Blogging Part 2: Editing Your Own Blog Post

images

*This could be seen as an extension of  my previous blogging post so I’m treating it as a part 2.  And just to let you know, I am not an expert.*

Self editing is a big bone of contention for me.  As  a writer, whether said writer is professional or amateur, we are more used to the actual act of putting our thoughts and fancies on the page and not double or triple checking our output. It seems that when we edit our own work, we tend to miss the more obvious mistakes while looking for the more eclectic ones.

For example: recently I uploaded a post that I had taken ages to edit. *”Ages” to me means more than three passes over the article, it doesn’t really equate to a real time.*  Once I was satisfied that every thing looked okay, I posted it. Only to cringe with embarrassment when I first read the posted product. My first sentence had a word missing!

Face Palm moment.

Of course one of the great things about WordPress is that we can always go back and re-edit our stuff after we’ve posted it. But that really isn’t what we should be doing. We should do a decent edit before we send our baby out to be read by strangers (and friends) who will most likely not be impressed by the fact that we cannot spell or write an intelligent  sentence.

I don’t read other blogs nearly as much as I should. I am, by my very nature, lazy. I only have so much energy and attention span available to me and I have to share it with everything from doing the housework to taping a video for YouTube. So in my mind three passes is the longest that I can take to edit my own written material.

But when I do read other blogs, I cringe when I see a barrage of misspellings and sentences that have great holes in them where a word should be. Now I will admit that I have an almost phobic distaste for writers who cannot get the difference between to, two and too. I also have real problems with those who cannot differentiate between their, there and they’re.

*My most cringeworthy moment came when I’d incorrectly used their instead of they’re. I was mortified.*

With the use of spell checker software that is available, not just on WordPress, but on every word processing software in the world, I find it inconceivable that these common mistakes still appear on people’s blogs and (I’m sad to say) their books. I know that I have not followed a blog that has been full of spelling mistakes and despite the content being fantastic, I couldn’t in all honesty follow someone who did not care enough about what they wrote to edit it properly.

Editing is boring and tedious. Why is this chap smiling.
Editing is boring and tedious. Why is this chap smiling.

Granted we are writers and not editors, the two things are not mutually inclusive. Being good at one does not automatically mean you are good at the other. But, and this is a big but, we have to make that effort. If we don’t take ourselves seriously enough to send out a polished product when we upload, how can we expect anyone else to. (and that is to not too or two)

And we do want to be taken seriously, don’t we? The blogging world is full of people who can write just as well as we can and a lot more folks who can write better.  A lot of successful bloggers don’t just add pictures and videos and GIF‘S (that’s for you Tyson) they add a professional touch that includes ruthless editing.

Editing Tips:

1) Try reading the blogpost in reverse order. It’s a lot easier to spot boo-boo’s that way.

2) Have a trusted person read the post. My daughter used to do this for me and me for her. It works.

3) Try reading the post out loud. A lot of times this will save you from making sentencing mistakes.

4) Leave your post alone for a bit. Go do something that is not writing related and then come back, the mistakes will sometimes leap off that page at you.

5) Take your time. There is no rush. No-one is breathing over your shoulder screaming hurry up.

6) Last one I promise. Try reading it in preview mode (WordPress). I find mistakes show more clearly on preview.

Now following these tips is no guarantee that your future blog posts will be mistake free. But they will go a long way toward making it read more smoothly and improving the look of it.

I do feel that standards are slipping. I’ve read no less than three Freshly Pressed articles that were “shot-gunned” through with misspellings. Great stories all, but to read? I kept stumbling over misspelt words and it took the enjoyment out of the article. Just as it takes the enjoyment out of posting my own articles and discovering that I’d either turned word-check off, or I hadn’t bothered to really edit properly.

Just things like using the wrong “tense” or the wrong adverb or adjective can throw the reader out of the moment or cause them to miss your point. This can lose you views, followers and the confidence you need to continue writing.

We owe it to the good people who take the time to read, like, or comment on our babies. More importantly we owe it to ourselves. Because  we are writers, damn it and we are proud of that fact.

Do you have any editing tips that work for you? If so, please feel more than free to share them. We’d love to hear them, I know I can use all the help I can get.

What we do.
What we do.

Stranded aka Djinns (2010): Desert Deja Vu?

Djinns (film)

That this French film made little to no impact on the world of cinema is evident by the overwhelming lack of information on the internet. Both IMDb and Wikipedia have very short ‘blurbs’ on the film apart from a shorthand version of the story/plot and a cast list.

I can’t really understand why. It is a decent enough film in a small niche market of military horror. Yes, it has been done before and arguably better.

