One more chore off my lists!

So, I’ve finally finished updating my new website, and this is it!  After two life-changing decisions—moving to Raleigh in January to return to work at the state Museum of History and deciding to re-establish my editorial services business—several lists of chores followed.  Getting a website back online was near the top, of course, but it just kept sliding from the top.

Today, however, I am proud to announce that I’ve finished fine-tuning most of the pages and that I feel confident enough to announce they’re ready for review.  So, take a tour and let me know if you find any mistakes, major or minor.  I still have a couple of pages to post, including a payments page and the “‘instant’ help” page, so you can skip those—I’ll announce when they are ready—but, as they say, have at the rest!

One of the delays in getting a presence back online was the debate over continuing to use an HTML-based website or following the industry and moving to a content management system (CMS).  I finally opted to switch and to use WordPress (which I’ve used for years as my blogging platform) for this version of my website.  In addition, I decided to promote my blog address, “anEditor’s Blog”, to serve as my home on the web instead of reviving the old “the-freelance-editor” URL I’d been using since the late ’90s.  In line with those decisions, I will, however, be keeping my formal business name as the-freelance-editor.  Enough change is enough!

Key to the new site are my specialty pages  (you can access them with “Why use a freelance editor?” on the main menu bar, above, and then sliding down to “My specialties” and hovering for the page line-up  or  by using the more-standard menu list at the bottom of the page) (or you can be lazy and simply click the following links)  for the so-called divisions of the-freelance-editor:  the-blog-editorthe-history-editorthe-young-adult-editor,  and  the-freelance-ghostwriter.  I’ll be adding more detailed sub-pages under them eventually, but these get the point across for now.

I guess the race has begun!  Thank you, all, for your patience and continuing support.  And, let me hear about those errors—you know I’d let you know about yours!

Stephen, the-freelance-editor.com
e-mail: editorial –at– Im Your Editor –dot– com
text: 832-233-0041

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The “frontier” between fiction and nonfiction

One of my favorite new blogs, A Writer of History, recently posted an amazing interview about the writing of historical fiction—or is it “creative history” or historical nonfiction?  Personally, while some argue that the terms are synonymous for the same genre, I’ve always felt that the genre designation depended on the author, the research, the message, and the presentation, if you know what I mean!  And I’m glad that author Charlotte Gray not only agrees but has definitely earned the right to place her relevant works (Gray also writes pure nonfiction) into the genre of historical nonfiction.

During the interview, which was posted to the blog on February 25, Mary Tod asked two seemingly unrelated questions of Gray: “What ingredients make for successful historical nonfiction?” and “Can you tell us what you mean when you say that the frontier between fiction and nonfiction is under constant negotiation?”

Gray’s insightful responses are actually central to the fiction-nonfiction debate:

Trustworthiness. I have worked hard to establish a reputation as a nonfiction writer who does not invent characters, events, conversations. If I say what somebody is thinking, I know about their internal monologue from private letters etc. So readers can know they are increasing their knowledge and understanding of Canadian history without constantly asking themselves, “Did this really happen?” . . .  A novelist is not under such constraints to stick to the known facts . . . he or she can let their imaginations run! (But if they have somebody driving a car in the 1880s, that’s a problem!)

Jump over to A Writer of History and glean the knowledge that awaits in the many other information-packed answers. While reading, remember that much of the commentary and advice can pertain to other fiction genres and categories as well as it does to any type of nonfiction.

Stephen, the-freelance-editor.com
e-mail: editorial –at– Im Your Editor –dot– com
text: 832-233-0041 (temporary)

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Thoughts on writing, from author Ruth Rendell

I am totally envious of the information that Alison Flood gathered from octogenarian author Ruth Rendell in her recent interview. But, I certainly couldn’t have done a better job! 

For those not familiar with her work, Rendell also writes under the pseudonym Barbara Vine, the pen name she uses in her latest book, The Child’s Child.  For the record, I just finished reading The Child’s Child  and willingly recommend it—even the book that’s within the book, which I particularly liked, unlike many of the reviewers at Goodreads!  The book within the book is a reflective peek into one family’s history and the actions that a few members of that family felt they had to take to live within societal dictates of the time. In my opinion, the interior book provided an unusually comfortable look at everyday life during the period and how that life viewed homosexuality and out-of-wedlock motherhood.

Back to Flood’s interview “Ruth Rendell: a life in writing” . . . The piece was posted to the Manchester Guardian website on March 1, 2013, and guides Rendell into thoughts about using a pseudonym to change perspective; tackling social issues like domestic violence, pedophilia, and racism; and writing crime-based fiction.

Reflecting on the latter, she believes the force of her books featuring Chief Inspector Reginald Wexford lies in knowing his personality, not in knowing the ugly, dark sides of people or life.

I just wait until I’ve got a character and I think why would anybody do that, what is it in their background, what is it in their lives makes them do it. Usually these things are just accident or impulse, or because people are drunk or on something. . . . It’s that people do these things almost by accident, or because of anger, their rage, their madness—and then probably regret it.

On the subject of her own writing, she admits that “I don’t find writing easy . . . I do take great care, I rewrite a lot . . . If anything is sort of clumsy and not possible to read aloud to oneself, which I think one should do . . . it doesn’t work.”

When talking about the writing of others, Rendell tells Flood, “The things they write, it’s as if writing dialogue is just a matter of he said, she said, thank you, yes, how are you and so on, all this superfluous stuff nobody needs. It’s as if they don’t look at it and say, ‘Do people talk like that?'”

Please, follow the link and enjoy the interview for yourself.

