Monday, September 24, 2012

Prrroof Reading

Very true! Good poofreading is essential

Recently I was asked to proofread a novel that is close to publication. I noticed that as I got into the story, I had to stop myself from just reading the story and go back to reading word for word and do the job I had been set.

I tend to only read a few pages at a time and focus on multiple things while proofreading, as that seems to help me pick up more than if I continue reading for extended periods of time.

I have noticed with my critique partners, they miss more errors, when my story picks up the pace and some (absolutely wonderful and amazing) action takes place.

If you are a reader and not a writer, do you notice errors in the slower parts of novels just as much as you notice them in the fast action packed part? Or do errors stand out more so, in the dragging, not so interesting parts?

When you are critiquing someone else’s work, how do you stay focused on the task at hand and not miss any mistakes or possible improvements when the story picks up pace?

If you are an editor or proof reader, do you have any tips?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mental Illness - are you on the spectrum?

Over the past few months I've read three non-fiction books about people living with mental illnesses. 

Living with Max By Chloe MaxwellLiving With Max by Chloe Maxwell ~ I laughed and I cried
′It feels terrible for your son to want to hurt you so bad that you bleed, and to look into his beautiful eyes and see nothing but hatred. What mother could deal with that? Not me, that′s for sure. I loved my son, but I was no longer sure whether I was the right mother for this job.′

Chloe Maxwell seemed to be living the dream: discovered at sixteen as a model, she went on to become a household name as a TV personality. Then she met rugby star Mat Rogers and a great romance was born.

Inside, though, Chloe was fighting her own demons: her parents′ separation in her teens had led to a deep sense of insecurity. Then Mat′s father, football legend Steve Rogers, died after taking prescription drugs and alcohol.

Chloe treated her wounds with an ′alcohol Band-aid′ until the birth of Mat and Chloe′s son, Max, heralded a new beginning. But it soon became clear that Max was not like other boys: the few words he learned faded away, his rages transcended any regular toddler tantrums, and he seemed to exist in a bubble, cut off from everyone.

Heartbreakingly honest and moving, LIVING WITH MAX is the story of how Chloe and her family learned to face the challenges of autism and release the little boy locked within.

Me and Her - a memoir of madness by Karen Tyrrell ~ I felt her crazy moments! 
ME AND HER: a Memoir of Madness reveals how Karen Tyrrell, a dedicated Australian teacher is repeatedly harassed by parents at her school to breaking point and beyond. In a fit of desperation, she escapes and runs. Police and medical professionals discover her hiding in a lonely motel, forcing her into the frightening world of the psychiatric system. The reader is taken back to the classroom, discovering how the harassment affected Karen as we journey through her gradual decline and disintegration leading to her incarceration. Later Karen performs an 'experiment', purposefully stressing over a disturbed student, keeping herself awake at night - all in order to kick-start the creative ideas she craves. Karen reveals her psychic relationship with her psychologist, her pitch-black manic dreams and her two personas. ME wife, mother, writer and teacher. HER manic, psychic, healer to the living, telepathic to the dead, and she's very psychotic. Why did she become so crazy? How did she claw her way back from Insanity?

No Way Out But ThroughNo Way But Through by Graham Aitchison ~ challenged me - in a good way.
No Way Out But Through is the written account of Graham Aitchison's journey from mental illness to a true sense of clarity and peace. This book takes the reader through the darkest parts of Graham's soul through the various tools and thinking methods he has used to help himself to heal and into a realm of insight that can only come through surviving the darkest parts of life itself.

I noticed while I was reading these books, that triggers in my own life were set off. The last, No Way but Through, took a while to read because it opened my mind to many of my own personal issues. 
Do I have any of these mental illnesses that I've been reading about… umm.. no… but perhaps I'm on many spectrums.
Seriously… where does the spectrum start and stop?
Living with me is hard enough – but, while reading, I kept coming back to the thought – imagine if my children (I’m sure they have inherited too much of me), my husband or I were on the extreme end of one of the spectrums.
Mental illness isn't obvious. Most people suffering from disorders or problems look perfectly normal. But daily life can be a challenge for them.
What has reading these three books done for me?
I am encouraged to show more love and respect for anyone and everyone living with challenges of any kind.
People do come out of the illnesses to live very normal lives.
I'll continue to pray for miracle healings

book blurbs copied from Goodreads

Monday, September 3, 2012

If a tree falls?

If and when a tree falls in your life
Who hears?
The forest…
The community…
The suburb…
The nation…
Or just the animals?

Who needs to hear?
I guess it depends on if the tree falls over a hiking path.
Who wants to hear?
Perhaps the wildlife rangers.

When a tree falls in your life… or when you have a major train wreck – who hears about it?
Do you alert your friends, family, the community or nations?
Social media has change our lives in many ways. We can tell the world (our online contacts) about every issue in our lives, both the important and not so important.

It isn't an easy decision to make - when do we tell the world or when should we hold that fallen tree close. It’s often not a right or a wrong decision, but it is a decision to make. 
It's something I've been pondering over.

Who will hold your arms up when you don’t think you can carry on?
Who will help you bury the past? Who will help you move on?