Well, that time has come. I’m almost half way through my final edit of my magic story. My third draft went to my proofreader before I actually read it, and now I have it back with comments. There is some truth to needing someone to read it for you. They’ll see things you don’t as the author, like issues with the story you may not realize because of the image in your head.
On the other hand, I’m finding that my skills as a proofreader are still sharp. I’m doing my final edit, incorporating the changes my reader found in nearly every case, and I’m finding issues they did not. I’m occasionally adding or changing words, too, as it’s also my final content edit. Do the words flow easily? Are there double uses of a descriptor too close together? Now’s a great time to fix it.
Most of my errors are small, a forgotten or changed letter causing the wrong word to be there, or a forgotten quotation mark or something. I’ve found a period in front of a comma when my finger slipped, for instance. Nothing major, and not many issues, but it feels good to get rid of the errors anyways. I know I’ll see them when I read it again and if I don’t fix it.
Following the advice of “write the book you want to read,” I fully intend on reading my stories again. Will I get them all? Maybe. I hope so. Maybe not. Even professionally published books occasionally have errors make it past the proofreaders. I know that if I don’t, I’ll see the error next time I read the book. I’ll give it another read before I publish anyways, as I love my characters and enjoy my story. I wrote for me, after all, and I look forward to the adventure for many years to come.
Why do I write? I love to explore new worlds and meet new people. I love magic and adventure and possibilities. I love that when reading as well. I have authors I love who write book series in fantastic worlds with amazing characters.
Tomorrow I begin my hopefully final edit of my novel. To be truthful, I can’t wait to make everything as quality as I can and have an actual paperback book. I want to page through it and adventure with my characters all over again, again and again. I have done this with other authors’ books as well, with characters I love.
It’s one of the big things that drew me to writing, actually. I always get myself lost in a world, whether one of my own design or with my fanfiction. Designing my own world for the series I’m writing has been an adventure in itself. He got me a notebook so I can make notes on everything, from the places I make to the people involved.
Now that I’m getting the sequel on its way, I can develop the world more. Things that played some role in the first book get explained and explored more in the second book, and probably more books after that. Being able to flesh out aspects of a world is exciting. What do I want to happen? Is it a nice place? Are there social issues? It’s all up to me. Do I want to make the world more mixed, with some desirable and some less desirable traits? It’s all up to me!
Having someone to do some reading and editing is valuable. It can be a professional, or even someone you know with solid knowledge of the language. Your budget and project will determine what you need. Someone writing non-fiction will want to find an editor with some familiarity with the subject of the book, unless they are editing solely for spelling and grammar.
As the person who everyone came to in English class in school, I feel good about my skills. However, a fresh set of eyes is never a bad thing. My editor was able to catch a few content issues, nothing major, but things I can clarify for readers to help them enjoy the book and world I created even more. We also found some spelling errors to fix, as my computer is old and a few keys sometimes stick.
I’ll be taking his notes and reading through again anyways, making sure I like the final copy of what I have written. Did I feel I missed anything? I can explain some things more in the sequel if I want, building the world around the foundation I have created. Still, having him look over things let me know where I might need a little more detail in some places. I’d rather learn that now than after I publish.
Soon I work on and finish what I hope will be my final draft. Another read through, and I’ll be ready to publish!
Well, instead of the up to ten business days, I’ve been assigned my ISBN numbers and have my account. That was fast! A single business day? Really? This is getting more real now...
My first ever reader loved the story. Soon I do my final edits, then prep the book for publication. There’s both the ebook and the paperback to get ready, but that’s okay. I’ve decided what names to publish under, as well, I think.
Best of all, my outline is nearly done for the sequel, and I’ve begun writing, even as I edit and prep other books as well. This series is just flowing out of me in draft form. While I still take care to edit it and make it the best I can, the characters have their own lives already and want to go on more adventures. I can sit down for an hour on the martial arts book and get 1000 words out, but I’ll sit for 1 1/4 hours on the sequel and 2000 words flow in the same time.
I always remind myself - write the book you want to read. It helps me plot and plan. It gives me characters I love. It gives the story meaning to me, and lets me write about themes I love, like friendship and loyalty, struggling against adversity, and personal triumph.
