Editing: How to Start?

Introduction

So congratulations: you’ve written a book! Yay, give yourself a pat on the back and breathe.

Then it’s time to ask the next big question: What next?

The one thing no writer will ever tell is that the writing is the tiniest part of your journey, the editing is the huge task ahead. It requires painstakingly going over every single detail of your book to make sure its not going to be thrown in the bin on the first query read-through.

And that is a terrible task to start, to look up at the shadow of the mountain in front of you and want to run away from it.

But don’t worry dear writer I will be your guide and will lead you on this perilous journey.

 

Take a break

After finishing writing, it is best to rest your work for a few days. Because at that stage, your mind is buzzing with every little problem you view as important. It is good to go away for a couple of days and come back to it with fresh eyes.

writing (1)

Get stationary and prepare

This is my favourite place to start in: the stationary aisle.

I personally prefer to have a physical edit in my hand, so I need a grand pile of highlighters, pens and paper. As well as this I need a planner, perhaps because I like planners BUT ALSO because it is best to stay organised and on top of your word count to stay motivated.

However there are many who prefer to keep everything online, but still you will need to make sure you have everything necessary to keep yourself content and editing. A writer’s worst enemy is procrastination so make sure you have anything you might need:

  • Music
  • Food
  • Lots to drink (that one is important)
  • Chargers.

 

Start big

You have sat down and are ready to start editing. It’s easy to get bogged down just reading through your manuscript adding in and deleting commas. It is best to start big before getting to the details.

Depending on your planning style you may or may not have a story plan. Even I deviate from it so when it comes to starting editing, I rewrite my outline to fit the final story, this is the easiest way I find to look at a condensed overview of the whole story.

This is the easiest way to look at the plot and see any glaring problems.

editing (1)

Listen to your work

I can’t write, literally I can’t. I struggle with dyslexia. And so, having my work read aloud really helps me notice the small errors, but it also helps you notice when sentences just don’t have that punch.

 

Keep the consistency

Now coming down a bit closer, most likely your final scenes are better written than the first scenes you wrote. It may not necessarily be in chronological order, but it is good to give all your scenes a once over to make sure the general structure is the same.

On a more technical note, its easy to forget the small details of description when you are writing. Make sure that your main character’s eyes don’t go from blue to brown within five chapters and the sunny skies mentioned two paragraphs ago don’t suddenly become storming rains.

 

CLUNK

Now we get into the nitty-gritty. Once you have sorted out your plot and consistency, you can finally give it a proper read and examine your work. This is the time to start dashing out those clunky sentences and spruce up your descriptions.

 

Conclusion

Trust me, editing will take forever. You will constantly relearn how to write better which will make every time you reread your book make it seem like shit. But don’t give up hope and keep going. Good Luck Xx.

 

Further reading

Self-Editing Basics: 10 Simple Ways to Edit Your Own Book

Advertisements

I’m Great at Writing…Everything I’m Not Supposed To!

The Easter weekend has been and gone and I spent most of it writing…just not writing what I need to!!

editing (1)

I feel this happens every time I get a spare day, finally able to sit down and get a good chunk of editing done, and yet my mind always wanders on to a drafted scene further on or worse, scenes from future books yet to be plotted.

It makes me wonder if what I’m currently writing is even worth writing if I’m so set on not writing it but I don’t think that’s what’s happening here. I can’t wait to reach those scenes, that character’s development. I suppose that’s a good thing…if only I could focus on the character development now.

Do you struggle with writing in order? Do you think it’s sign of something wrong? Let me know in the comments!

Worldbuilding: Lands

Introduction

Within any story told, a world is created. Even set on Earth, your book needs to show the world around it from the smallest creature to the society and culture of your main characters.

One of the importance aspects of this is the geography in your book and how it can enhance your writing.

 

What’s important to the plot?

It is easy to be bogged down by worldbuilding fever.

It’s okay, I know how much you want to write about this world you have in that big old head of yours, but let me tell you: no one will read fifty pages of geography. It’s the balance of keeping it short and to the point while opening up the reader’s mind to world that surrounds the plot.

First, where are your characters? If they never move from their home town why would they know what the sea on the other side of the world is called. Are they a pirate on a boat? Then why would know what mountains would look like? Remember to style the geography around what your own character would know.

 

WHERE is it?

Where is the story located? Is it on Earth, somewhere similar or in a completely different world? If it’s on a different planet, what makes it different? How do things look or how do the laws of physics change, especially if magic is involved? Whatever you decide remember to keep consistent rules to make your world feel more concrete and real, even if it is filled with dragons.

