The Fiction Editor’s Desk: Verb Tense Errors by #EvePaludan #MondayBlogs

The Fiction Editor’s Desk: Verb Tense Errors by Eve Paludan #MondayBlogs

Today’s blog is about verb tense errors. I’m currently editing a fiction manuscript where nearly every narrative paragraph contains one or more verb tense errors.

Let’s look at the definition of verb tense. According to YourDictionary:

“Verb tense errors occur when you use the wrong verb tense and are a common grammar mistake. The verb tense tells the reader of your sentences when the action is taking place – in the past, the present or the future. You must be consistent on verb tense, unless there’s some reason to make a switch to a different tense.”

I’m going to give you my own examples (not from the manuscript in front of me).

Examples:
I feel like I should say something seductive, but I didn’t.
I eat a piece of cherry pie and hoped she didn’t notice.

The first parts of these sentences are written in present tense.
The second parts of these sentences are written in past tense.

Here are my corrections:
I felt like I should say something seductive, but I didn’t.
I ate a piece of cherry pie and hoped she didn’t notice.

Now, imagine that you have 75 pages of this to edit and nearly every narrative sentence needs correction. I don’t mind doing it and am so happy that people are willing to pay me to do it. I do love editing fiction and my clients appreciate my hard work. However, when authors write this way as a book-after-book habit, it’s detrimental to their professional growth. It’s a failure to adhere to a simple grammar rule: Don’t mix verb tenses in a narrative sentence.

One of the very basic skills of writing is to stick to one verb tense in the narrative. (In dialogue, it’s different. In dialogue, we can and do speak in the present tense to explain things that are happening in the now. )

Bonus opinion about the present tense:
My pet peeve is editing books that are written completely in the present tense. When I see the narrative of the first chapter written in the present tense and first-person viewpoint, I assume that the protagonist/main character will die at the end of the book. I can’t think of any other reason to write an entire novel in the present tense. I know some bestselling authors do write in present tense, but as an editor and a voracious reader, I avoid editing and reading present-tense novels unless there is a strong reason to dive into such a project.

There are a few occasions when I would use present tense in fiction (or when writing about fiction):
1. It’s a screenplay, so, traditionally, any action or description must be written in the present tense.
2. It’s a synopsis. Always use the present tense for a synopsis.
3. It’s a book description for the back of the book or your book’s buy-it page on Amazon. (Present tense also comes in handy for writing book reviews.)
4. In dialogue.

When I choose a book for pleasure reading, I always pick a book written in the past tense. Just my preference.

I would love to know your own thoughts on this blog and your own verb-tense preferences as a writer and as a reader.

Thanks for reading my blog!

By evepaludan

10 Tips for #Plotting a #Mystery by #EvePaludan #MondayBlogs

10 Tips for #Plotting a #Mystery by #EvePaludan #MondayBlogs

1. Know how it ends. No, really, that is the first thing. This is the most important thing. It may be that you change the ending, but when writing a mystery, you must know how you are going to solve the mystery.

2. What event will start off your mystery? Will it be the perp and victim at the scene of the crime? Will it be a client coming to your detective’s office (or less effective, a phone call)? Or will your hero or heroine be a witness to a crime?

3. Avoid backstory dumps in the first chapter. For instance, if a person has been murdered or an item has been stolen, if you have a big information dump without action, your mystery is beginning in the wrong place. What do you do with all of those background details? You have them as clues or as part of information-gathering by your hero or heroine who is the crime solver.

4. How do you proceed with keeping your story on track? This is how I do it: Write the beginning chapter or two, or even three, to get a feel for the story. Now, write the ending, not the epilogue, if you use them, but the actual chapter where the crime is solved. Now, connect the dots by writing a sentence or two narrative summary of what happens in each chapter. Now write the rest of the chapters, in order.

5. Remember that each chapter is going to advance the plot toward the ending you have already written. If a chapter doesn’t advance the plot, or it isn’t a red herring, what purpose can it serve?

6. Mysteries are mostly about plot, though character-driven mysteries do exist. However, plot-driven mysteries are going to be fast-paced and the reader will be turning the pages as events turn the story and motivate the characters to do what they do.

