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Monday, December 6, 2010

Editing & Facebook

A writing post today! I know. Weird, right? Try not to faint.

For the last couple of weeks I've been neck-deep in edits for Apocalypse Rising. I was so focused on edits I barely visited blogs, Twitter or Facebook.

I'm always so impressed with editors. Sometimes when I read their suggestions, I punch myself in the head. 'D'oh! Why didn't I see that?'

On Apocalypse Rising, I was shocked and amazed to have found one typo. Just one. Not bad for a manuscript that's only been edited once.

The edits were actually pretty easy, but between working on homestead projects and my paying gig, I really had to struggle to find enough quiet time to work. Edits are one of those things where I have to talk to myself. I read some of the copy out loud. And for that I need quiet.

Sometimes I use text-to-speech software to read certain scenes for me. I don't use it often, just on areas where I can't pinpoint what's bugging me. The program is slow and the voice is annoying, but I find that if I listen closely, I can catch the part that needs smoothing.

I use NaturalReader which is free, but if you buy the paid version, you get a bigger range of voices.

Writers: Do any of you read your manuscripts aloud?

Oh, and speaking of reading aloud. I found out True Believers will be coming out in audio December 7, 2010. 

I'm curious to find out what the narrator sounds like--and crossing my fingers that he/she will pronounce everything correctly. I'll update the link when it goes live, but you'll be able to find True Believers at

With first round edits under my belt, I'm breathing more freely and I'll be able to visit more people. 

I've been a little dismayed with Twitter. It's still hard for me to keep up and I don't even follow that many people. The posts aren't particularly interesting either. Some are. But most aren't.

Facebook, I am shocked to say, is not as aggravating as I thought it would be. And I've enjoyed quite a few conversations lately, including a recent thread on zombie chickens.

Some people send me games, or treasure, or something like that. I don't play along, mostly because I can't afford to add any new distractions and secondly because I don't want to get too sucked into Facebook quicksand. I still thinks it's evil. LOL.

So don't be offended if I don't play along. (Most of the time I don't understand what the invitation means anyway.)

The one thing I wish I could figure out is how to follow specific friends. I tried doing that list thing, but it just lists them, it won't let me view their comment threads alone in my feed.

Sometimes there are so many people updating that I miss the people I really want to follow. What I want is for FB to notify me when these friends post, so I can comment on their threads.

Oh, and in case you missed it, Facebook has updated their privacy settings again. (I told you it was evil.) It's called 'Instant Personalization' and it shares data with other web sites. Be sure to check your account settings. Some accounts are set to 'Enable'. Mine was not, but other people have told me, theirs were.

Go to Account > Privacy Settings> Applications and Websites> Instant Personalizations> Edit or Customize Settings. From here un-check "Enable".

If your friends don't do this, your info can still be shared through them. Pass it on.

*So, Facebook experts, back to my 'following' problem: how can I create a personalized feed of your threads alone without jumping through a lot of hoops? Is there a way?

Are you on Facebook? Leave me your exact link, or just friend me here

Note: Yeah, I know all you FB fiends are just chortling at me. Every day you drag poor Maria a little bit further into the dark side. What will you do once you have me under your complete dominion--sacrifice me to some FB golden idol?


Joanne said...

Sorry I can't help you out, no fb or tweeting for me. Right now, I only blog, and am reluctant to give more time to the internet. Maybe some day ...

Maria Zannini said...

I can commiserate Joanne. I think most of my FB time is on the weekends when I usually don't blog.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Not liking Twitter? really? Oh, poo.
Congrats on TB going audio!!

Sometimes I read aloud. I should probably do it more.

Krista D. Ball said...

I can write first draft anywhere - standing in line at the grocery store, sporting events, school plays, in front of the TV, when the kids are fighting, etc. Editing, however, I need a world silence of words. I can have noise, but no words. With a special needs kid and a normal kid who talks more than me (I know, shocking), it's really hard sometimes.

PS The security word is "buffying" for this post. That is so awesome.

Falen (Sarah Ahiers) said...

just one typo? Shut the front door! that's amazing!

Maria Zannini said...

Jennifer: I'd like to use Twitter more, but I just don't have the hang of it.

Krista: You have a kid that talks more than you do? I can just imagine the stories he'll be telling one day.

Sarah: Ref: typos
I have amazing CPs. My drafts are very clean by the time they reach an editor.

Kimber Leszczuk. said...

One typo - that is great!

As for facebook you can sort the friends into different groups. Then when you go into facebook select that group to see the feeds of just the friends in that particular group. For instance I have family in one group, my writing group in another, and my friends in another. You can also subscribe via sms which means certain feeds will be sent directly to your cell phone. I have a few people that as soon as they post something it comes directly to my cell phone.

As for reading manuscripts out loud - ABSOLUTELY! Every single time I write something I read it out loud to see how it comes across. Is is awkward or smooth, do I stumble? I can't see typos if I just read it silently but when I am reading out loud I catch them.

Love the post today! :)

Joanna St. James said...

ha ha the hubs uses text to speech to talk to me because he thinks its funny.
Facebook I'm not sure you can do that but on twitter you can limit your stream. I suggest checking out Jami Gold's blog she is like a twitter ninja - i think that was the title of her post about this kinda stuff.

Krista D. Ball said...

Sadly, it is true. My youngest step-son talks about twice as much as me. In July, I timed him. He talked to me for 37 minutes straight without any pause in the conversation for me to answer the questions he asked.

I keep telling him that I had really given him up for adoption, and just ended up dating the guy that is raising him. ;)

My eldest has Aspergers and has discovered comedic timing in the last couple of months. He's been pulling out the zingers, which gives us all hope that maybe, just maybe, he might turn out OK after all. (He calls himself the bendy autistic vegetable b/c asparagus...aspergers... like I said, getting a sense of humour lol)

Maria Zannini said...

