Monday, August 14, 2017

Ana's Editing Progress

Ana muses on her editing progress.

I'm going through Stormy Hawkins for the fourth, and, I'm told, final time. And, I'm still finding things to change.

I've fixed all the formatting things: Oxford commas, two hypens instead of an em-dash. I learned that 'blonde' is used only to refer to a blond-haired woman.

This morning, I re-read my first sex scene to be sure that what I changed last night still makes sense. (The sentence where they roll over so she's on top got edited out somehow in the first three rounds of edits.)

Now I'm checking a later love scene that ends with misunderstanding. I realized, in last night's read-through, that I could bolster the scene's twist by adding in a reference to a pivotal scene at the story's midpoint, a recollection of dialogue between the heroine and a minor character that propelled the heroine into chasing after the hero she's just rejected.

This addition never occurred to me before, but I feel 99% certain I need to add it. This means I will have to do another read-through, but that's the way it goes. The SoulMate editor says what I send back is IT.

So I have a question for you more experienced authors: Does the debate to tweak things ever end?


Monday, August 7, 2017

Roadblocks and Detours

Debra is facing a dilemma.

Believe it or not, this is the last week of summer vacation for me. I'm really trying to figure out where the time went. I mean, wasn't it just June for Pete's sake? I feel like I've had a fairly successful writing summer in that I made quite a bit of progress on my WIP and I've been trying to get myself out there more by making regular use of my Twitter account, visiting other blogs, and even put my Fourth of July book on sale for the month.

However, as everyone knows, the writing road is not always a straight one. It's often filled with roadblocks and detours. And I had plenty of those this summer, too.

I started really getting serious about my writing in the middle of June. Before that there had been a long, long, dry, dry spell. I'm talking like time measured in almost a year, not months. But I started grooving again and was really pleased with the progress I was making on my WIP. I wasn't necessarily aiming for a particular word count each day, just making sure that I sat down and wrote something. Most days, I was recording anywhere from 500 to 2,000 words. Not too shabby. I was pretty pleased and well on my way toward meeting my goal of finishing this story over the summer.

And then, BAM. Roadblock. In the middle of July I got sick. Bronchitis, laryngitis, and pink eye. Fever. Chills. Hacking cough. You name it. In the middle of summer!! It was awful. I was totally down for the count. I literally laid on the couch for ten days, not having the energy or motivation to do anything else except watch tv. (I had a mega "The Office" marathon. I think I watched three or four entire seasons.)

But eventually I started feeling better and got back into a normal routine...although believe it or not, I still have a lingering cough and a slightly scratchy voice...and was once again making progress. I'd lost a bit of momentum, but still felt I could meet my goal of finishing my 65,000 word story. From there I planned to print it out so I could do several rounds of edits, send it to a couple beta readers to gather their opinions and insights, and then send off a query to a new (for me) publisher.

Then, just when I thought I was on the right path again...FORK IN THE ROAD. I was aiming for a 65,000 word novel. I've been so used to writing novellas, that writing a full-length was a bit of a challenge for me this time around. It was going to be stretching it to reach that 65K, but I was confident I could do it. And then I looked at the submission guidelines for the publisher I was considering. Turns out they want novels 85,000 to 100,000. (Now, yes, granted, this is my fault for not checking sooner. Although I swear I did check once upon a time and it said 65,000. But maybe I was just thinking of my current publisher. Who knows?) To say I was discouraged was an understatement. I lost any and all motivation to write and let the mss sit once again. Eventually (about a week later) I got over myself and sat down to finish the darn story.

Anyway, now I'm faced with a dilemma, and I'm not sure which direction to go. My story is for all intents and purposed finished. There's a beginning, a middle, and a happily-ever-after ending. It's at 63,000. There are a few scenes I'd like to add to here and there, which will bring me to what I thought was the magic number of 65K. I can still follow those first two steps. Polish it up. Get a few beta opinions. And then submit it to my current publisher (that I really, really love...don't get me wrong.)

But I'd envisioned something a bit different for this one. Stepping out of my comfort zone and putting myself and my story out there. Just to see what happens. But to do that, I'm going to need to add at least 20,000 words to my story. That is A LOT of words. I mean, it's an entire novella. This wouldn't simply involve adding or extending scenes, this is adding a whole ton of content. Not just extending the story, but going back to various places in the middle and creating new scenes, chapters, and interactions.

I don't know if I have it in me. I know I won't have the time to write like I have been. Like I said, I'm back to school next week. I'd love to think that since I'm back in a writing routine, I'll at least be able to clock something each night. My writers' group is doing this great challenge, too, which is wonderful motivation. It's the 90 words for 90 days challenge. (#CN90wordsfor90days) Starting August 1 and going through October 31, the idea is to write at least 90 words everyday. There's a chance for a prize at the end for those who accomplish it. It's definitely helping me to stay motivated at the moment, let me tell you. I'm I'm still averaging about 1200 words per day at this point, so the 90 I can do standing on my head...most days.

But, like I said, I'm stuck trying to figure out which direction to take with this book now. If I go one way, it's super exciting to think I might be close to finishing it. If I go another way, it's super daunting to think about creating so much more plot. At this point I don't need to rush...even though summer is over, I can take my time in attempting those additional 20,000 words. But come December it will be a year since I've had a release. And who knows how long the process will take, if I even would get a contract from this new publisher, to get this book in print.

I'm stuck. I honestly don't know what to do. Any thoughts? Advise? Sarcastic comments? Smart aleck remarks? Any and all would be appreciated.

For now, I'm going to get out my lap top and clock those 90 words right now.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!

Debra
www.debrastjohnromance.com

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Two down (or up?), seven to go!

Paula’s novels are being re-released – gradually!

Last April, I received the shock news that my publisher, Rebecca J. Vickery, was closing down due to ill-health. Of course I understood why she had (very reluctantly) made this decision but I was still devastated. I’ve been with her for over 5 years, and she and her team have been the most supportive and friendly people any writer could ever wish to work with.

My major problem, of course, was what to do with my books. Several people encouraged me to self-publish them, but for various reasons I didn’t want to do that. My first reaction was to try a British publisher and I sent two books to them. However, when I discovered it could take up to a year for each one to be re-published, I withdrew them. No way was I going to wait for up to nine years for all my books to go online again!

To cut a long story short (including three months of uncertainty - and despair at times), I was over the moon when, with Rebecca’s help, I linked up with a new publisher. It was still a sad day when all my books were taken down from Amazon on July 19th, prior to being transferred to their new home with Fire Star Press, an imprint of Prairie Rose Publications, but I received a wonderful welcome from Cheryl, Livia, and Kaye.

They decided to re-publish my Irish novels first, as the ‘Mist Na Mara’ series. Anyone who has read the novels will know exactly what Mist Na Mara is! A flurry of activity followed, and I’m thrilled to report that the first two books in the series went back up online yesterday, with stunning new covers designed by Livia.


The cover of the third in the series is already done, and the fourth will follow. My other five books will be phased in after this – and at least it has given me the opportunity to do some re-editing – I can never resist tweaking and tightening, although without changing any of the actual stories.

So I am entering a new chapter in my writing life. I will always be grateful to Rebecca, who became a friend as well as a publisher (and we’ve both said we will continue to keep in contact) – and I look forward now to working with Cheryl, Livia, and Kaye.

My books are currently featured on the Fire Star Press blog https://firestarpress.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/new-release-irish-inheritance-and-irish.html (please pop in and leave a comment for me!)

and if you find my photo on the Prairie Rose website and click on the Q&A, you’ll see my answers to Livia’s interesting questions: http://prairierosepublications.com/