7. Remember that backstory you thought you wanted to be chapter one? Along the way, you can develop your characters by inserting their personal backstories, as well as the backstory of the crime that is being investigated. Each chapter should deepen the character by revealing their personal goals and obstacles to solving the crime. In addition, plot gets deeper, too, as all clues begin hurtling towards your climax that you have already written.

8. If you want the reader to be engaged and the story to have a fast pace, try to use a high percentage of dialogue and action to move the story, not narrative internalizations.

9. End every chapter with some kind of a cliffhanger. Example: A shot rang out.

10. Once you have your first draft written, read the book in its entirety and make notes of plot holes. You may need to go back and write a few explanations or events that fill in those plot holes and tie the events together with transitions. Try to show, through action and dialogue and not tell, with narrative. As you review your first draft, you may need to fix continuity issues, such as things that accidentally happened out of order. You don’t want a guy showing up alive when you killed him in a previous chapter.

Bonus tip 1: Keep a spreadsheet of characters with their first and last names and ensure that you’ve kept them straight in your story. I’ve read so many manuscripts where a character’s  name changed halfway through the book. Or his relationship to another character changed. Example: He was introduced as a husband and was later referred to as a boyfriend.

Please visit my Amazon books page! Thanks!

http://www.amazon.com/Eve-Paludan/e/B004VXHP6O/ref=la_B004VXHP6O_st?bbn=283155&qid=1411206169&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_82%3AB004VXHP6O%2Cp_n_feature_browse-bin%3A618073011&sort=price-asc-rank … …
By evepaludan

Q & A with Eve Paludan #MondayBlogs

Questions 1-3 are from Eva Caye and questions 4-6 are from Charlotte Liebel. Thank you, authors, for your questions.

Q1. When editors are authors, and authors are editors, and you hire your own editor for your written works, how much does it affect you when you’re writing?

A1. Honestly, I don’t want to send my editor a big mess to clean up. I send her my best work and it makes it easier for her to do the final polish on my book manuscript. My confession, though, is that the first half gets self-edited a lot more than the second half. I do, however, usually rewrite my ending at least five times and then, I pick the best ending and throw out the others.

Q2. Do you re-read your own work a zillion times before sending it to the editor?

A2. I do read and self-edit a zillion times before I send my manuscript to a paid editor. Okay, that’s hyberbole. At least a hundred times.

Q3. Do you try to think in terms of an editor looking at your work, over your phrasing or your plot or your characterization or development?

A3. No, when I am writing, I am only thinking of the reader and my editor is a reader. I don’t write for my editor, to impress her. I write for readers.

Q4. Scrivener and affordable writing software would interest me.

A4. A lot of people, including editing clients, have tried to get me to switch from my beloved Microsoft Word to other writing software. I have tried a few times to use other software, but I am an expert user in MS Word and have taught others how to use some of the advanced features. After decades of using MS Word, I am not going to switch. Let me put it this way: I don’t even have to think about how to use MS Word. It is invisible in my writing process because I know it so well. I only have to think about the creation process, so the technical ins and outs of MS Word never get in the way of my productivity. There is also a learning curve to get up to speed with a new product. I am happy with the old product and don’t have the time and energy to devote to learning to use a new piece of writing software. Also, few other software packages can match what tracking changes does in MS Word, which is important to the editorial process. I do have a few commercial plug-ins for MS Word, such as Grammarly and a few others.

Q5. A great filing system for research, such as: where + how to find criminal types + haunted houses – and – method for storing.

A5. I find crime info and haunted houses, etc., almost exclusively through Google searches. I can’t even remember the last time I used another search engine. I am really, really good at keyword searches. As far as filing information goes, I am pretty low-tech. I email interesting things from my Hotmail account to my old Yahoo email and I use it for storage. I don’t even bother with folders. I have had two bad experiences with storing documents on remote drive spaces that I paid for. Both companies went bankrupt and took my documents along with them, so you will not find me storing documents on a cloud somewhere or even with a data storage company. If I want to find something, I just use a keyword search in my Yahoo email. My double backup is that I email from Hotmail to Yahoo, which means I have the data stored in two email accounts immediately. In my Hotmail “sent” box and in my Yahoo inbox. It is highly unlikely that both companies would go under at the same time, so I feel like my low-tech data storage is pretty safe and also double-protected. I have no love for folders or filing cabinets. I prefer to let a search engine mine the clutter and save me the time and anguish of any organizational rules of order.

