Update, June 2022. Time Flies!

Welcome back! It’s been almost two months since my last post, and the least I can do is offer an explanation and tell you what’s been going on in my life in the last few months.

January 2022

I’ll have to start in January. I spent most of this month in hospital with my mother, who died on the 31st. I’m not yet ready to share the feelings I struggled with at the time, but I’m sure I will, at a later date. I grew and learned a great deal from the experience, and when I’m ready, I’ll share some universal aspects which may resonate with some of my readers and fellow bloggers.

January and February flew by. Fortunately, my husband and my daughter helped me with practical matters, such as paperwork, donating my mother’s clothes, sorting out cupboards and the like.

I’ve also been helping my three children and five grandchildren as needed, which is wonderful, but time-consuming, although I wouldn’t change or give up a single moment I spend with my family.

February 2022

Snow Moon at Eyre Hall, Book Five in The Eyre Hall Series was published on 18th February. Fortunately all the pre-publication work, such as editing, cover design, kindle formatting, etc., was almost finished in January. So the publication went smoothly, although I did very little active promotion, which is probably why it only has few reviews.

Here’s Snow Moon at Eyre Hall on Amazon.com, and on Amazon UK.

Here’s the international link to my Amazon author page, where you can find all the novels in The Eyre Hall Series.

March 2022

Around March I started getting my bearings and some semblance of a ‘normal’ year started.

Last year, I finally decided it was time to publish my first novel in Spanish, Antes de que nacieras. Again, fortunately it was at the printers, ready to see the light in December, so, although it was published 10th March, all the pre-publishing work had been done during 2021. Here’s the cover and for those of you who read Spanish, here’s the Amazon.com link, Amazon.co.uk link, and the Amazon.es link There’s also an International Amazon link here

I haven’t said much about Antes de que Nacieras on Rereading Jane Eyre, because it’s in Spanish and I set up another blog for that purpose. Fortunately, I set up my Spanish blog in 2021. Here’s my Spanish Blog, where you can find out more about this novel, which I plan to translate into English in 2022.

My Spanish blog is called: Descubriendo paisajes infinitos, from a quote by the Chilean author, Isabel Allende. It means Discovering Infinite Landscapes.

Translation: Reading is like looking through many windows that open onto an infinite landscape.

I have been busy promoting my Antes de que nacieras (Before You Were Born) on my Spanish blog, facebook, twitter, Instagram, and doing a few book signings, and reading club meetings and discussions, and I admit, I’ve somewhat neglected actively promoting my Eyre Hall Series.

April 2022

I took part in two blogging challenges, one on YouTube channels on Rereading Jane Eyre and one on themes from my novel, Antes de que nacieras on Descubriendo Paisajes Infinitos.

I reached letter K on Rereading Jane Eyre and X on Descubriendo Paisajes Infinitos, which was a feat in itself, writing two blog posts a day, for most of the month, especially bearing in mind that I hadn’t prepared any of the posts before starting the challenges.

May 2022

I’ve been going to German classes for a year, some online, and others face to face, and May is final exam time. So here I am, at 63, learning one of the hardest European languages! I suffered greatly and passed my exam for the first A1 level, which means I’ll torture myself further next year and try for A2.

The reason I’m learning German is that my daughter is living in Munich, Germany, and will remain there for the foreseeable future, which means I spend summer months there and my grandchildren will speak German as well as English and Spanish. I’m hoping to learn enough to be able to interact with neighbours, shopkeepers etc, at a basic level. I’m a retired language teacher, so I know it takes time and patience to (really) learn a language, so I’m investing three years which I hope will be enough!

Foto from Pixabay

Kill Your Darlings!

May has also been word killer month! ‘Kill your darlings’ is a quote attributed to Stephen King, William Faulkner and Kurt Vonnegut, among others. It is a hard exercise for a writer, but so necessary.

This is why I’ve been re-revising Ghost Wife, a novel I started some years ago, on and off, and finished last year, but I wanted to tighten it up further, so I’ve completely revised it and reduced it by almost 3,000 words! Which, quite honestly, I never thought I could do without so many words!

June 2022

Ghost Wife is now at the final proof-reading stage, before it can be uploaded on Amazon as an ebook and paperback, to be published on 13th July.

