You may have caught my previous post where I reflected on my progress so far this year towards my annual goal. As we enter into Summer, I am evaluating where I am at and setting myself some new goals for the next quarter.
Blog (Word Press): To continue to post at least twice a week keeping to my content schedule as much as possible.
Instagram: To maintain the new connections I have made and continue to engage with them and share content about my writing.
Twitter: Continue to share links to my content on Twitter and connect with writers on the platform.
Facebook page: To brainstorm how I can use this to connect with more writers.
YouTube: To be brave and get in front of the camera and start sharing video content.
Tumblr: Share Instagram and Word Press content to this platform.
Jewel of the Sea: Enter into the Wattys. Put novel out to Beta Readers. Take part in September’s #PitMad. Work on my query letter.
Diamond in the Sky: Re-plot novel, edit existing version and write ending.
Festivals: Attend festivals:
Felixstowe Book Festival
Working Together Course: Finish this course.
Crafts: Make time at least once a week:
Planner: continue to use Carpe Diem planner
Pocket letter: write another pocket letter
Scrapbook: Do at least one page
Crochet: Finish Aria’s blanket for her birthday
Read at least four and a half books by the end of September: I have read three books so far this year. I’ve started two books I have just not been able to get. I will most likely buy new books at the festivals.
Writer courses: Continue to take advantage of any free courses that come my way if I have the time to do these.
Resource book: Buy another writing help book. I am considering the Emotion Thesaurus.
What are your goals?
I shall review these again at the end of September. I often feel like I haven’t achieved much until I acknowledge what I have managed to do. Will you be setting any goals?
This article is about how to choose the best Point Of View for your story.
View point examples
Here are some examples of the view points you may consider using for writing your story. It helps to understand these when making your decision.
NB: These examples have a Halloween horror theme…
First person: when the whole story is told from their view point. A good way to show their inner emotions and thoughts. Uses “I” and “We”.
My clammy hand shook as I pushed open the door and gagged at the vile stench.
Second person: rarely used in fiction as it can sound like you are giving instruction but good for choice-adventure style stories. Uses “You”.
As you enter the dimly lit room, the sharp smell of rotting corpses makes you gag.
Third person: the story is told as if you are an observer watching what is taking place – very useful for stories with many characters. Uses “He”, “She”, “It” and their name.
There are different types of third person.
Limited Third Person: This will follow a MC but will give the reader the experience of watching what is happening, although it is still possible for the writer to share the MCs thoughts and feelings. Sometimes called “Close Third Person”.
Her sweaty hand opened the door. As she entered the room, she gagged at the vile stench.
Omniscient Third Person: The reader watches the scene as the writer tells them all the characters thoughts, feelings and background and can even share their own thoughts during the story. Sometimes called “Distant Third Person”.
If she had any sense, the stench should have deterred her from entering the room.
If you decide that the story will follow a single character then you will want to choose either:
First person: Choose to write in first person view if it is important for your reader to know your character intimately. You will need to share their inner most thoughts and feelings and they will have no secrets from the reader.
Limited Third Person: Alternatively, you can choose to write in Limited Third Person view. This isn’t as intimate but the reader is watching what the MC is doing and you can share their thoughts and feelings with the author.
Readers enjoy stories with a single main character because they can get to know them and understand their actions and reactions. It is easier for the reader to form an attachment as they will care whether your character succeeds or fails and this keeps them engaged.
If you choose to tell the story from multiple characters this can enable you to show more of what is happening and is less restrictive.
FirstPerson: If you chose to tell the story in first person, make sure that when you switch between characters it is easy for the reader to follow. For example, you could start a new chapter or section that is headed with the new person’s name i.e. “Gwyn’s Point of View”.In addition, you will need to ensure each character has a strong and unique voice so they are easy to identify.
Limited Third Person: Similar things to consider as in first person, although, it can be easier to establish who is being followed as the writer can give the characters name within the narrative.
Omniscient Third Person: This point of view is often described as being ‘god like’ as the writer knows and shares everything about the characters. The writer can move from character to character within a chapter and is particularly useful when writing action.
Mixed: You could use different view point styles for different characters to make it clear when the voice has changed. The risk of this is that readers get comfortable with a certain POV style and if it is suddenly changed, it can throw them out of the story.
Readers can struggle with attaching to multiple characters as it doesn’t allow them sufficient time to get to know them and care about their conquests. In addition, they may like one voice and not be able to stand the other voice which could ruin the story for them.
