Tag Archives: book editing

Diary of a hopeful author: High five! I have a literary agent.

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

I bring you good news. I have myself a literary agent. Tis the really lovely Mr Adam Gauntlett of literary agency Peters, Fraser and Dunlop (PFD), and I am chuffed to bits. With everything now confirmed, the work has begun immediately. I have an editor meeting next week and already things are afoot to prepare to get the MS ready for Frankfurt Book Fair – a big get together where agents and publishers do their business thang.

It’s all still a touch surreal, but oh my days, I am LOVING having the opportunity of a very experienced team of people helping me get this novel to the very best level it can be to secure a publishing deal. I know! I know!

So, due to the amount of work I’ve now got to do over the next month (and I still have a column to write today. Heck) I am keeping this post short. But, just wanted to keep you updated. Adam has kindly agreed to do a Q&A for the blog, so once I get myself organised, I’ll get that sorted. If there’s anything specific you would like me to ask Adam – say getting an agent etc – do let me know.

Right, off to roll a shoulder then continue writing.  Have a cracking week.

You can follow Adam on Twitter @Albioneye

You can take a ganders at PFD’s website here

Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog. …**

Diary of a hopeful author: My top ten fantasy party people…

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

Do you sometimes find yourself getting lost in your own little world. God, I do. It’s a nightmare. Not where I get lost to, although sometimes…But no, I refer to the art or rather action of ‘getting lost’ in my own world that’s the nightmare.

The reason I say this is due to The Sunday Times. Not the entire paper per se, but rather its magazine. You see, Christmas is coming and what with pressie frenzy, teeth-grinding on-loop Xmas jingles in the shops and the constant requests by kids of’how many sleeps till Christmas day’, the world has gone festive crazy. And specifically, party crazy.

Now I love a party. Who doesn’t? What more opportunity do you need to prove to everyone how much your body can’t handle in drink whilst simultaneously bad-mouthing the entire cast of X Factor contestants? When I was little, parties meant people. Friends, if you will, who charged in, grabbed food and generally made a mess.

30-odd years later and things are still the same. Not necessarily the mess (actually, maybe), and certainly not the food grabbing (unless you count drunken New Year’s table tumbles), but people. People maketh a party, and, according to The Sunday Times, we should have a wish list of said people.

Now, since I am mid-book edit, I am finding that, as it is all going surprisingly well and I have now just 6 (only 6!!) chapters to complete, I have realised that I clearly need to issue myself with some procrastinating distractions. Step forward daydreaming. Yes, getting lost in my world whilst writing is coming to the forefront, and, courtesy of The Sunday Times, that world now consists of my fantasy party people.

But, since this blog’s all, you know, writery stuff, I thought I’d give my list a literary edge. And I use that word literary loosely. So here you go, my Top Ten fantasy writing party people….

10. God – he’d do, wouldn’t he? Okay, so the chances of the big fella turning up at the table I know are slim, but imagine the dirt he’d have on everyone. Not that’d he’d blag. And we couldn’t get him drunk either.

9. JK Rowling – I’d feed her, say, newts, then get talking Potter. At some point I may ask how much she’s earned. Worth a shot.

8. Stephen Fry – need I really explain?

7. Someone from a publishing house – anyone would do. Preferably an MD, then I could implore to them how just really great my latest book is.

6. A literary agent – now that’d be handy, obvs. Juliet Mushens at PFD is a sharp dressing dude. And Oliver Munsen at Blake Friedman is really lovely. For a Spurs fan.

5. Caitlin Moran – Sunday Times columnist, in case your question marking. Trouble is, I think she’s so great, I’d only sit there staring at her, get trolleyed and then beg her to be my best friend. Not pretty. See guest no.1 for help.

4. E.M. Forster – he’s the man. A legend in the novel-writing world. I mean, okay, he may be dead, but this is fantasy, right? His legend lives on.

3. Miranda Hart – okay, so a comedy actress entrant here, but she just seems so much FUN, and what’s a party without a bloody good laugh. Oh, and she’s just written her autobiography, so writing box ticked.

2. Tina Fey – for the same reasons as Miranda. And, the Fey is a comedy screenwriting LEGEND.

1. My best mate, Katrina – she clams right up in social situations, which is the ying to my verbal diarrhoea yang. So, if at said fantasy party I waffled on too much because I was star struck, she could administer a strategic dig to my ribs to silence me (see guest no.5…). And when she’s too quiet ‘cos she’s star struck/asleep, I can stamp on her foot. Ah yes, no party would be complete.

 So, what’s your fantasy top 10 writing party people? Come on, fess up.

Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog. This week I’m talking about cuts, communities and why we should all pull together…**

 

Diary of a hopeful author: Hey! How an iPad can help you edit…

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

 These iPads are the thing aren’t they? I mean, really, they’re snazzy. Have you got one? Tap it. Go on. Hmm? You‘ve not got one? Okay, so reach over and tap someone else’s. What’s that? It’s the bloke’s next to you sat on the train? What the hell. Give that screen a little slide.

You see, as I write this, I have an iPad by my side all flat and sleek like washboard stomach at a gym. But, thing is, I haven’t used it much for writing. Well, I say much, not at all really. And the Love Film app, it turns out, doesn’t count. You see, if you follow this Wednesday Waffling/Diary blog (and MASSIVE thanks if you do) you’ll know from previous entries that I am in the throes of editing my second novel. It’s not been going so well.  Thankfully, I’ve figured out that editing a book is like painting a picture – it’s got to be done in layers, like the colours on canvas. I’ve also figured out that it takes time and patience. I know, doesn’t take Einstein to figure that one out. 

