Thursday, 29 July 2010

Some thoughts on editing

Things I've learned from trying to edit my story:

• If you've read a passage 10 times through and still can't see where it needs changing but know it needs to be changed, highlight it and come back to it later with fresh eyes.
• A change of font can help you see things you hadn't picked up before.
• If you ask your family to proof read for you, don't expect them to pick up everything that should be changed.
• Make sure anyone you ask to proof read has a good grasp of grammar and spelling, and make sure it's the same spelling you use! If you're British and you ask an American to proof your story, don't expect them to pick up your spelling mistakes.
• Things always look different on a printed page than on a computer screen.
• Something that makes perfect sense to you may not to a reader who hasn't spent the past two years engrossed in the story...
• If you ask for honest feedback, don't be offended when you get it! (Unless it's completely useless, like 'your story's really bad, I didn't like it' with no suggestions to improve it.)
• Treasure the good comments but don't be afraid to change things.
• Always keep a copy of your previous draft, just in case!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

No motivation...

Someone please give me a kick up the backside to do some editing... Maybe I should bribe myself with something...

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Writers block & dreams

Some days the writing just flows and other days ... it doesn't.

For the last week or so writing has been a real struggle. My imagination isn't coming up with anything especially interesting, and my vocabulary seems to have shrunk whenever I try to get anything down on paper.

I've been trying to do some more refining of Dark Magic as well this week, and I don't know if it's because I've been looking at it too much, but although I know where I should be changing things, I haven't been able to find the right way to do it. For example, I know I want to turn one of the early scenes into a flashback scene rather than a memory, but I can't seem to find the right way to transition.

The only thing I seem to have written that was good - and which surprised me because the subject matter wasn't something I usually write about - was a very vivid dream I had. The following night I woke up at 3am and couldn't get back to sleep so I went to the computer and wrote down the dream - 600 words of blood, strange powers and healing.

Maybe I'll post it later, but I don't know... It was a dream about some of the characters from Heroes, and I don't want to do a Mary Sue (although helping Claire Bennet to heal Peter Petrelli was a nice dream to be in the middle of...!).

Friday, 9 July 2010

The sci-fi saga is over

After six months of frantic writing, Alive! finished this week. Reading back through it there are several things I'd change if I'd been writing it as a straight novel, not in parts, but generally I'm pleased with how it's come out.

For those who like stats, it finished at 34,500 words, was completed in 25 installments, filled 75 A4-type pages on the net and would be 189 pages of an 8.5"x5.5" book (I'm looking into editing it properly and making print copies available via Lulu or some other POD publisher).

If anyone wants to read the finished story click here - it's going to stay up on The Novel Factory site for the immediate future at least.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Doing big, scary things

I've been thinking, and I decided that I didn't like the idea of publishing with CreateSpace after all. The main problem was that it's based in America and I'm in the UK, so anyone I talk to who may want to buy the book will have to pay a lot extra for shipping.

So I was looking around the sites I have bookmarked and discovered that one of my favourite publishers, Wyvern Publications, is starting a new children's imprint called Pixiefoot Press. After a few days of dithering, and another day trying to make sure my synopsis makes sense, I've submitted Dark Magic to Wyvern for consideration.

Fingers crossed!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

The six word competition

I decided at the start of the year that I wanted to enter more writing competitions to give myself targets. The Arvon Foundation's six word story competition caught my attention today. Here are my attempts:
Competition entered, judges awed, prize given.

Rope knotted, chair kicked away. Goodbye.
I've also entered the Txtlit competition - write a story within the length of a text message. I seem to be veering towards microfic/flashfic at the moment...

Is fiction better with no dads?

An interesting article I read today says that fiction is often better when there are no dads in the picture. It's an interesting idea and certainly one that holds true - Harry Potter, Maximum Ride, Oliver Twist, Treasure Island, Jane Eyre, The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, Anne of Green Gables, and dozens of folklore and fairy tales (Aladdin, Dick Whittington, etc) prove the theory.

Of course there are other stories where the father figure is prominent - Twilight being a good example. It has three good father figures in Charlie, Carlisle and Billy Black, and these all add to the story and make it no less intriguing for their presence. (The story wouldn't work without Carlisle, and why would Bella be in Forks if there was no Charlie?) But this does seem to be the exception rather than the rule.