Wednesday: The Grade

The Grade

This contest challenges our following writers to fix these offending lines. To participate, simply post a “before” line and an “after” line from your writing. If you’d rather not show your personal growth, just work on the lines provided below. The follower with the best rewrite will win an edit of their work for up to 1000 words! I know it might be easy to pick on Twilight, but I can’t help it. Rather, I refuse to help it. Here is a line from Stephenie Meyer’s New Moon:

No matter how I tried to distract myself—and I had plenty to think of: I was honestly and desperately worried about Jacob and his wolf-brothers, I was terrified for Charlie and the others who thought they were hunting animals, I was getting in deeper and deeper with Jacob without ever having consciously decided to progress in that direction and I didn’t know what to do about it—none of these very real, very deserving of thought, very pressing concerns could take my mind off the pain in my chest for long.

Post your entries in the comments below!

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Wednesday: Before Editing and After

Before Editing and After

Today’s installment of BEA comes courtesy of ANONYMOUS.

“Oh please, Grant. You know, you’re right to be ashamed of yourself, you tracksuit-wearing hypocrite. Not because you’re a hypocrite, but because you’re too fucking afraid to admit it. And isn’t that just a bit mad? Brother, you’ve killed more than the number of times you’ve fucked your wife.”

“Oh, please, Grant. You’re just a hypocrite in a tracksuit. You’re right to be ashamed of yourself—you can’t even admit it! And isn’t that mad, Brother? You’ve done more killing than fucking.”

How would you have rewritten it? Put your answers in the comments below!

Would you like a free paragraph-edit? To be featured in Before Editing and After, send your passage of up to 150 words (along with your name and a link to your webspace) to Blog@CiceroGrade.com. Thanks!

Friday: Writing Rules

Writing Rules

1. Dialogue should be brief.

2. It should add to the reader’s present knowledge.

3. It should eliminate the routine exchanges of ordinary conversation.

4. It should convey a sense of spontaneity but eliminate the repetitiveness of real talk.

5. It should keep the story moving forward.

6. It should be revelatory of the speaker’s character, both directly and indirectly.

7. It should show the relationships among people.

Elizabeth Bowen

What are your writing rules? Do they fit under Cicero Grade‘s Rule One?

Wednesday: The Grade

The GradeWelcome to the newest installment of Cicero Grade’s editing contest: The Grade! Even the best writers produce some cringe-worthy lines. The measure of a writer lies in what he or she does about it. This contest challenges our following writers to fix these offending lines. To participate, simply post a “before” line and an “after” line from your writing. If you’d rather not show your personal growth, just work on the lines provided below. The follower with the best rewrite will win an edit of their work for up to 1000 words!

This week’s line comes to us courtesy of my new favorite thing, the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest:

It wasn’t sour grapes – Clementine knew that her parents just plum disapproved of her Kiwi lover; try as she might to explain that the love between the pair was all peachy, she might as well have been comparing apples to oranges, so although she was bananas for him, and the ring was certainly no lemon, she was forced to reply to his “Honey, do you?” with a mournful “You know I just can’t elope.”

-Kevin Hogg

I don’t know if I like this one because it’s full of clichés, or if I’m just stoked ‘cos I understand all the puns. Post your entries in the comments below!

Wednesday: A Call to Edit

Call To Edit

Often, mid-edit, I’ll pick up on a pattern of overuse or misuse. I’ll have to go back through the story and edit all of the instances of overuse or misuse that I’m newly aware of. Today, we’re talking about misuse with Tyler Vendetti‘s list of commonly misused words!

One word I’m particularly embarrassed about misusing is when I used “pour” for “pore,” as in, “He poured over ancient tomes.” As soon as I learned I was wrong, I corrected it: He pored over ancient tomes.

I’m sure we’ve all misused one of these. I’m a little confused about 3, but I guess that happens. Oh, and my aunt is particularly fond of using 7. Ahem. Click on the picture to see this words list on Hello Giggles!

Wednesday: Before Editing and After

Before Editing and After

Before Editing and After highlights writing that may not be bad originally, but that has improved after Cicero Grade’s suggestions. Sometimes we stumble upon writing somewhere on the Internet and offer a few suggestions to the author privately. The piece is available to the public (at least at the time of publication here), and we never post more than a few lines. If the authors change the availability of their piece, or they ask we take down their writing here, we will do so. It is meant as a learning tool.

We thank Anonymous for sharing a bit of her prologue.

Before:

Sniffing, I could smell the sweet perfume she wore. Glancing around the corner, she appeared into my line of vision. A pretty girl, with sun-blonde hair pulled tightly back. She stared over her shoulder, as if something was lurking in the shadows. A hint of fear spread in her eyes.
And fear was what I enjoyed the most.

After:

I could smell her sweet perfume. She didn’t see me when she glanced around the corner, and she walked on, peeking over her shoulder. She was pretty–young and blonde–but that wasn’t why I chose her; it was in her eyes, spreading to her beating heart, to her clutching hands, to her quick steps.

It was fear.

How would you have rewritten it? Put your answers in the comments below!

Would you like a free paragraph-edit? To be featured in Before Editing and After, send your passage of up to 150 words (along with your name and a link to your webspace) to Blog@CiceroGrade.com. Thanks!

Wednesday: The Grade

The Grade

Cicero Grade would like to introduce its editing contest: The Grade! Even the best writers produce some cringe-worthy lines. The measure of a writer lies in what he or she does about it. This contest challenges our following writers to fix these offending lines. To participate, simply post a “before” line and an “after” line from your writing. If you’d rather not show your personal growth, just work on the lines provided below. The follower with the best rewrite will win an edit of their work for up to 1000 words!

The lines in question come from Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk to Remember:

A sad smile crossed her face, and I knew right then what she was trying to tell me. Her eyes never left mine as she finally said the words that numbed my soul.
I’m dying, Landon.