Javascript Tips For Creating Animated Widgets

If you’ve ever Googled animated blog widgets, you no doubt discovered enough sparkling, flashing, garishly-gross gadgets to make your blog as easy on the eye as Edward Cullen in a scrap-booking class. Slightly dejected, you might have abandoned the idea altogether… but what if instead you could customize your own unique set of widgets which actually match, which suit your blog, and which aren’t that difficult to make? Inspired much? Ever since I studied HTML at uni I was desperate to give animated widgets a go. After a friend of mine created one of the most beautiful blogs I’ve ever seen, I decided to try it and pass the instructions on.

Check out her blog first. Love the way the little envelopes open as you hover over them? It’s simple but gorgeous, and here’s how you do it.

(An interpretive .gif I prepared earlier).

Simple Overview:

  • Create two images, one as a default, one for when your mouse hovers over it.
  • Place the two images on a photo-hosting website, which will generate a URL for each image.
  • Place those links into some simple HTML code (unfortunately you’ll need the upgraded WordPress to do this, as the standard doesn’t support Javascript).

Step-By-Step Guide:

1. Design your widget image… Draw it, grab free stock symbols online or even take photos of objects you’d like to use – it’s up to you (I’ll do a post on turning photos into usable images later). Then decide on an animation, which should be simple enough that the main image stays motionless. For example, for each section of your blog you could have a book whose pages open, a flower with a leaf which pops out from the side – whatever.

A little side-note:

When creating your two images, the part of your widget that will remain constant must be in the exact same place in both files (and dead center, if you want a centered widget). So start by making a copy of your base image, and edit onto that.

2. Turn your created images into URL links… so that you can input them into your widget code. You need to sign up for a photo-hosting website and upload the images – I like photobucket for this, as it has some useful editing tools too.

One uploaded, you’ll find the Direct Link for each image (don’t lose track of which one belongs to which!)

Photobucket URLs

3. Insert a ‘text widget’ in your blog’s design page… In the field which opens, input the code below, personalizing it where shown. Be careful not to delete any single quotation marks when customizing – without them it won’t work.

Widget How-To

Customize this!

<div align=”center”><img src=”YOUR FIRST IMAGE LINK”
onmouseover=”this.src=’YOUR SECOND IMAGE LINK'”
onmouseout=”this.src=’YOUR FIRST IMAGE LINK'”/>

<a href=”THE LINK WHERE YOUR WIDGET SHOULD TAKE PEOPLE” target=”blank”><div align=center>YOUR LINK TEXT, E.G. Join 34 other subscribers…</div></a></div>

Handy tip:

Whenever you’re creating HTML code, place the instruction target=”blank” within the same brackets as your link (as above), and it will open in a new window.

And the result… ta da!

Compaing Scroll Widget

To see this widget in action, take a trip down memory lane to my old blog, http://beyondthehourglassbridge.blogspot.com.au/

Colouring Your Blog – A Designer’s Guide

Greetings, from the dark recesses of your long term memory! I’m still alive, and taking a break from flat-out-ness to share this nifty little post – A Web Designers Guide To Colour – from designer Matt Cannon. His simple tips also tie in with a super easy tutorial on customizing your blog colours which I posted here not long ago, so I’ll have no more dreaming of re-designing your blog but not knowing how to do it, thank you! Full links are at the end of this post, but here’s the gist and my thoughts first:

1. No Clashing Colours

Learn from the 80’s… and let them never happen again. White background = no clashing. Not an ironclad rule, but worth remembering if you’re not confident creating a more complex colour scheme.

2. Have Lots Of Colour Co-ordination

Check it out – just two colours in different degrees of saturation can look fantastic.

3. Don’t Use Too Many Colours

Be careful with this. Don’t forget that all those blog badges, those follower widgets and those images in your posts themselves are already going to start clashing. If you must display them, keep your blog’s colour scheme laid back so nothing is competing for the spotlight.

4. Work With Your Photos

Exactly as I mentioned in this HTML tutorial, you can actually color match your links and so-on to your photos. Looks great, and now you see it’s not just me saying that!

