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Distant Shores II Update

Distant Shores II Update

It’s six months since I began drafting the follow up to Perfect Timing, so a Distant Shores II update is perhaps overdue.  I have, however, been working on the story constantly.

NaNoWriMo 2016

Prior to the event, I set out my plans for November.  Did things go as planned?  For the most part, yes.  I exceeded the 50,000 word target, writing 54,980 words by December 1st, so I’m a…

Distant Shores II Update

What Actually Happened?

I said I wouldn’t be doing any editing while writing the draft, and I didn’t for the first couple weeks.  But because I was writing scenes as they came to me, instead of chronologically, I did some MINOR editing – inserting a missed word, correcting a glaring typo – while reading the previous day’s writing.

Approaching the end of November I knew I would exceed the contingency completion date of the middle of December, so extended the deadline to Christmas.  Unfortunately I needed a further extension, but by then the draft was over 78,000 words so allowed myself a well-earned week off to enjoy the holiday.

Into 2017…

I completed the draft on February 21, 2017.  Far later than I ever intended, but I’m what’s referred to as a “vomit drafter” – get it all out onto the page, good and bad.  The first draft should be rough and my philosophy is “If it’s not there, it can’t be edited.”

First Edit

The finished draft far exceeded 100,000 words.  So I knew a LOT would be cut, including a number of unnecessary sections of dialog.  I’d written some while battling the dreaded writer’s block, but it had kept me going and at the time that’s all that mattered.

While I advocate taking an extended break between edits, my internal editor screamed during the latter stages.  I silenced her by doing some prep – collating words to be culled, and highlighting every section of dialog – so only took a couple days off.

The edit took a month and was completed on March 24.  In addition to an eighty-five strong word list, I checked and amended contractions and extensions.  Then edited the dialog, and having eliminated tens of thousands of words, I printed and bound the draft myself.

Distant Shores II Update

Second Edit

Although the break of a couple weeks is relatively short, I’m ready to begin the second edit.  Or will be when I’ve made a few more preparatory notes.

This will be the main edit and I expect it to take a couple months.  There are a few inconsistencies to fix and the final title needs setting.

Similarly to Perfect Timing, the story is written from both Lou’s and Will’s points of view, but there is some balancing to be done as both will be heard equally this time around.  I love writing from the male character’s POV and it’s only fair Will is heard as much as Lou.

Next Distant Shores II Update?

The story is due for release in seven months, so I promise I won’t keep you waiting as long for the next Distant Shores II update.  In the meantime, please do follow me on Twitter and Facebook which I update more frequently.

Do you have any advice for me as I begin the second edit?  I’d love to chat!


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NaNoWriMo 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 is fast approaching and I’m proud to say that I’m taking part for the second straight year.   Yes, it means I’m committing to writing 50,000 words in a month at a required rate of 1,667 per day, while promoting Perfect Timing AND working with my narrator/ producer Beizo Tierno on the audiobook.

There’s no need to tell me I’m crazy… I already know!

NaNoWriMo 2015

Before I say anything about NaNoWriMo 2016, let’s recap last year’s event.  My freshman NaNo project was in fact Perfect Timing; the 67,500 word romance novel that you can pre-order now.

You can’t possibly have written so many words in 30 days?  You’re right.  A considerable portion of the story was already written, but I included them in my 2015 NaNo total, because I went against advice and let my inner editor lose on the pre-written sections during November, as they fitted into the story.  And by the end of the month I had full the finished draft.

Nanites fit into one of three categories…

Planner – someone who has a detailed outline of their story, perhaps including scenes they’ve already written.  This was me in 2015.

Pantser – someone who starts the month with a literal blank page and aims to write 50,000 in 30 days without any prior planning, therefore flying by the seat of their pants.

Plantser – someone who fits between the two, only doing minimal planning.

So what about NaNoWriMo 2016?

NaNoWriMo 2016

My project this year, is perhaps unsurprisingly, the second book of the Distant Shores series; Perfect Timing being the first.

As of right now, with EIGHT days to go before the event starts, I only have a bullet pointed outline for this one.  I will be working on a more detailed outline this week, and by November 1st I’m hoping I’ll have a few scenes, or at least sections of dialog drafted.

Will I include those words, however many I write, in my NaNo word count? You bet I will, as long as they make it into the draft. I will NOT be editing as I go this year, so it truly will be a rough draft, as first drafts should be.

Although my current planning state might put me into the Plantser category, in truth I consider myself a Planner.  I already know both my characters well having already written about them in Perfect Timing, and I also have a good idea of where I want them to go, because this won’t be Will and Lou’s last book!

What if you don’t finish the draft by November 30?

Let’s face it, while 50,000 words can seem a lot on one hand, it’s a relatively small total in novel writing terms.  Even Perfect Timing’s 67,500 words is on the shorter side.

