Editing With Netta~Basic Chores

You will find as many ways of editing your manuscript as there are grains of sand upon the beach. That’s because editing is as much an art form as writing. No two people do it exactly the same, nor should they.

However, when it comes to self-editing, there are some basic chores you need to do to get your ‘script ready for a professional edit. These are my Top Five Recommendations:

1. Put your manuscript away for a couple of weeks. Longer, if possible. Why? Because it’s too soon, you’re too close, and you’re not going to see what needs to be changed or corrected when you’re right on top of it. Let the manuscript “cool” for a little bit. You’ll be amazed at what you see when you re-open the document.

2. Take the editing in rounds, big picture to little picture. If you try to get everything in one round, it’s likely you’ll experience frustration, discouragement, and probably rage. You might reach for a hammer. Slow down, tiger, and take one round at a time.

3. Outline. If you’re a die-hard pantser and did not work from an outline, that’s fabulous. Everyone has their own way of writing, and there’s no “right” way or “wrong” way. But for the purpose of getting your ‘script into fighting shape, whether you outlined or not, it’s a good idea to create an outline from the completed material. Things could have changed from your original outline. It doesn’t have to be detailed, but enough to keep you in a straight line. *Note: It’s a good idea to share these kinds of documents with your editor.

4. Construct a style sheet or compendium. Especially if you’re working on a series, a style sheet or compendium is a must. If you start it now, it will save you so many headaches down the line. Include the proper spelling of names, locations, physical attributes of your characters…you can use an Excel spreadsheet to help. Trust me, you’ll thank me for this later when you’re in book three and can’t remember what color so-and-so’s eyes were in the first book.

5. Include a Bug Word list. Every writer has bug words. These are words you may overuse and just don’t see anymore when you’re writing. And, the bug words can change from manuscript to manuscript. TRUE STORY. Keep a list of the ones you see most often, and utilize your Search and Find function. This can really save you a lot of time when you’re whipping through a manuscript.

Next post we’ll talk about the FIRST READ. Sign up for the monthly newsletter and get your editing tips and tricks before the crowd!


Good News and New News!

Here we are in September! I’m so happy not to be frying like bacon in a pan (mmmm, bacon!) and am really enjoying the cooler weather. Remind of that when I’m bitching about the cold, okay?

Yeah. This doesn't look good.
Yeah. This doesn’t look good.

You know that’s coming up sooner rather than later, right?

But I said GOOD NEWS!

I am pleased and happy to report Jennifer Wingard and I won an award for editing Forever Road by Catie Rhodes. Jennifer was the copy editor, and I served as content editor. Love, love, LOVE me some Peri Jean Mace! She’s really my kind of gal, and I had so much fun working with Catie. It’s a great story.


In New News, this blog will concentrate on the editing side of things. If you’d like to keep up with my own writing, you can visit me at AnnettaRibken.com for updates on what’s happening. While you’re there, sign up for the newsletter–you’ll see covers, trailers, and excerpts before anyone else and as a subscriber, be eligible for special giveaways just for YOU. Since my production schedule is hardly blistering right now, you won’t be spammed to death with emails, promise. :)



Speaking of subscribers, the newsletter here on Word Webbing provides valuable editing tips and new releases from my clients as they happen. So make sure you sign up–it comes out once a month and you don’t want to miss it.

Another change coming up is on Wednesdays, I’ll be posting the editing tips here. They’re six months behind, so signing up for the newsletter ensures you get the latest right away.

Work continues on both sites as I update and clean out stuff. It’s almost like tackling the closet where you throw everything because you don’t know where else to put it. Don’t play. I know you know what I’m talking about.

Yep. You know this closet.
Yep. You know this closet.

In the meantime, I hope you’re writing and having a good month! Tell me what you’re up to in the comments :)



Please note: the website is currently under renovations. Don’t mind the dust. Work progresses as time allows. There’s missing studs and holes in the walls, but we’re getting there. Thanks for your patience!