Paint.Net Color Window

4. Desaturate

A point I feel is particularly overlooked; desaturation can take your blog from garish to grown-up faster than the speed of white. I’ve included instructions for this in the tutorial, too.

6. Know Your Target Audience

But, if I might add, don’t be afraid to break from the stereotypes of that target either. 

Sounds easy? I thought so too. If you’d like to read more (and you should), you can check out Matt Cannon’s full post, here.

How A Cheese-Eating Squirrel Can Build Your Author Platform

Would you let readers choose your main character’s hair colour? The title of your opening chapter? The design for your book cover?

Why not?

I’m asking, because I’ve just stumbled on a brilliant bit of marketing from Scottish Brewery, BrewDog, and one day I intend to try it – sadly not quite the way they have, but perhaps with a few writerly-ideas I’ve chucked out below. I don’t see why, with a little adaptation, it can’t help with that never-ceasing quest to build a bigger author platform.

#Mashtag - the world's first ever twitter beer!

Copyright © BrewDog 2013

The Plot

A beer created by the people, for the people, under the project name #mashtag. This venture into the marketing technique crowdsourcing started with the BrewDog brewers asking, via their blog, what sort of beer they should create next. People cast their votes on twitter, Facebook or the blog, and the next day the winning option was announced… along with the next element to be voted on. They went through malt style, alcoholic percentage, type of hops, the special ingredient, the name and even the label.

The result? (Or, What YOU Stand To Gain):

Promotion of a concept – this basically says “we’re different, we’re interesting, and that’s why you need to watch this space.”

Loads of return traffic to their blog – meaning more time for readers to browse their archives or join the mailing list.

Pride from participants – how much more do you value something when you’re in the exclusive club of people who’ve found it?

Spreadability – it’s not just a twitter or a blog contest. It goes everywhere, so it’s all the easier to share

Better brand recognition – having a strong design theme across all their social media platforms ensures the logo is pretty well ingrained.

Direct feedback from their target market – builds loyalty, and will generate ideas for grabbing the rest of that demographic, too.

A waiting list – stacks of consumers are actually awaiting the release. It’s like a Goodreads ‘To-Read’ list, only more alcoholic.

Can We Achieve It?

I know publishing isn’t the quickest thing in the world, so designing a book in five days might be tricky (unless you’re Stephen King). But don’t forget this brew will actually need to be brewed now, and yet in the short-term, the idea still worked. It’s creative and unique, and isn’t that the image you want, as a writer? It’s easy to be scared that our promotional idea won’t work but so what? Those who saw it will learn a valuable lesson about you, and those who didn’t see it won’t think any less of you, will they? And besides, doing the same old thing is bound to start looking a little shameless, right? (Like or share this post if you agree :P)

Anyway, I’ll get down from my soapbox now and just throw out a few thoughts on where I figure this might work. If anyone does want to give it a go, even in the future, let me know. I’m all about collaborating on interesting things, and you already have my full support. So why not try…

  • Taking your blog in a new direction
  • Moving blogging platforms altogether (running an event like this could certainly help you retain followers through the transition)
  • Establishing a Facebook author profile
  • Running a blog tour
  • Bringing your existing fans into your novel’s sequel, right when you’re in the final edits (a reward for them and a great buzz-generator for you)
  • Creating a new series of interviews/blog posts/or whatever you have authority on
  • Letting reader’s personalize your ready-to-publish, self-published book (your MC probably didn’t need to have hair like liquid sunshine, anyway)
  • Who knows what else? I mean, they’re advertising a beer even a cheese-eating squirrel would enjoy…
nut_brown_bigger_620

“Nut Brown by Alesmith is a dark brown, drinkable ale which pairs really well with nutty cheeses like gruyere or aged gouda.” Copyright © BrewDog 2013

The Over-do-er’s Editing Checklist: Setting

G’day, patient friends! I know it’s been a while since I posted here (for me it feels longer than an afternoon spent with Mrs Figgs), but I’m finally back and with another collection of the best editing tips I’ve found in three years’ worth of hunting. So far I’ve covered structure, point of view, showing instead of telling and characterization, and it’s been amazing to see all your likes and shares so I certainly hope to see them again. In the meantime, put your red pens to paper for…

The Over-do-er’s Editing Checklist: Setting

 

1. Do your layouts work? If you’ve made up an imaginary house or town, draw a map and ensure your descriptions always match and always fit together. Ensure, too, that the position of your characters is clear and consistent. For example someone could start a scene by leaning against a door frame, and later you can re-iterate this position by showing them idly picking at a splinter in the door jam.

