Behind The Rewrite With Liesel K Hill: Making Sentences Less Passive

Behind The Rewrite With Liesel K Hill: Making Sentences Less Passive

making sentences less passiveI see a lot of writers who need to learn the logistics of making sentences less passive. In this Behind the Rewrite, Liesel K Hill explains why limiting passive voice is important and how she approached line editing her fantasy novel Dragon Magic. Since Liesel is both a writing coach and an author, you’re in for an insightful lesson.

As a writing coach, one of the main problems I see is authors failing to edit passive voice out of their manuscripts. Most of us, especially after our first book or two, know what it is, but I don’t think enough emphasis is put on the importance of learning this skill.

If readers cannot connect deeply with your words, which passive voice keeps them from doing, you’ll never create megafans. One of my secret sauce editing techniques is what I call editing for crutch words. Crutch words are words used too often by you, the author. They’re also red flags for passive voice. So, if you edit out the crutch word, you also edit out ninety percent of passive voice.

Some of the crutch words I edit for are ‘was,’ ‘but,’ ‘had,’ and ‘that.’ There are plenty of others as well, but these are some of the biggest culprits for me personally.

I edit for these intentionally, not just reading through my manuscript and hoping I catch them, but actually using the Find feature in my writing software to look at each, individual case.

Unedited Version

I’ve highlighted the crutch words and other issues in the passage below, which comes from my WIP, a medieval high fantasy novel.

     “You cannot beat me!” He practically shrieked. He stalked forward and thrust his face toward Borilad’s. “You are merely a soldier! I am fierce! I am formidable! I have powers you cannot wield or even comprehend. I will kill you, General. You know I can do it. You know I will.”

     Borilad noted that Malicroft did not even attempt to take the egg, thought it was within his grasp. The man knew better. Borilad had to give him credit for that, at least.

     He merely nodded. “I know you have powers I do not possess. I know you are willing and capable of killing me. I’ve always believed you a formidable enemy, Malcroft.”

     Leaning forward, Borilad peered into the man’s eyes. “But do not insult me by leaving me out of the equation. I’ve killed more men on battlefields than you’ve met in your entire life. I wield plenty of power, after my own fashion.”

Most of these words can be edited many ways, depending on how they’re used in the sentence. It generally boils down to the word being filler, meaning you can cut it without changing the meaning of the sentence. (And you should.) Or, it’s a vague word and you can come up with something much stronger and more specific. (Which again, you should.)

1. ‘Was’ is a lazy and vague word. Switch it out with something more specific. I chose the word ‘lay.”

2.  That can often simply be edited out. Unless you’re using it for emphasis, which I did with my second instance, it can simply be cut.

3. Had can often be cut without changing the sentence as well. In this case, this phrase is more a matter of far too many words to say the same thing. had to give became gave. I often see this with the word could as well. Something like, could hear can becomes simply, heard. The past tense, single word is much tighter and stronger than its more progressive counterpart.

4.  It also occurred to me that this is a medieval fantasy and “credit” is too contemporary a term. I changed the core word to ‘recognition’ and Borilad “recognized him for that, at least.”

5.  There are many instances where ‘but’ must be kept in a sentence, especially if you’re making a comparison. BUT, I use it far too often, as many authors do. ;D Go through each instance, read the sentence, and if you can cut it, do. That’s what I did here. If you make too many comparison sentences, consider splitting them into two separate ones. For example, “He wanted to go to the store but couldn’t find his wallet” can become, “He wanted to go to the store. He couldn’t find his wallet.” Depending on your prose, that may sound clunky, so you’ll have to see if it works for each instance, but you’ll find that often this works to cut down on overuse of the word.

Edited Version

Here is the edited passage. You’ll note a few other typos and issues that I’ve also fixed.

     “You cannot beat me,” he practically shrieked. He stalked forward and thrust his face toward Borilad’s. “You are merely a soldier! I am fierce! I am formidable! I have powers you cannot imagine. I will kill you, General. You know I can do it! You know I will.”

     Borilad noted Malcroft did not attempt to take the egg, though it lay within his grasp. The man knew better. Borilad recognized him for that, at least.

     He merely nodded. “I know you have powers I do not possess. I know you are willing and capable of killing me. I’ve always believed you a formidable enemy, Malcroft.” Leaning forward, Borilad peered into the man’s eyes. “Do not insult me by leaving me out of the equation. I’ve killed more men on battlefields than you’ve met in your entire life. I wield plenty of power, after my own fashion.”

