Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday writing tips - Writer vs. Editor

Due to computer/router/or satellite problems, this didn't get posted last week. So I'll start off this week. 

Wednesday writing tips is a day I’ll post something from my library of writers’ craft books. My HOW TOs. It’s a way to make myself delve into my books and get some use from them. I’ll pick something relevant to what I’m working on at the time and pull a tip from the book.

The 10% Solution, Self-editing for the Modern Writer by Ken Rand.

Right now, as I work on a novella, I find myself distracted by my “internal editor”. Ken Rand explains in his chapters The Writer and The Editor how the two are separate parts of the whole. When I’m having a hard time staying in Writer mode I remember Mr. Rand’s illustration of wearing a Writer’s hat or an Editor’s hat. Maybe I should get one of each to remind me what I’m supposed to be doing. 

This 100 pg. book is short and to the point. It's a quick read with many useful tips I have used. I especially like using the find/change feature to find words on the "list" like ly, and, but, of...and passive voice words. He explains why. He also explains how to decide when a word should be edited out or is okay. It makes it real easy to find those words that bog down a story. Purchased the ebook and the paperback editions. I find the PB the most useful and quick to reference.

The following is from the book, which I come back to again and again.

Okay, you sit down and you have your “writer” hat on--figuratively or literally--and you write. Don’t fret spelling, punctuation, grammar, details. Write as fast as you can. When you come across some datum you don’t remember or a scene you haven’t figured out yet, don’t stop to look it up or check your notes. Write “tk” and move on. “Tk” is reporter talk. It means “to come.”... Later, you’ll key your search-find mode, bring up all the “tks” and resolve them.

Link to more of my HOW TO library. 
And it's only some of them.

A technique I also use to stay in writer mode is to just write dialogue. It goes really fast. I add a description here and there, like: agitated, worried, laughed. When the scene has played out, I feel freed up to flesh it out. I don't worry where it's going, the dialogue is my road map.  

Do you have a tip you use to stay in writer mode?


  1. Actually, I don't have as much of a problem with this as I used to. Two NaNoWriMos have taught me to use the little time that I have to my advantage. I've also taken a quote that I often hear attributed to Nora Roberts to heart: You can edit bad writing; you cannot edit a blank page.

    BTW, I know I haven't had a chance to tell you, but I am excited about this idea. I love writing tips, but never feel quite qualified to give them. :)

  2. Hi Lynne, I'm better at separating my writer self and editor self now than I used to be. But when I go back to see where I left off I start shifting into editor again. I can see where a project like NaNo could make you more aware.

    I don't feel qualified to post tips, either, but I do feel I can share tips that I have found that I have found helpful. We and all learn together.