Despite how busy and strange this month has been, I still managed to cross the Camp NaNoWriMo finish line for the fourth straight year in a row! It's hard to believe I've been at this, in a constant and dedicated fashion, long enough for it to theoretically be a college degree. This is, by no means, to say that I feel like I know everything about How To Be A Self-Published Author: that'd be impossible. I will say that there are probably a few secrets lurking in the practice of surrounding yourself with people and experiences which make you happy and/or inspired. (For the curious: those current experiences, for me, include watching the entirety of Twin Peaks, attending a community theatre performance of The Hound of the Baskervilles, helping a friend move, picking blueberries while there's still dew on them, and stepping up my artistic noodling away from the written word.)
Those of you with a sharp eye may notice that I've changed the Arts & Crafts section of my website and removed my link to my DeviantArt gallery, replacing it with an onsite one. Not only does it make it easier for you all to see my art, but it helps pave the way for my secondary creative venture: an arts and crafts storefront called Gifts of Awen. Some of it is related to Aviario, but a good deal of it will be more inspirational and metaphysical in nature, focusing on the intent of creating magical and/or peaceful art for small spaces. My first project for Gifts of Awen is a series of artist cards dedicated to the seven chakras. Here's a peek at the first two, which I completed last night:
My goal is to also create postcards and other prints of these, along with other small art designed to help people find insight, inspiration, and a moment of peace in a busy, cluttered world. Commisssions will also be available through the site: I have several slots currently open. If you would like to see what else I have up at the moment, I'd be honored if you'd join me over at the storefront. Those of you who follow me on Instagram will also see pictures of new pieces as they're completed and posted! This may also mean the return of The Author's Oracle ... only time will tell. For now, I'm headed back to my creative corner to chip away at The Proper Bearing and work on some more illustrations. I hope you all have a lovely week!
It's editing season for yours truly, and since I'm about to dust off The Proper Bearing after its hibernation for some fine-tuning, I thought it was a good time to talk editing. As I've said in previous posts, it is vital to edit before self-publishing, and not just with a peer. If your budget for editing is non-existent, you have to be even more critical of your writing ... but with time and practice, good self-editing can become second nature. Without further ado, here are some of the resources I've used in the past to build my own habits!
Starting with the basics, ReadWriteThink has a checklist that's meant for classroom use, but still has some great starting points. It's also printable for use in writers' groups, workshops, or NaNoWriMo Write-Ins!
Fiction University has two great pages: The Spit Shine, which is a great last run-through, and more importantly, Crossing Words Off Your List, which covers the author's most important self-editing tool. The "Bad Words" list, which goes by many names, always serves the same basic prinicple: to help remove words which are either unnecessary or overused. Every author has a handful which are unique to them, and sometimes they aren't even words. (Confession: In The Cards had a lot of unnecessary ellipses before the final edit.)
Though those words are a good first step, they aren't everything. Grammar Girl's Editing Checklist covers the bases on ... you guessed it, grammar! This one is laid out simply, and yet very comprehensive, which makes it a good one to print out and keep in your editing binder if you prefer to edit on paper (like yours truly).
WordStream's Self-Editing Checklist includes talking points on all of the above, with an extra dose of humor. I take their final point with a grain of salt, however: they stress paring down your sentences as much as possible. While I'm a fan of a tightly written sentence, I also believe that keeping some of the proverbial meat on the bone helps you define your writing voice. Your mileage may, as with most method advice, vary.
Finally, there is my own Rainbow Editing Method, which I use in conjunction with my personal Bad Words file. I developed it while I was working on From The Desk of Buster Heywood, and it's gone a long way toward helping me identify my own problem areas. You're welcome to use it, too! There's a wrap-up post with links to all the sections right here.
Now, I'm about to dive into my own manuscript, so I'll see you all next Wednesday! Should you be up to the same task, happy editing ... and I hope you all have a great week!
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