Monday Thoughts on Creativity: Simplification

Be gentle, Monday. It’s all a bit sudden.

Creative simplicity

Have you ever read a line in a book or a poem that blew your mind with its simplicity? Sometimes a writer can break a concept down so far that you’re wowed and amazed that it never occurred to you to phrase or express it that way. I find this to be a rare quality in fiction – usually just one or two sentences through a whole book, and only 1 out of 25 books – but when it happens, it stops me in my tracks. If I’m listening to an audiobook, I rewind to hear it again. Sometimes I stop the track just to think about it. If it’s a physical book, you can bet I’ll lose some serious reading time in admiring that brilliance.

I feel similarly impressed when a writer can take a story down to its bare essentials and come out with something distilled to the point of perfection. I like to pause and think about why the piece would normally be longer and what would be fleshed out and detailed. When an author can take all of that out of a piece and end up with something more powerful than the usual elongated version, it took some serious creative thought. It sounds like the opposite – the more creativity something takes, the bigger it should be. Well, that can happen, but think about how creative you have to be to whittle and whittle and whittle until you’re down to only the most hard-hitting words for a complex and expansive piece of – what? 100 words? 20 words? Now that’s my kind of creativity.

My Editing Background and College Tour

As many of you know, I own an editing company called Proof Positive. I’ve been asked many times what makes me qualified to be an editor and to run an editing business, so much so that I’ve made a video about it. I also included a tour of part of my college campus as well as the two buildings I spent the most time in. I hope you enjoy it and I hope it inspires you to chase after your dreams. Anything is possible if you want it enough.

(If you can’t see the video, click here: https://youtu.be/K3JrSv6zL5I)

Thanks for watching!

T Minus 1 Day to NaNoWriMo 2014!

There’s only one day to go until NaNoWriMo kicks off, and I’m finding myself torn. Half of me is really excited and can’t wait to get started. The creative juices are definitely flowing! The other half actually feels nervous, something I never expected. I keep thinking I should have done more research before this point, I should have done more detailed character outlines and just written more out in general. But then I realize I would probably feel like that no matter what.

I think I’m afraid of not making it, of disappointing myself by either not making the 50,000 word count or not finishing my manuscript. I think I’ve been writing short stories for so long now that I’m afraid I’ve forgotten how to write a full-length manuscript, how to draw a reader in and connect them to the story and characters over time instead of within 1,000 words. I’m nervous the details, the forethought, the symbolism I love so much simply won’t be there.

And then I say, “TAKE YOUR OWN ADVICE!!” and realize I help authors with these fears and doubts every day through my editing company. If I were a client, I’d tell me that finishing the book or completing 50,000 words isn’t necessarily the point – getting back to novel writing is really the point for me right now. I’d tell me that details and symbolism can come later, it’s getting the whole idea down from start to finish that’s most important. And about the symbolism, that’s something to be tweaked in a second, third, fourth draft. It doesn’t have to be perfect (or even entirely present!) now. As far as research goes, you can research before, during, and after your writing – there’s no limit to how much or when research can be done. I would say to just get inspired and get writing.

So I’m going to take my own advice.

Tomorrow I begin, and I’m going to focus on abandoning my own fears and inhibitions. I’m going to take the advice I hand out when I’m editing other authors’ manuscripts. And I’m going to enjoy myself, because let’s not forget, that’s also what this challenge is about!

Proof Positive Just Launched!

Good news: I’ve just launched my proofreading, beta reading, and editing business, Proof Positive!

What I can do for you:
Proofreading – I’ll check for:

  • grammatical errors
  • spelling errors
  • word choice

Beta Reading – I’ll check for:

  • grammatical errors
  • spelling errors
  • word choice
  • consistency of tone, characters, and descriptions

Editing – I’ll check for:

  • grammatical errors
  • spelling errors
  • word choice
  • consistency of tone, characters, descriptions, plot, and style
  • pacing
  • plot holes

Pre-release publicity
Included in the total cost are:
– Twitter mentions of you and your book to get the hype started!
– a blog post about you and/or your manuscript on my website (guest posts/press releases are also acceptable)
– your cover art posted on my website with a link to where readers can buy it

For more details, visit Proof Positive’s page.

For testimonials of my work, visit Proof Positive’s testimonials page.

Beta Reading Special Offer!

In 2013, I will be opening my own beta reading business dedicated to the meticulous proofreading and editing of independent authors’ works. Before I open my business, I would like some testimonials. What does this mean for you? I will beta read the first 10 fiction manuscripts I receive before March 31, 2013 for free, in exchange for one testimonial. (Manuscript must be no more than 300 double-spaced pages, approximately 75,000 words.)

For all the details, check out this page on my website: http://bit.ly/WRAxXy.

This is not only an exciting opportunity for you to get your work beta read by a professional proofreader for free, but an exciting opportunity for me to read authors’ works before they are published.

Check out my offer and leave your thoughts in the comments section!