The South Koreans with the brilliant (and in my humble opinion the best of the lot) R-Point in 2004 followed closely by the 2008 film The Guard Post. Not only has Korea created this cross-genre but by making two military-horror films one after the other seems  to prove that they have mastered this niche genre.

The UK brought out Deathwatch in 2002 and Stranded reminded me of the film with the choice of colours and the muted desert tones that pervade the film. A not too dissimilar plotline and cast of characters  made the film  seem a bit  like a distant cousin to Deathwatch.

Written and directed by Hugues Martin, and Sandra Martin, Stranded is  the maiden voyage for the both of them and they acquit themselves well. The actors were mostly unknown to me as I am not a huge French film fan. I did recognise Cyril Raffaelli who is perhaps better known as a stuntman and stunt coordinator. He played the lead role in Luc Besson’s excellent District 13 and the sequel District 13: Ultimatum (Cyril was the stunt choreographer for both films) and he was a ‘baddy’ in Die Hard 4.0.

The film opens with a lone figure in a military uniform staggering down a highway surrounded by desert. The figure is carrying an aluminium briefcase with a handcuff on it. At one point he fires his weapon, an SMG, wildly and then collapses. He is rescued by more French military personnel and they begin to question him about the briefcase and where the rest of his squad is.

One week before the survivor along with the rest of his squad were sent out into the desert to find an airplane that had crashed and to look for any passengers who might still be alive. The squad have all been together for a while except for the newest member who was recently drafted into the military. This newcomer is Michel (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet) and he has brought along a spring operated cine camera to film their desert search for the missing plane.

Once the squad have found the plane, they find all the bodies bar two and an aluminium briefcase that has been handcuffed to one of the passengers. Vacard (Thierry Frémont) hacks the dead man’s hand off to take possession of the case. Thierry plays Vacard with a mix of cold professionalism with just a hint (at first) of homicidal madness that really makes him stand out in the film.

After the men have collected the corpses from the plane Michel  arranges his comrades around the area and he starts directing and  filming them. Just as he gets started one of the men is shot and the remaining squad members take cover and begin returning fire.

Vacard kills one of the attackers and the men take advantage of this to escape the plane and head off into the desert. A sandstorm blows in and slows down their escape and hinders the attackers from following them easily. While they have camped for the night during the storm Ballant (Emmanuel Bonami) appears to be approached by some almost invisible creature.

Michel witnesses this and he watches as Ballant tries to steal the briefcase and after failing he wanders off into the storm.  While the squad are looking for Ballant the stumble across a village. The men enter the village and round-up all the occupants accidentally killing a girl in the process.

Michel is approached by the village’s ‘holy woman’ and she tell him that he can see the Djinn (creatures of the desert) and that he has been marked as a ‘holy man.’

Since the film was originally titled Djinns it is no real surprise when these desert creatures start taking over and influencing the dwindling number of French soldiers.

The film was atmospheric, moody and slightly eerie. The actors all did a good job and there was a plot twist at the end. So really I don’t get why it was so poorly received. I felt it was entertaining, if not too original, but to be fair there were only a few military-horror films that  came out prior to this film’s release.

I would recommend seeing it just because it does entertain well. It got a little confusing at one point, but that’s because I stopped reading the subtitles while I answered an email or two. It did not spoil the film, however, and I soon picked the loose plot thread back up.

It is currently on show via LOVEFILM in the UK and I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to find in a film rental shop.

My final verdict is that despite the initial poor reception, it’s definitely worth a watch. Even if you don’t get to see Cyril Raffaelli do any smooth parkour moves.

District 13: Ultimatum
District 13: Ultimatum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Don’t read your old posts

Fun With Dick and Jane
Fun With Dick and Jane (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have learned the hard way that I shouldn’t read my old posts. Every time I do, I find something I don’t like about it. Or I’ll edit and re-edit the damn thing.

I can spend ages fiddling around with the sentence structure because on my second viewing I decide I put the comma‘s in the wrong spot or (God forbid) I didn’t use a comma at all where I should have.

Mind you, my nemesis is the comma. Well more accurately it is the ‘comma splice’ and all it’s annoying-ness. When I took Introduction to Writing at the University of Maryland it was my most common error.

My tutor would hand back my assignment with lots of little red circles scattered over the page like random holes made by a miniature shotgun blast. He would always tell me that I would have gotten the top grade on my little writing projects if I could just curb my incessant misuse of comma’s.

My excuse was always the same. “If I read the sentence in my head and I have to take an abstract, or metaphysical breath I insert a comma.” My tutor would shake his head at my ignorance and say, “Then stop breathing when you read or better still make your sentences shorter.”

