Uncategorized

In case the New Year brings that dastardly task of editing your novel: Kathryn’s Guide to Editing Fiction

Knowing what to do after you’ve *finally* finished the first draft of your manuscript and have mopped up all the blood, sweat and tears that went into it can be a bit of a mystery if you’re new to the game. You know editing comes into it, and you may have heard about beta readers, but what comes first, and more importantly, how do you go get started?

To help with the cacophony of questions littering your head, I’ve made a general guide to help you get going. This is very much based off my own experience, and is not an exhaustive list:

  1. After you’ve written that last word on your manuscript, put the whole thing away somewhere and leave it for a good amount of time (I personally leave it for about three months, but others leave it for longer) and get on with other things. Start a new project; finish any others lurking around; if you’re thinking about publication, research which avenue might be best for you and what that entails; basically, anything to keep your mind stimulated but doesn’t involve that first draft. This is to make sure that when you do eventually go back to it, you can view it with fresh eyes – meaning that plot holes, weak characters or lack of world building will jump out at you and therefore be easier to fix.

 

  1. Don’t focus on spelling or wording on this initial edit. Look at the big picture instead. Are there any holes in your plot? Do your characters feel flat or serve no purpose? Does the story start in the right place, or are the first few chapters unnecessary? What scenes work, and what don’t? If you’re finding it hard to tell if certain points of the story are unnecessary, try removing them and see if it affects the overall plot. If the plot still flows, then those scenes (however beautifully written they are/despite how much you personally love them) have to go. Nothing ruins a good book more that scenes that jar the pacing by adding nothing.

 

  1. Once you’ve fixed the big issues with your manuscript, you can either put it away again, or continue on to the next stage. Again, I personally leave it for a bit because I know I get far too close to my work.

 

  1. Now it’s time to really focus on your characters and world building. Your characters need to feel like real people – give goals and dreams, flaws and bad habits, and don’t hole them up into stereotypes. If they’re from very different backgrounds/circumstances to you, make sure you do your research – not only to make them realistic, but to avoid being insensitive to readers. (If you’re worried about your representation of people from different walks of life to you, you can always hire a sensitivity reader at a later stage.) When working on world building, think about the social structure of each place, use all five senses to describe things and make sure you don’t fall into the pit of info dumping. Also, in dialogues scenes, look out for ‘white room syndrome’, when no description about where or when the scene takes place is included.

 

  1. Next, we get in to the more technical aspects of writing. Tense, point of view and grammar. (If you feel your manuscript is shaping up nicely, you can start looking at spelling, over-use of words and continuity, but I would leave that until last.) It doesn’t matter what point of view you use, or what tense, as long as you keep them consistent throughout the manuscript – unless you have a very good reason not to, like an intentional stylistic change to illustrate a certain point. If you struggle with grammar, there are a lot of helpful books and forums, as well as YouTube guides. (I have a book on grammar that’s actually written for kids, but the language and examples are so clear that it’s the one I go to most.)

 

  1. The stages of editing can get a bit murky here – some writers have to repeat steps until they’re happy and end up with a good number of drafts, others breeze right through and end up with relatively few. However, whether you’ve done a lot of back and forth on your work or not, this part is important. Read your work aloud. I’ll say it again: READ YOUR WORK ALOUD. From start to finish, until you’re sick of the sound of your own voice. This is so you can clearly see problems with sentence structure, missing words, typos, continuity, repetitive description and all that jazz (as readers we’re always pleased to spot others’ mistakes, but are far less pleased as writers if someone kindly points them out in our own work).

 

  1. Finally, when you are happy with your manuscript and can’t find anything else to work on, it’s time to send your work to beta readers. These can be other writers, friends, family or simply people you know love to read. What is important to note, however, is that it’s far more helpful to send your work to readers who readily consume books in that genre than ones who have never read/rarely read within your genre, as the feedback you receive will be more relevant. When you do receive feedback, look for trends in what people are saying. If eight people say a scene isn’t working, then it’s probably wise to take another look and see if it truly does need revising. If one beta reader hates a character but the others love them/make no comment, then perhaps that’s just their personal taste. Consider all feedback, but remember that it is still your work, so you have the final decision on what to change.

 

So there you have it. Where you take your work from there is completely up to you. Whether you opt for traditional publishing, self-publishing or somewhere in-between (be absolutely sure you don’t head down the path of vanity publishing – an old but good rule on how to tell a vanity publisher from a real one is that money should always flow to the author, not away) make sure you do your research.

Advertisements
Uncategorized

Writerly Updates!

Hi everyone,

As well as my usual poetry post today, I thought I’d let you know about a few things that have been going on.

