More Self-Editing, NaNoWriMo Season, + Halloween Linkage

Wee James would like to thank everyone for their well-wishes. He's feeling much better! (Good enough to steal Jim Sturgess's sexy coat, obvs.)

Wowie zowie.

I had a lot of new visitors leave comments on my last post. Thank you, and welcome to my blog! I hope you all stick around for the pie. Big thanks to Kiersten White, Natalie Whipple, and Katie Anderson for linking to my post (and for being wonderful in general), and thank you to everyone who tweeted about it. I spent — ah hem — a LONG time writing it. It feels really, really nice to know the work was appreciated.

There were so many great comments, and I'd like to share with you the ones that held more self-editing tips.

Rachel Bateman said:

"One word I think all writers should have on their overused list is THAT. It seems to be one of the most overused words of all time. If I catch myself using it, I stop myself and think long and hard about whether or not I really need it. Then, at the end, I do a find to see how many I missed–most of these can be removed as well."

It's on my list, too! Though I must confess, the first time I became aware of THAT problem, I removed waaaaay too many, and the language became unnatural. So yeah. Watch out for "that" . . . but don't carried away, like I did.

Super Agent Daphne Unfeasible said:

"Regarding your advice to 'Keep a list of the words you overuse. (My list, among many things, includes: grin, smile, eyes, laugh, hand.) Every time you finish a new draft, do another "Find" search. Eliminate some of these.', Rexroth recommends creating a Wordle on your manuscript and using it to weed out the overused words. And I think Rexroth is very very wise."

Rexroth IS wise, because he married you, and you are fabulous! This is great advice. I've bookmarked Wordle so many times I've lost count, but I'll definitely hit it up on my next draft. Especially after seeing . . .

Valerie's follow-up comment:

"I second Daphne about Wordle but I think it works even better on a chapter by chapter basis. I find it's helpful to use on a chapter or scene sequence so that I can see if I'm using the same words over and over when focused on one topic or event. When you're doing your entire manuscript there might not be enough instances of a word for it to show up, but when checking out just that chapter you might find that you've used it way too much."

Excellent! Thank you!

Shelley said:

"I also think on your list of things to read and learn about writing a book is the Not For Robots site. Sooo much goodness there!"

YES. I credit Laini Taylor's Not for Robots site for helping me complete my first full, pretty draft. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Love love LOVE. If you've never read it, GO FORTH IMMEDIATELY.

Shelley also asked:

"You seem to be accumulating more boyfriends...is that allowed?"

Of course it's allowed.

As long as I keep my Only Full-Time Live-In Celebrity Boyfriend, Chris Martin, away from my brilliant-but-curmudgeonly boyfriend, Thom Yorke, everyone is just happy for the extra company.

The last time Chris and Thom were here at the same time, one of them enjoyed it more than the other.

Poor Chris. He's such a sweetheart.

Hmm, what's next? This whole post is a bit scattered, as things keep popping up, and I'm finding less and less time to address them.

Less time because . . . it's NaNoWriMo time!

♥♥♥ Huzzah! ♥♥♥

Which means this November, I'll be working on THREE novels — Anna, Lola, and the brand-new Third Novel.

It's a good thing I'm a professional. (Snert.)

Normally, I'd explain why I love National Novel Writing Month, and why you should try it, blah blah blah, but this year I'll just direct you to an interview I did about NaNo with Sarah at Bookduck. This interview was extra-special because not only was it Sarah's first interview, it was also mine!

[Sarah, I'm honored to have lost our interview virginity together. We're, like, legit now. BUT WHY HAVEN'T YOU CALLED? Didn't last weekend mean ANYTHING to you??]

And here's a link to last year's NaNo post. Good stuff there. Also, if you're interested in being my writing buddy, I'm naturallysteph in NaNo-land.

Okay. What's next?

[Steph consults actual, typed list.]

Oh, yeah! This has already been Link-O-Rama Central, but here are two more, if you'd like to get in the Halloween spirit, in a famous writerly way:

Neil Gaiman's 30-Second Scary Story, halfway down the page = Genius (And, yes, Neil. You can read me to sleep any night. Every night.)

Diana Gabaldon's Real-Life Ghost Story = Fascinating

[Steph consults list again.]

Myrna-Foster-Finally-Has-A-Blog gave me an award for Sheer Awesomeness! Thank you so much, Myrna! I find you incredibly awesome, too.

[Steph consults list again.]

[Steph sees remaining list is answering more questions.]

[Steph dies a little.]

[Steph decides to answer them in the next post.]