Which to choose?
If you write a chapter and it’s not working, simply re-write it in another POV or from another characters perspective. The change in voice could solve your problem. Don’t be afraid to try a POV you’ve never tried before.
Here is an infographic of the goals set for this year showing whether I have achieved them yet or not:
Consistently Post: Post twice a week to my blog, post three photos/videos a week to IG, share content to Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. Brainstorm how to use my FB page more.
I am really pleased with how I have done here. I have managed to keep up with my blog schedule. I have also posted daily to IG. In addition, I have been networking a lot on Twitter this past month and my connections have boomed.
YouTube: Start making YouTube videos.
This hasn’t happened. I am no longer scared, I just want to do it but it is actually really hard for me to get the right conditions to create a video. I often have kids around or it is late and I am tired.
Online Events: Take part in Twitter and Instagram events
Woah! I only just finished editing Jewel of the Sea in time for the June #PitMad Twitter Event. This deadline gave me the kick I needed to cross the finish line.
This month I am doing the #authorschallenge2019 on Instagram. Last month I did the one week #StorySnippetsChallenge which was so popular it had now become a Saturday event called #StorySnippetsSaturday.
In April, I took part in the Camp Nano. More about that later.
I am planning to take part in PB Pitch on 20 June 2019.
Love struck, misfit, redhead discovers she's a mermaid. Being in the middle of a love triangle awakens Mariah’s dormant weather powers and gives a dangerous new meaning to the status ”It’s complicated!”
A tiger made of tinsel comes to life and has all sorts of fun. A story told in rhyme to inspire the imagination of children.
Second Quarter: Flexible work request
I had to put in a request to change my hours and attend a meeting with HR to persuade them to agree to the change. The meeting was a success. When I return in the autumn I will have the hours I want. I’m very happy with the outcome.
All year: Crafts
I am ashamed to admit I have not found time for crochet. I hope to finish Aria’s blanket by her birthday. I still haven’t done even one scrapbook page. think I need to set a night aside for crafts.
On a positive note I tried something new and created my first pocket letter for a friend. I wish to do another and write a blog post about it.
All year: Journal/Planner
I bought a Carpe Diem planner and find it very therapeutic to see my monthly and weekly plan. The stickers are aesthetically pleasing. I do find the layouts restrict me from doing what I want. I’ve searched for someone selling dotted paper but nobody does for this planner.
Read a book every two months
I’ve finished Red Queen and posted my review. I have completed Save The Cat (review to come) which is a theory book.
I’m currently struggling go get into a book at the moment as I’m so focused on finishing up my novel and have limited time but I am making slow progress.
Working together course (be able to effectively support my son’s school)
I had my first volunteer session and it went really well. I still get nervous when I go in to help but each time I go it gets easier. The children are wonderful and so enthusiastic about technology.
PitMad Challenge (Facebook Group)
This was a private group that you had to request to join. It involved a 7 day challenge during the week leading up to PitMad where Kathy Ver Eecke helped authors to develop their pitches with daily lessons. It was incredibly good. I cannot fault the woman and I am so thankful for everything I learnt on this course.
I’m going to evaluate how I am doing and set some new goals for the next quarter.
Let me know how you are progressing towards your goals and whether you check in on yourself too?
I love writing. It is so liberating to allow the words to flow out however they may come. But, this means they need to be tidied up later. And, I’m not a fan of editing.
Over the years, I’ve found ways to make editing easier. Today, I will share my methods to help you and other writers.
Take a break from your project
Don’t start editing as soon as it is written. When your writing is still fresh, you will be too close to the text that and will miss mistakes as you know what it is meant to say.
By distancing yourself, you’ll read it with a fresh perspective.
Set Goals & Create Trackers
After giving your novel space, this is the next thing you should do. Setting yourself a target is what will keep you going through your edit. Break the task up into manageable chunks and it will seem less daunting.
I will soon share a post about how I use a spreadsheet for this but for now, here is an example of my paper tracker. Seeing your progress is extremely rewarding and motivating.
I always copy & paste to a new document so I don’t edit the original. This helps protects your work if you realise you cut something you shouldn’t have or find the new version isn’t working.
Change the format
There are several ways to do this and it will result in you seeing the novel from a different perspective.
Print it: I currently don’t have a printer at the moment so can’t take advantage of this one but having a hard copy will enable you to read it in a. You have the added bonus of being able to write notes on your document.
