Writerly Things

13 tools for editing your book

As I began editing my story, I asked a bunch of writers – either that I personally know or through Facebook writers groups – what tools they use when editing their book.

I was shocked that most didn’t have a plan or a tool…they just wing it!

I’m sure most of us would like a plan of attack. And so I give you:

Tools to edit your book

Best part: Most of these are free!

Disclaimer: I have not used most of these. This is what either other authors have recommended to me or I have found through extensive googling.  But they look great! Take what you can use and make your plan of attack. Less willy nilly…but don’t ditch the willy nilly….We all need that too 😉

 

1) Microsoft Word shortcuts – ❤ My favvie!

This writer was thoughtful enough to list out each step of her editing process and all the shortcuts or steps she takes in Word to find and fix these common errors. This is the most practical item I’ve found in my search. Use it!

2) 25 editing tips – checklist

Woohoo, I love checklists. I know where to start, what to do, and when I’m finished 🙂

3 & 4) Developmental edits – list of questions here or here

These are called checklists, but more like a list of questions to ask as you edit. Includes questions on plot, character, dialogue, style, etc. Very thorough, so if you want to catch every nuance, this is the list for you. I think I’d read my manuscript 50 times to catch all these questions haha 🙂

5) Proofreading checklist – PDF

I list editing software below, but you want to check things yourself too. For readability, grammar, punctuation, spelling – here’s that checklist.

6) Natural Reader – text to speech

Does not require download, just copy and paste your words into the website to hear your story read to you – a great way to catch errors you might accidentally gloss over if you read it silently. It’s bold claim is that it reads it in a “natural” voice, hence Natural Reader.

Also available as a free download to read from PDFs, Word, and offline.

Paid version with more features also available.

7) Readable – readability grades

Free, with premium paid version also available. Copy and paste text in, then see various grade levels on the right. Also notes adverbs, passive voice, cliches, and lengthy sentences and words.

8) Hemingway app – readability and editing

Copy and paste into the website to see grade level for readability, adverbs, passive voice, and hard to read passages. Best part: all these are color-coded 🙂 Note: in my brief test-run, spelling errors got the squiggly like Word, but punctuation errors weren’t mentioned.

9) Text Analyzer – see which words you over-use

Do you constantly say everything is “glorious” in your novel? I mean, it’s a glorious word, but you don’t want to over-use it. Copy and paste your text into this website to see which words and phrases are most common in your story. Obviously “the” and “and” and major character names will be prominent, but what else do you say that may be too much?

10) Ginger – editing software & text to speech

Just download it to your device. It’ll check spelling, grammar, and more. As far as I can tell, it’s free.

11) Grammarly – editing software

This is more popular than Ginger, at least in my circle. Whether that means it’s better or not, I can’t say. This is also a free software download.

 



*The below cost money but were recommended to me by other writers. You might want to check them out 🙂 *

12) ProWriting Aid – editing software

Free version for up to 500 words at a time. Annual cost of $40-45 if you want to edit more than that at a time.

13) EDITS System – lecture

Costs $22. Lets you know what you need to edit where.


Have any recommendations of your own? Comment below with what tools, tips, or tricks help you tackle book editing 🙂

 

for the Bookworms, Showcasing other Creative Souls

Megan Fatheree “The Half-Shape Child” Interview

This past week Megan Fatheree’s new book “The Half-Shape Child” came out, and just last week you had the chance to read my fanfiction for it. Megan Fatheree was kind enough to take time to give this fangirl a behind-the-scenes glimpse of her story. Check out the interview:
 
 
ALS: Tell me about your book.
 
Megan: Wow, you cut right to the hard stuff, don’t you? Okay, let’s see… The Half-Shape Child (THSC) is a story of friendship, true love, and a never-give-up attitude. It’s a journey through space and a tale of redemption. There’s action, alien creatures, some romance and a lot of other fun stuff. I’m trying not to give too much away here!
 
 
ALS: What genre would you say THSC is?
 
Megan: I would call it Sci-Fi, but others might put other sub-genres on it. Either way, I tend to just call it Young Adult fiction since it covers so many areas of other genres.
 
