Monday, 21 September 2015

The Dragon Tempest Blog Tour: Featuring Allison D. Reid

Allison D. Reid was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her love for medieval fantasy was sparked by the Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis, which fed both her imagination and her spiritual development. When at the age of thirteen her family moved to Germany, her passion for medieval history and legend only increased, and she found herself captivated by the ancient towns and castles of Europe.

Allison returned to the United States to study art and writing at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. She earned her B.A. under the tutelage of the well-renowned and prolific writer Andrew Salkey, a student of her other great inspiration, and the father of fantasy, J. R. R. Tolkien. After graduating from Hampshire College, Allison moved to Connecticut. There she got the opportunity to attend seminary and further explore her faith before returning to her home state of Ohio.

Allison now lives in the Miami Valley area with her husband and children. She continues to work on her first published series while taking care of her family, editing for other independent writers, and managing a home business.

Contact the Author



About Dragon Tempest


The Dragon Tempest offers a collection of short stories in a variety of fantasy genres, including dark, light, adventure, and epic. Creatures from all worlds abound: dragons, angels, centaurs, witches, gods and goddesses, and those lurking below the water’s surface. Whether you’re moved by tales of battle and bloodshed, suspense, humor, or enlightenment, The Dragon Tempest will leave you craving more from each author. Such a diversity of great fantasy tales to enjoy will leave no room for disappointment.

Judges

Allison D. Reid
KJ Hawkins
D.B. Mauldin
Joshua Robertson

1st Place Winners

Christine King
Katie Roxberry
Winter Bayne
Jane Dougherty
Wilson F. Engel, III

2nd Place Winners

Christine Haggerty
Randall Lemon
Deborah Jean Anderson
J. Abram Barneck
Louise Findlay

3rd Place Winners

Samuel Milner
Karen Brown

Buy The Dragon Tempest on AmazonSmashwordsiTunesBarnes & Noble, and it is also available in print on Createspace.


Allison's Other Work


A Short Story in The Magical Muse which can be purchased on Smashwords


Journey to Aviad


Threatening clouds and fierce storms besiege the city of Tyroc. More frequent and powerful than ordinary storms, young Elowyn, a weaver’s daughter living in the outskirts of the city, senses something disturbing and unnatural about them. She soon realizes that the storms are but a warning sign of much more frightening things yet to come.

Terrifying wolf-like creatures emerge from the depths of the wilderness at the bidding of a dark master. His name found only among the crumbling pages of ancient texts, the re-appearance of Alazoth and his Hounds is a dark omen for the people of Tyroc and beyond. Only legends remain of the heroes and prophets whose blood was shed ages ago to banish him into the abyss, which should have remained his prison for all time. How he has been released is a mystery, but all the old stories agree that death and destruction are sure to follow.

With the Hounds inching closer each day, the city of Tyroc caught up in religious and political turmoil, and her home life no less turbulent, Elowyn has nothing left to rely on but her meager courage and a budding faith in Aviad, the Creator. She and her sister, Morganne, set out on a remarkable journey that challenges everything they have ever known about themselves, the world, and the path that Aviad has laid out for them.

Get it on Barnes & Noble and Smashwords


You can also find a complete listing of Allison's book on her Amazon Author Page


The Challenges of Self-Editing: Producing a Quality Manuscript without an Editor


Whether you intend to self-publish, look for an agent, or submit your manuscript directly to a traditional publisher, editing is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your book is taken seriously. No matter how interesting your story is, or how passionate you are about telling it, a manuscript riddled with errors will turn off prospective publishers and readers alike.

Hiring a professional editor with good references is, of course, highly recommended. Many talented writers struggle with basic grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Even those who don’t will still have difficulty editing their own work because they are too close to it. Ever read the same paragraph so many times that your brain fills in what “should” be there rather than what is actually there? It happens to everyone. But readers will catch the mistake even if you don’t, which is not what you want when your name is on the cover of the book.

What if you simply cannot afford an editor? Should you toss aside your pen and give up on all your dreams of becoming a published author? Definitely not! There are still plenty of things you can do to ensure you’re presenting the best manuscript possible. As someone who is both an author and editor, I am happy to share a few self-editing tips that really work. Just don’t expect to catch everything in one read-through, and don’t do a rush job. Editing is a multi-step process that requires a lot of time and patience, which is one of the reasons why professional editing costs so much!

  • Do separate edits for proofreading and comprehensive editing. 
Proofreading is limited to checking for proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Comprehensive editing looks for things like story flow and organization, inconsistencies, repetitiveness, plot holes, weak writing, and character development issues. This part of the process may require re-writing or even stripping out whole sections of your story that aren’t working. Trying to focus on comprehensive editing and proofreading at the same time is like trying to follow two different television programs at once. You will inevitably lose focus on one while you’re paying attention to the other and miss crucial elements.

