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August 2013
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October 2013

Editor wraps up summer book reading tour

Thanks to Redbery Books RedBerry Books for hosting Meet the Author on Sunday in Cable, Wis. During the event – which featured 10 Northwoods authors – I read from my forthcoming book of hiking essays, “Trails and Trials: Journeys of a Father and Son.” The event wraps up my summer book promotional tour for Headin’ to the Cabin: Day Hiking Trails of Northwest Wisconsin. Here are photos from the event.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Baltimore, Maryland, or if you come from a small town like Giants Neck, Connecticut, I can provide that second eye. 


How to write your story’s penultimate scene

In every Penultimatestory, there comes a turning point or an ultimate moment in which the situation has become so intolerable that the main character must take a decisive step and emerge victorious. This scene is known as the climax.

Also called a “final obstacle,” the climax comes at the end of the story’s rising action. The main character metaphorically has reached the mountain top and either must push off the antagonist or be pushed off. Because of this, the climax is a scene of escalated action. It is that part of the story when the main character resolves the story’s central problem.

An excellent example of a climatic scene is the rebel’s attack on the Death Star in “Star Wars IV: A New Hope.” As the scene begins, the tension has built to the point where if the rebels do not destroy the Death Star, they are doomed. Faster and more dramatic than any other scene in the movie, the assault on the Death Star even appears as if it will fail. Using the lessons learned through the story about the Force, however, Luke Skywalker succeeds in a climatic moment by firing the one in a million shot that destroys the Empire’s weapon of ultimate destruction. In doing so, the threat of the Death Star disappears, and the rebellion is saved.

Sometimes for dramatic effect, writers employ a “false ending.” In this technique, after readers think the climax has been reached, the villain comes back one last time for a confrontation. An example is the first “Terminator” movie in which Sarah O’Connor apparently has destroyed the robot from the future in a steel factory. The Terminator’s metal skeleton rises from the flames, however, to pursue Sarah. The false ending actually is the last scene of the rising action.

When writing a climactic scene, writers should follow a couple of simple guidelines:
 The climax must be the largest obstacle facing the main character and test him in the most significant ways - In the climax of “Star Wars IV: A New Hope”, not only Luke Skywalker’s piloting skills but also his faith in the Force are tested. Without the mastering of both, he cannot destroy the Death Star.
The outcome heading into the climax should be uncertain - Often the antagonist holds the upper hand as the rising action ends. In “Star Wars IV:A New Hope”, an operational Death Star is bearing down on the rebel base, and the rebellion appears to be outgunned and outmatched. However, the reader’s understanding of Western storytelling techniques tells him that the main character should emerge victorious. This balance creates dramatic tension as the reader wonders how the rebels might overcome the Death Star when the odds are against them.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like St. Louis, Missouri, or a small town like Cheesequake, New Jersey, I can provide that second eye.



Does your book cover design matter for ebooks?

Does book 240_F_32780785_beo4LfU7kzOmFUOxaoVaBLovcpgg8Eracover design matter for an ebook?

Absolutely!

Human beings are visual animals. Images at first glance always are more powerful than words. That’s why most businesses use logos. When their name is presented, they typically stylize their lettering so that we associate the shape and color with their products (hence the Golden Arches, McDonald’s stylized M).

Most potential readers of your ebook will first encounter it via an image – the book’s cover – rather than the wording. It may be the thumbnail of your book cover on Amazon.com’s “Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed” or on Goodreads’ “Currently reading.” It may be a thumbnail of your book cover on Nook’s “Top Matches” or of some blog’s listing of a dozen books about a topic. If that thumbnail doesn’t cause them to take a closer look at the accompanying text descriptions of your book, you or farther away from making a sale.

Given this, a cover designed from an online thumbnail needs to be designed differently than a cover for a paperback book one can pull off a bookstore shelf. The ebook cover probably should consist of a single, dominant image rather than an elaborate, detailed illustration. The title (or author’s name if well-recognized) needs to be in larger lettering so it can be read on a thumbnail. Small lettering, such as a promotional blurb, probably should be dispensed with. I say “probably” only because there definitely are exceptions of successful ebooks that didn’t follow these rules. In general, though, think “logo” rather than “bookstore-sold book cover.”

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Orlando, Florida, or a small town like Beer Bottle Crossing, Idaho, I can provide that second eye.



