Visit to Coombe Abbey Country Park and a quick writing update

Coombe Abbey hotel and Coombe Abbey Country Park near Coventry 3

If you follow my ramblings, you’ll know I recently sent the first 3 chapters of my book, Art and Soul, to an editor. His feedback lead to me deciding to cut chapters 1 and 2 and do a whole other bunch of edits (more about all this here).

I retreated to the writing cave and the edits are done! I sent the “new” first three chapters to the literary agent who had asked to see them (*biting nails until I hear back*). I also sent the whole manuscript to the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writer’s Scheme (*biting stubs of nails until I hear back*).

Hopefully the agent will want to see the rest of the MS and I’ll get positive feedback from my RNA reader.

In the meantime, after stepping out from the writing cave and blinking in the sunlight… We went to visit Coombe Abbey and Coombe Country Park, which are near Coventry and a short drive from us.

Coombe Abbey hotel and Coombe Country Park near Coventry 1

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Exciting writing times and why I may be absent for a while…

Exciting developments, my friends!

Excited gif

 

But first, the story so far. Skip this if you’re up to date on my writing-related wafflings…

I’ve written a book (see Art and Soul for more about that). I’ve been sending the first three chapters to literary agents, but haven’t been getting anywhere. I recently sent it to an editor and he suggested deleting chapters 1 and 2 and starting with chapter 3. As a result, I’m currently staring at a huge pile of edits.

And now back to the exciting news!

Having thought I hadn’t made the cut (and been rather disappointed), last week I was beyond delighted to receive an invitation to join the Romantic Novelist Association‘s New Writer’s Scheme. The Scheme allows unpublished novelists writing in the romance genre to submit their manuscript to an existing RNA member for critique. You also get to take part in all RNA activities and events.

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Editing your novel. My experience of getting professional feedback

To date, I’ve submitted the first 3 chapters of my first novel, Art and Soul, to 23 literary agents to no avail.

So, before continuing with submissions, I decided it was time to ask a professional editor to look at those first three chapters and give me critical feedback.

I researched my options, selected my editor, sent off my first 3 chapters and synopsis, and waited for their report with a mixture of excitement and dread.

Editor writing cartoon

The good

I paid for critical and I got it. However, for the sake of my own self-esteem I must keep repeating an opening comment: “on the whole” I write well. That’s a relief. I shouldn’t chuck it all in just yet then. 🙂

The improveable

There were bits and bobs I won’t bore you with, because the headline, Dear Reader, was tremendous: cut chapters 1 and 2 and start with chapter 3.
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Editing your own writing: identifying your errors and bad habits

Support group for writers editing cartoon

Back in December, I wrote a post asking whether you can ever really finish editing a piece of your own writing. I talked about how I’d recently re-read my entire novel after a six-month break and been surprised by how much I wanted and needed to change.

In this post, I thought I’d share some of my editorial findings and pet problems. All punctuated by some good cartoons, of course 🙂

Peanuts Snoopy Editing and writing cartoon

One of my most common editing notes was “fix flow”, which makes it sound as though I need a plumber rather than an editor! These were places in the story where I felt the connection between sentences or paragraphs was too sudden or jarring and needed smoothing; as if reading were like climbing down a ladder and suddenly a rung was missing. I blame these absent rungs on a previous round of harsh word-cutting prior to submitting to literary agents. From “internet wisdom” I became convinced that if my MS was over 90,000 words I had no hope of anyone asking to read it. And so I cut as many words as I could, leaving things a little too bare in places. However, now it seems I’ll be self-publishing, the book can be as long as I damn well think it needs to be! So the words are going back in (you can’t stop me, mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha… you get the idea).

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Editing your own writing. Can you ever be “done”?

When is a book finished? And other writerly ponderings…

I finished the first draft of my first novel, Art and Soul, back in November 2014. I spent two months editing, then sent the manuscript to my first two readers. While they were reading, I read a couple of books on self-editing and realized I’d committed a lot of glaring errors.

I used my readers’ feedback and what I’d learnt from the books to do another complete manuscript “fix”. I then sent this draft to more readers. Their feedback resulted in more re-writes, particularly to the beginning of chapter 1, which I freely admit I’m still not 100% happy with.

The writer funny by Tom Gauld cartoon writing problems

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Writing tips. Saying goodbye to Bob.

While scouring the Internet for any advice that could distract me, ahem, I mean help me with revising my novel, one of the most useful comments I found (in several places) regarded weeding out your disappearing characters.

You know. The Bobs, Petes and Daves* who make a splash in the first couple of chapters only to evaporate, never to be heard from again.

The editorial wisdom is as follows:

Wait! There’s more. Click to keep reading!