The Team of Writer and Editor

My  Guest Blogger  today is  Andrea Merrell, my awesome editor. Her words of wisdom can help any writer improve their manuscripts.

Andrea Merrell Photo 10

Andrea Merril

Writing—at least for most people—is not a solitary venture. Most of us are members of critique groups, attend writers’ conferences on a regular basis, and have writing buddies who love to get together to brainstorm ideas. Some of us even have wives, husbands, children, aunts, uncles, neighbors, and friends that love to read and can give us valuable feedback on our stories.

But there is another person who plays a vital role in the quality and success of your project: your editor.

Whether you plan to self-publish and hire a freelance editor, or have one assigned to you through your publishing company, this person can become your greatest ally and even a valued friend. The partnership between writer and editor is a key factor in the process.

Editors find our blind spots

Whether you’re a new writer or an experienced author, an editor’s input is invaluable.  Once we write, rewrite, edit, proof—and then start the process all over again—we can become “blind” to our own mistakes. As writers, we know what is supposed to be on that page. We know our story and characters so well we dream about them and have conversations with them in our head. But after we’ve read through our manuscript a number of times, our eyes begin to skip over obvious mistakes. That’s why we all need help. As I like to say, even the best editor needs an editor. J

So, what can you as a writer expect from your relationship with your editor? Let’s look at a few things to prepare you for working as a team to polish your prose.

A good editor will look for:

  • Your writing style and never try to change your voice. After all, this is your
  • Glaring mistakes like typos, misspelled words, mixing or using the wrong tense, and punctuation. The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) and Christian Writers Manual of Style (CWMS) are considered industry standard.
  • Redundant words and phrases. Sometimes we tend to overuse words (especially I, he, and she). Watch for these redundancies, along with pet words such as: that, just, quickly, quietly, slowly, began to, as if, etc., and however … just to name a few.
  • Pet phrases that are overused. Here are a few examples:
  • He laughed.
  • She cried.
  • He coughed.
  • She sighed.
  • He shrugged his shoulders.
  • She bit her lip.
  • He raked his hand through his hair.
  • She dropped her head in her hands.
  • He clenched his jaw.

None of these are wrong or bad, but when used over and over throughout a story, they wear on the reader. Be aware of your pet phrases and do a word search in your manuscript. You just might be surprised. I recently edited a manuscript where the phrase “he nodded” was used over forty times. This is where you have to get creative and do some rewriting.

  • Strong hooks.
  • Setting the scene.
  • POV (point of view) issues.
  • Formatting issues.
  • Dialogue issues (especially speaker beats and tags).
  • Showing, not telling. If you look at the examples I gave you for pet phrases, most of those are simply telling the reader what’s going on. Get creative and show the reader what’s happening. Put your reader in the scene and even inside the character’s head by showing their external and internal conflict. Here is an example: She cried. Doesn’t tell us much, right? What about changing that to: Tears rolled down her cheeks as she fought to keep her angry words inside—where they needed to stay. This paints a more accurate picture of what your character is feeling.
  • Too much backstory.
  • Syntax (the rhythm and flow of your sentence and paragraphs).

There are many other elements involved in the process, but this will give you a better idea of what to expect. When you and your editor are working together as a team, I truly believe you can learn more about the writing process than in a workshop or conference, because this is doing and not just hearing.

Bottom line: trust your editor. Work with him or her and learn from the process. If you have questions and suggestions, don’t be afraid to voice them. Your editor is there to make you look good and help your words shine.

 Andrea’s Biography

Andrea Merrell is Associate Editor for Christian Devotions Ministries and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (LPC). She is also a professional freelance editor and has been a faculty member at various writers’ conferences, including:  Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, The Asheville Christian Writers Conference (Writers Boot Camp), the CLASS Christian Writers Conference, and Write2Ignite. Andrea has been published in numerous anthologies and online venues. She is a graduate of Christian Communicators and a finalist in the 2015 USA Best Book Awards. Andrea is the author of Murder of a Manuscript: Writing and Editing Tips to Keep Your Book Out of the Editorial Graveyard, Praying for the Prodigal, and The Gift. Andrea has a passion to help writers sharpen their skills and polish their prose. To learn more, visit www.AndreaMerrell.com or www.TheWriteEditing.com.

