Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I am a pantser. "Wait a second," you might be asking. "I thought you were a writer. Don't writers have a natural disdain for pants, and all things pant-related?"

We do, but I'm not THAT kind of pantser. I don't espouse the wearing of pants, just writing by the seat of said unworn pants.

*I will now confess to starting this post this way just so I could use the falling pants image above*

The one advantage plotters have over pantsers is that their outlines serve as a convenient jumping-off point for the eventual, inevitable Writing of the Synopsis. Just the word Synopsis is enough to send some writers screaming from the room in a garment-rending fit. Since most of those writers aren't wearing pants, this makes it a rather sad scene, indeed. Not a lot of garments to rend.


But back to the point. The point is, the synopsis should not cause feelings of terror. Nay, I am here today to remind and reassure you all of this one basic fact. That fact is:

The Dreaded Synopsis has one purpose, and one purpose only: To relate all the relevant characters and plot points to agents and editors in a quick, efficient manner.

That is all. There is no other purpose for a synopsis. It doesn't have to be written in the voice of your character. It doesn't need to read like a novel. In fact, it's not supposed to. It's a list of statements that show how the characters get from point A (the beginning of your novel) to point B (the end of your novel). Nothing more, nothing less.

"But...but... I only have 500 words to make Agent/Editor LOVE my novel. It's IMPOSSIBLE to squeeze every relevant detail into a synopsis."

OF COURSE IT IS IMPOSSIBLE! The synopsis is not intended to inspire instantaneous, rapturous passion for your novel. If you did it right, that's what the query and pages you submitted for consideration have already done. The synopsis is only there to prove to the agent/editor that your story won't fall apart after the first ten pages/three chapters/fifty pages you submitted for their consideration. All they need is a diagram showing them how your characters intend to proceed past the short snipped they had access to before deciding to read/request the rest of your novel.

"But, that means my synopsis is being used to judge the remaining 250/300/350 pages of my work! That's harsh! I'd better really make that synopsis snazzy!"

Uh, not really. First of all, a lot of agents/editors don't give a whit about a synopsis, so already you have a large group of people who will set it aside and just read the manuscript.  But for the folks who like to know what's going to happen before they commit to reading, the only requirement of the synopsis is to prove you have a coherent story. If the synopsis doesn't make sense or doesn't cover the salient turning points in your work, it's a warning sign that there might be plot issues over the horizon. That is all.

"So how do I go about tackling this Dread Beast Synopsis?" you ask so wisely?

I have a simple Three Step Plan, which I will gladly detail for you now. This plan presupposes you've already written, edited, edited, shown to CP's, edited, revised, edited, and edited your manuscript. Please don't skip any of those steps. If there are Ugly Plot Holes, you want to fix them before putting them on proud display in your synopsis. Just saying.

Step One: Read through the entire manuscript, taking notes of character introductions, plot points, and settings. Pay special attention to the last few chapters, because you will need to SPOIL THE ENDING when you write a synopsis. It sounds awful, but the synopsis should cover every detail from the first page to the last page.

**I always do Step One with a 6x9" legal pad and pen. It helps me to physically write these notes out longhand. For a 100k novel I wrote, I ended up with about 20 pages of chicken scrawl worth of notes.

Step Two: Translate the notes into a coherent document.

**I type the notes in to a Word document, and then tinker and smooth them until they read like the world's most boring and anal-retentive book report ever. If that's what you end up with after Step Two, then Congratulations, you're on the right track!

Step Three: Reduction. You will likely need several different synopses for different purposes. One will be about a thousand words long and contain 90% of the plot points and characters. It will be between 2-3 single-spaced pages, and look absolutely effing awful. You might weep. You might want to punch this document several times, because you will feel as if you murdered your perfect little word baby to distill this painful liqueur from its very soul. It is a bitter, bitter liqueur.

But it gets WORSE! You will likely be asked at some point for your SHORT SYNOPSIS, which should be less than half as long as your actual synopsis. One page, single spaced. And completely bereft of any sort of personality at all.

You'll likely need to groom your notes carefully to make them fit within the limits of this synopsis, and you'll need to be very careful which elements you choose to omit. Leave out the wrong thing, and continuity and logic go out the window. Prose is not important. Or at least, it's not the MOST important thing. I pruned every last word flower from my short synopsis, and it was STILL too long. But I did eventually get it to fit on a single page (without even tinkering with the margins or font size! Win!).

