Tag Archives: editing

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

My current flu has made concentration rather difficult so my creativity has suffered this past week.I think it is struggling against a ‘fuzzy’ head that has made creation arduous.

What illness / situation has made your creativity stall?

However, I was able to begin beta-reading two manuscripts for author friends, one is a thriller and the other a memoir. Both are intriguing in their own way. I am reading each one at separate times of the day so that I am ‘clear’ of one story line before reading the next one. I have shared a list of tips on beta-reading for those of you interested.

Books:

I continue to enjoy Beyond the Precipice by Eva Blaskovic. The writing is creative and the interwoven music elements make the story unique.With my other reading projects it is nice to let the story embrace me and lead me forward.

beyond-the-precipice

Do you tend to read one book at a time or many?

Do you lean towards fiction or factual?

I still have this novella on my pile too:

the-outcasts

https://www.amazon.com/Outcasts-Maddison-Lily-Fox-Andrews/dp/1908128720

Writing Tip:

beta

If you are unsure of how to beta-read try these steps – I found them at http://jamigold.com/2014/08/introducing-the-beta-reading-worksheet/

Opening Scene:

Does the story begin with an interesting hook, creating a desire to read more?
Does the manuscript begin in the right place?

Characterization & Motivation:

Are the characters compelling, sympathetic, or someone you can root for?
Do the characters feel real and three-dimensional, with distinct voices, flaws, and virtues?
Are their goals clear and proactive enough to influence the plot (not passive)?
Do their motivations seem believable, with well-drawn and appropriate emotion?
Are the secondary characters well-rounded and enhance the story rather than overwhelming the story or seeming like they should be cut?
Are the relationships between the characters believable and not contrived?

Plot & Conflict:

Are the internal and external conflicts well defined for each main character?
Are the internal and external conflicts organic and believable, i.e. arising out of characterization and circumstance rather than feeling contrived or forced?
Are there enough stakes and/or tension throughout to make it a “page turner”?
Does the premise avoid cliché and/or bring a fresh perspective to an old idea?
Are the plot twists believable yet unexpected?
Do the characters act or react to events in a plausible, realistic, or believable way?

Pacing:
Do scenes progress in a realistic, compelling manner and flow with effective transitions?
Does every scene add to and seem important to the story?
Does the story move along at an appropriate pace, without rushing or dragging?
Is there a hook at the end of each chapter or scene that makes you want to read more?
Is the story free from information dumps or backstory that slow the pace of the story?

Setting & Worldbuilding:
Are descriptions vivid and give a clear sense of time and place?
Do the details enhance rather than distract from the story?

Dialogue:
Is the dialogue natural and appropriate for the story, not stilted or overly narrative?
Does dialogue move the story forward and reveal the characters?
Are characters’ voices consistent and distinct from one another?
Is there an appropriate mix of dialogue and narrative?

Craft:
Does the writing “show” the scene with the senses, using “telling” only as appropriate?
Does the writing quality allow the story to shine through and draw the reader in, or are flaws jarring or intrusive?
Is the tone appropriate and consistent for the story?
Is the point of view (and any changes) handled appropriately and consistently?

Overall Impression:
Is the voice unique, fresh, or interesting?
Does the story deliver on the promise of its premise and opening scenes?
From a reader’s point of view, did you enjoy reading this story?

Additional Questions for Comment:
Are there any confusing sections that should be made clearer? (Mark in the manuscript)
Do any sections take you out of the story? (Mark in the manuscript)
Is the story a good fit for the stated genre, and if not, why not?
Who are your favorite—and least favorite—characters and why?
What aspects are especially likable or unlikable about the protagonist(s)?
What three things worked best for you?
What three things worked least for you?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

Maybe it’s naughty but I submitted few pages of another manuscript to our current Writer in Residence over the weekend. This time it was the manuscript I am currently working on, The Twesome Loop. A romance with a touch of erotica and a reincarnation twist. It is two time periods – 2000 and 1874 so the chapters go back and forth between the two. The four main characters in each time period are linked by reincarnation and as you get to know the characters you will come to notice similarities in personality coming through.

My meeting on Sunday with Richard van Camp our current WIR was excellent. He gave me a ‘light bulb’ moment on one of the characters. This will give me a new boost in creating her in a whole different light. Now I need to find the time to revise all the scenes she is present in. An expression he used was to ‘echo’ the characters to entice the reader with the similarities between the modern day and past personalities.

