Saturday, 30 April 2011

Books Read in April

April's been a good month for reading. This small holiday thrown in has certainly helped.

1. Turn Coat - Jim Butcher - 01/04
Another episode in Harry Dresden's life. I enjoyed this much more than earlier novels.

2. Globejotting: How to Write Extraordinary Travel Journals - Dave Fox - 05/04
I discovered this book from one of the comments left on my journaling blog. While I didn't learn anything I wasn't already doing, it is still handy to have a list of ideas and techniques in a handy book format. So certainly enjoyed this book, and would use it as a reference.

3. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde - 08/04
This was one of those classics I had always meant to read. I am so glad I finally got to it. I now understand why Oscar Wilde's quotes are always so popular. This bloke knew how to write sarcasm, while portraying reality of a whole spectrum of human behaviour. This is now one of my favourite classic.

4. Live and Let Die - Ian Fleming - 16/04Really liked this one. I read first James Bond book a while ago, and didn't enjoy it very much. This was real fun.

5. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld - Patricia A. McKillip - 19/04
I really admire it when writers manage to pull of a fantasy story that is rich in detail, a complete story, and full of characters one cares about in a single book. For a book that is not even 500 pages long, this is an accomplishment indeed. But then McKillip is not any writer. She is a master, and it shows in every word. Because there is nothing wasted in this book.

6. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley - 24/04
Another book I had always meant to read. What finally pushed me was reading Isherwood Diaries, where Chris Isherwood mentions that Aldous Huxley was writing a new book he was calling Brave New World. It's an interesting book. One of those that you could spend ages thinking about. Implications of what the world and the humanity could be like. As a story alone, it is also enjoyable. I will admit, after I read it, I haven't had much time to reflect on it. But this would be something to re-read.

7. 84 Charing Cross Road - Helene Hanff - 24/04
Friendship that started and was sustained because of books. Friendship between people from two countries before the Internet. People who never met. It's a touching, fantastic book.

8. The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street - Helene Hanff - 26/04
This is a follow up to 84 Charing Corss Road, when Helene Hanff finally gets to visit England. A country she has always dreamt of visiting.

9. Twilight's Dawn - Anne Bishop - 29/04
Anne Bishop's Black Jewels Trilogy is one of my favourite stories of all time. There have been several books after that, and each time I have enjoyed discovering something more about characters I love. In this book, it's 4 short stories which essentially conclude the series. As always, wonderful, emotional, heart-warming. The kind of stories that after I read them, I need a little time to recover before going to read something else. 

Friday, 29 April 2011

All About Editing - Joanne Hall

Do you love editing, or hate it, or somewhere in the middle?

That depends what stage the editing process is at! I usually write first drafts by hand, then type them up, so by the time a story on novel reaches the computer, I’m already on the second draft, and editing as I go. That’s my favourite stage of writing. It’s like the first draft is a formless lump of clay, and the second draft shapes it into something that actually resembles a real plot. There’s where all the character development and description comes in, and where the weird little tangents emerge that make writing a novel so exciting.

Once that’s done, the plot is set and all that’s left is polishing, that’s when I find editing becomes a chore. It has to be done to smooth out the rough edges, but it also means mercilessly exposing and pruning all the bits that aren’t very good, or that got skipped over because they were hard to write. It’s a real dent to the confidence to discover a paragraph that you thought was good is, in the cold light of scrutiny, complete rubbish. This is also the stage where you have to “kill your darlings” – that scene that was so much fun to write suddenly adds nothing to the plot, so out it goes!

The one stage of editing I really hate is the final copy-edits before a book goes to print. They’re time consuming, take great concentration, and by that stage I’m usually on to writing another book, and I’m so sick of reading and re-reading this one that by the time the final copy-edit is done, I never want to read it again! Also, that’s the stage where the only changes you can make are small cosmetic ones, so you’re stuck with the plot you’re so bored of reading. But it’s all worth it when you finally have a well-edited book in your hands.

Do you edit as you go? Or do you start only after the first draft?

