The Editing Stops Somewhere #MondayMusings #OpenBookBlogHop #Inspiration

Abbie wears a blue and white V-neck top with different shades of blue from sky to navy that swirl together with the white. She has short, brown hair and rosy cheeks and smiles at the camera against a black background.

Photo Courtesy of Tess Anderson Photography

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Two Pentacles Publishing.

 

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “How do you know when you’ve done all the editing you can on your story, or that you’ve gone too far?”

In my opinion, you can never go too far with editing. But you can edit and edit and edit till the cows come home and never get anything published.

Since my late husband was a baseball fan, I’ve developed the three-strikes approach to editing. I read through a piece at least three times. If, upon third reading, I see nothing needing to be changed or corrected, it’s ready to go.

Of course, after something’s been published, I might read it again and find something else needs changing. But by that time, it’s too late unless I want to send it somewhere else that welcomes previously published work. In the case of a novel, as Shakespeare once said, “What’s done is done and cannot be undone.”

Okay, you writers out there. It’s time for you to sound off. How do you know when you’re done editing or if you’ve gone too far? You can click here to participate in this week’s hop and read other bloggers’ responses.

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New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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Without Rubber Bands #Tuesday Tidbit #Writing Prompt #Poetry

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, my local writing groups meet via phone conference. So, instead of sitting in a room together and writing for twenty minutes, then each sharing what we wrote, a prompt is sent via email, and we each work on it at home, then have the finished product handy when we call into the conference, so we can read it aloud.

For one such group, Range Writers, I publish a short newsletter in which I’ve been including these prompts. We take turns facilitating our meetings. Donna, who volunteered to facilitate this month’s meeting, sent me the prompt, which I copied and pasted into the document containing the newsletter. Since I copied it exactly the way she wrote it, there shouldn’t have been any mistakes, right? Wong!

In a nutshell, the prompt was to write about what would happen once coronavirus-related bans were lifted. Somehow, a letter D found its way into the word “bans.” So, the prompt read as follows. “Bands lifted.” I didn’t realize this until after I sent out the newsletter, and someone else in the group pointed it out and asked me if that was correct.

Normally, I would have caught the error. But I’ve been without my braille display for the past couple of weeks because I’d sent it to the manufacturer to be cleaned. So, I’ve had to go by what the synthetic voice on my computer was telling me. I could have sworn she said “bans.” So, I didn’t check it. The spell checker saw nothing wrong with it. So, naturally, I didn’t think anything was amiss.

Of course, I immediately sent a correction to the group. Then, instead of berating myself for not being more careful, I decided that since life had just handed me lemons, I was gonna make lemonade. So, I ran with the idea of bands being lifted, and created the following poem.

 

WITHOUT RUBBER BANDS

Newspapers would fall apart,
sections scattering whichever way the wind blew.
Pigtails wouldn’t exist.
Girls’ hair would hang all over their heads.
Braces on teeth wouldn’t function properly.
During the holiday season,
when the mail carrier retrieved bundles of cards,
without rubber bands to hold them together,
they’d scatter to the four winds,
arrive in places where they weren’t expected.
In offices, important papers would be lost
without rubber bands to keep them together.
So, rubber bands are important.
Please don’t lift them.

***

Now, it’s your turn. The prompt is to write about bands being lifted. Besides rubber bands, there are bands of musicians, and there’s the song, “Band on the Run,” about a band of criminals who escape from a county jail. So, have fun with this, and please share what you write, either on your own blog or in the comment field below. If you share on your blog, be sure to include a link to this post, so I know you’ve shared your product of this prompt.

By the way, My Ideal Partner and The Red Dress are now available on Smashwords as part of its sale to support those isolated by the coronavirus. This sale will run until the end of May. Please click here to visit my Smashwords author page and download these books. As always, thank you for reading.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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Going Down Butt First

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Writing is like being a doctor. You have to keep up with the way things are done. Remember the good old days when a woman in labor was anesthetized in the hospital, and the father-to-be went through a pack of cigarettes in the waiting room? Nowadays, as long as it’s a natural birth, an expectant mother has the option to stay awake during the entire procedure, and anyone they want can be with them in the delivery room.

I was reminded of changing times recently while working with my editor at DLD Books on The Red Dress, which will be out soon. At one point, she suggested breaking a run-on sentence into two sentences in such a way that the second one started with “but.” Having been raised by English teachers, I’d been taught, almost from Day 1, that starting a sentence with a conjunction like “but” is a deadly sin. So, I suggested leaving out the  “but” in the second sentence. She pointed out that the sentence would be clearer with the “but” and sighted current sources that say it’s okay to start a sentence with a conjunction.

I realized that it was time to let this expectant mother stay awake during her birthing process and allow Dad and Grandma in the delivery room. Writing is also like falling. You go down butt first.

 

Coming Soon: The Red Dress: A Novel

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

 

 

My Other Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to purchase My Ideal Partner from Smashwords absolutely free!

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

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