Editing Tips from My NEW Bestie, Author Chris Shirley




10 Editing Tips to Make Your Writing Sing


So you’ve poured your heart out on the page by writing an incredible blog post or email or love letter that will resonate with your audience. After spending all that time getting your thoughts on the page, you now want to hit SEND so you can get to the next episode of Project Runway. Before you do, take a few minutes to check your work using these 10 Editing Tips.


  1. Eliminate unnecessary prepositional phrases. Words like at, in, from, by, with, to, on, of, and for just slow your sentences down. Eliminate as many as possible.
  2. Eliminate as many forms of the verb “to be” as possible. They are passive and lifeless—use action verbs instead.
  3. Eliminate unnecessary adverbs. Every adverb should be challenged. Sure, they are sometimes necessary, but they mostly just add clutter to your sentences.
  4. Eliminate “-ing” verbs and replace them with “-ed” verbs.  Progressive verbs (those that end in “-ing”) often force you to add a form of “to be” to your sentence. So instead of writing “the trees were swaying back and forth,” consider whether “the trees swayed back and forth” would work.
  5. Show, don’t’ tell by making your writing visual. Instead of  “That shirt is ugly,” write something like “Did you get that off a clearance rack?”
  6. End on the “zinger.” Whether it’s an insult or a joke, it will carry more weight if the zinger is the final word. “I’ve seen clearance racks with better shirts” is just hurtful and not funny at all because the zinger “clearance rack” is lost in the middle of the sentence. Instead, put the zinger at the end: “Did you get that off a clearance rack?”

Note: I do not encourage insulting actual people – only fictional ones. Please use your editing powers responsibly.

  1. Pay close attention to cause and effect. As humans, we react to outside stimuli in this order: feeling, actions, speech. So when your protagonist gets slugged by his best friend, make sure that he feels the pain then puts his hand to his face (or punches back) and then speaks. If you write that he speaks first then slugs back then feels the pain, you’re just confusing your reader.
  2. Always make sure motivation is clear to your reader. While you were reading #7, were you wondering why the protagonist’s best friend slugged him? Wasn’t that a little distracting? I mean, I was asking you to fill in the blanks as to why this would happen. That’s something you should never do (unless you’re writing a list of Top 10 Editing tips). ALWAYS make sure your reader understands why something is happening; otherwise, you’re asking them to fill in the blanks. That being said…
  3. Always ask your reader to fill in a few blanks. This is what makes your writing engaging. So instead of saying that his eyes were blue, say that they were the color of sapphires. In this way, your reader is actively engaged in conjuring up the color of sapphires, which makes her a more active participant in the story.
  4. We are not in English Class. Unless you are writing for business, let English serve you and not the other way around. You can end your sentence with a preposition, begin it with a conjunction, or even use a sentence fragment. Just write clearly.


Please use the space below to share your best editing tips (or to dispute any of mine).

I want to add: Spell correctly. PLEASE. please!


Thanks to Amy at Lady Reader Kick Butt Blog Tours for adding me on this tour; Love ya BABES!





Despite the watchful eye of her Grandma Betty, the witty and precocious almost sixteen-year-old Cane Kallevik is always up to something. When she’s not running five miles at a crack, she’s riding her bike around the rural farm town of Savage, Illinois and secretly warring with her former best friend, Mikayla Atwood. The biggest thorn in her side is Jenny Ryanne Schaeffer, her employer, whom Cane has nicknamed Jelly Roll.

When Justice Price, Jelly Roll’s gorgeous, older nephew rolls into town; Cane is convinced that their five-year age difference is a minor inconvenience. After a disastrous tornado levels Savage destroying Cane’s home and leaving Grandma Betty in a coma, she moves in with the Schaeffer family. She spends the summer falling in love with Justice, keeping vigil at Grandma Betty’s side, and walking a fine line between love and hate with Mikayla.

In a dramatic conclusion her world literally goes up in flames, but instead of losing everything, she finds exactly what she’s looking for in the most unexpected way.

Six years later…

Cane has always known that the handsome and sweet Justice was the one. So when he offers her everything she’s ever wanted and more, she readily accepts. But when Cane discovers a secret about Justice, she panics and leaves for the summer, breaking his heart as well as her own.

Now in Colorado and living with Caprice, her college roommate, Cane takes a job as a maid. When she isn’t scrubbing toilets or getting into trouble for telling it like it is, she’s sparring with Caprice’s musician cousin, Nikeo. Though her heart belongs to Justice, she can’t deny her attraction to Nikeo. While trapped in a love triangle of her own making, Cane discovers Justice may be in love with someone else.

