Writer's Blog

Editing the first draft.

By on April 7, 2018
Editing the first draft

Editing the first draft

You finished writing a book! Congrats are in order! Now it’s time to pat yourself on the back for a job well done, be proud, and open a bottle of bubbly. Not everyone can go through the whole progress of writing a book. Some people will quit half way or find it too boring but you did it so kudos to you. It wasn’t easy but nothing beats that feeling of accomplishment when you write. THE END

Now you might ask yourself now what? I’ve finished it’s time to look for agents or have editors look at it, this where I tell you to hold it right there! You’re not done oh no you’re not, the first draft is just beginning. Now, it’s time to polish and edit that baby.

Here are my five tips for editing the first draft.

 

 

1. Let it rest.

Editing the first draft

The first tip on editing the first draft Yes, don’t read it, don’t look at it, don’t think about it. Hide it away, pretend it doesn’t exist. With this you give your MS a room to breathe and for you to take a break. You can catch up with TBR or go out with friends, watch a TV show. Or start a new a project if you are like me, you’re drafting all the time. Leave it for as long you like three/fours weeks is recommended, the longer you leave it, the better.

 

 

 

 

 

2. Do not show it to anyone.

As I said in the other post, do not show it to anybody, not your family, friends nor your dog. The first draft is writing the story for you. You are jolting your ideas and words down into the paper.

 

3. Prepare to cringe.

Editing the first draft comes with a bit of cringing at least for me and it gets real. Once you let it sit, now it’s time to open that baby and read it with fresh eyes. You can print it out or edited straight from your laptop/PC. I edit straight from the laptop. Here you notice everything wrong with the draft. Just breathe remember you can’t edit a blank page.

 

 

4. Look for everything.

Editing the first draftBy everything, I mean you have to ask yourself are the characters well developed? Are there plot holes? Is this scene okay shall I cut out or not if I cut it will it make a difference to the overall story? Is the dialogue stale?

My first draft will lurk character action/emotions/expression. They’ll be like robots in a dialogue just talking. Also, descriptions are my weak point so I leave it after I finish it and work on that. I wouldn’t focus too much on grammar at this point as this comes on the later draft the mean focus is on the story.

 

 

5. Rewrite

The important part of editing the first draft the best writing comes from rewriting, so here is the real work start. Read it aloud. Do the sentences sound off, is too long can you shorten it? Are the sentences passive? If they are, make sure they are re-written in the active voice. Say what? Let me explain. The passive is when the object is doing the action. The active is when the subject is doing the action.

Passive:

The book was handed to me by Tom.

The book is an object and Tom is the subject so to the sentence to be active it needs to be rewritten as.

Active
Tom handed the book to me.

Hope those tips where useful please share if you liked this posts.

 

 

Happy writing and reading xxx

Procrastination the foe for writers. How to beat procrastination?

5 authors that influenced my writing

 

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How to find motivation when you don’t feel like writing.

By on January 19, 2018
How to find motivation when you don’t feel like writing.

How to find motivation when you don’t feel like writing.

 

Sometimes we all feel unmotivated and I had plenty of those late last year. It’s okay to take a break from writing occasionally and catch up with friends, watch a movie or TV show or do something else that you love. Here are my top five steps on how to find motivation when you don’t feel like writing.

Music

 

 Music helps me to relax also to keep me thinking about my book and generate new ideas. I walk to work, so, I always have my headphones on and drift into another world, where I can focus on what I should add or remove from my book.

 

If you’re like me you listen to music while you write, you can add your writing playlist on your phone and let your creative juices flow.

 

 

Carry a notebook.

 

I always carry a notebook with me when I wherever go. If a sentence or an idea comes to mind, I write it down and get back to it later. I’m a sucker for stationery so I always have my notebooks look pretty to keep me happy.

 

There are also mobile apps if that works better for you. I prefer the physical thing 

 

 

Listen to broadcasts.

 

Broadcasts are a great way to stay motivated. I listen to them while at work to give me ideas of what I should or making plans for publishing or just to stay committed to finishing the book.

 

I like to listen to this broadcast.

