This and That

27 Mar

Well I have been a very bad blogger just recently, but I’ve been busy writing. I guess there’s no better reason for neglecting certain things than writing, eh? Anyway, a lot has happened over the past couple of weeks.

Firstly, time management has not been my strong point, and I’ve tried to cram way too much into the past month. I’m still doing it this week. Bearing in mind that Easter weekend is coming up and everyone will be off work and getting together for a long weekend, I have a lot to fit in before I can relax.

I’ve had my critique and content edit back from my editor, and I’ve had some excellent, constructive feedback. I’ve learnt a lot about characters, which I’ll be talking about in a post later in the week. It’s funny how sometimes you can read the same advice over and over — don’t do such and such; make sure you do this, not that — but it’s only when you make mistakes for yourself that you can see why something does or doesn’t work. Or is it just me that thinks that?

Anyway, I’ve been working on the rewrites and tweaks for the past couple of weeks, which is why everything else has fallen by the wayside. I am a little single-minded when I get going, which can be both a good thing and a bad thing!

I’m more convinced than ever that good editing is a must for any book. There’s only so much self-editing you can do before you need to pass your work over to someone who is detached from the whole thing. Not only will they be able to spot things that you might never notice, they can also point out areas where your writing isn’t as clear as it could be.

As my novel is contemporary fantasy, there are some elements that are obviously fantasy. The problem is that it’s all so clear in my head that I hadn’t actually explained it in the story as well as I should have. The chances are high that the average reader — who doesn’t live in my head — would’ve been a little confused come the end! I would never have noticed that if I hadn’t sent my book to an editor — at least, not until the bad reviews started coming in to Amazon etc!

Also, you can self-edit until the cows come home (I love that expression!), but you can’t edit something that you don’t realise is wrong. Editing takes training, and there’s a reason for that. As writers, we can’t possibly expect to know the same stuff that an editor does.

Although saying that, I’m hopeful that future novels will take less editing, because I’m now aware of the things I tend to do when writing, and can hopefully keep them out of my future work. Of course, I may develop other bad habits in the meantime, so I’m always going to take the precaution of getting a professional involved!

My cover has also been finalised, and I will be revealing that a little nearer the book being completed. I’m really happy with the design and it’s an exciting step towards publication. If you ever need a cover design, I’d recommend you start by contacting Kit Foster. His portfolio speaks for itself, and he was so professional, patient and friendly throughout the whole process. I say he was patient because I literally had no idea what I wanted, and he came up with some brilliant ideas based on the jumble of thoughts and themes that I gave him. Then we worked together to tweak the cover into a design I really love, so I can’t thank him enough.

I’ve also signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo, which begins on 1 April. I figured it was a good opportunity to get started on the first draft of the second novel in the series, even though I only have a basic idea for the plot (and I wrote the first novel with an index card for every chapter).

And I’m aiming for 70,000 words in the month of April. If I only write Monday to Friday (which is what I try to do, usually, unless there’s something too desperate to wait), that’s 3,182 words per day. That’s doable, isn’t it? (What did I say about biting off more than I can chew? Maybe I’ll never learn…)

But hey, it’s like my favourite quote says:

“Always aim for the Moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

Let me know if you’re doing Camp NaNoWriMo too!

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5 Responses to “This and That”

  1. Alex J. Cavanaugh March 27, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

    Can’t wait to see the cover!
    You’re right that if we don’t know it’s a mistake, we’ll just keep making it.
    I usually notice my own mistakes when I critique someone else’s work. They stand out there whereas I don’t see them in my own.

  2. Elle Turner March 27, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

    Glad you got some useful feedback and that everything is progressing well for you. Good luck in April – you can do it! :-) xx

  3. Jaimie March 28, 2013 at 12:19 am #

    I’m with you in having everything so clear in my head that I assume every reader knows what I know! I find it very hard to get the balance of not enough/too much information right. Either I’m telling people stuff they don’t need to know or I’m expecting them to be mind-readers! Editors are amazing. The fresh pair of eyes helps so much it’s unreal!

    Can’t wait to see your cover! I just has a look at Kit’s portfolio and he has some stunning designs on there! Really looking forward to yours!

    Eeek! Good luck with Camp NaNo! Of course you can do it! 3K words a day is totally doable!

  4. Natalie March 28, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

    Glad the editing is going well and you’ve been getting useful feedback. I know another pair of eyes will definitely uncover things I have missed, amongst other things, not that I’m anywhere close to that yet!

    I have signed up for Camp NaNo too – sticking to the 50,000 though although I am only going to handwrite it and not type it up as I go along like I usually would. I think time might get the better of me during April!

  5. Stacey Mitchell April 16, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    Thanks for your comments everyone — sorry for the extremely late response!

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