Posts by webmasterDHP

Oh the Things You Can Learn

Posted by on Apr 15, 2016 in Weirder than Fiction, Writing | 0 comments

I love what I do. I don’t think I’d keep going if I didn’t, no matter how good the pay was. I have gone from working at one job I hated to taking a 2/3 pay cut and working at a job I loved before…actually, I’ve done that on multiple occasions and have never regretted it. However, I love writing, publishing, and editing, no matter how teeth-grindingly frustrating it can be at times, I still love it. One of the reasons I love editing is the fact that I’m constantly learning new things. There are several types of editors in the world: acquisitions editors, proofreaders, line editors, content editors, copy editors, production editors, etc. The list goes on, but I’m not talking about which editor you should choose, there are several blogs about that. Instead, I’m going to talk about bees. Yes, you read that right, and no, I’m not going to talk about how hard bees work, even though reading about them exhausted me because of all they do. Bees are particularly fascinating creatures. I’ve been fascinated with them since I had to do a report on them in third grade, but being a content editor for a book, I learned so much more about them than I previously knew. As a content editor, I have to verify facts, and I’ve learned some awesome things because of it.  I learned that the colors of the Aurora Borealis are dependent on the gases in the atmosphere, and that there are both northern and southern lights. But, back to bees. I thought I knew a lot about bees. After all, I’ve read a lot about them, but when I read the interview that Stephen Doster did in Georgia Witness with Thomas Dennard, I learned just how much I didn’t know about them. I learned that certain flowers only open for one day, and that bees will fly miles to get nectar. I also learned that bees use their bodies to control the temperature of the hives. I was hooked. How brilliant is that? A hive’s average temperature is 94 degrees and in order to keep it at that temperature, bees will fan their wings in the summertime to cool the hive down, and in the colder months, they will band together and vibrate, creating heat and keeping the hive at around 94 degrees even in cold weather. So, why am I talking about something completely off the topic of writing? What’s the take away from this? Read! It doesn’t’ matter whether the book is fiction or nonfiction. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading romance or horror. There’s something to be learned from every book, even if it’s what not to...

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Book Hangovers

Posted by on Mar 29, 2016 in Writing | 0 comments

Oh, the book hangover, the dreaded day after staying up all night reading a good book until you’re a wreck the next day for work. Most of us have been there, drinking way too much coffee, too early in the morning to get to your day job and try to work while still traumatized by the characters in the book you just finished. And while you finished the book, the book wasn’t finished with you. You still mourn for the characters you loved in the book that may have passed under circumstances you never imagined. Heaven forbid if the bad guy wins or the book ended on a cliffhanger and the next book isn’t out yet. Yes, while the world continues to spin, it seems your private world is ending. As readers, this is what we want. We want characters that affect us, characters we can relate to, that we have an emotional connection to. As writers, we want the same to be said of our books. So, how do we do it? The answer is both simple and amazingly complex, easy and terrifying. We have to put ourselves and our experiences into the stories. As Robert Frost once said, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” Simply put, if we don’t put our emotions into the book we are writing, if we don’t feel the words as they are being put on paper, neither will the reader. We can’t tell readers how to feel, they have to feel it in their souls. We have to put the words we’re uncomfortable with on paper. We have to put the action as we see it on paper. As writers, we have to put the hard stuff down. When writers truly write something, they are tearing away a piece of their souls and putting that on paper. That’s the way writers keep readers coming back for more. They give the raw pieces of themselves, their hopes, dreams, and fears away, and pray that it’s enough. Seems tough, doesn’t it? It is. But, the only people who ever said writing was easy were the ones who haven’t tried to...

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Do Your Research

Posted by on Feb 15, 2016 in Writing | 0 comments

I know I seem to have a lot of pet peeves, but ninety-nine percent of them are focused on the one thing I love: the written word. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, I love the written word. I love stories, I love new worlds and histories. I love meeting new characters, fiction or nonfiction. My library just keeps growing, and I hope it never stops. However, I’ve been reading a rash of books lately, well, it’s not just been lately, but I’ve finally gotten fed up with it, that have a copious amount of errors. I understand homophones and words that sound similar, especially in the day and age of dictation software. I sometimes (rarely, but sometimes) chuckle when I see exasperated when a person meant exacerbated, but please, for the love of all that is holy, do your research. If your main character, for example, is based on a true, historical figure, like Genghis Khan, please do not confuse him with someone like Atilla the Hun. I was recently reading a book about Genghis Khan and I had to put it down because the author spelled his name wrong. It seems crazy to do so for a single mistake, and I told myself this very thing, but then it was done over and over. The author either misspelled his name or didn’t capitalize it. The author had other dates and such wrong, so I stopped reading. Sadly, if I had not known the differences between what the author was claiming and what is historically known about him, I might be inclined to believe the author. So why is this relevant, you might ask? What am I trying to say here? Simply this: Make sure you get your facts straight or people will put down your book. If you are doing historical fiction, nonfiction, or fiction set in today’s world, get your facts straight. If you are writing science fiction or fantasy, make sure your world makes sense and don’t just say that magic is the reason for inconsistency or come up with a lame excuse as to why your characters or plot lines aren’t consistent. Getting your characters, plot lines, timelines, historical facts, or whatever else right the first time before it comes to publication will save you a lot of hate and discontent later on down the road, especially when you start getting one star reviews because people love to hate on stuff on the Internet. Do authors and editors make mistakes? Of course. We’re all human, nobody is perfect. However, getting a good editor, looking up facts, and verifying sources will go a long way to making your work enjoyable to others. It may help get you some extra stars on a review...