2. Use props to create movement and make your scenes more dynamic. A frustrated businessman could spend a whole scene sitting at his desk, with the occasional slam of the telephone as his only means of expressing his emotions. But say after one call he throws his mobile across the room and later, when he finally decides to tell his boss to stick-it, he’ll have to get up to grab his phone. That movement may lead to him losing confidence with every step, or pacing the room as he blasts his boss with two years’ worth of pent up emotions, or even jumping for joy as he realizes his life will be completely fixed if he starts a career writing easy listening instrumental tracks for people waiting on hold.

Or you could just set your story in New Zealand. That'd work...

Or you could just set your story in New Zealand. That’d work…

3. Any time you switch to a new setting, establish that setting in the first sentence. Mentioning a symbolic and instantly recognizable object can be enough, but beware of becoming so used to a setting that you make an assumption your reader might not. An example is using a character as the symbolizing object – just because they are almost always in one location, doesn’t necessarily make that location clear when you start a scene with them.

4. If you’re visiting a location for the first time, use enough description to ground the reader in reality but do also watch out for descriptive information dumps. Think of your world like a painting – how much more interesting would it be if you discovered new little details every time you went back to it?

5. Give your characters props to enhance setting, personality, emotion and, on a practical level, to ensure two characters don’t interact with each other in the same way for so long that the reader forgets the setting completely. And as with the point above, make sure your reader can feel those objects, too.

6. Including physical sensations in your setting will instantly add greater realism and immerse your reader more. Sights, smells, tastes, textures – go through them all (although not every time, or you’ll end up with a descriptive paragraph the length of a dictionary and the range of a shopping list). Even more subtle things, like the overall color scheme of a location from the color of the light, the dirt and so on, can enhance mood.

7. Keep the amount of description appropriate to your genre. For example, sci-fi or a historical thriller will need more details and more accuracy than, say, a character-driven, YA novel. And if you’ve had to do a stack of research to gain that level of accuracy, don’t be tempted to cram it all in. Always stick to the question – is this vital to the telling of the story?

8. Even though you’ve probably already checked for adjective and adverb abuse and the use of cliché, check your descriptions again as they can be a perfect hiding place for such little nasties. I don’t need to know that the dainty stars were twinkling brightly in the pitch-black depths of the sky (although I might be interested to see the moon trudge between avenues of stars like the world’s slowest game of pacman).

9. Lastly, it goes without saying, but don’t stereotype. Sure, when you first began your pot, your dentist had an immaculate appointment room full of model teeth. But now you’re in the editing stage you should be thinking, what if there were a bunch of lolly wrappers stuffed in the wastebasket? Your reader is bound to be intrigued.

The Over-do-er’s Editing Checklist: Characterisation

Hi everyone, and firstly I’m so sorry for my absence! I’ve just started by business degree while continuing to work full time and play in a band, so things have been beyond frantic. Still, I’ve had a great response to my last editing checklist posts so I hope you’ll forgive me! If you haven’t seen the installments on showing instead of tellingstructure or point of view, please check them out. And in the meantime I present to you: Characterisation (yes it’s spelled the English way and I’m sticking to it). Enjoy! 

The Over-do-er’s Editing Checklist: Characterisation

 

1. Check that your characters react realistically, in both mood and actions, to big events. It can be particularly useful to draw your plot from the antagonist’s perceptive, since they usually drive the action. Would they really overlook such a fatal flaw in their diabolical plan?.