Firstly, as you may have read before, my speculative young adult book, The Origin Stone, is set to be released next year at the end of April, so that’s exciting. I do have digital ARCs, so if you’re a blogger or reviewer and would like a copy, please do get in touch.

Secondly, I’ve just signed a contract with Black Opal Books for a stand-alone epic fantasy! I don’t have any more details yet, but should do in the new year.

Thirdly, I am now offering proofreading services for manuscripts, blog articles and website content, as well as *friendly* query letter and synopsis critiques. Prices will depend on the project, and I’m more than happy to fully discuss things before giving a quote.

So there you are!

Kate out.

Uncategorized

Building your author platform

A good plan. I have multiple social media pages, and I admit I do struggle to focus on them all.

The Cat's Write

There are some truly wonderful and very comprehensive articles out there that discuss ‘how to build a successful author platform’ and also the many reasons why you should do so ASAP. But I’m just gonna keep it simple for you (and short), because simple and short has worked for me.

When building your author platform, the four most important things you need to do are:

1)    choose ONE social media account to focus on

2)    enjoy it

3)    consistently use it and;

4)    grow it.

In my opinion, if you try to develop multiple accounts at the same time, you’ll:

a) get stretched too thin trying to manage everything and;

b) your author platform/s will therefore suffer.

It’s like catching a train. You don’t stand on the platform waiting to board 10 trains do you? No, you’re waitng for one train and one train only. And once you catch that…

View original post 310 more words

Poetry, Uncategorized

Overture

Evening draws in,

the half-moon observes

your passage home.

Hours drip by heavy,

oil falling in water.

Unmixed, always a separate entity

to those wandering past.

Cigarette butts on the ground

avoiding the traps especially set

on waste bins.

The smell of energy drinks

left on the bus two seats down

marring the truest scent

of night.

Door unlocked, house is silent.

Signs of life everywhere

that need to be tidied before morning.

Before mourning.

Of what might have been.

Not of what is.

The aftertaste of what is

is natural,

no added sugar.

Uncategorized

Update on The Origin Stone!

Greetings!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a book update, so apologies if you have no clue what The Origin Stone is. For you guys, here’s the low-down: The Origin Stone is my first YA book, and it’s set to be released in late Feb/March 2019 by Nuff Said Publishing.

Here is the premise:

Emily Renzi thinks she’s going crazy. After her parents move to a quiet village, she senses that something is off about the house they’re living in. Dreams of strange creatures invade her sleep, and mysterious shapes appear in the garden. Confiding in her older brother, Ru, they research the house’s background and find that a scientist disappeared there during World War Two. Afterwards, sightings of strange creatures were whispered around the village. Could the creatures in Emily’s dreams and the ones rumoured about be the same? And if so, what do they want from her? As she struggles to piece together the truth from the fiction, she finds out that beasts aren’t always monsters – humans, however, are a different matter.

I’ve been spending the last few weeks combing through the manuscript with my editor, and we’re now in the final stages. Which means…I have ARCs! They are digital only copies, but still, if any book bloggers/vloggers are interested, they can get their hands on The Origin Stone early.

We’re also nearly there with the cover design, which I’m also super happy about. Despite The Origin Stone being my first YA, I wrote the original draft years ago, so it’s been a while in the making. And in a few months, it’ll be out!

Honestly, having my Half-Wizard Thordric trilogy and The Door Between Worlds published was exciting enough, but with The Origin Stone, I’m practically beside myself with glee.

I will be holding a few giveaways for ARCs at some point down the line, so look out for those when I announce them here and here.

As for now, I have to make my way to my day job and pretend I’m calm and collected. *sigh*

Kat out!

Uncategorized

My new book, The Door Between Worlds!

I’ve been talking about this on my social media pages, but sadly neglecting it on here, so it may come as a surprise to say I have another book out, a stand-alone middle-grade fantasy called The Door Between Worlds. It’s release day today, and I’m super excited to share it with everyone!

This book has everything I love in it – dragons, twists on fairytales, adventure, portals, more dragons…

The way I pitched it to my publisher was: Alice in Wonderland meets Big meets The Pagemaster. I still stick to that wholeheartedly.

So, without further ado, here it is (with the official blurb):

The-Door-Between-Worlds-Promo-Hardback-Ereader.png

Michael is a young bookworm who really believes in magic. But even he isn’t prepared for what lies behind the secret door in the school library: Treeshallow, a parallel land where all known stories originate from.

When Michael runs into the residents of Treeshallow, he finds them reminiscent of characters he’s read about in books.

Michael’s appearance there isn’t an accident. After he sets to find the famous wizard Ramble, the two learn that the school librarian, Mr. Rogers, has been taken captive by a band of demons known as the Desrai.

But even with their combined forces, can the two save Rogers from the clutches of evil?

 

(Find it HERE)