Q6. Examples about editing – What the writer says. What an editor hears/ sees and then reinterprets. (Am not sure if anything, mentioned, works.)

A6. I write for the mass market and hope I write clearly enough so that my work isn’t misinterpreted. My grammar checker thinks I write at about a fifth-grade level–that works for most readers because my fiction is meant to be entertainment. Reading novels is not supposed to be work. It’s supposed to be easy and fun and the reader should soon forget she or he is reading a book. Maybe I am just lucky, but it’s been a long time since an editor asked me, “What did you mean by this?” About the only time I get a question like that is if I need a dialogue tag and was lazy about adding one. If my editor would say that something is confusing, I restructure the sentence or more likely, I just throw it out. A long time ago, I wrote very long sentences with many clauses and adverbs, adjectives, and flowery descriptions. I don’t write that way anymore because readers seem to like very short sentences, or even phrases. They like to read dialogue without much narrative. I don’t think of it as dumbing down my work. I just don’t write things that really slow down the story for the reader. I want it to go fast and be a page turner.

Thanks for your questions!

By evepaludan

10 Tips to Make Your Kindle Novels More Appealing #Mondayblogs

10 Tips to Make Your Kindle Novels More Appealing #Mondayblogs

1. Hire a professional editor before you publish your book. Someone who doesn’t love you. Someone you pay. Some authors use street teams, and they are great, but they are not a substitute for an editor who does this for a living. I’ve edited hundreds of books and I still hire editors to review my own novels. Publish polished work. Professional editing is an investment in your career.

2. Justify your margins. Ragged right margins look sloppy and unprofessional.

3. Don’t greatly indent the left margin to begin a new paragraph. A half-inch indent is too deep, in my opinion. 0.25″ is my favorite indent for a new paragraph and set it within MS Word. Think about the size of the screen device when setting margins. And do not use tabs to set margins. There should be no tabs whatsoever in a Kindle book.

4. Your cover is extremely important. If you are writing a series, have a professional create a set of covers for the first three books in your series. In working with a cover designer, it is helpful to hire someone who is willing to read the book…or at least part of the book. Getting a feel for the story helps the book cover artist to develop a visual concept. You’ll want to have a consistent look and feel with books in the series because you are building a brand identity.

5. If your titles are catchy and not too long, so much the better. Two-word titles are among my bestselling titles.

6. If you’re writing books that could jeopardize your day job, use a pen name and keep it a secret from every single person where you work. And from everyone who does not have a “need to know.” This includes from your kids, parents, or anyone who might want to brag about your true identity. Using pen names also helps to build specialized fan bases for certain types of books. If you write YA romance, for example, you don’t want to use the same author name for erotica that has an 18+ fan base.

7. Something very exciting should happen in the first chapter of your book. It’s called the hook. Don’t cram it with back story and descriptions of what characters look like.

8. If you have foreign words in your book that use an alphabet or font that is not supported by the Kindle platform, your text is going to turn into a big mess. A sneaky workaround is to make images of those words and insert them into the manuscript with the insert/picture feature of MS Word. Png files work best for this.

9. If you can move the plot by using dialogue and action, do it. The story will be faster paced than if you used narrative. Show, don’t tell, wherever possible.

10. Your hero / heroine (at least one of them) should be likeable and your readers should want to root for them to overcome their conflicts and obstacles to whatever the goal of the story is. Know your goals for each character.

By evepaludan

Eve Paludan’s Updated Book List, as of 2/15/2015!

evepaludan1

Eve Paludan lives in Mesa, Arizona, where she writes fiction and edits for other bestselling authors.

She enjoys reading mysteries and romances, taking scenic photos and swimming.

Please follow paranormal romance mystery author Eve Paludan on Facebook, on Twitter and on EvePaludanBooks.com.

