Tag Archives: writing

The value of getting it right

A man in a gray suit, black tie and white shirt pointing his finger at the reader with the words You’re Fired written in chalk on a chalkboard behind him.
 

We’ve all heard stories of people who have been hired in their dream job, who show up the first day eager to blaze a trail in their careers and in some correspondence spell their boss’s or a higher-up executive’s name wrong, only to find themselves escorted off premise their belongings still in the box.

It doesn’t just happen in the movies.

Checking and double checking your work, copy editing, proofreading and going through your communications for CP Style may seem tedious, but they are the keys to professionalism and putting your best foot forward.

As an author, I’m acutely aware of having my name — my reputation — attached to a piece of writing. The same holds true in the corporate world. Whether you’re writing a formal report, communications plan, letter or memo, producing your best writing free of typos and grammatical errors is essential. It’s not just your name attached to a particular piece of work, but those of your superiors and the organization itself.

Some tips to keep in mind before hitting send or crossing a writing task off your to-do list:

  1. Always produce your best work.It’s essential to start with a solid foundation. Before you start editing, make sure you’ve done as many revisions as necessary to ensure you’ve produced your best work right from the start.
  2. Keep a copy of your dictionary and CP Stylebook Whether you use hardcopies or pay for a subscription online, keeping your reference material handy will allow you to edit your work on the fly.
  3. Read it, read it again, read it out loud.Always reread your work before anyone else has a chance to find a mistake. Be proactive not reactive.
  4. Let it simmer. Walk away from your desk. Visit the water cooler. Giving your mind something else to focus on and then coming back to a piece of writing can open up a fresh perspective. Even a little distance can help you spot something you may have missed on the first read through.
  5. Software helpers.There are plenty of programs out there, like Grammarly or Hemingway Editor, to help you find errors you might have missed. But a note of caution: these are just helpful sidekicks. You need to do the heavy lifting first. They are not perfect and can overlook mistakes. If in doubt, go back to tips one and two.

A typed document showing red proofreading and copy-editing marks with a red pencil at the ready to catch more errors.

In public relations, your reputation and your career depend on your ability to produce effective, efficient communications. Start off on the right foot. Ensure your work is free of errors and land your dream job.

In gratitude,

Marissa

Hot in Aruba Countdown 

There are only 26 days till #HotinAruba drops! It’s always fun to imagine who I’d like to play main characters. For Samantha, our main protagonist, she would need to be strong and gutsy… someone who doesn’t take bullshit from anyone. Someone sensible, not prone to fits of hysteria or fantasy. She would need to be down to earth and, of course, incredibly sexy. I think Katheryn Winnick would do the job very nicely.

Sexy Musings in the Morning

This is what happens when your muse makes you write something during the wee hours of the morning… I feel a story coming on….

“Have you ever craved desire? Not the wanting, but the feeling of being desired. Not by a lover or significant other, but by a stranger, someone who doesn’t owe you years of commitment or who doesn’t feel trapped by layers of guilt and socially acceptable notions of loyalty. Do you long to be looked at with hunger from someone you’ve never met, or perhaps from someone you’ve met only once—in the briefest of glances, the most insignificant of occurrences—but felt that spark, that pull of fate, drawing you together in a snowball’s avalanche of reckoning?

If you have, you’ll know what compelled me. You’ll understand why I did it. If you haven’t then I can only offer sympathy, for you truly haven’t lived.”

THE END: A Commentary on Editing

Here’s a sneak peek at a post I wrote for Relentless Writers! Check it out to read the full article. xoxo

THE END: A Commentary on Editing by Marissa Campbell

THE END

Two of my favourite words. To a writer, they are the culmination of days, months, or years of blood, sweat, and tears. But they are misleading. We write them, sit back, and revel in our cleverness, in our determination, our grit, our savvy, our persistence, and our sheer magnificent brilliance. It could grace the page of a blog post, social media blast, short story, novella, screenplay, or novel. Writing THE END feels incredible, but it’s just another beginning. THE END is the start of EDITING.

I recently attended Bookapalooza, which is a really cool venue in my hometown where local authors get together and sell their wares. There were speakers and panels and celebrity guest authors. I was honoured to sit on a panel with fellow romance authors Molly O’Keefe and Mary Sullivan. These ladies are veterans. They’ve written a lot of books. They’ve been doing this a long time. Avelynn is my debut historical romance. I was the newb in the room, but they welcomed me with open arms. I was humbled and thrilled to sit at the table beside them. *girlie fan crush moment over* Back to my point: one of the audience members asked the panel a question, “What do you like better, writing or editing?”

Click here for the remainder of this fabulous article. 😀

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

Am I ready to submit?

Conversations with the Goddess

Dear Goddess, I’ve almost completed my round 2 of edits on my novel. I really like where it sits right now. At what point should I start submitting queries to agents?

C.S.

I am the Goddess of art and literature. I am the Goddess of the moon. The most auspicious time for you to submit your manuscript will be on the full moon. November 25th and December 25th. If you wait until 2016, you will miss your window.

Goddess keep you,

AINE

Aine's playground

Embrangled

Embrangle The Latest Word is: Embrangle: To entangle, confuse, perplex.

The Oxford English Dictionary has embrangle coming into common usage in the 1600s but its etymology dates back to the early 1500s with brangle, which, I’ve decided, is a cool word all on its own and may have to write a post on it, too—when we come back around to B. 😀

Here’s how we use it:

They were embrangled in the nets.

