Thursday, August 28, 2014

Coffee Chat 22.0 with S.K. Anthony: Editing with Style

Good morning, everyone! I'm finally up early enough to make the coffee before SK gets here. She's usually so early that it feels weird to come down the stairs into a dark living room. [Trips over rug.] That's weird; I don't normally have a rug right there . . . 

[Music suddenly begins to play as colored lights turn on, aimed at a—] Is that a disco ball in my living room? And why am I standing on a long red carpet?

SK: Good morning, Lynda! When I was stalking your blog, I couldn't help but catch your Editor's Notes about Style Sheep, so I decided to bring him here for you to meet. He even graciously agreed to put on a fashion show just for you! [Grins.] 




ER: Well, he certainly is . . . um . . . stylish. I can't say as I've ever seen a sheep with a nicer scarf than I own. And that hat!

SK: Cute! Right?

ER: Uh, yeah. Except I think you may have misunderstood me. I use a style SHEET when I edit. You know, a document that has all the pertinent information about a manuscript. A notebook. A bunch of paper. A Word file. A—

SK: Nonsense! I read between the lines and understood as bright as a star: the style sheep is your first go-to when you start editing. Why is it, though? You dress to match? Like each MS gets a specific outfit that inspires editing?

ER: Really, there is no "between the lines." I really do use words on paper. You know, like a character's name, hair color, job, physical description, quirks . . . 

SK: Well, yeah. I mean of course you'll need to know their name, hair colors, and physical description if you want to dress appropriately to edit them. I so get it. But can you just watch Mr. Style Sheep walk down the carpet now so we can go have coffee?

ER: [Sighs heavily.] All right, get that sheep to walk down the red carpet and get him out of my house. What's up with the animals inside the house? You're freaking out AndyAndy on a regular basis. And now he'll probably want a hat and scarf, too. And for goodness' sake, get the lights and disco ball turned off before Tim comes downstairs . . . can the sheep walk any faster? I don't care if he's trained to take his time and preen for the cameras. [Prods sheep with toe.] Move it, mister.

SK: AndyAndy is in on it; he just frets to you so you can scratch his back. Aww, look at Style Sheep go. Good thing the carpet goes straight out the door. And now COFFEE!

I didn't make or bring anything this time, I hope you have some goodies for us. [Looks around kitchen.] So tell me, when you're editing, it's like Superman isn't it? A secret that isn't so secret identity but can only be done with the cape—or whatever—on?

ER: I don't know how to convince you, but I'll say it again: I have no super-duper secrets when I'm editing. I'm not Superman, wearing a cape. I'm just plain Lynda. I sit down with my laptop and my Chicago Manual of Style, and I write things as I read them. I see a name? I write it. Is he tall? Dark hair? Of course all the best characters have dark hair, right? I write it. Later in the book, if there's a squiggle under that person's name, I check to see if it's really a misspelling or if Word just doesn't recognize it. If an author tells me she doesn't like semicolons, I note that. If he loves adverbs exceedingly much and I think he needs to ditch them, I'll note the ones used most often and count them.

SK: Oh yes, dark hair! [Stares into space.]

Ahem, anyway . . . I almost believed that! You said it with such a straight face, too. Oh man, you're so good! I get it, though. We shouldn't be publicly sharing your editing secrets. [Winks at Lynda.] But since the sheep is out of the bag and we've already officially acknowledge the outfits—

ER: We haven’t acknowledged any—

SK: Can you tell me what this one is about?



ER: Oh. That was when I was working on Kinetic. What's so odd about that? And where did you find it? I was at Wal Mart, shopping for more Red Pens of Doom.

SK: [Frowns.] I don't get it. It's 'cause you're both superheroes? 'Cause I mean, Annie doesn't wear a crown or a one piece swimsuit. And what about this one? 



ER: Uh . . . that was when I was working on The Devil’s Hour. I’m not sure what you’re getting at—

SK: And THIS?




ER: [Looks sheepish.] That’s my Kestrel Saga outfit. It has . . . um . . . a voice-changer . . . and I can make the bad guys sound scarier if I read the text aloud. [Blushes.] Gosh, I guess I never thought about it. I really do dress for success when I edit. The Style Sheep knows where it’s at.

SK: Dressing for success is half the battle. I mean look at me; that’s why I’m naked.

ER: You’re not . . . undressed. And why—

SK: Well, under my clothes I am. I’m just trying to channel my ol’ pal Ernest Hemingway. He wrote naked and made it big! Fake it ‘till I make it and all that. [Shrugs.]

Are you sure you want me to take the disco ball with me? Don’t you need lighting when you’re editing?


ER: . . . 


As always:

You can find S.K. Anthony in a number of places. She's on Twitter @SKathAnthony, her website is www.skanthony.com, her Facebook page is S Katherine Anthony, and on occasional occasions, she'll be right here with me, drinking coffee and laughing it up over our latest plans and schemes. And possibly even talking about books and writing. 

You can find me here. I'm always here. 