Ghost Wife is a contemporary romantic mystery. I’ve subtitled it as a chilling romantic suspense. It’s available at a special launch price of 0.99. Here’s the International link.

Click on the image for Amazon UK link.

Ghost Wife on Amazon.com

I’ll tell you more about Ghost Wife shortly, for the moment, I’ll leave you with the Blurb.

Ghost Wife: From the Blurb

They call me Maria, and I’m a ghost. Rosewood Hall is my mausoleum, and my room is a dank cell, hidden within its clammy walls.
There are other people in this house. They can’t see me. They know I’m here, but they pretend I’m not, because I don’t exist, not really, not at all, at least not for them. I’m part of the building, ignored but unmoveable, secured to the walls by invisible chains.
I’ve seen them glancing at my window. I’ve felt the terrified look on their faces when they dare to glance up before they shiver and walk away, and it gives me strength because it means I’m still powerful.
They can’t tell anyone about me because nobody believes in ghosts. I’m their dark secret, so they make sure no one comes anywhere near the attic. They don’t know you are coming to set me free.
*****
Lyra Leyton is sleeping on a friend’s couch after losing her job as an English teacher at a language school in Spain. When she receives a lucrative employment offer as home tutor and live-in nanny to 10-year-old Carla, at Rosewood Hall, in Yorkshire, she can’t believe her luck.
Life at the secluded residence is idyllic at first, until disturbing sounds from the attic, cryptic messages from an anonymous sender, and a visit from a private investigator searching for a missing girl, haunt Lyra’s sleepless nights.
A panic-stricken Lyra, hands in her notice, but Carla’s widowed stepfather, who lives in London, begs her to reconsider, claiming wild animals, local gossip, and creaking noises in the ancient house, have caused her unrest.
If Lyra stays, she could lose more than her mind, but can she afford to leave? And can she abandon her young pupil?

So, in spite of these first six months being very emotionally and professionally stressful (I mean it’s not every year an author publishes three novels in six months!!), a lot has been going on and I’m feeling reasonably satisfied.

The Next Six Months July to December

Firstly, as a mother and grandmother, I’m looking forward to holding my sixth grandson, Carlos, in my arms, in Munich, in July. I’d like to finish two children’s books I’ve started writing with my grandsons Miguel. and Alejandro.

Secondly, as an author, I plan to keep up with both blogs, English and Spanish, translate my Spanish novel into English, Before you were born, complete another Spanish book I’ve started, finish my next Eyre Hall series novel, I’ve also started, plus Jane Eyre A to Z, which is almost ready for publication.

These are my plans, but nothing’s written in stone. Who knows what hurdles I’ll meet in the coming months? In the end I just try to enjoy and make the most of one day at a time.

Sorry for the two-month absence and I’m looking forward to keeping in touch with you during the next six months!

What have you been up to and what are your plans for the next six months?

AtoZ Blogging Challenge April 2022 #ThemeReveal #WritingMentors #MondayMotivation

My Mentors

Following the main blog’s theme: ACCOMPLISHING YOUR DREAMS, AND THE DUALITY OF 22. I’ve decided to write about my mentors, the people who have helped me accomplish my dream to be a published author since I started my blog in 2013.

These writers and speakers have enlightened me with their spoken and written words, in fiction and non fiction, as well as with their YouTube channels and podcasts.

Their spoken and written words have inspired me to follow my own writing journey and shown me to believe in myself by generously sharing their knowledge, experience, and wisdom.

They do not know it. But they are my mentors and I will always be grateful for their help. During the month of April, I’d like to share what they taught me in the hope that it will inspire and help you in your journey, too.

I look forward to sharing my posts and reading other participants’ posts, too, throughout April. If you’d like to join in follow the link on the image below.

Happy blogging! And Happy first day of spring!💖♥️

#IWSG Why do I write what I write? @TheIWSG #amwriting #WWWBlogs #amwriting

This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts and concerns about our profession. By the way, all writers are invited to join in!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the November 4 posting of the IWSG are Jemi Fraser, Kim Lajevardi, L.G Keltner, Tyrean Martinson, and Rachna Chhabria!

November 4 question – Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?

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This is a question I rarely ask myself explicitly, but I do think about the answer, because so many people ask me, and on this occasion it’s the Insecure Writer’s question for the month, so I’ll do my best to reply.

