Kids say the darndest things, and at my house, there are a lot of kids. I don't take the time to write most things down, but every once in a while something sticks in my head.
The other night, to my thirteen -year-old son's dismay, I made cranberry nut bread. He's been trying to talk me out of making it for weeks now. So on an afternoon when he wasn't home, I baked some. The house smelled wonderful, which is saying something if you've ever had my cooking.
He came in claiming that whatever it was in the oven, he was having some.
Then dinner rolled around and the cranberry bread was set on the table. He was torn. After some inner turmoil, he decided to take a piece, but only because it smelled so good.
I asked him if he liked it. He said he loved the bread, it was sweet, but the cranberries? They're....
That's life. It's sweet except when it's tart. Life is a sweetart.
"Don't you mean sweetheart?" my nine year old son asked.
I don't know. Is life a sweetheart or a sweetart? I'm leaning toward sweetart myself, but maybe that's because things aren't that glossed over around here.
Then there's my two year old. She doesn't pronounce all of her consonants. If you ask her if you can help, she usually says she's going to "do it by my elf."
My husband now asks her if her elf is going to do it.
I wish I had an elf sometimes. One that will do all those things I don't have time for or that I wish I didn't have to make time for. She says "my elf" so much that it's a constant thought in my head- and no, she has no idea what an elf is. She still means "myself."
So, to wrap up my thoughts. Enjoy life, it's a sweetart. Sweet except when it's tart. Have you ever noticed that sweetarts are mostly tart? Just a thought. I'd tie the elf into it, but I'm not seeing how that's going to work.
Try this.... When life is sweet, you can do it by your elf, and when it's tart, more than one elf might be required.
Now I'm jumping ship. I'm almost done editing one of my books, again. Let's face it, books are never done being edited until they are printed. But I'm learning things all over again. If you're looking revision in the face, here are some pointers....
*Look for passive phrases. was ___ing, for example: was swimming, change to swam. was climbing, change to climbed
*Don't be afraid of the delete button. It can be your best friend. Are you repeating the same things? Tighten up your words.
*Do your sentences make sense? Read them out loud. If something rhymes, change it, unless you're purposely writing a poem. If there's not enough information or if the wording is awkward, change it. I bet you remember thinking it was awkward the first time you wrote it, but you kept going so you wouldn't lose momentum. Now that the creative process is over, go back and fix those sentences.
*Who's talking? Is it clear?
*Does anything in your story make you want to say "Duh" or "lame"? Now you have time to make those parts cool.
*Are you still in love with your story? Figure out why, yes or no, and make the yes reasons the strongest part of the plot.
*Are you foreshadowing too much? Too little?
*Are you ever going to finish editing? No, but that's what publishers are for. Eventually they will be the last say. There will come a time when you can put the manuscript down for good and look at your work in a real-live book. You know, the kind with its own ISBN #.
It's all worth it in the end.