Thursday, April 28, 2011

Do You Shine?

 Poor writers make excuses for their work. 
Good writers revise and polish their words 
until every point shines.
 Lee Masterson
What more can we say? Mr. Masterson is right! 
How do you make your writing shine?
Happy weekend!
Quotation Credit: Masterson, Lee “Excuses, Excuses.” Worldwide Freelance Writer Volume X:
Issue 36  9 Sep 2009 
Photo credit: Samplediz


  1. Hi Karen, I am trying to make my manuscript shine. Its difficult to be objective about it, so I have got myself a crit partner who will help me do that. Have a lovely weekend.

  2. The editing is endless, so much so that after I submit a piece I tuck it away. . .or I'll keep editing! It seems I always find something to fix. I don't know if that makes me a "polisher" or an obsessive nut. :)

  3. Hello Karen...Well, I try to avoid passive verbs, run on sentences, when writing in the first person, too many "I's." I like the quote, by the way. Sincerely, Susan

  4. I keep a list of typically overused and redundant words close by that I've learned to look for--and then get busy and weed them out, along with passive verbs and telling vs. showing. I also read my work aloud to get a sense of how it sounds. And then I hold my breath, send it out, and...hope I've made it sparkle!

    Great quote. Happy weekend to you, too :-)

  5. Karen,

    Love this post! Short, sweet and thought provoking!

  6. Rachna,
    Excellent advice. I think others can be a great help to help us shine!

    I often do the same thing. I've learned to say "when" and move along. Some projects can be challenging though!

    I agree, these are important things to look after and work on. :)

    There's a good idea - the list. I may need to give that a try!

    Thank you. I love quotes that make me stop and ponder. :)

    Happy weekend,

  7. I'm constantly rewriting, revising, researching. The three Rs of writing. Oh, and I have an awesome editor too. That really helps.

  8. Karen,
    Great quote! Polishing sure does take lots of effort, but anything worthwhile does ;D

    When reading my own words, I can be myopic. A little tool that helps me is found in Word. Under Tools, Options, Grammar Settings, I can click to find passive voice, cliches, sentence structure, all sorts of useful critique. I don't always agree, but it helps me to look at my writing with a more objective eye.


  9. Excuses are usually about fear. Polishing happens best when we dive in with courage and joy, knowing that our work matters.

  10. p.s. on Thursday. Hi again, Karen. Couldn't open your e-mail, for some reason. Anyway, wanted to say thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting, too.Always nice to have you visit. Susan

  11. Stephen,
    Your editor sounds like a treasure! Glad you found a good one.

    Susan P.
    Yes, I can get that way too. Good tips, thanks!

    You know, you're right. Our work does matter. That's an encouraging thought to keep in mind!

    Susan W.,
    I always enjoy my stops at your blog. Your photos and topics are interesting. :)


  12. I'm working on polishing up those dull spots. Great quote, I love it.

  13. Thank you for that.

    Sometimes I feel that my work can start to become like a Barry Manilow album. Now, please understand, I love Barry, but after a while it is obvious how the song is going to play out. I feel like my work can start to have the same effect. It begins with the same rhythm, the same building crescendo in the middle and in the end it leaves my readers with the same budding tears in their eyes. I appreciate that they feel my words in their hearts, and I praise God for gifting me with a talent to draw emotion from others--but I don't want that to become "blan" either. So, lately, I have been trying to switch it up and leave them laughing. I don't know that I am "shining" yet, but I will keep polishing and hopefully one day my work will reflect the full brightness of the Father. Tears and joy.

  14. Not shining too much here lately..... :O(

  15. Ouch, great quote Karen! Polishing is better than self pity or even procrastination! Thanks!

  16. Lydia,
    Works in progress, aren't we? :)

    Love your comparison! Used to listen to Manilow, and still have an occasional song go through my head.

    But there's still time! We all have slower seasons, and that's okay. :)

    Yes, you do have a point there! I think of it as a goal, something to push us forward, you know?

    Blessings all,

  17. Some spit, polish and good ol' vocabulary.

  18. Karen, you have no idea how this post speaks to me. My personal life-philosophy is "SHINE"--like the Newsboys song. Have you heard it? I love thinking I can take that and apply it to my writing! :-)

  19. I make excuses far too often. Thank you for all you inspiring quotes

  20. Hi Karen -

    When I look back at my early attempts at writing, I shudder. Many workshops, critiques, blog posts, and craft books help me to see the error of my ways and make the corrections.

    Susan :)

  21. Sally,
    Yes! And where would we be without all of that?

    I have, and was actually listening to their CD this afternoon! How cool is that, amigo? :D

    I think it's an easy thing to do. I know I do! Glad you liked the quote.