Writers can blog about variety of topics

The biggest 11244479_10153351787310216_3435083833085854538_nquestion facing any writer is what to blog about. You’ve got lots of options:
Future appearances – Upcoming book signings/readings, guest speaking appearances, and appearances on radio and TV broadcasts all can be promoted on your blog. After the events are held, be sure to blog about them as well, giving pictures from the event if possible.
Mentions of your book – Anytime your book or yourself appear in a newspaper, magazine, newsletter or blog, write about it. Include links to the articles or reviews. Other bloggers particularly will appreciate the plug and are likely to remember you for your next book.
Updates on the author’s next book – If a reader likes you enough to follow your blog, they’ll be curious when your next book is coming out. You probably don’t want to give too much away about the book or you run the risk of giving a spoiler. But you can about your progress and maybe some of the research you’re doing.
Announcements of your other published work – Plug when articles or stories you’ve written have come out in magazines or in online journals.
Awards received – Should you receive any awards for your writing or if penning nonfiction related to the subject matter you write about, announce them.
Your thoughts on other books – Focus on books in your genre or on your subject matter. Don’t write a scathing review lest you sound like you’re trying to plug your book.
Your tips on subject matter – As a published author, you’re now an expert! If you’ve penned fiction, you may focus on the craft of writing. If you’re authored a nonfiction book, share advice about your subject matter; for example, my Hikes with Tykes blog covers gear, medical emergencies, great trails, hiking games and activities, and more, all related to hiking with children.
Answer readers’ questions – Such questions might include seeking of advice about the subject matter, wondering why certain events occurred in your novel, or inquiries about your background. Be polite and helpful to such readers, even if they’re question shows they’re a jerk.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Youngstown, Ohio, or a small town like Hogshooter, Oklahoma, I can provide that second eye.


Client releases book of lessons learned in prison

An editing 39 Things I learned in Prison2client of mine from this past summer has released his first book, “39 Things about Life I Learned in Prison: Turn My Mistake into Your Success.” Edward Ball went to prison at a young age, so he had no choice but to learn about life on the inside. This book outlines some of the major lessons he learned in prison and uses real life stories to show how he came to learn it. This book is a message of personal development and extracting value from our mistakes. It is available as an ebook in a variety of formats. Those who buy it via Smashwords can get it for 33% off its cover price by entering the coupon code coupon code EK65Z; the coupon expires Oct. 16.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Youngstown, Ohio, or a small town like Hogshooter, Oklahoma, I can provide that second eye.



Get out front of this pair: Forward vs. foreword

Before we 240_F_59912850_Qr9bZ07uBLnxKoM7QrkyQsHfMXZn2bDI get started, let me just preface by saying I see this mistake a lot in manuscripts I edit, though the difference between the two words is quite easy to remember. I suspect that the problem may be some writers don’t realize that the word “foreword” exists.

“Foreword” is an introduction to a book, usually written by someone recognizable. To wit, “The famed astronomer wrote the foreword to the book about Mars.” The word is a combination of “fore” (which means “front”) and “word” (a synonym for “text”), indicating that the section readers are about the touch their eyes upon comes “in front of the book’s main text.”

All other meanings and uses of this word are spelled “forward” (which rough means “to move to the front”).

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, or a small town like Zig-Zag, Oregon, I can provide that second eye.



Editor’s sixth ‘Hittin’ the Trail’ book released

The sixth ebook Crex Meadows COVERin my Hittin’ the Trail guidebook series – Hittin’ the Trail: Day Hiking Crex Meadows Wildlife Area – went on sale today. The book describes more than two dozen trails in the northwest Wisconsin wildlife area that’s internationally recognized as a major stopover for migrating waterfowl, particularly the sandhill crane. The title is available in Kindle, Nook, iBook, Kobo, Sony Reader, and other formats.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Provo, Utah, or a small town like Dismal, Tennessee, I can provide that second eye.


Editor speaking at Redbery's Authors’ Market

I’ll be RedBerry Books reading from one of my books at Redbery's Annual Authors’ Market in Cable, Wis., on Sunday, Sept. 29, from 1 to 3 p.m. Several regional Wisconsin authors will be on hand to meet with fans and readers, including:
• Jim Brakken, “Thor Loken & the Death of Chief Namekagon”
• Cheri Olson, “Surviving the Teen Driving Years”
• Julie Buckles, “Paddling to Winter”
• Anne Miller, “Mashkiki Rapids”
• Rob Bignell (Yours truly!), Headin' to the Cabin
• Jay Thurston, “Following in the Footsteps of Ernest Hemingway”
• Darby Nelson, “For Love of Lakes”
• Gary Nei and Ros Nelson, “Cow in the Road, Bear in the House”
• John Leighton, “Paradise View: Collected Poems”
The event will be held at the Rivers Eatery, 43455 Kavanaugh Road.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Chattanooga, Tennessee, or a small town like Jot-Em-Down, Texas, I can provide that second eye.



