Setting Writing Goals, Writer Thoughts, Writing Tips

Deleting Words

The last couple of weeks I have been setting up a new laptop much to the cat’s amusement. It’s a cheap, easy to use replacement for the old secondhand one. That gave a warning before it was about to die. It didn’t take long for the cat to work out that the keyboard is low and comfortable to walk on. The cat’s favourite button is the ‘backspace’. It cannot understand why I have an issue with that. Needless to say it knows I have a habit of deleting the last two words I wrote.

Habits

Two words, and the writing session kicks in. Not what I was expecting to find, apparently I need an unfinished sentence… Hmm, I will have to think about that. Well what do you know, it works. Everyone has their own quirks and it’s taken a while to find mine. There are so many times when the process has had to stop and start. It makes finding the little nuances critical. It’s like finding that all important first step that leads to another, then another.

Keeping Track

There is nothing quite like keeping track and stickers are not for me. I have a highlighter pen, a calender, and jot down how many words I wrote. Gaps are part of the schedule, but it’s easier to acknowledge them than try and do too much. The cat has claimed half my desk and insists on glaring at me. While purring at the same time when I type away on the keyboard. The look says ‘you should be writing’. I continue because I really don’t want any more words deleted. Thank you cat for being so supportive and taking an interest in my keyboard.

Writer Thoughts, Writing Tips

Know Your Genre

Imagine you are making a mad dash because you are running late. You see an old friend who has heard you wrote a novel and wants to know more. You don’t have long and blurt out. ‘It’s a young adult fantasy series with dragons, wizards, and sorcery.’ Then wave goodbye. This is exactly how I describe my book to people when I am unsure if they like the genre. Guess what? Your first goal as a writer is to find out who is not your audience. When you know your genre you can whittle it down to the key bits of information. It is a starting point, like a secret code that is easily understood by your real audience. Key words in a genre can mean so much. It can help find your audience in a short space of time by relying on familiarity.

What Does a Genre Achieve?

So you have spent ages writing and are unsure about the genre of your story. The real issue with this is that you, the writer are your story’s biggest advocate. If you are unsure this can magnify the confusion many times over. A genre helps find an audience by using themes and styles that already exist. Every story may be a little different. The key is finding the familiar threads so you can explain it in a clear manner. It acts as a guide to let your audience know what to expect. More importantly it lets them know what not to expect.

Each Genre has a Style

I was wandering through a shop and saw a book with a cover that said ‘fantasy’. I checked the blurb to make sure and it suggested fantasy. You can imagine what happened next… It was paranormal romance. My point is, you don’t have to get the exact details right just the basics. When you choose a genre your choice is there to help your audience find your story. Your tagline, blurb and book cover all become an important message to your reader. Knowing your genre can add an extra layer of information to help your audience.

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.