Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Why I Enjoy Editing

 This week's Gallery starts with a true eye-opener, a "would you believe" for all my readers who have watched my grandgirls grow since they were toddlers . . .


 The girls' parents just spent 10 days in Europe - part vacation, visiting Mike's cousin in Spain - but essentially due to Mike running tech for a big convention in London. Below, behind-the-big-screen pics of what Susie dubbed, "Mission Control."


And from Facebook . . .

If anyone knows if this truly exists & where . . .

 Don't miss this one! Sent by my politically like-minded son in Connecticut.

The quote that went with it:

 "She got quite a bump on the head.
We kinda thought there for a minute she was gonna leave us."


~ * ~



 As most of my readers know, I retired from giving advice on Writing and Editing after publishing a compilation of all my "how to" blogs since 2011 under the title Making Magic With Words. But every once in a while I feel the need to keep my hand in, so as I edited Chapter 14 of my latest Regency Gothic, Menace at Lincourt Manor, I was inspired to dust off my editing advice column and say a few new words. 

"Editing is torture. Why would anyone enjoy editing?" 

I suspect the majority of authors would agree with the above. I do not. I not only like it; it gives me great satisfaction. "Why?" you ask . . .

1.  First and foremost, it gives me a chance to "see what I've got." Do my words make sense? Are they strong enough to keep a reader's attention? Does the chapter pass muster, even though it needs work?

2.  Secondly, editing gives me an opportunity to add all the things I left out in my rush to move the action forward.

Grace note:  although my editing almost always consists of additions, other authors might find they need to make deletions. Never forget that author styles of writing are as diverse as snowflakes.

What are some of the many things I look for while editing?

1.  Missing descriptions (both background and people), bad transitions—did I make a leap too far from one paragraph to the next?

2.  Major plot point flubbed—a hint too vague; perhaps too much, too soon; or no set-up at all for a major event to come

3.  Those old bugaboos—typos, words left out, repetitive words, a sentence that simply does not say what you thought it said.

4.  The sudden need to name a character who was simply "a friend, a maid, an acquaintance," but you realize the story would be better if this person were not completely anonymous.

I could go on and on, but I absolutely love to pounce on my omissions and find a way to make my story more vivid, more colorful, more understandable.

How should you go about editing?

Again, the answer to this is as varied as the number of authors currently struggling over their manuscripts. As far as I am concerned, until somewhere around Edit Four, I edit hardcopy. For me, having an 8½ x 11 page in front of me makes sense. I can scribble changes in pencil, erase them just as fast as something better comes to mind. I can scrawl long inserts in pen on a legal pad, crossing out 2 or 3 versions perhaps before I find the exactly right words. (If editing on screen, such major changes can easily become confusing.) 

Yes, I have to type in these edits at a later date, but it couldn't slow me down very much if I'm currently working on Book 52!

[As stated in previous blogs, my style - not necessarily yours - is to edit after every chapter, again after every 5 chapters. A 3rd edit, starting from the top; a 4th, and hopefully final, edit online after converting my Word Perfect draft to Microsoft Word.] Don't groan! Only a few authors manage to get satisfactory copy from anything less.

For the novices among my readers . . .

Do not forget to run Spell Check! But do NOT depend on it. It will not find the word you skipped, the word you typed by accident, the phrase you accidentally deleted. Only careful reading of your work will help you avoid catastrophic mistakes. (And yes, even after four or five edits, I still have typos in my work, I admit it. I found somewhere around nine when proofreading the paperback copy of The Secrets of Stonebridge Castle. Believe me, none of us is perfect!)

It's been a long while since I tried the technique below. Using the first draft of Chapter 14 of Menace at Lincourt Manor as an example, here is an excerpt from page one with the additions indicated in red. Deletions, an unusually high number for me, are listed below the excerpt.

