Tag Archives: mistakes

Oops!

Ever written something that didn’t quite communicate what you meant to say? Me too.

Enjoy the following bulletin announcements that I’m told actually appeared in church bulletins:

“Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be speaking tonight. Come and hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.”

“At the evening service, the sermon topic will be What is Hell? Come early and listen to the choir practice.”

“This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Johnson to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.”

“On Sunday a special collection will be taken to defray the expenses of the new carpet. All those wishing to do something on the new carpet, please come forward and get a piece of paper.”

“A bean supper will be held on Saturday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.”

“The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind, and they may be seen in the church basement on Friday afternoon.”

“Ladies, don’t forget the church rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don’t forget your husbands.”

“Barbara remains in the hospital, and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Jack’s sermons.”

After reading the above bloopers, I’m sure you agree that getting a fresh pair of eyes to view your writing is valuable. Do you have someone to read your “raw” Work-In-Progress and help you catch the bloopers that might be there?

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Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, editing, Writing

The Perfect Manuscript

A groom took his new bride by the hand. “Now that we’re married, dear…I hope you won’t mind if I mention a few little defects I’ve noticed about you.”

“Not at all,” the bride said. “it was those little defects that kept me from getting a better husband.”

Defects, snafus, imperfections, issues:  we’ve all got them. Some of us are loaded with them. And so are our manuscripts. Try as we might, we are unable to create the perfect manuscript. There will still be the overused words, muddled phrases, unneccessary speaker attributions, blurry POV issues, and on and on and on the list could go.

So what do we do about it?

We get fresh eyes to look over our work. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received was from an agent who told me to have a freelance editor look over my project before I submitted it to anyone. And that’s exactly what I did. In fact, I’ve done it for both books I’ve written so far on my writing journey. The experience was eye-opening and skin-thickening to say the least. And I loved it!

The editor’s red ink alerted me to mistakes that I hadn’t noticed before. I learned that I have a crazy fascination with the word “that.” And in my first manuscript at least, I had an allergy to contractions and an addiction to speaker attributions. Once I was made aware of these things I just slapped my forehead and said, “Of course!” And there were the other red-inked areas of concern that I didn’t know were defects at all. It truly was one of the most inspiring learning experiences ever.

Writer, relax in the knowledge that ALL writers produce imperfect manuscripts. Be humble, teachable, and respectful of the craft, and you will grow as a writer.

Having other people look at your work is essential. They will see things you missed, or were unwilling to cut. No, there is no perfect editor. They are giving you educated advice, but they can be wrong too. You may have to try a few to find one whose personality meshes with yours, or who has the ability to hear your “voice” and understand your intent. But it is worth the effort. (The dark side of this experience will be a topic for another post).

What mistakes do you make in your writing? Remember confession is good for the soul…or at least good for a laugh. And it helps other writers know that mistakes are just part of the journey. Share a comment about your writing weaknesses and “defects”. Thanks!

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Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, editing, Writing