Also, I need to let myself write the way I do it best, which means jumping all over the place and writing out of order. I can fill things in as I go, if the important scenes get written first.
He’s getting me a journal for this series. I need to start recording things about the characters, places, settings, items, and so on. Things need to remain consistent through the books. Being able to open a journal and look at the information quickly will make everything go better and more smoothly. There’s also something about hand writing that really appeals to me. My gratitude journal and my personal journal are hand written for a reason.
They say that unless your goal scares you it’s not big enough. I’m not sure who they are, but this definitely is a little scary. I’ll be putting myself out there, even with a pen name, and opening myself to criticism. I don’t care so much, though there’s still an element to fear about it. There’s so much to learn and so many steps. That’s okay, it’s a journey every bit as much as what my characters go through. A labour of love, if you will.
I’m having fun outlining the sequel for my Young Adult novel, and writing a martial arts based book for Young Adult readers, as well as my romance/erotica. However, soon I do the final edit on my very first full length novel. Once that’s done, it’s time to format and prepare the book and get it out to you, my wonderful readers.
A few things need to happen for the book to be ready. I need to format the file so it comes out right. That’ll look different for the ebook than for the print copy. I need to get proper ISBN numbers for the versions. I also need to get cover art designed.
Today I signed up for my ISBN account. It’s an easy process in Canada. Everything is online and once my file has been made, I go online to manage my numbers. There are guides to walk me through everything, so I can manage quite well, thanks.
There are plenty of guides and templates to help me format each version of my manuscript, as well as different software options. I’m pretty sure I know how I’m going about this, so I know how the printer I’ll be using will want things prepared. Also, ebook conversion is becoming common now, so that’s easier than a few years ago when I debated writing a book.
I’ve also looked into cover design. I’m learning everything I can about it, so I know what to look for whether I play with it or have someone help. Professional help is often a benefit. I’ll explore more options before deciding.
So many choices and things to learn. Writing is just the beginning of it all.
As it happens, learning to write a novel was only my first step. Now it’s time to look ahead to publishing. I’m brand new to publishing, I freely admit that. However, I do love to learn new skills. I have options and time, so I’ll use both to put out the best books I can.
Formatting everything won’t be a problem. There are all kinds of guides out there, including templates. If I self-publish through certain routes, the guides tell me everything I need to know to set up my books and create cover art. I do enjoy the ability to control my work, so there is some appeal to that route. I don’t mind a smaller readership that will result, compared to a traditional publisher.
On the other hand, there’s a lot to be said for publishers, too. They have resources I do not, and might be able to put out a better printed book than I can.
I’ll spend some time and decide how to proceed, and learn what I need to know to get a quality book out. I write because I love my characters and certain ideas, and I want to protect them. I write because I have to, not because I want to be famous. My characters live in me and through my writing. I wish to share them for others to enjoy as well. For me, publishing is more about sharing than about being a professional writer.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a lot to go and learn!
I did it! I finished the third draft of my Young Adult novel. It’s been given to my first reader for feedback.
To be honest, I’m kind of freaking out about it. I’ve been working on this story since the beginning of May. I love the characters and the story is my baby, in a way. I want my writing to be worthy of the place these characters have in my heart. It’s my first novel, so I know I still have a lot to learn, though.
It’s terrifying giving it to someone to read, even someone who loves me and who will be gentle as they tell me what they really thought of it. I may love the story, but will they? I know as they story makes its way in the world, not everyone will love it. I wrote it for myself, so I don’t care so much about that. Still, what if it’s rubbish? He’ll tell me honestly what he feels needs improvement, and I can try again. There’s no way the whole story is irredeemable. There’s something there I can fix if I need to.
Nothing is ever perfect. Many people don’t finish the process because their writing is never good enough. I’m feeling the doubts now, but I know I’m a good writer. I know I can make this story something worth reading. I’m celebrating finishing a third draft, because that’s more than I’ve ever done before. I WROTE A BOOK!