Your synopsis doesn't need to detail backstories. It doesn't need to describe each character in detail. Unless that detail is crucial to plot or character development, leave it out. If your character's blue eyes are blue because you think blue eyes are pretty, don't mention it. If they are blue because one morning she woke up and they'd turned blue overnight, and that's the mystical sign that she was born to ascend to the throne of Blueyeballia, then that might be a relevant fact you'd probably want to keep.

The most important thing to remember is that the only thing people who read it want from your synopsis is a list of factual, chronological events of your manuscript. That's it. If you remember that, you will never fear the synopsis again.

Now get busy with it!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Before the beginning, or the Sekrit Project

So I've written three novels in a series. I'd been querying the first of these, and had some positive responses along the way. Recently, I had the most interesting response I'd ever received, and it started me in an entirely new direction.

I'd been told there was too much backstory, too much world building that seemed to take place in the far distant past. I suppose it's one of the difficulties involved in writing a character that was  nearly two thousand years old. I wanted to set her stories in the modern world, a world that would be almost identical to the world we all live in. But how do you even begin to relate to a character who's that old, who has that much tragedy and loss in her past without digging a little deeper into the main events that shaped her into what she is now?

When I started writing the work that is now Running Down the Dragon, I compiled a massive amount of history. I knew Thalia's story from the day she was born until the day RDTD begins.

I recently received the most delightful rejection, in which disappointment was expressed that Thalia's origin story wasn't really included or fleshed out as well as the agent in question had hoped it would be. Well, I know her origin story inside out and backward. In a flash of insight, I realized I could take the defining moments of her early life and use them to illustrate the world she lives in today.

All that being said, I am now in the process of writing Thalia's first story, the first Major Turning Point in her life. It completely changed the way I look at her. And the writing isn't like anything I've ever done before.

I already know this story. I had to invent her entire history in order to be able to write RDTD. But now that I'm going back and writing it down, I get to fill in all the marvelous details that I'd never stopped to consider before. Since I've written three other novels based on her, novels that include flashbacks to events in her past, and references to people she'd known in the distant past, I've had to scour through three novels in order to make sure I referenced people, places, and events correctly. It's taken a lot more preparation than I expected, but I am FINALLY ready to write.

I am so thrilled! So far, what I've learned about writing a prequel is that it's a lot of work to prepare for, because consistency is so important. Once I got started, though, the words are running faster than anything else I've ever written. As a pantser, this is as close to an outline I've ever started a project with.

I'll periodically blog about any weird observations I have during this process over the next few weeks of drafting. I have a feeling this is going to be a real doozy! In the best of all possible ways!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bully for you

When Lulu was in kindergarten, she came home from school one day with a Blue Slip. Blue Slips were filled out for disciplinary actions, and were just about the worst thing a kid could get before they started calling parents in for conferences and handing out detentions/suspensions. Needless to say, I was shocked and horrified. MY CHILD?! A behavior problem? Surely not. There must be some mistake.

Turns out, a little boy on the playground took a swing at her, so she used her kung fu training (she came to class with me four times a week), and delivered a textbook mountain punch to the kid's gut. I asked if she was okay, was she hurt when the kid punched her, and she said, "Of course not. I ducked."

It took all my Supermommy power to keep from cracking up at her response. She'd obviously been paying more attention than I'd thought in kung fu. We talked about how it's not okay to hit someone, even if they tried to hit you first. We talked about appropriate responses to anyone who hurt you, whether with words or actions or physical violence. I thought we had this covered. I was wrong.

Lulu's in 7th grade now, and she barely even remembers the incident with Punchy McSluggerton way back in kindergarten. Until yesterday, I thought she'd at least remember the lessons we talked about back then, and over the years in between. It seems that every year the school sends home letters about bullying, how the school has a zero tolerance policy for dealing with bullies, and how they are having assemblies to deal with the topic, and class time dedicated to talking about it. It sounded to me like the teachers were all over this issue, looking to nip any sort of aggressive behavior in the bud. Once again, I was wrong.

She'd been a straight-A student, especially excelling in English class. This year her honors level class only has 16 students (which is a near miracle when most of her other classes have upwards of 30 students each). So you can imagine my surprise when she's bringing home consistent C's. I thought she must not like her teacher. Maybe she didn't care for the poetry assignments (always my own least favorite English class unit). I couldn't fault her for that. But then she was getting dinged for not turning in classwork. She'd been in class, so why didn't she turn in the work? She'd done it perfectly. I couldn't understand, and I was beginning to think she might have some sort of problem with her memory. I was considering taking her to the doctor to ensure she hadn't sustained some sort of head injury. I couldn't think of any other way to explain her sudden memory lapses, her refusal to talk to me about why she wasn't turning things in, and why she wasn't able to focus in class.