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Tales of the Weird

Posted by on Jan 12, 2016 in Tales of the Weird | 0 comments

Some days, I feel as though I’m reiterating what I’ve already written when I write about writing (say that ten times fast), so I’m going in a new direction. Recently, I’ve been looking at the books that have been published by Deer Hawk, and have realized just how much I’ve learned because of them. For instance, before Petweenus was published (and long before that program on Discovery America), I didn’t know that moonshiners still existed or that the government still prosecuted people who make moonshine. I didn’t know that there are theories about Central American indigenous tribes, fleeing persecution and death, possibly came north and integrated themselves into some of the Native American tribes around here, specifically the Alabamos Indians. Heck, I didn’t know about the Alabamos Indians. All this and more came from one book. We’ve got dozens. So, I’m now going to add a page to my blog dedicated to all the weird and sometimes wonderful things I’ve learned while editing books. To start, we’re going to talk about cannibalism. Cannibalism is defined as the “nonconsensual consumption of another human’s body matter.” (Cornell University) Interestingly enough, it isn’t illegal to consume the human body in the United States, but there are some legal issues with desecrating a corpse, or basically how one would procure human meat (also known as long pig or hairless goat), as killing someone is definitely illegal. Reports of cannibalism exist even today. Anybody can go online and look that up. Heck, there are even websites that have information on how to butcher a human for the most use of the meat. Somewhat more disturbing is the fact that some people will willingly give themselves up as sacrifices for other people’s curiosity, as was the case of Bernd Brandes, who answered an online solicitation from German self-proclaimed cannibal Armin Miewes. Reportedly, they had sex, then Miewes castrated Brandes, and they both ate his penis. Afterward, Miewes killed Brandes and, before he was arrested, ate about fifty pounds of him. Reportedly, he tasted like pork. So, are we actually the other white meat? I’m not sure I want to know. However, I definitely learned more than I wanted to when I started researching the facts in the book. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve learned from a...

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Five Reasons to Use a Human Editor

Posted by on Jan 6, 2016 in Writing | 0 comments

Recently, there have been a lot of computerized editing programs cropping up, which is all well and good, but they can’t replace human editors. I read…a lot…and lately, I’ve found a lot of errors that could have been prevented by a human pair of eyes looking at it. I’ve been reading books that are rife with errors lately, and while that alone doesn’t prevent me from reading or continuing with them, it does make me think twice about picking up another one. The errors made, though, aren’t  errors in spelling, so they have been run through a spell checker, but they are errors nonetheless. Below are five reasons a human editor is better than a computerized editor: They know the difference between accept and except. Homophones are usually not caught by the computer because they are spelled correctly, but most will be caught by a human editor. Human editors know when you misspell something on purpose or spell things phonetically on purpose. A computer doesn’t. Human editors understand logical construction and consistency. I just saw a person’s last name spelled three different ways in a book. While a computer would let that slide, most editors would catch that. A human editor would catch if someone had a normal gesture and then used a radically different gesture for the same emotion another time. Human editors can ask clarifying questions and make the author think. If there is something an editor doesn’t understand or it isn’t clear to them, it’s almost certain readers would have the same issues. Those issues can be caught by an editor before it ever goes to print. Human editors can explain what they mean when they have editing remarks. Sometimes, an edit from a computer will say passive, but that doesn’t explain what passive is. Computers don’t know what “show, don’t tell” means, and they can’t tell you if there is a lack of clarity in the story, but a human editor can, and they can also explain how to fix them. While this isn’t a comprehensive list of what editors can do, it is a good summation. Please, also remember that human editors are, well, human. While they do help to catch things that were missed, help to clarify your story, help to make it more professional, etc., they will miss things. Each editor is different as well, so one pet peeve from an editor doesn’t necessarily translate to what another editor dislikes, so be patient, find an editor that has the same goals you have in mind, and try to enjoy the...

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