 
ALS: How did you come up with the idea for this story?
 
Megan: This is actually a really interesting question, because usually I don’t know how I come up with story ideas, but I can nail down the exact moment that I had this idea. It started with a Pinterest post with an idea about “what if your soulmate had a necklace that got colder when they were farther away from you and warmer when they were closer, and when you were ready you could go on a journey to find this person”. It evolved from there.
 
 
ALS: With all the different genres THSC covers, who would really love this book? What types of readers do you see reading (and re-reading) this?
 
Megan: From the beginning, I’ve known this book has fandom potential. As soon as I wrote the first draft, I knew this book needed to be loved by hordes of amazing fangirls. So, in reply to this question, I think that the people who would REALLY love this book are those from the ages of 13 to 25. I don’t know why, but that’s the age range I feel would love this book the most.
 
 
ALS: Oh yay, I just make the cut. But next year I still plan on loving THSC 🙂 Who is your favorite character? Why?
 
Megan: OH Come on, Amy! That’s like asking me to choose my favorite child! For the sake of time, I’ll tell you my top 3 – the main characters. Collin because he’s loyal and thoughtful and an all-around good guy. Henry because he’s funny. Really funny. And Terra because I fell in love with her story from the first word of this book. She’s complicated, but she has depth.
 
 
ALS: Henry is hilarious! And is there a character you love to hate?
 
Megan: There are two actually. First of all, Madame Kowalsky. I have to confess, before this book I had never written a character I actually despised. There were times when I wanted to strangle the woman, and I created her! She’s maniacal, diabolical, and ominous. I love her so much! Also, Kelvin. He’s kind of a background character, but he’s loyal to the wrong people for the wrong reasons. I’m with Terra, he should be shot.
 
 
ALS: Is there any backstory scenes that you had to cut out of the finished piece?
 
Megan: I tend to reveal backstory through the current story, so no backstory had to be cut out. However, there was this great scene toward the end where Collin was rounding up people for a posse of sorts and he went to get Dulsa. They had this great dialogue and Dulsa offered to pay him back in “cash or ploosh”. I miss that scene.
 
 
ALS: How many times did you cry writing THSC? How many times did you laugh? How many times did you worry that your characters were going to die on you?
 
Megan: I cried at least thrice. (That’s 3 times, for the less literary). All three times were because of strong emotional scenes that I wish I could explain but shan’t for those who haven’t read it yet. At least 2 involved a death, that’s all I’ll say. I laughed a lot. Pretty much, if Henry’s in a scene you’re going to get a funny line or reaction. I love writing humorous reactions to things, so those are in there too. And sarcasm is my friend. I worried that my characters would die a lot. There’s an entire scene dedicated to how much I worried that Collin would die on me. I’m still worried Henry might not make it. We’ll see how it goes in book 2.
 
 
ALS: Not Henry! 😥 Say it isn’t so.
For this story, you invented so many different things. What’s the favorite thing you created for this fictional world – whether creature, techie object, planet, etc.?

 
Megan: I think the one object I’m most proud of creating all on my own is the Solar Ray gun that Terra uses. And it’s only in one scene! I was like, “Solar rays. They’d literally burn you to a pile of ash. Yes, this has to go in there!” Really, really proud of that one.
 
 
ALS: That is a really cool invention that I hope I never encounter in real life. Is there anything else you want the readers to know?
 
Megan: Yes. I know I left a few things open-ended at the end of the book. That’s on purpose. This is the first book in a trilogy, so be watching for the next one. We’ll delve further into some minor characters’ stories and visit a new planet. It’s going to be really fun.
 
 
ALS: Can’t wait to read the sequel. And, finally, for those who are as psyched as I am about this book, how can we buy THSC?
 
Megan: Good question! This book is currently an e-book only exclusive. You can find it on Amazon and iBooks.
 
 
ALS: You heard it here – go buy The Half-Shape Child for a crazy ride of laughs, tears, aliens, and solar-ray guns.
 
