It is with sadness that we see the end of the World Cup. Well done to France on winning and Croatia for putting up a good fight. I am also really impressed with my own team, England. They far outperformed expectations and Gareth Southgate has shown what a generally good bloke he is. We now have a platform to build on, so here’s looking forward to Euro 2020 in…erm….wait….how many countries?
Anyhow, as you know, as a writer I like to jump on the bandwagon of big events and use them to promote my work. So, as the World Cup has ended and the new league season is about three weeks away, you can tide yourself over by reading ‘World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition.’ To make that more of a reality I am doing another promotion on the kindle version. From today until the end of Saturday the e-book version is free from Amazon (in fact it is on Kindle Unlimited so if you have that it’s free anyway!). Below are links to the UK and US Amazon stores. If you read the book then please could you leave a review, either good or bad? I know that are some spelling and grammar mistakes, my editing process was not as tight as it is now when I released the book. Anyway, enjoy, and here’s to another great season of Premier League football, or if you support a team like I do then another mediocre midtable finish in the Championship!
Get World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition from Amazon UK here.
Get World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition from Amazon US here.
I often see blog posts and tweets promoting good editing techniques, however a lot of these require money. As a hobbyist write, I want to make my work the best it can be but not by spending a lot. My main job is being a teacher, I am also a husband and father. Writing, though important, sometimes needs to take a back seat. With plenty of things that need money spent on them (food, days out, car, house etc.) I try not to spend money on my hobby when I can do a lot of the work for free. So, to those people in my situation, and any others that want to listen, here is how I edit. Is it a foolproof plan to success and great final drafts? Not by any means, it just makes me feel like my work is the best I can do on my own. Anyway, on with the show…
- Once I have written my first draft I have a read through on-screen, this is basically to see if there are any plot holes or issues I need to address. Sometimes this may be moving chapters/sections around. I generally find I do not have too many issues; as I do not get to write a lot I spend a lot of time thinking about the story, asking questions like, what would the character do in that situation? How can I get the story from a to b without missing key details? What would x look like in that situation? I also plan a lot before writing so have already done a lot of the world building and mapped out major plot points, although the bits in-between can change a lot. Therefore, this part of the editing process often does not require many changes, either that or I am rubbish at seeing plot holes!
- I read through a second time, this time looking for grammar and spelling issues. I can often fix many but a lot slip though the net. Writers are notoriously grammar blind, they read what they wanted in their head and skim over the fact the comma is missing, they have spelt the word incorrectly or have forgotten ed or s at the end of the word. That is where step three comes in…
- Now this is the only place in the whole writing space where I have spent money, and it is not even my hard-earned money! No, every year I get asked what I want for my birthday and every year (well the last two), I have asked for money to renew my subscription to Pro Writing Aid. This year I got enough birthday cash to do a two-year licence so will be able to spend my birthday money on more tat next year! It is only about £30 for a years license. Pro Writing Aid is a program you can download or add as an extension to other word processing programs. You can definitely get it for Microsoft Word but I use it with Google Docs. You can run a range of reports then go through the results to edit your manuscript. Where there is an error, it highlights and you get a choice to ignore or make one of a list of possible changes. There are lots of reports but I tend to look at writing style, grammar, overused words (I never knew how much I use the word was until I got Pro Writing Aid!) and consistency. It can take ages to run a report on a whole manuscript, and then you need to go through every change which takes many hours. I always copy sections of about one A4 page into a different document and run the reports on those then copy them back when done. A simple bit of changing text colours shows me what I have run through Pro Writing Aid, what I am working on and what I have yet to do. I suppose I should say, to be balanced, that there are other editing programs out there, I just really like Pro Writing Aid.
- The next step is the print read through, I often find that I spot different errors when I read my work on paper. I, therefore, arm myself with highlights and a pen and go through a page at a time. It is generally commas that I have missed. I then update my online manuscript as I go so I know that once done I can get into formatting.
- The final step is to get some beta readers, so far I only have one, but that is better than nothing! They read through, give you comments and point out potential mistakes. Once they are done with it I can format the book and get it out there.
What am I missing?
There are only really two steps that I think would make my editing process even better. There are…
- Paying a professional editor – These are rather expensive and I would never see any return on my investment due to not spending money on marketing. I would really have to go for it, moving from a hobbyist to telling myself I am an actual author and throwing my weight behind my claim. I am not confident enough in myself and do not want to bankrupt my family, so am not going down this route. If a publisher came along and offered me a deal then I would happily get a professional editor; I can dream!