If Distant Shores II isn’t finished by the end of the month, I’ll continue, NaNo style, into December.  Last year I cleared a couple weeks at the beginning of December as a contingency, and have done the same this year.  Ideally, I’ll finish the draft by the end of the first week of December.

Once it’s finished, I’ll not look at it until at least mid-February, when I’ll have another window in my schedule, and a clear head to work through the first edit.

You can read more about my writing process in this post from March this year.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo 2016?

If so, leave me a comment with your user name and I’ll buddy you.  Mine is Bex80.  Regardless of whether you’re a Nanite, do you have any advice for me?  I’d love to chat!


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Ongoing Writing Process

In the last couple weeks I’ve described the first steps in my writing process, from the conception of the story idea, through to the publication of the book.  Today I share why I believe it’s always an ongoing writing process.

So What’s Next?

While the book is complete, the related writing process continues for me, because, as I’ve said, I see my stories as living things, so the completed book is perhaps only an adolescent.  It still needs nurturing.  The world of books is a scary one and the story needs the author’s and wider family’s help to explore the world.

The wider family of which I speak are not only my family, friends, and beta readers, but in today’s tech savvy world, they are reviewers, social media users, and other authors.  I personally feel that authors, or indeed anyone who writes, should not see our peers as competition, but instead be supportive of each other.  We all need friends and a newly published book is no exception.

Social Media

Social media is a great tool in this ever expanding world and greatly aids the ongoing writing process.  Twitter is one of my favorites and I can be found on there @RebekahSFiore.  The use of hashtags makes both sharing and searching so easy on the site. Here are some I use…

#MondayBlogs ~ For those of us who only post to our blogs on Mondays

#Romance #Romantic #Erotic and #Erotica #EARTG ~ Genre specific. The latter is Erotica Author ReTweet Group

#AmWriting #AmReading ~ Widely used hashtags for anyone who reads or writes, so absolutely everyone

#IndieAuthor #SupportIA #IARTG ~ Specifically for Indie authors. The latter is Indie Author ReTweet Group

#1LineWed ~ Authors share a single line from a work. My One Line Wednesday tweets are currently all taken from Serendipity

#Amazon #Kindle #Ebook #Smashwords #Nook ~ Retailer/ reading

For a comprehensive list of author specific hashtags take a look at this Ultimate List.

What are your favorite hashtags?  Please leave me a comment and let me know.  I’d love to chat


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Next Steps In My Writing Process

In last week’s post I described the first part of my writing process, from conception of a story idea through to the second edit.  This week, I describe the next steps in the process…

First Look

When the second edit is complete, I let others read the story for the first time, either with or without the cover art, which I’ll say more about in a moment.  My nerves always kick up at this point.  I’ve put so much time and effort into the story that letting anyone see it is terrifying.

My husband is always the first to read anything I write, and I’ll implement any changes he suggests.  I then send it to my network of beta readers and friends who are happy to take a look.

If their response is positive, I schedule a publication date.  If, however, they inform of any errors, or have any suggestions, I take those on board and action them where necessary.

Cover Design

Next StepsWhile I’m an artist myself, my artwork differs greatly from what is needed for cover art within the erotic romance genre, so I always outsource cover design.  Whether I go with a custom design or pre-designed cover, I begin seeing the cover imagery in my mind early in the story’s development, and by the time the manuscript is finished, I have a few ideas of what I’d like.

For Serendipity, my first published work, I wanted to keep costs down, so I decided to go with a pre-designed cover.  There are many great designers out there and I used this list as a starting point.  I looked through a number of them, before returning to the first I’d seen, Melissa Alvarez’s BookCovers.us.  The moment I saw the image, I loved it and felt connected to it.  That said, I needed to make sure it was the one, so looked at other images on that site and elsewhere.  I liked some others, so showed my husband three designs and asked him which he liked, without saying which I was drawn to.  He chose the same one and within minutes I’d completed the purchase.

The service from Melissa was exceptional and I knew immediately that I’d work with her again, either for custom work or a pre-designed cover.  The cover of my next publication, Apparitions, is another of Melissa’s pre-designed covers.  Again, I loved it as soon as I saw it and so did my husband, so the decision was made.

The Story Becomes A Book

Once the story is complete, the penultimate step for me is writing the various elements needed to take a story and turn it into a book.  The front and back matter, including the “blurb” or synopsis.

The last step, is perhaps the most important for anyone who independently publishes; formatting everything for publication.  I currently distribute through both Amazon and Smashwords and both have their own slightly different requirements.

I begin by “nuking” my completed manuscript to remove any hidden formatting; by pasting it into Notepad and then into a new Microsoft Word document.  Creating each version from this new Master doesn’t take long at all, around a couple hours.  Each version is then read again to check for any errors.

