Editing, and other stuff

I recently joined the Clay County Fiction Writer’s group. The members send ten pages of recent work to each other, edit and comment and then send it back. Then on the next Wednesday, they meet a a local coffee shop to discuss the works. It’s kind of like a literary group grope. You can learn a lot this way. If you are very thin-skinned when it comes to your writing, this is not the sort of group you should join. But if you want trained and experienced eyes on your work and you really want decent – and constructive criticism, you can’t beat a group like this one.

It does not matter if you are a new writer or a long-time professional. You will learn something. You can also make some good friends.

I spent most of the day working through another ten pages of edits on “Hog Valley”. No connection to the writer’s group I mentioned earlier. I didn’t make any major changes it was just another slow slog through a a well-known manuscript. And that can be a problem.

Your brain will always tell you what you expect to your eyes to see when you edit your own work. You have to read each and every word, one at a time. Then read the entire sentence as a unit and then reread the entire paragraph to be sure you have the context right. Don’t get lazy and allow your eyes to gloss over anything, and then assume you have ‘read’ it correctly.

Get into the habit of reading your work aloud. That is when you will catch redundancies and slip-shod phrasing. If it doesn’t sound right, you haven’t written it right.

Have a great weekend.

About Gary Showalter

Gary Showalter was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He lived in Aruba, Florida and the Panama Canal Zone before joining the U.S. Army during the 1960s. Following his discharge from the Army, Mr. Showalter picked cotton in East Texas, baled hay in Ardmore Oklahoma, sold light bulbs in Los Angeles, California, and built cattle pens in Fallon, Nevada (during a blizzard, of course). After settling in Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Showalter worked as a professional gardener before turning his hand to furniture making. In 1981, he moved to Israel, married, and raised four children while working as a furniture maker, silversmith, goldsmith, and ornamental wood turner. He served in the Israel Defense Forces Reserves for sixteen years, and when not on active duty he worked in government and private security. He has also served in senior management positions in two software development companies in Israel. During his time in Israel, Mr. Showalter published articles dealing with international terror and the Israel-Arab conflict in the Jerusalem Post, Israel national News and several political science web sites. Mr. Showalter returned to the United States in the fall of 2003, to care for an elderly parent. He published his first novel, “The Big Bend”, in the fall of 2008. His second novel, “Hog Valley”, is now in print. Mr. Showalter's third novel, “Twisted Key”, was published in the fall of 2011, and his fourth novel, "Lonesome Cove" is now available in Kindle format and should be published in paper near the end of 2012. Those words were written a few years ago. Frankly speaking, the literary well has dried up. I now live in Dunnellon, Fl, where I amworking as the caretaker on a horse farm and looking to build a workshop here on the property where I can get back to building furniture. With any luck I will be sinking piers some time early in November and hope to have the floor joists ready for flooring by the end of the month. I'll get back to you on that.
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