Categories
Outreach Resources and Reference Writing

Inclusive language reference guides

Conscious Style Guide

CSU Diversity/ Inclusivity Style Guide

Radical Copyeditor

 

See also: Disability language best practices

Categories
Art and Design

A process for *selecting* rather than culling

Liked A Better Edit Makes Better Photographs by DavidDavid (davidduchemin.com)

My own edit process goes much more quickly because I’m not looking for every single image that meets some basic minimal technical standard. I’m looking for the ones that make me lean in. The ones that make my heart sing. The ones that grab me and won’t let me not select them.

You might have a great reason for rating images, but I think trying to decide whether an image deserves 2, 3, or 4 stars slows the process. Because I’m looking for a few frames that are a decisive “Yes!”, I’ve found rating them makes me look for the wrong thing.

I appreciate hearing about other creative people’s processes and approaches. A lot of these things, we kind of figure out on our own, but others may have developed more effective methods to do the same thing.

I totally am a “delete the bad stuff” editor, with my first round of edits simply clearing out the out of focus or poorly exposed or unnecessary duplicates. A second pass clears out boring and blah. Then I select my pool of images to edit (which is probably too many 😉).

As in everything, working with more intentionality yields better results, though it is harder. I like his mindset of thinking of a collection of photos from a trip as a body of work — this is probably similar to my thinking when I’m constructing an excursion blog post, where I try to curate a representative selection of photos, but if some shots are too similar I might remove one. In the comments, Jon Revere shares his perspective of framing a story, which sometimes means including less than great shots. This resonates with the approach I took to my 2021 photography and writing project Sense Memory.

I am unclear from his description: how many images does he delete? Does he save copies of all his photos to revisit in the future, or only the select best? Are there still 30k photos from that trip on his hard drive?

Categories
Writing

Read The Story Grid

Read The Story Grid

The Story Grid is a tool developed by editor Shawn Coyne to analyze stories and provide helpful editorial comments. It’s like a CT Scan that takes a photo of the global story and tells the editor or writer what is working, what is not, and what must be done to make what works better and fix what’s not. The Story Grid breaks down the component parts of stories to identify the problems. And finding the problems in a story is almost as difficult as the writing of the story itself (maybe even more difficult.)
The Story Grid is a tool with many applications:
1. It will tell a writer if a Story “works” or “doesn’t work.”
2. It pinpoints story problems but does not emotionally abuse the writer, revealing exactly where a Story (not the person creating the Story…the Story) has failed.
3. It will tell the writer the specific work necessary to fix that Story’s problems.
4. It is a tool to re-envision and resuscitate a seemingly irredeemable pile of paper stuck in an attic drawer.
5. It is a tool that can inspire an original creation.

Ironically, this dreadfully needed an editor — concepts were poorly explained, and the chapters were not organized in a way that I found helpful.

I did get one good takeaway from it: thinking of each part of the story in terms of inciting incident through climax. I also liked framing the crisis as a question. There are some other ideas on the verge of helpful but not quite sufficiently explained for me to use them.

The last hundred pages is a breakdown of Silence of the Lambs, which I flipped through but didn’t read because I found the movie pretty disturbing.

Categories
Writing

Idea-first or word-first writers

Replied to What are some tips for advanced writers? How do you push your writing into by Venkatesh Rao (Quora)

You could divide the world of advanced writers into a 2×2, based on whether they are prioritizing developing their thinking or their writing, and whether they are focusing on fiction or non-fiction.

Prioritizing thinking or wordcraft is an intriguing way to divide writers. (I usually find what Venkatesh Rao has to say interesting, though I often disagree with him.)

This mind garden is thinking-focused, often an unrevised braindump (sorry anyone reading 😅). I revise as I write, the writing process being largely a thinking process for me as well, with most of my edits to reflect changes in my thinking as I draft. I try to cut out my pet issues, which are usually asides tangential to, and distracting from, my main path of thought (of course, always after I’ve spent ten minutes writing a rant 😉) — although in casual writing like blogging I do like a more stream of consciousness, conversational style.

In my fiction, too, I’m an idea-focused writer. One of my friends writes lyrical prose that casts  mood beautifully — a writing style that serves her well for short stories. I don’t care enough about wordcraft to put in the work to develop gorgeous prose — and fortunately my workman prose is suitable for the commercial genres I write in, romance and science fiction. (I wonder if my indifference to finely crafted prose contributes to my distaste for literature 🤔 Other readers derive a lot of value from beautiful writing, but I’m honed in on the action and skim-read on fast forward to get to the good stuff, so the prose doesn’t really register for me unless it beats me over the head like Raymond Chandler 🤷‍♀️)

What matters to me in both my fiction and nonfiction writing is clarity — a mark I miss more than I’d like in first drafts 😉 In fiction I tend to write in a reverse order from what makes sense to the reader, so revision involves a lot of moving sentences around. In non-fiction, I tend towards overlong, overcomplicated sentences. Em dashes, semicolons, parentheticals, give em to me 😉

Learning to recognize your personal writing patterns and tendencies is a key aspect of getting better at revision; when I worked as a writing tutor we listened for patterns we could point out to a writer, so they could focus on spotting and revising those in future works.

