Editor Afloat

Dedicated to Sticklers everywhere!


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Impressions

“I can tell you’re a cowgirl by your boots.”

Black Western cowboy boots on a white background

Black Western cowboy boots (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Oh?” I looked down at my forgotten-brand-name work boots. They were slathered with a fresh coat of wet mud. The bottom half of my Gore-Tex gaiters were also filthy, with splatters of mud running all the way up to my knees where the gaiters ended.  I wear those to protect the legs of my jeans from becoming irreparably stained by the mud and general ranch-life abuse.

She continued, “I’m such a town-girl. I lease Griffin so I can ride him twice a week, but I don’t get involved with the chores out here. I would have tried very hard to find a way around the mud to put that horse out in the round corral. You just walked right through it. ”

I looked at Kathy’s boots and smiled. Her riding boots were frighteningly clean for someone who was standing in the middle of a barnyard in the pouring rain.

“I grew up in a barn,” was my reply. “I guess you get used to it after a while. I do change into my sneakers before I get in my pickup. Don’t like taking the mud home.”

Her assessment wasn’t unkind. It was based on what she knows of me. For the past year, Kathy has seen me two times a week. I am always handling a horse or mucking out stalls or feeding or doing some other chore. I dress the part; I do the work. In her mind, this makes me the real deal – a cowgirl.

I tell this story to point out that the way we speak, and for us writers, what we put down on paper – or the screen – for the whole world to see, whether we write short stories, blogs, poems, novels, whatever our specialty, our words make the impressions by which people decide if we’re the ‘real deal’ or not.  Taking the time to learn a few grammar and spelling rules (or learning to use a spell-checker) can turn a ho-hum script into a page-turner. I’m not saying you have to use two-dollar words at every turn, especially when a fifty-center will do, but if you want to write something extraordinary, then don’t sound ordinary. Most online dictionaries offer a listing of synonyms, as well. Look through that list, see if there isn’t a word that paints a better picture of the scene, emotion, or event you are attempting to portray. Writers are readers. Purposely skip the story-line in a few books and focus on the descriptions. Pick out the ones that made clear images in your mind and try to follow that path in your own writing. It’s a step to becoming a top-selling author – the “real deal”! 🙂

 

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Crazy Days!

The last two weeks have been a little wild and close to overwhelming here on the peaceful river. First, my allergies got out of control, making me wheeze for days. Then my birthday rolled around and I added to my troubles by eating “treats”. My food allergies are worse than the reactions I have to the environment. Add to that, three days of overtime between the barn and the store. Then, out of the blue, I come back to the boat and there is absolutely no Internet! ACK! I wandered down the dock to ask the young man who provides the Internet service out here what may have happened. I didn’t have to inquire. There, on the finger next to his boat, is a new contraption for gold mining: A dredge for sucking sand up off the bottom of the Columbia River and a sluice box to ‘capture’ the gold dust. Hey kid! This isn’t California, how ’bout it? The equipment has  the same value roughly as servers for broadcasting Wi-Fi to your neighbors. I can only guess that this is the latest in his long list of get-rich-quick schemes. Sigh… I spent the next two days trying to find a replacement service. Easier said than done out here on the water. I am (obviously) back online, but it is sooooooo slow compared to what I did have. I’ll have to keep looking.

Tonight I added a new page – Current Projects – to my web site. This is a list of WIPs, that is, Works in Progress. Also, recent jobs and I included a short list of my own ambitions. There are links to most of the works I mention; please take a look at these authors’ pages, you may find something you really like. 🙂

Finally, and perhaps the most significant reason for this post, is to apologize to S.C. Rhyne, Lynne Taylor, and Anna Ellis for falling so far behind in my work on their projects. I should have had all three of them done by last weekend. It is tough for me to work when I fall asleep every time I sit down. That is one of the sad side effects of my food allergies. (OK ladies, I am trying to behave now!) I have also added a third editing program to my arsenal. It is more thorough than my others, but I still find myself eye-balling the majority of the errors. Artificial Intelligence is fine, but it still isn’t the greatest.

I did finish the final edit of The Reporter and The Girl by S.C. Rhyne. This will be released as an e-book very soon.  You will find links to her Facebook page and blog too, on my new Current Projects page.


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Fast Grammar – Then and Than

Here’s another situation that is changed mightily by one letter. I not only see this error often in manuscripts but I hear it in the spoken word as well. There is a difference!

Then – used to indicate what happened, happens next, or what should be done next.

Than –  can be either a conjunction or a preposition. Most commonly used with comparative adjectives and comparative adverbs.

Examples: If the puppy grows bigger than her cage, then you’ll need to buy her a new one. (In the first half of the sentence, we are comparing the size of the pup versus her cage. In the second half of the sentence, an action will take place if the condition exists.) Another: We can move the table over there and then put the couch here, but that will only work if the couch is shorter than the windowsill. (Again, the couch will only be moved after the first action is completed and in the second part of the sentence, we are comparing the height of the couch relative to the windowsill.)

It’s easy to figure out whether to use then or than just by thinking (ahead) how the word will be used in your sentence.

Get your Fast Grammar fix here! Don’t forget the Editor Afloat also has a presence on Facebook and Twitter.


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One letter is all it takes…

I saw a message on a social media site today that made me stop what I was doing and create this little message. We all know (or hope we know) what she meant to say to her BFF but the missing letter turned the meaning quite upside down! Just a reminder that even if your spell-checker isn’t telling you anything is wrong, you’d better read your letter one more time.

Friend vs. Fiend

Be careful what you write!


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Illustrator Wanted

I am looking for a talented artist who might be interested in illustrating a children’s book. Young Reader age range. The story is short and simple, involving a circus animal. I’m thinking maybe watercolor? I can write but somehow stick figures drawn with crayons just doesn’t seem like it would do justice to the book. LOL The book will be self-published so there won’t be any money paid until the book sells on either a POD or e-Book format. As it stands, the story is a very cute, longish poem. With illustrations I believe it has the makings of a darling kids’ book. So, how about it? Any artists out there? You don’t have to be published already, if you can capture the essence for which I am looking, the gig is yours!

You can message me here or at editor.afloat@yahoo.com Don’t forget to follow The Editor Afloat on Facebook and Twitter too!


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Interview with The Editor Afloat

Kristen Hope Mazzola

Please meet the wonder Karen Olin, aka “The Editor Afloat”.  This wonderful lady did an amazing job editing Crashing Back Down! Please enjoy getting to know her! 🙂

How long have you been editing? It started in 4th grade, believe it or not! I got to help correct spelling
quizzes and essays for the 3rd graders. My mother was also a poet and I would proofread all of her work
before she printed them in her beautiful calligraphy.
Do you just edit novels? And if not, what other services do you offer? I edit everything from one-page
résumés to full-length novels. I do menus, web site content, newsletter articles, short stories, poetry,
and blog entries as well.
How does your pricing work? I charge per page on poems, résumés and web sites. The rest of it is
usually per word with a $10 minimum.
What are you currently working on?

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