How to use Track Changes on your manuscript

Most editors 13600014_10153525592005216_3832182800542735357_nwho review a manuscript that is in a Microsoft Word file will use the Track Changes function to correct an author’s work. These corrections can range from adjusting margins and indents to inserting commas and deleting extra words. Editors often use Track Changes as proof of their labor and so the author can go through the manuscript and decide herself which changes to make, as she may disagree with the editor’s style or correction. Making such corrections also can be instructive for the author.

As an author, you’ll want to be familiar with using Track Changes so that you can get your manuscript into a publishable form.

First, you need to know how to get into Track Changes mode. In the ribbon at the top of your open Word document, click on “Review”. The ribbon will change to a new set of commands. Look for “Track Changes” in the middle of that ribbon. Clicking the Track Changes icon turns it on and off.

To change the red proofreading marks that appear on the screen, look immediately to the right of the Track Changes icon. The top pull-down alters what appears on the manuscript. By pulling down the menu and clicking onto “No markup”, all proofreading marks will disappear. By clicking onto “All markup,” you’ll see all of the corrections made.

Each time you call up the Word document, all of the red proofreading corrections will show up, even if the last time you read the file it was placed in “No markup”. That’s a limitation of the Microsoft Word program (Note to Microsoft: Please change this!).

Getting rid of the red correction marks for good requires that you “approve” or “reject” the correction. To do that, place your cursor anywhere on the correction. In the ribbon, to the right of the pull-down menus you used earlier, is a blue checkmark over the word “Accept” and then a red X over the word “Reject”. If you want the correction to be made, hit the Accept checkmark; if you don’t want the correction to be made, hit the Reject X.

Also part of Track Changes is the reviewing pane. To turn this on or off, look for the last item listed below the pull-down menus to the right of the Track Changes icon. Clicking on this wording either shows or hides the reviewing pane.

You also can alter what corrections are shown in the reviewing pane. In the second (or middle) pull-down menu to the right of the Track Changes icon, you can checkmark which corrections you wish to see in the reviewing pane. Typically, you just want to have “Comments” checked to see running commentary offered by the editor.

Once you’ve made the correction that the editor recommended in the reviewing pane – or if you decide it’s irrelevant – you can remove the comment. Simply place your cursor on the comment in the reviewing pane. Then in the ribbon at the top of the page, look to the left of the Track Changes icon for a red X with the word “Delete” below it. Simply click the red X, and the comment will vanish from the reviewing pane.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or a small town like Boring, Oregon, I can provide that second eye.



How to structure your nonfiction book

Perhaps the 12020046_10152987057930216_3902963523790267693_ntoughest question a nonfiction writer must answer is how to organize her book. Often there's a lot of information to get out.

Writers can take a variety of approaches, and sometimes certain books require obvious structures. A history or biography, for example, ought to have a largely chronological structure. A travel guide usually should follow a geographical approach, addressing each city or landscape just as a traveler would head across them.

If writing a how-to book – whether it be about financial consulting, dating, overcoming depression, or a whole range of other topics – the structure isn't so obvious, though.

In such cases, consider organizing the book based on what readers need to know so that your topic makes sense to them. Start by establishing a theme for your book. Then divide the book into three basic sections:
Why your reader needs to adapt the attitude/approach your book espouses
What the elements of this new attitude/approach are
How the reader can implement these elements in their lives

Suppose you’re writing a book about how to build wealth. Begin by asking what is your book’s attitude or approach (i.e. the theme). Maybe it’s the “Apple Pie Wealth-Building Strategy” in which you draw an analogy between baking an apple pie to growing one’s personal wealth. Next, make an outline based on the three why, what and how sections form above:
Why your reader should build their wealth this way (It’s proven, it’s easy to do, other strategies don’t work, etc.)
What the elements of the Apple Pie Wealth-Building Strategy are (gathering the ingredients or obtaining all you need to become wealthy such as a good education and job; making the pie such as saving and investing money; letting the pie cool such as resisting digging into your savings and investment; and savoring the pie or how to enjoy your wealth without losing it)
How the reader can implement these elements in their lives (gathering the ingredients: going to college, residing where cost of living is low but wages are high; making the pie: insurance policies, 401k, money markets, buying a house; letting the pie cool: bad investments to avoid, how not to play “Keeping up with the Jones; savoring the pie: health insurance, job security, living trusts)

Each of your answers to these three questions then becomes a chapter in the book. So, Part I, “Why You Should Use the Apple Pie Wealth-Building Strategy,” would consist of: Chapter 1. It’s proven; Chapter 2. It’s easy to do; Chapter 3. Other strategies don’t work.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Portland, Oregon, or a small town like Papa, Hawaii, I can provide that second eye.