If you’d like to hire Andrea to edit your manuscript, you can contact her through her website: www.AndreaMerrell.com or e-mail her at AndreaMerrell 7 @ gmail (dot) com.

 

 

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Creating Back Cover Copy

The cover design is more than the front cover. In my last post, I shared the steps an author needs to take to help the art department create an awesome design and showed you lots of wonderful front book covers. Now let’s look at the second part of the cover design. It goes beyond the picture representing your story. A prospective reader who finds your cover fascinating will flip over to the back. This content will determine if the reader opens the book and takes it to the checkout counter.

The form I received from my publisher for cover design included sections for the back cover. My book’s back cover will have a blurb about the story, my bio, and a head shot.

Blurb

Here is my present draft. It will probably get tweaked before the final draft. This same blurb will appear on Amazon and my publisher’s website. Short, concise and intriguing are the keys to a good blurb.

Jake Marcum’s busy ranch leaves him no time for courting, and his wounded heart has no place for love. Battlefield nightmares add to his burden, but his tomboy niece, Juliet, needs taming, and a mail-order bride seems the logical solution. When an inheritance threatens to reveal a long-buried secret, Dr. Evangeline Olson abandons her medical practice and travels west to become Jake’s mail-order bride.

Jake soon realizes Evangeline is more than he bargained for, especially when her arrival causes a stir in the community. As the two try to find their way in a marriage of convenience, they are faced with cattle rustling and kidnapping. Will they be able to put aside their differences and work together to save the ranch and their fragile relationship?

 

Biography

My biography will only be a few sentences. I’m meeting a potential reader, not a boss. I pulled a few books from my to-be-read pile and studied their bios. Each part of the biography encourages the reader that the author may be worth checking out.

Bio components

  • Taglines are something that defines what you write.

Cynthia Ruchti-tells stories hemmed in hope.

DiAnn Mills- expect an adventure.

Brandilyn Collins- Seatbelt Suspense

  • Awards

Awards this manuscript has won

Awards past books have won

Awards the Author has won related to the subject matter of the book

Awards for personal accomplishments in a field other than writing

  • Past and present accomplishments

Former job

Present position

Degrees

  • Family
  • Pets
  • Fun vacation spots or any other fun comment 

 

Study the bios of your favorite authors or read the back cover of library books to get ideas. Those in your own genre may be slightly different from those in another genre. If you have no awards, don’t worry. Readers want to know you, and the last few items on a list can make your bio friendly and fun.

Endorsements

There may be an endorsement or two on the back as well. Endorsements are short words of praise about your book from other authors or people in the field you are writing about.

Color Design

The colors on the back cover will match or be identical to the front.

Professional Photo

And the finishing touch is a professional headshot. An up-to-date photo is key in maintaining a professional image. Professional photographers touch up flaws. Hey, who doesn’t want a flawless picture? My professional headshot is a few years old so I am getting a new one.Small head shot of Cindy Huff

Right now I’m interviewing photographers. I want all the photo rights to be mine to do with as I please. I’ll talk about that in a future post.

Next post

I’ve asked my awesome editor Andrea Merrill to share a guest post. She’ll be writing about the relationship between author and editor. Stop by Thursday to read her wonderful insights. You don’t want to miss it.

Speaking of not missing a post. Subscribe to this blog in the right-hand column and it will come to your e-mail. Thank you so much.

 

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Authors and Book Cover Creation

Creating a cover design is a fascinating process. My publisher provided a questionnaire for me to fill out. It gives the artist clues into my story world. Up until this point I had no idea what I wanted. The questions help get the creative juices flowing. The first few questions are basic: Title, author’s name. taglines, theme.

