Behind the Glass | Publishing | Formatting

formatting

This is a very short post as most of what I learned about formatting was trial and error.

Formatting for Kindle is wonderfully simple.

Formatting for Createspace is relatively easy. (Okay, I did struggle with cover alignment a little.)

Formatting for Smashwords is hell.

I like to have information provided in easy to read concise sections. Not a 100+ page document. My saving grace were the templates. I don’t think I would have done it correctly without the them. I thought I was rather well versed in using Microsoft Word. Turns out, I’m not. But there is one thing I will say, there is almost nothing better than holding a paperback version of your book in your hands.

 

The next post will be published on 8th October.

Behind the Glass | Publishing | Cover Design & Blurb

*If you haven’t read Girl Behind Glass yet, it is currently free in the Kindle store – http://goo.gl/KUGZrA

Behind the Glass | Writing | Editing

editing

I thought I was rather good at noticing mistakes in writing, and because of this, I was confident I would be able to proof read and edit my story myself.

I was right about being able to pick the mistakes in writing, I was just wrong about certain aspects of that assumption. Firstly, that I would be able to pick all the mistakes in a 100,000+ word story, and that I would be able to pick the mistakes from my own writing. I wrote the story. I read what was supposed to be there, instead of what should have been there. Much like I did when I played the piano. I played what I thought the song should sound like, not the notes the sheet of music in front of me told me to play.

If you read one of the earlier versions of Girl Behind Glass, I’m sure you picked out some of the mistakes. To be honest, I hate even thinking about it. But I vowed when I started writing this blog series that I would be honest about my writing journey and this is part of mine. There were mistakes. I corrected the mistakes, uploaded the book to Createspace to get the paperback copies, and when my proof copy arrived, I read it.

I found more mistakes.

I felt sick.

The book was already out there as an ebook. I knew that people would see these mistakes. Most of the errors were silly ones, typos. I knew better than to make these mistakes, but somehow they had escaped me. I should have known better.

I scolded myself and deliberated never writing again, but then I pulled up my big girl pants and set off to correct the errors.

I made GBG free not long after that, and got a nice number of downloads. Some of the feedback I received mentioned some typos in my book, and so I read it again, and once more fell flat on my face when I realised that there were still mistakes. I’m sure everyone at some stage or another in their lives have experienced that ball of dread, that nauseating feeling in the pit of your stomach when you know you have made a mistake. I hate that feeling, but I had to overcome it, rather than succumb. I changed the mistakes I found and even sent Amazon an email stating that I had corrected some errors in my book and they offered an ‘update book’ option which I blogged about a little earlier this year.

Then I started the editing process for GBS. I knew a lot more than I did before, but still the errors escaped me. So I identified my weaknesses and started coming up with methods to correct them.

This is a very brief outline of some of the methods I used:

I read the manuscript on my computer and corrected the mistakes as I went along.

I read a printed out copy of the manuscript and highlighted the mistakes which I later corrected.

I gave printed copies of the manuscript to my beta readers and altered the errors based on their feedback.

I listened to a computerised voice read out my novel while I read along on the computer. I found this method very effective as it showed those little errors that my eyes glossed over.

While on a 12 hour road trip, I listened to my story, pulling aside to highlight any errors I heard on a printed copy on the passenger seat beside me.

I re-read the final printed version.

Now I’m sure there are still mistakes, and I’m sure I will make more in the future, but I do feel like I’ve learned a lot, and that with each book I write, I will improve. Editing also involved fleshing out scenes that were too light and cutting scenes which were unnecessary. I added over 3000 words to the final manuscript of GBS and cut over 4000. It is a hard but necessary part of the process. If a scene was boring to write, no doubt it would be boring to read. If I hesitated or felt unhappy with a scene, I cut it. There must have been a reason I felt that way even if I couldn’t pin point it. In the first draft of GBG, Bracken actually shoots Willow at the end. Things change. Plots change. I needed to allow for that.

And I still feel sick about the copies that exist out there with errors. But there is nothing to do other than own my mistakes, and endeavour to do better.

P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM!

The next post will be published on 1st October.

Behind the Glass | Publishing | Formatting

*If you haven’t read Girl Behind Glass yet, it is currently free in the Kindle store – http://goo.gl/KUGZrA

Behind the Glass | Writing | Pen to Paper

pen to paperI’ve called this blog post pen to paper, although it should more correctly be called fingers to keys.

I’m not sure how long it took me to write the first draft of GBG. It began in 2010. I started and stopped. Changed things and rewrote. Doubted myself and wanted to throw it all away. Wrote for hours on end with nothing but coffee to fuel me. Sat at the edge of the swimming pool while my daughter took lessons, and diligently tapped away on my laptop. Then, I just left it discarded on my computer, convinced it was terrible. Finally, a couple of years later, I plucked up the courage to show it to a few people and they kind of liked it. It was enough encouragement for me to plunge myself back into the story again and make the changes I had dreamed up, as well as alterations based on the feedback I received. I wanted to be a writer, and I knew there was no other way to accomplish that other than to write.

coffeeWhile writing GBS, I was more organised. I started at the beginning and wrote until the end. I typed the first word on 21st October 2014, took a six week break during the Christmas holidays, and typed the last word of the first draft on 17th March 2015. Since I wrote on the days I didn’t work and my children were at school, which was two days a week, and I had 5 hours to write on each of those days, I’m guestimating that it took me 150 hours.

I drank at least four, sometimes more, cups of coffee on each of those days, resulting in GBS being fuelled by a minimum of 120 cups of coffee.

The first draft was 106,320 words, which meant I wrote at approximately 709 words per hour, which is approximately 12 words per minute. (Sorry, my mathematical tendencies are coming out a little.) Sounds rather slow, doesn’t it? But it’s not just typing. It’s thinking of what to write. Sometimes the words poured out of me, and other times I sat and stared at the screen, wondering where my motivation had gone. I forced myself to write on those days. It is easier to edit something you have already written, than to start from scratch. Or, even if you write something terrible, it can still lead to inspiration of how the scene should have gone.

The plot was kept loose. I wasn’t afraid to change it as I went along. If the alterations meant minor changes to the part of the story I had already written, I would go back and alter it. If it meant a bigger re-write, I would note it in the file I had to record all the ‘to add/to change’ things, and simply keep going.
Next came the editing. And I had a lot to learn. I still have a lot to learn.

The next post will be published on 24th September.

Behind the Glass | Writing | Editing

*If you haven’t read Girl Behind Glass yet, it is currently free in the Kindle store – http://goo.gl/KUGZrA