Desperate to mend her relationship with the love of her life, Cane rushes home to Illinois. Still reeling from Cane’s summer fling with Nikeo, Justice claims he needs time. But is it time he wants, or is it Susan, his curvaceous and bubbly co-worker?

Just when things see to be improving, tragedy strikes, and at the worst possible moment Nikeo shows up on Cane’s doorstep . . .

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The Paradox of Vertical Flight by Emil Ostrowski Interview


“I’m twenty-three.

Rather than give you a witty, self-deprecating account of the trials and tribulations of my twenty-three year old, suburban, upper-middle class, went-to-a-girl’s-liberal-arts-college life, I’ll admit that I haven’t really done anything much worth reading about.

So in lieu of providing you with my biography, I will recommend that you read Desmond Tutu’s.  Here.

Why Desmond Tutu?

Well, I’ve always liked his name.”


What happens when you put a suicidal eighteen-year-old philosophy student, his ex-girlfriend, his best friend, and his newborn baby in a truck and send them to Grandma’s house? This debut novel by Emil Ostrovski will appeal to fans of John Green, Chris Crutcher, and Jay Asher.

On the morning of his eighteenth birthday, philosophy student and high school senior Jack Polovsky is somewhat seriously thinking of suicide when his cell phone rings. Jack’s ex-girlfriend, Jess, has given birth, and Jack is the father. Jack hasn’t spoken with Jess in about nine months—and she wants him to see the baby before he is adopted. The new teenage father kidnaps the baby, names him Socrates, stocks up on baby supplies at Wal-Mart, and hits the road with his best friend, Tommy, and the ex-girlfriend. As they head to Grandma’s house (eluding the police at every turn), Jack tells baby Socrates about Homer, Troy, Aristotle, the real Socrates, and the Greek myths—because all stories spring from those stories, really. Even this one.

Funny, heart-wrenching, and wholly original, this debut novel by Emil Ostrovski explores the nature of family, love, friendship, fate, fatherhood, and myth.

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You might be wondering what goes on in the mind of a talented writer. Well guess what? I’ve trepanned the insides of Emil’s brain and have brought you insight inside a writer’s brain!

Just kidding. There was no trepanning. But, I DID ask some thought provoking questions, which is kind of like getting inside someone’s brain, right?

UNCONVENTIONAL LIBRARIAN:  Welcome! We are glad to have you hear. Let’s get started with with a few questions. Do you drink coffee?

EMIL OSTROWSKY: ‘Drink’ doesn’t quite cover it.  More like consume.  I am a coffee consumption machine.

UL:  Ah so you’re a consumer. I reckon you and I might need to share an IV drip. Do you like donuts or cookies? Do you dunk?

EO: I think this is a false dichotomy.  I like both.  But I do not support dunking.

UL: I applaud your use of the word dichotomy; however, we may have to break up over your lack of dunking ability. Allow me to get serious for a moment. How did your book get started?

EO: With the first word!

UL: Touche. What else have you written?

EO: I’m currently revising a novel set in a university for terminally ill youth.  I’ve written lots of other stuff, though, including a fifteen page tragic love story about a hummingbird and an apple. 

 UL: Wow. That topic sounds pretty depressing. Those poor hummingbirds.  If you could have any superpower what would it be?

EO: The power to get on the New York Times bestseller list.

UL: Yes, I understand many writers wish they had that superpower. What makes you happy?

EO: Friends.  Poems.  Stories.  Random acts of kindness and humanity.  Sushi.  Philosophy and/or beautiful ideas.  Caramel Frappuccinos.  

UL: Acts of kindness and humanity are pretty great. So are Frappuccinos.  Wrapping up now, anything else you want to tell us?

EO: I also write short stories!  If you’re interested, check out my latest (available for free) at:

UL: You heard it here first, folks. Check out the  link and get free stuffs!


Release Date: September 24, 2013

Hardcover, 260 pages

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Genre: Contemporary / Realistic Fiction / Tough Issues / Suicide


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Katrina by Elizabeth Lorraine

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Entering the courtyard of the Watcher compound, I found three of my brothers, Thomas, Simon, and Avery, seated around the roaring fire. The smell of venison and red cedar firewood made my mouth water and I realized I hadn’t eaten since yesterday. I needed to take my own advice and have a meal.

The food brought back to mind what had just happened with Katrina. The thoughts made my heart race and shortly my it pounded so loud, I felt certain everyone in my compound could hear it. I saw something different in the way she looked at me and I was sure it wasn’t just because I had yelled at her. Was the fact I’d cut myself and let her feed directly from my wrist, the reason that she saw me differently? After all, I had never had to hand-feed her before. But since she hadn’t awakened until afterwards, she didn’t know I had given her blood from my arm, or that she had actively engaged in a direct feeding.

I knew of course, it was strictly forbidden for a Watcher to give blood directly, but when she fainted she was clearly in danger of dormancy, so I acted. My only thought at the time, was getting fresh blood into her as quickly as possible. As my knife opened the vein on my wrist, the scent made her nostrils flare and the same instinct that kept vampires alive for centuries kicked in. She grabbed my arm and began to feed. The movement was so swift and powerful I wasn’t sure I could have stopped her even if I’d wanted to.

The feeling I had while she was feeding could only be described as pure euphoria, and only the sound of my brother coming up the stairs made me break the bond. I quickly carried her to a side room to recover. “Break the bond.” Why had I thought of it that way? Was that it? Had that short feeding changed everything between us?

I calmed as I began my meal. I needed to fortify myself since my brothers and I would be giving and storing blood for our charges for the trip.

Although Baron Von Dracek would surely hunt along our journey, in the event there was no game available in the high country, the added availability of Crimson would definitely be needed. Nothing gives strength to a vampire like the human blood in Crimson.

As I sat by the fire, my oldest brother, Gunter, approached.

“We missed you at training today,” Gunter told me gruffly. “Don’t let it become a habit. None of us can be the weak link.”

I was the youngest of seven brothers, something the other six never let me forget.

It was exciting to think I would now have a chance to prove myself on this journey. As Katrina’s Watcher, I was bound to protect her no matter what might happen, even to the point of giving my life for hers, something our family had done for generations.

“Quinn,” Gunter started to pace, “Only four of us will accompany the Baron and Katrina on this trip, and I’ve decided you are too young and untried in battle to be one of the four.”

I jumped to my feet, pulled my sword, with anger I didn’t know I possessed, looked Gunter straight in the eye and through clenched teeth I yelled, “I dare any of you to try to keep me from my duty. Nothing is going to stop me from going on this trip, including you, Gunter. If you have any doubts, let us settle them here, and now.”

Gunter gave Thomas a surprised look, and slowly rose from the seat he had just taken by the fire. Looking around at the others, he shrugged, “All right, little brother, let’s see what you’ve learned.”

As I backed into the open part of the courtyard, Gunter drew his sword and we prepared to fight. The fire reflected off our blades and made them seem to jump in our hands, as we circled first right and then left. Gunter lunged, his sword held high. When moments before I felt tired and weak, I was now invigorated by both my anger, and the thought my brothers would try to leave me behind.

I countered Gunter’s move, our swords sparking once, twice. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see servants and my other brothers gathering. Guards were now yelling encouragement from above.

“That’s it, lad, don’t let Gunter push you about!”

Gunter was strong, but I was fast and that easily made up for his extra years of training. I had always been a quick study and even before I was allowed to train with my brothers, I had mirrored the movements made during their mock battles, over and over again. Although Gunter had trained all of us, his eyes showed surprise at my proficiency; and at something in me he hadn’t seen before- pure rage. The rage brought an adrenalin surge that made me stronger, quicker, and more alert. We fought across the compound. Then Gunter made a mistake, and I seized my chance. As he lunged, I easily jumped aside. As he whirled by me, I whacked him on the back of the head with the hilt of my sword.

Gunter grunted, turned, and charged. I ducked his blow. Too late Gunter realized his mistake; his momentum had brought him closer than he wanted. With the new-found power of my anger, I hit him hard in the gut with my fist. Gunter bent over in with a gasp of pain and shock, and as I backed away, the now crowded courtyard erupted in cheers and laughter.

“I guess your little brother showed you a thing or two, Gunter,” a guard shouted from above.

Gunter raised his head, his hands still on his knees, and yelled, “Don’t you all have work to do? Be gone, morning comes quickly!”

Still breathing hard, I remained in attack stance, ready to continue if I must. The adrenalin still rushing though me would enable me to take on all of my brothers, one-by-one if I needed to. I would not be denied. The coming journey was my destiny, now more than ever.

Gunter slowly stood and put his sword back in its scabbard.

