Wielding the Red Pen of Doom (i.e. Editing)

Dear Reader,

This week I’d like to talk about what I look for when I pull out the Red Pen of Doom on my shitty first draft. But first, a sketch of Tempest Granville, the main character of The Rebel’s Hero, that I drew during a boring meeting at work…

She has wild hair because she is a tomboy. She is frowning because her dad wants to marry her to someone she doesn’t like. And then there’s the whole kidnapping escapade. That definitely brought a frown to her face.

Wielding the Red Pen of Doom

When I pull out the Red Pen of Doom, especially in the early chapters when I haven’t written the remainder of the book, I look for three main things:

  1. Is the heroine’s goal clear?
  2. Is the hero’s goal clear?
  3. Does the combination of their goals make for an interesting and intelligible story?

Notice I’m not too concerned about characterization or setting yet. That comes with the draft that is between the Shitty First Draft and the Reader Worthy First Draft. I like to call that draft, the one that is interesting and intelligible but lacking the meaty descriptions and emotions, Shitty First Draft B.

I use the Red Pen of Doom to remind me that I must be brutal to the Shitty First Draft. This is no time to hold onto my darlings. They aren’t my darlings yet, I haven’t lived with them long enough. This is my best opportunity to make goals of characters crystal clear. I consolidate unnecessary characters and plot lines, simplifying them so I can explore backstories and emotions fully in later drafts.

I ask the three questions I listed above on every page. If I don’t have an answer in seconds, then goodbye you lovely paragraph that was a study of beauteous grammar, but you are dead weight and you must go.

I tend to do this sort of editing when I’ve had a good day. I’m more objective when I’m in a neutral/good mood rather than when I’ve had a crappy day and want to punch everyone’s face in for even thinking of looking at me.

Writing. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.

Best,

Belinda

P.S. If you’re here because of the Back to Books Giveaway Hop, welcome! This is a simple giveaway. Subscribe to my newsletter below to get half-off my book Haunting Miss Trentwood. You should receive your discount code upon confirmation of your subscription.

 

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Midsummer’s Eve Giveaway Bloghop!

Midsummers-Hop

Dear Reader,

Glad you made it here! This post is part of the Midsummer’s Eve Giveaway bloghop. I’m keeping this bloghop pretty simple: when you sign up for my newsletter, you will receive a free eBook copy of my upcoming book, The Rebel’s Hero.

Never fear, I rarely send emails via the newsletter, it’s more for general updates, such as book releases. How do you know if you’re interested in The Rebel’s Hero? Well, below I’ve included the back cover blurb. Again, to get a free copy of the book when it’s released, just sign up for the newsletter!

Dear Reader,

I began The Rebel’s Hero as a rewrite of my high school senior thesis, a Civil War romance called Catching the Rose. The original was written with all the innocence and energy of a seventeen-year-old. I was flattered and gratified that so many readers picked up Catching the Rose, not expecting a book by a teenager, but a first serious attempt at being an author.

After publishing my second book, Haunting Miss Trentwood, my thoughts drifted to Catching the Rose. I itched to begin it again, this time with a tighter plot structure and deeper character motivations. Out of that reworking came The Rebel’s Hero.

When Tempest Granville’s step-father announced he was marrying her off in between slurps of soup at dinner, she knew right then that her home was no longer a safe haven from the impending war between the states.

The night of a successful slave smuggling mission leaves Daniel Ritter exhausted, but jubilant. When a bedraggled Tempest appears on his doorstep, her presence does more than spark alarm. Suddenly Daniel is having visions of his past, the very past he has struggled to reclaim memories of for nine years.

Join Tempest and Daniel as romance flares, the war begins, and urgency builds as they realize Daniel’s missing memory is the key to a wicked and heartbreaking family secret.

Happy reading,

Belinda Kroll

Intrigued? Then submit your email below to join the newsletter for updates about The Rebel’s Hero!

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Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. There’s a guest author giveaway where you only need to comment on the post to enter to win a free Treasure Hunters book. Check it out after you sign up for the newsletter!

How to have a Successful Book Festival, Treasure Hunters Giveaway

Dear Reader,

Today we have Sean McCartney, who I highlighted before in an interview and when I met him in person at the Ohioana Book Festival. He agreed to share his experience at the book festival, and is giving away a copy of one of his Treasure Hunters books! Read on, dear reader, read on.

– – –

I want to thank Belinda for having me here today. I’d like to introduce myself again. My name is Sean McCartney and I am the author of The Treasure Hunters Club book series. The second book, Breaking the Beale Code, was released on May 7th of this year. Belinda and I met face-to-face at the Ohioana Book Festival and she asked me to talk about my experience there.

To say I was nervous would be an understatement. When someone asked me who my protagonists were, not only did I not remember what a protagonist was, I forgot I was even an author. I’d never been to one of these before as an author or a patron.

I almost talked myself out of going with a deluge of excuses but as I look back on the festival I am glad I was there.

When I walked into building 110, where all of the authors were selling their books, I found my name tag and set up my treasure chest of books. I was sharing a table with another great young adult author. The area was not very large. In fact I felt like I was at the “kids” table for Thanksgiving Dinner.