Yesterday she reached her breaking point, and finally told us what was bothering her. Or, more specifically, WHO was bothering her.

Let me be clear, I am an involved parent. I volunteer with her Girl Scout troop on a near-continuous basis. I know half the kids at her school, and most of them know me. I am The Library Lady, and everyone from her old elementary school knows me. I have asked her on numerous occasions if she's seen any incidences of bullying at school, and she's told me about a few things she's seen happening with other kids. I thought we had this covered. But we really didn't.

After she told me everything that had been going on, essentially since the beginning of school back in August, I was heartbroken. "Why didn't you tell us about this? Why would you let this go on so long?"

She looked me in the eye and told me she didn't say anything because what could we do? What the kid was doing to her was not bullying, so she couldn't do anything to stop it.

Go back now, reread that last sentence. I'll wait right here.

Done? Are you as shocked as I am? Everything she described to us, from him deliberately knocking things off her desk every time he walked past, to telling her to "shut up" on a daily basis, to making faces at her in class, to recruiting a group of girls to laugh at her, THESE ARE ALL THE THINGS SHE'S BEEN TAUGHT ARE BULLYING BEHAVIORS, AND SHE STILL DIDN'T THINK SHE WAS BEING BULLIED. SHE THOUGHT SHE JUST HAD TO DEAL WITH IT.

She knew teachers had seen this behavior, and because they did nothing to stop it, she assumed she just had to live with it. Despite all the talk about bullying at school and how to deal with it, despite her strong group of friends, despite all the Girl Power lectures, despite our repeated conversations at home about how she should never let anyone make her feel lesser, she thought this treatment was somehow either deserved or something she had no power to stop.

*pauses to sob*

This is what I'm having the hardest time understanding. My daughter knows what bullying is. She can tell you right away when she sees it happening to someone else. She supports her friends when they're going through frustrating situations like the one that's been bothering her. She has always been told that she should NEVER put up with anyone who makes her feel small in any way. In theory, she carries this knowledge with her all the time. I have no idea how to remind her of that when she's feeling alone, hurt, and defenseless, and I'm not there.

This is why we rely on the teachers we entrust our children to every day. I handed her over, in the hopes no teacher would permit any student to belittle another student in her class. I am so disappointed in this entire situation. Disappointed in myself for not pushing for more answers when I saw my child struggling with her grades. Disappointed in the teachers and school staff for not holding her tormentor accountable for his actions. Disappointed in the other kids, some of whom I know personally, for not only doing nothing to stop it, but sometimes participating in it and encouraging it. Disappointed in my kid, for not thinking she had the right to stand up for herself and seek help from any adult within shouting distance the moment another child said or did something that made her uncomfortable. And disappointed that despite all the training and speeches they give the kids at school, she STILL felt as if she were the one in the wrong for feeling upset by another child's abusive behavior.

I am at a complete loss. What could I have done differently? I know there's no way to shield someone 100% from bad feelings. There are always going to be jerks in the world. I just wish I knew how to give her the tools she can use to defend herself. Hopefully this will be a good practical learning experience. It's the best outcome I can hope for at this point.

I spoke to the guidance counselor at school this morning, and I'm waiting to hear back from her on how they intend to deal with this. I am at a complete loss. I don't know what more I can do, other than to constantly remind her that she is awesome, and that nobody is allowed to make her feel otherwise.

***UPDATE: Two sides to every story***

I heard back from the school today, and it turns out Lulu is just as responsible for the bad behavior as the kid who made her feel bad. And you know what, *I* might be partially responsible for it. Let me explain.

Lulu has a few words that really bug her. Pet peeve words. Apparently the boy who teases her has a favorite word, which is at the TOP of the list of Lulu's despised words. That word: Swag.

This kid is the king of swag. He loves the word, and applies it to himself regularly (as 13-year-old boys are wont to do). Every time Lulu hears it, she yells back "Yes, you are curtains." She's had it with swag, YOLO, and half a dozen other irritating catch phrase words, and she inherited a large dose of snark from both me and her father. Her friends think we're funny when we tease each other back and forth, but a kid who doesn't know she's just playing around, just trying to be silly, would likely take those comments the wrong way.

