Category Archives: Uncategorized

All the Way (to Wisconsin, then) Home Road Trip

We’re finally going to get to see all those lovely sites in Wisconsin we’ve been writing about! This September, we’re going to fly to Chicago to see our son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, then head up to Verona, Nekoosa, and, finally, Eau Claire.

And, yes, the timing worked out so we can attend Nekoosa-Rama!

So excited.

All the Way Home published at last!

All the Way Home, the third book in the Bicycle Waltz series, is now available for purchase on Amazon at the special introductory price of just $0.99 for the ebook and $9.99 for the paperback!

Please read it, love it, and review it! As an aside, Amazon now allows readers to give star ratings without writing a review.

All the Way Home blog post #20 – Grammarly

With the human editing done, we’re letting the software tools have a crack at the manuscript. This week, it was a tool called Grammarly.

Grammarly runs through the text, looking for errors in spelling, punctuation, word usage, etc. The premium version can also give styling input, but I’ll be using ProWritingAid (coming soon) for that.

It’s amazing how much auto-correction your brain does while you’re reading! Chapter One is so important that, for the first few weeks, I would review it at the beginning of evey writing session. I’ve probably reviewed Chapter 1 at least a dozen times, and Jean has reviewed it a couple of times as well. Nevertheless, Grammarly immediately found one missing word and one duplicated word.

Sometimes, even when Grammarly flags an issue I can’t see it. I had written, “… few few …” in one place. Grammarly flagged the second few, confused as to what it might be modifying. I stared at the passage for a considerable time, bewildered, before my brain finally let me see what was so plainly written there.

Going chapter by chapter, I can easily see that, typo-wise, I have good days and, well, not-so-good days. Some chapters are nearly error-free, and others, um, not-so. But I noticed that the not-so chapters are all chapters that I really enjoyed writing. I think I get too excited about the story and the words just pour out – perhaps a little too quickly sometimes.

Being an engineer, I keep track of it all – on a spreadsheet, naturally. In all, Grammarly found 61 bonafide errors in 282 pages (that’s about one every 4 or 5 pages). There were also 51 times where it flagged something that wasn’t actually wrong, but caused me to make a modification anyway. I’ve learned that, when Grammarly gets confused, it’s well to stop a moment and consider whether the reader might get confused as well.

So, that’s 112 “fixes” in one form or another from 250 items that Grammarly flagged – about 50%. Not bad at all, considering how difficult most of these issues are to find with the naked (biased) eye!

Still, there are a few things I wish I could change about Grammarly. First, I’d like to turn off its “overused words” check inside dialog tags. They’re overused words because people use them, a lot, when speaking.

Also, I wish I could “teach” it some things about our dance terminology – like the word “teach” can be a noun in “our world”!

But, it was well worth the 3 hours and 36 minutes I spent on it (I told you, I track these things!).

Just for fun, I threw the text of this post into Grammarly after Jean had reviewed it. Grammarly flagged eight issues. Seven of them were false alarms, but it did find where I had spelled “every” as “evey” in the fifth paragraph. I decided to leave it alone – as a test. Did you catch it?

On to ProWritingAid!

All the Way Home blog post #19 – Editing…

Still editing. Not the most rewarding part of the process, however necessary. Discussing the relative merits of “it didn’t feel” versus “it didn’t seem” in a particular passage is not terribly exciting.

But there was some opportunity for creativity – assigning chapter names. Here are a few of my favorites:

Ducking and Weaving
Indoor Campout
TECCies Learn to Dance
The Halo Slips
You Must Be Kidding!
A Star is Born

Did I whet your appetite? Who’s ducking and weaving? What indoor campout? What or who are TECCies? Whose halo slipped? Kidding about what? Or, this one:

WHO is that star being born?

Anybody care to guess?

All the Way Home blog post #18 – back underway

Glad we finished the first draft before the holidays! With the excitement of the holidays (and the drudgery of the post-holiday cleanup) behind us, we’re back underway.

Jean has finished her review, and I’m going through all of her edits and comments. Once that’s done, I’ll run it through a couple of software style-checking and proofreading tools and we’ll be ready for the final editing phase!

Off we go!

All the Way Home blog post #17 – First Draft Complete!

On Tuesday, I wrote the final chapter. The manuscript is still scattered across multiple files (I find this structure easier to work with while things are still changing frequently), and many of the files have “brackets” in them – notes to myself or Jean to check or add something.

But the bulk of the writing is done. It’s just over 75,000 words – approximately 250-275 pages. That’s longer than I had expected, especially since editing often adds 10-30%. We’ll see what happens.

Now the hard work begins…

All the Way Home blog post #16 – Halloween Edition

Happy Halloween. The End is Near!

And I’m not talking about politics…

Early on, the book mostly followed the original story line. The early chapters were pretty well outlined, and writing them was straightforward. But as we got nearer the end, the story started to drive itself. The original story line outlines got out-of-date, and I had to stop regularly to talk to Jean and re-work the outline.

I think we just did our last re-work. The end is in sight. Another week or two and the first draft will be done!

All the Way Home blog post #15 – an unexpected development

I’ve mentioned before how sometimes the characters surprise you. It’s happened again. There are a couple of new characters in the book. Jean and I know all about their background and history. The other characters do not…

Anyway, when these new characters began to interact with the regular cast, something unexpected happened. It’s like an entire little story line of its own.

We thought we had the entire story outlined, but now these two come along and want to shake things up.

We’re not sure where this is going yet, and it’s a little late in the book (we’re about 200 pages in) for an unanticipated plot line, but it’s their story, after all. We’re just along for the ride. So we’ll see where this goes.

Man, this is fun! Challenging, but fun.

All the Way Home blog post #14 – back at ICBDA

Had a great writing session yesterday. I spent my entire morning walk (masked, as it was smoky yesterday morning) planning the next couple of scenes, did some more planning in the afternoon, then finally got to write the first one just before dinner.

What fun! We’re back at ICBDA again – but this time with a different superstar. Care to guess who?