Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Where the Plot Did that Come From?

Beat Sheets and a New Series

You’re finally done with NaNo, and you want to rewrite your recent creation, and then submit it for edits so you can get it published, one way or the other. Whether you choose to self-publish or go a more traditional route, understanding plot can go a long way toward making sure your story really hangs together well.

One formula that works really well is the beat sheet, a formula that breaks the story into three acts with specific milestones along the way. There are several reasons this is one of my favorites, the primary one being that it is effective. It works for books, plays, and movies. Movies.

Which is one dream many authors share: someone picking up their book, loving it, buying the option to make a movie out of it, writing a script, and then…then fame and fortune rolls in.

Frankly, I don’t give a damn about that. I want a reader to read my books cover to cover, and not be able to put it down. I want them to stay engaged from end to end.

Ever start watching a movie, and stop? Shut it off and start something else? Or start reading a book, and put it down, pick up something else, maybe never to return to the story. Why does that happen? Because the author, or director and producer lost your attention.

Believe it or not, there are plot formulas: ones that are proven to work. And if you have read a great deal, or seen a number of movies, you probably follow one or more of these unconsciously as you write, even if you have not been formally trained. It helps, though, when you are done with your draft to step back and look at what formula you followed, so when you spot a problem, you can look back and see why and how you went wrong.

The diagram below illustrates a typical beat sheet done in a Mind Map format. To create the Mind Map, I use a program called Freemind, a free program that is pretty powerful as well. I’ll be sharing tips on what tools to use as the series continues, but there are other ways to do beat sheets as well, including Scrivener, one of my favorite programs.

So over the next little while, we are going to look at the parts of a beat sheet and how it works. For each part, we’ll use different plot types and specific stories and movies to illustrate this.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

That Word

From the desk of Troy Lambert
Co-founder of Bertmore Editing Services.

If you have been around me personally in a writer’s group or other setting, or I have edited your work, you know at least one word I just feel is a “search and destroy” with very few exceptions. It’s the word “that.”

Let’s take a simple example. “I know that many authors like to use the word “that” quite often in their writing, but it should be noted that it is often unnecessary, almost like a written “um” that distracts more from sentences than it adds.”

Not a bad sentence, right? Except let’s write it again, without the “that”s. “I know many authors like to use the word “that” quite often in their writing, but it should be noted it is often unnecessary, almost like a written “um” that distracts more from sentences than it adds.”

Notice I left in one “that” other than the one in quotes. Really, the end of that sentence could be re-written so “that” is not needed. In non-fiction, this is not the case as often as in fiction, but the rule still holds true.

I’ve edited books where the word “that” was used thousands of times, and in the end, nearly all of them were eliminated. It almost becomes a game.

How do you do with the word “that”? Is it one of the words you tend to overuse? Let me know in the comments below. Most creative comment will receive a discount code for Bertmore services.

What do you think of that? 

Follow Troy on Twitter: @tlambertwrites

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Editor Spotlight: Dana Long!

Here is our Dana Long!  She is an incredible person and hard working editor.  Thrilled to have her in the family.

Dana Long comes to Bertmore Editing Services with a variety of skills from professional content creation and web content management, to stylistic, copy, and structural editing. She enjoys working with all types of genre in fiction as well as non-fiction.

Dana facilitates the Huckins Writers Guild, an open-read-style encouragement group for writers. She currently has three works in progress.

Dana has lived in Boise, Idaho for 15 years and spends her time 4-wheeling in the mountains, camping, supporting the local arts and music scene, in addition to activities with friends and family.

​“Dana Long has an incredible attention-to-detail. As my editor for the launching of my fifth book, COCOA, THE BLIND DOG, Dana dug deeply into both the technical side, ensuring that there were no grammar errors, but in addition to that expected task, she help me with the shaping of content. I’d never written a daily devotional before. She helped me understand it was like writing one of my fiction or non-fiction tales …only with 366 chapters! And did THAT ever help me. She’s great on the specifics and even greater on the vision!"​ ~Dennis Mansfield, Author of COCOA, the Blind Dog

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Editor Spotlight: Marlie Harris

Introducing the talented and beautiful Marlie Harris!  Marlie is an editing rock star and we are proud to have her in the Bertmore family.

Marlie Harris is a freelance writer and editor living in Boise, Idaho. She currently works as a freelance writer for Idaho Life Magazines.  Her professional editing experience includes book formatting and developmental editing.  “My job is to stand side by side with the author to bring the story to life.”  She has edited non-fiction as well as fiction and thrives on helping the author develop the story.  She has been published in two works and continues to write and grow.

Words of praise – “Thank you for helping to draw out the best in my writing and encouraging me to tell my stories.” Terilee Harrison, The Ignited Entrepreneur, 2015

Friday, July 17, 2015

Editor Spotlight: Jana Good!

We are proud to introduce Jana Good!  She is one of our hand selected editors.  Jana is an experienced editor and a vital part of the Bertmore family.  We are thankful to have her on our team.

Jana Good is a freelance writer and editor based in Boise, Idaho. She studied Mass Communication/Journalism at Boise State University. As a journalist, she has been published in numerous regional magazines writing primarily about food, wine, gardening and travel. Her professional editing experience includes working for two different book publishers, as well as freelance editing. She has edited everything from novels to magazine articles to video scripts to blog posts to children’s books.
In her spare time she likes to feed people, grow herbs, take photos of pretty things and explore new trails.