Because I do my first draft by hand, my notebooks are full of crossings out and marginalia, usually along the lines of “THIS BIT GOES EARLIER” or “RESEARCH!” (that one crops up a lot!) As long as I’ve made a note of which bits need editing as I write them, that seems to be enough and I can fix things on the second draft. The initial writing is done very fast. I find editing as I write by hand takes my attention away from what I’m writing, so I save the bulk of the editing for the second draft. After that, unless there are any glaring problems, most of the rest of the editing is just tweaking what I already have, and cutting out the waffle. I tend to over-write, so there’s always plenty of waffle to trim!

Do you have a definite method for editing? If so, would you like to share something from it?

I’m not sure I have a “definite method”. It varies from book to book, and there are as many different ways to approach writing as there are writers, so what works for me may not work for someone else. The two things I can recommend that always work for me are not to get so hung up on getting the first page/paragraph/chapter perfect that you never get beyond that point. Get it written first, then get it right. Getting it right is what drafts are for, but you can’t edit a blank page.
The second thing is not to try and edit when you’re tired, because you will miss things. Try to come to it with, if not a fresh brain, then at least a strong cup of coffee on hand!

Any tips you've learned from your experience?

Always try and persuade a second pair of eyes to look through your writing, to pick up things you might have missed. Sometimes you can get too close to what you’re writing, but a fresh reader will be able to spot where you can make changes and make suggestions for improvements.

Anything else you would like to add - pet peeves, things that make you want to pull your hair out (editing related), joys and wonders of the process?

Pet peeve – that it doesn’t matter how many times you read through a story, or how many other people read through it, there will inevitably be a glaring 
typo at the bottom of page 46 that, after it’s published and too late to do anything about it, every single reader will not only notice, but take great delight in pointing out to you!

I know some writers hate editing, but I really enjoy the process of taking a shapeless, rambling story and turning it into something I can be proud of, and something I would be willing to share with other people. It’s very exciting when a story starts to take shape and fall into place. It’s even more exciting when you get your hands on the finished, polished product!

Learn more about Joanne at her website:

Monday, 25 April 2011

Opening of the Novel

Opening of the book is one of the most important things. First and foremost, this is what going to decide if an agent accepts your book, and later if a publisher likes it. Assuming it made through those two doors, this is what is going to convince most readers to pick up your book. Of course there are people who would give books a chance more than others, but on the whole, opening is crucial.

So we, as writers, need to make sure that the opening chapter promises good things to come. Of course then with the rest of the book we need to live up to that promise.

How easy it is for you to pick what your opening scene should be? For my current WIP, I started a first draft with a particular scene. It felt like the right scene. It had action in normal setting for the character before he gets thrown into abnormal circumstances. After the draft, I deleted the scene, and started with the second scene because I felt that beginning was too slow. Then after a while, I felt beginning was too hurried, so I added the other scene back in, changed various things, tightened it. Now, I have taken that scene out again, amended the second scene slightly. I am not sure yet if I will stick with it, because I am still in the process of editing it, and also because of deleting the first scene, other things in the story will need to be amended, as whatever was said in the first scene, now needs to be said somewhere else.

One thing I am fairly certain of is that it will be either one of these two scenes, or a mixture of both that will open my book. I don't think I will be writing something completely new to go there. But some of the questions that came up as I edit this is finding the balance of introducing character without remaining stagnant. Launching into action, without making it seem too hurried. Getting readers to meet the character, and empathise with him, without making it a leisurely stroll. There are a myriad of other details that go into consideration, but most importantly, how does it feel when I read a book that begins with that particular scene. I try to look at it from a reader's point of view. That's why I can't usually decide while I am editing - because I am too close to my writer side. But once it's done, and I do a read through, then I get more perspective.

What about you? Does your first scene always remain the one you picked originally? How easy it is for you to determine what it should be? Do you ever have doubts about it?

Friday, 22 April 2011

All About Editing - Juliet E McKenna

Do you love editing, or hate it, or somewhere in the middle?

