Monday, May 6, 2013

A to Z Reflections...And Beyond

This was my second year participating in the A to Z Challenge. At first, I wasn't sure how I was going to top my Steampunk posts last year, so I decided to do something fun and non-writing related. I'm a child of the 80s, so I thought it'd be fun to post everything 80s from A-Z.

I hope you all enjoyed it - even if you didn't get some of my cultural references. For my fellow Gen Xers, we sure grew up in a weird and fun time, huh?

Speaking of reflections, I've been reflecting about my own writing the last couple of weeks. I've been up to my nose in edits. My novel, Dragonfly Warrior, has been fortunate to have two editors working on it. I didn't plan it, and I have my publisher to thank. What's really cool is that they're both very different editors.

One is good at look at my writing from a reader's perspective, and she's pointed out areas that need reworking to help clarify things for my readers.

The other is helping me get rid of some of my wordiness. I love descriptive and highly detailed writing, but sometimes, it can get in the way. Yes, I'm an over-writer. This editor is trimming the fat and getting rid of the adjectives that weigh my book down.

As a writer (and a human), I have a lot of bad habits. Over-writing is definitely one of them.

How about you? Do you have any bad habits that never fail to rear their ugly heads in your early drafts?


Anonymous said...

I have no bad habits.






And if you believe that...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I really enjoyed your theme this year.
I have certain words I tend to overuse. Those are always fun to find later.
Excellent you have the help of two editors!

Brinda said...

Your theme was one of my favorites since I'm also fond of the eighties. *handing over fun blog award*

The Phoenix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I enjoyed the 80s posts!

I tend to overwrite in terms of metaphors and similes, but I don't worry too much about it in first drafts. After that, I've got beta readers and crit partners to point them out - thank goodness! :)

Dana said...

I really enjoyed your theme. You reminded me of things I hadn't thought about in years!

David List said...

I'm an over writer as well but in a different way. I over world build. Then I feel like I'm short changing the reader by not giving them deep insight into the world, complete with histories of obscure deities. Then I have a hard time trimming down.

Jay Noel said...

Madeline: I slap it down in first drafts. Which means over-writing galore.

Dana: Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

David: I do that too. We don't have to give readers the whole world, just enough about the part that serves as the immediate setting.

Jay Noel said...

Riann: You know some of my bad habits. Hoping to pluck them out faster.

Alex: My catalog of overused words is a revolving door. Varies from project to project.

Brinda: WOW! Thanks!

David P. King said...

I tend to fill in as much as I can into a paragraph, and then cut it short, so I don't have one or two words spilling over into a line of its own. A bit OCD, I know, but the polishing takes care of things. :)

Jay Noel said...

David: That sounds a little painstaking. But little slips by you!

Emily R. King said...

It's good to cut those adjectives. I have the same bad habit. :)

PT Dilloway, Grumpy Bulldog said...

Must be nice to have real editors.

Michael Offutt, "Johnny on the Spot" said...

I forget stuff and have to go back and edit over and over to make sure I don't get continuity errors. That's the big negative for me.

Robin said...

I loved the 80s theme. Brought back some great memories.

Fantastic having two editors to lend totally different perspectives in order to make your book GREAT.

mooderino said...

My bad habits that I'm aware if I keep a lookout for in the rewrites. It's the ones I'm no aware of that cause all the problems.


Samuel Bledsoe said...

You had some really great stuff this year. I was born in the late 80's but most of the things I had were hand-me-downs and video tapes from 80's kids so a lot of this was familiar. Thanks for choosing the topic, you made it interesting.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

The 80's theme was fun. I was a teen for half of that time.

I tend to head-hop. My publisher's editor has finally beat that out me though.

The Golden Eagle said...

I'm guilty of overwriting, too. I'll wax on for paragraphs about the same thing until I've exhausted my options for description.

M Pax said...

Lots of wases and forms of 'to be', lots of sentences written the same way, lots of paragraphs that begin the same way, very little fluff.

All of that comes in later passes.

I'm grateful to the editors I've had. Leigh Moore taught me alot and got me to break a lot of bad habits. My new editor, Kelly, usually points out where I need to explain more - in a series, the writer feels as if she's said it 200x already and has, only not in this book.

Tony Laplume said...

I enjoy editing almost as much as I do writing. Except my own work. But that's fun too, just daunting when it's something that's long.

I was a kid in the '80s, so some of your topics I didn't really experience first-hand. Actually a lot of them I've only experienced second-hand.

Laura Eno said...