I decided that short sentences were the answer. I became the Ernest Hemingway of English 101. Although to be honest I began to feel more like the author of the  “Dick and Jane” text books that occupy the first grade school library. Of course this Hemingway type of writing did not last long. In a very short time I was popping so many comma splices in my sentences that my tutor began to call me “Splicer.”

Ernest Hemingway in Milan, 1918

Eventually I mastered (a little) the use of the comma, but I still feel the overwhelming urge to insert them whenever I have to take a mental breath while reading the sentence. I graduated with a B average which was okay by me.

Comma splicer I might well be, but, I never dangled a participle or mixed up my tense’s. That would have been unforgivable.

YouTube. You’ve got how many…

 Preface: I know I said this was going to be blogs about films, but…So I lied. Okay??

I know I’ve written about YouTube before, but I have to admit it does fascinate me. I will also admit I’m a little bit addicted to it. I have two channels. One that I started actively using about a year ago, and a new one that I share with my daughter. I don’t do anything special, I just ramble on about films I like, on the old channel; my daughter and I both ramble on about films on the new channel. It’s fun.
My daughter started her channel about two(?) years ago, I think. She talks about computer games. The reason she started? She had just finished playing Heavy Rain (a very “outside the box” video game) and she loved it. She couldn’t wait to tell everyone about how great this game was. Unfortunatley, no one in her uni course had a PS3. She had about forty some odd classmates and after substancial amount kept asking her about the game, she said, “Wait a minute. Instead of telling the same thing forty some odd times, I’ll do a video on YouTube and talk about it once.”
The next thing she knew, she was getting a load of subscribers and she now has a hobby that takes up a lot of time. But she loves doing the videos, even the ones that are a bitch kitty to edit(re-edit).I’ll also mention very briefly that the name – Kawaiiprincess01, was made up when she started the channel at the age of 16. At that time she was fascinated by all things oriental, especially Japan. She did amend it a few times and now calls it Meg’s channel, but it still shows as Kawaiiprincess01. Kind of like my channel. When I opened an account in 2006, it was mainly so I could sub to channels I liked. It was supposed to be DADDII0 aka daddy-o, but somehow I screwed that up and it became daddii2. But that is part of the fun of YouTube, the names folks give their channels. Some funny, some ecletic and some downright weird.

I eventually started uploading videos to my first channel because I like to talk about films. My daughter kind of nagged me into it. I also game so some of the YouTube gaming community sort of adopted my little channel. I started the second channel because my daughter and I have pretty much the same taste in films(with the obvious exception of Moulin Rouge, which I cannot stand). I say little channel because that is what it is and will always remain so. Why?

Well, as much as I enjoy doing my vids I don’t have the patience to keep editing and re-editing the videos because of the crappy capability of the Windows Move Maker software for one. Secondly I am a little long in the tooth to become wildly popular and thirdly I don’t feel I bring too much to the table. Like I said, I talk about films I like. I am not the next Ebert or Siskel.

Don’t get me wrong, I love doing my videos for my little channels. I get excited every time I get a new subscriber and another video view. I also shake my head and wonder who on earth enjoys my ramblings?

But I do love YouTube, even with all the irritating things it does (especially now that Google has control of it). I am always amazed at the amount of views that my daughter gets on her channel and the amount of subscribers. I’m not saying that she doesn’t earn these, she does, but I look at other channels and I scratch my head (metaphorically scratch my metaphorical head) There are a load of channels out there that have millions of views and millions of subscribers. I sub and watch them as well. But looking at those numbers I always think the same thing. Where do all these folks come from and why do they sub who they do.

The answer is obvious of course. The channels that get that kind of response are good (for the most part) although there are some that I am still mystified as to why they are so big. But we’ll forget about those, I just want to talk about some of the good ones.

The Community Channel, RayWilliamJohnson, Nigahiga, KevJumba, ShaneDawson; well the list can go on and on  These talented folks work hard for their views and “subs” and it shows. My daughters channel, Kawaiiprincess01 is growing steadily(also quickly, I might add) and she works hard on her channel as well. But the whole thing has an unrealistic feel to it. I still look at her channel and the amount of subs and views she gets and always say the same thing. You’ve got how many?

I wrote in a previous blog that I felt that YouTube was turning into the new television. I still believe that to a degree, but I think it is in danger of getting boycotted by a lot of folks who just aren’t very happy with how Google is dicking around with the ‘Tube. They always say, “Don’t mess with success, If it ain’t broke don’t fix it…” You see where I’m heading with this, don’t you? Google wants to make money off their purchase (take-over) of YouTube, but they are screwing around with the subscriber counts and view counts on channels. It has now gotten to the point where I look at YouTube channels I am subbed to and think. “You’ve lost how many??

