Cindy K. Sproles is an author and a speaker, whose dream is to do nothing more than craft words that speak from the heart. God's plan seems to be for her to write and teach the craft.  With God’s guidance, Cindy is expanding her horizons. We'll see how He uses her.

Cindy is a mountain gal. Proud of her heritage, she was born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains where life is simple, words have a deep southern drawl, and colloquialisms like, "well slap my knee and call me corn pone" seem to take precedence over proper speech. Apple Butter, coal mining, the river, pink sunrises and golden sunsets help you settle into a porch swing and relax. Family, the love of God and strong morals are embedded into her life in the mountains. Teaching writers, spinning fiction tales about life in the mountains, history and down home ideas find their way into all she does. “I love to write devotions, to seek after the deeper side of Christ and to share the lessons He teaches me from life in the hills of East Tennessee. I am a writer. A speaker. A lover of God's Word and friend to all.” This is Cindy Sproles. Welcome home to the mountains.

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The Art of Self-Editing

9/10/2019 10:00:00 AM BY Cindy Sproles

“Just a few tweaks and you’ll have it.” I might as well have suggested murder.

“Great job with the story and the plot, but you might want to consider a bit more self-editing.” My comment, though said in the kindest of ways, floored the conferee.

“Self-edit?” She swallowed hard. “I proofed it. Are there typos?”

The more conferences I’m blessed to teach in, the more I see the rising need to address self-editing. For the experienced writer self- editing is a no brainer. They understand the process. Write, edit, write, edit again. But for the new writer, self-editing doesn’t compute past proofing. There is a difference. A big difference.

For the life of me, I can’t proof my own work. My mind’s eye refuses to focus in on transposed letters, extra spaces, and the right word spelled the wrong way. But self-editing, I can manage.

This process of backtracking over my previous chapter is a practiced skill, learned through years of sharing in critique groups. As our growth as a writer expands, we’re able to see the flaws that trip up the reader.  It takes practice to learn self-editing and I highly recommend purchasing a couple of great  self-editing books such as Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Rennie Browne & Dave King or Revision and Self-Editing for Publication by James Scott Bell. These are both wonderful tools every writer needs on their bookshelves. Self-editing teaches you the craft of writing. Here are some fast self-editing tools to help you improve your work.

Synonyms – The greatest writer gift in the world is a Thesaurus. Get one. Learn to use it. Find new words that pack a punch. Take “hardily laughing” to a guffaw.  Keep your audience in mind when you’re choosing new words, you’ll not only cut the word count but you’ll draw your reader in.

Similes and Metaphors – Learn to use them. They’ll take dull descriptions and turn them into peach pie.

Check the Dictionary – It’s easy to use the right word but spell it wrong. i.e. there and their; then and than, etc. Webster is pretty smart.

Action and Reaction – Make sure the action comes first. You can’t pay with cash until you pull out your wallet.

Active and Passive Voice – Passive writing is slow and boring. Check your work and when you run upon passive sentences, rewrite them. Active voice pulls the reader into the action and makes the read fun and interactive. Not to mention it shaves words off your word count.

RUE – Resist the Urge to Explain –If it doesn’t move the story ahead, cut it. We tend to over explain. Choose good words and description. A few good words will speak volumes.

These are just a few self-editing tips. Make self-editing a part of your writing process.