I have been an indie from the get-go, since I was a tiny person. It’s in my nature and I can’t help it. I’ve always cavorted to a tune it seems no one else could hear; independent to a fault, some might say. It has its ups and downs, pros and cons, highs and lows. During my lifetime, I have been both rewarded and punished for it. I was raised to be independent, and my life’s journey has trained me to be independent.

And while you might be able to teach an old dog new tricks, it’s much more difficult to change an intrinsic part of your personality.

I’m always ready to learn something new. But it better be good.

When I started my writing career, it was a no-brainer for me to go independent. I might be a bit of a control freak, and when it comes to my fiction, I want to be the one in charge. After all, fiction has been and always will be a gigantic part of my life. It means so much to me I can hardly bear the idea of handing off something into which I’ve poured my life’s blood and soul to someone else.

But in the changing tides of today’s publishing, it makes good business sense to keep your options open.

I have come to realize everyone’s circumstances are different. What works for one writer may not work for another. I’m not built to follow the road most traveled, anyway, and most of my close personal friends would scream, “HALLELUJAH” to that statement. I have to make the best decisions for myself without looking to see what other people are doing. I’ve lived most of my life that way, and it hasn’t turned out too badly, despite some spectacular failures. Hey, go big or stay home.

I have also discovered if something scares me witless, it’s probably the thing I need to do the most. I live with a lot of fear—but I never let it stop me. I was scared to go freelance when writing non-fiction. BOOYAH. I was scared to dive into fiction. Double BOOYAH. I was terrified to venture into editing. HAH.

So when I contemplated my next business move, I considered sending a novel to a traditional publisher. I almost talked myself out of it. Was I scared of rejection? Nope. Been rejected on several levels, many times. What I am scared of is success.

Which told me I needed to do it.

So I sat my happy ass down and took a few hours to do something for ME. I wrote a synopsis, put together the first three chapters, and wrote a cover letter. As we speak, my little package is winging its way to a traditional publishing house to see what we can see. I’m not even worried if they don’t like it. I’m worried that they WILL.

Then what?

Well then, we’ll just go from there, won’t we?

Until then, I'll keep on my dancing shoes.
Until then, I’ll keep on my dancing shoes.


Photos courtesy of morguefile.com. 



Welcome to my new digs! Sometimes, in seeming catastrophe, good things can happen.

I’ve had the plan for some time to break off my editing brain from my writerly brain but still have them linked. Due to unavoidable circumstances, the timeline for that process has been bumped up considerably.

Instead of looking at it as a disaster, I’m going to take it and shape it into an OPPORTUNITY.

Here on annettaribken.com, you will find the editing half of my brain. Later on this year, I’ll introduce you to the writerly half.

I’ll let you guess which half is which. Photo courtesy of morguefile.com.

In the meantime, hang tight while I hang curtains and throw a little paint on the walls. I’ll have it spiffy in no time!

Before you leave, take a quick minute and sign up for my monthly newsletter. It’s chock-full of editing goodness and the latest on new releases from some outstanding authors. See you there!


Re-Reads That Are So Worth Another Visit

I am a re-reader and I cannot lie.

The great thing about books is they never expire. They might go out of print, but in these days of electronic abundance, that’s not such a factor anymore. Talk about heaven!


Today I’m going to re-visit some of my favorite oldies-but-goodies. Books which may not be familiar, but just because they’re from the Netta Vault doesn’t mean they’re not still outstanding. I’m never stuck for something to read, but every once in a while I love to go back and visit my friends in literary form who still mean so much to me.

The reviewers of SARGASSO, by Edwin Corley, have not been kind. However, I found it entertaining. Is it because it weaves true events in with the main narrative? Maybe. Is it because of the wild and crazy theories about the infamous Bermuda Triangle? Perhaps. All-in-all, it’s a fast-paced and exciting read. SARGASSO also encouraged me to dive down the rabbit hole in researching Flight 19. Very fun.