The submission process for both distributors is easy, and neither take long to publish.  For more control over the publication date, I always allow pre-order period, prior to the official launch date.  Serendipity was available for two weeks ahead of the launch on February 1st.

Seeing the book on a retailer website is a special moment and something that should be celebrated.  It’s another nerve wracking but exciting time in the life of the story as you await the next step.  For me it’s akin to the final weeks of pregnancy, regardless of whether, in reality, you’re physically capable of birth. You’ve nurtured and developed the story for so long and the wait for it’s birth, or launch, is full of emotion.

Part of the fun for me is thanks to Amazon’s thirteen global market websites.  Seeing the book page on each site in the various languages and the seemingly vast differences in price, thanks to the different currency conversions is entertaining for me.

There’s More

While it might seem as if the writing process is complete.  For me there’s still more to it.  In next week’s blog post, I’ll describe the next steps.

Are You An Expectant Parent

Either in reality or as a writer?  Do you get nervous when anyone else reads your story?  Please leave a comment so we can share our experiences of the always emotional time.


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My Writing Process

I think of my writing as a living thing that needs nurturing to allow it to grow and develop.  In this post I’ll discuss elements of my writing process.

Planning

Sometimes I let an idea, or a premise for a story roll around in my mind for a long time before writing a single word.  When the idea’s almost infantile cries become more demanding, I make notes in a notebook and let it develop.

Writing can be and often is a solitary calling.  But it’s vitally important I don’t become isolated.  I always discuss my ideas with my husband in the first instance.  He knows me and my style better than anyone.  He tells me what he thinks and occasionally suggests something I’ve perhaps not thought of.

When I’m happy with the ideas, I type up the chapter framework as I see it at that time.

First Draft

Writing process

When I’m happy with the framework, or when the story’s metaphorical cries are becoming more persistent, I start writing.  I always start with the first chapter, but from that point I’m not too concerned about doing things chronologically.  Again, I listen to and observe the story in my mind and if a chapter, or even some part of one later on is demanding attention, I give it.

Writing this way helps battle the nightmare that is writer’s block.  If the words aren’t flowing as freely as I’d like, but something else is, perhaps a section of dialog, I get that written.

While all my chapters are typed in individual documents, I don’t abandon the notebook.  It’s an essential tool for a writer at all times, and I’ll jot ideas down as they come to mind.

When the initial very rough draft of a chapter is complete, I leave it overnight while going over what I’ve written in my mind.  Is there anything I’ve inadvertently missed out?  If there is, I’ll revisit the chapter and add it in as soon as possible.  At that point I might also do some very basic edits, but only if I notice something immediately.

When I’m happy, before moving on to the next chapter, I make a note of the individual and cumulative word count.  Similarly to how we nurture and watch our children grow and develop, I like to see how the story is growing, and it also helps during the editing process.

First Edit

The editorial process can, and should be labor intensive.  It should never be rushed.  I always leave anything, even these blog posts, to rest for a while before beginning the edit.  Depending on the length of the first draft, I don’t touch it for anywhere between a day, to a couple months, or even longer.  By the time the first draft is complete I’m so familiar with the story, having been so immersed in it, I need a break to clear my mind.  To spend time with my husband and family and anyone or anything else I’ve neglected.

When I’m ready to edit, usually when the story’s cries are becoming more persistent and demanding of my attention, I always start with what I think of as a pre-edit, or first phase.  Using Diana Urban’s list of 43 Words you should cut from your writing, I find and replace, or delete them.  The word list is extensive, so I go through each chapter in turn in 5 word blocks to make it easier.  Yes, it means I’m going over each chapter multiple times, but I find it actually speeds the process up.  When each block is complete, I note the revised word count.  It is surprising how much the numbers change, even during this first phase.

I begin the true first edit by reading each chapter aloud, editing as I go.  By reading this way, you pick up things that aren’t so obvious when reading silently.  I repeat the step any number of times, but never less than twice, because it is so easy to miss something the first time.  That is especially true, if, during the first read I’ve added in extra details.  Then, the second read in effect becomes the first and so is vitally important.

Second Edit

This is when I check certain things for consistency, including for example the number of times a character uses a catchphrase.  I go through each chapter highlighting them in the document and edit where necessary.

When I’m relatively happy with the draft, I print the whole thing.  Similarly to reading aloud, it helps catch things I’d otherwise miss, because I’ve gotten so used to seeing the words on screen.  By seeing the story in print, it’s almost as if I’m looking at it anew.  I make notes on the printed copy, then go back to the electronic version and implement them.

When I’m happy with the manuscript, I move on to the next step.  I’ll share that with you next week.

What’s Your Writing Process?

Our writing process is as individual as we are.  Is yours similar or vastly different from mine?  Or have you got any suggestions on how I can improve?  Please leave me a comment and let me know.


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