So we have a lovely opportunity to remind her that teasing someone for their word choices is also bullying. I might correct her usage and vocabulary at home, but that doesn't mean she's allowed to make fun of others for using words she doesn't like. Unless someone's words are derogatory or hurtful in some way, just let everyone else be.

So there you go. I feel like kind of a jerk for getting all bent out of shape yesterday, now that I know this whole situation started because of something she said herself. I'm not saying she's entirely to blame, but I know that she's at least 50% responsible for it. She's definitely responsible for letting it escalate to the point where it's interfering with her school work, for not saying anything sooner. There will be a big discussion tonight.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Reading, in all its many glorious forms

There's been a ton of debate in the last few years about the future of publishing. Are e-readers going to replace paper books? Are bookstores doomed? Is publishing doomed now that self-publishing is so easy? I will say no to all of that, at least for the foreseeable future.

I read A LOT. Paper books, e-books, unpublished manuscripts - as well as heaps and piles of book and publishing related blogs and articles. I want this to be my career, so of course I want to take the most positive outlook on the future of publishing in general. But I've noticed something when I read, whether it is the latest hardcover release from a favorite author, a worn-out old paperback that I got third or fourth hand from a friend, an e-book on my kindle, or a manuscript I'm reading for a CP on my laptop. I ENJOY ALL OF IT.

*note: I don't really do audiobooks. Never got into the idea of someone reading aloud to me. I know it's a popular source of entertainment for a lot of people, but I withhold analysis, since I'm not familiar with it like I am with reading with my own eyeballs.*

I don't think I completely prefer one method of getting the words from the author and into my brain over another. For most people, the choice is between physical paper books and e-readers (or another electronic device with e-reader software installed), so I thought about the pros and cons of each method, and came to the conclusion that I like both equally, but for different reasons. Let's begin with good old-fashioned paper books.

Pros of paper:

  • The wonderful tactile and sensory experience of books. I love the way new books smell. I love the feel of the paper, the repetitive act of turning pages, the gorgeous covers, and in hardcover books, the secrets that lurk beneath the book jacket. Often you remove that beautifully printed outer cover to discover something equally lovely underneath, a secret clue to the heart of the story contained within.
  • I love being able to see all my books stacked around me, on the bookshelves decorating my home, and randomly piled up waiting to be read and loved.
  • I can easily loan a favorite book to a friend.
  • A friend can easily loan their favorite book to me!
  • While reading, I can easily skip around, page back to find a passage that only shows it's true meaning several chapters later when a larger secret is revealed, or even page ahead a few chapters because I'm terrified something scary is coming up for one of the characters and I need reassurances that everything will be okay. Yes, I cheat sometimes. Sue me.
Cons of paper:

  • Paper books are often heavy and bulky. They're hard to carry around.
  • When I go on a trip, I like to take more than one book with me. I'd hate to run out of reading material, but lugging several books in a small suitcase is impractical.
  • If I spill coffee on my favorite book, I'd have to go buy a new copy. Paper and liquids are not friends.
  • Books are fragile. They wear out after a while, even when well taken care of, especially if Helper Monkey or Lulu hauls them around for a few weeks. Nice books plus middle-schooler's backpack equals battered books.
  • I can easily skip around (which means sometimes I spoil books for myself because I can't stand the sadness or fear I feel for a character). And yes, I also listed this as a "pro" for paper books. So now you know I'm indecisive AND a cheater. Congratulations. :P
But e-readers also have their pros and cons:

Pros of e-books:

  • It's easy to carry around HUNDREDS of books at any given time, in a package smaller and lighter than a single paperback. I'll never run out of things to read!
  • An e-reader is relatively inexpensive, and the prices keep coming down. Even if I spill coffee on it (or squish it, like I did to my original kindle), all my books aren't lost forever. I can still access them through my laptop, or even my cell phone, in theory. Replacing it would only cost about the same as buying four or five new release hardcovers.
  • An e-reader is lightweight. It's SO much easier to read in bed. My wrists have thanked me. Not to mention, I don't have to worry about dog-eared pages or torn covers from carrying an e-reader around in my purse or pocket.
  • I have a kindle paperwhite, which I love. I don't need a book light to read in the dark anymore, and the battery lasts quite a good long while. Like for the duration of four or five books worth of reading. I haven't tested how long it will last, but it's long enough that I haven't been worried I'll lose power in the middle of something.
  • I can buy a book and be reading it within seconds. No waiting for shipping, and no drive to the mall to pick up a book on a whim.
Cons of e-books:

  • I can't easily share them with friends. I could theoretically loan someone my kindle, but I'm not likely to do that. *glances protectively at Gary Jr.*
  • There's not a lot of romance in the plastic of an e-reader. No literal page turning, no smell of new book, no gorgeous cover artwork.
  • It's nearly impossible to page back and find something that's referred to later in the book. It's highly irritating sometimes when you really want to find that one little passage that gives a richer experience of later revelations in a story.
  • I can buy a book and be reading it within seconds. And yes, I also listed this as a "pro." It's convenient, but hard on the bank account. :D
I'm sure I've left out a ton of reasons why either format is great or lacking. If you've got a definite preference, please let me know your thoughts and reasons.

I'm just glad I live in an era where everyone has easy access to any book they might want to read. We can walk into a library, a bookstore, or surf the internet to find WONDERFUL stories to cram into our brains in whatever way is easiest or most enjoyable for us. Isn't is FANTASTIC and MIRACULOUS?!

I mean, five hundred years ago, books were only for the very wealthiest people. Now they are for EVERYONE! HOORAY!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Meeting (and flailing at) Authors, Jodi Meadows

I love meeting Authors (big A, you know, the published, the people I admire, whose writing I love). Unfortunately, they are the people I tend to lose my marbles around quickest. I mean, I can hold it together just fine in front of TV stars, famous athletes, etc., but I absolutely puddle for writers.

I met Clive Barker once, and I couldn't get two coherent words out of my mouth. Helper Monkey had to tell him my name to have him sign my book. That was about 17 years ago, though, so I hoped I'd become a little less of a dork. Thursday night I realized that I might not be a mumbling incoherent dork anymore, but that's only because I learned to be louder.

***Cutting across my own post to remind everyone that when you go to an author event hosted by a bookstore, PLEASE do your best to buy the book at the store. Or at least buy SOMETHING at the store if you already own the book. The stores get nothing from hosting, other than the hopeful possibility of sales. If events don't generate sales, they have less incentive to bring awesome authors in for you to meet. But I'm sure you already knew that, because you are awesome people.***

I took Lulu to an author event with four lovely authors. To be fair, I went to meet the wonderful Jodi Meadows who not only writes fantastic books (Incarnate, and the sequel Asunder, which I'm reading now), but who spins her own yarn! I mean, really, literally, spins yarn! Out of wool and silk and stuff! How cool is that? *side note, I crochet, so I am fascinated by soft and fluffy things, like yarn. your mileage may vary. But if the yarn doesn't do it for you, she has ferrets, too.*

Okay, I have to mention the books for a second. Incarnate is about a girl born into a society where every other person is a reincarnated soul who takes the memories of each lifetime to their next lifetime. The same souls had been born over and over again, until Ana came along instead of the soul everyone expected her to be. Hilarity ensues. Well, not hilarity. But Lots of Things ensue. Especially Sam. You will want to know about Sam.

I couldn't wait to get my hands on Asunder, and I'm not going to give you spoilers. Once you see the cover, you'll want to read them anyway.
Cover art for INCARNATE
See? Pretty, right?

When I looked up the details of the event, hosted by Hooray for Books in Alexandria, Virginia, I was intrigued by the other three authors participating. I hadn't read their books yet, and after meeting them, I put all three of their books on top of my TBR list.

The only picture I was able to take before my phone battery died.

From left to right, they are Jodi Meadows, The Megans (as Lulu called them), Megan Spooner, author of Skylark (in a society under a dome where she's never seen the sky, Lark discovers she might be something out of legend when it was her turn to give up her innate magic to power the dome), and Megan Shepherd, author of The Madman's Daughter (which is a really interesting take on the Island of Doctor Moreau told from the POV of the doctor's daughter, so you know I want to read this as a HUGE Wells fan), and Lenore Appelhans, author of Level 2 (an unusual look at an afterlife where memories are currency. More memories means more wealth).

The audience was lovely. I was not. Lulu wanted to suggest a page number for Jodi to read, but I'd already decided on one, and I SHOUTED DOWN MY OWN KID. But it gets better (worse). Jodi asked one question from Incarnate, with the prize of a pair of incredible hand-made Jodi Mitts. I did raise my hand, and Lulu didn't, but she swears she knew the answer too. I know she did, but she's not a hand raiser. You snooze, you lose, kiddo. And I didn't even answer the question 100% correctly, but still won the mitts. Sure, I am Mittens. Mittens needs mitts. But I promised to share them 50-50 with Lulu.

