Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘(did I mention guest blogs?)

My New Guest Blog Is Up at Chris Nuttall’s Blog

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Folks, I am happy to report that Chris Nuttall accepted a guest blog from me about editing. I called it “Adventures in Editing: Going over A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE, 12 Years Later.”And it’s up now over at Chris’s busy blog, the Chrishanger.

Why did I write this, exactly? Well, back in May, I wrote about the struggles I had in going over my final edit of A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE. I ended up adding some scenes, pruning back others…I actually did more than my editor asked for in certain respects, because I felt my book deserved more.

And because ELFY was originally one book, I needed to write a brand-new first chapter, too, plus I added a “What Has Gone Before.”

I didn’t talk about all of that at Chris’s blog, mind. I thought his readership might be more interested in why I did what I did, and what the difference is between what I call a full-on edit (otherwise known as a full line-edit plus a conceptual edit plus a consistency read) and editorial changes.

Here’s a bit of that blog where I discuss exactly what the differences are between a full-on edit and editorial changes:

When you are dealing with editorial changes, you move more quickly through your manuscript – at least, I do – and you aren’t as concerned with the intrinsic wholeness. You have to believe in your editor, and trust that he or she knows your writing well enough that you won’t be steered off-course…and you have to trust that you will make the right changes in the right ways.

But in a full-on edit, you are looking at everything. Word choice, even if no one else has mentioned it. Whether you should add something at the beginning, because you now have two books where you once had only one. Whether you need additional scenes to clarify things, and if so, what?

And when you’re done with your edit, you go back and make whatever changes are necessary.

In other words, I analyzed my manuscript as if it were written by someone else. I saw where it had weaknesses, as well as strengths. I tried to shore up those weaknesses. And I looked for ways to be consistent, without messing with my earlier style whatsoever – as, over time, I’ve become a slightly different writer.

In addition, I added a short and funny excerpt from Chapter 2, which is a scene I decided to add after I was done with my final edit. (The only place this excerpt appears besides Chris’s blog is at the Twilight Times Books site in my sample chapters; this is at the beginning of chapter 2.)

But that’s not the only reason to read my newest guest blog,

Please do go and take a look at this guest blog, as I put in four tips at self-editing that may help you out a little.

And while I believe every writer needs an editor besides himself/herself, you can help your editor out a great deal if you at least try to go back over your manuscript and attempt to read it as if it were written by someone else.


Written by Barb Caffrey

November 24, 2015 at 4:51 pm

New Guest Blog about Bruno the Elfy and Characterization in AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE is Up at Stephanie Osborn’s “Comet Tales”

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Folks, my newest guest blog — which is about my favorite Elfy, Bruno, hero of my novel AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE — is up and available over at Stephanie Osborn’s blog Comet Tales right now.

Now, why did I write this particular blog? Two reasons. First, I’ve participated from the start in Stephanie’s “Elements of Modern Storytelling” blog series, and Stephanie’s enjoyed what I’ve had to say thus far. And second, because she’s transitioning from romance as an element of storytelling to characterization, she figured me talking about my favorite character Bruno from my novel, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, would be a good bridge under the circumstances.

If you’ve followed along with my blog or my writing for any length of time, you’re probably aware that AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE is relentlessly cross-genre. It’s a young adult comic urban fantasy/mystery/romance that also has paranormal elements and Shakespearean allusions. (Say that five times fast.) And as such, without a strong central character, the book just wouldn’t work.

Fortunately for me, Bruno the Elfy is as strong of a central character as anyone could wish for. As I said in the guest blog:

But none of (the plot) – not one blessed thing – would work without Bruno. He is a fully realized, multidimensional character with likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and seems like someone you might just know…that is, if he weren’t so short. And it’s because of this that you can buy into his adventures, you can buy into his romance, and you can buy into the fact that this young Elfy just might be able to save everyone if he just can figure it out in time.

In other words, this particular guest blog discusses what AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE is all about after the fact. And it all starts and ends with Bruno. He’s a guy from another dimension; his ways are strange to us, and ours to him. And crazy things happen to him that he must get past . . . or he has no chance whatsoever to save his mentor, much less make his nascent romance with Sarah work.

