editing

Guest Post: Notes from an Editor

Want to become a better writer? Ever wonder what editors look for? Want to know how to proofread your own work? Here are some items to check before you send it to your editor:

anonymous female using laptop and taking notes on street
Photo by Keira Burton on Pexels.com

5 Things I LOVE to See in Writing

  1. Story Flow. Keep it going! This may sound simple, but sometimes you can be writing and not realize that you’ve gotten sidetracked. When you read through your finished product, make sure everything flows smoothly and is connected to the plot. If something causes your mind to wander from the story line, change it or take it out. If your story wanders, so will the minds of your readers. Keep it tight.
  2. Varied Sentence Length. You’re a writer! Make use of that. Variety adds interest. If you have too many short sentences strung together, your story will seem choppy. Or, if you have too many long sentences, it can seem long-winded. Be kind to your reader and vary the length to keep them engaged.
  3. Imagery. Similes and metaphors are powerful tools that can add depth and complexity to you work. But there are a few cautions: they shouldn’t be overused, they need make to make sense, and they can’t derail the story.
  4. Commas, Commas, Commas! I think these are the forgotten piece of grammar. Independent clauses need commas, but dependent clauses DO NOT.

    The easiest way to decide if you need a comma after your “and” is to ask yourself, “Can this phrase before the ‘and’ be a sentence all by itself (independent clause)?” If the answer is “yes,” give it a comma.

    Also, when reading your writing out loud and there is a pause needed, put a comma.
  5. Active Voice. Your story is much more alive and flows when written in the active voice. It makes your writing stronger, more direct, and more interesting to readers.
black and red typewriter
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

5 Things I HATE to See in Writing

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New Release! Prompt Me Romance

I’m super excited to announce the release of Prompt Me Romance. This creative writing workbook and journal is clean enough for teens but sophisticated enough for adults. Whether you are just starting out or have a string of published books, there is something in here for you. All new photo prompts, first person, third person, fill-in-the-blank, master lists, and much more.

I was thrilled when it debuted on Amazon’s “Hot New Releases” and may have done a really awkward dance in my living room (but there is no way to prove it–all video mysteriously “disappeared”). So check it out. I have samples and a freebie master list below. Enjoy!

Here is a peek at what’s inside. (more…)

Prompt Me Again: Creative Writing Workbook & Journal

It is my pleasure to announce the newest edition of the PROMPT ME SERIES. Woo hoo!

Prompt Me Again is full of new prompts and ideas to get (and keep) you writing.

I had a ton of fun taking all the new pictures. I went so far as getting into a pool fully clothed (with my friend, Jenn) and capturing some eery images. I also found myself wading through waist-high grass (in flip-flops) while getting eaten by mosquitos to nab the perfect sunset pic. And…it was all worth it.

As an aside, both of my editors faves are the “Fairy Tale Mash Up” and the “Facial Expression” reference chart. Regardless, there is something for everyone in the book.


Here is a glimpse of what you get in this new installment.

Clean enough for teens and sophisticated enough for adults. 

Add it to you TBR list on Goodreads here.

Prompt Me Again on Amazon.

prompt me series by robin woods 2019

Because you asked…more Prompt Me books are in the works.

Current Projects: Prompt Me Romance (Feb. 2019), Prompt Me Classroom, and Prompt Me Kids Edition.

 

Writing Resource: 188 Words for Sounds

When writing or editing, sometimes it’s nice to have a cheat sheet next to you to save time. This list will help you get out of a rut and add some sound to improve on sensory language.

As William Cowper once said:

“Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all it’s flavour.”

Mix it up and have fun. As usual, a printer-friendly PDF is at the bottom.

Do you have any sound words you love to use?

Infographic

words-for-sounds

Printer-Friendly PDF

Free for personal or school use: words-for-sounds

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Writing Resource: Words to Describe Voice Infographic

As I have been pecking away at the keys working on my new projects, I’ve been compiling a little list for myself. I thought I would make it pretty and share it with all of you. I do like to share. Is that weird? Well, not everything—my toothbrush is off limits.

Now that I have made that clear, here is my latest list. Voice Descriptor Infographic . . .

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Writing Resource: Where Do We FEEL Emotion?