The next set of questions delves into specifics about the main character. What does your hero look like? Any distinguishing marks? Same questions for your heroine. This is where I get to give a clear description of the physical features of my characters. I had the option of adding photos of my ideas about the characters.

Who do my characters look like

The question about what actor or actress do you see playing them in a movie sent me to the internet to find photos. Did you know if you type in red-haired actresses with green eyes that you’ll find a large selection of photos? Evangeline’s hair is burgundy rather than carrot colored. I already had a picture of a model with burgundy hair but looking at more faces really helped narrow down an idea.

I have pictures of Tom Selleck, John Cusack and Sam Elliot all in cowboy garb that give me a feel for Jake. Evangeline looks a bit like Maureen O’Hara or Lori Loughlin (she’d have to dye her hair.)  I found a wonderful picture of Emma Stone. So I am adding photos of these actors to the form.

A fun exercise for you and your story, search the character description: cowboy, regency, blond soldier sees what comes up. If you’re a plotter and an outliner, you have probably already picked out your pictures before you started writing. What you want on the cover may be clearly define in your head. But, if you’re like me and lack artist know-how, you’ll be relying on the designer to bring your idea to reality. FYI: The publisher usually gets the final say on your cover. This is a good thing because they know what sells.

More details

I couldn’t find a picture of my ranch so I settled for writing a description. I got to choose whether I want people on the cover or a landscape. There is lots of room at the bottom of the form for more notes to further clarify.

Note all the covers of fellow-authors I’ve added to this post so you can get a better idea of cover design.

HerDeadlyInheritanceColor-2

Mystery Cover

 

Mercy Rains

Historical landscape cover

Genre and time period are important questions as well. Secrets & Charades is set in 1870s so costumes on the cover need to resemble the period. The hoop skirt was no longer in fashion but bustles were popular.

hand of adonai smaller

Fantasy Cover

51SDe6990EL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

Police thriller/ fantasy cover

A fantasy cover might have someone dressed like Star Wars characters. The focus might be on an object that is key to the story line. Perhaps a space ship, a sword or a dragon take center stage in the story.

Comparing covers

There is a place on this form to add comparables. So, books with similar themes (remember that part in your proposal?) can now be used as examples. Those covers show what’s selling.

 

Not good ideas

If the hero is very tall, then he shouldn’t be the same height as the heroine on the cover. Unless of course she is very tall, too. I actually saw this on a cover. Until I read the story I didn’t realize the hero was well over six feet tall. Once I knew this, the cover was a bit disappointing.

If the story takes places in the winter in Florida, it will look different than winter in Alaska. That also goes for trees not native to the area. This will date me, but the movie Wayne’s World was supposed to take place in Aurora, Illinois. One scene in the movie had palm trees in the background. I suppose comedies can get away with that. Book covers not so much.

If your genre is horror you wouldn’t want a sunny sky.

A romance—unless it has vampires or some violent fantasy theme—is not going to have blood and gore on the cover.

Capturing emotion

The form asked me to describe the tone, mood, and attitude. One or two word descriptions can make a big difference in helping the designer get a taste of my fiction world. I had to google these terms to get a deeper understanding of the literary significance. I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer so I don’t always have a tone or mood in mind until my characters speak to me.

Defining the tone and mood can make a difference in a novel’s content so it should reflect on the cover. A romantic comedy design is going to look different from a romance with a broken-promise-restored theme. The same with a thriller with a sullen cast of characters versus one with a hopeful mood.

Photo sites give lots of options

You may prefer symbols or settings for your cover. My fellow-writer Gloria Doty has a modern-day cowboy romance series. She opted for boots and a Stetson on the cover of Bringing  a Cowboy Home. She wanted her readers to enjoy their own images of her characters. Photo websites have lots of these sorts of images.

