Editing your writing

Is editing your own work all that difficult? I think it is. Once I’ve finished writing a piece and gone over it four or five times, my eye starts to skip even obvious errors. I’ve been working on an MS where an auto correct function took most contractions and spelled them with a quotation mark instead of an apostrophe – i.e. don”t instead of don’t.

For some reason, once that occurred the spell check wouldn’t pick them up. So I went through the piece manually changing them. Then I sent the pages to my pad to read it again and discovered I’d missed a bunch. See? It’s not that easy to do your own editing.

I’ve tried to work out a system once a piece is finished –

  • Run spell check
  • Run list of overused words
  • Read through on computer and edit
  • Send to pad to read and make notes of obvious errors
  • Final read through
  • I consider reading it out loud, printing it and reading it on paper
  • Then I start looking for other eyes on the MS because I’m bound to have missed something.

Joan DeMartin wrote a good piece on Lipsticking website about self editing. You can read it here –

http://www.lipsticking.com/2014/07/channeling-your-inner-editor.html

How do you edit? All suggestions welcome!

The Beauty of the East Kootenays

East Kootenay region of British Columbia is a magical place. We’ve just returned from there, exhausted and happy to have time with our daughter and grandsons who met us near Invermere along the Windermere Lake. The weather was fabulous, hot and dry, and we swam every day.

What struck me was how many cars were on the road from all over Canada and the United States. This is a very safe part of the world. We travel at our leisure, take time in the summer to visit and vacation. There were license plates from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, from Washington, Montana and Idaho. We saw California plates, some from Ontario and Quebec.

The roads are windy, mostly in very good condition, with a few spots under construction. The scenery is fabulous. Coming from the west coast rain forest, I am always fascinated by the mountain hemlocks with their short branches and upright bearing, backed by the sheer rock and high snowy peaks of the Rockies. They pack themselves in close to each other and take up such a small circumference compared to the Douglas and grand firs of the coast.

But back to the issue of safety. Would you take a car and drive the hills of Pakistan for a vacation? Or rent a boat and take your family tubing on a lake in eastern Ukraine? Pack your tent and go camping in the wilds of Ecuador without a guide? We are blessed to live here. I don’t take it for granted.

Long Beach, Tofino – a journey to the sea

My husband and I took a trip to the sea a few weeks ago. We drove up Vancouver Island and across to Tofino. The road is narrow and winding, a lot of people don’t like to drive it. But day time is fine, unless it’s raining. When it rains on the west coast, it’s quite different from when it rains elsewhere.

This is rain forest country. Many times we have walked Long Beach in October, our favourite time of year to visit there. We travel that endless flat sand with the sun in our faces, just watching the waves. Often when we turn around to come back, a black cloud has come up, following us closely down the coast.

It starts to rain, the drops coming thick and fast, pelting down. By the time we get back to our car, I can feel the water running down my legs inside my jeans. Everything I have on is wet through including my dripping jacket, soaked gloves, soggy shoes.

This time, it was June. The weather was lovely, warm enough to feel like real summer. We spent a few days on McKenzie Beach, poking around, biking into Tofino for lunch and groceries. The third day we went to Long Beach. We put on sunscreen, brought our sun hats and walked the beach.

The wind kicked up, blowing harder and harder. The rain began to fall, dumping down on us. Things blew across the sand in the forty mile an hour wind – an umbrella that finally dug itself into the sand, it’s handle like a brace keeping it facing into the wind, a blue bucket that had been ripped to shreds by the wind and water whipping it along the sand.

By the time we got back to our car, I could feel the water running down my legs inside my pants. June is a lot like October at Long Beach.

Romantic Suspense – why I write

Let me tell you a little about me, Sylvie Grayson, and why I write!

What am I currently working on?

My current work is a story called Suspended Animation, where an ambitious young hockey player is reluctantly dragged home because of a crisis, to discover his father is too ill to run the family trucking business, and it’s about to go under from a load of debt.

At the same time a young woman has loaned her money to be invested in a trucking business but when her fortunes plummet, she needs it back. Her only option is to approach the business owner. The scene when these two, the hockey player and the young woman, meet really tickled me because they are polar opposites and the air crackles with tension.

How does my contemporary romantic suspense differ from others in the genre?

My heroes are busy guys who are trying their best to make a go of their careers. They aren’t perfect but they work hard and play hard, knowing life can throw them a curve unexpectedly, and it always does.

My heroines are smart, usually independent minded women who like to do things their way and have a plan for their lives. When these two meet up, the sparks fly, especially if they are already driving on a collision course. Then I mix in a bit of intrigue and suspense in the shape of a bad character or two, some unforeseen events to up the ante and make things really interesting.

I try to stay away from the classic scenarios – big businessmen who enter into shady deals to make a lot of money, or high flyer politicians who work for their own interests to gain wealth or influence. I feel those have been overdone, and it’s time to look for more interesting and inventive plots.

Why do I write what I do?

I have a varied and out-of-the ordinary background and I think that comes through in what I write. My father was a story teller, played the accordion and mouth organ, and loved to sing ballads. My mother was a painter, a writer and a respected poet. So I come by the wish to tell stories honestly. I also have a background in business, entertainment, travel, start-up companies, you name it. So I like to write about those things.

Life is never easy, I don’t know anyone who has sailed through without a hitch. So when I begin to throw the hitch into the mix, the leak in the lifeboat, or the thief in the scenario, it just gets more interesting and exciting. The suspense in ‘romantic suspense’ gives the love story a special impact.

How does my writing process work?

I’ve written about five or six books now, and the process has evolved. Because I also have a job, I write when I can find the uninterrupted time to do so. I usually start with an idea about the characters and the situation they’re in. As I mull it over in my mind, their personalities evolve and I start to see why they are doing what they do, and how their goals are at cross purposes. Then I work on getting them together.

When I write, I usually know where I’m going with the story. But the story can surprise me, and take me in a different direction then I planned. I find the characters come alive and soon have a mind of their own. It takes some special handling as the book evolves to stay on course but allow the hero and heroine a voice in their own story. It’s what I love to do.

Do you write? What’s your process? Drop me a line and let me know how it works for you. J