My writing career, if I may call it that, began in 2004 on an impulse brought about by severe boredom. Soon, I had a novel-length story written. Smugly, I said, “It’s a wrap!” Well, no, it wasn’t at all. I knew nothing about the intricacies of writing fiction. The knowledge I had would fit into a thimble, and even that, I based it on my scientific research papers.
The first big shock was something called Point of View. Since I’d only been a reader of fiction, rather than a writer, POV puzzled me. I talked with two would-be-authors and asked about this term. Each of them explained…and explained…and showed…and finally told me one day it would just click, like a light bulb turned on. Actually, this happened, but alas, I dealt with only two POVs—the hero’s and the heroine’s in third person.
Since I’ve always been a self-learner, I began to rely on Writing Books for enlightenment. One neat little book was totally devoted to “mastering point of view.” Just what I needed. Do you know how many Points of View exist? At least six: Unlimited POV, First-Person POV, Inner Limited POV, Second-person POV, Outer Limited POV, and Combo POV. Then the writer may combine any of the six with “Multiple POVs and Challenging Perspectives.”
How did I deal with this conundrum? I pretended only two categories existed. Since I wrote romance, I felt fairly confident. So far, not one editor has asked me why I mixed Inner Limited POV with Unlimited POV.
My second learning experience was Passive Writing. Although I didn’t know the term, I did learn that all of us had probably studied it in high school, and knew it as Active vs. Passive Voice. Well, I took care of that right away by going to the Spell Check Options in Word, opening Check Grammar, and making certain every little box contained a little blue check, especially the one titled “Passive Writing.” From my first editor, I discovered the Find button, typed in the little word “was,” indicating a passive sentence. In my first editing experience with this real editor, she located 972 times I’d used “was.” Well, that’s a close approximation. Why did the publisher ever take such a messy manuscript?
The third, and last, learning episode for now is “formatting.” A new phenomenon is sweeping through the e-presses community. Earlier, the guidelines stated only a few requirements: a particular font, double-spaced, one-inch margins, and page numbers. Now that I’m working with two publishers, and maybe before long a third, I’m wondering why e-presses can’t standardize their formatting requirements? Each one has a long, detailed list of tasks the author must accomplish. (I do appreciate the publisher stating “do the best you can—we don’t expect you to be an electronic genius.) I admit I spent two entire days trying to change my “curly quotes” to “straight quotes.” When I learned how, I shoved my desk chair back, stood, punched my fists into the air, and yelled, “Yeee-haw!” My husband came running to make certain I had not lost my mind.
Thank you, Prairie Chicks, for inviting me to be a guest blogger. I love to do this! And thank you, visitors, for stopping by. If you will leave your e-mail address in your comment, you might win a pdf of my latest release from The Wild Rose Press, Texas Blue—a Western Historical novel based in 1880 Texas. If you’d rather, you may have a pdf of my first release, All My Hopes and Dreams, also a western Historical novel based in 1880 Texas. (Be sure to write your e-mail with spaces and AT and Dot.)
You may visit me at: http://www.celiayeary.com/