Useless Words

As I mentioned last week, I signed a contract with a book publisher for one of my manuscripts. This week, the editor had me run through pre-edits. It’s a list of items that all authors must comply with before they get into the editing process.

What an eye opener!

Two things I learned by going through this process: 1. I am a much better writer than I was when I finished that manuscript. 2. Useless words can plague a manuscript.

One of the items they sent me was a list of words they wanted cut. Can I tell you, you don’t know how much you use a particular word until you’re asked to remove it.

By the time I finished, I had cut a total of 1,913 words of useless words, phrases, and sentences–which doesn’t sound like much, until you consider that’s approximately 8 double spaced, 1″ margin-ed pages. Yes, *8*! YIKES!

Now, I consider myself a good writer, but I was astonished at how many overused words crept into my writing.

So take the time to cut those insipid words and phrases from your manuscript. Is there a phrase you’ve repeated a lot? Try to find a way to re-write them. And don’t be afraid if page after page winds up on the cutting room floor. Your manuscript will be better for it.

-*heart* M.R. Anglin

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An Exciting Week!

This has been an exciting week for me.

First, you may have noticed that the website has a new look. That’s because I decided to change my webhost on Monday. And what followed was a Memorial Day full of frustration and anger—all founded on the fact that I bought the wrong plan. The good news is that the support team was so nice, refunded my money, and I was able to get my website transferred successfully today. Some of the pictures on the posts are gone, but I can and will restore them in the next few weeks.

After that, I found out that Gods with Fur, the anthology one of my short stories was included in, won the award it was nominated for. You can see the stream of the award ceremony here:

(The anthologies’ award starts at 28:19). I’m so excited about that. It was shaping up to be a good day.

And then I got an e-mail.

A publishing company I had submitted my manuscript, Prince of the Sun, Princess of the Moon, to decided to accept it for publication! I signed the contract on Wednesday, and now I am in the editing process. I’ll be sure to provide more details as I move along.

In addition, I finished inking the last page of Chapter 3 of the Silver Foxes graphic novel. On to writing Chapter 4!

So it’s been a good week. Yeah, a very good week!

-*heart* M.R. Anglin

An Old Wound Rears its Head . . .

A short time ago I asked the people on my writing blog to let me know what they wanted me to write about. (I was running out of ideas). And what should they ask, but how to write humor and how to put emotion into your writing?

*sigh*

I have no idea about how to write humor, so that’s something I’ll have to research. But the emotion thing . . .

I used to feel solid about reaching my readers emotionally until I got a harsh critique from an editor I was querying–they said my dialogue was sterile and emotionless. It drained my confidence, and I’m still getting over it. But instead of shying away like I would have at one point in my life, I moved forward. But I still couldn’t put my finger on what the editor was talking about. What connects readers to writing?

But thinking about this question my reader asked, I think I have it:

-Character

-Plot

-Word Choice

At the very least those three topics are a start. See, you need a character that readers will identify with—someone they care about. Otherwise, who cares if anything happens to them? Then the plot needs to create a vivid environment where they can feel the danger or sadness or whatever. Then the word choice will underscore the characterization and the plot. Stronger words=stronger writing.

As I continue to think about and prepare to post on this topic, I may come up with more ideas on how to put emotion in writing. But I’m glad I figured out where to start.

-:heart: M.R. Anglin

A Test of Obedience

A few weeks ago I posted on “Obedience in All Things.” I attempted to be real and talk about an area where I had failed. Well, I am making progress on doing those three things I referred to—the three things that I had neglected for so long. But now here comes the test of that resolve.

One of the things that I had neglected was working on my drawing skills. I’ve never described myself as an artist. I’ve always said, I am a writer who draws, nothing more. Truth is, I had given in to comparing myself to others who have much more talent than I do . . . people I can never hope to catch up to. In essence, I ignored God’s command to use His gifts for His glory. Instead I thought to myself, “There are much better artists than me out there, so let them handle it. After all, the Church is one body, right? We’re supposed to encourage and support one another. They can do the art, and I can do the writing. Win-win.”

Sometimes the greatest lies are near-truths.

While it’s true that the Church is all one body and we are called to help and support each other, nowhere does that give us license to neglect whatever gifts God has given us. Five talents or one—He decides who gets what, and I have no right to call what I have “not good enough.”

