Editing Tips, Writing Tips

Finding a First Chapter

It’s the second chapter that creeps in when you least expect it. Trying to get to first place. Yes, that’s how it starts. When you realise you jumped straight into the action without a lead in. Who does that? Well… The first attempt is not about being perfect, it’s about getting into the flow. For some reason that means skipping the beginning. If you have ever had this issue there can also be that awkward moment of realising it’s happened again. It can be a hidden blessing because it means you get to rediscover the start. Only this time it’s different. This time it can change.

Knowing Your Flaws

More often than not I find the story began too far in. Oops! The idea rushes around inside for so long. That by the time it’s written the scene has already begun. Like starting a conversation without the crucial detail. If you have ever done this it can be rather difficult to backtrack and explain the missing piece. The good part about knowing your flaws is that it means you can look out for them. A personalised check list can help if you know it’s going to happen.

Make One Change

After the ending is written it can be easier to back and write a whole new chapter. The fun part is laying the ground work and revealing the potential of what is to come. Adding a fresh start is a fantastic way to get reacquainted with the characters. If you are a pantser it can provide an opportunity to include foreshadowing or the odd bit of intrigue. However you start the first draft it can be easier when you already know the end. If you have a story or a favourite book, go back and change one thing. What would it be?

Editing Tips, Writer Thoughts, Writing Tips

Avoiding Editing

No, I am not editing again. Well yes I am, but it’s one of those things where anything can be a distraction. I have never regretted editing. The finished product is always worth the toil. The cringing, the ‘did I really forget to a word how many times?’ I have a habit of leaving out ‘the’ in the middle of a sentence. It’s like a treasure hunt for to find all the lost words. The other habit is joining two thoughts together mid-sentence. If it takes more than 5 minutes to figure it out the sentence gets deleted. What was I thinking? Umm…

Unravelled Plans

The best part is finding out that the story makes sense. You have no idea how of a relief that is. On top of that I went head long into a large scene with many characters. Did that go according to plan? No… Did it cause panic and chaos? Absolutely! Somehow through all this the underlying story made sense. *Breathes a sigh of relief at the small miracle*

Rebellious Characters

It can be rather complicated trying to keep track of that much action. It was fun, surprising and annoying all at the same time. The dragon just wanted to melt snow. The wrong person died. The person who was supposed to be trouble ended up being nice. Don’t ask me how that happened. I have no idea. The best part of editing os reading the story and finding hidden gems that were all but forgotten.

Editing Tips

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.