P Is For Proofreading

You’ve written your manuscript, thoroughly revised and edited your baby until she glows, and now you’re ready to release her to the world. Before you send her off to a potential agent, or think about self-publishing, it is vitally important that you proofread your document, and seriously consider investing in hiring a professional proofreader.

What is proofreading? How does it differ from editing?

Edit EraseWhen you edit, in a nutshell, you’re really looking at the content, for inconsistencies in your story, sentence structures and revisions, and the general flow of the writing. Proofreading is an entirely different skill. In proofreading, rather than assessing the quality of the content, you’re more concerned with the quality of the grammar, punctuation, and spelling (or GPS, as I like to call it).  You’re also looking for other errors in the little details like page numbers, chapters, and basically anything that needs correcting, as the final stage of production before publication.

Anything not caught by the proof reader will forever haunt you as the blemish upon your otherwise perfect work. Invest in proofreading, and you won’t regret it. Skip this stage, and you’ll almost always wish you hadn’t. Even the most brilliant among us can miss the most glaringly obvious mistakes, when it’s all you’ve been staring at for weeks.

Do you have a document or manuscript that you need proofreading? Contact dangerjen@me.com with your request for a quote.

Pantsing NaNoWriMo

Who else out there is taking part in NaNoWriMo?

This is my first year, and so far, so good. In the weeks leading up to the start of November, I had several different story ideas floating around my head, and I agonised over trying to choose which one to develop, eventually jotting down basic structures for several ideas. What has surprised me though, is that since starting, I have followed none of these stories and a completely unexpected story has been born. It’s almost as though my main character is telling me the story. It’s quite exciting, if somewhat unnerving, because I have no idea where I’m going with this! I guess I’d definitely fall into NaNoWriMo’s “pantser” category!

The story is set mainly in Russia, from the perspective of a British teenager who moved there with her alcoholic mother and abusive step-father. Sounds depressing? Yes. Yes it is. As I say, it’s not the story I planned for or chose at all…I didnt even know I had this story in me! It is simply the story that began to unfold as I typed, almost possessed, words flowing before I even knew what I was writing.

What about you? Are you a pantser or a planner? What’s your synopsis? And feel free to add me as a writing buddy – I need all the accountability I can get!

Where Do You Write?

As a writer, I used to think that my dream space was my own beautiful library, the smell of old books egging me on to pen my own as I sat at a large oak desk with a quill and ink. Over the last six months of traveling, I’ve found myself in a different reality, but beautiful nonetheless.

I don’t need expensive furniture or books trapped in a room, I simply need a laptop and a phone, and friends around the globe to swap and share stories with. I’ve become less materialistic and more focused on what really matters; inspiration and beauty, connections and practicality.

Jen Danger Writes

I originally published this piece earlier in the year for SBI’s Work at Home competition, achieving third place.

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Books

Ah, social media challenges – love them or loathe them, you’re not immune to them! Unless, of course, you’re not on social media. (Awkward) One of my favourite recent challenges is to “List 10 books that have impacted you”. I secretly hoped someone would tag me, and I was not disappointed. My good friend Deevs, who is a revolutionary, Hillsong College training, Jesus loving hippie, nominated me to share my book list.

You know you have those out-of-the-box thinking friends who, anything they recommend, you immediately want to see/read/discover for yourself? Yeah, that’s Deevs. I was delighted she had tagged me – firstly because I was curious to read her list, and secondly because I was excited to create my own. Thanks to her book list, I’ve added a few more to my “want to read” list. Unsurprisingly, a couple on her list are also on mine –  can you guess which ones?!

Once I actually got down to the nitty gritty of compiling my own list, however, my excitement dwindled and was replaced with confusion and anxiety. How could I narrow it down to just ten?! Do I choose books that are meaningful for me now, or those that have been formative throughout the years (even if that meant adding a book to the list that I’d most probably hate if I were to read it now)? Maybe I should do less than 10, the very bare bones of books which have greatly impacted me. Maybe I should screw the number and add as many as I liked. I sent frantic messages to Deevs, asking for her advice and sympathy. Finally, realising that in the grand scheme of eternity, my book list is not that important, I settled on a solution – choose whatever the heck I wanted, and write explanatory notes for why I’d put these books in my top ten (with a disclaimer that these are some of the books that have impacted me, and I reserve the right to at a later date amend this list, and that there are probably books not here that should be, and so on).

So, to echo Deevs’ original post, here are my top ten books that have impacted me in some way, given in no particular order, and requesting you refrain from judgement, but welcoming you to comment and question, should you feel so led ;)

The Brain That Changes ItselfThe Brain That Changes Itself – Norman Doidge

Doidge excels in communicating the complex subject of neuroplasticity in a way that anyone can pick up and understand. Not only that, the translating of this specialised scientific topic into layman’s terms offers anyone who reads it a glimpse into the brilliance of their own mind, and gave me so much hope when I read it. I refer to this book often. Outliers

Outliers – Malcom Gladwell

Given to me by my brilliant Sociology lecturer, I came alive reading Outliers. A fascinating book about human potential. Read it.

41zdHk4XXSL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Sacred Canopy – Elements of A Sociological Theory of Religion – Peter Berger

I discovered this book through the same lecturer, and its discussion of world construction changed the way I see the world and the individuals in it. I even wrote an essay on it. fullprebrith

Harry Potter – J. K. Rowling

When I grow up, I want to create worlds as awesome as J.K. Rowling.