To begin with, I think we need to define our terms when we’re talking about editing. There’s line editing, which is the fine detail stuff; making sure there are no confusions between ‘there’, ‘their’ and ‘they’re’, checking in case you’ve used the same adjective twice in successive paragraphs, making sure attribution of dialogue is clear if ‘she’ is talking to ‘her’ and all that kind of thing.
Then there’s the structural editing, which is to say, the rewrites and revisions that are essential to turn the first draft into a finished book. Some writers do this working alone while others send their rough draft out to test readers and/or their editor and then work on refining the text on the basis of that feedback. Though a writer who does those rewrites alone will still need feedback from a fresh set of eyes to tell them what needs polishing up in a final pass. I work like that and the comments I’ve just had back from Jon Oliver at Solaris, on the draft of Dangerous Waters, may have been less than a page’s worth but every word was useful and pertinent.

Love editing or hate it? I’ve found my attitudes to both these essential processes changing over the years that I’ve been writing. Initially, detailed editorial feedback was essential at an early stage, to highlight where I was going off track. I was tremendously lucky in my first editor Tim Holman at Orbit, who taught me a great deal. Since I don’t generally need telling something twice, the amount of rewriting I had to do once he’d seen the first draft, got less and less with each book. Which isn’t to say I don’t still do a lot of rewriting between first and final drafts. It’s just that I don’t need an editor to tell me where I’m going wrong; I can spot that for myself now and generally avoid heading down a dead-end or an unnecessary diversion.

I used to find that rewriting a real trial though. Necessary but such hard work after the fun of writing the first draft. Nowadays, I want to get the first draft down as quickly as possible so I can get on to the rewarding business of those rewrites, really refining and shaping my story. Similarly, I used to find the line-editing/copyedit phase rather dispiriting. It was like getting homework back from teacher covered in red pen. Nowadays I see that as my chance to put the final gloss on the story and that’s far more satisfying.

Do you edit as you go? Or do you start only after the first draft?

I start each writing day by re-reading what I wrote the day before and as I do that, I will almost always do some line-editing as I go; cutting out repetition, clarifying descriptions or information, generally tightening things up. I do my very best to resist ripping up huge chunks and starting again because I could so easily end up just going in circles. Even when I really don’t think a chapter is working, I tell myself to leave it lying and move on. The real work starts once I’ve got that first draft completed, so I can take a step back, see the big picture and then go back in to fix the issues which I now see with the benefit of that greater distance. Trying to do major structural edits as I go would be impossible; I couldn’t see the wood for the trees.

Do you have a definite method for editing? If so, would you like to share something from it?

The further I get into a first draft, the stronger the temptation to break off, go back and rewrite becomes. Because when you’re on Chapter 18, you’ll realise you can add bits to Chapter 3 foreshadowing this event. Or you realise that what you need Our Hero to do now contradicts something he or she said in Chapter 12, so that needs sorting out. To avoid doing that and getting distracted from what I’m actually writing at the moment, I make notes as I go, to remind myself what I need to look for in the rewrites phase. I refer to those notes, and add to them, when I go back and re-read that first draft in one hit. Then I’ll make a list of points to address as I revise the draft and that really helps me focus, as well as often flagging up new things I hadn’t spotted.

Any tips you've learned from your experience?

I don’t expect to get it the right first time anymore. As a journalist pal tells me every time I whinge over coffee about a chapter that’s not flowing, ‘don’t get it right, get it written.’ Once you have something to work with, you can always make it better and it’s all part of the process. Following on from that, I know there’s nothing to be gained, and a lot to be lost, by getting defensive when you’re getting feedback.

I’ve also learned to be ruthless discarding chunks of prose and even whole characters in those rewrites. Earlier this year, I binned a five thousand word chapter between the first and final drafts of Dangerous Waters, because once I’d addressed some issues with the beginning arising from a change of focus towards the end, that chapter was simply no longer needed. Worse, if I’d kept it in, it would have slowed the plot and distracted the reader from the overall narrative. So it was left behind like an oxbow lake when a river in spate cuts a new course.

Anything else you would like to add - pet peeves, things that make you want to pull your hair out (editing related), joys and wonders of the process?

In a dozen books so far, I’ve only ever followed one piece of editorial advice and regretted it. My then editor felt really strongly that Irons in the Fire needed a prologue to help new readers into this world and to set up the events of The Chronicles of the Lescari Revolution. I wasn’t convinced but he really was and since he was coming new to the world whereas I have it all at my fingertips, I agreed. Since then, I’ve read so many reviews liking the book but wondering what’s the point of that prologue...? Ah well, we live and learn, and I’ve no qualms telling people that if they don’t like prologues, they can just skip it.