This story, book 1 of my Dragon Magic series, won’t debut until early 2021. Until then, you can read the prequel, The Hatching. Get it on most major retailers, or download it free here.

limiting passive voice

More About The Hatching

What if a dragon looked into your eyes…and saw into your soul? Wenlyn dreams of seeing one of the legendary Harpy’s Servants up close. As a poor village boy, he can’t help but dream of the adventures the dragon-riding protectors of the Six Realms must have. Now one of them has come to Tranquil village.

With the Servant’s arrival, Wenlyn’s entire world falls away. He’s about to embark on an adventure of his own that even his wildest dreams couldn’t have conjured up.

Soar the skies with Wenlyn in this short prequel to Dragon Magic, an epic fantasy series.

More About Liesel

Liesel K Hill is a novelist who writes across three genres. Her scifi and fantasy are written under her full name, Liesel K. Hill.
She loved to read and write at a young age, and her earliest memories consist of her father sitting in the doorway of her room at night, relating stories of Frodo, Gandalf, and the One Ring. Her mother also read to her every afternoon as a child, sometimes for several hours a day. Today she is an award-winning author and a Story Clarity Coach. She plans to keep writing until they nail her coffin shut. Or the Second Coming happens. Whichever comes first. ;D

Website
IG Links: @l.k.hillbooks (for readers)
@theprolificauthor (for authors)

Opportunities For Writers

Are you an author interested in writing a Behind the Rewrite guest blog post? Get the guidelines here.

Check out Shortcuts for Writers Freebies including a 5-day line editing course, Facebook group, and resource for naming your characters.

Check out Shortcuts for Writers affordable courses including Book Editing Blueprint: A Step by Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable and the Energize Your Writing Toolkit: Cheat Sheets for Character Emotions.

How Authors Can Engage With Readers: 3 Tips From The @AuthorEncounter

How Authors Can Engage With Readers: 3 Tips From The @AuthorEncounter

Are you an author seeking to connect with readers? Then you’ll definitely want to attend the January 8, 2021 Facebook live in the Shortcuts for Writers: Editing Made Simple group. Nan Jenkins of The Author Encounter will be chatting with me about that very topic. The event will be held at 12 p.m. CST and a replay will be available. If you’re not a member of the Shortcuts group, you can join here. I am honored to be a supporter member of The Author Encounter. Below, Nan shares three tips for building reader engagement. You’ll also learn about another special event The Author Encounter has coming up and how you can get more information. 

As writers we want to tell a story and have as many people as possible read that story and love it. Whether you’re an established author or just an aspiring one, a key component to reaching as many people as possible is engagement.

Engagement, or the relationship between Author and Reader, is not always easy to establish and can be a lot of work, but is key to spreading the word about a book or book series. There are three simple keys to establishing reader engagement that every author should think about and implement when building an audience. Those keys are Engagement, Consistency, and Follow-through. Using these keys will help create an audience that not only loves your creative works, but shares and engages with them.

How Do You Establish Engagement? 

The first step in establishing engagement with readers is to engage with them. They can’t engage if there is nothing to engage with. Figure out the most comfortable method for you whether it be some type of social media or email communication. Then once you set up your profile or build your email list, the next key begins. 

What Does Consistency Do For You?

Consistency lets people know where they can find you or expect to hear from you. At first when establishing an audience it can feel like you’re doing so much and no one is listening. However, most fans are excited when they know exactly where they can find and communicate with you. Which brings us to the next key: Follow-through.

How Does Follow-through Help?

Follow-through is key to establishing engagement because it lets the people know that they are communicating with a real person, not a bot or automatic system. So when a person asks a question on social media or in an email, a response is always important. Responding and following through on statements, comments, and questions not only establishes engagement, but it builds the bonds that tie your fans to your work.

Recap From Nan

Using these three keys of engagement, consistency, and follow-through in establishing engagement with your audience will give you a strong base to reach as many people as possible. Although the keys sound easy, they can be a lot of work to actually implement. This is one of the reasons I was so excited to help found The Author Encounter. 

The Author Encounter is dedicated to increasing the visibility of authors and boosting fan engagement.You can find more information about The Author Encounter on our website.

For more information on increasing fan engagement, join me for a live discussion on the topic January 8, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. CST in the Shortcuts For Writers: Editing Made Simple Group With Stacy Juba.