2. It’s also useful to examine your main character’s (and supporting characters’) personality at the beginning and the end of the novel. Has your protagonist grown or changed from their experiences? If they haven’t, check that they’ve been central to your plot all along – all the ‘good stuff’ may have been happening to your supporting characters, or your MC may not have been reacting fully to the actions of the antagonist.

The First, Annual, Statue-Buskers Convention Proved to Be A Great Success

The First Annual Statue-Buskers Convention Proved to Be A Great Success

3. I already listed this in showing instead of telling, but I realise now it’s even more relevant here: Make sure your beats are original, and try and build a character’s personality rather than just their mood at the time. e.g. A character biting their nails will show they’re anxious, but it’s a cliché. What other nervous traits would build that character? For example if they are a writer, their nervous tick could be to compulsively tap their pen against their desk.

4. While on that subject, look for any instances where you tell something about a character (beware of telling their emotions as well as their personality), and let them instead define themselves by their actions.

5. You can build a character’s personality by giving their views on the world/their setting and so on. This can be particularly useful when introducing both a new character in a new setting, as it reduces the need for lengthy descriptions of both.

6. Also, does each character have a good and bad side? (It’s ok for your protagonist to be somewhat annoying, or for your antagonist to volunteer at the local soup kitchen!)

7. Do you have two characters fulfilling the same role? Can they be combined? If the overlapping characters had slightly different personalities, brainstorm the combined character to make sure their actions are consistent.

8. Be careful characters aren’t describing themselves just to give information to the reader. Common traps include noticing their own hair or eye colour – why would they even mention it, if they’ve had it all their lives?

9. Check for lengthy descriptions and narrative summary when introducing your characters. If you find any, cut it back to building a quick image and drop other details in later. A caveat: Whenever you are using brief, introductory descriptions like this, make sure you’re not just sticking to eye colour, hair colour etc. Describe what stands out.

10. Do the relationships between your characters develop as the story goes along?  (Don’t forget, develop can mean worsen).

11. Does each character have their own x-factor? (And no, being the chosen one doesn’t count). Look out for stereotype characters. If you find one, Google the many character questionnaires out there and start interviewing your creations until they reveal the inner traits which actually make them stand out in their own right.

12. Have I missed something? Let me know!

Marketing Lessons From A Writer, Self-Publisher and Hobbit Enthusiast

Imagine self-publishing three books in two years. You know you’re writing is good (you’ve somehow had enough spare time to land an agent!), but that doesn’t even begin to cover the promotion you’ll need to do to get your work out there. Donna Hosie imagined this into reality with her Return To Camelot trilogy, and her books now sit within Amazon’s top 100 rank and within the top 15 Best Unknown YA Books on Goodreads. Today I’m delighted to bring you her top hits (and a couple of surprising misses) for DIY promotion. Enjoy!

Independent-Publishing: An Insider’s Journey

Thanks, Katherine! Now some authors may cringe at the thought of self-promotion, but it’s just got to be done. I know that without it, I wouldn’t have sold a single copy of any of my books (not even to my mother because she doesn’t own any form of technology other than a kettle…which I bought her!) So, here is what has worked FOR ME over the past year. I hope you find it helpful but of course, you have to bear in mind what you are prepared to do.

My top five promotional strategies:

Connect on Goodreads.

If you use just one social network with writers and readers, make it Goodreads. Write reviews of books you’ve read, join groups, then list your own books. When you get a review or a rating, thank that person for their time – you can certainly spare the time, especially when you are first starting out.

I recently ran a half-price promotion on Amazon, and I contacted those who had added SEARCHING FOR ARTHUR to their read list to let them know. It wasn’t spamming, because these readers were already interested. Many even thanked me for the news, and my sales shot up.

I now get daily multiple adds for my books now on Goodreads. It will start off slow, but momentum will build if you do it correctly.

Connect on Twitter.

I think it is important to promote your own books/social media profiles at least once a day, but DEFINITELY not all all of them at once, and DO NOT tweet nothing but yourself. I try to tweet ten times a day – I don’t spend more than ten minutes a day on Twitter – and from that, most will be amusing stories from the web, industry news and of course the obligatory tweet about how awesome The Hobbit movie is! Keep the titles of your book out there. I always see sales after linking to my Amazon pages.

