Tag Archives: Editing

northkoreangenerals

Write What You Know. But What Do I Know?

Writing teachers everywhere say, “Write what you know.”
Forget if it’s good advice—What do I even know?

In this show, the Js (writer Jon Armstrong and editor Juliet Ulman) talk about some examples of novels where maybe… just maybe the author didn’t know what he was writing about. How do we know what we know? And do we know anything?

In the show, Jon expressed concern about Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son. (Amazon link)

A tweet from Paul Gilmartin was mentioned. (He is the host of The Mental Health Happy Hour):

Sara Zarr’s A Writer’s Life podcast was mentioned. Author Coe Booth offered advice to white authors writing characters of color.
A quote from Alain de Botton’s The Course of Love: (Amazon link)
“Look at you,” she says, “you big cross numpty, you.”
the_colors

The Colors, Man. The Colors.

Shortbread.
Denim.
Parchment.
Juliet and Jon paint pictures with color words.

They discuss Ingrid Sundberg’s Color Thesaurus. It’s usefulness and limitations. They read some lovely sentences and tackle the difficult issue of skin colors.

Show Links:

Ingrid Sundberg’s Color Thesaurus

Josh Roby’s Handy Words for Skin Tones

Pantone Colors of Human Skin

7 Offensive Mistakes Well-Intentioned Writers Make

Fates and Furies: A Novel by Lauren Groff (Kindle Edition)

Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn (Kindle Edition)

The color image was lovingly swiped from Denise Rose.

 

italic_goodorevil

Italic—Good or Evil?

Italic? What’s the matter with italic? I use it everywhere!

Juliet and Jon discuss italic’s use in novels and YA novels. We have a little anecdote, a little history, a little caution, and a little advice. And none of those words should have been in italic. Including italic.

m-dash

The M-Dash

The M-dash is punctuation—it’s that long dash.
If you write—you probably use it often.
But do you know the four main uses?
Jon only knew only three and only used two.

Join us as we discuss the uses and misuses of Juliet’s favorite punctuation mark. And don’t worry, Matt, we also discuss the M-Dash versus the N-Dash issue.

 

Jon mentioned Lauren Oliver’s Pandemonium in the show. (Amazon link and text.)

The second book in Lauren Oliver’s remarkable New York Timesbestselling trilogy about forbidden love, revolution, and the power to choose.

In this electrifying follow-up to Delirium, Lena is on a dangerous course that takes her through the unregulated Wilds and into the heart of a growing resistance movement. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

The photo is the 100 Yards Dash, Newcastle Teachers’ College, NSW, Australia – 1952. Link on Flickr.

laugh_syonyms

The Synonyms for Laugh Suck

This is no laughing matter.
Your characters like to laugh, right?
So they laugh. They laugh again. And again. And again.
But we have to mix this up.
So maybe they should chuckle. And snort once or twice. Maybe even guffaw.
But then what?
Are they supposed to do… cachinnate?

Jon and Juliet first talk about Roget’s Thesaurus, more modern, electronic versions… and then they discuss the sad collection of synonyms for laugh.

Jon then breaks down two novels and the laugh synonyms in each.

Finally, they debate word counting, comparisons, and the uses and possible disadvantages of doing so.

Books mentioned in this show:

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr

When she is caught in the backseat of a car with her older brother’s best friend–Deanna Lambert’s teenage life is changed forever. Struggling to overcome the lasting repercussions and the stifling role of “school slut,” she longs to escape a life defined by her past. With subtle grace, complicated wisdom and striking emotion, Story of a Girlreminds us of our human capacity for resilience, epiphany and redemption.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

 Four mysterious letters change Miranda’s world forever.

By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it’s safe to go, like the local grocery store, and they know whom to avoid, like the crazy guy on the corner.

But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a new kid for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda finds the mysterious notes scrawled on a tiny slips of paper.

image credit: wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AOnly_the_serious_know_how_to_truly_laugh.jpg

loving_darlings

It’s Time We Stopped Killing Our Darlings

Who first said Kill Your Darlings?
Was it William Faulkner? Allen Ginsberg? Eudora Welty?
No! And who cares?
The idea stinks.

Jon and Juliet break down the meanings and modern interpretations of Kill Your Darlings. Then they draw out some possible reasons not just when to go easy on your darlings, but when to show them the Love McGuffin.

 

editinghelp

Editorial Hell… er… Help

A listener asked where to find editorial help to get to the next level.
Jon discusses his experience with various writing groups and advance readers. Juliet talks about the different types of editors and finding the right one for you.
Be warned, this show might actually be of useful.

 

Photo Credit: Nic McPhee

emotions_of_writing

The Emotional Downs and Ups of Writing

When Juliet heard that Jon had just sent two novels to his agent and was anxiously waiting a response, she suggested we discuss the emotions of writing.

So, we consider the ups and downs of writing and rewriting, of getting lost and being found along the way. We also talk about getting books published and watching them go off into the big wide world and the hurricane of feelings that evokes.

Juliet brings the show to a close with a glimmer of editorial hope.

dialogue-fu

Dialogue Follow-Up

Listener Christian recently commented on our Dialogue Show. In an interview, Harlan Ellison said that he watched Judge Judy to get hear how real people speak. We talk about this, reality tv, how that impacts writing, and our own speaking and listening styles… in our giant Dialogue Follow-Up show.

Jon mentioned and recommends John Green’s Paper Towns in this show.

When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q. (Amazon Link)

He also mentioned and recommends the unedited version of the podcast On Being with Krista Tippett.

stopwatch

Embrace the Pace

How is reading a novel like test-driving a car? What does a toddler shaking maracas have to do with the pace of a novel?

In this show, Juliet and Jon explore the definition and execution of pace, and how a story finds its rhythm.