41L97fT6UYL._SL500_AA300_She Who Is – Elizabeth Johnson

People make jokes about my feminist views and my quest for equality, but I felt very conservative reading She Who Is. The way I relate to God has grown as a result.

stephen king on writingOn Writing – Stephen King

A hilarious, almost autobiographical look at the world from the eyes of an author, with a lot of wisdom and constructive insight into writing. A must read for anyone who wants to be a writer. 51r6AVJWWvL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Theology for the Community of God – Stanley Grenz

Not for the faint hearted, but gives a broad overview of many Christian doctrines and differently held beliefs. This book helped me to better articulate my Christian worldview, to address areas where I had just absorbed poor theology without studying for myself, and to strengthen the building blocks of my faith. HowtoWinFriendsandInfluencePeopleCover

How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

I am occasionally a socially awkward person. Learning how to win friends and influence people has helped me to be a better friend and leader.

454204_w185Why You Do The Things You Do – Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy

I understood myself and how I relate to people in a new light after learning about attachment theories. Hopefully I am a bit more gracious and understanding with people, as I try to understand their relational model and how it impacts their interactions.

Caine_Undaunted__55936.1348965359.1280.1280I’m Not Who I Thought I Was – Christine Caine

What book list would be complete without the auto biography of my hero? I’ve learned so much from this incredible person throughout the years and hope to follow her example. She follows the narrow path. Unfortunately, this book is out of print, so good luck finding a copy. I’m not parting with mine. But you can read much of it and a lot more in a newer book, Undaunted.

Yousafzai_IAmMalalaI Am Malala – Malala Yousafzai

“When the Taliban shot Malala, they showed what they feared most: a girl with a book.” Someone give this girl the Nobel Prize already! Oh, wait… 1395693353683

Evolving in Monkey Town – (now called Faith Unravelled) – Rachel Held Evans

My new favourite author and blogger. I wish we were best friends. She asks the questions of her faith that I wish I had the guts to. And she makes the world a better place.

I could keep going, but I’ll leave it there for today. Would love for you to share your top books! Over and out xx

Three reasons why I need to be productive today

1. Get it done
If I don’t do these tasks that I’ve been diligently avoiding, a fairy won’t magically make them disappear. They’ll still be there, and I’ll be adding to my stress, knowing they’re there, knowing I do at some point need to do those tasks but I’ve still not completed them. The sooner I get it done, the sooner it disappears.

2. I don’t have time to waste
I’m ridiculously poor at managing my own time. I’m great at helping other people to manage their time, or disciplining myself when someone is paying me for my time, but when I work for myself, I tend to procrastinate and waste time, especially if it’s a difficult or boring task. It’s funny, the busier I am, the more productive I am with my spare time. Imagine if I could be that efficient from my own motivation? What could I accomplish? What could I achieve?

3. The sooner I’m finished, the sooner I can move on
Once I’ve completed these tasks, I can move on and never have to think about them again. I can reward myself with a more exciting task or a cup of tea. The sense of accomplishment I’ll feel will be worth it.

(I’m preaching to myself here folks. I’m writing this when I should be renovating.)

What if?

“What if…” questions make great writing prompts, and like the Idea Generator, can  help you to explore your imagination, or even turn into a short story or a book. I’ve given a few example questions here for you to have a go. Feel free to share your answers or some ideas for your own “what if” questions. Enjoy!


dark-question-2-1193475-mWhat if you found out that you were adopted?
What if you converted to another religion?
What if you were best friends with a celebrity?
What if you were part of a conspiracy theory?
What if everything you write comes true?
What if you found out that someone was planning a terrorist attack, but no-one would believe you?
What if you joined the circus?
What if you woke up one day with the ability to read minds?

N is for Notetaking

You want to write. You have a million brilliant ideas, clever sparks of inspiration. But you have a problem. All your genius ideas seem to strike when you have not the inclination or ability to develop them into their full brilliance. You meet a quirky fellow at a networking event, who, you think to yourself, would be an ideal character for your book, but you have to sit through a three-hour luncheon before you’re able to jot down his mannerisms, and by the time you get home, you are so drained from small talk and drunk from wine, that you forget you even met the man. Or, you’re having coffee with a friend, and she offers you a snippet of advice that wows you; that helps you to see clearly and you know it’s important for you to write it out and stick it on your desk, as a constant reminder. But the advice comes through her own struggle, as she pours out her heart about a recent loss. It would hardly be appropriate for you to pull out your iPhone.

How do you capture these ideas, these gems, before they slip through the cracks in your mind and are lost, potentially forever? I often think, as I take out my laptop and struggle to release even a word or two, that it is not ideas I lack; it is the net that catches them. So I’m building a net. I’m


Copyright Jen Danger 2014

taking out my phone (when appropriate) and writing a memo to self for later. I’m carrying a notebook and pen with me when possible, and when I have a dull moment, rather than play candy crush, I’m writing the inspiration that’s all around me, if only I would learn to open my eyes and see it.

There are lots of smart ways to use technology to aid you in recording and maximising your ideas. Click here for one writer’s practical guide (that I admit is slightly over my head) on which apps to use and how to use them. I tend to just stick to pen and paper, the built-in Notes function on my phone, and my laptop, although I’m also trying out a few other apps such as Evernote, and I regularly use my WordPress app (though more for admin than ideas).

How do you capture your ideas?