51ZRZe74RBL

Publishers purchase the cover art and, if you self-publish, you’d do the same. Linda Yezak has a great cover for The Final Ride. She created it herself using pictures of a model she found online. She purchased the rights to use her likeness. This helped her create her cover.51jgIj4jqfL

Being sure your cover reflects your story means more sales. So, I am taking extra time to fill out this form. Hopefully the designer will get me. If the cover catches the reader’s eye, then they will pick it up. If you’re self-publishing, spend the money on a quality cover. I can’t wait to see what my cover will look like. I’ve been impressed with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas cover designs. The reveal of my design is some months away. But the process begins now.

The back cover is just as important as the front cover. I’ll talk about the process in the next post.

Anyone like to share their experience with cover designs?

 

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Why So Many Rounds of Edits After the Contract?

Today and in other posts until my book is published in March 2017 I thought I’d share the many behind the scenes activities that take place after the contract is signed. This is not a time to set back and relax. Oh no. Whether you publish traditionally or self-publish, there are many steps before you see your book on the shelf.

Rounds of edits

First, is edits. Even though my book was professionally edited before I submitted it, there are still things that need changing.

Pansy O'Hara Did you know that Margaret Mitchell called the heroine in Gone With The Wind, Pansy? The publishers didn’t like her name. So it was changed to Scarlett. And if you’ve read the book or seen the movie, she is Scarlett. The name Pansy doesn’t have the power and sensual premise.

 

For me, my first round of edits included rewriting a couple of scenes. I needed them to be from my main characters’ points of view not the minor characters. I actually found them more powerful after I was finished.

The first edit found typos and grammar errors that were missed  during my final rewrite. We found overused words and mannerisms. I liked Jake to run his fingers through his hair when he was frustrated, nervous or thinking. Well, needless to say it was a lot.

So, the editor’s job is to point those out so I can find new mannerisms. A repetitive mannerism can get on a reader’s nerves and pull them out of the story.

The second edit is to double-check what I fixed and find new stuff like character names interchanged. I recently read a book where the character’s name was Joel and his late brother was John. But in one scene the tagline John said was used. This was not a ghost story.  It should have been Joel. The editor may also question your research. And you may be asked to go back and fact check.

There are two more edits after that. Why so many? You don’t want a reader to review your typos on Amazon.

Beta Readers

Next, Beta Readers read through looking for typos and anything that might take the reader out of the story. I’ve had the pleasure of being a Beta Reader. You receive a PDF file of the book and open another document to record any boo boos you find. I understand you can have as many as 30 Beta Readers. This way, any blaring problems are fixed as well as the miniscule ones.

There will be one more round of Beta Readers. They might receive an Author review copy or an e-book version to read. In the new format other mistakes are found. The goal is a really clean copy. The reputation of the publisher is on the line along with yours.

Read it again

Here is the key for you as a writer. Every time you receive edits. Read. Read the sentence being edited. The paragraph. The page. The chapter. The whole novel. Read as much as you need to be sure the change flows. Read enough to ensure the edits have not changed the story.

You are the author and not every edit is the right choice. Please do accept typos, misplaced names. POV shifts, things like that. But there are other things you might say no to.  If someone felt a scene needed more sensory beats. The smell of the hot asphalt. The chirping of a robin. The snoring of the old man. You are the one who decides if that would add or distract from your story.

Author Review Copies

By the time you get to the second set of Beta Readers there’s very little to be pointed out. Possibly nothing at all. These readers are good candidates for pre-release book reviews.

Some publishers might not edit as thoroughly. They might only use one round of Beta Readers. I don’t know that there is a set formula. And if you self-publish you are going to have to find your own Beta Readers.These should be people who notice details and grammar errors.

Beware of editors who go through a minimal of steps. A wonderful story can be ruined by those little grammar, spelling and POV shift errors. I’ve seen them in printed copy of wonderful books. An e-book can be fixed. But a paper copy will hold on to those errors until a new print run. Not what you want at all.

