Peddling Fast. Going in Circles

On that bike, I dreamed of other worlds, made up interesting people including lots of Knights in Shining Armor to whisk me away.

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When I was a kid, I had an aquamarine bike that I lived on. That’s where my imagination was born, on that bike peddling faster and faster around the driveway that encircled my home in South Carolina. On that bike, I dreamed of other worlds, made up interesting people including lots of Knights in Shining Armor to whisk me away. That was the place, that spot, where I decided to become a writer. Even though you wouldn’t call my current profession a literary one, I write all the time, just not the novels or stories I dreamt of on that bike with my initials carved on the back as a license plate.

Do I have any regrets? No. Living in regret is a waste of precious time that could be used writing. Over the past few weeks, I fell behind on my blog, my newsletter, and fiddling around with a script idea for Dreams Thrown Away, because I was writing policies for a client. Shh…Don’t tell anyone. I hate to admit it, but there is a certain satisfaction in that type of writing as well. There must be. I have done it for so many years, and no matter how many times I tried to close the door on that side of my writing, another door slams open. It seems that no matter how hard I try to get off that loop on Askew Circle, I just spin my wheels through another opening. I am still peddling fast.

Maybe the going in circles is not such a bad thing either. I know, I know. You may think there is a lesson I haven’t learned because I am doing the same thing over and over. Or maybe, in my opinion, my circle is expanding and retracting, taking different shapes and forms, more like a spiral. You see, humans are not just malleable beings, shifting and shaping our minds and bodies with each cultural and societal shift. We have been endowed by a greater Source with the ability to do many things other species cannot. However, humans spend a lot of time trying to get one thing right. But, what if we were meant to do many things right? What a concept? Maybe each thing comes at a different time in our lives, or perhaps all at once. We are each different, and it’s time society stopped trying to make us all the same. Or, better yet, we need to stop trying to make ourselves like everybody else. Not every woman can fit a dress size 6 or should that be her desire.

This morning, as I write this, I am trying to stop myself from doing two things at once. I want to get on that bike and peddle fast, write more novels, write that script, that short story. And the other part of me says your client wants that policy by the end of the week, riding back into that circle again. But, hey, I am a spiral. I can do both, just one at a time. That’s called time management. The most important thing though is that I am WRITING. What are you doing today?

Dilsa Saunders Bailey, the author of The Sperling Chronicles and A Comprehensive Guide to Finding the Right Doctor, loves to blog as “simplydilsa,” a woman who loves to write out loud. The third novel in The Sperling Chronicles, No Tears for Dead Men, is now available in Print and on Kindle.

 

 

DO I REALLY NEED AN EDITOR? (Part 2)

GUEST BLOGGER AND EDITOR-LYNN SURUMA returns to explain the different roles of different editors.

So, you know you need an editor but what kind of editor do you need? After reading an excerpt of your manuscript or, sometimes, the entire manuscript, an editor will prescribe the process necessary. That prescription will be based on how close your manuscript is to a finished product. If you have a manuscript you want to submit to a small publishing company or to a potential agent (a necessary step if you’re going to approach a major publishing company), look for an editor who wears more than one hat, someone who does content or substantive editing and copy editing.

What is Content or Substantive Editing?

Fiction or nonfiction, a manuscript must be organized in a way that makes sense to the reader and tells the story you want to tell or delivers the information you want the reader to get. You know what you want to say, you know what you expect the reader to get from your book but, unless it is organized well, your readers can get lost. If they do, not only will they lose interest, but you will lose an opportunity for future readers.

A content editor will flag rough patches during a cursory read of your manuscript and will suggest a reorganization that will make sense to the reader and help your content emerge to its best advantage. This process may require shifting paragraphs around, deleting distracting text and/or writing additional text. Organization can get muddled, and narrative threads can get tangled if not lost altogether, when you’ve written several drafts. Among other potential landmines:

  • Does your narrative proceed logically?
  • Are your fictional characters developed enough to seem real and are distinct enough to the reader to tell one from the other?
  • If you are writing a sequel to an earlier book, did a character you killed off in Book 1 show up again in Book 2?

