Jen Nipps, Writer

Archive for the ‘editing’ Category

Twitter 101 – Part 1

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Note: This first post assumes you have heard of Twitter but know nothing about it.

You’ve been hearing it often, either on the news, in casual conversation, or in a recommendation from your publisher/editor/agent. Far from being a passing fad, social media or social networking is here to stay and Twitter is a large part of that. But how do you use it and what are some things you really need to know about it?

Welcome to Twitted 101. Stay with me this week and I’ll try to answer a lot of your questions and give you some additional resources for later.

The Basics

In any post on Twitter, you are limited to 140 characters. This includes spaces and punctuation. If you are in a chat, it also includes the tag for that chat (more on that in a minute). If you are replying to someone, it includes their name.

There are a few abbreviations and symbols that are common to Twitter:

@ – The at symbol. This is what goes in front of anyone’s Twitter ID. When you use this symbol, it will show up in their Twitter stream and on their “mentions” page. Depending on how they have their settings, it might even be e-mailed to them.

# – This is a hash mark/hash tag. While it isn’t completely necessary because of Twitter’s improved search function, it is required for chatting. Third-party platforms that host the chats look for “#[topic]” to put the appropriate Tweets together in a chat. (For example, since it’s Monday and I’ll be chatting tonight, I’ll be using the “#journchat” tag.)

RT – “Retweet.” If someone says something you like and you personally copy it, use “RT @[name]” in front of the tweet.

MT – “Modified Tweet.”  If you don’t have quite enough room for the way the original Tweet is phrased, you can edit (modify) it and post it. Use this with caution. It’s easy to change the meaning and intent of someone’s tweet doing this. I don’t recommend it unless it absolutely cannot be avoided.

These are a few Twitter basics. We’ll go a bit more into Twitter on Wednesday in part 2.


Written by Jen Nipps

August 15, 2011 at 7:20 am

Settling in for Another Round

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Happy Memorial Day to you all.

I’m set up in the Culinary Suite at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow once again. This is my home for the next two weeks. (Yes, I wish it could be longer, but be that as it may…)

As always, I have lofty goals and high expectations for myself. I’m working on another round of edits for NAVAJO ROSE (requested by an editor at one of my preferred publishers) and a book of devotions centered around crocheting (similar to Devoted to Creating).

There are, of course, other things I could and might work on, but these two are the top priority. We will see if my time here will allow me to get them done to the point where I can finish them soon after I get home or not.

I fully expect to.

Happy Writing.

Written by Jen Nipps

May 30, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Against Conventional Wisdom

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I’ve been shopping manuscripts around again. (Yes, I need to do it more consistently.)

On a recent submission, after the query and synopsis, the editor requested the first three chapters. Then she sent me an e-mail saying I would hear back from her by the end of February.

I heard from her yesterday.

She passed on the novel, but she gave me some wonderful, very detailed feedback. My first reaction was to think it was time to move on to the next one on my list. Then I paused.

Wait a minute! She put a lot of work and time into this. That e-mail was almost three full pages!


I wonder if she’d want to see it again if I made the changes?

I called one of my writer friends. We talked about this, that, and the other. When we hung up, I realized I had never even mentioned the e-mail. So I went with my hunch.

Going against conventional wisdom (which generally says once an editor has rejected something, it’s rejected, period), I sent the editor an e-mail. I thanked her for the feedback. I also asked if she would be interested in seeing it again when I had the changes done.

She said yes! Not only that, but she also said to send the full manuscript when I get to that point.

When I talked to my friend again, she said she would not have talked me out of sending the e-mail and, in fact, would have encouraged it.

Sometimes it pays off to go against conventional wisdom.


Do I have enough paper to print the full manuscript so I can take a pen to it and mark it up with the editor’s comments in mind?

Happy writing.

Written by Jen Nipps

February 2, 2011 at 7:53 pm

International Freelancer’s Day

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Have you ever heard of International Freelancer’s Day? Neither had I until I read Ann Wyman’s About Freelance Writing blog today.

Written by Jen Nipps

September 21, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Posted in editing, writing

Enter the Sub-Plot

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After yesterday’s post about “Is It Progress?” I thought about how I could shake things up to reach the length I need.