The tricky thing I’ve been finding this week though is that when I’m editing my novel, I’m not reading it, you know? I mean really reading it, like a reader. But woman! You may be saying. You are reading the thing, goddammit, you’re editing it! And yes, my friend, you’d be right. But, trouble is, I’ve not been reading my novel like I would if it wasn’t mine – and this is the nut at the centre of my issue. 

iPads- snazzy & handy for editing. Who knew?

You see, when you’re at stage one of editing a novel you have to look at the bigger picture issues. Does the plot make sense? How is the characterisation working? Is the POV – the point of view – right? All bullet-landing questions and ones, I’ve discovered via mild swear words muttered at my laptop in the small hours of the morning,  that I cannot fully answer when I’m pouring over every detail on the laptop screen, my eyes literally seeing double as I stumble jelly legged to the kettle in desperate need of more caffeine.  

So, imagine my surprise when I discover that the answer to all my problems lies not in a new foundation from Bobbi Brown (although, given my current caffeine complexion, that may also help), but in the iPad. My iPad. And, specifically, the Kindle app on my iPad. 

What I didn’t know that I do now is that you can send PDF files to a Kindle/Kindle app and then read it on said technology. Whoa! This is the gold nugget, people. Because, you see, reading on a Kindle is, you know, just like reading a book. Are you with me? And so, if I sent my draft novel as a PDF to the Kindle app on my iPad… yes! Do you see where I’m going here? Of course you do, you sharp tack in the box, you! By reading my novel on my iPad/Kindle, I can view it JUST LIKE A READER WOULD. Ta-da! Seriously, I cannot believe I didn’t think of this before. It’s like discovering that I actually do like dark chocolate all over again. 

So, what I am doing now is going through the 1st edit stage of my novel using my iPad/Kindle. I read my draft as I would any other book on the Kindle app and then, on the table, I have open my laptop on which is the novel as a word document. Then, when I read something that needs editing, I tap on the laptop and hey presto! Progress! You knew? It’s the ‘reading it like any other book’ bit that’s the key here. By reading my novel in this way I am more objective. I can see what readers might see, not just what I see, which is, let’s face it, coming from a highly critical stance. Yup, writers are their own worst critics, and, as it turns out, their own worst eyebrow pluckers, but that’s another story (why do tweezers hurt so much?).

So, for the rest of this week I shall be iPadding. I will be using my iPad Kindle app thingy to edit my book at this all-important big picture stage. Hopefully, it will help me steer the novel in the right direction. And if not, at the very least, it will mean that I am using my iPad. It has apps! It has games!  It has instant celebrity gossip magazine access! Oh yes, iPads really, really are the thing.

So what d’you think? Is the iPad really the thing? What’s your thing for editing or, hey, reading, you know, books? Let’s hear it.

Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog. This week I’m going back to wind turbines and looking at the cold, hard data, people…**

Diary of a hopeful author: How to edit your novel like a painting…

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

 Do you sometimes have days where you don’t know what to do? Well, welcome to my week. Yup, these past few days I have been procrastinating with a capital P, and here’s why: my editing sucks. There said it.  The editing of my second novel is going worse than a knees up at a party political conference and it’s doing my head in. You may recall me mentioning my editing issues before, and for this, I apologise. Thing is, it is now reaching boiling point and do you know what? I know why. I do. So, I’m going to be honest with you now. The reason why my editing is going so badly is because I am utterly impatient.

When I first began writing books some years ago, editing seemed easy.  Yes, it appeared like a breeze on the wind after a long trek through the desert. But now I know better. Oh yessurey. You see, editing a novel cannot be done in one go, as it turns out.  And it is this I have to come to terms with.  Think of editing a book as a painting. Paintings are full of colours, textures, layers, but of course, they were not all put on in one go. Oh no. And, hope you’re sitting down, because here is my analogy.

Look at all those layers..!

Paintings have a base layer of colour. For a book, this base layer is equivalent to edit number 1. Yes, edit number one is your base edit. ee? It is the very first edit of your work after the idea has spilled out of you on to the blank page. At this first stage, you need to edit your style. Read through each chapter, adjust your lines, your dialogue.  Ask if your writing is good. How are you characters?

What you can’t do at the same time as edit one is figure out pacing. Pacing goes to edit number two, or, if you’re a painter, your next layer of colour. This is the one that gives the artwork dimension. The pacing for the novel is how the chapters flow together. Ask yourself is it fast enough? Slow enough? Cut and mold your chapters. Include here too how the characters fit together. Cull also anything you don’t need.

When your washed out doing that then your ready for the final edit – edit number three. This is your final layer of colour, if you will, the layer that makes the eyes visible on the face (stay with me). At this stage of the novel edit you need to proof check like crazy. And then read the entire thing back through again. Check for the flow after all your work from the other edits. Read it as if you are a reader. Ask yourself would you buy it. You may find you need to tweak, and God forbid, you may need another mini- edit, but it will be the signature on the canvas, so to speak.

And so there you go – the reason why I am impatient. Because editing comes in layers. If I want to do it well  – and I really, really do – then I have to do it like this. I have to stage my edits, polish my work so it ends up shining enough for someone to want to read it. And all that takes time.

So, I guess I’m going to have to suck it up and get on with it. Yes, it’s going to take forever, but it will be worth it. Better than a knees up at a party political conference any day. Now, where’s my paintbrush.

How do you edit? Do you do anything different? Or does it take forever too?

Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog. This week it’s all about the badger culling in Gloucestershire…**