 


 
 
Fatheree_author_photo

Megan Fatheree was homeschooled from Pre-school through 12th grade. During this time, she was blessed to be able to focus her efforts toward the craft of writing. She is now in her early 20s and a full-time author. Some of her books include “Precious Jewel”, “Eminent Danger”, and “Rose-Colored Glasses”. She loves what she does and wouldn’t trade it for anything. She looks forward to all the great adventures that lay in store for her in the near future.

for the Bookworms, Showcasing other Creative Souls

Book Review: Rabbit – Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen C Maze

What are the chances that Ellen would be feeling “givey” on the same day I’d be feeling “getty”? Well probably not that statistically improbable, but I am so glad that Lil Roni Publishers surprised me with the opportunity to receive this book.

 

www.goodreads.com
http://www.goodreads.com

 

While I wouldn’t say I’ve read every Christian vampire novel out there, I’ve read a few and been disappointed by all – until now. I feel that “Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider” succeeded in what all the other Christian vampire novels attempted to do: create a Biblical backstory, throw in a redemptive plan, and of course entertain the masses 🙂 The worldbuilding was over-the-top, with the different creative types of vampire hunting/feeding. Love it!

When Beth Rider’s books gives vampires hope of redemption, she becomes a target and is marked to be a “Rabbit” – chased and caught for the fun of them all. The ancient war is played out as she battles evil alongside those in search of their humanity.

I was a bit disappointed in the characterization of Beth Rider – most of the time, she seemed too calm and took the crazy occurrences in stride like nobody should realistically. But that did not detract from the story enough for me to not enjoy it – I’d take this Christian vampire tale over any other I’ve read to date.

Finally, the ending left me with many questions of – what now? Problem solved – and not. Which is of course how the best books should end!

for the Bookworms, Showcasing other Creative Souls

Book Review: The Furies by Natalie Haynes

I am so grateful to have received this book through FirstReads. I gave this three out of five stars – BUT I highly recommend it for the right person.

Who is the “Right” Person?

I favor plot-driven stories – the more complex the plot, the more twists and turns, the more I’m drawn to the story. This book is not that – if you’re expecting it to build to some climactic unexpected ending, that is not the case. This is a wonderfully written character-driven novel – you’ll have much of the plot figured out as you go and just be interested in how it happens and why it happens. For this reason, I did really enjoy this book. So if you enjoy slow builds and exploration of characters, Natalie Haynes does this so well that you can’t put the book down.

 

What It’s About

The Furies by Natalie Haynes is about a drama teacher in a “last-chance” school, and the consequences of discussing Greek tragedy. I know some reviewers weren’t big on the book because of believability – the teacher should have never got the job “just cause” she had connections. Sure, I agree. But that wasn’t a point of the story, and it didn’t detract from the story I don’t think.

I loved the integration of mythology in the classroom environment – the literary side of me loved seeing students intrigued and engaging in the story in some fashion. I also think that the youth were not stereotyped one way or another, but were each unique and complex with believable backstory that provided room for both empathy and frustration at their behavior – like most real-life situations I imagine.

 

One of my favorite quotes:

“Like most ostensibly bad children, as Robert had long maintained, they didn’t want to be bad. They were keen to learn how to relate better to each other, to their families and friends. They wanted to be happier and less angry. They didn’t enjoy the tantrums they nonetheless felt compelled to throw so frequently. They could usually understand that just as they didn’t like being shouted and screamed at, other people didn’t either. And if they couldn’t always make the extra step from recognising that fact to acting on it, that didn’t make them desperately unusual, for teenagers.”

I feel like that quote is both a great philosophy on youth who act out, as well as a great debate waiting to happen between those who have experience with the youth and those who like to think they know what they’re talking about. So much controversy, but a beautiful way of framing the problem at least.

for the Bookworms, Showcasing other Creative Souls

Book Review: Then and Always

I am so thrilled I received this book through the FirstReads program.

Image
http://www.goodreads.com

How do I simply sum up Then and Always by Dani Atkins? It’s about parallel universes and what-ifs and second chances and, more thematically, loss and hope and faith. Imagine waking up from an accident with perfect memory of a traumatic 5 years. Only everyone else has a completely different memory of the past 5 years, as if the instigating traumatic event had never occurred.

