Fix it!

img_2917One of the hardest things for me as a writer is to hear critique on my writing. I know it’s
important, I know it needs to be given and received, I know how invaluable it is to hear to good, the bad, and the ugly of what I’ve written. How else am I to learn and grow? I can only do so much in editing my own work; there comes a point where I need to let go, and let someone else take a look. And not just a peek, but an in-depth study.

Whew! Just writing that made my breathing kick up a few notches!

Can any of you writers out there relate to this? How many of you employ the services of an editor?

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why having an editor is so important.

We all have pet phrases.

When I wrote Violet’s Daybreak, I created a heroine with debilitating shyness. Barely able to form a coherent sentence around strangers kind of shy. I’ve been there, and I wanted a character that could grow past it, as I (sometimes) have. But I over-used “blushed”…so much so that I’m sure my editor was pulling out hair during the reading of it. This was something that I hadn’t noticed I did, and certainly didn’t mean to do! And I’d never have caught it on my own. Instead, all my readers would be reading about an infuriating amount of blushing, flushing, flaming faces.

In working through it with my editor, I learned to think about more physical manifestations of shyness than just blushing: shortness of breath, trembling hands, inability to make eye contact, nervous fidgets, and I could go on! After making those changes, I saved the blushing for the really big stuff!

Sometimes, our brain sees what it wants to see.

Have you ever written something, even gone back through to self-edit it, and then left it for several weeks, months, or even years…only to return and find that it didn’t say what you thought it did? I’m sure many writers have experienced this, myself included. What was I thinking? The problem is that, as we write, and have an idea in our heads, sometimes that idea becomes stronger than our vision. We know what we mean, and even if the words don’t express that clearly, we still see what we mean. Example, you ask? Well, do I have one for you!

In my WIP (WIP stands for Work In Progress), a novel centering on a student of Dr. Martin Luther’s in Wittenberg, 1517. About halfway through a paragraph describing the student writing frantically during one of Luther’s lectures, I switch to the character thinking about the 95 Theses (Statements that Luther wanted to discuss in the theological/intellectual community of the time). While I want to include mention of it in the book, such an inorganic introduction will make it feel more like propaganda than a novel describing how the teaching of salvation by grace through faith touches and transforms the lives of those who hear it. I’m sure that at some point, I had an idea in my head of how to transition my character’s thought process more gently, but I can’t think of what it was now! In short, I don’t know what I was thinking. I’m just glad I was able to pick that out later.

An editor’s eyes are not our eyes.

If you are writing for yourself alone, you can ignore this post, as well as the need for an editor. However, if you want to write so that other people read your writing, remember that they do not have your eyes. They do not have your thoughts guiding their reading. This is where an editor can be really useful, because editors don’t have your eyes, either!

When I’ve finished a first draft, and done what I can on my own to perfect my writing, I do two things. First, I send it to my editor. Second, I send it to test readers. The feedback I receive helps me perfect my writing further and gives me a view on how others read what I’ve written. Oh, you think that character doesn’t seem very genuine? I can fix that! This scene doesn’t have enough detail? I can fix that! The opening has too much description and not enough action? I can fix that, too!

What other reasons can you think of to work with an editor?

If you are interested in learning whether I would be a good editor to work with on your writing, please go and check out my page, Editing. Whether you decide to go with me or not, I hope you will consider this important aspect of the process. Happy writing!

New Things!

Hello dear readers! It has been an embarrassingly long stretch since my last post…

I can only claim hectic life and work on new projects as preventing me from posting. Poor excuses, I know! However, I’m excited to share with you some of what I’ve been doing.

We are in a season of newness. Spring has come full-force in Texas, and my northerly-acclimated self thinks it’s summer already! In the church year, we are in  the midst of celebrating the Resurrection of Christ. If this isn’t new, I don’t know what “new” is! In the spirit of newness and hope and growth, I want to share with you that I’ve decided to offer my services as an editor. This is a stretch into new territory for me, though perhaps not so far as I might have first thought.

img_2878-1

As early as high school, or even middle school, I’ve enjoyed going through my work, picking it apart, and putting it back together. Now, I’ve found very real and deep satisfaction in helping others bring their work to its optimal potential.

For example, my friend Heidi has been writing online Bible studies for a while now; when she started talking over a year ago about putting some of them into a book format, I thought it was an excellent idea and offered to help with the effort. Not only was I blessed with the wonderful insights in her study, but I absolutely loved being even a small part of helping to polish it.

And if your interest is peaked, you can check out more of her studies here.

If you have a project you’ve been working on, consider how an editor might help. Is the message you’re presenting as clear as it can be? Are there any mistakes that might trip up your readers and distract from the heart of what you want them to take away from your work? Are there little spelling or punctuation issues that will detract from your credibility as a writer?