Use Blogger/Wordpress

For cover reveals and interviews, you just cannot beat an article on a blog. It’s one of the most visual mediums available, and therefore potentially the best way to stick in someone’s mind, so make sure you give yourself an unusual selling point so people actually notice you. Whether that’s a creative competition, your unique author voice or catchy titles people will be eager to RT, your reputation as an independent publishing professional will be markedly stronger if your feature stands out.

When Katherine first interviewed me for her blog, the article was essentially named ‘Interview and Giveaway’. We changed it to ‘On Cover Design, DIY Marketing and The Personification of Butt-Cheeks’, and our views and RT’s instantly increased.

It’s all about exposure and getting your covers, titles and name known. The best thing here is that you are getting exposure not just for yourself, but anyone who hosts. And of course, always pay it forward if you can.

Half price promotions.

The more people who read your novel, the more will spread it by word of mouth. Clearly your best promotional tool is to write a kick-ass book that will have others raving, but to get people to read it you also need to run promotions. My half price promotion during February sent my sales soaring. Readers then recommended the books to others. I got great reviews…you see how all of this becomes one chimera of awesomeness? Social media interbreeds but the end result can be beautiful.

The Grandma telling grandmas effect

Now this final one isn’t a strategy so to speak because you can’t control it, but it is something that I have found really works. I have two Facebook accounts: personal and a public author page. When I make an announcement on my author page I immediately share it on my personal page. Now I have the most awesome family and friends EVER and most of them are very social media savvy. The amount of times they have gone and shared one of my posts on their own pages is something I actually find hard to keep track of. It’s all about word of mouth. Let your friends share in your journey.

What didn’t/doesn’t work for me:

Free promotions

This is interesting because while half price promotions really work, I don’t believe free promotions do. I’ve done it once; I will never do it again. And giving books away for reviews doesn’t work either because the reader rarely writes the review. I know a lot of writers who have experienced this and I’m trying to work out why. Perhaps you are cheapening the experience by giving your work away? I looked at my own Kindle. I don’t download free books or ones for less than $1.99. Food for thought if you are planning to follow this route.

Facebook author page

I will keep mine and I will endeavor to utilize it more this year, but I get far more exposure from my personal FB page than my author page. Perhaps this is my fault as I haven’t had the page that long, but I find it far easier to attract new readers on Goodreads et al than on FB.

I hope my experience with independent publishing helps. I get so much happiness from following this route. I still believe in the traditional press and always will. I have an awesome agent who has proven to be my greatest advocate with another series and she is incredibly supportive of my decision to self-publish THE RETURN TO CAMELOT trilogy. There has never been a better time to be a writer. Good luck!

Sharing The Love… Or More Accurately, Discounted Editing

Tags

Has anyone here ever used a paid editing service? I have, and I found the experience so useful I wrote this: Happier Than A Nerd In A Library Full Of Star Wars Toys – A Review Of Scribendi Editing Service. I’m bringing it up again today because I’ve just received an email from one of the editing companies I looked into, saying they’re having a sale, and I thought it might be a good opportunity for anyone considering getting a professional edit.

From February 15th to 19th, the folks at First Editing are giving a 20% discount when you use the coupon code PRESIDENT while placing an order. I haven’t used this company before (I was intimidated by the hot office ladies) but I remember them offering a free sample edit first, so now might be a great chance to try them out and if you like what you get, you’ll still have a few days to snag a bargain.

So check out my Scribendi Editing Service review to see how it works and what I learnt for getting the best out of a service like this, and if you take up First Editing’s offer, I’d love to hear how it goes. Or if you’d rather go it alone, I’ve had a lot of great feedback from my editing checklist series and there are more to come, so hopefully that’s useful for you, too.

Have fun!