But Wait, There’s More! New Year, New Mindset

Two publishing industry innovators, The Author Encounter and D.C Gomez, will join together to bring you a new workshop for professionals in the publishing industry, “New Year, New Mindset” on January 15 at 6 p.m. CST. This is a rare type of workshop for authors, covering the harder parts of being an author. The online educational and inspirational discussion style workshop will focus on three critical issues that publishing industry professionals face: professional jealousy, imposter syndrome, and professional rejection.

“New Year, New Mindset “ is part of The Author Encounter’s professional development series that collaborates with publishing industry professionals to create career enhancing events. D.C. Gomez, a member of The Author Encounter, professional author and speaker, will be hosting this workshop. D.C.’s Dare series, Dare to Believe: A 4 Week Devotional to help you see yourself in a new light and start believing in your inner strength and Dare to Forgive: A 4 week devotional to help you heal the wounds of the past by forgiving yourself and others, are available on Amazon.

The inspiration for this workshop came in part from D.C. Gomez’s Dare series and the vision of The Author Encounter to create intimate uniquely themed events that engage and enhance the author and reader experience. It is our hope that by presenting these professional workshops and more like it that authors will have a safe environment for dealing with the real issues in the publishing industry. Registration is required, and space limited.

12 Free Gifts For Indie Authors Through Jan. 5 #writingcommunity #writinglife

12 Free Gifts For Indie Authors Through Jan. 5 #writingcommunity #writinglife

Christmas goody bags for writers

Are you an author who is ready to keep the holiday cheer going for another twelve days? Then you will absolutely love the 12 Days of Christmas Party sponsored by Thriving Scribes,

2020 has been something else, this year, hasn’t it? And this holiday season, all I want to do is share as much value with you as I possibly can to make the remainder of the year spectacular (and to help kick off 2021 on the right foot!).

A few weeks ago, my friend Brit had a fun idea for Christmas this year. She wanted to throw an online Christmas party of sorts… complete with goody bags full of freebies. I was totally on board!

This is your official invitation to be my +1. Join me at the party and grab your Regular Goody Bag. 🛍️ It’s free and comes with 12 days of FREE product drops of value up to $100. 🎉

You’ll find my Overused Words Cheat Sheet, a handy PDF featuring about 200 of the most commonly overused words that I’ve seen as an editor. It’s a tool normally just available to students enrolled inside my course Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan To Making Your Novels Publishable. I know some writers who have even hung this handy resource above their desks as they refer to it so often.

While you’re picking up the free gifts, be sure to check out the Premium Goody Bag 🎁 as well. It contains more than $2,000 worth of premium products.

This party ends January 5.

Here’s a sneak peek of what else you could pick up…

  • How To Create Engaging Emails Workshop (free)
  • Triple Your Writing Speed course (premium)
  • Instagram for Authors (free)
  • Indie Publishing Fundamentals course (premium)
  • 12 Step Book Launch Strategy eBook (free)
  • Trello 4 Authors (free)

And more!

Want to join the party and get your hands on one, or both, of these goody bags? Sign up here.

 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you purchase the premium goody bag through my link, then I will receive a commission.

 

Behind The Rewrite With Clarissa Gosling – How To Increase Word Count In A Novel

Behind The Rewrite With Clarissa Gosling – How To Increase Word Count In A Novel

how to increase word count in a novel

How do you increase the word count in a novel when the book is too short? In today’s Behind the Rewrite, author Clarissa Gosling gives us a glimpse into how she fleshed out her YA fantasy Dragon Shift during the editing process. Writing too short is an issue that many writers struggle with, especially after they trim the fat and tighten their sentences. Below, you can see how Clarissa handled this common problem.

Change #1: Add Description

I write short, so before I go through and line edit I have to add in more details. My first draft is a whizz through the story and what happens, but is incredibly light on description. I think this is because I often skim over any description when I’m reading, so the first thing I have to do is go through and sprinkle in descriptions of the characters and the settings. Having a clear picture of what my characters look like is often one of the last things I know about them, sometimes not til I’m fairly well into the editing process. The same for details of the settings. It is only when I’m going through to revise that I search online for images or details that I can use. And in every scene, I aim to include details from other senses as well as what it look like. This adds to the variety and makes it more immersive for the reader. For Dragon Shift, I also chopped the first two scenes from my first draft and the last five scenes to tighten the pacing.