I also submitted the initial draft of the book I am ghost writing to my client for her review. Fingers crossed it will meet with approval!

And – agreed to be a beta-reader for two author friends so the manuscripts are piling up!

Books:

i-can-see-you I completed this novel – here is my review: Great story with well rounded characters, especially Emma whose bravery inspires.
A story of spirit, love and overcoming fear.
The tension builds with unforeseen twists and turns.
A well written narrative by an artful author, I will certainly be seeking out her other books.

I am now reading:

ava-moss

Writing Tip:

You don’t always need an outline. Give discovery writing a try.

Do you have a writing tip to share?

What book can you recommend?

 

 

 

 

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

LifeinSlakePatch 001

As I told you all earlier, I submitted part of my speculative fiction novel, Life in Slake Patch to our current Writer in Residence – Richard van Camp. He answered with:

I’ve had a read of your intro and it seems to me that you find your rhythm in Chapter 4. I found the first three chapters to go so quickly, too quickly, that I couldn’t get a lock on any of the characters or their back stories.  Perhaps a rewrite of your intro?  My advice is slow down; take your time. Have fun with each scene. Sights, smells, etc. Give us setting; give us tone; set the mood.

Now for new or seasoned writers, critique is a double edged sword, some is favorable, some not but all should be taken as constructive rather than destructive. Several rewrites previously I took another writer in residence advice and ‘info dumped’ at the beginning of this story to ‘set the scene’.

So do I change it or not? Do I follow my gut and revise to balance the slightly conflicting advice from these two marvelous authors? Or do I rewrite a completely different introduction? This is something I will ponder and decide after careful consideration.

Have you experienced conflicting critique?

How did you resolve the matter? Did you change it or not?

Books: My review of The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North

hope

The story was a neat concept but fell short, unlike Claire’s previous two books. The character was complex, the story arc well constructed but the use of numerous synonyms of words detracted from the flow of the story – taking me out of the narrative. I understand as a fellow author that these descriptions were an explanation of the main character’s inner most thoughts but they were too much of a distraction for me.

However, it will in no way put me off reading another of Claire’s books – her ability to engage a reader is wonderful in The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August & Touch.

I have just started reading – I Can See You by Joss Landry.

I was engaged from the first page!

i-can-see-you

Writing Tip: Chuck Sambuchino

Remember the Three “P’s”:  Patience, Perseverance, and maintaining your sense of Purpose.

Do you have a writing tip to share?

What book can you recommend?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

The Industry Insiders: Making a Living as a Hybrid Author event I attended spurred me on to do something about my blog. It has been successful but I feel it requires a boost! I connected with one of the panel authors, who agreed to review my blog and give me some pointers on improving my presence on the net. I will keep you posted.

I also spent time editing Life in Slake Patch prior to submission to the Writer in Residence. Unfortunately I did not complete the manuscript revisions (life gets in the way) but hopefully during this week I will. Then it will be back to The Twesome Loop revisions prior to sending it out to beta readers.

My other project over the weekend was to review and detail a ghost writing request from a client. There was quite a lot of research involved, which was interesting but time consuming. My proposal is now in the hands of the client.

Books:

hope

I am enjoying this book but it is not as good as the previous two by this author. It seems a bit contrived. However, I am intrigued as to how the protagonist will survive and the story conclude so will continue. I am half way through at the moment.

On my TBR pile are two novels by a local author, Joss Laundry (see her interview here: https://mandyevebarnett.com/2016/12/05/joss-landry-interview-5th-december/) I’m looking forward to reading them.

Writing TipJonathan Franzen

“The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator.”

What writing project are you tackling at the moment?

Do you have a writing tip to share?

What book can you recommend?

 

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Firstly I want to celebrate a personal milestone, 1000 blog posts on my blog as of Monday 9th January!

post-milestone-1000

Writing:

Over the weekend, inspired by the new Writer in Residence, I continued with an edit of my speculative fiction manuscript, Life in Slake Patch. I will send the manuscript for the WIR to review once this is complete. This particular manuscript has been through numerous edits and revisions and needs to ‘get out there’ soon.

Books:

hope

I began the third novel by Claire North called The Sudden Appearance of Hope. It is written in a similar voice as the other two I have read. It is an intriguing concept as the main character is ‘forgotten’ almost from the moment she is out of sight. Time will tell if it matches up to Harry August or Touch.

Writing TipElmore Leonard

“Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.”

