed just a block away from the conference grounds. Every year, Patti organizes a faculty of an average of fifteen that is diverse and offers help in almost every area of writing. With about 110-130 conferees in attendance, the conference center comes alive with morning praise and worship, workshops from morning until late afternoon, critique groups and private critique sessions with faculty, and evening activities, including Readers’ Theater on Thursday evening, when any conferee may have three minutes to read a piece or a sample of a work he/she has written. This event is the highlight of the week for many conferees, especially unpublished ones, who look forward to sharing some of their creativity with “the world.”

This past year, an event separate from anything that has to do with writing occurred that none of us will forget. On Thursday, a bad storm blew through northeastern Pennsylvania, causing a tornado watch for the entire area. For about an hour in the late afternoon, about thirty of us huddled in the

Nothing stops us writers!

basement of the main conference building, Torrey Lodge, where we waited in a hallway until the storm passed by. We sang hymns and chatted, and, some faculty members even engaged in critiquing some conferees’ work. Thankfully, other than some branches blown down, there was no damage to the conference grounds, and we were able to continue with the normal schedule, which included a delicious supper in the dining room and then the Readers’ Theater at seven o’clock. The conference ended at 11 a.m. Friday morning, and we writers all left with sad goodbyes and a promise to stay connected on Facebook at the Writers of Any Genre Group and reunite next year “at the same time/same station,” the 2013 MCWC.

I said all that to say this. If you are serious about writing, please consider attending writers’ conferences. There’s no better way to learn the craft, to meet other Odd Ducks just like you who will understand you, and to make connections with editors and agents, who just might like your work and give you a contract. Of the five contracts I’ve signed, four of them were initiated at writers’ conferences when I met an editor or agent who liked my work.

So check Angie’s list or some conference websites and make a point to attend some writers’ conferences over the next year. And if you’re within a few hundred miles of Montrose, put that conference on your itinerary list. Writers come from as far as the New England states, Virginia, Michigan, Florida, and Tennessee. I’d love to meet you, and I guarantee that you’ll say it was well worth the time and expense to attend one of the best writers’ conferences that ever was.

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