31 comments:

  1. I'm glad I don't need to dress for inspiration...
    Now, what did that sheep leave on your kitchen floor?

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    Replies
    1. Oh, we just rolled up the rug and tossed it on the burn pile in the backyard . . .

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    2. But Alex, that's 'cause your'e always in your Ninja outfit, so . . .

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  2. Darth Vader helmet for reading the Kestrel Saga? What's up with THAT?!

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    1. Hey! That voice changer makes your bad guys sound even badder. You don't even want to know what I wore while I was working on Traitor Winds.

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    2. Yeah, I destroyed that picture because I have her back . . . but that was good blackmailing material, that Traitor Winds outfit. And don't fret, she did a banged up job for the books as Darth Vader Lynda, no? :D

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  3. Quite an attention-keeping chat, for lack of a better way to put it!

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  4. I like the sheep. I have editing secrets, but I'm not revealing them. That's why they're called SECRETS.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Believe me, if you had S.K. in your kitchen regularly, you'd have no secrets left. And no laundry soap. And no oats. And probably no muffins.

      But you'd have plenty of animals. Oh, yes.

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    2. Hey! I keep secrets! I didn't tell anyone abou—

      [Twenty minutes later]

      —Umm, Lynda told me I couldn't say. Anyway, who doesn't like pets? Or someone to help with laundry? And make snacks? Exactly. I'm a keeper. :P

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    3. Both of you are keepers. That's why I keep following you around. Like a stalker.

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    4. You say "stalker" like it's a bad thing.

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    5. Seriously. We like stalkers, Janie. Especially cute ones like you in Lily Pulitzer clothing :D

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  5. Better keep the Darth Vader helmet handy...

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    Replies
    1. Well glad we got the whole sheep, sheet thing worked out. Though ghe sheep did look nice.

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    2. I would have worn Vulcan ears because I, like Stephen, am more of a Trek fan. However, there were no ears to be had. Plus I'm telling you, that voice-changer is fun.

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    3. Does it make you sound like James Earl Jones?

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    4. YES! And it has preset phrases, too, like "Don't make me destroy you." The boys used to use it when they'd read stories to their little sister. It made for some interesting bedtime reading.

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    5. She's used that "Don't make me destroy you" phrase on me several times with that helmet. She's so funny! 'Cause I mean, I'm pretty sure she didn't have any real threat behind that . . . o_0

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  6. I miss too many of these coffee chats. Sigh. I am not managing my life and my blogging very well. Anyway. That last line cracked me up (even though it probably wasn't meant to be the funniest. You can find me here. I'm always here. Hahahaha.)

    I don't use costumes at all when I am editing. Maybe that is why I have been thus far unable to root out what is causing my WiP to drag in the beginning. Or the beginning of the middle. Whatever. I need to tighten it up. I am having a hard time imagining me in a WW costume. I am afraid it would scare the dog. Hmm. Something to think about...

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    Replies
    1. I love that line too! Lynda is supah dupah funny!

      Hey, if you don't want to scare the dog just get a white T-shirt, get a sharpie, and write "WW" on it. What matters is that it represents the right idea and that WiP will shape right up. I think. You know that sounded better in my head . . . lol

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    2. I'm glad you liked the "I'm always here" line, Robin. The first time we did a Coffee Chat, I wanted to make sure to let everyone know where to find S.K. if they went a-lookin', and then realized if they'd found me, well . . . there was really nowhere else to look. lol I don't stray far from my own blog.

      Wonder Woman costumes scare everyone—except the People of Wal Mart. Nothing scares those people. Nothing.

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  7. If I dressed like my latest character, I'd have to wear a 1,000 lb iron robot costume all day, which at a certain point I believe might actually impede creativity rather than stimulate it. Or I could dress up like a little girl, the other main character, but that's the kind of thing that I DON'T want my wife walking in on. She already thinks I'm disturbed enough as it is.

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    1. Oooh, we like disturbed writers around here. I say time it right! When she has to go out, oh who knows? . . . to pray for your state of mind, then dress up (I suppose the girl is easier), and try to get some work going. But most importantly take a pic and send it to us, because yes.

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    2. Pfft, like your wife would be surprised. She married you with her eyes wide open.

      And yes, I agree with S.K.: pictures, or it didn't happen. I'll be expecting good things.

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  8. Ahem. I didn't want to mention this, but there's a sheep in a hat and scarf on you blog. Also Lynda's editing costumes have made me re-think my next book. Wonder(oh-good-grief) Woman armed with Red Pens of Doom? A large knife? Darth at the keyboard with strike out capabilities? I think I'll forget that next book all together and write Haiku. . .about sheep.

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    1. YES! A sheep Haiku sounds perfect. I'm sure I can fashion a photo shoot and get you some great shots for that, umm, one page book. :D

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    2. Baah, I say, baah baah
      Style Sheep in my living room
      Work that red carpet!

      Yeah, maybe I'll leave the haiku skills up to you, Lee.

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I love comments, and will always answer them, partly because I like having the last word and partly because I just like getting to know the people who read my blog.