June 25, 2010

Clouds and Wordles For Editing

I have a confession. I love words and I have an obsession with word clouds. I love the different sizes, the different fonts, the varying thickness of words mixed in. I love the glorious display of color and the creative picture it delivers.

What really fascinates me about word clouds is the way important words are exaggerated. The more a word is used in a document, the bigger it shows in the cloud. You are able to "see" what value an author places on a word.

As I am editing my book, I wondered if a word cloud would show me what words I use the most. What if my most used word is an adverb....like (gasp) an 'ly' word? What if the word 'said' showed up? That would mean I need more action tags instead of dialogue tags. This could be a useful tool, don't you think?

So, here is my Wordle of the current book I am editing. You can make your own Wordle HERE.

Well, you can see my main characters' names, for sure, which is okay, but there are words such as FELT, ASKED, JUST, KNEW, JUST, BEGAN, NEED, and SAW. Those words may not be bad, per se, but for it to show up in a Wordle means they were used a lot. I can see I need to do a 'search" in Word for these particular words and see if I can use stronger  and more meaningful words. Isn't that a cool tool?

Just for fun, I made a Tweet Cloud. I found this fun ap through CJ's blog. You can certainly see what I like to tweet about.

Fun, huh? I thought it really interesting that the words Kids, Hate, and Love were all close together at the end.    No, I do not hate my kids. I love, love, love them to pieces. What surprises me most about this cloud is that the term Cranky Pants isn't in it. ;)

What do you think your CLOUDS would say?

June 22, 2010

Help For Editing Paragraphs

I am talking about editing paragraphs over at The Writer's Alley today. I'll show you the list of questions my editor-dad sent me to help me construct better paragraphs.

Hop on over to The Writer's Alley

June 21, 2010

Wildflower Bride by Mary Connealy

Mary's done it again with Wildflower Bride. Ever funny, she continues the story of Wade Sawyer, who used to be a mean, obsessive villain in book one of the Montana Marriages book and transformed into a decent God-fearing man in book two.

This story is about Wade and the woman he loves, Glowing Sun (who he met in book 2). Mary goes deep into the emotional feelings of Wade and Glowing Sun. Wade must return to his home and face his abusive father. He must come to terms with that abuse and his relationship with his father. Though white herself, Glowing Sun must deal with feelings of betrayal by white men because of the slaughter of her adoptive people.

Of course, there was the fun that Mary brings, but I thought this one had a lot of depth to it. Some was heart wrenching to read, but Mary brings Wade and Glowing Sun's journey to a satisfying conclusion.

You will love this addition to Mary's long line of fabulous books!

About the book:

Glowing Sun, a white woman raised by the Flathead tribe, has never met a man she didn't want to pull a knife on, including the man who's determined to marry her.

Glowing Sun has vague memories of her former life, including a name—Abby Lind. When she’s forced to sever all links with her adopted Indian family, Abby wonders if she’ll ever find a home again.

Tenderhearted Wade Sawyer, responsible for Abby’s survival during the village massacre, convinces the knife-wielding woman to return with him to the Sawyer Ranch, never realizing danger lurks behind every corner. Can they survive long enough to fall in love?

June 18, 2010

Renewal and Just Being

My family comes home today. My husband taught at a youth summer camp this week and my two teens still at home went to attend that same camp. So it's been me and Titus. All alone. In a really big house.

I have to say I loved my time alone. It is so rare to have extended time all alone and I relished the time to relax-- not cook, not clean...except for the pee and poop that my puppy kept leaving all over my floor. Seriously, how can a puppy do his business outside and then 5 minutes after we come in, he does it again inside? I mean, really. It's just soooo not nice.

I know you will be shocked to hear that I didn't edit the whole time. I did some, but not like I should have. I took the time to read and to watch some movies. I spent time with a friend. I took walks with my puppy. I started a Beth Moore Bible study.

I just enjoyed the quiet. I just reveled in the solitude. I got to think. I got to daydream. I got to renew.

So as my family drives in today, I plan on enjoy the roar that is my family. I will listen to the chatter and be filled with the joy that my family brings to me. I will...hopefully...be a mom and wife who is rested and ready to serve her family.

May you have a blessed weekend filled with the joy of the Lord as you spend time with your family and with HIM at your worship gatherings.

June 15, 2010

Sketching Characters

I'm talking about Character Sketches with strength and honor today over at The Writer's Alley. I share the characters of my book and show you pictures of what they look like...well, at least as close as I could find! Hop on over to.....

The Writer's Alley

June 14, 2010

It's That Bad....

I've really begun...finally...to do the edits I've been putting off for so long on my one and only manuscript. And it is bad.

Really bad.

Embarrassingly bad. I've got passive verbs, passive sentences, passive paragraphs and passive chapters. Oh yes...it can be done, I say. And how in the world did I final in a contest? I guess by spending the last half year working on the first three chapters of my book. Ahhh, the stupidity of a novice.