Change the font: Different fonts have different vibes and some fonts will make identifying mistakes clearer. On this note, you may find certain fonts help to be more creative when writing. I would recommend cursive or italic for creativity and sans or serif fonts for serious editing.
Audio: If you have software that reads your text aloud, this can help you hear mistakes. You can also try reading it aloud and see if you stumble over and of the text or parts that don’t flow right.
Today there are no excuses for misspelt words. Every modern word processor program comes with a basic spell checker built in. However, it won’t pick up the misuse of words if spelt or used correctly which leads me on nicely to my next point.
This is so important. A spellcheck is following rules of the English language but when you read it you may find you’ve used the wrong word or the sentence in not saying what you intended. For example, ‘do’ and ‘don’t’ are spelt correct but mean the opposite. Whilst proof reading you will also identify ways to strengthen weak text. I also will highlight text I need to return to look at again.
This is a browser app. On the website I copy and paste the chapter I’m working on into the app. I tend to proofread in this app as it highlights weak words like those ending in ‘ly’ and passive words. It also highlights complex sentences which you may want to simplify for your readers.
It grades your writing. You don’t necessarily want a high grade. If your novel is graded high then it might feel like a chore for your readers. It actually is more enjoyable if it is a lower grade.
Hemingway will slap you in the face with your over use of ‘just’, ‘that’ and other unnecessary filler words.
Next, I paste my chapter into Grammarly. This focuses on different qualities in your writing and always makes further suggestions. It often picks up on my over or under use of commas.
It is an advanced spell check but it is following a set of rules and sometimes writers like to break these rules. For example, it might identify a character is not speaking in a grammatically correct way but maybe I want them to speak like that. This is why you must always review the suggestions.
I prefer the browser version to the mobile app.
Find & Replace
Use F&R to replace name changes or look for repetitive words. You can also use it to check for mistakes with spacing.
I used it to check my formatting for speech so I get it to find ” in my manuscript. I’ve also used it to change a name throughout my MS.
I used Save the Cat during my edit to check the pacing of my story.
Based on the original length of the novel, I calculate where in the story different beats should happen. For example, by doing this I was able to identify that my start was too slow so I looked at what was unnecessary to cut.
You’ve spent a lot of time working on your novel so ensure you back it up. There is nothing more upsetting than discovering you lost it.
Easy methods to back up is to save to more than one location: Pc/laptop, USB, Google drive, email yourself.
Once you think it is perfect, it’s time to get a second opinion. Here are a few options to consider:
Editor: Do your research to find one that you would like to work with.
Mentor: Work with an experienced author to learn from them.
Critique Group: Join a group of writers to exchange novels and give each other feedback.
Share Online: Post on sites like Wattpad to see how your novel is received.
Beta Readers: Find a group of readers and gather there feedback on your novel (can ask them to complete questionnaires).
Remember some feedback will be based on their personal opinion and you can chose to ignore their suggestions especially if it is pulling you away from your original vision and voice. However, if they are likely to have a good point and are trying to help you to see areas where you can improve.
Do you use any of the above methods? Have you any tips to add that I missed?
I’ve just finished a full novel edit and it feels good to see the new improved final version. My novel has been edited so many times I have lost count. Each time I thought I got it but then I have discovered new ways to improve it. With each edit, I believe I have developed as a writer. I am aware that although I think this is it, I may find reason to edit again.
I am releasing the chapters so quickly now as I am just excited to get them out there. The readers on Wattpad are posting the more encouraging comments. One even compared one of my chapters to Percy Jackson!
This chapter is very upbeat and happy. It felt good to write something that wasn’t full of drama but it still has lots of feels.
Here is a confession, I have never been on a real first date. You know the sort where you a guy takes you out to get to know you better. I was too young for my earliest boyfriends and then I fell for Rob who was my best friend and have never looked back. Mariah and Jace’s romance is inspired in parts by memories I have of crushing on my best friend.
Some people believe you have to write what you know but I believe that you should work with what you know to create something new. I’ve never had lightening powers but I know what lightening is and I can imagine how it might effect my body if it was part of me.
Does your novel contain things you have never experienced?
I just finished editing Jewel of the Sea. The chapters are in draft on Wattpad and I just need to consolidate and format them into a manuscript. So, I decided I should take part in PitMad.
