Niamh Clune

Environment, poetry, comment, children's books,

Editor’s Corner: With Shawn MacKenzie!

For the writers out there ~  Shawn does editing for Plum Tree Books. Can you afford to miss her advice? I know I can’t!

MacKENZIE's Dragon's Nest

Other Eyes and Beatles Wisdom

Scribe smallThe trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close up.” …Chuck Palahniuk

“It is better to take pleasure in a rose than to put its root under a microscope.” …Oscar Wilde.

There comes a time in every editing endeavor when each wall you face is an Everest and each knot Gordian in its complexity. You have taken your work apart, dissected and resected every sentence, paragraph, and chapter. You know your characters inside out and have removed every extraneous pronoun, preposition, and adverb, but still it’s not right.

Chances are, while slogging through dense literary underbrush, you have not only lost sight of the forest, but also the trees. This is the boundary beyond which all the rules in the world will do you absolutely no good. In fact, chances are you are in this predicament in part because you’ve…

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About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books.

6 comments on “Editor’s Corner: With Shawn MacKenzie!

  1. drpendyala2005
    June 11, 2013

    Facebook updates and comments are interesting.
    I do love to read as many posts as possible each day.
    I do love to understand the mind behind each update.
    I would love to dissect each update.
    But most of the comments never fail to amuse me.
    Most of the responses are just a “like” or a silly emoticon.
    I wonder, why can’t there be better comments on such interesting posts ?
    Why do we just like something without analysing it ??
    or do we just follow Oscar Wilde, it is better to take pleasure
    in a rose than to put its root under a microscope…???


    • ontheplumtree
      June 11, 2013

      You make a very interesting point. Mostly, it is because people are too busy to add a serious comment, but like to at least let you know they visited and appreciated. Yous comment is deeply appreciated.


  2. the secret keeper
    June 12, 2013

    Editor’s Corner is a brilliant post this week & has been consistently so. I am not showing bias. Shawn has helped when I’ve asked & improved immensely what I had written. I also agree it would be great if people took the time to make meaningful comments. But it isn’t always possible. Shawn told me I tend to write epistles when someone makes a comment & when I make a comment I tend to do the same. It is usually b/c I am moved by what I have read & what to share my appreciation for the person who so moved me. As to the post you reblogged I left a full out comment with a touch of humour & even got permission from Shawn to use profanity when I felt it was necessary to what I was writing in my comment. For writers there is a great deal to be learned from Editor’s Corner. As you stated Niamh, you have been inspired as I have b/c it is filled with incredible insights on what writers need to do to improve their process. Thank you for Niamh. I also push the like button to show appreciation and sometimes I am not able to make a comment. There are too many posts that I read & I would never find the time & still do all my own writing & creating & all else that life demands. Jk


    • ontheplumtree
      June 12, 2013

      Yes! I know. It is so hard to keep up with everything. I cannot, so I must prioritise.


  3. thiskidreviewsbooks
    June 12, 2013

    I think a lot of time people “like” my post but don’t have time to comment. I try to think about the posts I read. Sometimes I can’t think of something good to say, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t read the whole thing. I agree with “The Secret Keeper” that there should be more than a like button to choose from 🙂


    • ontheplumtree
      June 12, 2013

      I also always read what I comment on. I think it only fair to the creator.


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This entry was posted on June 11, 2013 by in Special Projects and tagged , , , , , , , .
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