The 80s theme was fun, although I relived it through my children's eyes. ;)
I have the opposite problem. I underwrite. Please send descriptive phrases my way when you throw them out. LOL! I did much better this time with my latest. It's finally twice as long as most of my other stories have been. I'm really looking forward to reading yours.

Jay Noel said...

Emily: I'm addicted to adjectives.

PT: I never take them for granted.

Michael: I'm bad with that too. That's why I write my first drafts on Scrivener now.

Robin: I think my book will be much stronger.

Moody: I'm completely blind to my own writing. I miss everything.

Jay Noel said...

Samuel: I appreciate it, man!

L. Diane: Sometimes, I'll go from 3rd limited to omniscient. Hate that.

Goldie: EXACTLY what I do.

Mary: I sometimes need to use a "to be" verb and not overdo the overly descriptive ones.

Tony: I'm a little daunted now too, but I hope to get through it soon.

Laura: I collaborate well with bare-bones writers. They are good at laying down the foundation, and I give it some depth.

Cynthia said...

I think the weird and fun times haven't ended yet.

One bad writing habit I have is that oftentimes when I begin a new project and I'm knee-deep in it, I fantasize about dropping it to work on something else.

Jay Noel said...

Cynthia: I think you're right with the weirdness. I used to have that problem, but I had to keep kicking myself to finish.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Congrats on completing A-Z and I was happy to be one of your readers this year. It's great having two editors, both will want to make your book even better.

Melanie Schulz said...

I have the opposite problem. I am a sparse writer and find that I have to go back and put some details in.

jaybird said...

Jay-I got all of your references! And I think we shared a lot of those bad 80's fashion choices, LOL

I tend to overwrite as well as over-speak. I am incapable of telling or writing a short story. I'm all about the details. The Husband gets pissed when I give directions because he says I take forever and I give no street names. I'm all, "You make a left at the Thai restaurant we love that used to be a pizza place we hated and then you turn right at the florist with the mean girl who works the counter on Tuesdays so you can only go there on Wednesday when the gay kid works who's really nice and makes WAY better arrangements...." LOL !

nutschell said...

I have the exact same problem. But I figure it's easier to weed words out than to put them in.

farawayeyes said...

Did I already tell you that your theme was my favorite? If not, now you know.

Gah! Over writing. My edits are all about slash and burn. get those pesky extraneous words outta there.

Mark Noce said...

Good for you for doing the challenge:) I wasn't up tot he task:)

Rusty Webb said...

I'm pretty much all bad habits, like, 85% maybe. I'll write something I'm pretty sure is genius, then read it again a month later and decide that 'editing' means trashing it and starting over from scratch.

Loved your posts during the month, those I saw at least.

Jay Noel said...

Sheena: Thanks for finding me!

Melanie: That problem doesn't sound so bad. Or maybe it's a case of the grass being greener...

jaybird: I had to read your comment out loud to some people. That was too hilarious.

nutty: I'm thinking the same thing.

faraway: Wow, thanks so much!

Mark: I barely make the grade, but it's fun meeting other bloggers.

Rusty: It's that artistic temperament. Nothing is perfect right outta the gate.

Tammy Theriault said...

u? bad habits? that's proposterous!! :D

Milo James Fowler said...

I can relate, Jay. Wordiness is not akin to godliness, apparently. Editors are invaluable. And congratulations on a successful AtoZ finish!

Jay Noel said...

Tammy: Oh lady, I ain't even started...

Milo: Yes, and for some reason I'm blind to it. But when I edit somebody else's work, it's easy to identify. Shows difficult it is to be truly objective with your own stuff. And thanks!

Matthew MacNish said...

Oh man, I'm a huge over writer myself. We can never see it with our own work, eh?

Julie Dao said...

Congrats on finishing the A-to-Z challenge, Jay! What an accomplishment. I'm also an overwriter and am glad you found an editor to help you cut down on wordiness!

DEZMOND said...

We do love dragonflies and their knights...

Jay Noel said...

Matt: It's like being completely blind. So weird. Although I find if I don't look at something for a long time, I can be more objective.

Julie: Thanks Julie! I overwrite so damn much, I need TWO editors.

Dez: We DO.

Maurice Mitchell said...

I hate how much I over-write on my blog. I just keep thinking, "I'll just add one more thing." That'll be my new year resolution. Cut the puffery.

Mr. Shife said...

I really enjoyed your A-Z blogs especially since I am a child of the 80s. A nice trip down memory lane. Hope things continue to go well with your book and congrats again on getting it published. Have a great weekend buddy.

Jay Noel said...

Maurice: I'm Mr. Stay Puff

Shife: Thanks so much. The editing process is grueling. I'm a perfectionist, which doesn't help.

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