 

WHEN is it?

If it’s on Earth is it in the present day or the past or future? History and technology are probably the two main things that will affect how your world is shaped. Are there any historical events that effect the story? What kind of technology are the characters using? If it is a historical setting, make sure to research properly as to not look like an idiot.

Crossed out words

WHAT is there?

The People

How does the land shape the people? In what ways have the people adapted to life in these conditions? Do they have boats? Do they wear thick furs or sleep in open tents? The land shapes how people learn to live.

The Animals

This is important. The amount of domesticated animals that your society has usually correlates with its technological advances. Of course no science should ever hold you back from writing what you want, but remember that history is what makes stories.

 

Research, research, research

It’s a piece of advice that you should always be aware of. It’s honestly the best way to tackle writer’s block on any subject.

Research.

Research damn it!

The internet is a pleather of lists of ideas if you know where to look. And I know you know this, but it’s about understanding when to use the internet instead of just not bothering to write.

ngfjg

Making maps

Some authors love to make physical maps to plot everything out in accordance with everything else, as well as where physical features are like mountains and rivers. But just making notes works just as well if maps aren’t your thing.

 

Conclusion

If you get this down in the planning stage, you’ll have the setting of the stage your characters will play upon. Good luck Xx

 

Further Reading

https://www.nownovel.com/blog/10-questions-ask-fantasy-world/

https://www.nownovel.com/blog/how-to-create-a-fantasy-world/

https://www.bustle.com/p/10-tips-for-building-a-fictional-world-46836

https://thewritelife.com/worldbuilding/

My Ex-Main Character

Hi Guys!

It’s been a struggle of a week. I’ve been stuck on one of my character’s Rajiv. Rajiv and me have had a troubled history. He used to be the ONLY point of view character in my book and then became the main point of view out of four, before Jaived came along and stole that spotlight from him. And yet throughout all that, I’m trying to tell the same story with him.

He is the poster child of an underground resistance to liberate the slave people of Salmire and happily goes along with it until his path crosses with the Grand Duchess of the Empire. Pretty simple. So why have I been struggling over it for five years!?! So that’s been fun to contend with but once my antagonist Kali walked into the scene, I was storming through. Kali is a delight to write, a real piece of evil and cunning.

In the end with week, I’ve written 4857, definitely not my best, but I’m glad I got the scene finally done!!

Do you have any characters you struggle to write and how do you overcome it?

Let me know in the comments!!

Worldbuilding: Culture

Introduction

Within any story told, a world is created. Even set on Earth, your book needs to show the world around it from the smallest creature to the society and culture of your main characters.

One of the importance aspects of this is culture in your book and how it can enhance your writing.

 

What elements to think about?

Looking the part

What do your people look like? What kind of clothes do they wear and for what purpose? Aside from the obvious, are clothes worn for warmth or maybe as a way to show social standing?

Become an architect

Where do people live? What do the buildings look like and what are they made of? Where do the rich live compared to the poor?

Resources

Civilisations only thrive where they can be sustained. What resources do your people have to even live in the places they do? How do their extract these resources and what do they put them to use for?

History

The most important question about history is really how much of it effects your story. How did this world come to be? What made it this way? And what is the recent history still affecting the world?

Religion

Religion, has always played a big role in any society and how it is laid out.

So what do your people believe in? And how strict is that faith system? What consequences come of going against the faith?

Science and magic

How advanced is society and is it due to science, magic or both? Who has access to this and why? What does it do? Heal? Enhance Power? Used as Weapons?

writing (1)

Where to find them?

Steal a culture

This is the simplistic method. If your book mirrors WWII or the American Civil War you can rely on those cultures and their keystones with just a fresh pot of paint over the names and places. However while I definitely believe starting with an already existing culture and working your way off of it. Adding your own original flair is much better as you can easily be called out for just copying history and try to pass it off as fiction.

 

Research and BE CAREFUL

Most things to write about should be fun. However when it comes to burrowing cultures or society you need to be much more careful. The only advice I have is be careful and respectful when researching about said culture, especially when it’s not your own. Don’t try and give your view on it, you’ll do more harm than good, trust me.

 

Make a culture from scratch

This is (obviously) the hardest method to use but gives your book’s culture complete originality. The best advice I can give you is 1) You’re going to kill yourself and 2) Ask EVERY question. Everything matters to a culture both the above and more: family dynamics, culture norms, education, jobs and government system. You must ask EVERYTHING.

