Lists and Making My writing Better

You’ve heard the sayings; Those that don’t learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them, and; The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different response.

To stop the insanity I make lists of things that readers, editors, and I have found wrong with my writing.

I tell you the computer is out to get me. On the check list I go through before sending a manuscript to an editor, Spell Check is at the top and the bottom. The very last thing on the list is spell check.

The last manuscript I sent to an editor had several spelling errors. Not the wrong word that was close to the right word. No, plain spelling errors that the word processor red underlined. I use two spell checkers and the words were wrong in both.

It has to be enemy action. I have autocorrect turned off and I ran two spell checks. Plus I use two different spell checker (that don’t always agree with each other) so there must be a leak in the program or computer.

As I am going through the corrections the editor made to the manuscript I list the error she found. It’s a big list. Some of the problems are grammar, I have a problem with commas. So the list has a section bugging me to go study the grammar books and sites on how to use a comma.

It takes a lot of search and replace to go through the list of my common errors. But I go through each item on the list.

I do it for you, the reader. Hour after hour of slugging it out so you have a good readable story.

I have been to book signing where the author corrected an error in his hard bound book with a pen and he signed the correction. This guy had written dozens of books and stories. He was published by a big name publisher, and he was embarrassed by the error. I’m a small time author, the trolls don’t cut me any slack.

Editing is a time suck. Editing is hard, hard, hard, but I do it for you.

Once again, an ad for my book. The second one is coming soon.

Green pancakes and bacon


1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 drops green food coloring
1 tablespoon olive oil plus some for the skillet


Add to a large plastic bag the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Shake dry ingredients together.
In a large bowl, beat the egg. Add milk, olive oil, green food coloring, and vanilla and beat together.
Dump dry ingredients into bowl on top of wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated (it will have lumps). If the batter seems too thick, add more of the milk, a little at a time.
Place a large skillet or griddle over medium heat.
Add dash of olive oil to skillet.
Pour or spoon about 3/4 cup of the batter onto the skillet per pancake.
Cook until bubbles break the surface of the pancake, and the underside is golden brown, about 3 minutes. The time depends on how hot the skillet is.
Flip with a spatula and cook about 1 minute more on the second side. Remove pancake from pan and place on a plate.
Repeat until you have enough for breakfast.
Excess batter can be stored, covered and sealed, for a couple of days.

What if it goes wrong? Relax, you haven’t wasted expensive ingredients. If the first pancake is dry then add a little (more than a drop and less than a teaspoon full) of milk to the bowl and stir. If the pancake is too thin then add a little flour and a pinch of baking powder to the bowl. Stir and try again.

No syrup, try them dry or make the pancake very thin with too much milk and call them crapes. Use a little jelly in place of the maple syrup. Honey is good to on top of pancakes. Cinnamon and sugar is good. Even try a dash of paprika.

Two pancakes, two strips of bacon, and a glass of orange juice. That’s a special breakfast, for this special time.

Stay strong, write on, and edit.

Professor Hyram Voltage

Writing is hard, what we do to give you a story

Writing is hard, editing is harder, but doing a rewrite after the editor has worked over your story makes me feel like the lowest slave rowing the galley or the only slave rowing (and everyone on the boat is standing over me with a whip). No wonder people never finish their book.

As you read this blog remember, I don’t want to slug through another rewrite of my manuscript. But, I WILL. I’m a writer, an author, and there are readers who want stories.

I think my problem is overwork, loneliness, and exhaustion.

I run two to three Zoom meeting a week. I got to create an agenda for each meeting, schedule the meeting, email everyone, and set time aside. On some of the Zoom meetings I have to write up the minutes of the meeting. It takes an hour to three hours for each meeting. Now I’m doing this for myself as well as for the others attending the meeting.

I’m amazed that some people have so much trouble using the zoom program. I figured it out so it can’t be that hard to do. And the meetings are appreciated, there are members of the meeting that have begged for more meetings.

Note to self; do a blog about setting up zoom. Email me if your interested.

Even with all the zoom meetings, the loneliness is wearing me down. I’ve been holed up for six and a half weeks. The only time I’ve been out of the house is to go to the grocery store or the drug store. I wear the protective stuff and I’m in and out of the store as quick as I can be. There’s no time for interaction or even browsing. And before the troubles my critique group fell apart. I have to join one of the on line groups.

The biggest problem is I’m exhausted. I’m helping people, I’m helping a club I belong to, I’m writing these blog, I’m taking a screenwriting course, I got a garden half full of weeds, and I’m writing two other books.

I don’t want to slug through another rewrite of my manuscript. But, I WILL.

The usual ad for my book.

In this time of stress there is nothing like a warm brownie.

One box of brownie mix.

One or two eggs (plus one more than is recommended by the directions on the box).

Oil as recommended on the box. I use olive oil.

Water as recommended on box. Tap or bottled water.

I use the directions from a box of cake mix.

In a large bowl add eggs. Using fork lightly beat eggs. Add water and oil. Beat mixture until foamy.

Add brownie mix. If you feel adventurous add a small hand full of walnut pieces and/or chocolate chips. Mix until just blended. Do not over mix. Mixture will be lumpy.

Pour, scrape with a spatula, into greased pan.

Baked as directed. I have found that my oven takes a couple of minutes longer to get center on brownies done. The oven also runs 25 degrees cooler than the knob says, so check your oven temperature with a thermometer. Give brownies the tooth pick test. Toothpick must come out clean. If worst turns to worst and the edge of the brownies are overdone and hard then trim the over done rim of the brownies off like the crush of a slice of bread.

If you need a quick cake. Add one more egg to brownie mix. A cake with nuts and chocolate chips in it will be a surprise.

Stay strong, write on, and don’t stress eat.

Professor Hyram Volage