NEWEST BOOK: WITCH BONES

WitchBones_banner

BOOKS BY EVE PALUDAN

Box Sets

THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE TRILOGY (Books 1-3) Kindle Audiobook

THE WEREWOLF DETECTIVES SERIES (Books 1-3) by Eve Paludan and Suzanne Wilson Kindle

THE WITCH DETECTIVES (Books 1-3) by Eve Paludan and Stuart Sharp Kindle

Series

Jack Lee Murder Mystery series by Eve Paludan
BIGFOOT ISLAND (#1) Kindle
MERMAID’S LAIR (coming Fall 2015)

Werewolf Detectives series by Eve Paludan and Suzanne Wilson
WEREWOLF INTERRUPTED (#1) Kindle
WEREWOLF RISING (#2) Kindle
WEREWOLF UNLEASHED (#3) Kindle
WEREWOLF LEGACY (#4) (forthcoming)

Brotherhood of the Blade Trilogy (Rain Press)
BURNING (#1) Kindle Audiobook Paperback
AFTERGLOW (#2) Kindle Audiobook Paperback
RADIANCE (#3) Kindle Audiobook Paperback

Witch Detectives series
WITCHY BUSINESS (#1) Kindle Audiobook Paperback
WITCH AND FAMOUS (#2) Kindle Audiobook Paperback
WITCH WAY OUT (#3) Kindle
WITCH BONES (#4) Kindle

Angel Detectives series
THE MAN WHO FELL FROM THE SKY (#1) Kindle
THE MAN WHO ROSE FROM THE SEA (#2) by Eve Paludan and Suzanne Wilson Kindle

Ranch Lovers Romance series
TAKING BACK TARA (#1) Kindle
TARA TAKES CHRISTMAS (#2) Kindle

Ghost Files series
GHOST FIRE (#3) Kindle Audiobook Paperback

Kindle Worlds (licensed fiction)
The Abnorm Chronicles: GLIMMER by J.R. Rain and Eve Paludan Kindle

Standalone Titles
CHASING BROADWAY Kindle
FINDING JESSIE Kindle
HEARTS OF HANUKKAH Kindle
REKINDLING CLAIRE Kindle
SANTA’S LITTLE HEIST Kindle
THREE CHRISTMAS WISHES Kindle

Translations
RECUPERANDO A TARA (Spanish) and TAKING BACK TARA (English) Kindle

Out of Print
ROMANCE WRITER’S PINK PAGES: The Insider’s Guide to Getting Your Romance Novel Published (1993)
ROMANCE WRITER’S PINK PAGES: The Insider’s Guide to Getting Your Romance Novel Published (1995-1996)
ROMANCE WRITER’S PINK PAGES: The Insider’s Guide to Getting Your Romance Novel Published (1996-1997)

Unavailable
VAMPIRE, ZOMBIES, AND GHOSTS, OH MY! (Anthology)

Visit Eve Paludan’s author page at Amazon.com.

By evepaludan

CHASING BROADWAY is FREE at Amazon from April 1 to April 5, 2014! (US and UK, other countries that have free books)

Image

FREE APRIL 1ST through April 5th —> CHASING BROADWAY Romantic Comedy Novel  Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,701 Free in Kindle Store. PLEASE SHARE! Thank you, readers! Love from me to you!

http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Broadway-Romantic-Comedy-Pandoras-ebook/dp/B00CGPLP6K/

Thank you readers! Reviews appreciated! I hope you enjoy this free book!

 

By evepaludan

One Last Chance (Last Chance Brides #1): A Historical Romance by Emma Connor

ImageBRAND-NEW SERIES! I just love this book and am so excited to have signed Emma Connor for this wonderful historical series! Don’t forget to stop and say hi to Emma Connor on her page! https://www.facebook.com/EmmaConnor0612

ONE LAST CHANCE
A Historical Romance
(Last Chance Brides #1)

by

Emma Connor

ONE LAST CHANCE
Published by Eve Paludan Books

Go West, young man! In a young country where men went West to seek their fortunes, there was something important that most of them forgot to bring: women!

Successful, respectable men seek twenty-two healthy, proper, unmarried young ladies to relocate to the booming town of Last Chance, in Washington Territory. Purpose: Matrimony. Safe passage and all expenses paid.