In between receiving your edits to work on, you will be doing a lot of other things. Next post I’ll tell you what I learned about cover design.

What has been your editing experience?

 

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A Visit with Author Lynn Cornell

Lynn Cornell-2I am so excited to welcome my friend and fellow member of my Word Weaver Aurora group to my blog today. He has been a faithful member and participant since our critique group formed. His insights have been so helpful. Now it’s my turn to pay it forward.

Lynn Cornell released his first novel last month. The Color of Redemption tackles racism from a different perspective. I so enjoyed reading the story of Katie Smith and her journey toward forgiveness.

Here is the back cover blurb.

Raising her family in the turbulent ‘60s in a segregated rural Alabama town, Katie Parker understood the ugliness of racism and Jim Crow all too well. Her farm, which she shared with her activist husband, became her oasis, her retreat. Here, she had control. Here, she could witness God’s handiwork in the beauty of the land. Here, she was at peace. But it was a peace soon to be shattered. After a devastating and horrible event, Katie moves with three of her four children to a relative’s house in a majority-white suburb of Los Angeles. Settling in, she was confident she had escaped the horrors of her hometown. But the memory of that horrible event, and the animosity and hatred it stirred in her, were not easily shaken. Though she escaped a segregated Southern town, racism and intolerance were not easily left behind. Oddly enough, it was her granddaughter’s addiction to drugs that led Katie on a path causing her to confront her fears and prejudices and face head-on the past that she thought she had left behind. Katie’s journey will introduce this generation to the ugly racism of the sixties and confront the racial realities that exist in the church today. The Color of Redemption will show readers how to break down these walls that separate Christians and deal with racial prejudice, not from a civil rights perspective, but a Christian world view dictated by the Bible.

 

I love that you wrote this in first person. Following the story from Katie’s perspective added so much depth. I haven’t read a story like this and so I want to start out by asking:  Why this book?

I have been a Christian since 1978. I’ve been a part of all black churches and all white churches (my presence at white churches excluded). I’ve found it troubling that the same racial feelings and opinions that exists in America exists in both churches. The Color of Redemption shows how Christians should view and resolve racial issues.

How did you research to get the clothing right? The setting? And dialect?

As a young boy, I spent summers in a small southern town and worked cotton fields to buy my school clothes. The color divide was marked by railroad tracks dividing the white side of town from the black side of town. I also lived in Los Angeles and found the racial divide marked not by railroad tracks, but by area of the city or suburb.

Who coached you on how a woman talks and thinks. You really nailed it.

That’s funny because I just picture in my mind how women I know would speak and react to situations. Of course, I get feedback from writer’s group, i.e. you, and I’ll ask my wife and daughter how something sounds.

I’ve heard you share your journey to publication. So, encourage my readers by answering these two important questions

 How long did it take you to get it published?

About ten years

What were some of the obstacles?

I think the biggest obstacle was learning how to write. I had written an entire first draft of COR and didn’t know what things like point of view or show and not tell were. Once I had taken the time to learn the craft of writing, the story came together and I was, with confidence, able to seek publishing.  I think some publishers were hesitant to tackle the issue of race. I had to have patience to find the publisher who was willing to publish my book.

We always end the journey in a better place than we began. Share some of the things you learned along the way?

The most significant thing I learned is Christians who view life through a racial prism fail to see the wonderful work of the cross. That’s the cure of racism.

What words of wisdom would you pass on to newbie writers?

I can’t say this enough, learn the craft of writing. Take the time to hone your skills. Then learn the publishing business, and yes, it is a business. With those two things, you’ll have confidence as a writer and in what you’ve written.

Lynn, tell us about your upcoming projects.

Currently I’m working on two novels, A Most Precious Pearl which tells the story of an immoral woman who discovers she is God’s pearl. In God’s Honor tells the story of an Iranian secret police woman who comes to faith in opposition to her strong Muslim tradition.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope everyone takes to heart your advice to learn the craft. And I hope my readers will take the time to purchase this thought-provoking, timely story.  Click here.

