The good, the bad and the ugly

I’m not a fan of Westerns at all, but I love that film. You can hear the music right now, cant you? You have an earworm don’t you?

You’re so welcome…

Actually, the title of this post is a little off. There’s no bad (sorry to disappoint if you’re a fan of high drama), nor is there any ugly, unless you count my anxiety going off the scale at various points in the last couple of weeks for no reason whatsoever.

Good – my editor had wonderfully positive comments following her review of Anti-Virus. No major plot holes were revealed, no ‘eh, it’s OK, I suppose’ (a lukewarm response would have been worse than a ‘this is absolutely awful’ to be honest), nothing requires major reworking. Hallelujah!

Double Good – the book cover design is done! I had such a brilliant experience, loved working with the designer and he just ‘got it’. This, my friends gave me such a boost. The book is starting to feel really real, not just real. I think of Anti-Virus and I picture the cover – how cool is that?!

Double Plus Good – I’ve taken the vast majority of the pain of the formatting side of things out of my hands and will be paying Someone Who Knows Things to do this for both ebook and paperback formats. You know, I could learn, but quite honestly, I don’t want to and also don’t want to devote the time to it, not right now (if ever, to be even more honest). I know I’m lucky to be able to do this and am very grateful, definitely.

So, things are moving on. I’m in the final stages of the final edit before handing over to the Someone Who Knows Things. And then I can find something else to worry about, like, I don’t know, what will my ARC readers think?

Until next time…

What to do when you’re not writing

Worry about not writing.

Dream up impossible-to-achieve-self-imposed deadlines for publishing your novel.

Catastrophise how you will feel when you read your editor’s comments once they return your manuscript.

Indulge in self-flagellation as if you are an adherent to the Catholic doctrine of mortification of the flesh, for all and any reason whatsoever, but mostly because you didn’t write X, Y or Z into your plot and it’s too late now.

ALTERNATIVELY…

You can enjoy the fact that you have some time to yourself where you don’t have to focus on the (let’s face it) hard work of publishing a novel (why do we do this, why?!) and either totally kick back and put your feet up (I don’t have that gene, sorry!), or turn your gaze to something else that you enjoy creating.

Oh, you’re asking me what I’ve been doing? No, no, that’s not how this works… that’s for me to know and for you to just guess about.

(Ahem… I may have been going down the dark road. And then I may have thrown myself into other creative pursuits and created self-imposed obligations out of them too).

But that’s just between us, okay?


Red pen time

Actually using a red pen. On actual paper. It’s a thing.

Those of you who have been reading my weekly-ish posts (thank you), or those of you who are in the know, understand that this means one thing, and one thing only.

The Big Edit.

It’s always interesting (to me at any rate) how reading a book feels different when you are turning pages made from wood pulp rather than e-book pages. Don’t get me wrong, I have a Kindle and it has proved very useful, but my first love will always be a book in its physical form.

Editing a book when it’s in physical form also feels different. I’ve spotted typos or missing words that have passed me by countless times already. Ditto for sentences that have just been far too clunky or Frankensteined for my liking. Also, the flow is easier to pick up on (or the lack thereof). I initially started writing Anti-Virus on my commutes to and from work (remember when that was a thing?!), so it’s even more important to me that this stop-start rhythm is not embedded into my manuscript.

So far, so good. I’ve red-penned twenty something chapters so far (the content dictates the chapter length, so they’re short and snappy) and the flow feels good. My MC, Callie, feels like a real person who both delights and infuriates me, and the world in which she lives feels like now but heightened (and not for the better). It’s dystopia, what can I say? Her girlfriend, Jak, is shadowy, but there’s a reason for that. How can you know and love someone who’s never really there any more?

Have I used a lot of my pen’s red ink? Not so much. In addition to the tpyos etc described above, I’ve deleted a few paragraphs that were surplus to requirements, raised a few questions about consistency (is it traveller, or Traveller, is is Bio-Security or bio-security or even Bio Security, no hyphen, is it secret services or Secret Services, you know, that kind of thing). All fixable and none of it disastrous. To be fair, I’ve got forty or so chapters to go and it could all go Towering Inferno disaster movie wrong, but fingers crossed.

I feel like I’m getting somewhere. I’m not going to say anything like ‘2021 is my year’ because that’s tempting all the fates who have, quite frankly, been having a field day since 2020 and are showing limited signs of taking a well-earned rest so far.

But I am achieving. That’s all I need.

How about you?