When a character has an emotional reaction to something, it is good for he or she to have a realistic physical response to match. This is a quick graphic based on medical research as to where we actually feel the emotions in our bodies. Whether you agree or not, I hope this helps you think through your responses.

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New Release! Writing Workbook & Journal

I’m so pleased to announce the release of my seventh book! I’ve been teaching English for over two decades, so putting together a writing book seemed a natural progression. Many of the charts and reference materials were items I created for my own writing, and have been sharing them with my writer friends for years. They encouraged me to add to what I had, and get it out to the general public. I hope you find it as useful as I have.

Prompt Me Novel Front Cover

Fiction Writing Journal & Workbook

“This workbook provides a space for you to journal ideas and thoughts for your next–or first–best seller. Robin not only shares her knowledge gained by years of experience, but thoughtfully gives space for writers to reflect and hand-write their ideas and moments of inspiration.” –author and editor Tamar Hela

Writing a first draft can be daunting. This workbook provides guidance for key elements of fiction writing that help create a cohesive novel. Additionally, it gives writers powerful reference resources to create an emotionally authentic work and the space to hash it all out in one, easy-to-carry book.

Workbook sections include:

Fiction Writing Cover 8.25 x 10.5 (2 sharp)

OLD COVER

 

  • Brainstorm and outlining
  • Plotting and the “Tent Pole” Method
  • Character Worksheets
  • Conflict
  • Setting
  • Lined pages for easy journaling
  • And more!

 

Plot Diagram WS thumb

 

Reference sections include:

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Resource: Realistic Travel Times

Writing Resource | Realistic Travel Times | Robin Woods | #amwriting #writingtips #writing #writingcommunity

People who don’t live in California seem to think that everyone is within an hour from Disneyland. More than once I’ve had people contact me, telling me that they were going to be in LA, so maybe we can meet up for dinner. Now, depending on where this person is in the LA Basin, drive times from San Jose (40 minutes south of San Francisco) can range from 5 1/2 hours to 6 1/2 hours.  People always seem to be shocked to learn how large California actually is.  In fact, if you were to drive from the most southern large city, San Diego, north to the Oregon border, it would take you over 11 hours on a good day with no stops.

Google Can Be Your Friend

The point I am making, is that you need to research your travel times.  It is so easy to simply Google the directions from place to place. Google will even given you travel times for car, bus, bicycle, and walking.

Google Maps

But Google Won’t Tell Me

But sometimes Google won’t work. Maybe your characters are traveling on a private jet, or maybe your novel takes place in 1850.  Here are some fantastic resources to help you:

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Writing Resource: 8 Tips on Dialogue

Dialogue is an integral part of any novel. Here are eight ways to upgrade your dialogue and avoid some newbie pitfalls.

Improving Dialogue

  1. Every conversation should move the plot forward. No empty fillers, please.
  2. Pick a punctuation style and stick to it. If you are going to query a major publisher, you may want to use Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS). Regardless of what you choose to use, consistency is key. For example: if you use an en-dash when a character is cut off in a conversation, do it every time. 
  3. People rarely use each others’ names in conversation after an initial greeting.

    Here is an example of overuse:
    “Heya, Eric.”
    “Hello, Nora.”

    “Eric, how has your summer been so far?”
    “Well, Nora, it has been rather busy. I’m ready to slow down for a bit.”
    “I totally understand, Eric. I have been busy too.”

    Besides the fact that the dialogue is a yawn fest, people don’t naturally use one another’s names that much when talking. I makes your characters sound like game show hosts. “Yes, Vanna.” (more…)

Writing Resource: Words for Tastes & Aromas

I haven’t offered a free resource in a little while. so here is my latest offering.  Often writers forget to incorporate all five senses, make sure you include taste and smell, in addition to what your characters touch and see. Here is a cheat sheet to help you add sensory details involving the most overlooked senses.

Tastes & Aromas

Here is a downloadable PDF for personal use: Tastes & Aromas

Do you have any sensory words that you love to use?

Related Posts:

 

Check out the resources and master lists in the Prompt Me Series here on Amazon.

prompt me series by robin woods 2019

 

Empower your creativity.