Still I am sure that once Google stop dicking everyone about, the growing pains and transition period will calm down and things will get back to normal. Until then I think I am going to have to do more vids so my “inactive” channel doesn’t get closed.

YouTube. You’ve got how many…

 Preface: I know I said this was going to be blogs about films, but…So I lied. Okay??

I know I’ve written about YouTube before, but I have to admit it does fascinate me. I will also admit I’m a little bit addicted to it. I have two channels. One that I started actively using about a year ago, and a new one that I share with my daughter. I don’t do anything special, I just ramble on about films I like, on the old channel; my daughter and I both ramble on about films on the new channel. It’s fun.
My daughter started her channel about two(?) years ago, I think. She talks about computer games. The reason she started? She had just finished playing Heavy Rain (a very “outside the box” video game) and she loved it. She couldn’t wait to tell everyone about how great this game was. Unfortunatley, no one in her uni course had a PS3. She had about forty some odd classmates and after substancial amount kept asking her about the game, she said, “Wait a minute. Instead of telling the same thing forty some odd times, I’ll do a video on YouTube and talk about it once.”
The next thing she knew, she was getting a load of subscribers and she now has a hobby that takes up a lot of time. But she loves doing the videos, even the ones that are a bitch kitty to edit(re-edit).I’ll also mention very briefly that the name – Kawaiiprincess01, was made up when she started the channel at the age of 16. At that time she was fascinated by all things oriental, especially Japan. She did amend it a few times and now calls it Meg’s channel, but it still shows as Kawaiiprincess01. Kind of like my channel. When I opened an account in 2006, it was mainly so I could sub to channels I liked. It was supposed to be DADDII0 aka daddy-o, but somehow I screwed that up and it became daddii2. But that is part of the fun of YouTube, the names folks give their channels. Some funny, some ecletic and some downright weird.

I eventually started uploading videos to my first channel because I like to talk about films. My daughter kind of nagged me into it. I also game so some of the YouTube gaming community sort of adopted my little channel. I started the second channel because my daughter and I have pretty much the same taste in films(with the obvious exception of Moulin Rouge, which I cannot stand). I say little channel because that is what it is and will always remain so. Why?

Well, as much as I enjoy doing my vids I don’t have the patience to keep editing and re-editing the videos because of the crappy capability of the Windows Move Maker software for one. Secondly I am a little long in the tooth to become wildly popular and thirdly I don’t feel I bring too much to the table. Like I said, I talk about films I like. I am not the next Ebert or Siskel.

Don’t get me wrong, I love doing my videos for my little channels. I get excited every time I get a new subscriber and another video view. I also shake my head and wonder who on earth enjoys my ramblings?

But I do love YouTube, even with all the irritating things it does (especially now that Google has control of it). I am always amazed at the amount of views that my daughter gets on her channel and the amount of subscribers. I’m not saying that she doesn’t earn these, she does, but I look at other channels and I scratch my head (metaphorically scratch my metaphorical head) There are a load of channels out there that have millions of views and millions of subscribers. I sub and watch them as well. But looking at those numbers I always think the same thing. Where do all these folks come from and why do they sub who they do.

The answer is obvious of course. The channels that get that kind of response are good (for the most part) although there are some that I am still mystified as to why they are so big. But we’ll forget about those, I just want to talk about some of the good ones.

The Community Channel, RayWilliamJohnson, Nigahiga, KevJumba, ShaneDawson; well the list can go on and on  These talented folks work hard for their views and “subs” and it shows. My daughters channel, Kawaiiprincess01 is growing steadily(also quickly, I might add) and she works hard on her channel as well. But the whole thing has an unrealistic feel to it. I still look at her channel and the amount of subs and views she gets and always say the same thing. You’ve got how many?

I wrote in a previous blog that I felt that YouTube was turning into the new television. I still believe that to a degree, but I think it is in danger of getting boycotted by a lot of folks who just aren’t very happy with how Google is dicking around with the ‘Tube. They always say, “Don’t mess with success, If it ain’t broke don’t fix it…” You see where I’m heading with this, don’t you? Google wants to make money off their purchase (take-over) of YouTube, but they are screwing around with the subscriber counts and view counts on channels. It has now gotten to the point where I look at YouTube channels I am subbed to and think. “You’ve lost how many??

Still I am sure that once Google stop dicking everyone about, the growing pains and transition period will calm down and things will get back to normal. Until then I think I am going to have to do more vids so my “inactive” channel doesn’t get closed.