I am embrangled and torn between conflicting difficulties.

I like this word. So similar to the physical act of entanglement but with the added definition of a mental struggle. This is a word that even upon first glance, the reader should be able to determine its meaning based on its use in the sentence, even if they’d never happened upon the word before in their life (which I hadn’t until I read the entry).

Characters are often embrangled within their plot lines, and as an author, I am often embrangled in the plot itself. I have a rough outline, but as I write the story, it fleshes itself out and twists and turns and takes new and unexpected forks in the road—some of which are entirely pointless and must be deleted. And far too often, half way through the story, in the murky, messy middle, all the plot holes and character motivational misfires start to rear their ugly heads. This is because I am a pantser—someone who basically flies by the seat of their pants when writing—as opposed to a plotter who meticulously plots out every scene, every arc, every development BEFORE they add a single word to the story. There is something to be said about plotting, and I’m going to try and write my next book with this approach because I am convinced, after Avelynn #2, that pantsing is NOT an efficient way to write a book!

In the murky, messy, pantser middle, I am often embrangled. Big time. The second book in the Avelynn series was very difficult to fix. I wrote 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo (a monthly writing challenge that takes place every November whereby we write 50,000 words in 30 days) most of which steered me off coarse and embrangled me in plot snares and character black holes that were almost impossible to recover from. The novel followed so many divergent threads, that I got to the point where I wasn’t sure what the premise was, or even what the main point was anymore!

With characters, to embrangle them in messy plot choices and make them clamber out of the carnage is what makes a story great. We can’t have characters riding along on sunshine and roses, we have to make the struggle, we need to throw story curves and plot bombs in their path and make them dodge or take a hit and recover. That’s what’s so fun about writing books. Creating conflict and fascinating surprises and developments that seem to come out of the blue, or that have been building for chapters and acts. To embrangle is to drive the story forward, and there’s a satisfying almost sadistic glee to the whole thing. ;D

I’ve finished the first draft of Avelynn #2 and am currently working on fixing up the wayward threads as I work my way through my round of edits. Hopefully, the embranglement from this point forward will be limited to what I’ve created for my characters and the rest of the edits flow smoothly. Cross your fingers for me. 🙂

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

Dear Newbie Self

Marissa Campbell

If I had to go back to the beginning of my career and give myself one piece of advice, it would be….

I can’t narrow it down to just one thing, as there are two really important messages I would love to press upon my newbie self!

The first is the importance of hiring a good editor. My first book was co-authored and self-published, and we thought that appealing to wonderful, well-intentioned friends would be a great, cost-effective way of catching our errors. We were wrong. Of course, they found many, but our first edition went to print with an embarrassing amount of typos and grammar glitches. I cannot stress enough the importance of hiring a good editor. Even when I sought traditional publishing with my second book, I hired editors to do substantive and copy edits. It was money well spent and gave my manuscript a professional, polished feel. Without that effort, I would never have found my agent!

The second piece of advice I would give myself is to never, ever, think a first draft, or a second draft, or even a third draft is the final draft ready for submission. I get it. I’m impatient. We’ve spent months, years, or even decades working on this project, and once we finally reach ‘the end,’ we just want to shout our book baby to the mountain tops and send it out in to the world. But our pour babies can’t even roll over yet, never mind crawl or walk! I’m the first one to admit, I need immediate gratification, but where publishing is concerned, this is one area where we have to slow down, dig in, and sharpen and hone that manuscript until it is a shimmering piece of literary beauty. No rushing this part. No thinking, maybe mine is good enough. Let it sit in a drawer. Hide it under your bed. Let it stew and settle for a few weeks to a month, then pour through it again. You’ll be surprised what you find and grateful you didn’t send it out before it was ready!

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

 

 

You Draggle-tailed Bicche!

The Latest Word: Draggle

Draggle

To wet or befoul (a garment, etc.) by allowing it to drag through mire or wet grass, or to hang untidily in the rain; to make wet, limp, and dirty.

Draggle-tail

A draggle-tailed person; a woman whose skirts are wet and draggled, or whose dress hangs about her untidily and dirty; a slut.

Oh, I can have fun with this one! Used around the fifteenth/sixteenth century, I can’t wait to sneak this into one of my manuscripts.

During the many rounds of edits for Avelynn, I had the opportunity to work with a wonderful copyeditor, whose job it was to point out words that sounded grossly anachronistic for the tone and style of the novel. After perusing the changes, I sort of set upon a kind of lose time frame for my writing—anything that originated prior to the seventeenth century most likely stayed in the manuscript. Anything that was first used after 1600 tended to sound rather modern, but then again, not always. It was definitely a one word at a time approach, and sometimes, I had to leave the word in because there really wasn’t a good alternative.

Here’s some exciting ways to use our new D words:

I draggled behind. (The word can also mean to go slowly, trailing).

The onslaught was relentless; the horse’s pace mired to a crawl. I slid down, landed squelching in the muck, and pulled on the reins, urging the beast to press onward. We needed to find shelter. My cloak draggling behind soon weighed as much as a small cow, so drenched was it in mud and slime that the horse began to grow impatient with me.

“You draggle-tailed bicche!”

Yes, I think I’ll have fun with this.

In gratitude,

Marissa 🙂 xo