Change #2: Add Emotion

As well as adding in description, I look for ways to add in emotion. I find The Emotion Thesaurus an invaluable resource for this as it gives so many options for ways you can show the emotion of your characters. And showing not telling is the maximum for good fiction. So for every scene I think about the emotions that the main characters are going through and how I can portray that through their actions. Do they bite their lip or cross their arms and frown? And adding in their body language helps to break up dialogue and make it clear who is speaking without saying he said, she said all the time. (Note from Stacy: Also check out my Energize Your Writing Toolkit: Cheat Sheets for Character Emotions e-book and mini course for another tool about body language and emotions.)

Change #3: Include Specific Fantastical Details

My story is an epic fantasy set in another world with shifters, dragons and magic, so I want to portray that through my word use. Terms for measuring time and distance, the way they talk about magic, etc, these all need to be consistent and some to be different from what we use in the real world. For example, in my story the main way they measure time is with water clocks, so I used the words drib, dram and drogue for increasing lengths of time. It is a reminder that their time measurement is dependent on water when their terms for time are also based on liquid measures. Then I hope that the way I use those words makes their meaning clear in the text. This is a way I can show that there are differences between my fictional world and our real one. These terms add flavour and interest in an easy way, though choosing them so that they are internally consistent with how your world works takes a lot of thinking. And you need to make sure you don’t overdo this. Choose which terms you want to change and then keep others the same so that you don’t overwhelm your readers.

Change #4: Check Consistency

As I go through my first draft I look for consistency. On a large scale this is consistency in things like Point of View. As I read through Dragon Shift, I realised I had started writing the story in first person, but after a few chapters I changed to close third. On going through to revise it, I decided to switch the first section to close third to keep it all the same.

On a smaller scale, this is looking at how things work and what I’ve called them. For example, the main mode of transport in my world, at least for those who can afford it, are magically powered barges that sail through the air. As I had written my first draft I had changed the names of these through the course of the story, so in revising I picked one term (floatship) and used that the whole time.

Change #5: Increase The Romance

Though the main change I had to make was increasing the romance in the story. My first draft went from her first impression of him as a “gangly, pimply boy, a couple of years younger than her,” through very little interaction, to a heartfelt and emotional scene at the end. (I can’t say more about the end scene without giving away too many spoilers.) Needless to say, he is now a couple of years older than her, a bit more attractive-looking, and I’ve elaborated on their relationship through the story as they get to know each other. There are now more scenes where they talk more and learn about each other, as well as showing how they interact during group scenes. Increasing the screen time for the two of them together automatically develops their relationship to, I hope, a level where the final scene is more believable rather than coming out of nowhere.

At least, this was my intention to do. If you are interested to see how well I managed this then read Dragon Shift, the first in my new YA Fantasy series.

Dragon Shift

Want To Read The Book?

Half-bear-shifter half-dragon in a world where dragons are thought extinct, Birgith must face the ultimate test of her shifting ability to be accepted as an adult in the Bear-shifter clan.

If Birgith manifests any sign that she has dragon blood, she will be killed immediately and her dragon family hunted, as they are feared by all four clans in the continent of Kaitstud. But when the test comes, she is unable to shift at all. So she is exiled and classed as a human, with all the restrictions on her that designation entails. Leaving behind everything she’s ever known, Birgith sets out on a perilous journey away from her forest home to make peace with her dual heritage. A journey to find her hidden dragon family. A journey that puts her life and theirs at risk. Or that will help her embrace who she truly is.

The first in an exciting new series for readers who love magic, adventure and strong female characters.

Buy it on Amazon.

More About Clarissa 

Clarissa has always lived more in the world of daydream and fiction than in reality. In her writing she explores purpose and belonging across worlds. Having never found her own portal to faeryland, she is resigned to writing about fantastical worlds instead. She now lives in the Netherlands with her family, where she writes as much as they will let her. When not reading or writing, she drinks too much tea and has a burgeoning obsession with Bundt cakes.

Visit her website and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Opportunities For Writers

Are you an author interested in writing a Behind the Rewrite guest blog post? Get the guidelines here.

Check out Shortcuts for Writers Freebies including a 5-day line editing course, Facebook group, and resource for naming your characters.

Check out Shortcuts for Writers affordable courses including Book Editing Blueprint: A Step by Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable and the Energize Your Writing Toolkit: Cheat Sheets for Character Emotions.

Gifts For Friends Who Love Writing, Work From Home, Or Yourself!

