Author Archives: Vicky L. Lorencen

What do you really want?

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It’s 9:26 p.m. You’re hungry for something. But what? Celery? (Be serious.) Hummus andDSC06295 chips? Last night’s kitchen-sink casserole? A scoopuh B&J’s Cherry Garcia perhaps? Yum.

Sometimes it can be like that with manuscripts too. You want help, but you’re not exactly sure what you’re after. The levels and type of help varies depending on where you are in the process–mid-draft? ready to revise? preparing to submit?

Maybe these explanations will give you some clarity (sorry, no ice cream included):

Manuscript critique – a critique consists of a compilation of feedback in the form of a letter regarding  pacing, flow of narrative, transitions, voice, structure and other essential elements of stylish prose. This will provide a subjective view of the strengths and current weaknesses of your manuscript. You typically do not receive comments on the manuscript itself, as with a line edit.

Developmental editing – this extensive type of editing allows you to take a birdie’s eye view of your whole manuscript. With this type of editing, you may receive feedback in the form a of lengthy, detailed letter focusing on “opportunities for improvement,” regarding issues such as pacing, flow, transitions, voice, plot, structure, dialogue, character development and more. You may also receive positive observations and suggestions too. Developmental editing does not include the nitty-gritty elements of a line edit.

Line editing – what you have here is the big enchilada of edits, aka “comprehensive editing.” This level of editing, which can vary from heavy to “light” (don’t think fluffy here), consists of a careful combing of your manuscript regarding all of the important elements of fine writing, such as voice, pacing, rhythm, dialogue, character and structure.  Think of it as someone cleaning out the crumbs in your silverware drawer, only in this case, the toaster tidbits pertain to issues like transitions, voice, word choice and character development. You can expect many comments on the manuscript itself.

Proofreading – the main objective here is to ensure your manuscript is as clean as it can be–free of typographical errors, grammatical gaffs, style inconsistencies or other mishaps that will distract or confuse your reader. This article gives you a helpful rundown on what to expect.

Eventually, every manuscript will need all of these interventions, but for now, take a look at your manuscript and ask yourself what would help you take it to the next level, get you unstuck or unravel a plot knot for you. If you’re a visual learner like me, this chart from Yellow Bird Editors may also help you decide.

[Insert thought bubble here–“Sheesh. Isn’t she going to tell us where to find help?”]

So, my little summer strawberries, where can you get help with your manuscript? (I just had a hunch you’d like to know. ) Sources for critiques and editing are often offered in connection to writing workshops, and are also available via SCBWI, professional services like Yellow Bird Editors or even among your own circle of writing friends or critique group. (And about that last one–if you seek the help of an author/friend–unless you are able to reciprocate in kind–pay them, okay?)

My very best shimmery, summery wishes to you, my talented friends! You can do this.

One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple. ~ Jack Kerouac

 

take the “am I ready for an agent?” quiz

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Maybe it’s time to take stock. Are you ready?

Welcome to Frog on a Dime

Photo by Vicky Lorencen Photo by Vicky Lorencen
You’ve seen those wedding dress shows, right? A bride-to-be goes on a chiffon frenzied quest for the perfect gown while a group of her BFFs sit semi-circled in the salon, waiting to boo-hoo or just boo over her selection. Once in a while, though, the hunter is simply a bride-wanna-be who is willing to throw gobs of moola at a dress, despite her groomlessness. To me, that seems sad, desperate, and at the very least, poorly timed.

When it comes to writers in search of an agent, sometimes it’s really not that different. There’s a time to focus solely on craft, to learning about the industry, reading and networking. But, if this has not yet resulted in a solid, polished product to sell, why would you spend time looking for an agent to represent you?

Let’s say, however, maybe you’re like me, and you’ve been polishing…

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where’s your permission slip?

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Permit granted . . .