Editing can get pricey. If you are concerned about cost (and who isn’t!), consider choosing several individuals whom you believe to be your potential audience to read your manuscript before you submit it to an editor. They may not catch everything but, at least, you’ll have an opportunity to address glaring trouble spots before the submission.

What is Copy Editing?

When new writers think of editing, they think of copy editing: spelling, grammar, punctuation, incorrect word usage, consistency, and typos, although the latter is usually considered the purview of proofreading.

  • Do you confuse the meaning of some words, like capital/capitol, peak/peek, eminent/imminent? Are your participles dangling?
  • Did your character ask a question but there is no question mark?
  • Did you capitalize a word on one page but not on some others?
  • You named the main character’s sister named “Deena” at the beginning of your novel, but you changed it in a rewritten later chapter because it sounded too close to the name of another character, “Dinah.” You renamed the sister, “Sara,” but forgot to change the name in the earlier chapters.

Even though the process is not considered “copy editing,” your editor will also make suggestions about changes in style to help you present a clear narrative that flows well and moves forward. This is line editing and addresses issues like redundancy; over-use of a word or phrase; sentences/paragraphs that are too long or are overloaded with difficult vocabulary; and the occurrence of too many clichés.

The editing process at a publishing house is more specialized than what is outlined above but, first, you have to get your foot in the door. The point of all this is for the writer and the manuscript to be presented in the best light to interest an agent and a publisher.


Atlanta-based Lynn W. Suruma, editor and writer, has more than 45 years’ experience editing a wide variety of products, including books, articles newsletters, brochures and pamphlets, theses, proposals and reports. Her published work includes children’s stories, magazine articles, and poetry.  Since 1990, she has worked with Teachable Tech, Inc. as editor and writer of curriculum products for such clients as CNN for CNN Newsroom; The Weather Channel for The Weather Classroom; ABC Inc. for ABC Classroom Connection and ABC NewsConnect; and, for SAMHSA (US Dept. of Health and Human Services), Building Blocks for a Healthy Start.

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DO I REALLY NEED AN EDITOR? (Part 1)

INTRODUCING GUEST BLOGGER AND EDITOR-LYNN SURUMA as she explains why as a writer you need an editor!

You have read and reread your story over and over again. You are certain your piece is perfect ⸺ after all, you’ve practically memorized it word for word! And that’s the problem: You have been “living” with the material for who knows how long and you read what you expect to see, not necessarily what is on the page. Another pair of eyes will be more likely to spot something you missed.

And this is only one reason why another pair of eyes is invaluable.

All writers have their little quirks, those style peculiarities which show up in everything they write. One writer will start off 80% of his sentences in one paragraph exactly the same way. Another will use the same trite phrases over and over. And a third writer, no matter how many times you remind her, still forgets to put her ending quote mark outside the period. Regardless of the type and degree of the error, every writer wants to present the best work possible, not only to interest an agent or a publishing company but, also, to satisfy the reader enough to return to pick up the next book.

You may think you are ready for publication but, surprise, surprise, maybe you aren’t quite ready at all. The question you have to ask yourself is not “Do I need an editor?” but what kind of editor do I need? The answer: it depends on the condition of your manuscript. A prospective editor who requests sample pages to read first will be able to tell you what kind of editing you will need, about how long it may take and how much it will probably cost.

Manuscript editing falls into these two categories, generally: copy editing and content editing, although there are others. See next week’s Blog about the editing process.

Atlanta-based Lynn W. Suruma, editor and writer, has more than 45 years’ experience editing a wide variety of products, including books, articles newsletters, brochures and pamphlets, theses, proposals and reports. Her published work includes children’s stories, magazine articles, and poetry.  Since 1990, she has worked with Teachable Tech, Inc. as editor and writer of curriculum products for such clients as CNN for CNN Newsroom; The Weather Channel for The Weather Classroom; ABC Inc. for ABC Classroom Connection and ABC NewsConnect; and, for SAMHSA (US Dept. of Health and Human Services), Building Blocks for a Healthy Start.