As I understand it, this question has two parts, a) why I write and b) why I write what I write.

a) Why do I write?

I write because I can’t not write, the same as I can’t not think, or feel, or walk, or talk.

Once I learn to do something which is useful and rewarding, it becomes part of my life and I can’t unlearn it or undo it.

I can’t stop writing a poem when I see a beautiful image, or have an emotional thought, or memory.

I can’t help carrying a notebook and jotting down ideas for poems or scenes for my books, and I’m sure I’ll never stop doing it, in fact I shudder to think I could ever stop the creativity flowing through my mind.

Now to the second part of the question, b) why do I write what I write?

I write about topics which I feel strongly about. This doesn’t mean I’m on a mission to change or improve the world, I would never be so presumptuous, it just means that I write about what is significant for me.

I write poems because I love capturing my emotions with a few symbolic words and giving them an artistic shape and sound, based on syllables and rhythm or rhyme.

I write Victorian novels because I admire Victorian authors who gave me so many hours of joyful reading and inspiration, and in so doing, I offer them my humble tribute.

I write about Jane Eyre, because when I first read it in my early teens, it was the first novel that inspired me to even think about writing myself, and I’ve never been able to get Jane Eyre out of my mind.

I write my blog because I want to reach out to and communicate with other authors and readers. It’s thrilling to know I can ‘meet’ and interact with other people who I’d never be able to reach or talk to or read about in my day-today life, if I wasn’t an active blogger.

I could go on, and if we could sit and chat with a coffee, a tea, a beer or a glass of wine, depending on our mood and the time of day, we’d share more ideas and reasons, because I’d love to know why you write too, and of course, why you write what you write.

Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to like and/or share and/or leave a comment 🙂

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Why Writers should read ‘The Evening and the Morning’ by Ken Follett #BookReview #TuesdayBookBlog

Ken Follett has just released his latest novel, ‘The Evening and the Morning’, which is already in bestseller lists all over the world.

My Review

Ken Follett is one of my favourite living authors, so I downloaded his book on my kindle and my as an audio book on Audible on the 15th September, the very day it was released.

Ken Follett makes his stories come to life in such a way that millions of readers all over the world are suddenly finding events set in the middle ages, in pre-Norman England and Normandy, fascinating.

It’s exciting, romantic, dramatic, tragic, hopeful, and ultimately a joy to read. So, if you read or listen to one book this autumn, make sure it’s The Evening and the Morning’.

 Why Writers should read Ken Follett’s Novels  

It is a well known fact that anyone who wants to be a writer should read a lot, but it’s not enough to be a normal or passive reader. William Falukner summarised it in this quote:

“Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad; see how they do it. When a carpenter learns his trade, he does so by observing. Read!”

Writers are a special type of reader. We dissect other writers’ work and in order to learn their craft. Every book I read is a Masterclass on writing. Many hours and months of hard work have gone into producing a novel, three years, in fact, if you’re Ken Follett, so it’s worth analysing their craft with a view to improving my own writing.

I strongly urge anyone who wants to write a good novel to read Ken Follett’s novels, all of them, if you haven’t started yet, his latest novel, The Evening and the Morning, is one of my favourites, so far.

Seven things I’ve learnt from reading about Ken Follett’s writing process

  1. Write your outline: Plan, plot and research carefully before you start your first draft, including plot and character arcs.
  2. Style: Write clear, transparent prose.
  3. Push your characters: Continuously raise the stakes.
  4. Think about your readers, you’re writing for them. Make every scene as compelling as possible.
  5. Check pacing: Make sure there’s one turn or twist every 4-6 pages, but not more than one.  
  6. Write your first draft and get feedback from readers, such as friends, experts, an editor, agent, etc.
  7. Rewrite your novel, yes, the whole thing all over again! Incorporating any changes or suggestions you decide would improve your novel.

Seven things I’ve learnt from reading Ken Follett’s novels

  1. Hook your readers with a jaw-dropping beginning.
  2. Set the pace, the setting, themes and introduce at least one of the main characters on page one.
  3. Write every chapter, page, paragraph, sentence and word, thinking of improving your readers’ enjoyment and understanding of the novel they’re reading.
  4. Keep the action coming. Add a twist or turn every few pages to keep readers invested in your story.
  5. Create engaging characters who are honest, passionate, and proactive.
  6. Make sure there are plenty of adversities and villains to make life hell for your main characters.
  7. Make sure your characters are resilient and resourceful enough to finally overcome all the adversities life throws at them.

