2-for-1: Food, Family, Fear, and Whiskey Waffles

Hurry up, get in, let’s go. Two stops to make today.

Ladies first: Elizabeth Kaiser joins me in the post Food, Family, Fear. They’re connected, oh yes indeedy.

Then, my friend and editor and occasional drinking buddy Tom ‘BentGuy’ Bentley interviews me about my books, process, and tastes. And we talk waffles. And whiskey.

You’re Not Getting Your Writing Done Because You’re Building the Wrong Habit

Tom’s cat. No, it’s not a tomcat.
Editor Tom asks how we manage to start writing projects without bedeviling ourselves.

Short version: make it a habit.

Slightly longer version: make it the right habit.

Full version:

After 18 months of experimentation (following 18 years of dabbling) I’ve made writing my habit. It’s part of my daily routine.

Every morning, Best Beloved and I have our tea and a chat. Then, I go downstairs and write one scene (+/- 1,000 words is where mine seem to fall.)

Continue reading “You’re Not Getting Your Writing Done Because You’re Building the Wrong Habit”

I Trust Myself

want-of-toneJust as my editor does more than make sure my sentences and paragraphs make sense, my proofreader does more than ensure spelling and punctuation. Both are writers themselves. Equally important, both are avid readers.

The first proofreading pass of That She Is Made of Truth garnered some confused commentary from my proofreader, James. Plot points unclear, connections muddled — I could tell he wondered, a bit, what I was doing.

I trust his judgment.

Continue reading “I Trust Myself”

My Editor Makin’ My Book Better

You’ll want to sing that title to the tune of, um, something that fits. I don’t know what. I just know it’s better if you sing it.

polish-it-upMy editor, Tom Bentley, doesn’t just nudge my words into place. Line editing is important. His polishes my words from workmanlike to well done.

He also asks me hard questions.

Continue reading “My Editor Makin’ My Book Better”

How Not to Throw a Mess Over the Transom; or, Who Cares More, You or Your Editor?

the-best-part-of-waking-upMy finger hovered over the mouse button, ready to click “Send” and turn That She is Made of Truth over to Tom for editing.

But wait; there’s more!

Rather than tossing a soiled manuscript over the transom and letting Tom wipe it down before he even begins work, why not tidy it up myself, and let him spend his time doing what he does best?

I always run my manuscripts through AutoCrit before asking anyone else to work with them. It’s the least I can do (and sometimes, the least is exactly what I do.)

Continue reading “How Not to Throw a Mess Over the Transom; or, Who Cares More, You or Your Editor?”

By the Time You Read This Anodyne Will Be Done

Anodyne-cover-2015Best Beloved has been patiently listening as I rummage through piles of notes, paper and digital, to list every single task left to get Anodyne ready for my editor. Once that’s done, I estimate the level of time and effort for each, we lay out a work plan for all the tasks, and I go to work.

Continue reading “By the Time You Read This Anodyne Will Be Done”

Check Your Edge

another set of eyesUsed to work with my buddy Mike. He serviced pet grooming equipment, which is way more fun and interesting than it sounds. Huge mobile workshop.

Biggest part of the business was sharpening clipper blades. Clippers have two blades sliding back and forth past each other so unlike knives, which need a beveled edge, clipper blades need to be flawlessly flat on their face, the surfaces where they meet.

When Mike first started training me, sometimes I’d ask him to check my edge. Are these sharp enough? Am I overdoing it, grinding too much metal away, shortening the life of the blade? Am I working fast enough?

Because he’s the closest friend I’ve had in my whole life, our conversations included a bunch of personal sharing you might not expect to find in a greasy hairy machine shop on a truck. Life, the universe, and everything — we covered it all.

In time, the phrase “check my edge” came to mean more than the mechanics of blade sharpening. I’m almost 20 years older than Mike. He grew up in the country, having adult responsibilities when he was quite young. We each had a vast storehouse of experience and knowledge the other didn’t. We shared. A lot.

When one of us asked the other, “Hey, check my edge?” it was about the value of another mind and heart, another set of life experiences, weighing in on a choice, a challenge.

Continue reading “Check Your Edge”

Where Do You Get Information and Inspiration?

catching up on our readingReading a couple of Dave Bricker‘s excellent posts and Tom Bentley‘s newsletter I realized I don’t have much of what they used to call a “blogroll” around here. Must attend to that.

Besides Dave’s and Tom’s, the three I drop everything to read the instant there’s something posted are Larry Brooks’ storyfix, Steve Pressfield, and Rosanne Bane’s Bane of Your Resistance which is one of the best blog titles on the web.

In the meantime, tell me: what blogs are on your “must read” list, your “drop everything” list, your “catch up when I have a few minutes” list?

Funds for Writers

Hope ClarkTom Bentley mentioned Hope Clark in a recent post. I thought I’d share his comments. Her site and newsletter are intriguing.

Hope Clark has long sent out a writing newsletter that’s been chockablock filled with writing tips, grants and other publishing opportunities for writers. I’ve subscribed for years, and am always delighted, particularly with her thoughtful editorials. She’s also a mystery novelist of some acclaim.

Marty’s Violin: Guest Post by Tom Bentley

[l1]I[/l1]n the years since we met in Seth Godin’s online network, I’ve met Tom Bentley in that ethereal thing called real life more than once—too few times and each too short. Twice I’ve managed to whine him into writing song lyrics for me, despite his persistent insistence that he’s not a songwriter. We’ll address that later. For now, feel free to form an opinion on whether or not he’s a storyteller: Continue reading “Marty’s Violin: Guest Post by Tom Bentley”

The Write Word Easy Editing & Spiffy Style Guide

Writers should not edit their own work. I do anyway. You probably do, too. Raconteur and nutter Tom Bentley wants to make it easier, so he’s released his Easy Editing & Spiffy Style Guide. It costs a paltry $9.97 (of which I’ll get none because that’s not an affiliate link.)

From Tom’s site:

The 55-Page Ebook Contains:

  • Best Practices in Editing—Learn how editing is critical to effective communication
  • Editing Tools—How to use all editing tools to maximum effect
  • Types of and Approaches to Editing—Harness the power of every editing stage
  • Proofreading Methods and Examples—Don’t let typos tangle your efforts
  • Editing Checklists—Perfect your documents, step-by-step
  • Editing Resources—In-context URLs providing expanded editing knowledge
  • Style Guide Covering Numbers, Possessives, Semicolons and More!
  • A Pocketful of General Usage Tips

If you care about writing, and would like an editing and style guide that will make you laugh ’til milk comes out your nose, this is the one. If you don’t love love love it, and value it highly, I personally guarantee Tom will give your money back.