editing

Hey Christians! Stop Ruining Young Writers!

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Recently, in an attempt to advertise a site that I no longer write for, I joined a couple of Christian writers groups on Facebook. After I quit the site, I was too lazy to unsubscribe from them (and managing Facebook notifications makes me want to punch a wall), so I still see the new posts. I also follow a lot of Christian blogs, usually by people who claim to be fiction writers.

And a lot of what I see is deeply disturbing to me, both as a Christian and a writer. (more…)

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How to Critique Creative Writing: A Comprehensive Guide for Readers

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One of the biggest problems I see facing young writers is a lack of constructive criticism. Bad books get self-published because friends and family didn’t want to be mean. People are delusional that they’re good writers because no one has ever told them otherwise.

And it’s hard, giving negative feedback. But it’s necessary. It’s so, so necessary. (more…)

Six Tips for Better Editing

What’s your process for editing a story after you’ve written and keeping interested in said story enough to edit it?

—Jaime

First, thanks a billion for your question, Jaime. Seriously. A billion.

I’m honestly still working on the process, unless you’re asking about physically how I do it, in which case I have the original draft up on one screen, the draft I’m working on up on another, and a bunch of notes scattered in front of me. As for the actual writing process, I only have one full-length novel draft so far, and I haven’t yet found the willpower to edit it again, though I have a lot of ideas for it. Even my poems are turning out harder than I thought to edit. I just can’t look at my own work objectively enough to know if the changes I’m making are better or worse. But I’ve found a few tricks that have worked for me on shorter stories, so I’ll list those out. (more…)

“But if It Had to Perish Twice…”

E is for editing.

I don’t know how to edit.

I should be editing right now instead of writing this.

The idea of editing the book I’m writing right now is making me physically nauseated, but I have to finish it soon.

I don’t like doing things I don’t know how to do. Okay, that’s not true. I love figuring things out; the best way for me to learn is hands-on. I love deconstructing just to see how something works and building it back up again, or being given a task or having an idea and watching it come together under my fingertips. But I don’t like being expected to know something I was never taught, being thrown into a mess and told that if I’m not out by the time the timer is up, I’m going to lose. I don’t like that. I don’t want to edit this book. I don’t know how.

I’ve hated working on it for so long that you think I’d be used to it by now. But hate isn’t something that hits you once and lets you get used to its sticky, oozing, smoldering darkness. Hate pours itself like tar into the cracks in your heart and nervous system and expands, until its object becomes so repugnant to you that you would rather do literally anything else than face it and deal with it. Anything.

Robert Frost (and I’m sure many others) claimed that hatred is ice. I don’t believe him. Hatred is hot. Hatred is the igneous rock of the soul. Hatred is turning the shower hotter than you can take it and relishing in the heat so intense it feels cold.

Hate is a nuisance. Like jealousy, it holds no useful traits for my survival as a functioning human being. I want it eradicated from my mind, if that is indeed where it resides. (I’ve never quite been able to distinguish the exact differences between feelings and thoughts and the respective places they reside. Some past society or another believed that emotions resided in the bowels–a theory I’m inclined to believe, for connotational reasons.)

So this is me choosing not to embrace hate. This is me choosing to eliminate hate. And, when that inevitably fails time and time again, this is me sucking it up and editing my novel and dealing with stupid people with a smile.

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I am both of them.