Media Bistro Copy Editing Certificate Program – So Far

Hey friends! I just finished the first class, Intro to Copy Editing. Yay! On my way! I hope…

I figured if anyone is following along and is looking for honest feedback they can trust, then I owe you that much!

So with one class down and five to go, here is my impression thus far:

Media Bistro Copy Editing Certification

Intro to Copy Editing

Pros

1. Nice easy online interface

2. No strict “must show up” “must participate” “deadline or no grade”- you get what you put into it

3. Class chats are saved in case you miss the chat…which I did. Every single one.

4.  No real hard grade so it’s okay if you take the class to learn and aren’t a genius already.

5. Personal grades on homework turned in on time. Nice personal touch.

Cons

1. Instructors…not so easy to get a response from

2. Chat times are pretty late. Which if you have a late schedule works great but 8pm…I want to be done with school by then and back to working on my novels!

3. Lessons consisted of a few PDF pages and then reading from the AP Style book online which…

4. …you have to pay for. The AP style book that is. Bleh.

So about neck and neck with pros and cons. Overall, the schooling seems laid back and I feel like I’ll get what I put into it but not be stressing if I forget a due date or class chat. Which by the way…when it comes to online schooling that is one thing I detest. Online group chats. Seriously what do they think we’re going to get out of typing a half-a** “response” in?

Anyway, rant over….I feel this particular first class was more aimed for those of you looking to edit for a newspaper. Did you know that AP style deems the plural form of cactus as cactuses. Not cacti! I know! We were told wrong…at least if you are writing in AP Style. Me…I’m looking to edit fiction and possibly academic work and online content. So I mostly feel it was kind of pointless. After all, if someone puts cacti in their online article, why would I change that? So like I said, more for newspaper editors.

I hope that because that particular class was introducing AP style book that that explains the way of “teaching”…which is more teaching yourself. Hopefully the next class, Grammar, will be better and I’ll feel like I’m getting my monies worth.

I’ll keep ya informed!

Best Writing Books for Novelists

So you’re a writer and that means you’ve probably read dozens of books, maybe more. Or have you? If you’re anything like myself, you could spend hours just browsing through the online book store and Kindle Store (if you have an e-reader and if you’re a writer/reader, let’s face it, you need an e-reader).  I have had dozens of “samples” of writing books that you can get for free on your Kindle just to test them out.

But actual hard copy books, I have about 5. They are highlighted and tabbed. Why don’t I buy more hard copy? Because I want too many! And I can’t just read them, I have to take tons and tons of notes. So I got myself an Arc notebook from Staples, or use any notebook, and borrow books from the library and just take notes. If you must own the book, consider an ebook since they are cheaper.

Anyway enough ranting. Here is my list of the best writing books I have found useful (which means they have at least several pages of highlighted areas that I have learned from and wanted to keep for future reference. I will post new lists as I read more books. But hopefully, this should get you started on some really great writing books to help you sort through the zillions that are available. They are in no particular order, and range on topics from outlining to character development to simple plot structure.

1. Write the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass (haven’t tried the workbook- but I want to)

2. Nail Your Novel by Roz Morris

3. Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell (almost the entire thing is highlighted)

4.  Rock Your Plot by Cathy Yarley

5. The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson (haven’t tried the workbook-but I want to)

6. Plotting Simplified by Eddie Jones (emphasis on simplified, but good refresher on basics)

Like I said, I’ll post more very soon and only ones I really enjoyed/learned from. I’m in the middle of reading several at this moment. Hopefully these can get you started. Good luck perfecting your craft!

Write What You Know

You’ve heard the saying, “Write what you know.” I know I have. But what if you don’t know anything? Now you’re thinking, “Well that’s impossible! Everyone knows something!” I thought so too until I tried to write what I knew. I don’t know computers so scratch technology off my list. I don’t know plants or cars or cooking either, so scratch, scratch, scratch. So what do I know that I can put in my books that will ring true? What do I know?

Don’t let this question plague you when  you start to feel down about your writing. Often times, and sadly, more times than not, you won’t feel confident about your writing. As sad as it is, I know I’ve never tried harder or dedicated  more time to my writing and I couldn’t feel less confident. But I do feel passionate, and that is enough for now.

Do you know love? Do you know fear? Do you know disappointment? You’re nodding your head right now because you know all of that. But do you know friendships? Do you know commitment? Do you know how it feels to lose someone? What about passion or success? What about failure? Yes! You know all of these things, or at least 90% of them. So write about them! Remember the time you lost someone dear or the time someone told you they loved you or when you were the most scared you’d ever been? Now take those emotions and that passion and use it to make your characters come to life. Make your scenery that much scarier or more depressing. Use your emotions if you don’t know anything else. You might find it’s more powerful and your readers can relate to it more than the other stuff.

This is what I’m working on now. Making my characters’ emotions feel real and justified. Your challenge is to do the same. Fuel your novel with raw emotion. Nothing else will bring your readers closer to you and your characters than an emotion they understand.