So anyway, I’ve been drawing again, and I’ve made progress. Now here comes the test: I feel God is leading me to draw my series, Silver Foxes in comic format.

Me.

Myself.

My art.

My goodness!

My usual excuses disappear in light of the things I’ve learned over the last few weeks. “I’m not good enough”—no excuse. “I can’t draw it as well as so an so” —no excuse. “No one will read it”—no excuse. “It’ll be a downgrade in quality to what people have seen on my book covers before”—no excuse.  “So and so can do a much better job than I can”—no excuse. “But I’m not good at comics”—no excuse. All I can do is my best to God’s glory. Anything less is not good enough.

No excuses, Mich.

I am scared stiff as I write this. Tears are coming to my eyes as I reflect on the magnitude of the project and the insecurities I will face and am facing right now. But obedience knows no fear—or rather fear and obedience have nothing to do with each other. I may fear, but I am committing myself to being obedient. The project may end up failing, but I will push forward.

To prepare myself, I’ve been working on a short, wordless comic featuring Max and Celeste. It’ll help me familiarize myself with how best to ink and draw backgrounds and such. It’ll also help me learn my photo editing software, and it will be an introduction into toning. (I thought about making it in color because color hides drawing mistakes, but I don’t want to hide my flaws in this case. I want to expose them in order to learn how to fix them).

This will also be an opportunity to revise Silver Foxes Vol 1. Let’s be honest, that one is not my best work. It was at the time, but now . . . I cringe. I haven’t read it since I released it in book format because I don’t want to face it. But once I let myself believe that maybe I can be my own artist after all, so many ideas on how to fix it flowed into my mind.

You probably won’t hear much about this for a year or so . . . (maybe sooner, who knows?), but I plan to keep working on it behind the scenes. In the meantime, pray for me and keep me in your thoughts. I’ll be moving forward with fear and trembling.

-:heart: M.R. Anglin

Jessica!!–New Book Art.

So I’m in the middle of revising the next book in my Silver Foxes series: Celebrity Dish. It features pop singer, Jessica! I’ve started drawing again and so I came up with this:

(The blue of her tail feathers are a bit off, so I’ll have to adjust the colors)

Jessica is a bird of indeterminate species. She loves to take inspiration from all bird species and put them into her in-public costumes. This particular costume is her new look that will be unveiled in the book. It’s based off of the peacock, the male Spatuletail hummingbird, and the female Raggiana Bird of Paradise. Here are some links to pics of each of those birds.

http://www.bitlanders.com/blogs/marvellous-spatuletail/3130378

http://www.peafowl.org/

https://www.beautyofbirds.com/raggianabirdofparadise.html  –> Scroll down until you find the female one.

I love the pic, and I think it will make a perfect book cover. In the past, I’ve had Tazia Hall help me, but I’ll be tackling this one myself—with my own art. Sort of a leap for me. I want to make this cover look like it’s the cover of a magazine.

One problem: I’m not so good with my photo editing software. I’m passable, but . . .

My vision for Jessica is to have her outfit all sparkly. I’m not sure how I’m going to accomplish that.

But that’s a post for another day.

Book 6 will be coming soon. Stay tuned!

-:heart: M.R. Anglin

Waiting

I hate waiting.

When I’m waiting for something–especially when I’ve been waiting for a long time–it feels like I’ve been pushed aside or neglected. It feels like people have forgotten about me. But then when something I’ve waited for a long time has come to fruition, I feel guilty about doubting. Such is my life.

Writing is a waiting game, and I hate that. I’ve sent off a submission today. They gave me a deadline on when they’ll get back to me. I like those sorts of deadlines. They give me structure so I don’t feel like I’ve been left in limbo.

I need to learn how to wait properly–to be patient.

Sorry for my little wait rant. Sometimes we just have to share our struggles. Seasons of waiting are hard, but they will pass. They will pass.

So I’ll wait even though I hate it.

-M.R. Anglin

Erased

By now you’ve probably heard about the anime series, Erased, but in case you haven’t you can watch the trailer here:

Without giving away spoilers, the show is about a character, Satoru, who has a strange affliction called “revival.” He randomly returns to the past between 1-5 minutes with the task of figuring out and fixing whatever is wrong. Well, one day he gets framed for murder, and the key to clearing his name, saving the victim, and finding the true culprit lies with a kidnapping case 18 years in the past.