SPF Podcast

Set a mini-deadline

 

Another step on how to find motivation when you don’t feel like writing. Setting a mini-deadline can be effective as you jump back into your writing. Set a realistic deadline, if you know you won’t be able to cope, then set a small one like writing 1000 words in a week. Or finish a chapter by the end of the week.

 

 

Reading.

It can be a fiction or a non-fiction book about the craft of writing. For us, writers reading is food for our brains. It helps us to stay creative and you can absorb other authors work. Reading can inspire you to jump back into the writing wagon and finish that book.  

 

Happy writing xxx

 

The novella and a novel what’s the difference

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The novella and a novel what’s the difference

By on January 12, 2018
The novella and a novel what's the difference?

The novella and a novel what’s the difference?

 

This one of the common questions I’ve seen asked in writers groups, other is what readers prefer to read if its novellas or a full-length novel.

 

What is a novella?

A novella is a range of 20,000 to 40,000 words a few of the most popular novellas are A Clockwork Orange, Of Mice and Men, or The Great Gatsby.  At the time, it was common for stories in this length to be published and if you notice, most of the books published in the 30s to the 70s era where short. There were full-length novels.

 

According to the research, I made it is considered rather difficult to have a novella published traditionally. And if you notice, you see any novellas being published in this day and age.

 

Novellas are often focused on one character for development but it can have multiple characters. Novellas aren’t divided into chapters they go on like a short story it can be read in a few hours.      

 

 

 

The novella and a novel what’s the difference?

The novel starts from 40,000 words onwards this is the most common work of fiction and nowadays we see more novels on bookshelves rather than novellas. With a novel, you are not as limited as writing a novella. You can have multiple characters, subplots, twists and more room for dialogue.  

 

A novel depending on the word count, it can be read in a few days or a few weeks. The word length of a novel is debatable depending on the genre.

 

Sci-Fi/Fantasy this genre is usually the longest it varies from 100,000 to 120,000 words it’s expected to run long because of the amount of world building it takes to introduce the reader to the fictional world the writer creates.

 

 The Harry Potter series has 1,084,170 words; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has 257,045 words.

 

BUT

 

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? has only 65,000 words.

 

Historical is the same as above.  

 

Romance 50,000 to 100,000 words sub-genres such as Erotica, supernatural, and chick lit are to bear in mind. Both Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey are both 100,000 words.

 

Crime/ thriller/mystery/ Suspense and horror 70,000 to 90,000 words these genres are lengthy for the suspense it entails.  

 

 

More posts 

 Top 5 motivational quotes about writing

How not to start a book

Happy writing and reading xx

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How Not to start a book

By on December 15, 2017
How Not to start a book

How Not to start a book

Opening with a Dream

How NOT to start a book, Never under any circumstances, open the story with an action than reveal that the character was dreaming. Do not end your story that everything that happened was a dream either. Agents or editors won’t be happy with that.

Waking up  

Same as dreaming, do not open your story with your MC waking up and doing the usual boring stuff. Like brushing his/her teeth, making coffee, eating breakfast etc. The story should start with an action or at least, before the action. However, some say you can start the story with your character waking up with a gun pointing in his/her head because that starts with the immediate action.

 

The Tour

The tour is when your character is sitting in her room i.e living room and starts to talk what’s in it and describing his/her stuff.

How Not to start a book

 

The Mirror

Another tip in How Not to start a book is, do not example write your  MC goes to the bathroom and starts to describe herself/himself by looking in the mirror. Big no.no. It is considered one of the biggest cliches in writing.  

 

Family Showcase.

This is where your MC is visiting her family and starts to describe her mother, father, and siblings. Keep in mind that the reader is starting to get to know your MC so, give your reader the chance to get acquainted with the MC first, then start to introduce your reader to other characters.   

Happy Writing xxx

Best opening Lines books

How to write a book

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Best opening lines in books

By on December 9, 2017
Best opening lines in books. 

Best opening lines in books. 

 

Best opening lines in books. The first chapter or the first paragraphs of a book is the most important as this will set the tone of the story. Also, this is your opportunity to hook the reader. It is important to implement this in your writing. It’s not that simple the first chapter is the trickiest to write and sometimes, writers leave it for last. I’ve read and reviewed many books and one the best techniques to use is use curiosity.