Chapter 14

    I would like to record that my visits to the farms and dairy were a grand success, establishing a comfortable rapport between the Manor and our tenants. Truth was, whatever good impression Julian and I might have made on our initial visit had been seriously eclipsed by the odd manner in which I had located Betsy. And now, despite my attempt to play gracious-lady-of-the-manor, I had the feeling that the moment my back was turned every hand would be contorted into the “keep away, evil-witch” gesture Lottie had shown me.
   There was little I could do but hold my head high, keep a smile on my face, and hope time would lay the matter to rest. With determination in my soul and hope in my heart, I returned to list-making; this time, a compilation of the names of all our tenants, their children and employees. I would become a proper chatelaine for Lincourt Manor! When I had doubts about managing the role of chatelaine, I consoled myself with recollections of tales about Medieval ladies who held their domains for years on end while their husbands were on crusade. Then again, whispered that niggling voice in my head, I doubted any of them had a staff who thought the lady of the house a witch or put dishes of smoldering sage in the main rooms of their castles.
   I received a hasty scrawl from Julian: Violet, you disappeared without a word. Explain, if you please.

 Deletions to the above paragraphs:

I would be fortunate; the role of; alleviated even a small modicum of their wariness; even Betsy, after once again expressing her abject gratitude, contorted her hand; Nonetheless, I was back to list-making; What happened?

Grace note:  it was the extent of the edits in these opening paragraphs that prompted me to write this blog. Even after all my years of experience, "it ain't easy."

Summary:  If you are not editing multiple times, you are headed for an amateur presentation. Concede you are not Nora Roberts, Lindsay Buroker, Jeff Wheeler or any other of the handful of authors who appear to churn out words with nary a stutter. READ your work, make it better. REPEAT as often as necessary to make it sing. Or at least be the best you can do at this stage of your career. DO NOT insult your readers by giving them pages tossed off in haste, pages you believe to be so "perfect" you cannot possibly make them better. Cuz for 99.999 percent of us, it just ain't so! 

Go forth, write, then edit the @#$% manuscript!

~ * ~


For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page  click here.

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)


Saturday, November 12, 2022




Another week of storm prep, hunkering down, constantly watching radar & TV reports, carrying a lantern around while hoping for the best, and . . . once again lucking out, while many here in Florida were hit hard. For the second time in six weeks. This time, not by a Cat 5 hurricane like Ian but by the incredible tidal destruction of the barely Cat 1 Nicole. 

While I sat high and dry on my little plateau in Longwood, giant trees toppled over 15 miles north in Sanford as Lake Monroe flooded over ground already saturated by Ian, turning the soil to mud. And much worse, along the coast 15-25 ft waves pounded ashore onto dunes already severely eroded by Ian and swept away sea walls previously damaged by Ian. Some 49 structures along the beaches in Volusia and Brevard counties (the Space Coast) have been declared uninhabitable. Many of these are towering condominiums, not simply single-family houses. A number of homes fell into the sea, and condos were left "on the brink," the ocean lapping at their foundations. 

For a link to one of the many videos of the damage to homes in Wilbur-by-the-Sea (Volusia County), click here.

On top of all that, of course, this was election week, Floridians who left their vote to the last day had to endure a succession of cloudbursts as Nicole's outer bands approached us from the Bahamas. All in all, a week we're all glad to put behind us.

We've truly earned our lighter moments! Hopefully, you'll enjoy the variety of photos below. 


In this dramatic week, we did not forget to celebrate Veterans' Day.


In honor of our fallen heroes


* * *

Below is a link to a Facebook video showing a construction of 10,000 dominoes biting the dust - the most elaborate domino-stacking I've ever seen.

For a link to the fall of 10,000 dominoes   click here.

* * *


Fabulous photo found on Facebook (no attribution)

From long ago - Cassidy & Bear

Can't have a Gallery without a Cat Photo . . .


From Facebook

My daughter has been posting all sorts of fabulous photos from Spain, but this is the one that really struck me - taken at the dinner table of Mike's cousins.


And then there is this marvelous poem, found on Facebook this morning . . .


And to close, this truly remarkable post-Nicole photo taken by Seminole County friend, Sharon Studenc . . .


~ * ~

Please remember The Secrets of Stonebridge Castle is now available in paperback.

For a link to Secrets on Amazon, click here.

For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page  click here.

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)

Friday, November 4, 2022

Democracy at Risk

 Last week the famed Thunderbirds were at an air show at Sanford International Airport. Naturally, the Reale family was present, giving Cassidy an opportunity to meet and receive advice from some of the pilots present.