  • Use an editing checklist.
There are lots of different checklists out there on the internet for writers and editors. Some deal with straight editing and formatting issues, some go into plot and character development, constructing well organized chapters, or other aspects of the writing process. Know your weakness as a writer/editor and find a checklist that will help you address that weakness.

  • Don’t edit when you’re tired or emotional.
Good editing takes calm, focus, and a rational, objective state of mind. Never try to edit when you are tired, stressed, emotional, distracted, rushed, or otherwise mentally impaired. This can greatly affect what you find, the changes you make, and how you feel about your work as a whole. If you are feeling overly critical toward your piece, set it aside for another day so that you don’t get discouraged, or get a second opinion from someone you trust to be honest with you. Your critical mood might be a reflection of something else going on in your life, and not related to your writing at all.

  • Don’t always read on screen. 
With computers this is tempting. After all, paper and printer ink cost money, and bulky manuscripts take up space. But I guarantee you will find different kinds of errors on the printed page than you find when you are reading on a screen. Just have your computer version handy so that you can make quick edits as you go. This will save you time and headaches. Also, read out loud every once in a while. If a paragraph or sentence is difficult or confusing to say, it probably still needs some work.

  • Watch your tenses and point of view.
One of the most common issues I find when editing for others is shifting tenses and point of view. Correcting these issues can be very frustrating and time consuming, but are absolutely necessary. Most stories can be comfortably written in past tense (was, had, etc.), third person point of view (he, she, they, etc.). Present tense can lend speed and excitement to a story, but is difficult to sustain throughout a long piece of writing. First person writing has the advantage of being very personal. However, you are limited to the feelings, knowledge, and experiences of one character. Deciding what tense and point of view works best for your particular story is up to you. But once you decide, you need to stick with it and be consistent.

  • Use your word processor’s grammar and spell check…with caution.
Most of us agree that the grammar checkers in our word processing software programs are mediocre at best. Every once in a while, use them anyway, just to see what they find. Spell checkers are important too, but don’t rely on them too heavily. They will not tell you if you’re using the wrong word (bare vs. bear for instance). Both are spelled right, and they sound the same, but they obviously have very different meanings.

  • That being said, good writing is not only about grammar.
Make sure that your sentences vary in length and rhythm. Change up your word choices to keep the writing interesting, and eliminate redundancies. If you feel like you’re using certain words and phrases too much, you probably are. Do a quick search in your word processing software to find out. Don’t be afraid to expand your vocabulary, and remember that the thesaurus gives words of similar meaning. Not every word it gives you will be interchangeable. If you are not sure about the nuances behind a word’s meaning, look it up in the dictionary before you use it.

  • Look up what you don’t know.
If you’re writing about a specific place or time in history, or your characters have special skills or knowledge that you don’t, do some homework rather than make assumptions or skimp on details. A good editor will always check your facts to a reasonable extent, but if you are self-editing, you will have to take responsibility for this on your own. If you really struggle with grammar, punctuation, and spelling, invest in a style book, like The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, or even The Chicago Manual of Style, which is what professional fiction editors typically use as a reference. There are also relatively inexpensive online courses you can take to help you improve your writing and editing skills.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. 
Use beta readers. Ask friends, relatives, other writers, or anyone else who takes an interest in your writing to voice their opinions. You don’t have to agree with every proposed change, but don’t be thin-skinned about the feedback you get either. When someone takes the time to read your writing, view their suggestions as an opportunity to make your work the best it can possibly be. Nobody’s perfect.

  • Read your chapter or story backwards—literally! 
This is a good exercise for the end of your editing process, when you’re trying to catch those final stray errors that keep eluding you. When your mind isn’t automatically filling in what it thinks should be there, your brain can more easily notice the things that shouldn’t be there.

  • Know when it’s time to quit.
You’ve read and refined your piece so many times you’ve lost count. You’ve run out of beta readers, friends, and relatives. You’ve scoured the internet for tips and tricks, and have used them all. Now it is time to just let go and give yourself a break. Even professional editors will tell you that you’ll never find every single mistake, and as you grow and mature as a writer, there will always be things you want to go back and change. But you can’t hang onto a single piece of writing forever. At some point it will be time to publish your piece, pat yourself on the back for a job well done, and move on to the next challenge…probably marketing. But that is a topic for a whole different article.

1 comment:

  1. Great post on self-editing, Allison. I'm lucky enough to have some author friends who have a better grasp of grammar than I do who'll edit for me.

    ReplyDelete

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