I owe my regular copy editor Lisa more than I can possibly say. She’s worked on all my books one way or another and again, she’s taught me a tremendous amount. Her eye for detail and continuity is awesome, and she’s saved me from making a fool of myself a good few times. To give just one example, in The Swordsman’s Oath, there’s a duel and afterwards, Ryshad, the swordsman of the title, goes to strip down and wash himself clean of blood and sweat. Only there’s a fresh alarm, so he grabs a weapon and heads out. Lisa pointed out he didn’t actually put any trousers on first. Did I really want him naked for the rest of the chapter? Er, no, and I am so glad she caught that!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Narrowing Focus

One thing more frustrating than setting goals is changing goals. Unfortunately, I am finding I need to do a lot of changing. 

WIP 2 counter on the left has remained pretty static. Actually word count is quite a bit more than what it shows here, but all that is hand-written, so I don't know how much exactly. But I have decided for now, to put it on hold, and just focus on editing WIP 1. 

There are two reasons for this. One because I am much busier now at my day job. Hardly a minute to sit still, so I am far more preoccupied it even when I am home. It also makes me more tired. So it does have an impact on writing. But also, more importantly, I really want to give this one-book-at-a-time thing a go, and see if it improves my focus and makes the end result better. Because my theory is, focusing on one book would mean I would be stewing over just that one story, one cast of characters, instead of spreading focus over several.

Of course there are no guarantees that I won't start writing again soon. I guess I'm just in a frustrated circle of figuring out what works for me. But for now, at least for a next month or two, this is the plan. 

With editing, I can see improvements, though progress is slow. Because I am focusing on every sentence, every paragraph, changing and chopping things. But I can see it getting better, so it makes the effort worth it.

How about you? How are your projects coming along?

Friday, 15 April 2011

All About Editing - Mike Shevdon

I approach editing with mixed emotions. It's a chance to get the exact nuance of meaning I want onto the page, to resolve unwanted conflicts, eliminate mistakes and polish what I've written so that it is worthy of publication. My early drafts are definitely not worthy - they're messy things with trailing threads and sticky blurry edges. Taking those and polishing them so that they shine is rewarding but also frustrating because it's a task you can never complete. There is always, always more that you could do, and deciding when to stop tinkering is part of the skill.

My interest in writing began as a critical reader, so I already knew that it wasn't a one-pass process. The idea that some elements wouldn't quite work or didn't evoke the atmosphere I wanted was already there, but even so I had a lot to learn. I learned by doing, highlighting the problems I perceived in other people's work before I started on my own. Finding other writer's issues and mistakes helped me to learn to identify my own. Even so my early edits were full of flaws.

So it's a love-hate relationship. I prevaricate before editing, but then when I get started I can't stop. I'll edit many thousands of words in a session to the exclusion of everything around me. If I'm lucky, sympathetic family members will bring tea at regular intervals. 

As I said, for me it's a multi-pass process and I edit for different things in different passes. I edit as I write, partly to make sure I know where I'm going and what I've written makes sense in terms of what's happened and what's going to happen. For me writing can be like time travel - I can zip back and forth along the time-line, changing things that will have repercussions in the future or will bring into new significance things in the past. Even simple things like changing a character's name can have surprising consequences. You find new resonance, an alternate twist that sparks new insight.

So I write forward, then I edit back through what I've written when I reach a natural break. Stories are complex to me. Any person, any event, can influence the world and change what happens. Small things can snowball and before long I'm dumping whole chapters of work because they no longer fit. I keep the fragments (that's what I call them) because sometimes I can re-use pieces of things, but I've learned not to force that. If it happens, great. If not then I leave them.

I tried going for a full first draft, which some authors can do, but found that the impact of changes were too disheartening. Rewriting a chapter is not so bad. You have the foundations to work from and you know where you need to be so you can go ahead and write. If you have to scrap half a book, though, it brings you down to earth with a bump. There's a lot emotionally invested in the writing and there will be pieces you love that have to be binned. This is what is meant, perhaps, by killing your babies. It takes a surprising amount of courage and faith to write well.