    Susan R.,
    Me too. :) Thankfully we have all these great resources! :)

    Blessings all my "S" girls,

  22. Good question. Sometimes I read poetry, it brings out the rythm in my writing. Sometimes I read the chapter outloud; my inner ear hears what's wrong. Other times, I read my favourite authors. Their awesomeness makes me try harder.

    Have a wonderful weekend, Karen. BTW, Which team are you cheering for?

  23. Great quote.

    I think the key is going over it about 3 more times than you want to. =)

    India Drummond

  24. *rubs manuscript* Ahem. Oh sorry amigo, I was polishing this MS to make it all sparkly and shiny.

    I think we need the help of more than just one crit partner. We need betas and we need someone in that age bracket to read it too. If I want to really see how my MG novel is going to be received, I let a twelve-thirteen year old read it as one of my betas. *resumes polishing*

    Happy weekend, coolio amigo. :-) (((hugs)))

  25. Joylene,
    Oh yes, I forgot about reading poetry, good tip! You're a smart cookie. :) My team is the Philadelphia Flyers. Perhaps our teams will meet when east and west face off!

    Thanks! Yes, I think you're right about that! :) Thanks for dropping over.

    Yes, I think you are right. Good thing you have those shades so you can tolerate the shine! Hugs, amigo!

    Happy weekend all,

  26. Boy, Karen...I don't have a super-scientific formula for how I make a column or a post just shine. I think I go by ear, if that makes any sense. I do go polish and tweak as I'm going along and then as I'm typing it up (speaking of the column), so I guess that's how I take my polishing cloth to it.

    Good question!

  27. I prune and cut and hack and hew and pray and groan and read it aloud and cut some more, until I can say, "That is the best I can do with the brain I have."

    But I don't stop there. I read writing craft books, go to conferences, and read blogs about how to improve. It never ends. I will never say, "I know it all." Shoot me if I do, okay?

  28. I think that's it exactly. I would like to say my words come out perfect the first time but that's just not so.

  29. Love this. It takes a lot of elbow grease to work up a good shine on my end, lol. :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  30. Polishing the same manuscript certainly gets old, but the ones that shine have an exhausted writer behind them.

  31. Sad to say, I've done both! Live and learn, right?

  32. Rhonda,
    I'd have to say your writing is pretty shiny when I read it. You must be doing something right!

    I hear you! Sounds about like me. And yes, I will let you know if you go off that deep end. I doubt you will, though!

    I know, he says it so well! Mine don't come out perfect either. I'm thinking this is one way to build patience. :)

    Yeah, me too. I'm thinking I need to buy elbow grease by the 5 gallon buckets!

    LOL, yes, you're probably right! But it's a good kind of tired, I'm thinking.

    Oh yeah, me too! That's for sure. :)


  33. Hi Karen .. now I realise what that final brush up would be like .. I write and hit publish and then perhaps correct mini errors I see .. but just hope to luck that people enjoy what they read .. I have learnt to appreciate authors a lot more .. since I blog around!!

    Cheers Hilary

  34. OK, so now I have this song running through my head: "I'm gonna let it shine; this little heart of mine ..."

    Oh that every word, every act (and undertaking) of my life would be of the sort of excellence that shines.

    Great reminders!


  35. Hmm--I think by polishing and throwing out some words, and trying to be me:)

  36. Hilary,
    I agree, and I think the more we rub elbows with writers, the more we can shine!

    And when we shine through Him, we succeed! Okay, now I have that song going through my head!

    I think you hit on a good point - being "Me", I think, is part of the process. :)


  37. Lots of edits. And critique buddies. Need them!

  38. Catching up my friend. I'm just happy if I get words on paper, dull or bright their still mine :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  39. Theresa,
    Yes, what would we do without them? Edits and crit partners, that is. :)

    Good to see you. You know, getting them on paper is half, if not more of the battle!


  40. Karen,
    I am so glad you stopped over to my blog on Tues or I wouldn't have found your blog from Monday.

    I especially like this particular posting. The one from MAY 2 is good too - but this one really stood out to me - thank you for sharing it with us. I am about to see what I can do to follow your blog regularly.
    BTW - Your ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD and the CREATIVE WRITER AWARD above it are especially dear to my heart. I typed part of my first novel on a Royal typewriter - yes, the old, old ones and my business card has an ink well with the quill and scroll on it.
    I am a tea lover - my favorite is English Breakfast Tea with cream cheese and strawberry jam scones.
    You have some pretty great friends and followers to be handing out those sweet awards!
    Joyfully watching for more from you, Karen

  41. Joy,
    Thanks for your sweet and kind words! It's a pleasure to meet you and I enjoyed my visit at your blog. I will be back to see you!


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Have a blessed day!