Thursday, January 30, 2014


REVISION: a change or a set of changes that corrects or improves something

EXAMPLE: My critique partner gave me suggestions for revision. 
“This morning I took out a comma, and this afternoon I put it back again.” Oscar Wilde

“By the time I am nearing the end of a story, the first part will have been reread and altered and corrected at least one hundred and fifty times. I am suspicious of both facility and speed. Good writing is essentially rewriting. I am positive of this.” — Roald Dahl

Revising is more than fixing grammar, looking for better words, avoiding repetition, cutting words, or ‘gasp,’ entire chapters from your manuscript.

Revising is taking your time and doing it right.

Take a break from your first draft. Then read through it and analyze it. Read the paper out loud and read from hard copy.

Among others, ask yourself these questions: what do you like/dislike about the characters, were there places where you got bored (If so, your reader will more than likely get bored), does the plot make sense, does the story flow, do the characters jump off the page, does the story have stakes and is there a worry factor for your readers?

Cut, condense and tighten. Eliminate anything that doesn’t move the story along, even if you love that part. If it makes the book better, wipe away your tears and take it out. 

Make sure the first paragraph, first page and first chapter grab your reader. Make the last paragraph of your chapters compel the reader to continue reading.

Yes, revising is hard. I know some people who do not like to have others critique their stories. Of course, you do not have to follow all suggestions others give you, but your story needs to be seen by  eyes other than your own.

No matter what you write, whether it be articles, short stories, poems, children's literature or adult literature, you should develop a thick skin and get the opinions of others. We need to try and get it right before publication. A good first impression will go a long way. It will keep your readers coming back for more.

These are just a few suggestions. What do you think about revising? Give us your thoughts.

During your writing and your revision, 
strive to find something that makes your words and story unique.

(From now on, WORD FOR THE WEEK, will be a regular post each Wednesday. (Unless circumstances in real life take over, which is what happened this past week.)

Posted by Janet Smart  on Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


PERSEVERANCE: steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas Edison

“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” Babe Ruth

“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” A. A. Milne

“Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.” George Washington Carver

Thomas Edison was told in his early years that he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He made over 1000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. 

Jack London received six hundred rejection slips in his early years.

Dr. Seuss’s first book, To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, was rejected 27 times.

The next time you think about quitting, in your writing or some other endeavor, think of my word for the week: PERSEVERANCE

Another little tidbit of information about perseverance:  It took 40 attempts to get the water displacing formula for WD40 worked out. Hence the name, WD40. And just like duct tape, what would we do without WD40?

Maybe some day someone will say, "What would we do without the writings of (fill in your name)?"

 In the eyes of some, even rejects are beautiful!

Posted by Janet Smart  on Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

A B C's of Writing

If you notice, I have a picture of a booklet I wrote on my sidebar.
I had fun putting it together.
The Table of Contents consist of: A B C's of Writing, Specific Words, Find Button, Tips on Writing ABC Books, Tips on Writing Articles, Prompts, What If's, Sites for Writers, Last, But Not Least - Helpful Tidbits and Author Info.

I thought I would share a little of the A to Z Book on Writing
If you are a freelance writer, or would like to give writing a try, there are times when you are at a loss as to what to write about. Below are a few ideas.


Pick a topic and write a unique ABC book for small children.
ANTHOLOGY Gather stories and put together an anthology
There is always a need for someone to write articles.
Dictionary, Thesaurus, Pens, Pencils, Computer, Books, The Elements of Style Handbook, Writing Tablets (keep small one at your bedside and with you at all times for whenever an idea pops into your head)

BIOGRAPHIES Pick a favorite person, research and write a biography
BITS OF WISDOM Share bits of wisdom with others
BLOGS Start a blog and write daily or weekly posts. Write about your passion, your craft, your day to day life.
BOOKMARKS Make bookmarks with your info, books, etc. printed on them to give out.
BORROWED STARTERS When you are at a loss for an idea, pick up a book and borrow the first sentence. Write your own manuscript, article, poem or prose starting with that first sentence.
BROCHURES Write brocures. Focus on a topic, be specific and mix writing styles (Bullet points, numbers and lists). Add photos.
BUSINESS CARDS Always have business cards to give out


CHAPBOOKS Write a collection of poems or short stories and put them together in a chapbook. Stay to a certain theme.
CHARACTERS Collect unique, quirky, fun characters. Write them down and give them a home in your writing.
CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL They are always asking for submissions. Check their site often for new topics
COLLECTIBLES Collectibles are very popular. Write about a group of collectibles or a single collectible.
COLUMNS Write columns for newspapers or magazines
CONTESTS Enter Please!
COOKBOOKS Who doesn't love cookbooks? Put together a family cookbook, school cookbook, workplace cookbook or a specialty cookbook. There are publishers who deal specifically with printing of cookbooks. 
COUNTING BOOKS As with ABC books, there is always room on the bookshelf for one more. Pick a topic and make yours unique. Put the counting into a storyline such as ... One day one little puppy walked down the road. A kitty joined him and then there were two.
CRAFT BOOKS If you are good at a certain craft, write a book about it. Blog about it.
CRITIQUE GROUPS Join at least one!

The subjects with an * beside of it, means there is more about that topic later in the booklet. 

I hope you enjoyed this small peek into my booklet. In the ABC section, I go through the entire alphabet - even finding an entry for Z!

I know I am quite often at a loss as to what to write about. This booklet helps spark my imagination when I need a little nudge.

Do you need a little nudge? Just let me know and I will email you a free PDF copy of the booklet.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Final Spit and Polish

I'm giving one of my MG novels a final spit and polish before sending it out into the world this year.

I am using the Speak command on Word to find my mistakes.
You can go here to one of my other posts that tells you how to put the Speak command on your toolbar if it isn't already there.

I thought this manuscript was ready to go. But, I am finding awkward sentences in my manuscript using this tool . . . plus a few other mistakes. 

A few weeks ago I sent out a couple of stories to a children's magazine. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will get at least one of them accepted. I had never submitted to a magazine before. So this is a first for me. 

Anyone else out there polishing up a manuscript for submission?

Do you have any writing goals for the new year?

One of my goals is to try and send out more manuscripts . . . and to keep improving my writing skills. 

We need to think big . . . 

and keep climbing the steps to reach our writing goals!

 Happy Writing!