Buffy and Spike. WANT.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Please eat forty-two Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and watch Sleepy Hollow. We'll talk again once we've calmed down from our sugar rush.


  1. I totally laughed out loud at the picture of Neil Gaiman looking like a member of a boy band! I cannot believe you're going to nano, too! (I am kind of half doing it.....I just want to finish the ren faire book...just a draft....that's all I want....that's not too greedy, is it?)

    November is always a partially insane month here at the Thomas house anyway....might as well go full on, don't think?


    (Off to tell the Washington Irving version of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow to fifth graders...alas, no Johnny Depp.)

  2. Anonymous8:25 AM GMT-5

    hi! found you through your comment on spotted dog blog. My daughter (10) is a writer - it just comes naturally to her so we are encouraging it. she is taking classes with local writing teacher, janet hurley. anyway - about your blog: love the banner at the top! and you are one funny girl. best to you, lynn (frivolitea)

  3. I hope you'll keep posts like this coming! Sharing these tips and pointing out the best comments are fantastic:) I have a list that I've been compiling over the past couple weeks while reading your blog and other blogs by your writer/blogger friends. I'll be jumping into the list tonight while revising! HAve a great weekend:)

  4. I've never heard of Wordle--it looks brilliant. But I have heard of (and visited) Not for Robots, and it = awesome. And I'm still laughing about Neil Gaiman.

    I'm sorry I haven't called, but I know how how busy you are with your boyfriends. Say hello to Chris for me!

  5. Using Wordle is SUCH a good idea. I'll have to try that one out. I did Nanowrimo in 2206 and 2007, but at this point I am both really busy and looking for a different first draft process. Good luck!

  6. Oh, Neil Gaiman! And Spike & Buffy pumpkins! I ♥ this blog.

    Thanks for the link to Not For Robots. I think I'm going to spend a goodly portion of my afternoon reading up over there.

    Good luck with Third Novel & NaNo!

  7. Oh, God yes, Neil, you can read me to sleep anytime. In fact, you have-- I highly recommend Neil Gaiman's "A Short Film About John Bolton".

    Check out the special features for Neil doing a reading of, among other works, "Chivalry", the story with Mrs. Whitaker and the Holy Grail from "Smoke and Mirrors".

    Thanks for the Not for Robots linkage and more hot McAvoy lovin'!

  8. I was in a bad mood while James was sick. Seeing him healthy and steamy makes me happy again!

    I'm also addicted to Wordle. We're best pals. It'll say "Oh, Mariah, it's you again?"

    Hmm... methinks it sounds like Wordle is beginning to get annoyed by my frequent visits.

  9. Oh, awesome! I got a shout out! I linked to your last post in my blog today. I did a post on Micro-Managing Your Story which touches a bit on what you talked about in your editing post. Hope you'll check it out!

  10. So glad that James is better. I like the idea that Kate said about the Wordle. That will make it completely obvious what we're using too much.

  11. I'll give you a couple weekends off from Lee Pace if you ever get too busy. <3

    I plan on sticking around - you have a rockin' blog over here. Plus I like pie. ... and the Piemaker...

  12. Lots of awesome stuff! It's great to have you back, Steph.

  13. I loved this post on so many levels. Let's see - first I have NEVER considered nanowrimo at ALL! That is, until I read your interview. Now, I think I might try it! (but not 'til next year :-)

    secondly, I forgot about your live-ins Chris and Thom. It's always nice to know what they've been up to ;)

    thirdly, I cracked up at this adorable comment: Buffy and Spike. WANT


  14. Here's hoping "Not For Robots" evolves into a writing book someday. It would easily be in my top five as is. I'd venture top three if it grew fatter. Love it.

    Happy Halloween to Steph and all of her followers. Your cult seems to be ever expanding. Glad there are more true believers out there. That is, Steph-geeks like myself. Bring on November and all that writing to be done.

  15. First he stole Lee's underwear, then Jim's coat. Wee James is reading over your shoulder, Steph, and he's stuffing--Don't shake your head at me, James--he's stuffing your mushroom in the pocket of his coat. Or is it Jim's coat?

    I linked to three of your writing posts in today's blog, and the wee scottie hottie may feature heavily in the one I linked to from last year. It also has awesome advice for anyone trying to turn a first draft into a second draft. That second draft can take a lot more time and work than you think it will.

  16. your editing post was GREAT! such good advice. And I wish I could do NaNo this month (you know what
    i'd work on), but it's not happening. have fun!

  17. hi - came across your blog yesterday and like it very much. I've added you as a Nano buddy (from Falen1) so good luck!