Tuesday, August 26, 2014

New Enrichment Classes Coming Soon!

We have some great Enrichment classes starting VERY soon! Have you had an opportunity to register for any of the great titles below?

- Building Butter cream Skills (Wilton 
  Course 1) #11871 $69 starts September 8 (4xs)
- Understanding Your Auto Insurance,  

  #11879 No fee, must pre-register, starts 
   September 9 (1x)
- Let's Speak Spanish, #11910, $99, (6xs), 

  starts September 10
- Beginning Tap Dance, #11843, $45 (4xs), 

  starts September 11 
- Welding, # 10998, $439 (16xs), starts September 16 

Register today at www.bscenrichment.com or call us at 701-224-5600!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

How to Edit and Find Good Editors

by Tempe O'Kun, Veteran Enrichment Instructor

At least once a month, a fan emails me to ask if I'd proofread their story. When I explain I won't have time, they protest that they can't find a good editor. Here's the secret: often, the best way to get a good editor is to be a good editor for someone else. Find another writer who needs an editor and swap drafts. 

How to Edit Things
I recommend using Google Docs for short stories or chapters and Dropbox for entire books. Email and paper work too, but I find them easy to lose track of, especially with multiple drafts. Also, in the document title, include a date or version number—possibly the editor's name too. G Docs has great suggestion and comment tools, so use those. If you're working in any other word processor, I recommend using [square brackets and bold or color]. These can't be confused for anything else at a glance and can be searched for. The last thing you want are forgotten comments sneaking into a final draft. 

The reason I shy away from features like Word's "track changes" is because I've repeatedly had it not translate across various versions of Word and/or other word processors. I also favor the [square brackets and bold] option for editors who are less tech-savvy. 

Know What the Writer Wants
Ask the writer what they're looking for and if they're in any hurry to wrap the project. While there's a whole spectrum of how in-depth one can go when copyediting a piece, your efforts will fall into two basic categories. 

Light Editing — Light editing means marking things that are technically wrong, either grammatically or factually. This type of editing is usually needed when a deadline is approaching (for a class or publication). Don't worry about how you'd write the story. Don't worry about style. Your only job is to eliminate any error that will draw the reader out of the moment. A good rule of thumb is that no comment of yours should take more than about 10 seconds to write. Some examples include:
- Extra spaces/line breaks.
- Inconsistent use of double-spaces or smart quotes.
- Missing commas.
- Extra commas.
- Word-swap typos. 
- Facts/names/details changing between scenes.
- Changes in POV/tense.
- No, seriously, double-check the commas. 

Heavy Editing — Heavy editing means getting into the structure of the story, plus everything in the light edit. This type of editing is more helpful in the end, even if it takes the writer longer implement it. This means you should call your writer out on anything you think they could do better. Examples: 
- Lack of sensory detail. 
- Over-usage of words/phrases.
- Repetitive/confusing sentence structure. 
- Plot holes. 
- Inconsistencies in tone/style.
- Anything stupid or annoying. 

Play Nice
In addition, I find it very helpful to tag sections I found really strong and explain why. No matter how confident the writer is, you're still listing off things wrong with something they've spent hours pouring their heart and soul into. You don't have to blindly praise every little thing, but pointing out what they're doing well will keep them from getting too depressed to finish editing. Besides, I'll encourage them to be gentler in their edits of your work.
On a related note, always offer suggestions for how to fix issues, rather than just saying they're wrong/annoying. "Rewrite this paragraph" tells the author nothing and will leave them flailing around in a pit of despair while they try to figure out why it failed to meet your standards. "Add more sensory details" or "Tell us what she's thinking here" are massively more helpful comments, as they give the writer a roadmap to fixing the problem.

Expect Reasonable Effort
An editor's job is to be a fresh set of eyes on a project, not to clean up authorial laziness. The writer should be handing you the most polished piece they can manage. Here are some things you should always expect (and deliver on, when it's your partner's turn to edit):
- Spell-checked text.
- Actual sentences. 
- Proper punctuation. 
- Readable formatting. 

Know what you're talking about.
English is a complex and weird beast, so don't worry if you're a little fuzzy on the rules. Google the Grammar Girl podcast for any topics that you're unsure on as they come up—they're short, memorable, and to-the-point. Consider taking an editing class at your local college; I found this extremely useful as both a writer and an editor.

Like the information Tempe has to share? Consider joining him for a class in the near future. This fall he will be leading:

Class ID
Class Name
Start Date
Getting Published
Write Your Novel
Write-Your-Own Adventure! An Intro to Interactive Storytelling

 Visit www.bscenrichment.com for more information or to register!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Fall Enrichment Registration is Here!

The fall Enrichment catalog will be arriving in your mailbox soon! REGISTER NOW by viewing a list of upcoming classes on our website, www.bscenrichment.com

Invite a friend or family member to register with you and take advantage of all of the new classes we have this fall. These classes include:

A German Favorite: Cheese Buttons!
Creative Crochet: Chevron Infinity Scarf
Time Matters: A Woman's Retirement Outlook
Reflexology: a Relaxation Technique

and many more! We can't wait to see you in class!

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