Well, yesterday I felt gloomy and scattered and part of me wanted to quit. Small surprise, as I was editing the part of the book where my character was feeling despondent, hopeless, at the end of her rope, and ready to give up. She travelled on through sheer force of will.
I made it past that part today, feeling just as gloomy initially, but then everything changed. Things went from bad to worse for her, but she didn’t have time to wallow at first. She had to deal with life threatening situations, being alone and lost, being separated from her friends, and then save someone important to her, twice. She had her pity party, picked herself up, and kept going.
I wrote furiously, even as an edit, everything just coming to me. Honestly, I cried through much of it, releasing stress and worry and fear right alongside her. I poured our joined hearts out on the page, sharing our feelings and fears, our small triumphs and hope, and I feel so much better.
How can a character affect me so much? More importantly, will she affect others the same way? I’m almost done, so soon I’ll have that feedback from other people. What I do know is that my characters can affect my mood. Yesterday not only did I write about her down mood, in my new book I wrote the funeral scene of a beloved elderly member of the community, and a scene in the romance where he hit rock bottom. Today it felt so good getting to the point where she could take positive action and begin turning things around. I haven’t done any work on the other two books, as the first one wants to be done.
I’ve written scenes I’ve shared with others that have had them in tears, or jumping out of their skin, or grinning happily. I feel if the story can move me, it might take the reader on the same journey. Only time and readers will tell. In the mean time, I go in realizing my own moods may be impacted by what I’m writing and by my own personal circumstances. I have patience and kindness for myself, and continue to bring myself from my writing as much as I can.
Go write something that moves you.
I’ve reached that stage in editing. I’m almost done draft 3, and I’m beginning to doubt myself. That’s fine, actually. See, I’m editing the part where my character goes through her challenges and has to face her fears. She’s doubting and she’s moody and life just isn’t going her way. As I edit, I feel it, too.
Maybe that’s a good thing, as it means her emotions are coming across, at least to me. I’ll know when I hand it over to someone else for review and comments. What it also means is that I push through the doubt like she does and keep going. When I spend all morning in another world, or worlds (I’m writing more than one book), sometimes I feel what they feel.
Sometimes it can take a little for me to extract myself again. I’ve heard it said that a writer is a whole bunch of people rolled into one body. Sometimes I feel that way. I’m the lost girl trying to find my way in life. I’m her mentor, coming to help. I’m the villain, just wanting to make the world my version of better.
I’m also the writer who sits back and gives these people their own voice, knowing they want to be on the page. It’s hard when I give them feelings, as I’m sensitive to the feelings of others. Characters can have feelings just as strong as we do, if the writer is any good. I’ve written scenes where my guy has jumped, wanted to scream, almost sobbed, and more as he read them, and he’s not the most emotive guy. I hope that means I can share the ride with my other readers, too.
Right now that means writing through the doubt and journeying on with the young mage, not letting her feelings overwhelm me as we go. It’s pushing on and finishing the book, revising again as needed when this draft is done. It’s planting my butt in that chair every morning So the story can continue. That’s what being a writer is, it’s writing because I have no other choice.
Alright, I admit it. I really am a writer now. I started another story, mostly outside my official writing time. It’s a story I want to tell, hopefully with some surprises and twists. I love writing about martial arts, so it’s going to be another Young Adult book one day.
I do love writing about friendship and mentors, love in all its forms, including platonic love. Buddy love, as it’s sometimes called. Even when it’s not the main theme, or secondary theme, I do love including that level of connection between characters.
I also miss the process of the writing flowing, making the story complete and letting it come out as it will. Now that I’m editing my two books, I miss the writing. Sure, I’ve been writing some personal stories, but I miss the process of starting a novel already.
Amazing how something so new only a couple of months ago is already a part of me. I can’t not create. Stories are within me and demand that they come out. I’m still spending my mornings focusing on the stories that are almost done, but this next one wants out, too. I’ll play with it in my free time.
I have it outlined already. I do use the Save the Cat method, which I’ve already discussed, and it makes the story take shape. I know what the story should say and how and where things will be revealed. Later, the real fun begins and I add in characters and start writing scenes.
I’ve been writing stories for myself for years. Now, I’m a published author. No genre is off limits, though I have some favorites.