Photos by Susie Reale


 I don't know if the deterioration of American politics (and most of the other nations allied against Hitler in World War II), began with:  

a) a cabal of Nazi survivors determined not only to revive fascism but to spread the concept of dictatorship to the most powerful nations in the world; 

b) a conspiracy of the Elite determined to hang on to the concept of an all-white "right to rule";

c) the determination of the all-powerful super-wealthy to reign supreme;

d) too many nations becoming so prosperous and "fat cat" that, like the Cloud People in the movie Wally, we sat back, overindulged ourselves and our children, and let the values that got us to the top slide.

Most likely, it's e) all of the above.

Whatever the reason, we are at risk of being overwhelmed by the Rabid Right. Of losing all that "Democracy" stands for. Of losing the Freedoms our ancestors fought for, the Freedoms that beckoned so many immigrants to our shores. 

Grace note:  Although I use Florida's governor and senator as examples below, the principles involved apply to just about every one of our fifty states.)

At the top of the list of Scary People are Florida's governor, Ron DeSantis, and Florida Senator, Marco Rubio. DeSantis because he does too much, overstepping the purview of his office by a thousand miles or so, and Marco Rubio, who does too little—in fact, "nothing" would be more like it. 


I'd like to dismiss Marco Rubio as a lightweight do-nothing—I mean, as a Senator, he's nothing more than a vapid smile. And for that reason alone, he needs to be replaced. Florida deserves ACTIVE participation in government from its Senators. But Rubio has to go for another reason. As long as he opposes abortion, even for rape or incest, he is a menace. And since his opponent is the dynamic, intelligent, well-spoken, and politically active former Police Chief of Orlando, VAL DEMINGS, how can you consider voting for Rubio, the invisible man, unheard from except in his campaign ads?

Rubio, NO.   Val Demings, YES, YES & YES! 



Ron DeSantis is so scary I hardly know where to start. He has all these campaign ads boasting about the "Freedoms" he's given to the residents of the State of Florida. Right. Here are some of his Freedoms:

1.  The "freedom" not to wear a mask during the height of Covid, thus ensuring our Freedom to die and pass along the virus to others so they can die with us.

2.  The "freedom" to visit our relatives in Nursing Homes during Covid; results, ditto.

3.  The "freedom" to worship without masks; results, ditto.

3.  The "freedom' of parents to tell teachers what to teach; resulting, among other things, in a white-wash (pardon the pun) of our history and the by-passing of the LBGTQ community.

4.  The "freedom" to tell schools which textbooks they can use, what books can be in their libraries. (All things that should be decided by educational professionals, not by politically minded Power Groups.)

And Ron DeSantis has granted the following "Freedoms" to himself:

1.  The right to declare doubts about the efficacy of vaccinations, while promoting the latest cockamamie ideas from a hopelessly unscientific State Surgeon General (after firing the highly competent previous Surgeon General).

2.  The right to threaten Disneyworld, because it demonstrated a few "woke" ideas and refused to be intimidated by Gov. DeSantis.

3. The right to do nothing about Gun Control, even though the Parkland school shooting was one of the worst in the nation.

4.  The right to spend $600,000+ in taxpayer money to send a two planes to Texas to "borrow" immigrants* and drop them in Martha's Vineyard, promising them jobs at the end of the Summer Season when even local residents were being laid off. (A purely political move intended to garner attention on a national scale but which, happily, back-fired, just about everyone horrified by this politically scheming high-handedness.)

*A ruthless necessity designed to make a political point with no thought for the immigrants' welfare, as beyond an occasional overloaded boat from Cuba or Haiti, Florida does not have an immigrant problem.

4.  The right to run again for governor, when everyone knows he'll be spending most of the next two years campaigning for nomination as President, Florida and its citizens no more than an afterthought.

I could go on and on, but surely that's enough. Nip this "more dangerous than Trump" candidate in the bud. Do not give him the power of a governorship to support his campaign for the White House. 

Ron DeSantis, NO.  Charlie Crist, YES!


Whatever your decision,


~ * ~


Please remember The Secrets of Stonebridge Castle is now available in paperback.

For a link to Secrets on Amazon, click here.

For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page  click here.


Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)