Who is your favourite author and what has he/she taught you about writing?

Harvest Moon at Eyre Hall #amwriting #HistoricalFiction #JaneEyre

I have some important news for readers who enjoyed the Eyre Hall Trilogy and for future readers too, of course!

I’m writing a prequel, which takes place at Eyre Hall on and around the early September, 1865, during the Harvest Moon, thus its title, Harvest Moon at Eyre Hall.

Photo by Larisa K on https://pixabay.com/es/

I chose this moment and this title because it takes place roughly two months before Halloween, which is the setting for book one, All Hallows at Eyre Hall. Significant events in all four novels take place on and around the ancient, time-honoured festivals in their titles. I’ve harnessed the power of traditions and rituals in literature and life to shape our world view and bond societies, but more about that in a future post.  

It sounds strange, I know, a prequel to a sequel, so, I think I should briefly explain why I’m so excited about this new project.

It’s not exactly new, because I started jotting down ideas and planning over a year ago. In fact, I’ve done most of the outlining (yes, I’m a plotter, not a pantser and I’ll tell you why in a minute!), and the characters are already there, as they are the same as the first novel in the trilogy, All Hallows at Eyre Hall.  

Now let me tell you about my reasons for writing a prequel, because there is more than one.

In the first place, book one, which is over 112,000 words long, is too long for a first novel in a series, compared to other trilogies. Most editors suggest novels should be are between 70,000 and 100,000 words, in fact, the shorter the better, and as a reader, I tend to agree. My second and third novels in the trilogy, Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall and Midsummer at Eyre Hall are both well within that number at around 80,000 words each.

Secondly, I’ve learnt so many things along the way, that it seems a pity not to prepare a second, revised edition of my first novel, which will be a little shorter, but worry not! None of the plot, action or characters will be missing, because I’ll be including the removed scenes in the prequel.

However there will be some words I’ll be doing away with, because I’ll be tightening the prose, something I’ve learned to do in the last seven years since I started my career as a writer. Unfortunately, I used to ramble, a bit, and although the tendency is still there, I have since made a conscious effort to curb that inclination and edit very carefully.

To be honest, when I wrote All Hallows at Eyre Hall, I didn’t know what I was doing as an author. I thought because I’d read and analysed thousands of books for my profession (I was an English language and literature teacher for over 30 years) and for pleasure (I’ve been an avid reader since the age of twelve!) that I knew how to write a novel. So, I did what Stephen King, and many other experts on the matter recommend, I sat down and wrote with an idea to write a sequel to Jane Eyre (and here’s why), but no specific plan.

Pantsing was a wonderful experience, my characters grew a life of their own and I set off on a creative and thrilling  journey into Victorian England. I researched and wrote so much that I realised one novel wouldn’t be enough, and on the other hand, I was also getting into a rut. I discovered, the hard way, that not knowing where you’re going is exciting, at first, but when you have the constraints of time and space you really have to put an end to the wandering and start planning the journey or you’ll never get home on time!

That was when I stopped pantsing and started planning ahead. I read blogs and books on structure, plotting and story arcs, I took an online course, analysed some novels with this in mind, and then I sat down to plan my own way of outlining. I wrote this post about my plotting process some time ago, but I need to write another post on the subject, because although that’s what I did a few years ago, and it is similar to my present process, since then, I’ve adapted, decluttered and simplified my plotting method (more about that in another post).

So, I’m making All Hallows a little shorter and a little better. You’re probably wondering what the prequel’s all about. Will it just have the missing bits in book one? Not at all, it’s a complete novel which I’m really excited about writing.

In All Hallows, Mr. Rochester is on his death bed, more or less delirious, bad-tempered and very unattractive. I was very hard on him and I still stand by that interpretation of his character, based on his actions, omissions and lies in Jane Eyre, but some of my readers had difficulty coming to terms with this ‘unromantic’ and villainous Rochester.