Gifts For Friends Who Love Writing, Work From Home, Or Yourself!

gifts for friends who love writing

I’m excited to announce that I have a brand new Amazon Influencer store featuring books and products for writers and entrepreneurs. They make great gifts for friends who love writing or who work from home—or for yourself! You’ll find journals, business planners, writing books, home office supplies and decor, tech gadgets and accessories, video and audio equipment, and products to help with the aches and pains that come from hunching over a computer all day. Headaches, eyestrain, backaches, neck aches, carpal tunnel—you’ll find suggestions for all of those ailments and more. I also shared some of my favorite “fun” products to decompress by myself or with my family.

You can check out the main storefront here. Please note that as an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission on sales made through my links.

Below, I’ve included direct links to the various subcategories in my Amazon shop. I also embedded a series of three Show and Tell videos where I hold up some featured products that I own and do short reviews.

Let me know in the comments which products look the most interesting to you, if you’ve ever used any of these, or if you have suggestions for my lists. 

 

Main Storefront

Books for Writers

Home Office

Inspiration, Personal Development, & Journals

Technology

Business Books & Planners

Comfort and Health

Video and Audio Equipment

 Fun & Games

Books I’ve Published

Again, you can find all of the products featured in the videos (and many more) in my Amazon store.  

Let me know what you think in the comments!

 

Discover The Ultimate Resource On Body Language For Writers

Discover The Ultimate Resource On Body Language For Writers

body language for writers

If you’re tired of conjuring up fresh ways to describe a gaze, smile, or sigh in your fiction, then I’ve got a resource on nonverbal communication and body language for writers that you might be interested in! I just released the Energize Your Writing Toolkit: Cheat Sheets for Character Emotions, a 100-page printable toolkit jam-packed with more than 4,000 emotional phrases arranged into easy-to-digest lists.

  • Put the pages into a binder that you can pull out whenever you need help showing a character’s emotions.
  • Get inspiration when you’re stuck or scenes need more emotion. Use the phrases word-for-word, refine them, or mix & match.
  • Use the blank lines and print extra copies of the page template to add your own phrases and categories.

The toolkit includes:

Overview of nonverbal communication and body language.

Detailed written instructions and examples on how to use the cheat sheets.

A walk-through video.

More than 4,000 nonverbal prompts that span 21 categories and numerous subcategories.

See It In Action nonverbal snippets from published books.

Discussion questions that guide you through finding your strengths and weaknesses.

Bonus nonverbal communication video from the online course Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable.

The Energize Your Writing Toolkit is just $29. Watch the above trailer for a quick overview and purchase here.

 

Last Chance! Get Over $7,000 In Social Media Influencer Tools For $49!

Last Chance! Get Over $7,000 In Social Media Influencer Tools For $49!

social media influencerPlease note that I am an affiliate and receive a commission on sales. However, I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t think it was a great deal!

If you’re a published author with several books to promote, an entrepreneur, or a small business owner, you’ll want to explore the Social Media Influencer Super Stack.

Increase your reach, influence, and impact on social media with this hand-curated collection of cutting-edge tools and resources designed by industry insiders. ⁠You’ll learn strategies to master YouTube, LinkedIn, TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook Live, Facebook ads, hashtags, and more. You’ll also get trial subscriptions to several products so you can try out the ones that interest you and see if you’d like to make them part of your long-term strategy.

Total Retail Value: $7,253.87.⁠

Yours today for only $49. But hurry! The deal ends Tuesday, Dec. 1!⁠ You can take a walk-through tour of what to expect in the below video, which also reminds you that two other Cyber Monday deals are expiring very soon:

Writer’s Craft Stack 2.0 – Over $3,300 of writing courses and ebooks for $49. Deal ends 12/1
 
ProWritingAid Sale – 50 percent off lifetime license and 25 percent off annual license for this highly recommended grammar and style checker. Deal ends tonight, Nov. 30. New users who buy through my link can send me their receipt at stacy at stacyjuba.com for 3 bonuses.

Video Walk-Through Of Writer’s Craft 2.0 Bundle – 37 Products for $49

Video Walk-Through Of Writer’s Craft 2.0 Bundle – 37 Products for $49

Below is my 20-minute walk-through of the Writer’s Craft 2.0 Black Friday Super Stack – over $3,300 of courses for only $49! Craft the book of your dreams with this epic collection of 35+ step-by-step ecourses, writing masterclasses, bestselling ebooks, and planning software designed to help you transform your story idea into a page-turner readers will love.