What writing project did you tackle this weekend?

Do you have a writing tip to share?

What book can you recommend?

 

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

twesome-loop-002

I managed to embrace the first of two manuscripts I will be revising this year during a day’s sabbatical with a good writer friend last week. It was the jump start I required. Although this particular manuscript has been on the back burner for some time, (I have dabbled with from time to time over the last few years), I felt it was time I grappled with it to make a well rounded, finished product for publication.

The Twesome Loop is a reincarnation romance, which centers on four main characters from two time periods. The subject of reincarnation, many of you know fascinates me and I spent the second half of 2016 covering it here on my blog.

The narrative is an erotic romance novel with a reincarnation twist. The narrative starts its journey in the late 1990’s English countryside, where several characters make seemingly unrelated choices to travel to Italy. Melissa is fleeing a loveless marriage, Gerald wants to find his soul mate, Brett is motivated by greed and Nancy’s insatiable lust drives her. They are drawn not only by the beauty and life of Italy, but by an unexplained inner longing. Each is unaware that a pact made generations before, links their souls to each other and the beautiful villa they will stay in. A parallel story takes the reader to 1874, where a young woman’s happiness is sacrificed for her father’s ambition. Unable to resist she suffers at her older husband’s hands until his brother offers a way to escape.

The villa’s history has become local folklore and the mystery is perpetuated among the village elders. The sudden disappearance of Lord William and the subsequent low-key marriage of his widow, Gabriella and his younger brother, Arthur, fueled speculations as to the Lord’s fate. However, the young couple embraced the village and its inhabitants becoming well-liked benefactors in complete contrast to William’s cruel domination. Arthur and Gabriella’s love is all consuming but unable to contemplate life without each other, Arthur seeks a way for them to love beyond the grave.

Once the modern day characters converge on the villa, passions and memories rise and the pact’s legacy becomes known. Melissa falls completely for Gerald, a stranger but very familiar at the same time, Gerald is convinced Melissa is the one he has searched for and will not let her husband, Brett take her away, ever again. Nancy finds in Brett the one person, who can sate her lustful appetites and although Brett’s greed was the motivation to chase Melissa, he finds in Nancy the answer to his innermost desires.

The Twesome Loop incorporates several aspects to the romance genre of time slip, travel, and past lives. Similar works include Ferney by James Long, Again by Sharon Cullars and Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine. Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn, Maybe This Life by J.P. Grider, Across Eternity by Aris Whittier and Her Past’s Present by Micheal Poeltl.

Books:

When I choose books to read I try to find similar themes to the one I am writing. I found an excellent novel called The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire  North. As the title suggests it is reincarnation based. I was so impressed with Claire’s writing style I immediately got Touch, which is ghosts inhabiting other people just by touching them. It is again well written and I recommend both of these books.

Writing Tip: Bill Harper
Try not to edit while you’re creating your first draft. Creating and editing are two separate processes using different sides of the brain, and if you try doing both at once you’ll lose. Make a deal with your internal editor that it will get the chance to rip your piece to shreds; it will just need to wait some time.

A really nice trick is to switch off your monitor when you’re typing. You can’t edit what you can’t see.

 

New Year Schedule Begins -Events…


events

As I begin 2017 my first week includes my writers group meeting on 3rd January. The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County meets every first Tuesday of each month year round. We share our writing for constructive critique, exercise our writing muscles with prompts and on occasion enjoy a talk on a particular writing related subject.

I find these meetings to be a wealth of inspiration, a great place to network and allow me to receive feedback on writing projects.

This week also sees our new Writers in Residence for Edmonton and area. This scheme allows writers/authors to receive excellent feedback on sections of their manuscripts. https://www.epl.ca/news/libraries-name-2017-writers-in-residence/

Our ‘local’ author will be: http://www.albertanativenews.com/edmonton-metro-libraries-welcome-2017-writer-in-residence-richard-van-camp/

richard_1

I welcome you to share your first week’s events, projects, meetings here as well.

Happy New Year to you All.

new-year

 

Packing Tips for Writers – What To Take…


I found this article and thought it was apt as my friend, Linda and I are always escaping on road trips and a few can be applied even if not traveling on an airplane.

http://thewritelife.com/packing-tips-for-writers/

travel-tips

1. Be realistic about how much work you’ll do

Before you go on your trip, make a plan for what you’ll actually do while you’re traveling. Be realistic about how much time you’ll actually have to work.

