Nitpickers of the World, Unite Edit!

The Daily Post

Like most activities we subject to intense procrastination, editing our drafts is something we dread starting, but never regret once we’re done. To give you a push next time you’re staring at the screen, we’ve assembled a few time-tested editing tips straight from The Daily Post crew. Do try these at home!

Ben Huberman

ben
My not-so-secret self-editing tip (I give it all the time) is to read your text out loud.

Your eyes will often gloss over awkward phrasing, missing punctuation, and poor word choices (to say nothing of basic typos). Your ears won’t; they’ll force you to stop.

I find this technique especially effective when you’re giving a completed draft its first read-through. You might be dying to hit the “Publish” button and call it a day, but your voice will force you to slow down a bit and zone in on any remaining problem spots. These might not be huge on their own, but cumulatively they can…

View original post 1,042 more words

Moving My Blog

Hi Everyone!

I’ve decided to move my blog over to my website (which is all new and so grownup looking). All of the posts on here have been migrated to http://victoriamarshal.com/blog

If you follow my blog here I hope you will take a moment to join me at my new location.

Best wishes,

Victoria

What I Learned From My Dad

Mr Fix It ImageMy dad is the ultimate do-it-yourself-er. He’s never met a fix-it challenge  he wouldn’t take a crack at before calling in a professional. The man has nearly chopped his thumb off on a fan blade (which he sewed back together himself BTW), impaled himself in the keester on a length of wood flooring, and fallen through the ceiling over a stair well leading to the basement.

Yes, it is a miracle that he’s still alive. Our affectionate nickname for him is sparky for electrical reasons.

I own that I am sparky’s daughter. I once blew every fuse in my house rewiring a lamp (in my defense, it was a really old house and a really old lamp). So in honor of Father’s Day here are a few things I’ve learned from old sparky that I never will forget and you shouldn’t either.

1)      If it’s broke – fix it.

2)      If it’s not broke take it apart and see if you can figure out how it works.

3)      If you break it while exploring how it works it was a cheap piece of crap to begin with.

4)      Now that the cheap piece of crap is broken, see number 1

Happy Father’s Day Daddy! I love you so much, even if you did take my keyboard apart and it never worked right again. The cheap piece of crap.

June is Audibook Month!

Bookended by Beauty Queens Audiobook Preview

Happy Audiobook Month everyone! I am so happy to announce that Bookended by Beauty Queens is now available as an audiobook download.

Click the above link for a preview. I hope you enjoy!

Download you copy today from:

iTunes       Audible       Amazon

HAPPY TIARA DAY!

Happy Tiara Day Everyone!

ATTENTION:  All Honorary Beauty Queens, former Beauty Queens, current Beauty Queens, Wanna Be Beauty Queens, or just plain Queens! It is time to dust off your tiaras! May 24th is International Tiara Day (no I’m not kidding it’s real) and in honor of the occasion, I am sponsoring a contest for a $50 Amazon Gift Card and an autographed copy of Bookended by Beauty Queens!

Here’s what you need to do to WIN! Round up a photo of you (or your kids that would be fun too) with your tiaras – wearing them, hugging them, adoring them – be as creative as you want. Then PIN it to my Show Me Your Tiara Pintrest Page!

If you’re not on Pintrest don’t panic post a photo to your Flickr account, Blog, or wherever (except Facebook because they’re mean and won’t let me pin from their pages) and send me a link so I can pin it for you. You can also email your photo with your permission to pin to: contest(at)beforethefallbooks (dot)com and I we will post it for you!

A winner will be chosen by a panel of my Queens and Honorary Queens. The contest is open until Midnight on June 1st so get your entry in today!

Good luck and HAPPY TIARA DAY TO ALL!

Telling Grammar by Kat Duncan

Ever get a feeling that something’s wrong with your writing, but you can’t quite put your finger on it and neither can your critique partner? Ever get a rejection that says something like: “This story didn’t grab me the way I thought it would?” My critique partner told me recently: “Hey, you really made big difference in that opening scene. Wow! It really sings now. The scene is so alive. You must have made a lot of changes.” Me: “No, I only changed a few words and re-wrote a couple of sentences.”

It’s true. My partner was blown away by a few simple changes. Most of them were either word choice changes or grammatical changes. How did I do it? For a long time, I didn’t really know. Maybe I’m just instinctively good at grammar (don’t hate me). But that wasn’t good enough for me. I had to try to understand what makes writing bad versus good and good versus great. Luckily, I’m a tutor by trade so I have lots of opportunities to read what people write and try to help them understand what they want to say and how to say it better. I haven’t gotten all the answers (yet!) but for the last few years I’ve been pulling my ideas together into grammar workshops. Now, I’ve taken all my grammar lessons and put them together in an ebook, Telling Grammar. This grammar book contains practical, useful solutions that you can start using in your writing the moment you learn about them. No short lists of “do this, but never do that”, no drawn out lectures about subjects, predicates and complex clauses. And I promise you won’t ever make you diagram sentences!

What you’ll get instead is a sensible explanation of what works grammatically and why it works. Not the kind of scholarly details you’d find in a textbook (although I do provide the correct grammar terms for the die-hards out there). You’ll get real, practical applications and examples geared mostly to romance writing because that’s what I’m most familiar with. For those of you who are really old-school, there are practice exercises that you can try on your own (answers provided).