It would need to be rather involved, whatever “it” is.

The more I thought about it, the more I knew the suggestions I’ve been getting from people — the agent, beta readers, other writers — to consider another sub-plot are right on the money.

But what subplot would be substantial enough?

Kill the King.

A few things here:

  1. The King will not die.
  2. Kiernan will be one of the ones who discover the plot and work to stop it; not one of the would-be killers.
  3. It will be hefty enough to continue through the book and only be resolved in the last chapter.

Now the question is, where do I start it?

I’ll figure it out. I have the (revised) manuscript printing right now so I can physically flip through the pages and find where the best spot would be. I anticipate this will also include adding a new chapter.

Is It Progress?

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I’m getting ready to go through the last two chapters of KIERNAN’S CURSE. No, I’m not finished. I don’t know anyone who can add 25,000 words that fast.

What I’ve been doing is adding little bits in here and there and making notes of where I could add in something bigger. I’m working on strengthening one subplot and plan to add another. With those, I think it will get me where I need to be.

If I’m doing the math right, I’ve added about 6,000 words, so now I just have 19,000 to go. I should feel good about the progress, but I don’t. It’s still overwhelming.

Two over-used analogies come to mind:

  • Bite the frog and get it over with.
  • It’s like eating an elephant, one bite at a time.

I’ll keep on keeping on. And I’ll update my progress here as I go.

The Story Behind Prairie Dog Cowboy

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vivianVivian Gilbert Zabel is the author of Prairie Dog Cowboy, a juvenile historical fiction book that incorporates Oklahoma history into its telling.

Prairie Dog Cowboy
By V. Gilbert Zabel
ISBN: 978-0-9797513-7-0
Publisher: 4RV Publishing
Genre: juvenile/ historical/ fiction

Recently, Vivian answered some questions about the writing of the book and is here today to answer your comments/questions.

Creatif: What inspired you to write Prairie Dog Cowboy?

Vivian Gilbert Zabel: My husband had shared his experiences as a cowboy, farmer, and horse breaker. I always wanted to work some of those into a story or book.

Since I didn’t want the book to be nonfiction, I invented families and characters that would live in the part of the country where Robert was born and lived. Then I set the time of the book  about 45 years before Robert was born.

I did some research to be sure I had the historical facts correct, and used some marvelous research provided by the current family members who own the ranch that is the setting for the Hyman Ranch. I can’t thank Dallas Mayer and the others who gave her information enough.

Creatif: Did the character of Buddy come to you all at once or did he evolve, even for you, as the book progressed?

VGZ: Buddy’s character existed almost complete from the beginning. However, the other characters evolved as the plot did.

Creatif: Other than writing a good story, did you have any other goals for the book while you were writing it?

VGZ: I wanted to provide a taste of frontier life and knowledge that dysfunctional families, as well as loving ones, have always existed. Many times an adult other than a parent or parents can make the difference between a child surviving or being corrupted for life.

Creatif: Once the rough draft is written, what is your process for editing/revising or does it differ depending on the project?

VGZ: I’m one of those writers who edits as she goes. However after the first draft, I do at least four edits and revisions (waiting at least a day or more between each edit) before I allow anyone else read and proof. I have six people who read, proof, and/or edit my manuscript. I revise after each one and then send to the next person.

After those revisions, I let the manuscript season a few days or even weeks. I then do another read through and edit and revision. My six “editors” then have another go at the manuscript. After that go-round and revisions and after I’ve made another edit and revision myself, two editors go through it again.

The editing and revision process takes longer by far than the writing and self-editing does.

Creatif: Is this a stand-alone book or will there be more around some of the same characters/setting?

VGZ: The sequel to Prairie Dog Cowboy, Prairie Winds, has been started.

At the end of the tour, a drawing will be held for four canvas bags from 4RV Publishing. Each person who comments on a blog in the tour will be entered in the drawing (one entry per person per blog stop).


Prairie Dog Cowboy web site
4RV Publishing
Vivian’s blog

The book can be purchased through any book store,, Barnes & Noble. com, and through the 4RV bookstore.

Prairie Dog Cowboy cover art

Prairie Dog Cowboy cover art

Written by Jen Nipps

February 16, 2009 at 3:45 am