I’m Writing A Book….Still (Part 7)

Yes it’s your favourite time of the week when I update you on how the novel//project/bane of my life (depending upon my mood at any given moment) is coming along. Well, this week has seen significant progress and the word count on the second draft currently sits at just over 78K. I was off work quite a bit last week so had a couple of days when I could get well and truly stuck into edits and rewrites.

It’s becoming more and more noticeable to me how my story telling skills have improved as the writing process has continued. The early chapters read like short stories in isolation while there is much more of a flow and continuity to the second half of the story. I’m also pretty pleased as to how a couple of big set piece action scenes have panned out. Much better than I had originally thought.

I’m starting to warm to this editing lark as a) the first draft was not quite as horrific as I had anticipated b) it is helping me to spot gaps in the plot and character development and c) by chipping away at each line, paragraph and page I know I am edging towards an end product that I can be proud of. It’s slow, tedious work but I know it will be worthwhile in the end.

Equally slow and tedious has been the background historical research I have been carrying out relevant to the back story of several characters. At times I have been tempted to bin the research and just ‘wing’ the scene I have been working on it for. But when I sat down to write it earlier today the benefits of the donkey work was apparent. The scene really flowed and I was confident that, whilst fictional, the historical backdrop was accurate.

The life of an unpublished writer is a lonely and deeply paranoid one. I’m still highly reluctant to share my work with anyone and I rarely discuss it in the ‘real world’ due to the largely indifferent response I have got from most people I have mentioned it to; I have made a few tentative advances to potential test readers but then instantly regretted it and pretend the conversation never took place.

I have also been avoiding other fiction like the plague as I invariably compare the work of published and established authors to my own offerings and feel wholly inadequate. I know that is silliness personified but this huge slice of uncertainty still lodges in my gullet. I’m not going to be the next Tolkien or King overnight so why beat myself up over it. Small steps, Stephen. Small steps.

And don’t get me started on agents, publishers and marketing or I will run screaming from this post and jump into the nearest river. It seems like writing the blasted book is the easy part compared to what follows afterwards. If I can compare this to a marathon I feel like I’ve barely run a mile and have an awfully long way to go yet. But like when I race, I just have to break down the process into bite sized chunks.

On a more positive note the blog continues to prosper and the feedback and support from you lot has been fantastic as ever. You are the base, the foundation, the cornerstone of this project. Without the blog it would be little more than a middle aged pipe dream. It edges closer every day and, improbable though it may seem, I’m determined to give this everything I’ve got in order to make it a reality. For that I can only thank you all.

Would you like to be a test reader for ‘the project’? Or assist in promoting/marketing it?

What are your views on publishing vs self publishing?

Have you any tips on securing a literary agent or publisher?

53 thoughts on “I’m Writing A Book….Still (Part 7)

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  1. All I can say is I relate… really do. It took 7 years to write my novel. I am currently querying my first batch of literary agents. I have chosen to go the traditional publishing route. I also used a professional editor. In my opinion, my lack of experience warrants the pros because I need to know that I have done everything in my power to realize my dream of publishing my book. Best of luck!

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  2. I went self-publishing with the 3 I published. No big deal. It’s hard work but rewarding. I learned so much during the self publishing of the first book – teen novel. It can be costly especially editing and I only sold 5,000 copies so so the distributor organised it to be set up to sell as a ‘Print on Demand’. The costs are now incorporated in the RRP and they are distributing it.

    When it came to my second book which is a poetry gift book, I decided to follow the self publishing path again but I organised to be a POD as well. The distributor has been amazingly supportive and very heapful and currently setting up both the teen novel and poetry books to be available worldwide. (The 3rd and latest book has already been set for global distribution)

    Honestly, I’m no J. K. Rowling, Jane Austin or James Patterson. I just wanted to share what I love most – (I first published after I turned 50). No publisher is ever going to make me and my books famous. I’m just me. No great author.

    My advice If you want to publish do it but whichever way you go, expect hard work over a long period of time. Anything worth writing, anything worth publishing needs to be done with patience. And, don’t expect any big financial gain. Love what you do and let the readers make up their own mind.

