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To Be or Not To Be & Other Editing Quandaries: Heart of Dixie Online Workshop December 10, 2010

I’m shamelessly plugging the Heart of Dixie’s online workshops because I am the online workshop coordinator. The line up for 2011 is on my HOD Online Workshop Page and you can get to it by clicking the link at the top of the page. I love online workshops because I can control when I do the work and when I contribute my work to the group as a whole. So I don’t just coordinate the workshops for my writing chapter, I also take online courses with them (as the coordinator) and with other organizations. If you have time constraints and other obligations, it is so easy to save the files and look at them later, too. Not everyone posts their issues, problems, “homework” answers which is fine. However, I’ve discovered that the more I post, the greater benefits there are to me as a writer. 
Please join me and my HOD writing chapter for January’s online workshop:
To Be or Not to Be & Other Editing Quandaries
Instructor: Cindy VallarFreelance editor and Associate Editor of Industry for Solander magazine and a historical novelist (
January 3-28
Cost: $20
Workshop Description: Authors are told to write the best book we can, but in today’s competitive market that’s not always enough. We could follow Mark Twain’s advice: Substitute damn every time you’re inclined to write very; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. In reality, though, the writer has to make the changes. While not all of us are adept at putting on an editor’s hat, there are some simple steps to take to tighten the writing and polish the manuscript.
This workshop provides tips on what an author can look for to improve your chances at getting past the initial query. We’ll cover passive vs. active sentence construction, redundancy, weak vs. strong verbs, stating the obvious, synonyms, cause and effect, dangling modifiers, clarity of pronouns, author intrusion, speaker identification tags, adverbs and adjectives, head hopping, and more. The list may seem daunting, but if you know what to look for, you can easily make corrections that may increase your chances of getting a request to see your entire manuscript.
Presenter Bio: A retired librarian, Cindy Vallar is a freelance editor and the Associate Editor of Industry for Solander, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. She writes “The Red Pencil,” a column that compares a selection from author’s published historical novel with an early draft of that work. She is also the Editor of Pirates and Privateers, and a content editor for Pyrates Way magazine. Aside from presenting workshops, Cindy writes historical novels and articles on maritime piracy, reviews books, and maintains her award-winning web site, Thistles & Pirates (, which she invites you to visit.
As a special bonus, if you mention this blog as your reason for attending the workshop, I will put your name into a drawing for a special prize to be announced at the time of the class.
See you in the virtual classroom!

K.I.S.S. & Tell February 17, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — christineglover @ 12:22 am
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Revision is an interesting process. I’ve discovered that when it comes to the PLOT revision, reading a craft book alongside the writing work helps me to generate new ideas and fix my MS’s holes. Sometimes I take a course online during this time. Sometimes I just read and learn.

While revising, I am always on the phone or pinging emails to my CPs. They are all working on their WIPs and going through the same process. All of our voices bring new thoughts and solutions to the table. All of us find different ways to get to the heart of the matter.

So where is the KISS?

Well, for me it’s in the phrase: KEEP IT SIMPLE SILLY. The  more I learn, the more I realize that writing does boil down to basics. There are some amazing methods to approach writing, but they all derive from similar roots. I can call a plot point a twist point, a pivotal plot point, a false victory, a turning point… a whatever… But bottom line: the idea is the same. I have to have sections in my book that bring about changes internally and externally to my main characters and all of these changes must deepen the sympathy my future readers have for my characters.

Goals? Motivations? Conflicts? Internal and external? They all come from some deep well within ourselves. If we don’t mine our own hearts and experiences, we aren’t bringing an honest revelation to the table, either. At times it takes some wonderful teacher to lead us to that discovery. Other times, it’s an aha moment within our own brains that crystalizes the soul baring drive to write the story. Is our theme throughout our writing about betrayal, hope, lost souls finding home, overcoming injustice, saving people, truth and justice overcoming dishonesty? What? When we discover this, we are on a roll.

Sounds simple doesn’t it?

But that’s the part that’s hard to tell. When does the writing shift from complex to simple? When does the book take on an amazing life of its own where the characters are really telling ME how to write their story? I think it happens all along as long as I don’t force the issue. As soon as I try to fake it, I lose it.

I lose the essence of my people. I lose the essence of their story.

Revision opens up new pathways, new directions, new goals. Revision brings along interesting developments, unexpected characters and evocative emotions. Now the questions is: are you ready to expose them to the light?