- A critique partner/partners – This would be great, to have someone to look at my work and give me advice. The two problems here are that I do not have lots of time to meet up but, worse than that, I do not think I have the time to read other people’s work in a critical capacity, therefore would be letting them down. I have not searched for a critique partner but have thought about it. If someone approached me then I would give it a go, but for now I am happy to just say I wrote a book! Also no-one is telling me my story is rubbish, which it probably is!
Where am I with editing current projects?
Before the two projects I am currently working on, I did not have Pro Writing Aid. Also previous work I have done is either short stories or collections, so I basically read through them twice and looked for errors. Needless to say, there are still errors in the books! Of they two projects I am on, my novella, ‘A Close Shave with Destiny,’ is almost ready to go. I jumped the boat, getting over excited by people seeing my work, so have already sent it to my beta reader who got back to me. This was before I had even used Pro Writing Aid. Therefore, I am doing my final print check then it will be released. My other project, ‘The Fifth Coin,’ has been read through twice and is sitting waiting till I release ‘A Close Shave with Destiny.’ I will then run it through Pro Writing Aid, do a print read and get some beta readers. An interesting development is that I won a competition for a query letter edit so I may have a good query letter for ‘The Fifth Coin.’ I may actually submit it to publishers! As you can expect, working full-time and having a young family, it takes me ages to edit. I am also writing a serial, ‘Islands of Hope,’ which I update every week on wattpad. This is to show that I am releasing work. Here I read through the section twice and run through Pro Writing Aid. As updates are anywhere from two hundred to a thousand words it does not take long, a sort of editing as you go type affair.
Anyway, there we are. That is how I edit, whilst trying to spend as little money as possible. I hope reading this blog post helps you with your editing. If you have any questions or advice then please do contact me. Cheers!
Well I thought I would have a big update for you this week, that by being on school holidays I would get lots of words down. I forgot to factor in all the tasks I did not complete around the house when I was teaching, as well as the fact I have children. I can, therefore, only apologise for the very short update this week. In fact it might be the shortest update I have done. I could summarise it as Kira gets pushed inside a building. I have only challenged myself to update every week, even if it is short, so the challenge continues to be successful. In better news, I have written a little bit of next week’s update, I did not have time to edit it for this week. Anyhow, you can continue to read ‘Islands of Hope’ on wattpad, Chapter 22 is here, or you can start from the beginning here.
Here we are with another week gone, and it has been another busy week for me. I have now finished teaching for the summer so I may well have more time to write. This last week, however, was tying up loose ends and getting everything ready for the end of term, meaning another short update to ‘Islands of Hope.’ It is basically Kira chasing the girl who saw her, she almost catches up with her but gets found out. Who is the archer who has caught her? What is the village they come from? It would have been nice to add that to the update but I ran out of time. Chapter 22 really is being written slowly! Oh well, for the moment you can read Chapter 22 on wattpad by going here, or start from the beginning here.
Apologies that I seem to have disappeared off the face of the Earth this week. Still working hard at school on reports and feedback, but that should be finished early next week. For now you will have to satisfy yourself with another small update to ‘Islands of Hope.’ This week Kira has run into a little trouble, could this be the end of her mission to save her mother? Will the mysterious girl she is chasing turn out to be a friend or foe? Who knows! Well actually I do, I just haven’t written that bit yet. For now you can read Chapter 22 on wattpad here, or start from the beginning here.
The good news is that the reports I need to write for school are done, the bad news is that it has impacted on my writing this week (oh yeah, and there is the little thing of the World Cup!). That means a shorter update, but again we do have an update. This week is the start of Chapter 22 and the morning after Kira collapsed on the beach in France. Where will she go now? Will she be able to stay out of trouble? Can she avoid any unwanted attention? You’ll just have to read the update to find out. You can read Chapter 22 on wattpad here, or start from the beginning here.
Well I am not sure how I managed nearly seven hundred words for this week’s ‘Islands of Hope’ update. It is report writing season, and as a teacher that teaches nearly four hundred students my writing this week has been about them. Add the World Cup into the mix and I have very little free time. Last night, between the last game and the highlights show, I sat down and wrote as if my life depended on it. I then managed to edit some, finishing off the editing this morning. It was lucky I knew what I wanted to write! So this week is not some of my best work but does move the story along. It is the end of Chapter 21 and Johanna on her way out of the Central Science Laboratory. I hope it is ok and not too rushed, I don’t think it is that bad really. But I have set myself this challenge and I will see it through. Anyway, till next week. Oh, yeah, the links…Chapter 21 is here, or you can start from the beginning here.