    I say go for it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. «I’m starting to warm to this editing lark as a) the first draft was not quite as horrific as I had anticipated,» = the best feeling in the world!
    And I agree with you that writing is more fun than editing, but sometimes I just find a really good, productive editing session so refreshing?? Maybe it’s just me really liking rewriting things, but there’s something about actively improving your own working really enjoy 😊 great blog! Can’t wait to read more about your projects x

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  4. I would love to be a test reader/promoter! What an honor that would be!

    My sister in law self published a book, and she felt it was better , not to mention more cost effective.

    So excited for your adventure!

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  5. Well done on taking these next stages. As a writer myself I know there’s few more daunting feelings than actually sitting down and getting the work done. Yes, yes, yes to research. It bring life and richness to the trext. Good effort. Reading this has helped nudge me back towards my playwrighting when I return from holidays.

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  6. Yay to progress! Now that I’m out of school, I’m also trying to write and blog more. It’s kind of slow, but I’m getting more consistent. I honestly think the stages after writing and editing the first two drafts have to be the most terrifying as well. There are so many steps to publishing! But I figure that if God gave me this gift, then He will guide me as I go.

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  7. I am almost done reading Stephen King’s book, On Writing. I now feel ashamed of a lot of what I’ve posted. 😉 He STRONGLY advises against the passive voice, and against adverbs. I’m not trying to scare you further, but his book has great tips in it regarding writing.
    I also found useful information from other bloggers. Try searching for topics like “self-publishing” or “drafts.”
    For a start, here’s a useful post by “The Cat’s Write”: https://millyschmidt.com/2018/06/15/how-much-does-it-cost-to-self-publish/

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  8. I self publish and, as you say, writing it starts to feel like the easy part. Commissioned a cover, done a blurb, revised bio, set up advanced publication, looking for ARC reviewers, need to do publicity….

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  9. I’ve test-read for three other authors. YA supernatural fantasy is not a genre I’m accustomed to reading, so I would be looking at it with a mind’s eye that’s not been primed by exposure to other works of that type, but I can still tell you if it sustains suspension of disbelief. I can also make line editing suggestions, address consistency and continuity issues, and if I run into any glaring grammar or punctuation problems, or syntax that seems inappropriate for the narrator’s voice or a character’s manner of speaking, I’ll mention them. And after three years of cultural immersion research for my first novel, I know just enough about Ireland and Irish people to be dangerous, but I think I can tell if there are references to things that readers from elsewhere may find confusing. My usual practice is to read books or manuscripts twice before composing a critique. Feedback will be a narrative report based on the notes I take while reading.

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      1. Please don’t be nervous. Unlike my reviews of published books, my test-reading reports are confidential. I don’t do this as a business, and only do it for writers who I believe have genuine potential, and will likely benefit from the kind of feedback I can give, which is not infallible, but is based on my having nearly 60 years’ experience in reading and 40 years’ experience in writing. It’s just a friendly offer to do for another novelist what I wish someone else would have been willing and able to do for me.

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  10. First off, I know why you asked people for suggestions at the bottom, those are great questions. BUT I find it comical you warned the reader NOT to talk about those subjects. Are these trick questions? Do you want the temptation of jumping into the river? Please don’t, by the way.

    I have some smaller projects I am considering, and I am thinking of self-publishing those. I’m thinking of composing something that could be free, just to help get my writing out there. But for the book and the rest of the book series, I am going to look at some Christian publishing houses. And then go from there, I have some other publishing houses in mind if the Christian ones do not pan out. If nothing does, then I may go the self-publishing route with the first book. Regardless, I will write the series whether or not someone publishes them, and if not then I will publish them.

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  11. *jumps up and down, squealing!* Me! I want to test read! I love YA fiction, have a warm furry spot in my heart for Ireland, and would be delighted to encourage anyone to buy it. Pretty please? With, um, I dunno – book sales on top?

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  12. Considering how well you write your articles, I would have to say that you need to stop comparing yourself to other writers. You speak clearly and with purpose. 🙂

    Would you like to be a test reader for ‘the project’? Or assist in promoting/marketing it? A resounding YES

    What are your views on publishing vs self publishing? Self publishing is easier and has a lot less boundaries. But the marketing aspect is A LOT more difficult and all your responsibility. Publishing is expensive but come with backing and support for launching into the wide world of books.

    Have you any tips on securing a literary agent or publisher? I know a literary agent, she’s pretty awesome. http://www.shaylaraquel.com

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