 Color of Redemption

Lynn’s Bio:

Lynn Cornell has been a Christian since 1978 and started writing in his forties, at the request of his wife. He’s currently working on three novels and two non-fictions books. Lynn has completed a children’s book, Obi’s Three Nails and four screenplays. His screenplay Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol received honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest competition.  The Color of Redemption was a semi-finalist in the Christian Writer’s Guild Operation First Novel contest. He is a member of Word Weavers.When not writing, he enjoys riding his bike. He’s been married to his wife, Beverly for twenty-three years and has five adult children and thirteen grandchildren. Visit him on Facebook.

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Writing For The Reader’s Enjoyment

woman reading book

Write so your reader keeps following you.

I’ve always heard you should write for your readers. Which seems reasonable. After all we want them to buy our books. Let me share how I understand what writing for your readers implies.

Oftentimes our rough drafts are full of lots of stuff.  All the things we want to say about everything.  All the details we know about each character, every room, all the historical data. EVERYTHING! Hopefully, during your numerous rewrites most of this wonderful stuff will be deleted. At least they should.

You don’t agree.

You say the details are important. Depends on the details.

Without the details who will understand the complexities of the heart surgery our hero’s mother is going through. Even though the hero’s mother never makes an appearance in the book.

An in-depth description of the room the character walks through and never returns to again.

Telling the reader what the villain is thinking while we are writing from the hero’s point of view.

Determine what details carry the story. The character’s obsession over having a heart attack. The villain telling the hero an important fact so the reader can piece together the clues along with the hero. Less is more is the adage for writers to cling to as they try to keep the reader engaged.

Real people in our real world

There are real world examples to justify even more why we write to the reader.

We all have at least one friend, relative or even our spouse who over explain things. You know what I mean. They can’t just tell you they got this great deal on bananas at the store. They tell you about all the other fruit too. Or you ask their opinion on which paint is best for interior painting and you get the history of the creation of paint.

Then there’s the people (all of us can talk like this when we’re excited.) They tell us every detail about an incident and then circle back around and tell us over again. Maybe adding a detail.

Of course, none of us has ever written like this. Ahem.

The readers follow the characters

Readers remember what they read in a previous chapter. We don’t need to repeat every detail when a new character enters the scene. This isn’t real life it’s fiction.

So, if your characters are cops and they are investigating a crime, when the chief enters- they fill him in. That’s the sentence.

Unless there is information we haven’t told the reader about the crime we don’t need to restate it. The readers go everywhere with our characters so we don’t really tell it like we would in real life.

Keep dialogue on point

Small talk unless it tells the reader something about the character should not exist. So don’t have your character pick up the phone, say hello, and chat about trivial things for a page. In our real world we might spend an hour visiting with a friend before getting to the point. But our readers aren’t that patient. They want to find out what happens next.

TwainKeep your vocabulary engaging yet simple

Mark Twain said “Why use a five-dollar word when a fifty cent word will do.”

Unless you are writing to academia or a technical book, keep your words simple.

If a reader has to reach for the dictionary, you’ve lost them. Be sure the word can be understood within a sentence. And even then is there a simpler more descriptive word. A fancy word that no one knows does not impress a reader. Enough of those in your work and they will stop reading.

Avoid adjectives

We aren’t writing for our English teachers. Adjectives are not the readers friend.

“Mary was miserably silent.” The sentence tells the reader nothing.

They want to experience the silence.

“Mary sat in the hard back chair, her lips flexing between a pout and a straight line. Tears fought for space on her cheek.”

This tells the reader so much more. They can feel her misery.

How do your characters talk?

Does your dialogue for a teen or child sound like them or their parents?

“Why, Charlotte, you should be ashamed of yourself.”

Instead: “Char, you’re so messed up.”