This ebook is for writers who don’t “get” grammar and for those who think they don’t want to get it. Proper use of grammar makes a story flow smoothly, page after page. Poorly constructed sentences and paragraphs ruin the pace of your novel and make editors and agents pass up your manuscript. This book makes it easy for you to try out techniques that work and it explains why they work so you don’t go back to making the same old mistakes. In this book are techniques that show you how to blend different grammar constructions to make action, emotion, and tension come through.

At only $2.99 it’s a good investment in your writing skills. Telling Grammar is available at:

Smashwords

Amazon 

I’d love to give away two copies of this ebook today. Just comment to be entered into the random drawing. Looking forward to sharing grammar ideas with you!

About Kat Duncan!

Kat Duncan is a creation extremist who is doing her best to identify human creativity and free it from captivity, one student at a time. As a young child, Kat once tried to confess the telling of her stories to her parish priest because she thought they fit the definition the nuns gave for telling a lie. With her lies fully sanctioned and blessed by church authorities, Kat writes stories to entertain and enlighten. She is a Fulbright Scholar who spent a year in West Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Kat has a master’s degree in education and over a dozen years of experience teaching students from elementary through college and beyond. Her stories span a range from realistic historicals to quirky suspense. Visit her at: http://www.katduncan.net

Show Me Your Tiaras! You Could Win $50 from Amazon.

ATTENTION:  All Honorary Beauty Queens, former Beauty Queens, current Beauty Queens, Wanna Be Beauty Queens, or just plain Queens! It is time to dust off your tiaras! May 24th is International Tiara Day (no I’m not kidding it’s real) and in honor of the occasion, I am sponsoring a contest for a $50 Amazon Gift Card and an autographed copy of Bookended by Beauty Queens!

Here’s what you need to do to WIN! Round up a photo of you (or your kids that would be fun too) with your tiaras – wearing them, hugging them, adoring them – be as creative as you want. Then PIN it to my Show Me Your Tiara Pintrest Page!

If you’re not on Pintrest don’t panic post a photo to your Flickr account, Blog, or wherever (except Facebook because they’re mean and won’t let me pin from their pages) and send me a link so I can pin it for you. You can also email your photo with your permission to pin to: contest(at)beforethefallbooks (dot)com and I we will post it for you!

A winner will be chosen by a panel of my Queens and Honorary Queens. The contest is open until Midnight on June 1st so get your entry in today!

Good luck and HAPPY TIARA DAY TO ALL!

Author Victoria Marshal answers the Dames’ Dozen

Hi All,

So excited to be part of the Dames’ of Dialogue today. What a fantastic group. Please click over and join us if you can!

Author Victoria Marshal answers the Dames’ Dozen.

via Author Victoria Marshal answers the Dames’ Dozen.

Read the First Chapter Free!

Good news! I finally have permission to release the first chapter of Bookended By Beauty Queens as a free sample. If you’ve been curious about Bookended by Beauty Queens, but weren’t sure you wanted to take a chance on a new author, just click one of the hyper links in this post to be taken to the PDF of chapter one.

CLICK HERE FOR CHAPTER ONE! 

Flaws Make Character

When I think of characters who I love, I find myself drawn to characters that have some kind of major flaw.  To me a character that has doubts and insecurities to overcome is a character I can get behind.

These characters, despite their flaw, are not necessarily weak.  They simply lack in some area that feels insurmountable to them. When I’m reading, and I see a character bump up against their personal stumbling block time and again, I can feel myself rooting for them. When (if) they do triumph, a surge of joy rushes through me. I have been known to shout, “yes!” at these moments if the stakes in the story are high enough.

This is probably why I created the characters I have in Bookended by Beauty Queens. Angie Palmer has never quite recovered from growing up sandwiched between two beauty queen sisters. She grew up relying on her intelligence to get her through, and doesn’t make lasting friendships. She is a damaged character.

Before I began shopping Bookended by Beauty Queens, I sent the manuscript to various writer’s contests, because that’s what I was told writers have to do to get noticed. The first contest comment I got back was, “Why doesn’t this woman just grow up and move on with her life instead of being caught in high-school crap.”

I am surprised by this remark. Based on the number of women I know who refuse to go to their high-school reunions, and refuse to friend “certain people” on Facebook for reasons dating back to high-school, I think quite a few people have difficulty “growing up” and “moving on”. You know people like this too. I know you do. There is always something in the past that still affects us as adults, even if we only admit it to our therapists.

I believe Angie’s hang-ups from her past make her more human.

Angie’s major flaw, the thing she needs to overcome, is still being affected by her sister’s queen-dom. This is the springboard for her journey through the book. If she didn’t have some emotional obstacle, what would be the point?

Character flaws keep us guessing, and invested in the character’s journey. Will this person overcome? Sometimes they can’t or won’t. If the writer did their job, the choice should make sense to you as a reader.

All of the characters in Bookended by Beauty Queens have flaws of their own, some major, some minor, but to me all very human. I don’t want to read about characters who are perfect, and I sure don’t want to write them. No, for me, bring on the flaws.

 

%d bloggers like this: