Monday, 29 July 2013

Update


I am having two of my books edited.

I have had The Lebrus Stone beta read, and although the lady offered some help, it was very vague and confusing. So from now on, I am going to be very selective about who beta reads. I would rather have valid, constructive, thorough advice and suggestions. Being desperate for just anyone to read your books only gets you a rushed job.

There is a girl who charges $20 to beta read per book, and says she is thorough. I may consider it, along with the editing. I also joined some groups on Facebook. I managed to get introduced to an American guy who has been the most helpful so far, eager and very complimenting haha, which is always nice. I am very thankful for his advice.

Here is what he said:

I appreciate all the help you’ve given me on my stories and I hope that my input is equally helpful: 

I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read. Your story telling ability is as lovely as you.  Everything is brilliantly vivid. There were some sentences that I thought could be rephrased and a couple that I was confused by. I made a few grammatical suggestions as well (although I’m by no means an authority in grammar).
The prose is excellent, and the narrative is very much that of an eighteen year-old girl. The voice is very consistent throughout. I committed a second read-through to see how it flowed, and I thought that it flowed very well so far. Although some may think that the detailed descriptions slow down the read, I personally loved them. I really tried to tread lightly around sentence suggestions, as I didn’t want to alter the voice. So I tried my best to offer suggestions that I thought would fit well.

I love some of the conversations. They’re very natural, and don’t seem forced. They’re believable conversations and the dialogue reflects the characters who’re speaking. You’ve given each character a very unique personality. From Zella’s squeaky, prissy attitude, to Crystal’s apprehensive nature, to the guy's mysterious, standoffish personality.

 Excited to see what happens next…and…er…before. J

Hope this helps!


Yes!!!! Now this is what I expect from a beta reader :)




Saturday, 6 July 2013

Manuscripts Galore


The publishing house has said they would send me some manuscripts. It's strange to think I could be contributing to choosing what book to accept and recommend, but exciting to see what kind of stories are going to be sent for me to perhaps edit.

I probably won't be able to discuss certain matters with you, but I will try to keep you updated.

As for my books, I am trying to find editors for two YA Paranormal Romances. I am waiting for some sample edits, and then I will be able make a decision. Since I am unable to find any beta readers for these novels, I might pay a few editors who don't charge too much, say in the region of $60 -200 per book. That way I could select two or three editors for each. I mainly need opinions.

I will announce who the publisher is soon.

:)

Thursday, 27 June 2013

My return to editing


Hey folks.

As my subject line states, I am wanting to return to freelance editing now that my schedule is less filled up with editing my own novels. Although I am based in the U.K, I mainly edit for Americans.

I am aware of how certain things are supposed to be written for that type of readership :)

My rates are low at the moment, since I need to re-build my client base. It's not because the edits would be mediocre in any way. So make the most of the bargain. :)

I may even keep my rates very low for regular clients. Although the pricing would always be at a rate to fit a writers budget. I genuinely want to help.

Please read the about page and rates for information. My e-mail address is on the contact page.

Thank you  for reading and happy writing :)

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Update - Publishing house job offer and submissions


I have been busy adding final touches to The Lebrus Stone, and even submitting it to publishers. I have submitted to around seven so far: three with just a query letter and the rest with a sample. I haven't had any replies yet,  and I'm not panicking like I had five years ago when I submitted to agents. I only submitted a couple of weeks ago anyway, and I've realised there are alternatives, and that we don't have to rely on agents and publishers to get a book read.

It's mainly down to yourself anyway, and how much you are willing to market it. I'm ready to sit for hours at my computer, socializing online to see who wants to read/review/promote my novels. I did it during my singing days.

A few weeks ago a U.S publisher I was planning to submit to, e-mailed me about an editing position within their company. I began editing their sample within minutes of receiving it, double checked for errors and sent it back the next day.

When I received a reply the following day, it read something like this:

Thank you for such a quick turn around with the sample test. We were impressed with how thorough you were and your keen eye for detail. You also have a strong editorial voice.

I was pleasantly surprised. Although I was aware my editing was worthy of being encouraged.  I have helped many writers improve their novels. They have been amazed and very thankful and it's very fulfilling to know I am not only helping, but giving writers that extra bit of hope.

I had a meeting on Skype with two of the guys who are head of the publishing house, and was told my editing voice is that of a teacher rather than a dictator, nurturing, and that it is what they wanted. They also wanted someone thorough. If you have been fortunate enough to have had me critique/edit/beta read for you, I would like to think you would agree with the thorough part. :)

It's exciting. I'm currently editing all my YA paranormal romances to submit to publishers or self publish.

Thank you god, my loved ones in heaven, and angels for bringing the opportunity, and steering me towards a calmer path, while helping me to keep the faith.

x













Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Inspiration


Writers: What books inspired you to write your first novel?

Mine were Legacy of Lies by Elizabeth Chandler and The China Garden by Liz Berry and obviously Twilight, due to the romance.

Readers: What do you look for in a paranormal romance story?

I look for suspense, quality writing, easy flow of sentences, voice, maybe a Gothic tone, dreamy prose, great description, handsome and mysterious brooding heros with a strong independent protagonist.  First person narrative, and realistic characters. Plenty of romance, and swoon worthy dialogue.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Writing tips


I want to make a list of the tips I have picked up along the years while I have been writing and editing. Some or all of these will probably be known to you, and you might be thinking, DUH! But I'm listing them anyway, as a reminder to myself and for those who might not be aware of one or two and need the advice for self editing.

1. When someone turns to face a character, it's best to say something like swirled around rather than twirled.

2. Avoid saying: I looked. I heard, where necessary. For example.

I looked at my vanity table that was on my right. Instead try: The vanity table on my right....

I heard echos in the other room, could be: Echos from the other room...

3. Avoid redundant sentences: I ran fast to get to the house quicker. It's obvious why, if someone is running home. Instead it could be: I ran home as fast as I could.

4. Avoid dangling participles. Basically they are sentences that make a character sound like they are doing too many things at once. For example: I opened the door, running to the bed. A character can't open a door and run to the bed at the same time, so it's: I opened the door and ran to the bed, or I opened the door, ran to the bed. This way you avoid the gerunds too, which are verbs ending in "ing", which is what some writers opt for to avoid "and" and "then."

5. Either have an exclamation mark after dialogue or a tag saying he or she yelled/shouted. Best not to include both, although I do see it being done in major published books, so it may not be a biggie. Or better still, show the expression through actions.

6. Show not tell. Tell: I was nervous. Showing is obviously: I had butterflies in my stomach; my palms sweated.

7. Avoid info dumping in the first chapter. Although if it's a must, which it was for one of my drafts for my book to ground the story, explain the main facts in a paragraph or two only.

8. Try and have an opening hook for first chapter, too. Perhaps not a biggie, in my opinion. I have read lots of books without a major hook. As long as you have a great blurb and story you will have most likely reeled readers in. :)

9. Start your book not from where you are filling the kettle from the sink, but where it is boiling. Great quote from a writer that I agree with. I think it could also be from about to boil. So many writers try to give too much backstory first when a characters life is better portrayed and revealed via their actions and how they cope with events.

10. Avoid cliche's. Some are fine, but some are too obvious ... like plagued her thoughts ... but even that could probably be said once depending on what context.

11. Avoid cheesy lines in romance, especially lines that involve electricity. That would just create literal sparks and maybe even electrocution. The description began in Twilight and now writers of this genre, including me have opted for this bizarre description. I have tried to avoid it. I think tingling says it all. Also couple confessing their love for each other too quick is also lackluster. Readers want some suspense first, with at least a, will they won't they question arising throughout half the book.

12. Dialogue that have tags, need a comma after it. Dialogue with an action needs full stops. Including. He laughed. She chuckled. As a person can't laugh and talk at the same time. Also avoid too many tags when there are only two people talking. Just keep to describing their actions and keep to he said, she said mainly with the dialogue in general. When we read a book, the brain begins to not notice the he said she said tags, so it runs a lot smoother.

13. Try not to over describe and babble.

14. Try not to throw in unnecessary scenes to create drama. Try and keep to the main events.

15. Be aware in what context you use further and farther, whom, who. Also lay is past tense of someone lying down. So: I lay still as the wind blew across the lawn. Present tense would be: I lie on my back. Lay is also used for objects: I lay the vase on the desk.

16. Learnt, Knelt and so on are British spelling. Americans prefer: Learned, Kneeled.

17. Avoid passive sentences. I was jumping over the wall could be: I jumped over the wall. I was about to leap over the wall when someone shouted. Could be: Someone shouted as I tried to jump over the wall.

18. Avoid hurriedly, hurrying types of words,active would be: hurried.

19. Correct context of words such as wilting and swirling is: The wilted apple tree. Otherwise it sounds like the apple tree is wilting there and then. The swirl  images on the wall, not the images swirling on the wall, unless they are actually moving at that current point.

20. He took off his shirt. She took off her shoes need to be: He took his shirt off. She took her shoes off. I have noticed big named writers still write it as, he took off his shirt, so again, it might not be a biggie. But it is correct English, and you might be a stickler for correct usage of the language.

Will add more if I recall any.

Here is a mistake I found in Twilight recently. It's from the preface. I'm surprised I hadn't noticed it before, but I guess I didn't know as much about editing back then. It's also easy to miss and sort of makes sense without being structured correctly.

Here it is:

I stared without breathing across the long room.

No one commented on what seemed inaccurate, so I will explain. It sounds like she is staring across the room without blowing her breath across it. To be clearer and conveyed in proper English, I think it would be: I stared across the room without breathing, or I held my breath as I stared across the room.

I could be wrong, but it seems incorrect.

Please feel free to post any tips you have learnt or learned ;)

Thanks :)

I'm back!!


Okay, I haven't been very chatty, well, not at all on here really. Not even on Facebook or any other online platform.

I had to get away for a while and just concentrate on editing my first ever written novel, which most of you will know for now as: CRYSTAL.

During my extensive edits and re-writes of the first chapter, I contacted some potential beta readers and the writers who have been amazing. I feel as though I have been blessed to have made contact with them.

They have not only been supportive. They have given honest, sound advice and even demonstrated what I needed to do better. It was exactly the kind of editing and critiquing I had been doing for writers for years, only now I was getting that kind of help back. I couldn't believe it!!! And I was expecting the help to dwindle, I still do haha. But no, they came back, eager, and even told me they enjoyed my novels.

One lady, bless her cotton socks told me to hurry up and publish my books.

So these are the names of my Earth angels that came into my life and assisted me in getting various novels, such as Crystal in particular, ready for submission in, hmmm, I'm hoping by the end of February.

I'm still kind of shocked, but it's all thanks to my critique partners/beta readers who cared enough to help me improve it.

Anyway, on to the naming of my awesome super talented peeps:

Laurie

Emerald

Felicia

Emma

Prerna

Gwen

Jeannette

A special thanks to Laurie for supporting me the most, and talking to me everyday about our books as we exchange advice. She has become my rock that I can cling to when I'm feeling a bit wary and doubtful. And she takes my honesty like a true champ and always replies back with an even newer, improved version of her scenes. Like me, she likes to get straight to it, haha.

I would also like to thank my current editor who I cannot name yet, as I am going to need her help with all four of my novels. I don't want her time zapped by anyone else. It was flipping hard to find a good editor.

Thank you. Please keep reading and supporting me as I try to submit after four years of polishing my novel, CRYSTAL.

I hope many will be reading her story soon and that you will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed waking up everyday to write it. :)

Thanks you god/angels/my loved one's in heaven for sending me these helpers.

Bless you all.

M x