First published in 1980 before Michael Crichton hit the big time, CONGO snagged me from the very first page. The movie made based on the book sucked hot rocks, but the story is amazing. I fell in love with Amy, and the story line had me sitting on the edge of my seat. Couldn’t read it fast enough.

I have eclectic taste in books–but I do admit I have a special place in my heart for fantasy. DEERSKIN is based on an old French fairy tale by Charles Perrault. Robin McKinley took this to a dark place, and I went willingly. Her prose is beautiful, transporting you to a world that is believable and unutterably heartbreaking. Lissa and Ash remain two of my favorite characters.

Jack Chalker was an award-winning science fiction writer, best known for his Well World series. I became acquainted with his work through the Soul Rider series. I had never read anything like it in my life, which is saying a lot. I loaned out the first copies I had and didn’t get them back for almost a decade–and in the meantime, I just had to buy them again. I lost the third set in a move–and they were among the first books I replaced. You can bet I will never let them out of my sweaty little hands ever again. Unusual and mind-bending.

I’m not a huge romance fan. But I do love history, and if the romance is done right, I can live with that. RED ADAM’S LADY is all that and a bag of chips. I lost my hardcover copy, which I had since the late 70s, in the same move in which I lost the Soul Rider series, and sadly, it is now out of print and a hardcover goes for much more than my budget will allow. I still cry over losing that book. It’s set in the days following William the Conqueror in 1066, where politics could easily get you killed and treachery lurked in every shadow. Grace Ingram’s prose is tight and her historical facts ACCURATE–something many romantic historical novels show a big fat FAIL. Although this books is billed as a romance, it’s much deeper than that, showing a true and brutal picture of what life was like in those days. Julitta and her Adam have a believable relationship without tipping over into the sappy, over-dramatics of many romances. Oh, and Julitta is a redhead. And she kicks ass. Heh.

Thanks for letting me introduce you to some of my best friends. Of course there’s a ton more, but these popped out at me today.

Who are some of your best literary friends? Introduce us!


Fiction, Women, and the Triangle Fire

Growing up in Central New York and in close proximity to Seneca Falls, the women’s suffragette movement was not at all unfamiliar to me. My mother was what most people would call a feminist in the 60s, although I never heard her refer to herself in that way. She lived it, do you dig.

At any rate, in the early 80s I read a book which really opened my eyes to what women went through for basic human rights. It also painted a vivid picture of what life was like for young women in the early 1900s. It’s a story about more than just the suffrage and labor movement–it’s also about America in those years, right before the first World War, and about Jews, class structure, and New York City. It’s about the development of the United States as a country, how the unions contributed to the success of humane working conditions for everyone–men, women, and children. Conditions we EXPECT today, and should. Conditions people died for.

It’s a story of four young women and the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which killed 123 women and 23 men. It was one of the deadliest industrial disasters in New York City’s history.

Today is the 103rd anniversary of the tragedy, and thanks to the words of Meredith Tax, author of Rivington Street, it’s a date I’ll never forget. It’s a rich tapestry weaving historical fact with a compelling story, well-written and totally absorbing. I highly recommend this as a must-read.

My copy. MINE. But you really need your own.

For more information about the Triangle Fire, you can use Google and a lot of books will pop up. But this one really personalized the fire for me and painted a complete picture of life in the 1900s. You won’t forget this read.

We should never forget what happened that day.


Story Inspiration–The Glendale Train

It’s no secret I take a lot of inspiration for story ideas from music, and I’m sure I’m not the only writer. It’s not only the lyrics that call to me, but the music and how it fits with the words.

There’s a song I want to talk about today by a band most of you probably don’t know. The band is New Riders of the Purple Sage, and I guess if you have to classify their music, it might be labeled as “cowboy rock”. John Dawson,one of the founders of the group, wrote “Glendale Train” which appeared on their debut album in 1971. He has since retired from the group.

I’m not normally a country-type music fan, but what I love about this group is every one of their songs tells a story. A specific story. The fact Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead and Buddy Cage play a stellar steel guitar doesn’t hurt. As a matter of fact, the guitar work on the albums of NRPS is just amazing.

