No Safety Net

As a novelist-do you use an editor? Writing without one is like home schooling your children. It can work, if you treat it seriously.A professional editor is an expense many self published authors try to do without. Personally, I had n assessment for my first three manuscripts then, going on what I had seen them do, continued on my own. However, I always use beta readers and have outside help with proof reading.

Recent discussions on editing have alerted me to the detail required for the job. A good editor considers characterisation, structure, plot, continuity and style, giving an assessment of whether the story captures and holds the imagination of a reader and suggests cutting unnecessary waffle to keep the action tight. People who add nothing to the story have to be eliminated or merged. Points of View should be adhered to whether they be first person, third person or omniscient narrator as a multitude of voices clamouring to be heard can spoil a good story. The balance of internal thought, dialogue and description should be kept and characters should act consistently. Can the reader differentiate between them or will they get Millie and Maisie confused?

A professional editor will also ask who the book is intended for and, while for most of us it is just something we want to write, if we want to be commercial we should listen to advice. I intend to learn more about editing as I believe it could be even more important than marketing!bookwormclipart


SWWJ meeting

The local meeting of the SWWJ in Chichester was a very enjoyable and constructive day. We began with refreshments and then discussed venue options with some folk supporting the status quo while others suggested Liphook or the Yacht Club in Chichester. It all depends whether we want to change the activities and find a free venue with lunches or keep to the options of packed lunch or finding somewhere else to eat. We do need to be close to public transport as not everyone is a driver.

We moved on to the programme for meetings and, while it was suggested we bring work in progress to read the general consensus was that we enjoyed having a speaker, as long as there were enough people to support the cost and we could revert to the half day workshops that we used to have a few years back.

In the afternoon Margaret Mounsdon told us how she became a successful author of Pocket Novels, with examples, and fired our enthusiasm for the genre.

It was great to meet up with members from all over the South East and, hopefully, we shall look forward to more such meetings in the future, wherever they are.

Coconut Ice

With a bit of luck I can get a picture of the poster for Coconut Ice on here. I haven’t got the booklet yet but I’ve seen the proof and am just waiting for the cover to be finished.

We are giving the profits to the Salvation Army and I’ve ordered 200 copies to start with. A friend said ‘You can’t sell poetry,’ but I hope to prove him wrong.

Coco launch poster

Food for Thought

The Sea Scribes, our local writing group, were giving a talk combined with tea at the Ardington hotelĀ  Worthing, yesterday. We each had a table to display our books and took in turns to speak about our writing. This was all the more interesting because we cover such a variety of genres, historical, fantasy, flash fiction, poetry, romance and general fiction with my specialism being stories based in the local area.

The hotel put on a fine tea with sandwiches ( salmon was my favourite) scones and cream, cakes and little desserts. Afterwards people came up to talk to us about our work and buy copies of the group’s two anthologies and well as some of our novels. All in all it was an enjoyable and satisfying event.

I did take a couple of pictures before it all started but it doesn’t show the audience. The manager said he was very pleased with the number who for thought

Checking a proof

I’m really into editing at present so when I saw the proof for our new anthology I was quite excited. It is interesting to see how other people approach the design stage. Once the text was corrected we then had a look at the page design. The printer had suggested ivy leaves draped round the side but some of the lines of the verses almost touched them so that was out. Then we looked at the illustrations and wording sizes. The pictures seemed a little too large for the text, although on the front cover it seemed OK.

I chose a blue for the cover as the previous two anthologies have been gold and green and came away hoping to have it out in early April. Now I have to decide how many copies to get printed. As the profits are going to charity I expect to sell at least 100.

Then I’ll think about a launch. There’s a cute little cafe nearby that might be ideal. All in a day’s work!

Inspiration ( or lack of it)

I feel I ought to be posting more creatively but seem to be marking time at present. The poetry anthology is with the printer, my new marketing leaflets are ready to be picked up tomorrow, I have entered two competitions and started another story. I don’t think it will be a novel, especially as it is rather controversial but I have wanted to set a tale in the local landmark, an old tower, for some time. It is in a private garden so I don’t have a photograph. I have been asked to do another reading in June and, hopefully my leaflets will bring in more invitations for talks. I didn’t get a new portrait done so the image is about six years old. I tried taking a selfie but it looked like a passport photo so I left the old one. Hubby was very sweet and said ” It’s still YOU”

I used a different image for the Sea scribes trifold which details all our books. That should be ready for our “Food for Thought” afternoon tea at the Ardington Hotel in Worthing on 27th March. I do wear spectacles but I usually take them off for a picture. I didn’t for that one and although it is old it looks more like me. I used to have it on my book marks but put cover images on more recently instead.

If I don’t get any good ideas soon I may even try to find old unfinished works. Not having a book on the go makes me depressed.