If you’d like to take a look at the services I offer, you can check it out here.

Now it’s your turn. What new things are emerging in your life during this season?

Make Ready with a nativity

A Savior. Born for you. And will bear for you. And does bear for you. Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow!

For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

“Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow!” isn’t a Christmas song, right? But is it? The greatest blessing, our Savior, comes to us this day. Let us sing and praise our God, who in His great mercy, made ready for us. He sent forth His own Son for our salvation. Gloria in excelsis Deo! Glory to Him who makes ready His plans for our redemption.

makereadyadvent2016tagged

Make Ready with an image of a silent night

A warm fire on a cold night has always been relaxing to me. In Christ, God calls us to rest in Him. #Advent2016 #graftedheart #ilovemyshepherd

Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10a

We’ve made it to Christmas Eve. If it isn’t done yet, it likely isn’t getting done. Perhaps that’s how Mary and Joseph felt. They made it to Bethlehem, they made it past the gossipers, they made it through this season’s journey to the birth of a healthy child. Even if tomorrow will be full of activity for you, rest in this time, breathe in this space. Be still in the knowledge that God has done this great thing for you. We made ready.

makereadyadvent2016tagged

Make Ready with a cross

At the crux of it all, even at Christmas. #Advent2016 #graftedheart #ilovemyshepherd

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Christmas is fun, and special, and a holy celebration. But more than the presents and singing and yummy food, or the babies and lambs and shepherds, angels and wisemen, it’s about the difficult road ahead for that little Baby. It’s about His life lived for you and for me. It’s about the suffering endured for you and for me, the cross that lifted our Savior, the grave that hid Him, and the stone that couldn’t keep Him. It’s about His work in our lives. He alone makes us ready for salvation.

makereadyadvent2016tagged

Make Ready with a gift

Gift-giving is a reminder of God’s gift of grace. #Advent2016 #graftedheart #ilovemyshepherd

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8

Whether gift-giving is a source of anxiety or joy, we can rejoice together in the gift of God’s grace. It’s often said that Jesus is the first and best Christmas gift. But He’s also the Giver! He gave boundless grace in coming to our fallen world, in preaching and teaching on our soil, in suffering and dying on a rugged cross, in rising from the tomb and granting Life to each of us. We praise Him for these gifts and so much more. What gifts are you sharing and revisiting this Christmas? Let these joys remind you of our great and mighty Giver always.

makereadyadvent2016tagged

Make Ready with something snowy or white

No snow here in Houston, but here’s a lovely white ornament. #advent2016 #graftedheart #ilovemyshepherd

Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. Isaiah 1:18

Snow covers. Fresh snow, falling softly from the sky, transforms the environment like nothing else. As the dead grass slowly disappears beneath a blanket of white and barren tree branches begin to sparkle in the moonlight, the world is transformed. While the snow’s transformation is temporary and could dissolve with morning’s light, the forgiveness the Lord speaks of in Isaiah is of stronger mettle than snow. It is for eternity.

makereadyadvent2016tagged

Make Ready with a sign of wealth

A “sign of wealth” given our family by a couple of great friends. #Advent2016 #graftedheart #ilovemyshepherd

And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:11

Imagine an event so compelling, so captivating that you would leave your home for years, travel incredible distances, to simply greet its coming. The Magi traveled to acknowledge something not completely understood to them, but that which they knew was worth the journey. But these men who worked among princes, made ready. They did not did not stop with acknowledging Jesus, they fell down and worshipped, they opened their treasures to the Most High God. What worship, what treasures, can we offer our God who has given so much for us?

makereadyadvent2016tagged

Make Ready with a recipe or a table

(a recipe of the season or a table to gather around)

And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47

Something special happens when we share a meal together. Time spent preparing, stirring, chopping, simmering and roasting, plates set out, drinks poured. Everything is special when preparing for time spent together. And God is there with us. In conversations shared, in tears spilled together, in food passed, in laughter bouncing off the walls. We were made for community, loving one another and sharing Him in life together.

makereadyadvent2016tagged

Make Ready with a favorite Christmas ornament

Treasures on a tree. #advent2016 #graftedheart #ilovemyshepherd

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:20

You can learn a great deal about a person by looking at the ornaments on their Christmas tree: antique ones, handed down from generation to generation; handmade ones, from a beloved grandparent or child; purchased ones, specific to a memory, hobby, or occupation. Many of each of our ornaments also hold a deeper significance: they make us ready. They are small witnesses to every viewer of an eternal truth…God showed His love for us in this- Christ Jesus come to our world.

makereadyadvent2016tagged