Tag Archives: editing

The Problem with Modern Writing

Good writing is really meaningful, and it’s one of the – it’s still one of the best tools we have to get and capture people’s attention.
-Robin Sloan

The modern world of writing and literature is becoming obsessed with the “proper” style of writing or plotting stories.  If you’re like me and you’ve experienced even a small taste of editing, or if you’ve just done your research, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Nowadays, people write books about how to write books.  They blog about how to write “correctly”.  We have all these new phrases and rules for creating proper sentences, fashioning a plot, choregraphing a scene, crafting our dialogue…the list goes on and on.  Sooner or later, you’ll run into an editor, a friend, a fellow writer, who will quote another modern writer and say the equivalent of “that’s not how it’s done nowadays.”

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It’s almost like we now have textbooks for writing.  Maybe it’s just me…but doesn’t that bother you?

Everybody needs help sometimes.  I’m not against books, blogs, or advice that helps me to become a better author.  My qualm with books about writing is not that they aren’t useful, but because they turn writing into a science.  Writing has become something that is less of an art, and more an act of conformation to the appetites of the current literary culture.

And to me, it’s disgusting.

Writing is an ART.  Art, people.  Art is not about conforming to what society wants.  It’s not about following the same path as everybody else.  It’s not about being the same.

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That’s why I’m beginning to get highly annoyed with this culture of writing where there are so many rules.  Agents and publishers won’t even get through the first page of your book because they are so obsessed with the “rules”, the “dos and don’ts”.  It’s like we’ve created a checklist for writing to determine whether it’s good or bad.

“Did the author show and not tell?  Check!”

“Was all of that dialogue completely relevant?  Check!”

“Was that character arc done according to the proper arc of a hero? Check!”

“Did they utterly simplify everything to it’s utmost simplest form?  Check!”

The list goes on and on.

And you know what the problem is?  We’ve begun looking at ALL writing from this perspective.  And that’s not what writing, or art, is about.

Writing should make us ask ourselves the big questions.  It’s not about creating a perfect, movie-like scene.  It’s not about relevancy or irrelevancy.  If the author is trying to say something…well, that’s what writing is for.  Writing isn’t just about the reader.  It’s not even just about the story.  It’s about what’s being SAID.

And that’s what we’re forgetting as a society.

Don’t conform.  I’m not saying don’t improve.  But don’t conform.  Don’t let anyone keep you from SAYING something with your writing.  That’s what it’s all about.

 

The Problem With Social Media

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Everybody loves watching their stats go up for ANY venue.  We’ve all been told that social media can be a great tool for promoting ourselves…but it doesn’t always feel like it.  People get swamped with so much information, so many stories in their newsfeed, etc….is it possible for us to stand out?

Facebook is smart by tempting us to buy their “boosts”.  It seems like such a good idea.  We see other companies and THEIR ads and think, “Gee, it all seems so professional!”

If only we could all be professionals at self-promotion.

I can’t say I have an answer to this question.  All I know is that the struggle is real.  As one of the Top 100 Self-Publishing blogs (according to Feedspot), you might be tempted to think “WOW, Dominic is great at promoting his brand.”

My response?  “Hah.  I’ll take any credit I can get.  But the truth is, not really.”

What I’m good at is speaking the truth.  For example, navigating the world of social media is REALLY hard.  We could all use some help.

My answer to just about everything is relatively simple:  work together.

Seriously.  I think it’s that simple.

You want to get somewhere big in life?  You’re gonna’ need help.  We don’t become masters without having teachers…we can’t teach without having been taught.  We can’t climb unless someone gives us a foothold.  We can’t become successful without being given a chance.

Give each other that chance.

Here’s all I’m asking.  Find FIVE fellow, aspiring authors, (or struggling self-published authors) and Like their Facebook page, sign-up to their email list, etc.  Just five.  You have no idea the good you’ll do and the happiness you’ll bring.

To be fair, please post links to YOUR Facebook page(s) or other social media outlets, and I will follow YOU.

And last, to be fair to myself, here’s the link to my Facebook page:

The link to my Smashwords Author Page:

The link to my Amazon Author Page:

Yes, I’m asking for help.  And I want to give people some help too.

Cheers to helping each other out!

-Dominic

 

When You Finally Get An Acceptance Letter from a Publisher

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Let me tell you, it feels great!

