Posted in Uncategorized

Writing Advice: Five tips to inspire (and improve) your online research

I’m working on my new novel, and as I research the 1960s, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned about online research over the past 30 years (from before there even was online research…(from the Moonlight Press blog)

Moonlight Press

What do the following two pictures have in common?

Words? Pictures? Ideas? Yes, yes and yes. But they are also both photos of sources I’m using for my new work-in-progress. Yes, they are drastically different in terms of medium. The first two are reference books I’m madly absorbing so that I can recreate the zeitgeist of a moment (or two) in time. The second serves the same purpose, but it’s located on a university library web site among its digitized archives.

When my first nonfiction book was published in 1989 (yes, I’ve been writing for that long), online research was nonexistent. Research required a writer to get up from the desk (or couch), get to the library, spend hours in indices to find the right citations, then hours and hours combing through books, articles, and microfiche readers. Unfamiliar with microfiche? Oh, what you have missed.

A microfiche reader

I used…

View original post 967 more words

Posted in Uncategorized

Who’s on first: Understanding who’s who in book editing

There’s a lot of misunderstanding among new writers about the editing process and the specific responsibilities of specific types of professional editors.

I’ve tried to clear a bit of the fog over on the Moonlight Press blog today…

Moonlight Press

by Patricia J. Parsons

Writers write. Editors edit. It’s that simple. Right? Well, not really. Let’s take a trip through the writing-editing process from the beginning of an idea to when a book makes its way into a reader’s hands.

An idea forms in a writer’s head and that writer takes a unique, individualized approach to percolating the idea until it gets to a point of forming a story. Then the writer sits down in front of a computer (or less often, with a pen and paper) and begins to put words on the page. Those words accumulate through the writing process until, sometime down the line, a book is finished. Then what? The editing process begins, and it begins with the writer.

The first draft of anything is shit, or so said Ernest Hemingway. That means regardless of how experienced you are as a writer, you never publish…

View original post 606 more words

Posted in Uncategorized

How to Reduce Clutter in Your Writing

You might think that with all the writing we do on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, that cluttered writing would be a thing of the past. You’d think it would be spare and to the point more than ever. You’d be wrong.

Outside of platforms where there are clear limits to reading and/or writing capacity, clutter seems to be worse than ever.

Here’s what I wrote today on the Moonlight Press blog…

Moonlight Press

by Patricia J.Parsons

In his book On Writing Well, an absolute must-read for anyone who writes, the estimable William Zinsser presents to us an entire chapter simply titled “clutter.” He begins by telling us that “…fighting clutter is like fighting weeds – the writer is always slightly behind.” This is probably truer these days than ever before as so many people seem to be writing and publishing books just because they can.

There are two ways that we clutter our writing. The first Zinsser describes as using a “laborious phrase which has pushed out the short word which means the same thing.” His example: “At the present time we are experiencing precipitation” rather than clearly stating: “It is raining.”

There is also another kind of clutter that is subtly different and has a different motivation on the part of the writer.

All you have to do is read the…

View original post 462 more words