Oh, I didn't go ahead and edit my whole book like a good little writer would. No, I just kept working on those first few chapters, getting critiques, getting feedback, and cutting and pasting until I said enough already. I was ready to move on. It's my first book, right? It is the "practice book", right?

Because of the final, I am making myself edit on the slim chance I get the privilege of getting an editor to read through my book (yes, that's the Big Prize for the ultimate winner). I'm digging in and doing some rewriting as I go through these edits. It's going to take me longer than I expected, I'm afraid. I've got to make these passive things take an active stance. I've got to make the story come alive.

Have any of you written a scene that started out in the middle of a day and you recount what happened earlier? Why not start at the beginning and jump ahead a bit. It makes it ACTIVE instead of PASSIVE. Oh goodness, I have so much to learn.

So here I write about this writing journey. About how I've been negligent. About how I've been procrastinating this editing because I knew it would be painfully difficult. So there ya have it. My writing life today.

June 08, 2010

The Anti-Hero: Love 'Em or Hate 'Em?

I'm posting about the Anti-Hero over at....

The Writers Alley

Stop by and find out if your favorite hero is really an Anti-Hero!

June 06, 2010

Winner Of She Walks In Beauty

Using a random number generator, the winner of She Walks In Beauty by Siri Mitchell is:

Brittany Mitchell

Congratulations! Please send me your mailing address and I will get the book to you this week! Contact me at sherrinda(at)gmail(dot)com.

Thanks to all who stopped by for a chance to win! Maybe next time....

June 04, 2010

Goals For Summer

Yesterday was my last full day of work until the beginning of August. I've been ready. I've been waiting, impatiently. It's true that I don't have the full summer off since I am working Summer School in June, but I will only work 4 days a week, and 1/2 days at that. I will have time to write and edit.

And I am so excited!

But first things first...I must...I MUST...get my house under control. You know what happens when life is so crazy busy you can't see straight. Everything gets out of control. So I've got some goals...and here they are:

1. Today I will clean like a maniac, buy groceries, and whittle down my mountain of laundry. (just to get some semblance of order and not get called by the Health Department)
2. I will daily keep my house in order, so that I don't get buried again.
3. I will pack one...maybe two boxes a day. (I am going to be moving sometime..not sure when, but I hope it is sooner rather than later.)
4. I will edit at least TWO chapters a day.
5. I will begin gathering info on my characters for my new writing project. (I love this part!)

So, there you have it. A balance of housework and writing. Hopefully, I can keep it balanced. Muuwahahaha!

What are your goals for the summer, writing or personal? How do you keep balanced?

For a great post on balancing the writing life, visit The Writer's Alley, where Krista Phillips gives a hilarious look at the unbalanced writing life. You will love it!

June 02, 2010

She Walks In Beauty by Siri Mitchell: Review & Giveaway!

She Walks In Beauty by Siri Mitchell is a beautifully written book centered around Clara Carter, a d├ębutante in New York during the Gilded Age of the late 1800's. In a time where catching the wealthiest man was of the utmost importance, Clara was  put through a strict beauty regimen of stiff corsets, fancy dresses, little food, dancing lessons, and all the etiquette rules of the times.

The motherless Clara was taken in hand by her aunt, whose sole goal was for Clara to marry the wealthy DeVrie heir. The only problem was that her best friend was vying for the same man. Can their friendship survive the race for a husband?

As Clara becomes disillusioned with the opulent life, she begins to question the value of beauty and all it entails. When a young man talks to her of God's love and His acceptance of her the way she is, she longs for that type of love and that type of acceptance.

Can she find that in the arms of the DeVrie heir? Or is his attention only skin deep? Clara faces hard decisions as she uncovers truths about her family. Her decisions could alter her future. Does she trust in what she knows? Or does she trust in the reality of the Truth?

I loved Clara's journey. I usually don't enjoy books in first person, but this book took me deep into Clara's heart and I ached for her and the struggles she went through. Siri Mitchell did a fabulous job in depicting an age of superficial strictures and excess in all area's of the times. She gave a very satisfying ending to Clara's journey and I closed the last page with a smile on my face.

During new York City Gilded Age...
The Game is played amid banquets and balls.
The Prise is a lifetime of wealth and privilege.
The Rules will test friendships and the desires of a young woman's heart.
Clara Carter is the social season's brightest star...
but at what cost?

I am giving away a copy of this book to a lucky commenter. Please leave your spam-free email (sherrinda(at)gmail(dot)com) to be entered into the contest. I will draw a name, using a random number generator on Sunday, June 6, 2010.

NOTE: The drawing is open to residents of the U.S. due to various laws. The winner is responsible for eligibility and meeting the rules of their state. No fees were required to enter this drawing, and the blog owner did not receive any compensation for the above recommendation. The book was given to me by the publisher for review.

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