 

Yes, you heard me, curiosity. The reader would think oh I have to find out what is going to happen next or this is good, or what? That’s when they dive on into book.  I came up with a few examples that in my opinion are the best opening lines I’ve read so far. I’m going to list only from the best I’ve read there is mix of classic and modern books.  

 

Best opening Lines in books.

 

Best opening lines in books.

 

 

“He knew he was going to die” Killing me Softly by Nicci French

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

best opening lines in books“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”

The catcher in the Rye J.D Salinger 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best opening lines in books.

 

 

 

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen” 1984 George Orwell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best opening lines in books.

 

 

 

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth Lo. Lee. Ta!” Lolita Vladimir Nabokov 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“YOU walk into the bookstore and you keep your hand on the door to make sure it doesn’t slam. You smile, embarrassed to be a nice girl, and your nails are bare and your V-neck sweater is beige and it’s impossible to know if you’re wearing a bra but I don’t think that you are. You’re so clean that you’re dirty and you murmur your first word to me—hello—when most people would just pass by, but not you, in your loose pink jeans, a pink spun from Charlotte’s Web and where did you come from?” You by Caroline Kepnes 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best opening lines in books

 

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.”
– J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best opening lines in books

 

 

 

“Mr. Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the popholes.”
Animal Farm by Georhe Orwell 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best opening lines in books

 

 

“It was a pleasure to Burn” Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best opening lines in books

 

 

 

“A story has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.” The End of the Affair by Graham Greene,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best opening lines in books

 

“The forest had claws and teeth.” ― Riley SagerFinal Girls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was few of the best opening lines in books, hope you can generate ideas with those few opening lines.

 

Happy writing and reading xx

 

Other blog posts 

How to write a book

How to find a setting for your story

Choosing a point of view for your novel

 

 

 

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How to find a setting for your story.

By on November 25, 2017
How to find a setting for your story.

How to find a setting for your story.

 

 

When you have an idea for your story, you also need to think about a setting. What is setting you ask? Simple, the environment where the story is going to take place. So, how to find a setting for your story? Here are some tips to help you. 

 

Location
Where the story-taking place? Is it in London, New York, Paris, Rome, etc 

 

 

Time Period

 

Victorian times, World War II, Today.

 

 

 

The economic state

 

Let’s say your story takes place in London. But which part? Is it in a posh area like Mayfair or Chelsea? The suburbs like Richmond? Or dodgy areas like Hackney or Tottenham? (No offensive if someone of you reading this post are from there) What is the economic state is there a recession? Or just came out if it?

 

The Specific building 

 

Another to tip to how to find a setting for your story. Does it take place in a room? What does this room look like? A hospital? Or School? An apartment? An office?

 

The weather

 

The weather is important in a story setting because it affects the character mood and atmosphere. is it cold? Hot? The reader will discover if the character likes cold weather and detest summer for example. Make sure you do your research on that country’s weather. For example, if the story is set in Malta in July don’t say it raining because it hardly rains during that season, in fact, it would be boiling hot.

 

 

 

Occupations

 

 

 

Before you draft, you need to have a clear idea who your character is and what he or she does because it will be part of the setting. Is she/he an accountant? A lawyer? A detective even?
If your characters are accountants or lawyers, some scenes will take place in an office. If she or he is, a detective most of the story will take place in a police station or around the city questioning witnesses.

 

 

You don’t have to be too specific though

 

Some writers leave vivid details out for setting, to leave it to the reader’s imagination.

 

It doesn’t have to be a real setting.

 

 

 

Genres such Sci-fi and Fantasy they don’t use a real setting because it can be fictional. Example Harry Potter although set in England, Hogwarts is fictional or Lord of Rings with places like Mordor this requires lots of world building and vivid writing to suck the reader into the story.

 

See my other topics Choosing a point of view for your novel

Basic outline methods

 Nanowrimo five tips to get started

 

Happy writing. 

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Basic methods of outlining a novel

By on November 11, 2017
Basic methods of outlining a novel

Basic methods of outlining a novel

 

 

 

Here are few tips on how to write an outline for your novel these are the basic methods of outlining a novel. 