“Glendale Train” is the story of a train robbery. It starts off with the chorus…a man telling the story. When I hear this part, I can just see a man from a nearby town, belly-up to the bar, maybe cadging beers or a shot of liquor for his version of the events. He could be dusty and sweaty from a frantic ride to impart the news. The town sits in the middle of somewhere in the West, deep in the heart of nowhere. There could be tumbleweeds in the streets. The horses are tied up at a post out front and the bartender’s hair is slicked back with oil, and he keeps his handlebar moustache waxed and curled. The townspeople gather around, some gasping and some listening with their mouths wide open.

Somebody robbed the Glendale Train, this morning at half-past nine.

Somebody robbed the Glendale Train and I swear, I ain’t lyin!

They made clean off with sixteen Gs and left two men lying cold.

Somebody robbed the Glendale Train and they made off with the gold!

At this point people are looking at each other, and maybe one of the men swears right out loud because he works for the company waiting on that gold to pay their workers and now he knows he’s not going to get paid. Or a woman cries, wondering who the two dead men could be. The man telling the story tosses back a shot of whiskey courtesy of the bartender and continues:

Charlie Jones was the engineer—he had twenty years on the line.

He kissed his wife at the station gate, this morning at six thirty-five.

Now everything went fine ’til half-past nine then Charlie looked up and he saw—

There was men on horses, men with guns and no sign of the law!

At this point, everyone is hanging on his every word. This is the most exciting and probably terrifying news the town has heard in a dog’s age. Maybe one of them knew Charlie Jones. Someone buys our man a beer, and tells him to get on with it!

Amos White was the baggage man and he dearly loved his job.

The company, they rewarded him with a golden watch and a fob.

Well, Amos he was a’markin’ time when the door blew off his car.

They found Amos White in fifteen pieces fifteen miles apart!

The woman faints, the men look at each other in fear or maybe anger, and the bartender looks out the window, his hands shaking. Maybe one of the men says, “It don’t pay enough to work for the railroad,” and receives a murmur of agreement from his fellows. One man checks his gun to make sure it’s loaded, because Glendale isn’t all that far away. What if the bandits are headed their way?

“Glendale Train” is a fictional account of an actual robbery by Jesse James on a train in Glendale, Missouri in 1881. He got away with reports of $1000 -$6,000, depending on what report you believe, and the crime was termed “The Blue Cut Train Robbery”. It is said he thought there was a lot more money on the train, and it was his last train robbery, marking the beginning of the decline of the gang. No one was killed.

But what really fascinates me is the way this song reflects the oral tradition of history. And the fact there are so many ways you could spin this tidbit into endless story possibilities.

One of which I’m working on right now

So what music inspires you? Sound off in the comments!


My Writing Process–Blog Tour

One thing I notice among writers is the absolute obsession with how other writers do their thang. I’m as guilty of this as anyone else. I love reading about how other writers go through the writing process. Everyone is different and some techniques work better for some than others, but there’s always an opportunity to observe something new, try out a new way of doing things. It’s really one of the parts I love about writing the most. You never stop learning.

Thanks to the lovely and amazing Eden Baylee for inviting me to participate. Eden is a mad talented writer and a fabulous person. I love her stories, and I highly recommend you discover your next favorite writer.

Awesome, emotional, and mesmerizing stories. It doesn’t get better than this.

Check out Eden’s work here. You won’t be disappointed.

Now, for what y’all are dying to know. No, not the color of my underwear. FOCUS, PEOPLE.

My writing process.

Meet my lovers – Pen and Paper. Aren’t they HAWT?

1) What am I working on?