Mind, I didn’t know that Stephanie saw some parallels between my character Bruno the Elfy and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Frodo Baggins before I read her endnotes to this guest blog — that’s some high praise right there. (And I have to admit that I don’t see it. But I’m glad she does.)

Anyway, please do check out today’s guest blog. Then, if you haven’t taken a gander at AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE yet, what’s stopping you? (Here’s a link to the five sample chapters to whet your interest.)

Two More Guest Blogs Up Promoting My Writing and “An Elfy on the Loose”

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Folks, I’m pleased to report that two more new guest blogs are up and available for reading.**

First, Aaron Lazar over at Murder By Four accepted a guest blog from me called “Changing Voices and Heroes,” which is about the differences between writing military science fiction and comic fantasy on the one hand, and the differences between two very good heroes — space Navy Lieutenant Joey Maverick, who was my late husband Michael B. Caffrey’s character, and my hero Bruno the magically talented Elfy.

Here’s a bit from that:

Now, how did I tailor my own writing to fit these two wildly disparate genres?

When I’m writing milSF, I try to get right to the point. And I write a more action-oriented story, too – because the action often makes or breaks the story.

But when I’m writing comic fantasy, I allow my stories to spin out any way that works. There’s more time to fine-tune characterization; there’s more time to do some nifty things with word choices and puns . . . even limericks, if the story calls for it. And fully setting up my characters also allows me to better get at the humor of whatever is going on.

Clear as mud, no?

Anyway, today’s second guest blog is up over at Stephanie Osborn’s blog site Comet Tales. This discusses exactly how I came to write my novel AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE . . . and exactly what my late husband Michael did to help me along the way.

Here’s a bit from that guest blog:

When a character appears, fully formed, it’s best to listen to what he has to say. But all I knew, when I started writing, were three things: Bruno liked to wear black – when his race, the Elfys, mostly loved bright colors. He was the equivalent of a teenager. And he did not like to rhyme, even if all the other Elfys did.

Even so, that was enough for me to start writing what I then called “The Elfy Story.” I wrote the first six parts or so – less than chapters, about a thousand words per part – alone. Michael took a hand when I got to the seventh part because I had some sort of problem I couldn’t immediately solve, and he got intrigued. Then he figured this story had legs, and he wanted to help me figure out where it went.

. . .

With this huge, complex plot, I could’ve easily gotten lost. Fortunately for me, Michael was there every step of the way. He told me when I’d get frustrated, “Don’t worry. The story will come.” Or he’d tell me jokes in a similar way Bruno tries to do with Sarah from time to time in AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE (where do you think I got that from, hm?). Or he’d help me draw diagrams when I tried to figure out why the Elfy High Council did anything at all…plus, he edited what I wrote, gave me excellent advice, and heavily edited nearly all of Dennis the Dark Elf’s dialogue to make it even nastier and more hissable.

What more could anyone ever ask from her spouse than that?

Granted, if you’ve read my blog from its inception — or even in the past year or two — you’ve probably gathered that my husband Michael was the biggest influence on my writing. I’d simply not be the same writer without his help and guidance; there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

And really, with AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE finally available for purchase, I want people to know how much he did.

I’m very pleased that Stephanie Osborn was willing to share my story of how the Elfyverse came to be on her blog.

Anyway, I hope you will enjoy these guest blogs. Please let me know what you think in the comments . . . and do, please, let people know about AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE as well as the Joey Maverick stories.

Because I need all the help I can get right now in order to let people know these stories exist — much less are fun stories that people should actually enjoy if they just give ’em a chance to work their magic.



Mind, you might be wondering why I have three, count ’em, three guest blogs up in two days. This is because my fellow writer-friends are trying to help me raise my visibility, so perhaps I might be able to sell a few more books.

Besides, writing three different blogs — one about the virtues of quiet heroism, the next about the differences between the quiet Joey Maverick and the exuberant Bruno the Elfy, and the third about how I came to write AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE at all — was an intellectual challenge.

So how could I refuse?