What a ride! Let me tell you, this is a great example of some stellar writing. I haven’t yet finished watching the series–I have one more episode to watch–but what I’ve seen so far is some of the best writing I have ever seen. Nothing is wasted. It kept me guessing the entire time.

When the culprit is finally revealed, I was shocked. I felt as betrayed as Satoru did. And yet looking back I could see it coming. Everything that has been presented in the previous episodes, from the smallest details to the biggest revelation, is consistent with this outcome. That is one mark of good writing. To put all the clues the reader needs to solve the mystery yet leave them in the dark is something I don’t think I can accomplish. But this show makes me want to try.

Well done, Erased. Well done.

-M.R. Anglin

Meme: Shielle Argos

1. What’s your full name?
Shielle Argos

2. What’s your fav color?
Blue . . . like the winter sky.

3. What’s your favorite food?
Don’t laugh, but corn on the cob

4. Do you have any secrets?
As the Scribe of Eschelion I am forbidden from having secrets; on the other hand, I am required to keep several secrets. I promise you there’s a difference

5. What’s your fav season?
Fall, but I like winter too. Winter is when the nightlings migrate.

6. What are your hobbies?
Reading and research; I tend to overwork myself when I’m doing those two activities. I just enjoy them so much.

7. What do you do when you are stressed?
Worry and do research to avoid/solve the problem.

8. What is your fav drink?
Lime flavored Seltzer water

9. Are you an early-riser or a late-sleeper?
Depends on what I have to do that day.

10. Do you torture your younger siblings ?
I’m the youngest, but my sisters used to tease me a lot and tell me I’m adopted, but once my parents died they changed. Now they’re super protective of me. It’s a little annoying, actually.

11. How old are you right this very moment?
Bit rude to ask a lady, but . . . 27

12. If you were to fight each other, who would win?
I don’t fight. I’m not nearly brave or strong enough.

13. What if I went and got Summer and Iris right now and bring them here?
I don’t know who Summer is, but Iris is our late Moon Prince’s dead wife. So first, I’d scream that she’d come back from the dead, and then I’d call you out for using Forbidden Arts to resurrect her.

14. Your favorite movie, show, book?
Movie: The Librarian: Quest for the Spear—I love that a librarian could do all that.
Show: I don’t watch TV, so . . .
Book: Till We Have Faces . . . I love that book.

15. RAWR!!!
EEK! Why would you do that?

***More questions will be asked later, for sure!
No, thank you. I don’t want you to growl at me again.  

-M.R. Anglin

Another Writing Meme

Been trying to think of content for the site because I haven’t posted in a while, and my friend sent me this meme. I’m working on a relatively new series called Rulers of the Galaxy so I thought I’d have some fun with character development. Summer and Iris are my friend’s characters, so . . . Here we go:

1. What’s your full name?
Joshua Delango

2. What’s your fav color?
Yellow and gold . . . like the sun

3. What’s your favorite food?
Mac an Cheese . . . yum

4. Do you have any secrets?
No . . . none at all. SHUT UP, Deborah!

5. What’s your fav season?
Spring . . . because that’s when the days start getting long again

6. What are your hobbies?
I like playing kick ball . . . or I used to before the um . . . never mind. I’m too old for kickball now.

7. What do you do when you are stressed?
I tend to take it out on my little sister . . . of course, she’s usually the one stressing me out. But if she’s not around, I play with my sunstone necklace.

8. What is your fav drink?
Chocolate milk

9. Are you an early-riser or a late-sleeper?
Early-riser . . . love the sun, in case you couldn’t tell.

10. Do you torture your younger siblings?
Of course not! I promised myself I’d never let anything happen to her.

11. How old are you right this very moment?
16

12. If you were to fight each other, who would win?
I would never fight my baby sister!

13. What if I went and got Summer and Iris right now and bring them here?
Who are Summer and Iris?

14. Your favorite movie, show, book?
Movie:
The Core
Show: Any astronomical science show
Book: Stephen Card and the Journey to the Sun—it’s ridiculous; I mean everyone knows the sun isn’t really a gigantic ball of burning gas, but I still love the book . . . (BTW: That’s a fake book -M.R.A.)

15. RAWR!!!
Um . . . okay?

***More questions will be asked later, for sure!
Not if you keep growling like that.

So maybe I’ll upload more in the future. I have lots of characters, after all.

-M.R. Anglin