I joined the PitMad Challenge Facebook group hosted by Kathy Ver Eecke. For the week leading up to PitMad, Kathy set daily challenges to help us with developing our pitches for the event. It really helped.
I got some likes but they were by other writers that were being supportive and I don’t think they realised what it meant. All thought I didn’t get any real requests, I did make a ton of connections. Twitter kept freaking out with all the activity and kept checking I wasn’t a robot due to the unusual activity. In just a few hours of starting I had 200+ new followers.
Here is my Twitter Moment created to highlight my experience of #PitMad June 2019.
PitMad runs roughly every three months. If you want to know about the next event, head over to the Pitch Wars website to find out about the next date.
As I get closer to releasing the ending on Wattpad, I get more nervous. I have put a lot of time and effort into my novel (I’m talking years) and I really want people to enjoy it.
Originally the ending was the new midpoint. My early version left ended on a cliff hanger as I wished to my readers wanting the next novel. But, then I realised that is really unfair on my readers.
So, I cut a lot and added a lot to make a new ending. But, I still wasn’t pleased with the new ending. It fell flat from how I saw it in my head.
I will confess, I do struggle with endings. I don’t like saying goodbye to my characters. But, I rewrote the ending and it is so much better. I pray my readers feel the same.
The new version is a whole story – no cliff hanger ending. I have hidden elements within the novel to enable me to write a sequel for those that wanting more. My plan is that by delivering a good debut that keeps its promises, my readers will want more and they will become fans.
How many times have you changed the ending of your novel? Have you read a good novel that was spoiled by a poor ending?
Today, I released another chapter. Mariah is starting to get suspicious of her mum. Head over to Wattpad if you have an account to have a look.
I am cross with myself that I haven’t celebrated finishing editing my novel. It is because, although it is finished I know I need to get it into a suitable format and then I will be looking for beta readers. Then, I will have to edit again and it feels like it is never ending. In addition, I would like to give the new content another once over…
The task of querying is on the horizon and that is putting me off doing anything. Instead of formatting I am researching agents. Anything to delay querying. This time would be better spent working on my query letter which I am certain is what holds me back.
On a more positive note, here was my Instagram post about celebrating triumphs no matter how small. Writing this post did help perk me up. I really should listen to my own advice.
Banned Books Week is celebrated every September, bringing together the book community – including writers – to celebrate the freedom of expressing different ideas as well as the freedom to read and thus writers’ freedom to write. In the United States, the Constitution guarantees Freedom of Speech and the Press. Alas, these basic rights and freedoms haven’t stopped different groups calling for books to be removed from libraries, bookstores, and schools. These challenges continue to this day, and thus censorship does too.
Perhaps the reasons for calling to ban a particular book can bring to mind those elements that would give a movie an R rating – violence, profanity, sexuality, drugs, etc. As a writer however, elements and perspectives must be considered as to whether they serve a purpose to the story, no matter how controversial or unpopular. Plus as a reader, one must take into account where and when the book was written, who for, and why. Because the simple truth is when a group or the majority finds anything taboo in a book they will call for it to be removed from shelves.
Banning books is nothing new either. From Ancient China to Elizabethan England to Nazi Germany, there have been challenges and even book burnings! Now certainly when living under an absolute monarch or a dictatorship being a writer is dangerous because written words could reach to the masses – in praise of the authoritarian regime or against it. But that hasn’t stopped brave souls to fight for their rights, and nor should it. And the sad truth is even in democracies there are attempts to control the flow of ideas, to restrict them or destroy them outright.
Sometimes books are challenged not because of their content but who the author is. Take the Red Scare –writers were blacklisted by publishers and in Hollywood for their political beliefs. Even today when writers and artists are convicted of crimes or caught in scandals, censors are put on promoting their work. Don’t get me wrong; anyone truly guilty of a crime should face justice. But having worked in a public library for over five years, I know libraries must serve ALL members of the community, and censorship goes against this mission, and against creativity.
Writers dream of their work being read and enjoyed by many. Reading is just as important to writers because it enables them to tell stories better. Just as a writer would want their colleagues to read and review their work, they must do the same for them. They can be checked out of a library or purchased. Sometimes one can get an inscription from the author, making their copy special. (To see my most recent post on my inscribed collection, click here). Writers are supporting one another, as are readers, teachers, librarians, booksellers and publishers.
We’re all in this together,supporting one another and promoting intellectual and creative freedom for all humanity, the right to read and write what we choose to. That’s what Banned Books Week is all about.