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simplydilsa NEWSLETTER – August 6, 2018

Subject: Hello Again❤

Living Life One Story at a Time
INTRODUCING GUEST BLOGGER AND FELLOW BOOKPRENEUR-PAULINE MANSFIELD as she shares her experiences “Living Life One Story at a Time.” Twenty years ago, I never imagined that I would ever call myself a writer; the first time I said those words out loud, “I am a writer,” it was a very weird feeling because it took a while for me to really to believe that I was worthy of claiming that title. Read More…
ARE YOU AFRAID OF PUBLIC SPEAKING?  Are you afraid to speak in public? Writers, if you want to promote your books, here’s a great place to find your voice and to hone your writing skills. Read A Toastmaster’s Tale»
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Author-Dilsa Saunders Bailey
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Help!! Book Reviewers NEEDED!
Just received an email from a friend whose friend had taken “Dreams Thrown Away” on vacation. Her friend’s husband called to scold her for recommending the book. It seems The Sperlings blocked his quality time with his wife. The whole time they were away, she sat on the beach with the book. It seems “Kali strikes again.” I hope she takes time to give the book a review on Goodreads or Amazon. Hope you will, too.

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LIVING LIFE ONE STORY AT A TIME

INTRODUCING GUEST BLOGGER AND FELLOW BOOKPRENEUR-PAULINE MANSFIELD as she shares her experiences “Living Life One Story at a Time.”

Twenty years ago, I never imagined that I would ever call myself a writer; the first time I said those words out loud, “I am a writer,” it was a very weird feeling because it took a while for me to really to believe that I was worthy of claiming that title. Now I am living my life – one story at a time as a writer, and I am loving it!

We all have hundreds of stories hidden within us, waiting to be written and then shared with the universe. For the past three years, it has been a joy for me to help others to carve out those stories like a sculptor carves images out of a piece of clay. Like a sculptor, each of us, as writers, must connect first with our souls to pull out the images we want to create in any book we finally make the decision to write.

I remember how absurd and impossible it seemed to me to even start a journey to tell my story. When a dear friend suggested that I share my life challenges to help others in my very first book, “The Turtle Story – 7 Steps to Breaking Free from Domestic Violence”, I was very reluctant to start that journey down this unknown road. This journey wasn’t easy, but I acquiesced, and since then, I have never looked back. It took me several years to build the confidence to put those first words on paper. I had to move past the discomfort of asking others to help me through the process of turning mere words scribbled on pieces of paper over many years into a book worthy of being published, then shared with the world.

As a writing coach and developmental editor, I now guide others to reach their destiny as confident and joyful writers. Like anything that we are passionate about, writing your story should be joyful. It does not matter if you are creating a murder mystery, a love story based on lives you have touched along your life’s journey, a self-help book, or a biography about someone you know and love. What matters is that you always write with passion and clarity, as if holding a paintbrush on a canvas or a chisel in hand to bring life and form to a chunk of wood or marble.

We, as writers, must see ourselves as artists with a gift given to us by God. We are charged to enlighten, uplift, inspire and bring joy through our fingers just like other artists with their own gifts. Our gifts are already buried in our souls, we must just recognize it, accept it and release it out to the world.

So, say it loud and say it proud – “I AM AN ARTIST – WATCH ME WRITE!”

Writing is her passion and Pauline Mansfield translates that passion into life stories. Pauline says that she writes books to educate, to enlighten, and to empower those suffering from broken spirits.  She has created from her experiences four inspiring books. In addition to being an author, Pauline is a public speaker and community volunteer. She currently chairs the COMMUNITY ADVISORY BOARD for the GRADY HOSPITAL NIA PROJECT, a non-profit organization devoted to positively changing the lives of men and women – one life at a time.


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