Welcome Joanne Guidoccio with some awesome writing tips, a new release, and a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!
Right now, I’m alternating between cozy mysteries and paranormal romance. On the back burner, I have a collection of angel short stories and a memoir of my cancer experience. While it may sound like dabbling, there is one theme that connects all of my work – reinvention. And the protagonists are all boomer women. In short, I write boomer lit.
It’s Okay to Fall Out of Love
1 More Day!!
Sophia, thanks for participating in the Countdown to a Season for Killing Blondes.
We can all recall that magical moment when we typed the last words of our manuscript and lovingly glanced at the neatly piled pages on the desk. Head over heels in love with our masterpiece, we could easily visualize literary agents and publishers emailing us within hours of receiving the manuscript.
That is the fantasy.
The reality is very different.
That first draft is never ready for publication. Some manuscripts require major surgery such as changing POV and adding more sub-plots and characters. Longer manuscripts with over 100K words may need to be pared down. All manuscripts need to be checked for grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
At a recent workshop, creative writing professor Brian Henry suggested we put our manuscripts aside for a while before starting the editing process. He did not specify a timeline, but stressed the fact that we cannot improve our work until we fall out of love with it.
Over the years, I have attended many of Brian’s workshops and read several books on editing and proofreading. Here are some of tips and quips I’ve gleaned from my research:
· Perform a spelling and grammar check using the appropriate feature on your word processing program. Be aware that your spell checker can tell you only if a word exists, not if it’s the right word. If you are uncertain, refer to a dictionary.
· Use the Search and Replace function to find and eliminate repetitive words and extra spaces. To cut back on the number of adverbs, search for “ly” and replace with “LY.” As you approach each highlighted section, decide whether to keep the adverb, eliminate it, or replace it with an appropriate action tag.
· Double-check all facts, figures and proper names. This is important if you write nonfiction or historical fiction.
· Print out your text and review it line by line. Use a ruler or a blank sheet of paper to keep your focus on one line at a time.
· Read your text aloud. This will help catch missing prepositions, repetition, run on sentences, and awkward phrasing.
· Read your text backward, from right to left, starting with the last word. While I have never used this particular tip, several English teachers recommend this method for anyone struggling with spelling.
· Ask a friend or fellow author to proofread your text. And offer to return the favor.
Quips via Brian Henry
If you revise the same page too many times, you are probably ignoring a major problem in your book.
When the characters start misbehaving, don’t get rid of them. Go with the flow and make the appropriate changes.
Write with passion, revise at leisure.
Puke it out, mop it up.
Hours before the opening of her career counseling practice, Gilda Greco discovers the dead body of golden girl Carrie Ann Godfrey, neatly arranged in the dumpster outside her office. Gilda’s life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation.
When three more dead blondes turn up all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders. Frustrated by Carlo’s chilly detective persona and the mean girl antics of Carrie Ann’s meddling relatives, Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management training, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends.
As the puzzle pieces fall into place, shocking revelations emerge, forcing Gilda to confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.
In high school, Joanne dabbled in poetry, but it would be over three decades before she entertained the idea of writing as a career. She listened to her practical Italian side and earned degrees in mathematics and education. She experienced many fulfilling moments as she watched her students develop an appreciation (and sometimes, love) of mathematics. Later, she obtained a post-graduate diploma as a career development practitioner and put that skill set to use in the co-operative education classroom. She welcomed this opportunity to help her students experience personal growth and acquire career direction through their placements.
In 2008, she took advantage of early retirement and decided to launch a second career that would tap into her creative side and utilize her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes paranormal romance, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.
Where to find Joanne...