After I was set-up I stood and waited for people to come in. I watched the other authors and wondered if they felt like I did. They seemed much more confident.

I have to say that, aside from selling a bunch of books, I was able to meet and talk with two terrific authors and people. Kristina McBride, author of The Tension of Opposites and Erin McCahan, author of I Now Pronounce You Someone Else, provided great laughs throughout the day and was a source of tremendous knowledge and information.

The festival held interviews and book readings by many authors. I was not chosen to do any of that which turned out to be something of a blessing in disguise. I was able to stand by my treasure chest and meet readers who bought my books. When I went to the representative from Barnes and Noble and told her my sales, I think she was surprised and stunned.

Overall I can’t wait to go back. I have been looking into other festivals because for an author like myself working with a small publisher, I need to be out there meeting people.

Though the day was long (two hour drive to Columbus and back) and I was on my feet for the entire event, I wouldn’t have missed it. I am looking forward to next year and the continued success of the Treasure Hunters Club series.

Thanks again for having me and please visit my web site at treasurehuntersclubbook.com and drop me a line.

– – –

Belinda here! So some takeaways from Sean’s experience, compared to other authors I’ve learned from, is that having a display catered to your book genre grabs the attention of passers-by.

Having the author standing and smiling, ready to engage? Also a huge plus. Not leaving your post is a great way to make sure you don’t miss readers, and the fact that Sean avoided looking tired I’m sure kept people coming to his spot until the end of the day.

I saw other authors there who sat behind their table reading a book. I did not visit them. I might have grabbed a postcard if they had one and it looked pretty. When you see someone talking to an author, you want to talk to that author as well.

I don’t remember if Sean had a pitch about his books, but his display was so fun-looking that I had to stop by. It was then that I realized I knew this guy! So having a gimmick, as it were, helps. It shows you put thought into your time at the festival, which tells readers that you really care.

If you’d like to win a copy of one of the Treasure Hunters books, leave a comment. We will use a random number generator to determine the winner.

Best,

Belinda

Guest Post and Giveaway

Dear Reader,

I’m doing my best to catch up with everything after my conference last week, and feel like I’m failing miserably. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer my tardiness! Check out my guest post at Word Nerd and leave a comment there to win a signed print copy of Haunting Miss Trentwood plus the coffin-shaped soap that goes with it!

Best,

Belinda

Unexpected Progress

Dear Reader,

I’ve made unexpected progress. Unexpected, because it doesn’t have to do with writing, sadly. Once again not following through with my ROW80 goals. I once again have taken a break from the writing, but instead made progress on some of my web presence issues.

Maybe I should change my ROW80 goal altogether. To something like, “Do it. Whatever it is, if it takes you one measurable step forward this week, do it.”

You see, I have a Facebook Page, but have struggled with what to do with it. Even though I have a computer engineering degree, the FBML app just confused the crap out of me that last time I tried to work with it. I was over-thinking it like CRAZY, which isn’t a surprise. That’s kind of my modus operandi, to be honest.

That said, I finally buckled down yesterday and worked on two graphics for the fan page: a large banner on the left, and a splash image for the welcome tab. AND, I figured out how to get the stupid FBML tabs to work so I can throw in my HTML. So now we have a “welcome” tab and a “buy a copy” tab. The content from “buy a copy” came straight from my Bright Bird Press website. Easy peasy. What took me so long?

No clue. But I credit ROW80 for making me do something about it. Check out how everyone else is doing, will you?

All the best,

Belinda

Midwinter Giveaway Hop

Dear Reader,

We have another giveaway! It’s the holidays and there’s nothing better than free stuff.

This giveaway is super easy. Leave a comment on this post to enter the contest to receive a free digital copy of my first book, Catching the Rose. I am giving away three copies. I hope if you win you will agree to review it, but that’s totally up to you.

That isn’t all, though! Everyone who comments saying they agree to review my short story “Mad Maxine” will win a free digital copy of the story.

So really, you have nothing to lose! Comment and you will win something.

This giveaway will run from December 21 – 22, but I’m accepting submissions from December 20 – 22.

Want to see what other blogs are offering? Check out the participating blogs at the bottom of the giveaway hop page.

Happy holidays!

Belinda

Spooktacular Winners!

Giveaway-WinnerDear Reader,

We had 53 entries to win signed copies of Haunting Miss Trentwood and Catching the Rose, which is pretty good for a little blog like Worderella Writes! Everyone who followed me in more than one location online (Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter) got an additional entry per location.

I placed all the entries in a spreadsheet, and used Random.org to pick me three random winners. The number correlates row line of the entries.

Without further ado, the winners are

  • Catching the Rose : Brandy, from Goodreads
  • Haunting Miss Trentwood : Michelle, from Twitter
  • Haunting Miss Trentwood : Charlie Courtland, from Goodreads

If the winners could send me their addresses as soon as possible so I can ship their copies out to them, that would be wonderful. Use this Google Form to make it really easy!

Sorry to those of you who didn’t win! Better luck next time, and thanks so much for your interest. ❤

Coming soon… I’ll talk about my book launch party, which went really well!

Best,

Belinda