2. Bring the essentials

Condensing an office’s worth of gear, equipment and supplies into a carry-on sized bag. First, start with the most important things.

Laptop: If you have an alternative lightweight portable laptop/tablet take that instead. Remember your charger!

Reference materials: Take the most relevant materials for your planned project.

Notebook and pen: Always have a small notebook and a pen. Ideas for a novel or character can spring up at any time.

3. Back it up

Make sure you back up your work – a flash drive, emailing to yourself or a data saving source.

4.Go digital

Take digital copies instead of resource material with you instead of hard copies.

5. Bring travel-writing essentials

Even though you’re traveling light, be sure to bring anything you’ll need to transform your trip into a story including a way to take photos. Having photos can also help when you’re trying to recollect specific details and set a scene when you’re writing later on.

6. Safeguard your gear

Make sure you carry your most important items (like your laptop and backups) with you. Consider travel insurance or checking your current insurance policies (such as homeowner’s, renter’s, or automobile) to see if they’ll cover your valuables.

This is my traveling list:

My laptop & charger

A hard drive to back up

Notebook – which includes notes on my current project (these are in addition to my file folders on my laptop. I also use it for revision notes & narrative additions, page numbers of where I am in the process etc.

Pens and a pencil

Cell phone for photos & charger

Comfortable clothes and warm socks, eye glasses, a bottle of wine & snacks and tea bags (Okay I’m English teabags are a must!)

We normally request a desk & two chairs when we book a room to ensure we both have comfortable areas in which to write. Luckily neither of us needs noise so silence reigns unless we are discussing our day or writing. (No TV required either!)

index

 

Another Albertan Road Trip…Jasper


15073509_10207622558337301_1573629241843353787_n

Our road trip this weekend actually started early on Thursday morning, 7 am to be precise. We stopped to grab breakfast and made our way to Jasper in the Rocky mountains. A place we have visited before but still has the ability to inspire awe at the magnificence of the mountains. Their ever changing faces in sunshine, cloud, rain or snow make each visit unique.On the road through Jasper National Park we saw these sheep in the middle of the road licking salt, they were not deterred by large trucks honking horns, driving so close we thought they might hit them or these huge vehicles driving around them.

Arriving just after 12.30 pm we set up our table to promote and sell books published by Dream Write Publishing. With so many books already published we could only bring a selection and hoped our choices were relevant for the venue and time of year. Our first sale came only minutes after we had completed our display. A good start to the day! Which concluded with several books being purchased for the Jasper Community Habitat for the Arts gift shop.

habitat-for-the-arts-nov-2016

Once everything was packed up at 5 pm, we went for supper and to check into our hotel. An added bonus was an upgrade to a beautifully appointed and cozy room.

The next morning after breakfast we set up in a most unusual venue, a laundromat and cafe. A first for us. The SnowDome cafe’s friendly staff and customers made our time there enjoyable, connecting, answering questions and a potential client.

snowdome-jasper-nov-18-2016

A celebratory supper at the hotel’s restaurant followed and an added bonus a herd of elk laying on the lawn of the hotel as we walked back to our room. Unfortunately, my cellphone is not good when it comes to taking photos at night. Can you see the bull, his antlers were spectacular and two of the doe’s had tracking collars on them.

The rest of our weekend was ours to do with as we wished. Saturday morning was a leisurely start, takeaway breakfast and a drive to Patricia and Pyramid Lakes. A walk onto the island at Pyramid where the dusting of overnight snow glistened and the water lapped gently. There was ice forming in thin layers on the shore edges and the air was still. Silence prevailed and we stood reveling in the peace of the mountain air as large snowflakes began to fall. It was Christmas card perfect.

Back into Jasper and a browse around a clothing store and then purchases for supper. Then seven hours of writing – a writer’s joy! I edited, revised and added 1000 words to my WIP, The Twesome Loop. With a brief excursion to refresh body and mind mid-afternoon. Once supper was consumed back to writing for a few more hours.

Sunday morning was begun with a leisurely brunch, then a trip to Athabasca Falls. The roar of water, the ice blue of the flow and the cavern walls decorated with huge icicles made this visit a wonderful experience.

It was difficult to leave but leave we did. Back to Jasper for a local crafts fair and then on the road home. We encountered several herds of elk & mountain sheep.

Our trip was successful on so many levels – books sold, connections made, extensive writing completed and nature enjoyed. Can’t wait for the next one!