Welcome to Frog on a Dime

(c) Vicky L. Lorencen (c) Vicky L. Lorencen (c) Vicky L. Lorencen (c) Vicky L. Lorencen

When I took my first watercolor class, I painted the usual subjects–you know, a bowl of fruit, a self-portrait, a landscape . . . but then, my teacher allowed me to do an independent study. That’s when I started painting bunnies. I learned a lot in the first class, but it wasn’t until I was cut loose and given permission to paint what I liked that the fun really started. Sure, not everyone likes to paint bunnies playing checkers, but I do! (Consider it my nod to dogs playing poker.)

Do you find it a challenge to give yourself permission to try something new or to take a risk?

Mind if I help you with that?

Complete the permission slip below.

It’s all set to go. All you need to do is fill in the blank.

* Grant yourself permission to submit…

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anne lamott had her nostrils removed?

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It pays to slow down and read carefully . . .

Welcome to Frog on a Dime

pinnochio frog pinnochio frog Has your muse gone to visit her mother in the Hamptons? Consider one of these fine reads to top off your inspiration tank. These are my five favorite go-to books . . .

Bird by Bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Lifeby Anne Lamott
This book is a classic for a reason. It’s full of solid advise and insights, wrapped in Anne’s wry wit. But Bird by Bird earned a cozy place in my heart for two very personal reasons. While I read it–more like absorbed it–I saw myself in her pages. As I was nodding my head, I realized I related to Anne’s words and experiences because I really am a writer. Not a writer-wanna-be, but someone with the heart of a real writer. Mmm-mmm-mmm. That’s some good soul-sticking stuff right there.

While I’m at it, I may as well confess my silly association with this…

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choosing sides for volleyball and other curious forms of torture

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I pick you!

Welcome to Frog on a Dime

Photo by Vicky Lorencen Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Reason #10 I love going to writers’ conferences: never having to choose sides for volleyball (or softball or basketball . . . ). You see, I possess no eye/hand coordination. Zippo. My left hand is only there to make me look symmetrical. Strictly window dressing. It’s a wonder I can type. So, it’s a real load off not having to demonstrate my athletic ineptitude for the astonishment of my fellow writers. Oh, sure, authors can be strong athletes, but I’m confident a lot of us were picked last (or next to last on a good day) when choosing teams in gym class. We were out of our element and there was no competing with the real sports people.

Of course, that doesn’t mean authors don’t engage in our own kind of competition. I’m not talking about contests. It’s more about the weird competitive dynamic among writers…

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help you help me

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Let’s think of something to do while we’re waiting (and waiting and waiting . . . )

Welcome to Frog on a Dime

Photo by Vicky Lorencen Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Every writer I know is a “waiter.” We wait for our muses to return from Rome. We wait for feedback from critique partners. We wait for emails from editors and agents. We wait for books to launch and reviews to post. For those of us who are pre-published, we wait (and wait and wait) for our first big break into print. Given that waiting is a given no matter where we are in the waiting room, it’s wise to find ways to use the time, well, wisely. Otherwise we’re time-twiddlers in danger of becoming solitary sadsacks. And yeesh, don’t even get me started on those pricey catered pity parties. What’s that? How do I know about pity parties? Well, uh, [insert awkward silence so long you would take a nap in it here], let’s move on.

And so, my little twice baked potatoes, to help each other whilst…

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are you lucky?

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Welcome to Frog on a Dime

dreamy frog

Recently, on an ordinary Thursday afternoon, a perceptive friend said something that gave me pause. “You’re lucky to have a dream,” she said. Hmm. I’d never thought about that before, but she was absolutely right. “I am lucky,” I said to my friend. “Having a dream is a burden, but it’s a burden I’d miss if it went away.”

By now, you know my dream is to become a children’s author. I’m working the steps, logging some encouraging signs of progress, practicing my craft and doing my part to make that happen. Still, unlike failure, which is a snap, there are no guarantees of success. That’s not an easy reality to embrace, but the thought of living dreamless would be much more difficult. My dream gives me a nudge, a sense of purpose and a life infused with a sense of expectation. Why would I disconnect from that?

A zillion.5…

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