Dani had me hooked, and bawling, from the first chapter – but then again I’m a sucker for the best-friend-your-whole-life romance (team Jacob, team Gale, team Eponine – and now team Jimmy.) Some of the characters seemed cliche and I guessed the plot ending, yet this book still gave me a sleepless night as I ripped through the pages to the end of the story hoping against hope – and what I was hoping for I wasn’t even sure. Which reality did I want to be true? And what did I want the explanation for the other reality to be? I guess I can understand the Rachel’s struggle, myself not sure of what I wanted.

I give this story 4 stars, plus 1 star for the best-friend-romance. I know, that last one’s biased, but it’s my review. Loved it!

Creative Life

WIP Research: Circus Extravaganza!

www.wikipedia.org
http://www.wikipedia.org

  Okay, it’s not called “Circus Extravaganza.” But that is quite catchy, right? Here’s something equally alluring from my perspective though – The Worldwide Circus Summit. “Ooh” and “ahh” now, please.

Conferences can be tedious, monotonous, and a real snooze. Or they can be an exhilarating way to glean information in a condensed timeframe. And a circus conference? I would plan on the latter.

I need to understand the ins and outs of a circus show. And here’s my in. Basicly any research I need to do circus-wise can found in one place, right? Now I just need to get a ticket & roadtrip it next year. So if anyone’s wanting to come up with a creative birthday gift for me, you’re welcome. I promise to forget about this blogpost by then.

What Say You?

Know of any great circuses coming to town (near Peoria, IL), some local “extravaganza”? I need to know! I can get some research done, ya know, sooner than 2015. What about other great circus researching resources?

If you’re a writer, what setting are you researching now, or have you recently researched?

http://worldwidecircussummit2015.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/save_the_date_sm.jpg
http://worldwidecircussummit2015.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/save_the_date_sm.jpg
Creative Life

WIP: Unfixed Teaser

In the course of writing a novel you inevitably come across people asking, “What’s your book about?” In the course of submitting a work-in-progress (WIP) to an agent or publisher, there is a query to submit that states what the book is about – quite similar to the back of a book to pique the reader’s interest. Though I am still writing my WIP tentatively titled Unfixed, the number of people who ask “What’s your book about?” gave me reason to practice. Below you will find my working query, back of book, or teaser – whichever way you want to think of it. While the general wording or story may change, this is my current idea.

 

“Shall we put her together again?”
Silence.
“Well?” Dr. Wise looked at the pale couple.
“What do you mean?” Mr. Trencher coughed, finding his throat very suddenly dry.
“Put her together. Fix her,” Dr. Wise replied.
“But she is dead,” Mr. Trencher hoarsely explained.
“She isn’t Humpty Dumpty, Mr. Trencher. She left death before. She is simply fascinating. She could live again.” Dr. Wise rubbed his hands together and leaned forward to touch the arm closest to him on the floor. Then he paused, as if realizing the inappropriateness of such behavior in front of two bewildered and grieving parents, and sat up in his seat, letting his hands clench the desk to ascertain that they would not move again.

Julia Trencher has died. Twice. Yet she is no zombie. Hiding behind her parents money had been enough for her, to simply visit the doctor each time she broke. But when she meets the strange boy Sylas in the waiting room, he offers hope of others like her – freaks and outcasts, content as they are.

Great Geppetto’s Circus of the Travelling Strange is a place she could be welcomed, celebrated even. Just a simple contract Geppetto has written could provide a place where Julia may not be so strange after all. Geppetto has plans of his own, having learned that the success or obliteration of the entire circus depends on this contract with Julia. Meanwhile, Julia must decide if the circus is truly a community as it claims, or rather an enslavement the others have been powerless to escape from.

 

Your Response:

If you’re a writer, what’s your query (tentative or otherwise)? If you’re a reader, what makes you want to read a story? Is there any specific info that grabs you in the writing on a bookjacket?