I explain how this bundle came about, how it works, and go over the different products geared toward fiction writers and nonfiction writers. To make it less overwhelming, I talk about which products I recommend that you start with, depending on your level and genre. I also talk about sales for my own courses and how they tie into this bundle. I hope you find this helpful!

Check out the sale here before it disappears on Dec. 1!

Please note that I am an affiliate and receive a commission on sales. However, I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t think it was a great deal!

Video Walk-Through Of Writer’s Craft 2.0 Bundle – 37 Products for $49

Get Over $3,300 Worth Of #Writing Courses For Only $49! Ends 12/1 #Writers

Black Friday for writers
Black Friday has come early for writers! You don’t want to miss Writer’s Craft 2.0, an amazing bundle of tools, training and resources that will help you level up your writing. Craft the book of your dreams with this epic collection of 35+ step-by-step ecourses, writing masterclasses, bestselling ebooks, and planning software designed to help you transform your story idea into a page-turner readers will love.

Total retail value: $3,361.77

It’s yours today for only $49!

Just getting started and want to avoid costly mistakes? You’ll find a proven blueprint to turn your ideas into page-turning narrative here.

Been writing for a while, but lost the fire and passion you once had? You’ll find plenty of ways to re-ignite your love of creative writing (and make it more profitable than ever) inside here.

Or maybe you’re just looking to immerse yourself in the writing craft and learn the secrets of editors, instructors, and bestselling authors. 

Below are images showing just a few of the goodies you’ll find inside this bundle.

This deal expires on Tuesday, December 1st at 11:59pm EST. After that, the deal vanishes.

Click here to pick up your copy of Writer’s Craft 2.0 before it’s gone forever.

Please note that I am an affiliate and receive a commission on sales. However, I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t think it was a great deal!

Black Friday for writers
Buy ProWritingAid On Sale And Get My 3 Bonuses! #writingcommunity #writing

Buy ProWritingAid On Sale And Get My 3 Bonuses! #writingcommunity #writing

ProWritingAid Black Friday

I know a lot of you have been hoping ProWritingAid would hold their annual Black Friday sale this year and have been waiting to buy, just in case. I’ve got good news. It’s here, and they’re going big! And there’s more. If you’re a brand new user and purchase by clicking my affiliate link, and then forward me your receipt, I’ve got three bonuses for you.

Here are the details:

The sale is on now through Monday, Nov 30 at 11:59 PM PST. For any purchases made today or tomorrow, (Nov. 23 or 24) ProWritingAid will donate $5 per purchase to the Children’s Literacy Charity. So, if you know you want to take advantage of the sale, buy now and you can give to charity at the same time.

  • Lifetime licenses are 50% off.
  • Annual licenses are 25% off.

My bonuses for new ProWritingAid users who buy through my link and send me the receipt are:

1. My two-page Overused Words Cheat Sheet, a valuable tool otherwise only available to students in my online course Book Editing Blueprint. This resource will help you to find the overused words in your writing as well as the “padding words” that can be easily cut.

2. I’ll also send you a 42-minute tutorial video that teaches you how to use the Overused Words Cheat Sheet and unleash the power of ProWritingAid and Google Docs/Microsoft Word.

3. My ProWritingAid Cheat Sheet – To help you get up and running quickly, I compiled a cheat sheet of helpful links from the ProWritingAid website guiding you through the set-up and how to use my favorite features.

Okay, so those of you who have been waiting for this sale are probably clicking the link right now. If you’ve never heard of ProWritingAid before, or it sounds familiar but you’re not quite sure what it is, here are some FAQs below.

 

What is ProWritingAid and why is this sale a big deal?

It’s my favorite editing software, and is a grammar checker, style editor, and writing mentor in one package. I’ve used the premium version for years and have corresponded with their support team as a customer and as an affiliate.

I am promoting this tool as ProWritingAid is an excellent supplement to my signature online course Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable, and it’s a resource that I recommend to my editing clients. It’s also great for college students and businesses. 

The sale is a big deal as they only drop their prices once, maybe twice, a year. As an affiliate, I can normally get you 20 percent off, but that’s obviously not as good as the Black Friday sale deal. 

Will it catch every mistake you make? No. It’s impossible for a software program to catch every error. Some manuscripts will still need a copyeditor and/or proofreader. Sometimes, ProWritingAid will even give you bad advice. It’s important to have basic grammar knowledge so you can make an educated decision whether to follow a recommendation or ignore it.