Four visionary men who longed for land instead of gold went further north–into the Washington Territory–and founded the boom town of Last Chance. The town needs the civilizing influence of proper women in order to grow and prosper.

Together, these friends decide to bring 22 brides-to-be to Last Chance, for a small fee to the prospective grooms. It’s going to be a long process: the advertisement, choosing the women, and sailing around the Horn with them back to Last Chance.

– Logan owns the lumber mill. He’s only interested in one woman, the one he foolishly left behind in New Orleans, a week before their wedding, some years ago.

– Cole, the ambitious second son of an earl, runs ships that carry the lumber and other goods. He’s focused on his business and he’s filthy rich.

– Joshua builds things and wants to build more. He’s only interested in soiled doves, and no commitment.

– Garrett is the salt of the earth, the hardest-working foreman they have ever known. He wants a bride, but doesn’t know how he can even afford one.

As One Last Chance (Last Chance Brides #1) opens, no one is more surprised than Logan when he comes face to face with Charlotte, the woman he jilted years before. He’s shocked, shocked that she has answered the advertisement. And she’s devastated to come face to face with the man who wrecked her life, and especially under these embarrassing circumstances.

Charlotte wants to escape the aftermath of the war-ravaged South and insists that she wants to find herself a husband in the Washington Territory. She’s certain she doesn’t want to marry Logan because, after all, he left her to survive the war on her own! Logan has a long voyage in which to try to convince Charlotte he’s not the same guy who broke her heart. Of course, some of the other women are interested in Logan, too.

It’s going to be a bumpy ride around the Horn! There will be historical romance, perils, humor, friendship, competition, heartbreak and adventure. Get ready because here come the brides of Last Chance!

˃˃˃ Emma Connor is the new pen name of an award-winning historical romance novelist. She takes the concept of “mail-order” brides to a whole new level. Her heroines are gutsy, beautiful, smart and anything but meek! And the Washington Territory in the Pacific Northwest is the perfect place to cheer, “Here come the brides!”

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IV8G2DM/

By evepaludan

A list of books published in 2013!

2013 Book Releases – One Crazy Busy Year

As you can probably surmise, I nearly chained myself to the computer in 2013. Somehow, though, I managed to squeeze in not one, but three vacations and a few mommy-sittings! Almost every week, I also had a half-day photography lesson and/or a half day at the beach. I do love my life.

People ask me how I get so much done. I tell them: I don’t own a TV and really don’t want one; I live alone; I don’t play any games, online or otherwise; I work 12 or more hours almost every day; I don’t go to sleep every night; I hire editors, book cover designers, promoters and occasionally, credited co-authors; I want this more than anything else I have ever wanted–it’s my dream and I live it every day. Thank you to my readers, family and friends! I appreciate you coming along for this wild ride that was 2013.

As publisher and editor:

The Undone Man by Mike Cecconi (October 12, 2013 – Kindle)

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FUKXUWU/

As editor:

I edited 48 works by other authors. I am not exaggerating. It’s how I keep a roof over my head when book sales lag. Bless you, my editing clients, public and private. I cheer for you when your book becomes a bestseller. Sometimes, I stay up all night on release day, watching your rankings and cheering like it’s a hockey game. Sometimes I cry with happiness because I know how hard it is to write a book and accept other people’s constructive suggestions. Boy, do I!

As author or co-author, here are the fifteen releases of 2013 in chronological order:

Finding Jessie (January 23, 2013 – Kindle)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B3TJIZU/

Witchy Business* Witch Detectives #1 (April 4, 2013 – Kindle – J.R. Rain Press)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C7F3GD4/

Chasing Broadway (April 22, 2013 – Kindle)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CGPLP6K/

Burning Brotherhood of the Blade #1 (April 24, 2013 – Kindle – J.R. Rain Press)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CIX79N8/

Afterglow Brotherhood of the Blade #2 (May 27, 2013 – Kindle – J.R. Rain Press)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D1KCYNW/

Witch and Famous* Witch Detectives #2 (June 18, 2013 – Kindle – J.R. Rain Press)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DHJQDH0/