I had presumed any reader who had read Wide Sargasso Sea (see this post about this prequel to Jane Eyre by Jean Rhys), and reread Jane Eyre, would have read between the lines and realised Rochester was totally unworthy of Jane, but it took me years to come to that conclusion and my readers only have the few hours it takes to read my novel. So, I’m making amends with a prequel.

In Harvest Moon at Eyre Hall, Rochester is not yet on his deathbed, and I’ll try harder, (I have another three hundred pages, so I think I’ll manage it!) to convey what’s been happening in Jane and Rochester’s lives and how their marriage has eroded over the previous twenty-two years.

There’s a long process ahead which I’ll be sharing with occasional updates, and hopefully Harvest Moon at Eyre Hall and a revised edition of All Hallows, as well as a box set of the four novels in The Eyre Hall Trilogy, will be published before the next year’s Harvest Moon.

Over the next few months as we’ll all be coping with the Covid epidemic, we’ll be staying at home and more than ever, and although I wish the worry and suffering it is causing all of us were over, I will be making use of the quiet time ahead by reading, reflecting and writing.

By the way, just in case you were wondering, The Eyre Hall Trilogy is not the sad story of a failed marriage, it has plenty of action, romance, suspense, engaging characters and twists and turns. There are some dark aspects and a few nasty villains, but overall it’s an exciting story set in Victorian England.

Stay safe and happy Friday!

(I have some more publishing news, but I’ll leave that for another post).

#IWSG POV: Protagonist or Antagonist? @TheIWSG #amwriting #WWWBlogs

This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts and concerns about our profession.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

The co-hosts for the March 6 posting of the IWSG are Fundy Blue, Beverly Stowe McClure, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

  • March 6 question Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?

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I definitely prefer first person point of view of the protagonist, as a reader and as a writer. My favourite novels, when I started reading adult fiction, in my teens, such as, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, David Copperfield, and Rebecca, to name a few, were written in this fashion.

The first person narrator, whether he or she is protagonist or antagonist, has the powerful advantage of speaking directly to the reader, but on the other hand, he or she also has the enormous disadvantage of limited knowledge and bias.

The first person narrator cannot be everywhere or be aware of everything the reader would like to know. Moreover, he or she is necessarily biased due to gullibility, innocence, ignorance, physical, or psychological problems, or he or she can be downright evil and purposefully lead everyone along the wrong path, which is usually the case of the antagonist as first person narrator.

The question posed, implies that only one narrator is possible, and that he or she is either protagonist or antagonist, but there are many more options available to the writer. There could be more than one point of view, and more than one protagonist and or antagonist, or the protagonist and antagonist could even be the same person at the same or different stages of his/her life.

The first time I read a novel with various first person narrators was Laura, by Vera Caspary, also in my teenage years. I remember being pleasantly surprised, as a reader, by two aspects, the multiple first person narrators and the presence of unreliable narrators, including the antagonist.

In one of my ‘A’ level texts, The Fall, Camus’ manipulative first person narrator, Jean-Baptiste Clamence, whose long series of monologues is a confession and reflection of his life, to a stranger he calls, ‘cher ami’, thus, mostly using the second person ‘you’. He is also both protagonist and antagonist, as he finally turns the mirror on his patient and unsuspecting listener/reader.

The options are endless. In my case, I’ve published three books and written five (two will hopefully be published this year), and all of them have multiple, first person narrators, including protagonist and antagonist.

Although I don’t mind reading novels written in third person, I can’t see myself doing so. I would especially avoid third person omniscient narrators, mainly because I think it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of manipulating characters, events and readers. I prefer to allow my characters and readers more space to grow and reconstruct their own novel.

I overcome the hurdles inherent to first person narration, at least partly, by having more than one first person narrator, which I believe gives the novel wider scope and perspective.

The Eyre Hall Trilogy has several, rotating first person narrators, and although some readers have complained, most readers have positive opinions. The use of various first person voices is innovative and enriching, but it’s by no means easy to juggle so many characters at once, and it’s not something I’m planning on doing again, at the moment.

My two latest, unpublished novels, both have only two points of view. In one case it is the protagonist and the antagonist, and in the second case a mother and daughter, who are both protagonists. So far, beta readers have responded favourably, and I’m satisfied with the end product, although, one still has to go through the final draft and editing stage.

I think two narrators give enough scope for multiple perspectives to allow readers more space to interact with the narrative.