By limiting the edit horizon I can work through the impact of changes as I go. I still trip over my own shoe-laces, but the fall isn't so far. Of course, I can still find the flaw in the plot many chapters later, but that's life. You just have to be philosophical and start again.
Once I have a draft, though, the game changes. Hopefully, by that time, I have a working plot and everything ties together. A full read-through comes next, and I'm looking for a number of things - characters out of voice, phrases that jar, the inevitable spelling and grammar mistakes, clichés and gotchas - pieces that don't quite work. In this pass I'll be deleting more than I'm adding, and that can be hard. It feels like I'm going backwards, but at this point less is more. It's a quick process and I can edit five thousand words at a time, so it's a few weeks work at most.

Speaking of backwards, I've also gone through chapters backwards looking for mistakes, which are easier to spot if you're not following the narrative, but that's a painful way and with practice you get better at not making mistakes in the first place. I also do automated checks - I do a word search for certain words - 'form' for instance, which I seem destined to type when I want the word 'from'. I do a consistency check for capitalisation of certain words and spelling of names and places, plus usage and style consistency checks.

Then I leave it alone for a bit and work on something else. It's very easy to get word-blind when editing - and your own mistakes are the hardest to see. An external viewpoint is good, but I'm not quite ready for beta readers at this point. It isn't polished enough and there's no point wasting a reader's time on things you can do for yourself. I step away and get some perspective.

When I get back to it I do another full read-through, this time out loud. Reading out loud is a skill in itself and one that's practiced much less in school these days, which is a shame. It engages different parts of the brain and allows you to discover things that are otherwise invisible to you. Also, if you can't read it, there's a fair chance no-one else can either. It engages rhythm, tone and timbre which are missing in a silent read-through. I'm looking for an immersive reading experience, so anything which throws the reader out of the story is challenged. 

At this stage I'm still finding mistakes and non-sequiturs but I simply note them to be dealt with later and keep reading - I'm looking at the big picture, not the detail, and I'm watching myself for the emotional response, breathing and reaction. This is hard because I get drawn into the story, but then I lose perspective and have to do it again - this is good and bad. If I get drawn in then there's a good chance the reader will too, but if I lose myself then I'm not editing, I'm reading.

Once these changes have been rolled in, I ask myself if I'm happy with what I have. If not I'll go look for the thing I'm not happy with, which can be a nuance of character interpretation or a complete change of a plot-thread. I can still be making quite large changes, even at this stage, but I have to remember that once it's published I can't change anything, so it's worth getting it right. If I change anything then I need to read through again. By this time I have all the versions of all the plot threads that have been included or deleted in my head. I'm no longer seeing things and the edit process is starting to break down.

This is when I send out to beta readers. For me it's a finished work and I can't make it any better. I am expecting that they will enjoy the read, but at the same time I want them to critique. Anything that throws them out of the story, any factual error, any personal knowledge or insight - I want all of it, so it's not like reading a book for pleasure, and my beta readers know that. Their reward? Well, you 'd have to ask them that. I regard it as a personal favour to me and hopefully they get something out of it.

When the reading copies come back in I go through each one separately. I note every comment, but I don't always change things. Sometimes I place it on the concerns list - which I keep for things that aren't wrong, but might be clearer or may simply be addressed in a later comment. "I didn't understand this" can be followed four pages later by "Oh, NOW is see where you're going," which can be fine. Hanging questions can't be left hanging, though, and some quite big issues can come out at this stage hat you just didn;t see before.

Beta readers can take anything from three weeks to three months to come back. Each copy has to be worked through and then they all have to be taken as a whole. I've never scrapped a book at that point, but I suppose it is possible to have to go back to the beginning. The earlier work should mean that can't happen, but there are loads of things in the world that can't happen and then unaccountably do.

Depending how confident I feel, I may phase beta readers into two passes, one to get the early comments and ask specific questions and then a general read to get the full picture. On The Road to Bedlam I also had readers who had not read book one, so that I could check that the book worked for readers who picked up the second book first. That's a new challenge.

I do a last consistency grammar and spell-check and then it's submitted to the publisher who may request their own revisions, but assuming it's all okay (and mostly it is) it goes to copy edit, final changes and print. That can take three months on its own.