Customizing Your Blog Link Colors: A HTML Tutorial

You know the feeling when you land on a blog and can’t help thinking ‘wow, this site has such a well designed theme it must belong to a professional the likes of Steven King and without even reading a word I know I must follow it’?

Maybe I just don’t get out enough.

Anyway, part of the wow factor on many blogs is the way everything matches. So today’s post, which follows on from my post on free design tools for creating awesome header pics, is about strengthening your design by color-matching your link and heading colors with your header.  I’m using both Microsoft Paint and Paint.Net for this, and I’m sure Mac-based programs will too.

Now, this is easy but has a few steps, so bear with me.

1. Choose A Color

Decide on a color from your header which would look good for your links. Remember to keep it dark enough to be easily visible, and if you’re using a WordPress theme and can make it match that, even better.

Tip: If you love your existing blog theme and want to  make your links match those colors, just take a screenshot of your blog by pressing Print Screen, then open your picture editing program and paste. Now it’ll act as an image you can color-pick to your heart’s content.

2. Edit Your Color To Perfection

Firstly, if you haven’t already seen the aforementioned post on free design tools, have a read and download the extremely useful Paint.Net program. (Or just use regular Paint, if you’re willing to forgo a few features).

Assuming you’ve done the download and now have your image open in Paint.Net, go to the top menu, select the Window tab, and open the Color and Tools windows. In Tools select the Color Picker (circle 1, below).

Click the desired color on your header image, and if the selected color (circle 2) isn’t right, you can click around until you’re happy, or click More to manually adjust the red, green and blue sliders.

 Paint.Net Color Window

 

Alternatively, if you are using Microsoft Paint, use the Color Picker in the left hand tool bar to choose the color you want, then in the top menu visit Colors – Edit Colors – Define Custom Colors to get your R, G and B sliders if you need to fine tune.

Paint Color Window

3. Enter The Matrix

A fundamental rule of web design is that every color has its own HEX code, which tells the computer viewing it exactly how much red, green and blue to display.

In Paint.Net the code is right there (image 1, circle 3). In Microsoft Paint it’s not, so you simply have to Google a HEX code generator (or use one I prepared earlier http://www.colorschemer.com/online.html), input your R, G and B amounts from Paint’s ‘Define Custom Color’ window (image 2), and hit Set HEX.

And we’ve done all that… just to get a number?

I know, but once you’re used (addicted) to it, it’s quick as anything and makes you feel like a pro. How you do use your matrix-style codes depends on whether you’re using blogger, wordpress or your own website. So…

4. Get Customizing!

For blogger, you visit:

Dashboard – Template – Customize. Choose Advanced from the left hand menu, then in the Link Color section, type your newly created HEX code and viola! You can even repeat the process to customize your hover-over and visited link colors too.

Blogger Customize Link Color

TIP: Using a lighter version of your main link color as a hover color can look great. Just go back to your color editing window in Paint/Paint.net, reduce the Saturation, and get the code for the newer, lighter color.

For wordpress.com blogs you can’t simply customize all your link colors, but you can customize things like your headings within a post, just by clicking the A button in your post editing tools and inputting your new HEX code.

WordPress Customize Text

You can also specify your link colors when creating your own sidebar widgets. I’ve written an entire post on how to create widgets using simple HTML code, so for the sake of our sanity I’ve added the instructions for customizing your link colors to that post, so that it’s all in the one place. Check it out here, and before you know it you’ll be building your blog like a pro!

P.S. As always, if I’ve been too specific or too vague with this, let me know and I’ll answer your questions as best I can.

Thanks!

 

The Over-do-er’s Editing Checklist: Showing Instead Of Telling

 

Hey everyone, and thanks again for being so appreciative of my last editing checklist post. 🙂 Today, to follow up the posts on structure and point of view, I bring you my checklist for showing instead of telling.

Enjoy! 

The Over-do-er’s Editing Checklist: Showing Instead Of Telling

 

1. Describe things using different senses, rather than just sight. Smell, in particular, can really bring a scene to life.

2. Check for overuse of adjectives in your dialogue tags and replace them with an action – aka a beat – which still tells the reader who’s speaking and builds the emotion without spelling it out.