Give them flaws

As much as we want our heroes and heroine to be the pillar of perfection. Show their flaws. This gives the reader hope. Following the story of a woman fighting depression and winning might encourage a reader to get help.

A heroine who always says and does the right things is not only unrealistic, it’s boring. The reader can’t relate to perfection. Because our readers are human.

Non-fiction writers need to reach the heart

Even when writing non-fiction, share your ideas so the reader can relate without pointing fingers at them.

Avoid writing: you should…If you had or your problem….

Rather, say I have found. Research shows.

Share a story from your own life illustrating the point without sounding arrogant.

check list-tinyA check list

My challenge to all of us. Go through your manuscripts while you’re editing and before submission and ask yourself if you are getting to the heart of your reader.

Am I preaching or encouraging.

Does my character’s armor have some tarnish?

Do my ten steps to…whatever…have an ah ha moment.

Do I need to explain the history of the zipper to establish a time period?

Does this wonderful scene with my secondary characters shopping really move the story along?

We want our books to be passed around, shared and recommended and it will only happen when we focus on the readers and not ourselves.

 

What revelations have you come to understand about writing to the readers? Share in the comments. I’d love to hear it.

 

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Computer Meltdown-Oh No!

computer meltdownThis past week my sweet hubby spent days trying to rescue my computer from meltdown. The Microsoft tech my husband spoke with on the third day really knew his stuff and remotely fixed everything. Hurrah.

The lesson learned. Don’t put off repairs. My computer was acting up and I kept putting off taking it in for cleaning, repairs, whatever it needed. After all, I had to write. Edits, proposals, blog posts—the list goes on. They were all due soon.

Here are the horrendous scenarios

It kept acting up. Widows 10 kept trying to load. Temporary crash while doing a proposal. Recovered the proposal, sent it off. Windows 10 tried to load again. Loaded Windows 10. Big Mess. Hubby talked to computer geek. Followed suggestions. Widows 10 installed. Now no Word program. No camera and no audio. Can’t write. Can’t do online critiques. Great! Hubby went back to the cyber drawing board and called Microsoft a few times. Now all is restored. At least where Microsoft 365 is concerned.

And then

Hub reinstalled Scrivener but I have to find the docs to place back in program. That’s where I construct my stories and rearrange scenes, outline ideas. In other words, my next novel creations are in their infancy somewhere in my pc.

You know it will happen

And did I mention my editor sent my MS to me for some additional edits when I had no Word program? Those are the things writer’s nightmares are made of. If not for my phone and mini tablet, I would have been unable to access my emails and send a note to my editor.

 broken computerBiggest lesson

My computer is important to my writing career. I must invest in programs, updates and even be willing to replace it sooner than later. I’d backed up my novel and proposals on a stick. But all my other stuff would have been lost if things had gotten worse. Microsoft has a cloud storage I’ll be using with this new version. Save your work in more than one place. A stick, the cloud, and external hard drive. Eva Marie Everson emails her latest draft to herself every day. If something happened to her computer she has a copy that can easily be restored.

Don’t put off keeping your PC in good working order. Runners don’t wear ratty tennis shoes. Cyclist don’t ride bikes with bent wheels. Dog groomers have their scissors and styling blades sharpened often. And painters don’t use rickety ladders.  If you are serious about your wordsmithing keep your equipment in good shape.

It won’t be long and docx will be the only acceptable format for publishers. They move with technology so we must as well. Keep your receipts and turn them into your tax preparer. Get an external hard drive, sticks, and subscribe to a cloud storage space. Don’t be like others we’ve all heard about who lost their complete manuscript due to a computer malfunction. The latest version of Word saves your work even when your power dies or you have a temporary crash. But if your computer has to be wiped because of a virus that has shut ‘er down, you may be frantically trying to recreate your masterpiece from memory.

How do you back up your documents and keep your work protected? Leave a comment inquiring minds want to know. 

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