If you're thinking this takes a lot of time then you're right. It takes me more than a year to write a book. We haven't even touched on plotting, characterisation, research or any of the other aspects of writing a book, but that all has to happen too, so if you're wondering why the next book isn't on the shelves yet then you have some explanation right there. For me, though, it's part of the creative process to challenge your own work and have other people challenge it too. It means that when a book does hit the shelves I know it's the best book I could write at that moment. 

Each time I go through this I learn more and develop as a writer - each time I get better. Hopefully the books get better too. If you ask me whether this is the process I'll be using in ten year's time, then the answer is that I don't know - ask me in ten years. I do know that it helps me get what I want on the page so that when my readers pick up my books they know they'll have a reading experience to remember and want more when they're finished. It's that experience that is my ultimate goal and the prize I try and keep in mind when I'm knee deep in edits and changes.


Mike Shevdon lives in Bedfordshire, England with his wife and son, where he combines his various interests of writing, cookery and technology with the study of martial arts, particularly archery.

His blend of real history and folklore was launched on an unsuspecting world with his debut novel, Sixty-One Nails, published by Angry Robot Books.  It interleaves forgotten legends and faerie tales with real history and ancient rituals that are still performed at the core of the realm to this day.

A refreshingly different take on Urban Fantasy, The Courts of the Feyre is a series exploring humanity's relationship with the creatures that inspired the oldest of stories, weaving a modern faerie-tale into the fabric of reality. The sequel, The Road to Bedlam, was published in Autumn 2010, revealing more of the relationship between the everyday world and the secret world of magic and darkness beneath. Book three is in progress, with book four planned to complete the series

Mike's books are available in good bookshops around the world as well as online and as eBooks. You can visit Mike's website at where he shares tips and insights into writing, thoughts on life, and articles about interesting bits of history and folklore. You can also find Mike on Facebook and on Twitter as @shevdon.

Friday, 8 April 2011

All About Editing - Jamie Debree

Do you love editing, or hate it, or somewhere in the middle?

It kind of depends on what day you catch me. For the most part, I don’t mind line-edits, but I’m not fond of revisions. It’s too much like real work. ;-) When I’m close to finishing edits on a novel-length work, I hate them with a passion, because I’m completely sick of the whole project by then and just want it to be over so I can move on.

Do you edit as you go? Or do you start only after the first draft?

As far as storyline and plot points go, I try to edit as I go. I try to make the first draft as free of plot holes and things that might need major revisions as possible. I’ve even gone so far as to move the plot in a different direction if it’s heading for something that will require major revisions to earlier scenes. As for line editing, I have to be able to read it without cringing too badly so I do pay attention to basic spelling and grammar, but I’ll leave that at “good enough” until the draft is done and I can get some space from it, and have other eyes helping me spot problems.

Do you have a definite method for editing? If so, would you like to share something from it?

After I finish a draft, I send it out to beta readers and ask for revision notes. While I’m waiting for those to come back, I have the story on my kindle and do a read-through, making my own revision notes. Betas are welcome to send line edits too, but I’m really after big-picture stuff at that point...does the story work, did I leave any gaping holes, are the characters in need of “whatever”. Once I get those back, I go through and revise all the big picture stuff, fixing whatever line-edit level items I come across as well. Then I send it to my editor, and she marks all the nit-picky grammar/typo/technical stuff (and deletes a ton of commas), as well as any final problems with continuity or plot she sees. Then I go through again and finish the edits from that. I do a final proofread as I’m formatting the books for publication, and I send out reader copies to friends for proofreading as well.

Any tips you've learned from your experience?

It’s pretty much pointless to line-edit before revisions, in my opinion. It’s inefficient to work on prose at the sentence level if those sentences could be cut in the revision process.

I absolutely cannot edit my own work to a polished form - I need other eyes on it to catch everything I simply don’t see. There are people out there who claim to self-edit, but I wouldn’t, personally.

No matter how much you revise and edit, there will always be a mistake or two that makes it into the finished book. It doesn’t matter how you publish either - odds are very good something will be overlooked. That’s just how it is.