Kimber, I tried your suggestion on creating a group. People keep thanking me, but I still can't see their streams. Maybe they haven't written anything yet???

I'm sooooo confused. Facebook is going to have me for lunch!

Maria Zannini said...

Joanna: Your hubby is hilarious1 LOL.

Maria Zannini said...

Krista: Isn't that odd--considering he's a boy. Aren't male brains supposed to be less developed in the communication area?

He could go grow up to be a politician--or a salesman. Please God, let him be a salesman. I can't handle any more fast talking politicians. LOL

Krista D. Ball said...

His communication area is hyper developed. He is a fast talker, charmer, take-no-crap, heart breaking kid with a stream of broken females hearts already behind him. La sigh. At least he doesn't appear to be bi. That would be double the heart break trail.

He'd never be a politician with me as a parent. He'll totally be a lobbyist. Growing up with a feminist step-mother during the formative years does that to a kid.

He sucks at chores, though. So, I can't even give him away :(


Oh, I gotta say, the WORD read feature makes me twitch. "I - am - ve,ry - an,gry - that - you - are - here." Pause. "Ve,ry - an, gry."

Sherri said...

FB :resettles halo: isn't evil.

One typo, Maria, that's awesome. Can't wait to read it...of course, I've been saying that since I finished the first one :grin:

@ Krista
He calls himself the bendy autistic vegetable b/c asparagus...aspergers...

Love it!

Maria Zannini said...

Krista: I can't give Iko away either. He's cute, but people can only tolerate cute for so long.

Maria Zannini said...

Sherri: I know. It took me a long time to get this one out. I was editing it back when I was having all those eye surgeries. And then I trashed the first version and started over.

I think Apocalypse Rising will answer some questions the first book brought up. I also definitely rock the boat for Leda and Grey. And then there's that whole paradigm of time travel too.

Lots of mayhem for everybody.

Krista D. Ball said...

Mmm time travel

Lia Bal said...

I don’t Facebook or Twitter so I couldn’t help but If I get published, I will have to do both (gulp!). I think I’ll need lots of help setting that up. As for editing, I use text-to-speech software too, and I love it. The voice is annoying but once you get used to it you don’t notice it. For me, it’s the only way to find a typo.

TerriOsburn said...

I read everything aloud. Coming from a radio background, I *tell* the story and I can't do that without actually telling it out loud.

I don't twitter, but I do Facebook. However, like you, I refuse to do those games and whatever else they have on there. I ignore gifts and that stuff.

I didn't know about this putting people in groups thing, but I might try that and see if I can get it to work. I hate scrolling through the ton of stuff I've no interest in seeing.

Oh, and Zuckerburg was on 60 Minutes last night talking about a new set-up and look for the profile page. It's supposed to be launched today, but I've yet to check it out.

Congrats on the edits and going audible!

Maria Zannini said...

Lia: Twitter and FB is an evil plot to destroy brain cells. But it's been useful networking-wise.

I'd get on *before* you get published. Believe me, it's too hard to learn afterward when you have so much else to do. I learned that the hard way.

Maria Zannini said...

Hi Terri!

How neat that you have a radio background. I'll bet you have a real ear for the written word. I can see that being a huge advantage.

Ref: new look
I heard about that. Zuckerman will have to take me kicking and screaming like before. (I'm sure Sherri will push me when I'm not looking.) :grin:

PS Glad to see you here!

Cathy in AK said...

Congrats on getting the edits done and on TB going audible!

I have to read my stuff aloud at least a couple times when editing. A text to speech program would probably be a good idea, since even in read aloud mode I've found myself missing things.

No FB games for me either. I'm too prone to distraction as it--Squirrel!

Maria Zannini said...

Welcome HitomiNeko, but no solicitations here, okay?

Maria Zannini said...

Cathy: I think the text-to-speech software helps because it's so jarring. It makes me pick out the offending text easier.

Rula Sinara said...

I'm not on FB or Twitter yet. Keeping up with either seems mind boggling to me. One of these days...

Interesting about the speech software. I was just reading a post on that over at Lady Scribes. I've never used one before, but I do read my work out loud. I'll be looking in to it more!

Maria Zannini said...

Rula: Speech to text isn't for everyone but it does have its uses.

Linda Leszczuk said...

Well, I won't comment on your FB experience today.

Ref reading aloud...all the time. But I've found I can whisper and still get the same benefit so I don't wear out my voice.

I kept trying to give away my first born. You know, one of those deals where you can have what you want but "it will cost you your first born". I kept trying but I guess they all knew him (or about him). :grin:

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: Oh, don't get me started on that FB fiasco of this morning.

And to anyone following at home, I apologize again if you got caught in that group grope.

Obviously, I should not be trusted with FB unsupervised.

Ref: reading
I whisper too. My voice isn't particularly loud anyway and it runs out of steam fast, so whispering will do.

Charlie said...

I was surprised by Facebook, too. Actually a pretty good way to keep up with what others are up to.

As for reading aloud - what an eye opening expereince. For the last couple of years I've met with some writing friends twice a month to go over what we're working on. We always read aloud to the group. It was really hard at first, but very useful.

Maria Zannini said...


Ref: ...what an eye opening expereince.

That's so true. I'm surprised more people don't use this technique.

I'll admit, it's slower, but if you have a good ear you can catch all sorts of nuances you wouldn't notice from a straight read.

Liz Fichera said...

I do read aloud passages that bug me, but I'll have to check out the voice software you mentioned. Congrats on the audiobook!!