I will probably experiment with other viewpoints in the future. As I said, I enjoy many  different points of view as a reader, but for the moment, I plan to continue writing novels with, at least, two first person points of view.

Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to like and/or leave a comment 🙂

What about you, how many and whose point(s) of view do you prefer as a reader and as a writer?

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#WorldBookDay ‘Stories make your heart grow’ #amreading #Audible

Readers enjoy all sorts of stories, but what makes a book outstanding, instead of enjoyable? 

Imagen relacionada

A book becomes outstanding instead of enjoyable if it’s ‘Written from the heart’ with the aim of ‘Reaching other hearts’.

I recently wrote a short post about ‘Writing from the heart’ and my conclusion is that the key is to: Write with passion about a meaningful issue.

I am convinced the world needs, has always needed and will always need, uplifting stories about wonderful, yet ordinary people, who struggle and survive.

The world’s a harsh place and we are all aware of the limited time we’ll be spending here, especially compared to the thousands of years we’ve heard about, but haven’t experienced, so we appreciate stories that remind us of our history and fill our hearts with hope for the future.

At the moment I’m in the middle of reading, or rather listening to, an outstanding book, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

We were all told about WWII in our history classes at school, but it’s the novels and films of the period that reach our hearts and help us understand what happened and must be avoided at all cost.

And yet The Tattooist of Auschwitz is not only about events which took place in WWII. It’s about hope, the struggle for survival, the strength that lies in love and gratitude, and the value of the combined effort of many, as well as the power of positive leadership.

Lale could not have survived, or accomplished anything on his own. He needed the help and support of many others, and they needed a leader, an intelligent and compassionate organiser to manage and synchronise their combined efforts.

I’ll be writing a proper review when I finish listening, but at the moment I can say, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a beautifully written story which connected directly to my heart.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an outstanding novel, for adults. Another outstanding novel, I read some time ago and is more suitable for younger readers, is The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. 

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by [Boyne, John]

Happy World Book Day!

Tell us, which is the most outstanding novel you’ve recently read?

 

#MondayBlogs ‘Write from the heart’ #WritingTips @BathFlashAward #FlashFiction

I was recently browsing the Bath Flash Awards website when I came across an interview with this edition’s (March-June 2019) Flash Fiction Award Judge, Christopher Allen. You can read the whole interview here.

It was the final question and answer that has mesmerised me all weekend. I quote the question and answer here:

  • Any final suggestions for writers entering our award?

Yes. Write from the heart. Edit it and edit it and edit it. Have other people read it. Ask them if it has an emotional impact. Did it make them feel something? Write something you think the world needs.

****

So much advice in so few words, a true ‘flash answer’ to a complex question.

My thoughts on this priceless and concise advice:

‘Write from the heart’

Inspiration is entwined with emotion. Whatever we write should spring from passionate feelings about an issue. That’s an easy one to fulfill. Most of us write stories about people, places and events that are meaningful to us.

‘Edit it and edit it and edit it’

First drafts are necessary, but also messy and too long. Most of us need to ramble to ourselves to get to know our characters and understand their thoughts and actions, and yet those ramblings need to be carefully edited, more than once, thus the repetition, before they can be shared with readers.

‘Have other people read it’

We all know and appreciate the invaluable task of alpha and beta readers, friends, agents, editors, proof readers, and an array of generous and professional people who are usually acknowledged by authors in their books.

Ask them if it has an emotional impact. Did it make them feel something?

Words need to go beyond an aesthetic use of language in order to make an impact on the reader. It’s not only about organisation, expression, wording, pace, and grammar, but about the inspiration and feelings conveyed in the writing.

Write something you think the world needs.

Finally, the most important attribute which distinguishes good writing from outstanding writing, the content or message of the text.

Is there an intention beyond entertaining readers? And secondly, is the idea worth writing about? Do readers need to know or think about the characters or issues in your flash/novel?

Christopher’s answer is great advice for writing, a haiku, a birthday card, a flash, a letter, a short story, a novella, a novel and everything else.

If it’s worth writing, it’s worth doing it from the heart.

My twenty-word flash conclusion:

Write with passion about a meaningful issue, edit, aim for emotional impact, edit, share and test, edit, publish. Start again.

