I just looked at my last post and realised I had used a comma instead of a full stop in my website. No wonder no-one ever looks at it. Anyway I have had a request for some sample chapters of my next book so I’ve plenty of work to do. Maybe the blood test I have just had will explain why I’m so sleepy these days. I also got some breathing exercises from the chemist. That should sort me out! Writing magazine came yesterday and I’m trying not to sit down and read it from cover to cover, especially as it also has a list of competitions. If you are a writer this is a wonderful resource.
I have just completed the story I am intending to send off to a publisher, something I haven’t done for twelve years. They only want a synopsis and the first two chapters and I am ready to accept that changes may be desired, especially with the names of the characters but also, maybe, with the plot. I have backed it up so I don’t lose the original. It is a bit like sending your child off to university. You know they will change but you hope you have done enough for them to remain the people you have brought them up to be.
I didn’t realise I would be so nervous about the process but it is very different from sending a manuscript to a printer as a self publisher. Then we only get comments after the book has been published and often they are from people who have enjoyed the story, not someone who is looking to see if it could be popular. The only book I sent to a publisher got the response, ” This isn’t commercial.” but I believe, this time I might have written something with a wider appeal. We shall see. The best thing about it is that I am not dependent on it for an income so I have time on my side. I’m happy to take editorial advice on board, no matter if it takes weeks, or months, to come to an agreement.
If they don’t like it I am willing to make it my eighth novel.
At last I have completed the first draft of my new novel. Now the hard work starts. It needs to be a few hundred words longer, which shouldn’t be a problem as I do tend to skimp on description and my typing skills are so poor that the spacing is often out.
The rest of the Sea Scribes are listening to it and I’ll be able to ask one or more to be a beta reader. There’s no way I will think it completed until I have a full edited manuscript. I can’t edit on the computer.
I have also written a poem for the folk club tonight so I must be in a creative mood. I hope it lasts. It’s too long to use here but will add to my collection for the next time I am asked to recite verses.
The new website is getting discovered. I had a typing error which I have corrected. Now to proofread my manuscript. Not my favourite occupation!
I really thought I was immune from homophone errors but when you are tired they creep up on you. Not content with printing one in my last book, now I am doing it on line. I wrote ‘comparing’ knowing it felt like the wrong word. I wasn’t going to set two things against each other, I am going to ‘compere’ the gig. I would have written MC but I think that always looks odd written down.
Frankly, I don’t feel like doing either at present and am hoping I can buck up by Wednesday. I have some multi vitamins with iron somewhere. Will they make me feel better? My poor little novel has been temporarily abandoned, but I did buy one last week, just to check on the house style. It will be a new venture, writing for a magazine rather than self publishing. We’ll see in the autumn if I pass muster!
West Sussex Writers had a talk on editing by Sarah Palmer last night. She did two excellent things ONE she asked the audience and included them throughout and TWO she had handouts for us to take away at the end of the talk.
Although she is an editor she slanted her talk towards self editing as she probably knew many of us found the idea of spending a lot on professional editing cost too much to make our work pay.
Her emphasis was on narrative drive and gave me a lot to think about as I believe I was following the arc but had never re read my novels to check whether that was so. Proof reading I can understand but consistency of character and dialogue I assumed happened naturally. Now I feel like going through my previous works to see if that is really so. We were introduced to the different edits, structural and line and , of course, warned not to send off anything without someone else reading it first. Oh, to stop being so arrogant that we think reading something three times means it is perfect! I’m as guilty as anyone and it is so disappointing when one finds an error in the printed copy.
This morning I started a new story. Meeting up with a group of writers is always stimulating. Twenty five copies of Coconut Ice sold already. Things are looking up!
Oh, to get back to writing. Real life isn’t much fun at present. I saw the dentist this morning and she said I would need a root filling and crown- only about £800. I have been moving people onto a new email. I’m trying to have one for friends and family and one for business and publicity but there are some people on both.
I think I’m due a holiday. Anyway I did get a prescription for the pain in my tooth and warnings not to eat anything hard until it can be fixed. No more flapjack , then? I need to work on my short story as it might be a tiny bit too long for the summer event. There may be a gap in my posts until after May 7th. Roll on the book launch!
Meanwhile , Sticky has a launch of his own today “Scooterboys, the Lost Tribe” I hope it goes well.
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!