Editing, Writing, Writing Tools

To Format or Not to Format?

formatting

It has been a busy few months making last minute changes to a long overdue goal. After three years of sitting on a third manuscript, finally all the slow tiny steps have begun to add up. Getting this ready has been a saga in of itself, but for the moment I will concentrate on formatting. This area required research and there are more options out there. So when you reach this stage, take a peek at the advice and programmes before making a final decision.

Assess Your Abilities

This is about time, ability to learn and what you wish to take on. My background consists of using both drawing and word programmes. I have a genuine interest in learning new programmes. After doing a bit of research and assessing my long term goals. I made the big leap and purchased a copy of Adobe InDesign. I realise this is not for everyone, but since formatting is a goal it was an investment. Most people I know have opted to pay for someone else to do the formatting for hardcopy. There are currently a range of programmes that make it easy to create an eBook (epub or mobi file). I find more people I know are comfortable with using a programme to convert a manuscript to an eBook. Since there are quite a few programmes and services there is no ‘one size fits all’. So take the time to look around before making the final decision.

Getting Down to Work

Way back when I began writing a novel the first thing I did was go to my bookshelf and study how books are formatted. The number of lines to a page, words to a line and different page headers. Formatting the hardcopy (paperback) is about making a book look like a book. Don’t laugh, there is actually quite a bit to it from the genre to the standard requirements. For example, the back cover will have the genre in small print near the bottom to make it easier to identify. In addition a page header is there for the reader to know the chapter. Formatting is not for everyone, but it is worth doing a little research so you know what to look for.

Novels, Story, World building, Writing, Writing Tools

Getting Organised to Write

organise-to-writeThis year I thought I would try and get a bit more organised with writing. Below are a few templates to help sketch an outline and to keep track of important dates. My writing process leans toward ‘flying by the seat of your pants’. I do a bit of outlining to help keep on track and to act as a reminder. You are welcome to use these templates for your own writing process. I hope you find them useful.

Keeping Track

It can be helpful to set a few goals. By laying out what sections you need to do as part of the process to keep track throughout the year. I do not stick to my goals or my outlines, but it is handy to go back and change them. If is great for going back and finding what worked and how much you achieved. Being stuck in the process can feel overwhelming and it is always nice to be able to have a map to go by.

Setting Goals

For this year the goal is to get more organised. Last year I was a bit lapse with my process and spent time learning how to edit. This year the plan is to knuckle down and concentrate on my writing. I have been reviewing my processes and timeframes. This has meant spending more time at the beginning of the year to get things set up. The aim is to be able to simply write and keep on track better throughout the year. I wish you the best of luck and hope you have a good year with your writing too.

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PDF Versions:     Writing Timeframe        Writing Planner

Outline Planner         Chapter Planner       Character Details

Writing Timeframewriting-plannerChapter Planner

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Character Details

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Novels, Practice, Story, Writing, Writing Tools

Know Your Why as a Writer

know-reasonThe main question that can take a while to answer is the reason why you write. This involves thinking about which path you wish to go on. There is an abundance of information online about what you could do and the paths you can take. The issue is when an assumption is made that you already know the reason why you want to write. Some of these describe processes and give advice in areas that may not be relevant to you. If you know your why this can make it so much easier to sift through all the advice.

First Step

For me the first reason was simply to write a novel. After the novel was complete in first draft it was time to reassess. I took my notebook and wrote down a brief summary of why I was writing. This helped to keep the focus and also act as a guide to revisit where later on. If you keep your reason why short and simple it can be useful in many ways. Including the task of searching through information and finding what suits you best.

Each Stage

I found myself re-evaluating the reason why on several occasions. Each time it has helped to stay focused on what I am doing now and where I would like to be. In the early stage I began writing just for me it was not designed to be read by others. At the time that was fine because it was practice. It took many drafts before it was ready for an audience. A few years later when my writing continued and one manuscript became three. It was time to rethink the early goals and my reason why.

Long Term Goals

Writing is a process and the craft can take years to develop. A long-term plan of where you intend to be can help keep track of your progress. You do not have to stay with the plan, but it helps when you need to readjust. If you intend to publish there are many options. This can help refine the option to one that best suits your goals. It can also help you focus on what will best help you to achieve the long-term goals. In the beginning it can be a daunting task, but every step can bring a goal a little bit closer.

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