I’ve gotten plenty of rejection letters from publishing companies and literary agents alike.  They usually start out with a “thank you”, which is never a good sign…because after the “thank you” comes a “but”.

But not this time.

Recently, someone from Z Publishing reached out to me (through this blog!) and asked if I would like to submit an excerpt of my book to be featured in an anthology.  How could I refuse???  I still had to go through the submission process just like everyone else, but my excerpt would have a higher likelihood of being accepted because it was a “solicited manuscript”.

Still, higher chance of success or not, getting that email from Z Publishing was awesome, because it’s the first acceptance letter I’ve ever received.  Check it out 🙂

Acceptance Letter

Basically, it says that my submission was accepted, that it’s going to be published, and it also explained what steps have to be taken next.

To give you some more information: my excerpt is going to be a part of anthology.  The anthology features emerging writers in America…that’s actually what the series is called!  Every year, Z Publishing rounds up all the upcoming authors in America and compiles excerpts of their novels into an anthology.  To be counted as an “emerging writer” is certainly a compliment!

thank you gif

If anything, hopefully this shows that blogging IS good for something.  They found me through this blog, which means something similar could happen to YOU!  I’m not expecting that I’m going to become famous or anything (my excerpt is one among many!) but it’s still something that I can credit to my name in the literary world.  “With an excerpt featured in Z Publishing’s Anthology”.  Always persevere with blogging, it pays off!

I’ll be giving you more news about this crazy shindig as it comes to me.  Cheers!

Remember Me?

stressed-out-writer

So it’s been a VERY long time since I’ve posted anything.  I’d like to a apologize for that.  Life has been crazy.  Classes have been challenging, to say the least, and I’ve been focusing most of my time editing my books instead of blogging.  Even editing has been on hold, however.

To be short, I’m also dealing with a break-up that’s left me in pieces, so there’s that too…

But anyway….

I must be completely honest that I’m not sure, for the time being, how efficiently I can keep this blog going.  SO much of you have given me your continued support, which really means a lot to me.  I cannot thank you enough for that.

But life is constantly changing for me; it’s like an ocean that I get trapped under, and I’m not always able to resurface.  When I do resurface, I’m not sure how long I can stay above water, and eventually I fall back down.

Whatever the case, no matter the circumstances of my life or my blog, things are still going to go as planned.  This means that my second book, The Darkness Within, will be available online on December 18th.  

I will say it again, at least for promotional reasons.

Elithius, Book Two: The Darkness Within, will be available as an eBook and in print on December 18th!  $0.99 cents as an eBook for a limited time only.

Front Cover Elithius 2

Thanks for all of your continued support.  If you have an questions or concerns, feel free to comment or shoot me an email at aultsom@gmail.com.

-Dom

15 Ways to Manage Your Time Wisely

This wonderful infographic was graciously compiled and shared with me by Donna Norton.  Donna helps run a super legit website over at Custom-Writing.Org.  For all things writing–from college essays, research papers, Book/Movie reviews, etc.–Custom Writing is an awesome resource for anyone who needs help with the writing process.  Don’t forget to check it out!

And now, on to the infographic!  Thanks Donna!!


Infographic by Donna Norton Custom-Writing.Org


Don’t forget to stop by Custom Writing!  Thanks again Donna!  Great advice!

How To Determine Who Your Real Followers Are

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Sooner or later, whether you like it or not, you’re going to find yourself wondering, “Who are my real followers?”

Sometimes I see these blogs where the author has gained a following of 2,000…or 20,000, or even 120,000.  That’s a LOT of followers, and I dream of having that many.  That being said, it’s interesting to note that these blogs only merit about 15-70 Likes per post.  You might think, “What’s wrong with that?  70 Likes is a lot!”  But compare that to the number of followers.   If you have 10,000 followers, and you only get 70 Likes…wouldn’t you be disappointed?  Shouldn’t you be getting…hmm, maybe at least a couple thousand Likes, assuming that other few thousand weren’t online that day?

What’s going on here?

All right, I’ll admit, we could get crazy with the statistics of blogging; maybe it’s not fair for me to say that only 70 people care about your blog when you have 2000 followers, just because you got only 70 Likes.  Maybe those 70 Likes consist of 70 different people each time you publish a post, so from that perspective, you really might have a huge following, depending on how many people are online on different days.

Whatever the case, that’s what this post is about: recognizing that Likes aren’t love, for better or for worse (I just made a political pun and a marriage pun right there!).

