Tuesday, August 18, 2009

An Inside Look

I'm sure most of you read this blog for one thing and one thing only: To gain an understanding of just what it takes to be an unpublished author. If that's the case, then I guess I should apologize for wasting your time blogging about things men shouldn't wear and the superiority of chocolate milk. So, sorry.

Today, however, I am going to provide you with an inside look into my writing process. I'm at the tail end of the process now and when I get to this stage I like to make lists. I revise in myriad ways, but when I feel a novel is close to being done, I read the entire thing through and make lists of things I need to edit. Then I do that all over again. And again. And again. Until finally, my lists start to shrink and I'm left with fairly minor things that I just didn't bother with earlier on. So here is my list for today:

THINGS TO CHECK ON THE GOOGLE

  • Kindergartener or Kindergartner? (I know, you'd think a teacher would know this.)
  • breath holding contest--hyphen or not?
  • Is "Styrofoam" capitalized? (I think it's a brand name, so yes, but better double-check.)
  • onto/on to (You would not believe the problems I've had with this.)
  • Gym--"gym class" is not capitalized, but what if you say, "After gym, I went to lunch." Capitalize it then?
  • two and a half--hyphens? If so, where?
  • Research humidity in Wisconsin
  • Fon du lac--spelling?
That's it. A pretty manageable list, and one of the things you never really think about when setting out to write a book. I didn't even know I didn't know the above stuff until I had to use it in a novel. I think that's one of the things I like about revising: you learn stuff you never planned to learn.

14 comments:

Jason said...

Being that the company I work for is the largest producer of extruded polystyrene foam cups in the world I can tell you that Styrofoam is a trademarked name that Dow Chemical owns. The rest of the questions I graciously bow out on.

DebraLSchubert said...

On to / onto and in to /into are the bane of my existence! Good for you for getting to the end of the process. Pat yourself on the back, and get back to work.;-)

Paul Michael Murphy said...

I have now found the answers to all my questions. Except onto/on to. There's some subjectivity involved in that one, what one person called "idiomatic convention." I like that. Sounds like a conference for robotic morons.

Kelly said...

Cool if your book is set in Wisconsin!
I check hyphenated words too. Google away!

Adam said...

I've lived a few miles away from Lake Superior for most of my life, and right now is the most humid time of year. Gah it sucks. I can't wait for fifty below in a few months! Seriously. It makes you feel like a superhero to walk outside in that sort of thing and keep all of your toes intact.

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

I can't comment on this post because I'm "on the lam."

MG Higgins said...

What's Tracy Edward Wymer talking about?

Monica said...

fond du lac

Paul Michael Murphy said...

Tracy was one of my beta readers. He's since developed an affinity for the phrase "on the lam." I'm sure I'm not the only one hoping it soon wears off.

Monica said...

are you sure its supposed to be lam? maybe TEW is on the "lamb"? and tht means he's got more trouble than he knows about.

speaking of Styrofoam. Are you 'supposed' to capitalize things like that? like Kleenex, for example. Aren't these words that so ubiquitous in life, that it functions more as a word than it does a trademark. Like xerox, jacuzzi, jello, coke, bandaid... i could go on. (well, actually, no i can't. I've run out.) It always annoys me when i see kleenex capitalized.

Monica said...

oh, PMM, maybe you should read Bryan A. Garner's "A Dictionary of Modern American Usage". and please excuse my lack of editing in the previous post.

Paul Michael Murphy said...

Kleenex.

Monica said...

dweeb

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

Crockpot