Witchy Business* Witch Detectives #1 (June 19, 2013 – Paperback)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/1490412433/

Witch and Famous* Witch Detectives #2 (July 11, 2013 – Paperback)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/1490935940/

Burning Brotherhood of the Blade #1 (Sept 11, 2013 – Audiobook – J.R. Rain Press)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F4AT70U/

Afterglow Brotherhood of the Blade #2 (Sept 30, 2013 – Audiobook – J.R. Rain Press)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G0A4IV6/

Radiance Brotherhood of the Blade #3 (October 1, 2013 – Kindle – J.R. Rain Press)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FKKB2TS/

Werewolf Interrupted* Werewolf Detectives #1 (October 25, 2013 – Kindle)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G6HF0OM/

Radiance Brotherhood of the Blade #3 (November 22, 2013 – Audiobook – J.R. Rain Press)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GWNEHGM/

Three Christmas Wishes (December 13, 2013 – Kindle)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HA1ZAR0/

Witchy Business* Witch Detectives #1 (December 17, 2013 – Audiobook – J.R. Rain Press)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HD4PFUQ/

*Co-authored. Some of my books in 2013 had co-authors: Suzanne Wilson for Werewolf Detectives (she wants to write #4 with me, too, woohoo!; Stuart Sharp for Witch Detectives #1, #2, and #3 (#4 and beyond of Witch Detectives series will be written by me alone and Witch Bones looks like it will be ready by the end of March for a release – Rebecca and Elle and going to team up against the bad guys this time!).

p.s.
If you see “J.R. Rain Press” next to some of the books above, he was the Kindle publisher and audio producer for those books. Thanks, J.R.! You’re the best!

David H. Doucot, your book covers are amazing, whether you are using stock photos or something you create from scratch. My enthusiastic thanks and admiration!

Thanks to April M. Reign for creating the cute cover for Chasing Broadway and helping me with the title!

And thanks to Marilyn Gould for creating the main artwork for the cover of Three Christmas Wishes, and licensed through Dreamstime.com.

Last but never least, thank you to my editors, Tracy Seybold and Phoebe Moore West!

To my promoters, I couldn’t do it without you. Thanks a million!

What a year!

What will 2014 bring?

Lots of surprises!

By evepaludan

The Undone Man : A Science Fiction Novella is released!

What if everything you ever believed about how the universe works went slightly off-kilter?

THE UNDONE MAN is the thought-provoking debut novella of author and comedy club entertainer Mike Cecconi, who blends “what-if” science fiction with a darkly funny satire of pop culture, politics, and a man’s yearning to escape from his job in a call center. The protagonist is tormented by his desire for a woman he can’t have, his regret over leaving behind his rock ‘n roll aspirations and a simmering anxiety that his life is without true purpose or meaning.

When a reclusive local billionaire unexpectedly invites the hero to his mansion for a birthday dinner, everything he has ever known or believed about life and the universe is about to change–suddenly, he’s faced with a challenge unlike any other. Lives are at stake and the clock is ticking.

With nods to Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, and other classic genre writers, and with new twists on popular sci-fi and fantasy tropes, the author brings home what it means to become an UNDONE MAN.

˃˃˃ ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Cecconi was born and raised in central New York State and has a degree in screenwriting from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. While living a number of years in Los Angeles and a shorter while in Brooklyn, attempting to break into film, he rediscovered his love of the other writing forms, has performed comedy at events such as Tramiversary 5 in Utica, New York and the Anti-Folk Festival in New York City’s Lower East Side. He has had poetry published in literary journals such as Britain’s Critical Quarterly and New York’s Doubly Mad, most recently in the Utica Poets Society’s Spring/Summer Compendium. Mike currently lives in his hometown in central New York; this is his first published long-form prose.

http://www.amazon.com/Undone-Man-Science-Fiction-Novella-ebook/dp/B00FUKXUWU/
˃˃˃ ABOUT THE PUBLISHER

Eve Paludan is a bestselling author of paranormal mystery romance and fantasy novels (witches, vampires, and angels) and she also edits for several bestselling authors. She edited and published Mike Cecconi’s novella because it was that compelling of a tale.

By evepaludan