Why?

When someone Likes a post of yours, they don’t necessarily need to View it.  You don’t need to go far to see what I’m talking about.  In your Reader, you can see that–without having to click and OPEN a post–you can press the Like button.  And you don’t even have to know what you’re Liking.  You can appear to be a faithful follower, but in reality, you’re just going through the motions.

People can and have done this to me multiple times.

How do I know?  How do YOU know?  Well, go to your Stats page.  Heck, just go to your “Blog Posts” page, where you can see your most recently published articles.  You should be able to see the number of Likes, Comments…and yes, Views!

Does the number of Views outweigh the Likes?  If it does, then great job!

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the image is not mine

Now, the people who Liked your post STILL might not have Viewed it.  We can’t tell if the people who Liked also Viewed.  But still, the number of Views is more important, because in order to tally Views…well, someone has to actually open up your post!  Which means it’s more likely that they read it.  Which means it’s more likely that they care.

And bingo.  You’ve found your true followers.

You’re followers are the people who read your posts, not Like them.  Because you can Like without reading.  

Monitor your Views.  If they are lower than your Likes, try to change that.  Work hard to make posts that are attractive and that really draw people in.  Make your writing desirable and View-worthy.  It’s easy to Like something.  It’s harder to View.  Which means Views are worth more.

What do you think?

Blogger Recognition Award

So I’ve been graciously nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by Acire over at Scribe’s Canvas.  Her blog is amazing, you should seriously check it out here!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Write a post to show your award
  2. Give a brief story of how your blog started
  3. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers
  4. Select 15 other bloggers for the award
  5. Make sure you tell those 15 bloggers that they’ve been nominated!

So let’s get started!


How my blog started

I began this blog right after I finished writing the first book of my fantasy series, The Golden Lands.  I was excited because I had been blogging about an even older series over at Montairyus, but this was a new and fresh idea, and I was excited to share it with the blogosphere.

Basically, I began this blog as a means of sharing my writing talents with others, especially through my book series, which is now called Elithius.

Advice to New Bloggers

Don’t stop writing.  If you want more followers, you have to write.

Don’t write about your personal endeavors too much.  Write about stuff that OTHER people can care about, not just your supportive family members!

I Nominate…

Well, first I have to go find some people 😉


Thanks again Acire, and thank all of YOU for the constant support you give me!

I love how much my blog has grown and how involved my community is!  You guys rock!!

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Why You Should Proofread Your Writing

Have you ever found yourself reading something totally awesome, only to become distracted by a silly flaw in the writing?  It can be some poor punctuation (or lack thereof), a run-on sentence, a misspelled word, etc.  In spite of how any writer can make these simple mistakes, it’s hard (at least for me) to not immediately write someone off as an amateur.

Maybe that’s rude of me.  The thing is, if you’re looking to become a successful author (like yours truly), an editor will judge you exactly the same way!

Well, say you aren’t trying to become a successful author.  Neglecting to proofread is still a bad habit, and it still makes for poor writing.  Do you WANT to be written off as a “bad writer”?  Of course not!

Don’t Be Lazy

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Like I said, most of the mistakes that we make when we write without editing are simple, easy-fix mistakes…which means that the amount of effort to find and correct these mistakes is small.  This isn’t rocket science.

“I told, him, that he was wrong”

I see stuff like this all the time.  Is it that hard to spot the error?  Nope.  Is it that hard to fix it?  Uh, nope!   Remove those commas!

The truth is, not proofreading your work is an example of LAZY writing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m lazy too.  Sometimes I’ll be in a hurry.  Or sometimes I’m so confident that my writing is PERFECT, and proofreading is unnecessary.

*rolls eyes* As if THAT mentality is going to get me anywhere.

Can’t Focus?

take-a-step-back

Some people complain and say that they can’t focus.  They read everything over too quickly and they’ll miss something like this:

“He was going to zoo”

Mentally, a lot of us will insert the word “the” before “zoo”.  We know “the” is supposed to be there.  If we’re flying through a paragraph, it’s easy to miss something like that.  Does this excuse that this sentence is still wrong?  Unfortunately, no.

Discipline yourself.  Take a deep breath and read things SLOWLY.  A great way to proofread your work is to read it out loud.  My brother suggested this to me a while back, and it really works!  It’s a lot harder to mentally add words that should be there when you are orally reading something.