 

Conclusion

We have worked the through the big background pieces of your world and story, now it’s time to work on the specifics of your plot and characters. Good luck Xx

 

Further Reading

https://www.jsmorin.com/2014/01/creating-fictional-cultures/

http://www.well-storied.com/blog/an-easy-guide-to-crafting-fictional-cultures

https://alyssahollingsworth.com/2014/11/02/10-questions-when-you-create-a-fictional-culture/

Editing: Editors

Introduction

EDITORS!

There are too many of them, but also, not enough. Today I’ve compiled a list of just a few. These are the people who will turn your work to gold (sometimes).

Editors

  1. Structural: These are the editors who look (shockingly) at the structure of your story and twist and polish your manuscript until it’s completely different and hopefully for the better.
  2. Line: These editors look at each individual sentence and improve them so your story flows better.
  3. Copy: They get into the details: they sort out your grammar, spelling and consistencies in your book’s timeline.
  4. Development: These editors are useful just before publication, they help with moving the story forward and give you guidance before it is completely perfect for publication.
  5. Sensitivity: These ones are new. This type of editor makes sure that you are not going to offend anyone, especially if you’re writing outside of what you know. It’s always great to conduct your own research but a sensitivity editor just checks over all of that.

Conclusion

There are many more editors and you are not going to need them all, (remember these people will need paying) so it’s important to edit as much as you can yourself and know what you actually need improvements on. Good Luck Xx

Further reading

https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/writers/advice/638/self-publishing/editing/

https://www.bkacontent.com/12-types-of-editors-and-what-they-do/

http://greatstorybook.com/the-9-types-of-editors/

 

Why Social Anxiety is effecting my Hermit Writing.

Hi Guys!

It’s been a SLOW week. Works has been keeping me busy non-stop and I have not had the energy to sit down and write. Partly because I’ve just finished a huge sections following one of my main characters Valsi. Now…I love Valsi, he spends most of the book wanting the illusion of a normal life back but have a pay the price of murdering his wife’s son to do so. What’s not to love?

However Valsi is a drunk, over friendly, funny man. NONE of things are things I am. Honestly writing social situations is almost as exhausting as being in them. And Valsi has to LIKE being in them. Honestly some days I just want to murder Valsi with a fork.

But I finally moved away from him this week and back to my main protagonist, Jaidev. At least Jaidev is as social awkward as me but I seem to have hit a wall in motivation. So it’s a surprise to me that’s I’ve written 7880 words. I’ve never kept an eye of how much I write per week so I have no idea if that’s good or bad but I’m impressed, though most of that was editing for perhaps not as many original words written.

So back to my more main characters Jaidev and Rajiv this week, once I remember how to write them properly. You may have also noticed this is a completely new format for me, let me know if you want more of these writing updates or what I can improve!! 

Editing: When to involve other people

Introduction

You’ve written your book and edited it until you are sick of looking at its words. Now comes the terrifying part: letting other people see it. And of course, this leads to a pleather of questions you didn’t even know needed answers: how do you find an editor? How many editors do you need? Do you need a CP, a sensitivity editor or a proof-reader? Or should you just not bother. But don’t fret, I will traverse with you through this strange world of people you have to paid to read your work. 

Who?

I’m going to be blunt: this is a shortened list, because the world of beta readers and editors is very large and so there will be types that even I haven’t heard of. These are just the main ones I believe are important. The writing world is surprisingly big, shoot me.

·         Proof-readers: Proof-readers do not offer (usually) any advice on the writing or plotting but only are there to correct any grammatical and spelling errors.  Proof-readers should be used up top so none of the other stages need to worry about something so small.

·         Critique Partners: CPs are another name for Writing Buddies. They are fellow writers who, in exchange for looking at their own work, offer advice on yours and often help to give you a kick up the arse to write and actually finish the damn thing.

·         Beta readers: Beta readers are, what else, readers who look over your book to review it from a reader perspective rather than a writer’s. They are usually volunteers who give their opinion on your story and can give interview style questions that you may to improve your work.

·         Editors: this is the biggest category which requires its own blog piece but there’s a general rule of thumb as to who is an editor: they’re usually professionals and expensive.  

editing (1)

When?

Honestly, it’s up to you. You can shove your first draft into your friend’s hands to read over, or you can rewrite it over and over to your heart’s content before getting beta readers. It doesn’t matter as long as it is when you are ready to do so. You can’t be still making plot changes if you’re also trying to get relevant and genuine feedback.