3. Make sure your beats are original, and try and build a character’s personality rather than just their mood at the time. e.g. A character biting their nails will show they’re anxious, but it’s a cliché. What other nervous traits would build that character? i.e. If they’re a writer, their nervous tick could be to compulsively tap their pen against their desk.

4. Watch out for information reveals that are too obvious – such as a scene which only happens to deliver a certain message – and weave the information in instead. (The characters should discover things naturally, through actions they would genuinely take. If that means you’re going to have to change the plot a little, a good place to start is scenes which are lagging already).

5. Repeat point 4, specifically ensuring that characters aren’t saying OR THINKING things just to give information to the reader.

6. If you must convey a piece of information through dialogue or thoughts, make sure you’re at least showing something, by using words which build character or voice.

7. Check for explaining words in both narration and dialogue. E.g. because, so and since.

8. Replace ‘ly’ words with action. Eg ‘she walked angrily’ becomes ‘she stormed.’ A mini-checklist: Actually, totally, absolutely, completely, continually, constantly, continuously, literally, really, unfortunately, ironically, incredibly, hopefully, finally.

9. ‘Seemed to’, ‘tried to’, ‘started to’, ‘about to’, ‘something started’, ‘fought the urge to’ and ‘immediately’ can be replaced with the actual action.

10. Showing is vital, but also ensure that your more detailed descriptions NEED to be so thorough. (This is especially true for new writers who envisioned their world first, and therefore have those few descriptive paragraphs they’ve loved from the word go).

11. If you have over-described something, read examples such as the Diagon Alley scene in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and observe the way that descriptions are often placed ‘on the way to something else’, so that the sentence maintains the action while letting the reader experience the world as they go along. Emulating this technique is particularly useful for world-building.

12. Check for other situations where showing may not be necessary. e.g. it’s dull, irrelevant, or would be much simpler as a tell.

13. Have I missed something? Let me know!

The Over-do-er’s Editing Checklist: Point of View

Earlier this week I posted part one of my personal editing checklist, as compiled over three years of agent stalking and reading every editing blog post I could get my hands on. The good news is – you liked it! Thanks so much for all the tweets, likes and favorites of my post, and I hope you enjoy part two just as much. I present to you… 

The Over-do-er’s Editing Checklist: Point of View

 

1. If there are multiple changes in POV, check that they’re all necessary. Are they increasing tension or confusing/slowing the action? If you NEED to show a character’s thoughts, can you imply them though their actions or through the internal observations of your main character? (Showing a character’s judgement of others can strengthen POV and character anyway, see point 9).  Can you combine passages to reduce the number of changes?

When in Greece... take silly pictures of marzipan figurineswhenever humanly possible.

When in Greece… take silly pictures of marzipan figurines whenever possible.

2. Review each POV/scene change and make sure the POV is clear within the first sentence.

3. Beware that you can’t always count on the location – for example a particular character’s house – to give away the POV. Look out for instances where you’ve only assumed it because you’re the writer and you’re used to a certain setting meaning a certain character.

4. Check for head-hops, e.g. POV character describing their eye colour, or knowing another character’s intent without seeing any obvious clues.

5. Check for filters, e.g. I watched, I saw, I heard, I felt, I wondered. For example,

…if you were living that event you wouldn’t think ‘I’m watching this happen’, you would just think ‘this is happening’.

6. Describe places/people using words the POV character would use, and…

7. …Cut descriptions of things your character couldn’t or wouldn’t naturally perceive.

8. To deepen POV even further, use pointing words – such as ‘that/there’ – to place your character in the centre of their world. I.e…

…the character could say they went to ‘the mirror above their dresser’, but if they were truly in their own head they would just say they went to ‘the mirror’.

9. Get in your character’s head. Show their judgements and opinions, and don’t filter them through the words ‘I thought’. E.g. The beam of headlights swung in across the parking lot. Jack. Late, as usual.

10. Anything I’ve forgotten, let me know! And if you liked this post, you may like my checklists for structure and showing instead of telling, too. :).