Precious Mitts! They are SOOOOOO soft.
I also wanted to tell Jodi a silly story that took place shortly after Incarnate was released. I believe it was the Authoress who tweeted that Jodi was giving away Fluff Ponies, and to contact her if you wanted one. So I did. I hadn't read Incarnate yet, but how can you not after receiving a Fluff Pony with Super Magical Powers?

This is the content of that email. If that doesn't make you a fan, then I don't need to know you:

Congratulations! Your request for a fluff pony has been APPROVED. Welcome to your new life with your fluff pony.

Your fluff pony is fully loaded and ready for battle. Note the laser bracelets and cuffs; those are weapons. Note the pointy horn; that is a weapon. See the wings? Those aren't weapons. Those are for getting you to the doorstep of your enemy so you can DESTROY. (Or away from your enemy, if necessary.) The glasses are to allow your fluff pony to SEE THROUGH WALLS so you can attack while your enemy is showering or otherwise vulnerable.

You are awesome. You deserve nothing but the best fluff pony available.

Now you have it.


I named him George. Every once in a while, when I really need to feel like I could arrive at the doorstep of my enemy and be prepared to destroy said enemy, I have a little visit with George.

But when it was our turn to have our copy of Asunder signed? I babbled incoherently for about 10 seconds and then ran for the hills. No cute story about the fluff pony. No reminding her that I said hi on twitter a few times, including the day before the event. Total incoherence.

So there you have it, my Thursday, wherein I proved I can simultaneously be a nincompoop and a cool mom. Lulu loved the event, even when I couldn't figure out which street you could turn left onto Washington Street from. *shakes fist at Northern Virginia traffic planning*

Thanks to all the authors and Hooray for Books. We had a great time.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Editing Lessons

***First of all, since I started writing this post this morning, several other folks have posted SUPREMELY USEFUL treatises on editing. I would like to direct your attention to those posts immediately. These contain IMPORTANT THINGS we should all be doing with our own writing, prior to sending it to CP's, beta readers, and definitely before querying agents or publishers. These are the basics, folks. I hang my head in shame that I've neglected this stuff in the past. But we all learn eventually. We make mistakes before we get it right.

28 Animals Who Have Made A Huge Mistake

I only hope that I FINALLY got it right ENOUGH. That's all I ask.

So, please check out these posts that may be RELEVANT TO YOUR INTERESTS:

By Melinda Dozier, six useful tips for more effective editing.

By Simon P. Clark, about the three distinct types of editing we should all take advantage of before any other eyes are allowed to see our precious word babies. In fact, I'm considering making it required reading for anyone who wants me to CP or beta for them in the future.

You have read and assimilated all that beautiful advice, right? Okay then. Now on to the rest of my story.

Since I finished the draft for Black Sheep last week, I've been going back and doing ALL THE EDITING. ALL OF IT. Not only on my own manuscripts, but on all the betas and CP's I had piling up. I am slowly making my way through it all. Promise.

When I'm in Writing Mode, I tend to spew forth wordgarble, and only worry about converting it into Legible English during editing. Sometimes the wordgarble turns out just fine, but most of the time it's filled with the kinds of things that give me the sorts of shivers that accompany finding slugs in one's slippers.

But I digress.

I am now editing. Again. I finished the three hundred and sixty fifth revision of the first manuscript in the series I'm working on. For the first time in nearly a year, I made some pretty major changes, and continuity became an issue, so I did a read-through before I sent out the new version. What did I find?

Passive voice.

Repeated words.

Verb tense disagreement.

And yes, this is past tense and present tense fighting it out in my brain. It's either laugh or cry, so...

I'm just tired of finding ridiculous errors after this long. Sure, I made changes, wrote new scenes, took out other scenes. Big things. But to find misplaced commas and misspellings at this point? It's...disheartening. But after this most recent Sticky Edit (and you know what that is because you read Simon's post, right?), I feel a lot better about ALL of this.

The truth is, I love finding mistakes. I have to confess, ever time I delete a rogue comma, or remove an overused word, or perhaps zap an entire scene, this now zips through my mind. It's quite satisfying:

But now I'm officially back in edit mode. Wordgarble, consider yourself on notice.