Right now I am working on Athena’s Chains, the sequel to Athena’s Promise. I have other irons in the fire, but I’m concentrating on getting Pallas through her journey right now.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

You know, it’s difficult for a writer to be objective about their work. But if I had to choose one thing that sets the Aegean Trilogy apart from other urban fantasy, I’d say “voice”. I’d also have to say although using Greek mythology as inspiration isn’t new, I believe the twist I’ve put on it is unique.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I’ve written stories in a variety of genres. I will admit freely I have issues with labeling, because to me, a good story is a good story and genre is just a marketing tool. I write what I write because that’s what comes out. Sometimes it’s humorous, sometimes it’s dark, sometimes it’s literary. My goal is for it to be entertaining and to move people.

4) How does your writing process work?

I open a blank document or take out a yellow legal pad. I start writing.

I used to be a dedicated pantser, and I still am in many ways. However, I’ve come to realize I’m much more productive when I’m writing longer works to have a plan in place. Usually, I have an idea and an end story goal. Once I’ve got the first third of the book under my belt and I know where the story is going, I’ll plot out by chapter how to get there. In that manner, I’ve been Larsenized. My great friend Patti Larsen is an outliner, and she’s converted me to a certain extent I’ll label a yellow legal pad with WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN and then chapter by chapter, I’ll generally sketch out the steps I need to take to reach the end story goal. It works for me, because I have a structure but still leave enough room to pants it. Because I love that part.

I try not to worry too much about the niggling details–that’s for the edit. I will make notes in the margin about things I need to revisit and adjust, but I just keep going until I get to the end.

In shorter pieces, I just let it rip and see what happens. Because for me, that’s the fun part. If it’s not fun, what the hell am I doing it for? Then I’ll go back and edit and revise.

I have ideas for stories scribbled everywhere, and many times I’ll experience a bolt of inspiration in the shower. Someday I’ll get to them all.

So that’s how it works for me. Check out some of my friends who will be posting next Monday, March 3, to share their writing process. And thanks for stopping by! Don’t forget to sign up for the monthly newsletter for valuable editing tips and new releases from outstanding writers you need to know.


Patti Larsen~ Now with multiple series in happy publication, Patti lives in beautiful Prince Edward Island, Canada with her patient husband and six massive cats.

Kris Austen Radcliffe~ It’s not a good love story until something explodes.

Stacy Green ~ Stacy Green writes twisted psychological thrillers with a dash of romance.


What’s Going On

Well, you know. The usual. Busy is BUSY, but that’s nothing unusual for not only me, but most everyone I know. And while busy is good, it can also be frazzling sometimes. Especially when you share space with a judgmental and obnoxious cat who is all up in your business 24/7. Not mentioning any names.

The bitchiest cat face on the planet. Judging. Always judging.

I’m not the most dedicated of bloggers on the planet, that’s for sure. And when I do decide to post, I have ten million ideas but when I open up a blank document, do you think I can find a brain cell? Hell, no. They scatter like rats deserting the Black Pearl sucked into a black, watery vortex. Please tell me I’m not the only one.

Since I’ve wanted to impart some editing tips and tricks for the longest time, I figured the easiest way was to create a monthly newsletter. You can sign up at the top of this page–and it will be information you won’t see posted on the blog. I’ll also include a shout-out to the writers I know who are releasing some outstanding work.

The first newsletter launched January 31st, and included five important editing tips when starting the editing process. On February 28th, the newsletter will continue on this editing journey with what you should look for in your First Read. Tell you what–sign up today and I’ll make sure you get the first five tips, too.

Now to get this feline out of my face so I can work. Wish me luck. Heh.


MeiLin Miranda Reads VISTA BRIDGE At ComicCon!

Yes! It’s true! Here’s our own MeiLin Miranda reading her story based on the Wheel of Fortune card from Allegories of the Tarot

at ComicCon:

What a fabulous job

Two quick things: If you purchase the paperback copy of Allegories you get the KINDLE version FOR FREE. Yes. You do.

AND…the first monthly Word Webber newsletter will be coming out January 31st. Sign up now so you don’t miss anything! Like new releases, some editing tips, and a SPECIAL SURPRISE. Heh.

Go on, now. Go kick Monday in the taco!