Kelly Barr, Professional Freelance Editor

I have found that I like editing as much as I like writing and have begun my own Professional Freelance Editing business. I have four years of experience editing fiction. I also love to help people improve their writing skills. Therefore, if you have a fiction manuscript or short story you would like edited, check out my “Editing Services” page for more details–simply click on the “Editing Services” tab at the top of the page.

Also, note my button on the sidebar: I am a member of The Christian Pen: The Proofreaders and Editors Network.

Here is what one of my client’s has to say about my work:

“Kelly is a pleasure to work with. She is well-versed enough to understand the nuances of my genre (Christian Speculative) even though she doesn’t write Speculative. She knows her craft and is sensitive and gentle when giving input about things that need to be corrected or rewritten. Her notes are thoughtful and her suggestions made my book a better read and a more polished final product. ‘The Sorcerer’s Bane‘, book one of my series The Seven Words, is slated to be released soon and I will continue to seek her professional help on future manuscripts.  — C. S. Wachter

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Whatever Happened to Justice? by Richard J. Maybury

Wow! What a great book! Whatever Happened to Justice? by Richard J. Maybury is written in terms that are easy enough for middle school children to understand, and he offers so many examples and insights into what went wrong and is still spinning out of control in our country.

The entire book talks about Common Law and how it worked and enabled our country to become the prosperous land of the free that it was for a hundred years. This book also explains how things began to go wrong, when our country’s leaders turned to Political Law and cast Common Law aside. It explains about the two types of Law: Scientific Law and Political Law.

You’ve probably never even heard of Common Law. I know I wasn’t familiar with the term until I read this book. Mr. Maybury also points out how, not only did our leaders cast Common Law aside, but it has been buried. No one is taught about Common Law anymore, not even lawyers.

Mr. Maybury quotes many of our founding fathers, as well as other historical figures and resources to make his points. He has traveled the world and examined the many different types of government. He explains how “Case Law” is a method of evolving law on a case by case basis. It was developed by judges and was the beginning of “scientific law”.

Historically, the clergymen were the most highly respected and neutral third party in a community, and therefore were often the ones to listen to both sides of a story and then consult moral guidelines such as the Ten Commandments and make a decision.  The grapevine would spread this decision throughout the community. It would become a “precedent” for later decisions.

The reasoning behind it was simple. The fundamental nature of humans doesn’t change much; what was right yesterday remains right today.

Eventually some of the clergymen became so skilled at listening to cases and making sound judgments that they acquired much prestige. Demand for their services grew and they became full-time judges. The body of precedents they produced became the law of common usage, the “common law“.

Since judges were making decisions based on moral guidelines and dealt with people from different communities or of different religions, the guidelines on which cases were decided had to be those which all reasonable persons held in common.

Therefore, after much thought, the judges came up with two fundamental laws on which all major religions and philosophies agree: (1) do all you have agreed to do, and (2) do not encroach on other persons or their property.

Encroach means to enter steps or stealth into the possessions or rights of another; to trespass or intrude. To gain or intrude unlawfully upon the lands, property, or authority of another. (Black’s Law Dictionary)

These words are just the tip of the iceburg that is this book. Everything in italics and bold are direct quotes from the book, which I highly recommend and plan to use as part of my son’s homeschool government studies when he gets to high school.

If you’re interested in reading more of this book, or one of the other books that Mr. Maybury has written that teach wonderful lessons, you can find them at http://www.bluestockingpress.com

 

The Coffee Shop (A Poem)

The Coffee Shop
by Kelly F. Barr

Oh the hustle and bustle
Over coffee and tea;
Regular or latte–
What flavor will it be?

People chatting, eating,
Looking at their phones;
Conducting business, studying,
Or writing in their zone.

Those who need a pick-me-up
Make it their early morning stop.
Others leisurely sip their choice
At their favorite coffee shop.

The Importance of Word Count

Why is there so much talk about how many words a writer writes?

Because words have meaning. They carry weight. They paint pictures, but they can also bog the reader or the story down.

Word count determines how long your story will be and that will determine whether it is a piece of Flash Fiction, a Short Story, a Novella, or a Novel. Yes, each of these has a range of acceptable word count.

So, should you write 1,000 words or less, 3,000-5,000 words, 30,000-45,000 words, 65,000-120,000 words? That depends on which of the items above you want to write. It may also depend on your genre or whether your are writing for Silhouette Romances or a Fantasy Novel, etc.

I have had people praise my writing. Several have told me, “You are a good writer. You don’t waste words. Every word you use counts.” Of course, that made me feel good. However, because of that, I have to be sure that I work hard to include the things my readers want in my writing as well as maybe include a few more scenes, which means coming up with a few more conflicts, in order to produce the proper-size novel.

What do I mean “what my readers want in my writing”? Well, my critique partners say I do not include enough description of things like the weather on a particular day or what a place looks like nor do I include enough of my characters’ internal thoughts.

Therefore, while others may have to cut words when they do their revisions, I will most likely have to add words/scenes.

What have you learned about your writing in regard to word count?