 

 

 

 

Do I have to write an outline for your novel? No, there are writers who are pansters, I will write a post about that later one. You can sit down and write, however, outline works better for me. I’m not going to post a lot of examples to keep it as simple as possible as it can be overwhelming. Here a 2 basic steps of how you should outline:]]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 1. You can write an outline for your novel by scribbling down a summary of the entire novel this is what I do and it’s my favorite method of outlining. Basically, you jot down all of your ideas. You’ll be surprised how inspired you become. Make sure, you know your ending before you write that masterpiece. You can use this method then add dialogue, a description so on.

 

Step 2. You can write an outline for your novel by doing a chapter by chapter summary, you write down a summary of each chapter how the story is going to evolve.

 

There is also the skeleton outline example:

Exposition

-The story will take place in England.

-We are introduced to Franklin he’s goth and musician.

-Madeline is a patient in a mental hospital.

Incident

-Franklin father dies.

-Madeline escapes the hospital.

Rising Action

-Franklin meets Madeline in a bar.

-Franklin escapes with her and starts to see how dangerous this woman is.

Climax

-Franklin tries to escape from Madeline wrath.

-Madeline stabs him.

-Franklin manages to escape and drives to a hospital with a knife on his back, he arrives in the hospital but faints.

Resolution

-Franklin is alive and well.

-Madeline was caught and committed to a maximum security ward in the hospital.

 

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The writing life: Top 5 things you should never say to a writer

By on May 27, 2017
5 things you should never say to a writer

The writing life: Top 5 things you should never say to a writer

A common question asked in every writer’s life about their writing life. Last week a friend asked me ‘what kind of job you would love to do?’

This for me was an easy answer but I was hesitant, few people know I write. I want to avoid answering the questions non-writers ask. Mostly they are stupid questions, so stupid and annoying that I’d be tempted to create a character based on them just for the satisfaction killing them off would bring. When I told my friend I would love to make money by writing books, then came the questions “what’s your book about?” “You are going to make a fortune” “so if your editor says yes, you will be able to publish it?”

If only it were that easy. I don’t think I’m alone here; we writers are asked a lot of questions and we’re not taken seriously. For most people, writing is not a real job and they assume that writing a book is so easy. The answer is writing a book is the hardest of crafts. It takes years to write, years to enhance your writing and let’s not forget the criticism. What’s my book about and how am going to summarise a 90k word thriller novel in just a few sentences? I need to get working on this but I want to stay in this cocoon of a comfort zone for a while longer. Meanwhile here are The writing life: Top 5 things you should never say to a writer

  1. “Oh, you wrote a book? So, your book is the next Harry Potter or Fifty Shades of Grey or Twilight?”

First one in The writing life: Top 5 things you should never tell a writer. Okay, you don’t know what my book is about why so you’re assuming it’s about BDSM, wizards or vampires? I don’t want to know. We’re in it for the passion we love to create stories. We’re artists in our own right and if you think you are going to write a book for the fame and fortune, you are going to be disappointed.

  1. Can you a write a book for me?”

No! I have my own ideas I want to write. No, I will not write a book based on your life story, here is a thought; why don’t sit your butt on the chair and write it yourself?

“Can you give me a free copy of your book?”

No, you cheap son of a bitch I won’t! Pardon my French. Do you work for free? You realize I have to eat, right?

  1. “Is your book any good?”

Another in The writing life: Top 5 things you should never say to a writer, This question is so stupid on so many levels. Writers doubt themselves and they might be thinking no it’s rubbish. Any writer with half a brain is going to say yes because they want you to buy the book.

  1. “Can I be in your book?”

Of Course, you can… (Can you hear my sarcasm?) These people come in two different breeds; some want their name in the book (but imagine if they have a name that’s not so great.) The second breed wants a whole character based on them “so my character, she has to be beautiful of course, you know a crossover between Jennifer Lopez and Selena Gomez. She has to be smart, successful, compassionate, caring, and wears designer brands.”

I think you have it covered you don’t need me.

  1. ‘I would write a book if I had the time.”

Last not least in. The writing life: Top 5 things you should never say to a writer

Not a question, but when I told people I write, I got this all the time.  I sit down and do nothing all day. Writing a book takes a lot of discipline and time. It took you an hour to compose that email and you‘re saying you could write a book if you had the time?

Topical writing life

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Happy writing xxx

How to find genre your book fits in?

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