However, I’d leave anyone who requires paying until last, so that your work is actually the best it can be, because the shitter it is the more expensive it will be.

Reach out

Beta readers are literally anyone you can find reads. So reach out on all your social medias to find people willing to help you. They can even be friends and family. Preferably you don’t want too many as it will be hard to keep track of all the feedback but also don’t just choose anyone, make sure they at least have an interest in reading or else you are both wasting your time.

writing (1)

Be nice to volunteers

I will say this slowly: Beta readers are using their free time to read over your work without pay. And for that you must love and respect them. They are amazing people trying to help you! Yes, not all of them are going to stick with it to the end and some of their feedback is not going to be so helpful, but it’s always important to be nice and civil with them because they have a right to just leave.

Research

When trying to find editors the first step is simple: look them up. All professional editors will have their own websites with their fees and contact information. But then you have to find the right one for you.

As I have stated above, editors are their own bag of fish, but they are plentiful and varied. It is important to take your time when researching editors. Some editors do the same amount of work for less, but you need to also see the books and works they have previously edited.

Conclusion

It’s always scary giving your work to another human being for the first time but I assure you, your work is nowhere near as bad as that voice in your head says it is. Good Luck Xx

Blog Update: Beating the Horse

Hi Guys!!

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. 2018 was an…eventful year, for good and for ill. But I plan on getting through 2019 on top rather than being squashed underneath it!! 🙂

I’ve been manning this blog for a few years now have been doing writing tips for writing for most of that time. And I’d like to peak behind the curtain for just a moment.

Crossed out words

This coming Tuesday’s Tip will be my 226th. It’s kind of hard to imagine for someone can write that many pieces of advice about writing. And the truth is…you can’t. I believe in the beginning, they were all my own ideas, but writing two a week meant I ran out of them quickly. So I started to cut corners. I used author quotes and found whole website dedicate to taking small piece of advice and I just reworded them. I felt if I didn’t get out the tips then something bad would happen (like I said last year wasn’t great).

dying on laptop

But now I come to writing the 227th tip, I just feel drained and cheap. So I want to have a revamp. I’m going to write all the tips myself, but of course that requires changing a few this:

  • For a start they cannot come out at the rate they are right now. I’ve decided to instead release them on alternating Tuesdays and Thursday.
  • I feel trapped by the parameters I set up for myself. I do a lot more than just writing now and if you follow my blog chances are you do too.

And so, to allow myself the freedom to give hints and tips on whatever I want, I’m going to have a name change. Writing Tips are so 2018, 2019 is all about Book Blogger Tips! Small things but it me feel a bit more genuine and real with all of you 🙂

Let me know what you think!!

Thanks,

Kathy Xx

You Only Had to Ask

This Flash Fiction was inspired by Rachel Poli’s Writing Prompt

***

“I thought we agreed no more secrets.”

Michal’s words echoed. The tall sunlit archways of the stone corridor should have made it impossible for such a thing. But in the aching silence left when Evan’s sword had sliced through his chest, the words rang around them.

Michal was looking down at the sword that he was impaled on with raised eyebrows only mildly shocked at the betrayal. Outwardly, he didn’t seem to be affected by it at all, still standing and talking as if going about their normal duties. Yet Evan’s arms were beginning to shake on the sword’s handle as Michal’s legs had given out. Only his old friend’s blade kept him standing.

“If you wanted to kill me, you only had to ask.”

Evan laughed, but it caught in his throat making it sound more like a sob. He’d never cried over any of the people he’d killed. He wished it could have stayed that way. Michal always brought out the worst in him but he supposed that was because Michal was the best out of all of them. Even as Evan murdered him, Michal was only upset that he hadn’t told him of his impending doom prior to that moment.

Evan couldn’t hold him up any longer and wrench the sword from Michal’s chest, the sword grating against the hard gristle that it had pierced. Michal was brought into his arms with the force of the action and Evan held him up even then, with his own legs trembling beneath the dead weight. Blood was not an unusual sight to the old soldier but the feeling of the hot thick blood, seeping through his clothes and soaking his chest filled him with shock and fear. As if he hadn’t realised what his actions would cause. Like Michal would walk away from it, like they both always did.

“Orders,” was all he could say, his guilt threatening to close his windpipe. He’d let it, to pay for what he’d done.

And so he held his breath waiting as Michal’s arms fell limp and his voice grew softer, all the while he kept repeating, “you only had to ask. You only had to ask.”