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Posts Tagged ‘proofreading’

I have got myself a little overwhelmed this week, with too many things to do and not enough time to do it all.  It’s been fun but also busy, tiring and not quite as productive as I would have hoped.

This is a little bit like my to do pile, at the moment (in fact, technically this is part of my to do pile!):

The to do pile

So let’s start with the writing, shall we.  Well, I got the timesheet  out and this week I dropped 2 hours – Friday and Saturday – so I’m going into next week with a challenge to make that up.  I don’t know if I will do it, looking at my diary for next week – but I’m very conscious that I have 17 days to get the first draft of the whodunnit completed so I really do need to get on.   In terms of the storyline, I am on track – I have 3 interviews, a repeat, a reveal and the end point, so if I can get the 3 interviews done this week, the repeat and reveal next week, and the end point plus any mop-up in the 3 days of the week after, I’ll be ok!!

I also need to dig out a couple of my poems and pass them on to a writer for a second opinion; but he is awaiting my feedback on his work so I need to prepare that first!  I promised it about 4 weeks ago so I must get that done by Wednesday at the latest.

In the non-writing, I have to get to grips with the proofing for my friend, which I have set some time aside for tomorrow, and work out some time to go through a project proposal of another member of the writing group.

But they are for next week, and in the meantime I really should be getting the most out of this one.   After all, there’s 2 hours left of it!

And finally – as you know, I gave up on the 100 novels list a few weeks ago, more due to time that anything else.  So here is the full list and I hope you find something new and interesting to try from this list, as I did.  As to the next step – a more diverse list, perhaps – there’s an opportunity to get involved if you like.  One book I would have liked to see, but would never have appeared, is The Silk Road by Jeanne Larsen – a book I have mentioned more than once on here because of the impact it had on me.  It has influenced my thinking on mythology, opened my eyes to the way language is used differently in different cultures, given me new and interesting poetic forms to try.  I loved it as a teenager, and as an adult writer I have absorbed lessons from it that have shifted my perspective – and I still love it!

So there you have it, folks – a week of doing, adding to the to do list, and planning for the next phase.  Lots more still to do, but now I just want to go and read my favourite book!!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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Firstly, apologies for not being here yesterday. It was a frenetic day, at the end of an extremely busy weekend. We spent a great deal of the weekend in the car driving up and down a variety of motorways, attended two charity events, a big barbeque, and spent time with my husband’s cousin and her daughter, who are visiting from the North of England. We were already squeezing things into little gaps, and doing it badly.  However, with one family member becoming unwell over the weekend we ended up spending more time than expected at a local hospital.

Luckily, they were allowed to leave and we could take them home, but it was inevitably a bit worrying for all concerned.

We needed a little pick-me-up yesterday after dropping everyone off at their various locations, so we drove home via the beach and got an ice cream!

I did get some writing done but as Friday – Sunday were so busy it wasn’t quite as much as I had planned; I need to catch up a little over the next few days. I managed about 4 hours on the whodunnit so in effect the three days which were so busy were the three I missed out on and I’m willing to accept that, based on how sleepy I still am!

I also started work on a new poem, which came about as a result of some photos from the retreat. It’s a bit historical so I’m researching the factual elements in it. It feels good though, as though it’s as solid as the Welsh mountains. I can picture them, just writing out the words.

Another task I took on last week is a proofreading one – a friend of mine has completed her memoirs. It’s almost social history, because she lived through so many changes, and was a pioneer in many ways. I warned her it will take some time but I’ve got the first few chapters now so I can judge the time commitment a little more accurately.

What with everything else taking it on may have been a mistake, but it’s so fascinating I couldn’t help myself!

So that was last week – I might spend this week getting over it!

I am going to leave off here, as it’s time for me to get back to the whodunnit, but I’ll be back tomorrow.

Have a lovely evening

EJ

🙂

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This week I realised I am only 7 books away from my target, and I suddenly felt quite good about myself!  A few weeks ago it seemed such a long way to target, so clearly it’s all in the perception…

Book 45 – Saints Preserve Us, by L. K. Ellwood.   I picked this one to read for a few reasons: I am still seeking out the easy reading books until I have my non-wedding-addled brain back; the cover looked interestingly yellow; it sounded like it was all going to be a bit tongue in cheek.  It didn’t meet all my expectations but I’ll come back to that in a minute.

