Several followers are tracking the progress of my Christmas book ‘FROM SHETLAND, WITH LOVE AT CHRISTMAS’, so I’ll happily share this week’s news.
Back in March, I was given a month to complete ‘structural edits’ for my submitted manuscript. This involves rewriting specific scenes as certain elements were lacking or too subtle to convey my original meaning. For instance, one character sounded ‘sterner’ than I ever intended, a minor character needed removing as he was surplus to requirement and another couple needed more emotion in a certain scene. The ‘biggie’ was that my epilogue needed drafting. I hadn’t written a full epilogue prior to submission as I wanted to know if my editor agreed with the journey so far. Now, I had the green light, so needed to produce the goods by crafting the final few pages.
Mmmmm, this is where experience comes into force. Over three weeks, I wrote the epilogue five times. I deleted it on four occasions. Seriously, that is not my writing style. I tend to think, muse over the details and boom, write it! Not with this epilogue. I wrote the scene from the view point of one character, but didn’t like it. Rejigged it three times using the view point of others … then deleted each one.
At this point, I knew I had to trust my instinct and be patient. In each deleted epilogue, the details, descriptions and dialogue where all there, but each one felt wrong to me. The magic was missing. Years ago, I would have panicked. Not anymore. I’ve learnt that my brain will always throw up the ‘magic’ if I give it time to ponder.
The days were passing, my writing time was dwindling and still, I had nothing. It’s like having all the ingredients for a cake but not being able to bring it together successfully.
My imagination suggested the perfect stage setting which could showcase the necessary details and create the magic. It meant I had a shed load of research to complete - which is a first for me at this late stage. I had a tough week, filled with early mornings and very late nights, but it was necessary if I wanted to do the book justice.
Then comes the final moment when you’re ready to press ‘send’ and you pray your editor loves the epilogue.
Thankfully, she did! Which makes that final week worth every moment.
I can now relax, switching my imagination to another project, as my Christmas book moves to the next stage of ‘copy edits’.
It is 1:30am. Yes, you read that correctly and I'm about to finish work for the week! Seriously, I am. I have been working on structural edits for my Christmas book. The last six days have been pretty intense as I have juggled with the edits and dramas on social media, but hey, these thing are sent to test us.
Anyway, my edits are done and dusted! I pressed 'send' about ten minutes ago. I have a brain which is buzzing with book details, adrenaline racing through my body and the excitement of a child on Christmas morning. There's no point me even attempting to sleep for the next couple of hours, so I will head downstairs and watch TV allowing my brain to download.
My edits mainly consisted of highlighting emotions and clarifying specific details which I hadn't crafted clearly enough in the first submission. I've scraped two chapters and rewritten those with different backdrops reinforcing the books themes. And, I'm very proud of my epilogue for this book. It meant I had to complete another batch of research, which is late at this stage, but I had a new idea and instinct forced me to follow my gut. I can't wait for my editor to read the final section and hear her reaction. Finger crossed, it's the same as mine. I think it will be. I dearly hope it is.
It goes without saying that any job to achieve a work-life-balance you need to find a happy equilibrium to support a healthy body and mind. So, I shall be taking the next few days off away from my regular structured day to read, sketch and play music. I'll write, because hey, you know me, it's like breathing but I will only do the bare minimum each day to keep my Camp NaNo ticking over.
From Shetland, With Love At Christmas - is available for preorder via Amazon.
The pictures says it all!
Exciting time for book bloggers as they get the chance to read my next novel prior to publication in return for an honest and truthful review. If you have a netgalley account, please apply. I realise that not every blogger is selected to review, but if you don't ask, you'll never know!
For me, I can't wait to received feedback on my new cast of ladies: Jemima, Melissa and Dotty frequenting Lerwick Manor allotments. They each have a passion, each have varying knowledge and each desire a missing element in their lives.
I need a month of writing alongside others so, there's no better excuse to join Camp NaNo for the month of April. Slightly different to the November NaNo as you set your own goal be it writing or editing. I've set a writing goal of 50,000 words (1667 words a day).
It means I'll be juggling two projects, but that seem to work for me. I'll write one and edit the recent 'secret' project. This is where having ideas and jotting down plans comes into fruition as the new NaNo project is an old idea which has been patiently waiting its turn. So here goes!
I didn’t quite meet my February target, so have made doubly sure I met this one! The piccy says it all. My ‘secret’ project, which I started at New year, has reached book length and the end of my post-it note planning.
The next stage is structural edits in which I make sure the scenes are in the right order and shuffle accordingly. Finger crossed, there aren’t too many surprises which need attention as one moved scene tends to affect another.
Once I’m happy with the scene order, I’ll get a printed copy and begin true editing – literally slashing through sections with a red pen. Great fun, but painful for an author.
I’ll be sorry to see March go. I’ve enjoyed my little self with structural edits for my Christmas book, writing my 'secret' book and revealing new book covers.
Tadah! I'm thrilled to reveal my next beautiful book cover for
FROM SHETLAND, WITH LOVE published on 27th May 2021.
Preorder available: please press
When Jemima loses her beloved grandfather, keeping his allotment alive seems like ideal way to feel close to him. She's never fitted in before - is this her chance to find where she really belongs?
Finally Melissa has the allotment she's been longing for to distract her while her husband works away - even if it is chest-high in weeds. But when she looks for help in the wrong place, she finds she's the hottest topic of gossip.
For Dottie, her allotment and part-time job of 'a little light dusting' at Lerwick Manor keeps a spring in her eighty-year-old step - and her ears open for secrets.
At midday today, my latest book cover will be revealed. It is always an exciting moment in the journey from manuscript to published book. I saw the finished design a week ago and was delighted with the artist's vision and talent. Personally, I don't think the creative team get as much acknowledgement from authors as they should, so I hope 'my team' know I am very grateful.
Does it depict the story line? Yep, it certainly does. That might sound strange, but haven't you ever read a book and on completion mused why the chosen cover was used? I have many times; it's become a pet hate of mine.
Anyway, I'll nip back after midday to post the image so my blog followers can have a butchers too.
The structural edits for my Christmas book have landed on my desk. I have a deadline for completion of 5th April so, my original plan for March needs to change. Simple. My main focus for the month will be in tailoring my Christmas book forcing my 'new book' to take a back seat. I shall still work on it each day, but whether I hit my target we'll have to wait and see.
If you're following my routine as an unpublished author these are the challenges you face on a weekly basis. Your focus switches constantly between projects. Which has its advantages and disadvantages. I love that I get to 'juggle' projects and take breaks between stages of writing. I like being consumed by one set of characters and then having a break from them only for them to land in my lap again in a few weeks time. Sometimes, that distance allows me to spot traits or connections which I hadn't seen in my original writing. I don't mind switching focus, though at times you can be excited by a project which you need to step back from in order to meet another deadline. If you don't like deadlines then this job isn't going to be easy for you. I constantly have a postcard above my desk with a 'deadline date' reminder staring at me!
My down-time continues to be filled with reading, drawing and knitting. I've added photographs to a previous blog post showing the art I've created. We're approximately halfway through Lent so I'll have produced many more pieces by Easter. My knitting continues whilst I watch TV. I've reverted back to the 'special care unit' who use traffic light colours for their prem babies so mint green is the colour.
I've finished rereading Tennessee Williams' play 'A Streetcar Named Desire' - it was weird how much more I saw in this reading compared to a previous time. Though 'Book Club' discussions sometimes create a new insight. I've made a start on 'Fathers and Sons' and so far, it's an easier read than previous Russian novels - fingers crossed, it continues to please.