How much, and how quickly, does practicing revision improve your first draft writing? In fiction writing I can focus on improving one aspect of my drafting at a time. Gradually, my initial versions need less attention. I’ve focused this way on dialogue and visual / sensory description (my fiction suffers from white room syndrome 😂) — but also know to put extra emphasis on checking for these in planning and revision. Part of becoming a better writer is adapting your process to suit your style and weaknesses — the quality of your first drafts is less important than the finished work, as long as you’re actually revising 😉

Categories
Writing

Read The Last Draft

Read The Last Draft: A Novelist’s Guide to Revision

his wise and friendly guide shows writers how to turn first-draft manuscripts into the novels of their dreams. A critic, longtime teacher, and award-winning novelist, Sandra Scofield illustrates how to reread a work of fiction with a view of its subject and vision, and how to take it apart and put it back together again, stronger and deeper. Scofield builds her explanations around helpful concepts like narrative structure, character agency, and core scenes, using models from classic and contemporary writers. The detailed, step-by-step plan laid out in The Last Draft offers invaluable advice to both novice and experienced writers alike. In Scofield, they will find a seasoned, encouraging mentor to steer them through this emotional and intellectual journey.

Skimmed a lot. Broken into sections, several of which were not pertinent or helpful to me. I gleaned the most from the second section, on actually making revisions. Parts three and four, about finishing and polishing the book, were embarrassingly short. It would have worked better to format this as a workbook rather than a fully prose work with some bulleted lists. I did take quite a number of notes.

She recommends keeping a revision log, with entries after each work session logging what changes you made, how you feel about it, and questions you currently have.

Categories
Writing

Read Refuse to Be Done

Read Refuse to Be Done

They say writing is rewriting. So why does the second part get such short shrift? Refuse To Be Done will guide you through every step of the novel writing process, from getting started on those first pages to the last tips for making your final draft even tighter and stronger.

From lauded writer and teacher Matt Bell, Refuse to Be Done is encouraging and intensely practical, focusing always on specific rewriting tasks, techniques, and activities for every stage of the process. You won’t find bromides here about the “the writing Muse.” Instead, Bell breaks down the writing process in three sections. In the first, Bell shares a bounty of tactics, all meant to push you through the initial conception and get words on the page. The second focuses on reworking the narrative through outlining, modeling, and rewriting. The third and final section offers a layered approach to polishing through a checklist of operations, breaking the daunting project of final revisions into many small, achievable tasks.

First draft portion is aimed at pantsers and exploratory writers, but still has some suggestions for keeping writing interesting that could be useful to plotters too.

Second and third draft sections were more useful, though a fair amount involves sentence level revision when I suspect that many writers (like me) find that easier than large scale structural revisions.

Categories
Writing

Get your computer to read to you

Narrator on Windows:  Settings > Ease of Access > Narrator

For self-editing, as an alternative to reading aloud to yourself

 

Categories
Writing

Write yourself an edit letter

Bookmarked Edit Letters For All (Edit Letters For All)

The edit letter is the master plan to your rewrite.

Didn’t occur to me to write myself an edit letter, I seem to always make a list and then never get through it because so much changes or it’s taken so long to get through 😉

Her tips:

  • start with the things you like
  • then write an overview identifying the main focus of this revision
  • then get into specific needs for stuff like character, worldbuilding, structure, writing, etc
Categories
Writing

Punch list your book revision

Liked the punch list by David Moldawer (The Maven Game)

Creating a manuscript punch list forces you to think through all the changes and how they relate to each other before you make a single change.

Categories
Writing

An Indie Author’s Writing Timeline

Bookmarked How does your publishing process work? / What’s your writing process like? by Elise Kova (elisekova.com)

World Building (6 months – 2+ years)

Plotting (1 week)
I use my own variation on the Snowflake Method to help guide my plotting. My final outlines are usually between 2,000 – 8,000 words, depending on the length of the story, and are broken down as a summary of what happens in each chapter.

Drafting (4 weeks – 3 months)

Self Edits Round 1 (1 month)
After walking away from the manuscript for a week to clear my head, I return and begin self edits. At this stage these are usually large structural edits like adding and removing chapters.

Beta Readers (1 month)

Self Edits Round 2 (1 month)
I incorporate the feedback of my beta readers (along with anything else I’ve thought of) and make further adjustments before the manuscript is sent to my editor.

Developmental/Content Edits (2-4 months)
In this stage, the editor reads my manuscript and prepares an editorial letter. The editor gives me their expert opinion on the pacing, structure, and plot of the story. I then incorporate their feedback and they read through my changes to see if the issues have been addressed.

Line Edits (1-2 months)
Now that the story is as it should be and there are no more major changes on the horizon, we begin looking line by line for grammar, syntax, continuity, and pacing on a more micro scale. This usually involves at least two, but sometimes three passes each of my editor and myself.

Proofreading (2-3 weeks)

Formatting + Print Prep (1 week)