Despite these drawbacks, I still highly recommend ProWritingAid. It will catch many typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors, identify flabby and overused words, and do so much more. If you’re an author, it will help clean up the manuscript so your editors can do their jobs more efficiently, and it may cut down on your editing expenses.

Which plan should I get, annual or lifetime?

Think about how often you’ll use it. Are you a prolific author who churns out a couple books per year? Do you run a business? Are you a college student? Then maybe the lifetime ProWritingAid license would be a worthwhile investment. I found that paying a one-time fee for a lifetime license was a much cheaper alternative than renewing a subscription on an ongoing basis. Getting it now, for 50 percent off, is a fantastic deal!

I might be interested. What do I do next?

 It’s simple. Order through my link: https://prowritingaid.com/en/App/Purchase?afid=7663 Then forward your receipt to stacy@stacyjuba.com and I will send you my three bonuses.

Affiliate Disclaimer: If you purchase through my affiliate link, I will earn a commission on sales.

Behind The Rewrite With @JudyPenzSheluk: Varied Words Aren’t Always a Given

Behind The Rewrite With @JudyPenzSheluk: Varied Words Aren’t Always a Given

 

varied words

When I read Judy Penz Sheluk’s Behind the Rewrite post, I chuckled as boy, does it ring true! We all have crutch words and phrases that we rely on when we’re talking to others. It drives me crazy when I listen to myself in a podcast interview and hear myself say “you know.” Writers also have to worry about using crutch words in their books. One of my favorite, (okay, overused) words in my own fiction is “as.”  As a developmental editor, I’ve discovered that EVERY writer has their favorite overused words. Judy’s post is a great lesson for beginner writers and a terrific reminder for seasoned authors.

It was while golfing this past summer that I first noticed it. Every time one of my foursome hit an errant shot—and there were many—she’d say, “Are you kidding me?” At first, I found it amusing. After a while, I started counting the number of times she’d say it. I stopped at seventeen.

I remember thinking, at the time, that I could never get away with that in a novel. True, characters have quirks, and dialogue needs to be authentic, but too many “Are you kidding me’s” and the reader is going to find it distracting at best, and annoying at worst. 

That thought was firmly in my mind when I was rereading Where There’s A Will, the third and final book in my Glass Dolphin cozy mystery series, before sending out ARCs and getting the manuscript ready for my proofreader. 

Because I’d already read the book more times than I cared to remember, and because it had gone through four beta readers, I didn’t expect to find any instances of “Are you kidding me?” and I didn’t. What I did find was an inordinate number of “given this or that…” And when I say inordinate I mean twenty-nine. How had I missed those? How had everyone else?

Since the “givens” were scattered throughout the book, I’m going to share six examples, before and after. 

Example #1

Before: The break-up with Hudson had caused a few minor ripples in Emily’s life, given that she had recently become engaged to his best friend, Luke Surmanski, but it was nothing they couldn’t work around.

After: The break-up with Hudson had caused a few minor ripples in Emily’s life. She had recently become engaged to his best friend, Luke Surmanski, but it was nothing they couldn’t work around.

Example #2

Before: Emily had hesitated at first, given what she knew about the property’s history. How many people wanted to buy a house where the owner had been murdered, especially since the case had never been solved?

After: Didn’t change a word. Some “givens” are okay, and I thought it worked well in this instance.

Example #3

Before: Emily didn’t believe him, given that he was the CEO of Pemberton Productions and his TV show had been a ratings winner for the past five seasons.

After: Emily didn’t believe him. He was the CEO of Pemberton Productions and his TV show had been a ratings winner for the past five seasons.

Example #4

Before: Arabella wanted to laugh out loud. Trust Poppy to refer to a murder as a “circumstance.” Then again, maybe she was being a hypocrite, given that she’d just signed a contract with Faye Everett.

After: Arabella wanted to laugh out loud. Trust Poppy to refer to a murder as a “circumstance.” Then again, maybe she was being a hypocrite, since she’d just signed a contract with Faye Everett.

Example #5

Before: In Arabella’s experience, all secrets tended to weigh heavily, given enough time and perspective.

After: In Arabella’s experience, all secrets tended to weigh heavily, with enough time and perspective.

