Wednesday, June 14, 2006

How to - Ghostwrite, and More on Editing

Uploaded on Nov 20, 2004
by striatic
Slate has a great little article on How To Succeed as a Ghostwriter, full off useful links for those interested.

Back to editing. Yes, you can probably imagine it's on my mind.
I just remembered reading over at Tambo's last week about passive and active voice. She referred to a fantastic little section on the matter in OWL that explains it marvelously.

So I was thinking of piling up writers' kinks. So far I've got:
-repetition - seems to be an encompassing problem
-details - too much (complicating descriptions, slowing down action) or too little (straight dialogue)
-adverbs usage
-weedy/hedging words
-passive voice

What else?

Bonus: If you ever get stuck writing small-talk in a coktail party, here is Slate's handy guide to small talk.

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michaelm said...

Correct language usage and punctuation are really out there in terms of the blogosphere. I feel I sometimes over-puncuate because of my writing style and desire to get emotion across. Maybe it will get better with a bit of work. This is a huge topic, Melly.
One for the ages, maybe? ;)


ps. you're blogrolled!

Flood said...

Michaelm has something here. Sometimes informal language can be a benefit or it can distract.
"I wanna play with ya, are ya gonna come with?"

M.G. Tarquini wrote a great piece of flash that addressing some of these points and made me want to throw my laptop out the window. You can read it here.

Flood said...

Sorry, I screwed up the link and now I can't fix it for some reason. Was a good story though.:(

Melly said...

Michael, don't even get me started about the blogosphere. Often I see things that make me grit my teeth. Of course, there is the speed, but not just.
And then when we comment, and I'm guilty in that as well, we don't always check ourselves. I once even wrote 'so' instead of 'saw'. Like - 'I so something.' And I was so emabarrassed later.
But I'm digressing. Overpunctuation. I knew I missed something. I have that tendency as well. Add it to the list. (Yes, a big undertaking).

Oh, absolutely Flood. Get us the link, get us the link. Now I'm curious.

Flood said...

Ok here is the link, you might have to c&p:

Flood said...


If it doesn't work I give up. Go to and click 'mg tarquini' Story is called 'Everybody's a Critic' I am going to go sit in the corner now.

Melly said...

Flood! Your hour isn't up yet. Get back to the corner! ;)
No, this time it worked. Thanks :)

fred charles said...

Most of the stuff that you mentioned is technical. There are other things that I look for when editing such as:

- Plot holes
- Consistancy
- Time passage

These things can be hard to catch over a long novel. If someones shirt is ripped in chapter one, it has to remain that way and so forth.

Melly said...

You're right, Fred. I guess I was talking more technical.
We'll simply have to separate the two. I guess I would say that I have two types of editing - one I call edit and it takes care of technical stuff, the other I call rewrite and takes care of all the plot issues you mentioned. I first rewrite, then edit, but I never thought of it that way until your comment. Wow! Thanks :)
Does that even makes sense, btw?

Benjamin Solah said...

It makes sense. Is overpunction like adding commas everywhere? If so, I do that a lot.

Melly said...

It's, like, adding, commas, everywhere, and; also; some; of ; these; guys; and perhaps: these: too:...
Haven't had my coffee yet, sorry Ben.

Flood said...

The whole 'show don't tell' thing is leaving me flummoxed lately.

It's fun to work on my stuff, then come here to confess my writing pitfalls.

FredCQ said...

I tend to do everything at once as far as editing and checking for consistency.

My novel takes place over a few day period so my characters are wearing the same clothes and carrying very little with them. If they get hurt in chapter, I have to keep that in mind for the rest of the book. It can be a pain at times to remember everything, so I try to take notes as I'm revising.

Melly said...

Flood, you just gave me an idea. Maybe I should have a confessional here... that would be funny :)

Fred, having one set of clothes sure takes care of a lot of "clothing" descriptions.
But your novel sounds interesting, it sounds like it happens over a short time, which means the plot should be condensed and packed.