Stephen, the-freelance-editor.com
e-mail: editorial –at– Im Your Editor –dot– com
text: 832-233-0041 (temporary)

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Protected: My new life in Raleigh

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Categories: Personal Histories

You just never know . . .

You wouldn’t know it to look at me, but the-freelance-editor is once again located in Raleigh, North Carolina!  No, I never thought I would be back, either (I never even thought I would leave Orlando), but when a good opportunity knocked I could not resist the temptation.

The whirlwind that brought me back began shortly before Thanksgiving last year, after finding out that an editorial position had opened up at the Museum of History. This was not the same position I vacated roughly thirteen years ago, when I left to help care for aging relatives outside and around Orlando, but it was a comparable position—working primarily with the museum’s events and programs staff, its membership and fund-raising arms, and its Web presence.

After lots of encouragement (and just a little pause), I applied for the position, and a week before Christmas, I was driving to Raleigh, not just for an interview but also to revisit the setting and its current players. In what I gather is a customary feeling, I did not feel I had interviewed well; however, I had been able to see how the museum and the city had changed and to catch up with a friend or two. Surprisingly, I did get news&#0151and just a few days later: I had made the short list and the decision would be contingent largely on the comments of references. While I took that as a promising omen, I was beginning to wonder what those references had said as Christmas week . . .  then New Years week . . .  then another week dragged by. But the call—the text, actually—did come: “How many days would you need to get here?”

I’m not sure they expected me so quickly, but I booked a hotel room for the following week and drove back to start the next Tuesday, January 15!

What this means to my existing and future clients is that I’ll be more in tune with the editorial world, again. While I will be working as a full-time editor at the museum, I will no longer have to change gears from accounting during the day to editing at night; I’ll be editor-oriented at all times. And, while I’ll be getting back into the swing of things for a few months, I do plan to get back to you—slowly at first, by working with bloggers and business clients, I suspect; then, graduating back to lengthier, more in-depth projects.

Thanks for all the help, all the support, and all the patience during my transition. I’m as anxious to get back to my passion as all of you!

Hoping you’re finding yours, too,

Stephen, the-freelance-editor.com
e-mail: editorial –at– Im Your Editor –dot– com
text: 832-233-0041 (temporary)

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Fast lives, small screens, short fiction

In eras gone by, writing short-form fiction (novellas and novelettes, short stories, and flash fiction pieces) was a common stepping stone for authors who needed to prove themselves and find audiences. Assisting in their goals, plenty of digests and magazines, and even some newspapers, provided numerous outlets for building recognition and earning income from quick sales of short pieces. This path to success helped many famous writers work toward justifying larger rewards and contracts—and, thereby, time for writing larger works.

But then came the 1980s, the 1990s, and the first decade of the 2000s, which saw the elimination of most of these literary outlets. Without these avenues for getting short-form fiction to audiences, many in the publishing industry thought the genres were doomed.

However, today’s students and workers with tight modern schedules, electronic readers that allow reading on the go, and those debatable shorter attention spans seem to be reviving the basic short-form genres.

Some insights into this welcome trend appear in a recent New York Times article, “Good Fit for Today’s Little Screens: Short Stories” (posted online on February 15, 2013). The article, of course, mentions omnipresent Amazon, which publishes original short fiction (and nonfiction, for that matter) with its own Kindle Singles program. But, several online publishers, like EveryDay Fiction and Free Stories Center and Fifty-Two Stories are also springing into the picture.

So, get back to those tight, little drafts that you’ve been stashing away. You might have some new outlets for proving yourself to your audiences.

Stephen, the-freelance-editor.com
editorial –at– Im Your Editor –dot– com
phone: 407-495-4801 (temporary)
text: 832-233-0041 (temporary)

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Categories: Self Publishing, Writing

Song lyrics as writing

I suspect that few radio listeners make a habit of equating song lyrics to the stories in magazines, books, or memoirs.  (And, granted, the limited numbers of words and phrases in most songs would  not  help them make that association!)  However, occasionally, a well-written lyrical composition does manage to hit the airwaves and make a connection between musical words and their written cousins.

Two popular songs have caught my attention over the past couple of months as perfect examples of musical compositions that tell stories: “Ol’ Red”, written by James “Bo” Bohan, Don Goodman, and Mark Sherrill, and “Blown Away”, written by Chris Tompkins and Josh Kear.  If you are not familiar with the songs or lyrics, allow me to provide a few links so you can see and hear for yourselves.

First, the story of “Ol’ Red” has been transcribed by Garrett Holt at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sF6Lame2Q9Y  (you can even listen to his cover performance of the song while reading the lyrics).  “Ol’ Red” has been recorded by artists George Jones and Kenny Rogers; though, Blake Shelton has the version that is currently on the charts.  Look up those performances or watch  another cover of the song by rising star Carl Holsher.

Second, YouTube poster NinaHappy Feet  has transcribed the lyrics to “Blown Away” and posted them to a recorded performance by Carrie Underwood on this page:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD9YJjL2qQE.  The lyrics for “Blown Away” have been praised far and wide and have even been nominated (at this point) for the Grammy’s 2013 Best Country Song, an award that recognizes the songwriters.

Enjoy the lyrics and the performances, and think about the stories in (and behind) other lyrics the next time you hear your favorite songs. You might even think of the authors of the compositions—some of the forgotten artists of the music industry.

Stephen, the-freelance-editor.com
editorial –at– Im Your Editor –dot– com
phone/text: 832-233-0041 (temporary)

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Categories: Odds&Ends, Writing