And now, let’s finish that flash/novel and start the next one…

 

 

 

#IWSG Avoiding Pitfalls @TheIWSG #amwriting #WWWBlogs

This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts and concerns about our profession.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

The co-hosts for the August 1 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe,Sandra Hoover, Lee Lowery, and Susan Gourley!

August 1 question – What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey? 

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The single best piece of advice I’d give an author, especially an author who is aiming to self-publish, is to find a good editor.

It seems obvious. I mean, everyone knows that, don’t they?

It also seems easy. I mean, there are plenty of editors out there, aren’t there?

Yes, to both, but authors can still make mistakes. I did.

When I finished my first novel, I found an editor via Goodreads. She was recommended by another editor an author I knew had hired, and she was reasonably priced.

I thought I’d got it right, until another editor, who saw my book, which had been accepted for review on Rosie’s Book Review Team, read my novel and pointed out some / too many errors in the first few chapters.

Most were punctuation, but not all. I’m useless at commas. I actually have nightmares with them, so I was relieved that an editor/proof reader had gone through my manuscript, but it hadn’t been done thoroughly.

I’ll forever be grateful to Alison Williams for pointing out these errors in my novel and for her patience and advice while editing the following two novels.

An author knows and expects that not every reader will enjoy their novel, for numerous reasons, style, characters, plot, etc. and that’s acceptable and to be expected, but what is unacceptable is to have editing errors.

All novels whether self-published or traditionally published should be professionally edited.

There are many editors available, and I’m really not an expert on finding the right one, I was just lucky I found her, or rather she was kind enough to find me, just a few a months after I published All Hallows at Eyre Hall, in May 2014.

I cringe when I think of those few months when my novel wasn’t in perfect condition. The good news is that amazon makes it really quick and easy to update your new version for both kindle and print.

Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to like and/or leave a comment 🙂

What about you, what pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid before publication?

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#MondayBlogs ‘New Uncluttered Blog. Less is More’ #Bloggers # #MondayMotivation

Change is due. Less is more.

I’d had my previous blog template since I started blogging, almost four years ago.

It was pretty, with a Dante Gabriel Rossetti print of Lilith on the header and some of my favourite books from my bookshelf in the background, but it appeared cluttered.

I had been thinking of changing my blog’s appearance for some time, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted or if the change would bring technical problems. I’m delighted that it hasn’t.

I wanted a cleaner, simpler, uncluttered, style, because I’m more convinced each day, that less is more and simple is more effective than complex, in life, love and work.

Writing Flash Fiction has been a great help in uncluttering my writing style (more about that in a previous past, here) and so has following Kurt Vonnegut’s suggestions regarding not wasting the reader’s time (Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted) and making sure all information is relevant (Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action). 

Then there’s all the advice, especially Stephen King’s, on using less adverbs and stronger verbs, not to mention the impact of showing not telling. So I’m aiming for a crisper writing style, cutting out rambling and overexplaining, use of passive voice, repetition, and trying my best to make readers ‘feel’ they’re inside the novel, not ‘see’ it from the outside.

Of course Mark Twain had said it all before: “Employ a simple and straightforward style.”  No wonder he found it hard to appreciate Jane Austen, who died only seventeen years before he was born. Don’t get me wrong. I like and respect Miss Austen’s work, but she’s a prime example of telling not showing, for example in Persuasion, her last, and one of my favourite novels. More about that in an earlier post, here.

After previewing different templates, I settled for one called Wilson, because it looked clear and clean. I love the use of black and white. simple and clear. I also prefer these colours in my wardrobe. Many busy and successful people like Obama and Bill Gates also stick to few colours when they dress, find out why here.

By the way, there’s a fabulous Ted Talk by Graham Hill called ‘Less Stuff, More Happiness,” which you might like to check out here.

Who needs a rainbow of colours when two are enough? Especially when so many people use Tablets and Smartphones to check blog content.

I’m still thinking of ways to unclutter my menu, but for now I’m leaving it as it is, with six main menus:

Home.

Blog.

About Luccia Gray.

Jane Ere and Victorian Literature.

Fiction Challenges.

Book Reviews and Spotlights.

I’ve kept their respective subheadings for the moment, but I’m thinking of eliminating them altogether.

Hope you like my new blog, and all suggestions and opinions for improvement are welcome.

Are you uncluttering your life and your blog? Tell me how!