An Editor Can Do This For Me

tired squidward

This is another example of lazy writing…only there would appear to be a loop-hole.  We think we can escape proofreading if we have an editor.

Well, when you become Stephen King, you can do that.  Forget editing, you can hire someone to proofread your work.

Are you Stephen King?  I thought not.  So you’d better proofread 🙂

You’ll never become a better writer if you neglect the tedious process of editing your own work.  You’ll never become good at spotting your own flaws, which is something that we all need to learn to do.  Don’t get me wrong, sometimes editing is a straight up pain in the butt.

So get to the point where you can love editing!  Where you can love crafting a beautiful, perfect sentence, and everything flows together in a way that is totally of your creation!

If you don’t give the effort to proofread, why will an editor?  If you love your writing, you’ll edit.  You’ll critique yourself.  You’ll make it better on your own.

Don’t wait for an editor.  Proofread.  (And do us all a favor) 😉


What do you think?

eBooks or Print? Which Do You Prefer?

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eBooks…

Which one do you prefer?  eBooks are obviously WAY easier to obtain.  If I’m not really sure if I’ll like a book, I’ll buy the eBook version so that it doesn’t have to take up space in my house.  eBooks are also just way more convenient, since you can buy them in the comfort of your home, and you don’t have to wait for them to get delivered to you.

That being said, I think many people are still in love with holding and looking at a PHYSICAL book…or at least I am.  This generation still isn’t internet/technologically friendly enough to respect reading on a computer, tablet, etc.  I’ve never really minded reading books on my devices, but there’s something special about reading a book in print.

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…or print?

For instance, I think it’s easier to be proud of a physical book that you’re reading; you can take it anywhere and look like an intellectual boss (if that exists)!  I also think that, for promotional reasons, having books in print is better, because other people can actually SEE that you’re reading a book written by so-and-so.  If you’re just reading an eBook on your phone or tablet, it’s harder for people to see that and become aroused by what you’re reading.

Which one do you guys prefer though?  As an author, hearing what you have to say is important to me! eBooks are convenient, print is classy.  Any thoughts?

How To Become A World-Famous Author

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Wouldn’t we all like to become a world famous author?  I know I would!

The problem is, there’s no roadmap to success.  We have to struggle and fight our way through the ups and downs of life, hoping that our chance to shine will come.

I don’t know if that will ever happen to me or to you…

…but it’s always nice when an article about Stephen King’s writing advice pops up in my inbox 😀

In the words of Stephen King…

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Stephen King has sold over 350 million books.  Whether you like him as a writer or person doesn’t matter.  He’s doing something right.  And here’s what he says about writing.

After explaining that watching television is “poisonous to creativity”, King stated:

“you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot”

I think a lot of us have heard this before.  Reading helps shape us as writers and can inspire us.  But oftentimes, we focus so much on writing that we forget this important aspect of our formation as writers.  I know I’m guilty of this.

Of course, it works in the other direction too.  Sometimes we read too much that we start to get lazy with our writing.  We can become so caught up in the works of authors that we don’t even create any ourselves.  I’ve known a few people that have aspired to write books, but they couldn’t give up reading.

Stephen King also says:

“One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you’re maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones”

I think this is really important.  Ever start reading a novel and realize that you’ve been spending more time reading the dictionary because you don’t know what the HECK the author is talking about?  Yeah.  Keep things simple.  Use words that make sense when you’re trying to describe something, not the biggest words you can find.

Talking about his own experiences:

“Once I start work on a project, I don’t stop, and I don’t slow down unless I absolutely have to.  If I don’t write every day, the characters begin to stale off in my mind… I begin to lose my hold on the story’s plot and pace.”

This is interesting because this can creep up on me too.  I might stop writing for a day or two, and then, when I try to come back to it, I discover that I can’t get anything out.  It’s like I have to “relearn” what was going on, or rediscover how my characters were feeling in a given scene.  Consistency, as we’ve already discussed, is important!

And last, but certainly not least:

“Optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure” 

Get back up if things don’t go perfectly.  If you write a bad page, a bad chapter, a bad first draft, be hopeful.  You’re not going to get anywhere just sulking and brooding about how things could’ve been different.  Go make the changes necessary.  Go make things happen.


Stephen King’s a pretty smart guy!

And very successful 😉

What do you think?  Any thoughts concerning his advice?  Anything you can add to his advice?