Before I get into the book itself, I’d like to remind you that I said if I read a free, self-published book and didn’t enjoy it I’d just put it aside and not mention it.  With this one I teetered on the edge of not mentioning it for a few reasons, but overall I think it was a perfectly reasonable bit of light reading.

I won’t spoil but I will say that the story was fairly engaging and moved at a good pace; the mystery had enough twists to keep my interest and to deflect suspicion for a while and the background idea was sufficiently unusual to get my attention.

There were a few things that let the book down for me, and having read the reviews on Goodreads I think they are fairly common issues.

The first is characterisation.  The main character seemed to morph from staid, priggish elderly woman to young widow and I felt confused about who exactly she was. For a successful, self-confident woman to be living in her sister’s basement also seemed a little incongruous. Another character, first pegged as a gossipy unpleasant woman suddenly became a good friend and saviour of the main character.  Not everyone was so mixed up but it was a little unsatisfying.

The second was the proofing.  I won’t go on about this as I have blethered before about being frustrated by poor proofing in books (I don’t worry about blogs, luckily for me!)  but it was a distraction in places.

The third was the religiosity.  As part of the story it was absolutely essential to understand the processes and rules around sainthood, and the rituals and practises of religion in daily life.  However, there were times when it stepped from that into something more like a treatise on morality and it made me uncomfortable.  One particular scene outside a concert seemed so out of place that it took me completely out of the book and into a general musings on the nature of societies.

I am a Sociology graduate, I can’t help myself sometimes!!

So I came to this review with reservations.  I don’t want to be unduly critical of a book that did have some interesting and entertaining moments, and which delved into family life in a way I appreciated, so I will simply say that in my opinion it’s in need of some editing and a proofread. The story itself was quirky and unexpected and the possibilities it raised were tantalising enough to keep me reading to the end.

And if a book got me to do that at the moment, I think it should be seen as a success!

Happy reading,

EJ

🙂

 

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It being the Easter bank holiday long weekend here, my writing has taken a bit of a back seat to lots of family time – including the traditional Easter Egg hunt today.  We even had a period of actual sunshine in which to hide the eggs!

However, three important writing-related things have happened in the last few days that have made me feel pretty happy this week.

Firstly, I got my novel back from the second round of external proofreading.  I’ve gone through some of the notes but have to sit down and work through it all in the next couple of days – mostly it’s around a bit of over-emphasis where certain points are a little laboured.  I will look and decide – it’s a fine line between exploring a character’s foibles and being repetitive, and I need to make sure I fall on the right side of it!  Still, the notes show vast sections where no further issues have been raised so that’s a brilliant response, as far as I’m concerned.

The second is that I have completed my chapter plan for the third novel. I have in mind it’s set it in 1950’s USA but I’m trying to decide if I can make it less specific than that – name a town, and not provide other details. The reason for this is that it could be any small town, anywhere, at that sort of time – and I want it to have that feel. If you’ve ever seen Edward Scissorhands, that might help you envision it: a kind of anytown feeling.

The third is I have finally decided on my initial agent approach.  I want to choose three for the first round: any more and it might become unmanageable in terms of printing and postage, let alone waiting for responses – but making a definite decision is a big step for me.

I’m feeling very encouraged by feedback from others and from my own endeavours.  It’s the agent part that’s really difficult, much more so than I’d imagined: I’m nervous, and excited, and frustrated all in one big bubble of fizzy lightheadedness.  So much rests on choosing well, and yet this is only stage two of my novel’s journey (stage one being write something I can send off!) – and if it stumbles here I’ll be back to the drawing board.

But all the time I get support from people whose opinions I trust, I’ll keep going.  At this point, even if no agent is interested, I feel confident that it’s good enough for an audience and therefore good enough to self-publish.  That’s a huge change for me.

I’m going to leave it there for today so I can return to my chocolate eggs!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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