“Well, little brother, you’ve learned well and I have obviously misjudged your skill. You have just earned the right to join us. So it will be the two of us, plus Thomas and Simon on this journey. Be ready, we leave before dawn.

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Elizabeth Lorraine!

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1. How long does it take you to write your books?

E.L.: Usually four months.

2. Do you like to have the book finished before submitting it for publication?

E.L: I publish them myself, so yes I do.

3. If you were not writing, what would you want to be doing for a living? What are some of your other passions in life?

E.L:  Interior design. I am a decorative painter and I always have loved that.

5. Have any authors been particularly influential to your writing process?

E.L: Being a vampire lover, I love Anne Rice. But I have to say that Hans Christian Andersen really started fascination with fantasy. I loved his stories as a kid, I still do.

6. Have you written any poetry?

E.L: I would love to, but I’m really bad at it.

7. What is the biggest challenge you face as an author?

E.L: Marketing is the biggest challenge. I think most authors would agree.

8. Do you have any specific writing rituals?

E.L: I have to have sound on, usually the television. Having it quiet drives me crazy.

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Young Adult

Green River BOOK BLAST: A Lady Readers Bookstuff Blog Tour

Aidan watched the girls cower on the bed as their father, in a drunken rage, beat on the bedroom door.

Drawn to the girls by some unknown power, he was irrevocably intertwined in their lives against both his tribe and his parents’ admonitions to “leave them to their own”, but Aidan knew his mission was to safeguard Charlotte and Missy from the darkness that stalked them.

 In her new Shifter series, author Elizabeth Loraine draws you to the seamy underside of Seattle and to the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest as Characters Aidan, Charlotte and Missy explore their complex bond, the mysteries surrounding their separate cultures and a common enemy. 

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I grew up in a small northern Minnesotan town married my high school sweetheart, had two beautiful children and as soon as we could we moved to a warmer climate. I have worked with my husband building and decorating custom homes for years.

After loving every kind of vampire book, movie and series since I was a child, I decided that I wanted to know more. I can write a book I thought, how hard can that be? Well….it wasn’t as easy as I thought, but I stuck to it, and finished my first book Royal Blood Chronicles Book One in August 2009. I now have six books in the series and am about to release book two of my new series Phantom Lives.  

My parents always told me that I could do anything that I wanted, work hard, and do it right. I believe that, and live that every day.

I started writing this new vampire series for teens and their moms because I wanted something different to read. I was tired of all the modern versions of vampire books, there had to be more to these long lived beings. Where had they been, what had they seen? I wanted, no I NEEDED to know more, so Royal Blood Chronicles was born!  As in Royal Blood Chronicles, Phantom Lives features strong female characters and action and adventure mixed with romance, friendship and a historical backdrop. I hope you enjoy them.

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Books Young Adult

First Kiss Blog Tour



Title: First Kiss (Heavy Influence Trilogy, #1)

Author: Ann Marie Frohoff
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Pages: 483
Find it: Amazon & Goodreads
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary


It was all about the band, until the girl next door.

Her innocence is tempting.

A sexually charged coming of age story set in the thro
es of

About an up and coming teenage rocker on the ver
ge of
ardom, when the girl next door becomes something more; they’re forced to face
the harsh realities on his road to fame and the expectations of their friends
and family.

Sacrifices are made as everything changes as they know it.


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Books Young Adult

Cover Reveal: Playing Hooky by Rita Webb

I am extremely excited to show you the phenomenal cover image for Rita Webb’s upcoming novella. Let’s take a looksie and be sure to tell me what you think in the comments.


Valentine’s Day.
And my 21st birthday.
Just another college day full of classes and more homework than is humanly possible.
…until Jason, my best-friend-since-kindergarten, shows up to take me out for the day.
Like old times: the two of us on a wacky adventure, playing hooky from real life. With his lopsided grin and tickets to a circus full of misfits and monsters, he introduces me to a whole new world—one full of magic and mystery—and turns my reality upside down.
Except nothing goes as planned, and we end up running through the city to find a missing siren before someone brews a love potion with her blood.
Sirens and love potions, witches and elves, and Valentine kisses. Nothing will be the same for me again.


Find PLAYING HOOKY on the following websites:
Amazon * Barnes and Noble * Goodreads  
Find Author Rita Webb on the following websites:


Blog * Goodreads * Twitter * Facebook


One winner will receive a
necklace with a metal Feather as a pendant (image shown below), an eBook copy of
Transcendent, an eBook copy of Daughter of the Goddess, and an eBook copy of
Playing Hooky.

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