Example #6

Before: They agreed to split up, Levon staying at the Hadley house to finish the appraisal, time being of the essence given this latest set of circumstances, and Arabella charged with finding a lawyer.

After: They agreed to split up, Levon staying at the Hadley house to finish the appraisal, time being of the essence with this latest set of circumstances, and Arabella charged with finding a lawyer.

overused words

Want To Read The Book?

Emily Garland is getting married and looking for the perfect forever home. When the old, and some say haunted, Hadley house comes up for sale, she’s convinced it’s “the one.” The house is also perfect for reality TV star Miles Pemberton and his new series, House Haunters. Emily will fight for her dream home, but Pemberton’s pockets are deeper than Emily’s, and he’ll stretch the rules to get what he wants.

While Pemberton racks up enemies all around Lount’s Landing, Arabella Carpenter, Emily’s partner at the Glass Dolphin antiques shop, has been hired to appraise the contents of the estate, along with her ex-husband, Levon. Could the feuding beneficiaries decide there’s a conflict of interest? Could Pemberton?

Things get even more complicated when Arabella and Levon discover another will hidden inside the house, and with it, a decades-old secret. Can the property stay on the market? And if so, who will make the winning offer: Emily or Miles Pemberton?

Buy it on:

Amazon

More About Judy

A former journalist and magazine editor, Judy Penz Sheluk is the author of two mystery series: the Glass Dolphin Mysteries and the Marketville Mysteries. Her short crime fiction appears in several collections, including The Best Laid Plans and Heartbreaks & Half-truths, which she also edited. Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves as Chair on the Board of Directors. 

Visit her around the web:

Website/Blog

Facebook 

Twitter 

Instagram

Opportunities For Writers

Are you an author interested in writing a Behind the Rewrite guest blog post? Get the guidelines here.

Are you a writer who could use some editing tips? Check out Stacy’s free resources:

Line Editing Made Simple–5 Days to More Polished Pages  – Free e-mail class packed with line editing tips

Shortcuts for Writers: Editing Made Simple Facebook group – Download the guide, 7 Simple Steps to Nailing Your Book Blurb in Unit 1.

How To Name Your Characters: Tips Every Fiction Writer Should Know – Check out this extensive post on naming your characters, an informative video tour of 7 character-naming sites, and a free PDF guide that summarizes all the information.

Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable – Learn how to streamline the editing process in this affordable, self-paced online course that will empower beginner and intermediate writers to think like an editor so they can save time and money. A steppingstone to hiring an editor.

Celebrate Indie Author Day With The Author Encounter (And Me!)

Celebrate Indie Author Day With The Author Encounter (And Me!)

Indie Author Day

I’m excited to be leading a workshop on Nov. 7, 2020 as part of The Author Encounter’s Indie Author Day celebration. If you’re an indie author or industry professional, The Author Encounter has tailored this day to you. Free and open to the public, this event will offer pre-recorded webinars, live panels, and workshops on topics such as the costs of self-publishing, ISBNs for self-publishing, how to get your book in libraries, audiobook production, marketing tips, and Pinterest for authors.

My session is titled Self-Editing Secrets: How to Simplify the Editing Process and Not Break the Bank. Registration is required. You can sign up here.

This event will be part of the fifth annual Indie Author Day event. In the past years, nearly 300 libraries hosted thousands of authors across the United States and Canada. This year, high participation is expected again. This is an opportunity for the indie community to come together to help self-published and independent authors learn and get discovered.

“Publishing your own work is more viable today than ever before and the Independent Book Publishers Association is honored to support those who choose this entrepreneurial path,” said Angela Bole, IBPA CEO. “Indie Author Day will provide a chance to discuss publishing options, learn best practices and celebrate successes with a tribe of forward thinking writers, publishers and librarians.”

In addition to the activities that will be happening nationally, The Author Encounter will enrich its programming with selected workshop videos produced by Indie Author Day sponsors from around the world. A panel will include Shay Baby of the Brown Book Series and DC Gomez of Inside the Minds of Authors. There will also be bonus content from the founders, Bethany Averie, YA author, and Nan Jenkins, virtual assistant.

Beyond this annual event, the Indie Author Day community offers programming on both the indieauthorday.com and the indieauthorproject.com to help libraries and authors stay connected throughout the year.

The main focus of The Author Encounter is increasing visibility for authors and creating super fans through unique theme events. It’s free for published authors to join. For more information about the event, click here.

To learn more about the national Indie Author Day, visit indieauthorday.com.

 

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