Anything else you would like to add - pet peeves, things that make you want to pull your hair out (editing related), joys and wonders of the process?

My biggest pet peeve is that my comma splices aren’t considered proper grammar. LOL I love the sentence structure involving comma splice (ie... “She raised her glass, then looked at him over the rim.”), and hate that I either have to take the comma out, or add an “and” to make it correct. And I rant about it every chance I get - because dang it, I want to use that structure! But I change it anyway, because the prose needs to be transparent to the reader if possible, and most readers get hung up on the lack of “and”. I do try to draft without them now, but they still slip in...a habit that is extremely hard for me to break.

My greatest joy is when I’m line editing, and I actually hit on the *perfect* wording and structure for the emotion I want to convey at that point. Most sentences are just...well...sentences, but every once in awhile there’s just that perfect turn of phrase that I can’t believe I wrote. I love that. :-)

Thanks so much for inviting me to participate, Dolly - this was fun!

A full-time webmistress by day, Jamie DeBree writes steamy, action-packed romantic suspense late into the night. She resides in Billings, MT with her husband and two over-sized lap dogs. Her latest book is Desert Heat, available at , Amazon and Barnes & Noble. For more information and to connect with her via social media or email, please visit

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Let's Test Our Reading Habits

Today's post is about our favourite activity: Reading. I do hope it is your favourite, since most people who follow this blog are either writers or readers. It's a little game.

What are you reading at the moment? If you are like me, and reading half-a-dozen books at the same time, just pick one that you are reading now, today etc.

Share the first title. Let's see if we recognize these books (and no googling...that would be cheating). This is an experiment to test the how widely read we are as a group ;) And more importantly, do we remember the first lines of the books we have read? Let's find out.

Here is the first line of the book I am reading:

The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Happy Belated Birthday Blog

Writer Revealed is now just over 2 years old. 27th of March was the official birthday, but while it was on my mind in the beginning of March, by the time end of March came, I had completely forgotten about it, so this is a late greeting.

I can't believe it's been two years already, but then that seems to be the feeling for this whole writing thing as well. On one hand it feels like it's been quite a journey, but on the other hand, it still seems like a beginning. While I started writing long before I started this blog, this blog has been the testament to when I started writing "seriously" with intention of publication as soon as possible, as oppose to that mysterious "one day".

I haven't always been as disciplined or as dedicated as I could have been, but I have managed to remain on the path. That - staying on the path - is no struggle at all, because after all, this is what I want to do. It is a choice. Sometimes, it just takes bit of time to get going with the action.

Thank you to all of my wonderful readers for taking the time to read this blog, and to comment on it. I appreciate all of you being here, and I am priviledged to know you.

Best wishes,

Friday, 1 April 2011

All About Editing - Brooklyn Ann

Do you love editing, or hate it, or somewhere in the middle?

I'd say somewhere in the middle. When I've received specific feedback on a project, I'm usually full of awesome ideas and excited, but some days, I got nothing. Theres one chapter I've been agonizing about for months. I know it sucks but I don't know how to fix it.

Do you edit as you go? Or do you start only after the first draft?
I will cheat and edit a teeny bit as I go, but I do most editing after I finish the first draft...and the 2nd, and the 3rd.

Do you have a definite method for editing? If so, would you like to share something from it?
I follow Stephen King's method. I write the 1st draft as quick as I can, put it away for a month and then edit it. Then I send it to my critique buddies and edit again from their feedback. Then I send it to more critique buddies and edit again until I'm satisfied.

Any tips you've learned from your experience?
You need a method. Whether you edit as you go or do what I do, you need something. If you don't, you'll be intimidated and unproductive.

Anything else you would like to add - pet peeves, things that make you want to pull your hair out (editing related), joys and wonders of the process?
I HATE typos. I'm a spelling and grammar nazi, so I find technical errors to be extra humiliating. I also hate when there's something wrong with a scene and I can't figure it out. What I love is when I write an new scene that fits into the story like a missing puzzle piece and when a disorganized jumble turns into a beautiful coherent story.

BIO: I'm a paranormal romance author represented by Tribe literary agency. I also write a weekly blog on writing for FROM A WRITER'S POV magazine and my own paranormal romance blog: SUPERNATURAL SMUT