So my regular readers will know that I have been attempting to write a book for a few years now. In November 2018 I completed NaNoWriMo, where you write 50,000 words in a month.
This isn’t anything new, I have completed NaNo twice before but I have never got further than that. I learnt heaps from my first two attempts at writing a book, but the main one was that you need to write a book that you would read yourself and that you are really interested in. A writer will spend many hours on their book, you need to love it!!
So after I reached 50,000 words with NaNo 2018 I was unsure about what would happen next. I had loved writing it and hoped that I would carry on with it but life most definitely got in the way with major surgery and a load of other stuff going on.
But my writing helped to keep me sane, I had a month where I pretty much stayed home. I’m a huge homebody so in many ways I loved that but I also went a bit stir crazy. So writing helped me escape into another world and gave my brain a workout.
When I completed my first draft I was totally stunned and very excited. I had never got that far but I knew that I was nowhere near done. Lots of people say that it is best to put your book down and go back to it after a break so that you can see your work with fresh eyes.
I had an enforced break from it because it was school holidays and so my time to work on the book was limited and I decided to go back to it in January and have a few weeks off.
I was surprised to find that I really, really missed my book. For a few days, I felt almost bereft and I missed my characters so much. Sounds a bit silly really, but that was how I felt.
It was over the break that I heard about a scheme that one of my favourite publishers, Bookouture, was doing. They were looking for underrepresented authors to submit their manuscript and they will select some to read through and give feedback to the author about their work. An amazing opportunity and one that I did not want to miss.
And so once my kids were back at school I set about editing my book. This terrified me, what if I cut the wrong bit out? Or made it worse? Or didn’t make it better? Scary times. So I sent my book to a friend to read, she isn’t a blogger or author, she just likes reading and so she read my book. And thankfully she loved it and gave me some great feedback that helped to give me focus and the courage to keep going.
Thanks to ProWritingAid I hopefully worked out most of the major grammar errors and sentences that could be constructed differently to make them more readable. I also discovered that I use the word ‘that’ all the blooming time. It felt as though almost every sentence had the word in it, and some had it more than once! I reckon that removing them cut my word count significantly!
It also gave me the opportunity to go through the book chapter by chapter, hopefully, pick up continuity errors and changing the surname of one character that was used regularly in the story.
I use Scrivener to write and I love it, I’m very sure that I don’t use half of what it can do but I wouldn’t be without it. It helps me in so many ways. And it compiled my manuscript for me and saved it as a pdf so that I was able to submit it to the Bookouture scheme.
Oh, and I needed to write a pitch of a couple of sentences which is not the easiest thing to do!!!
So today I submitted my manuscript for feedback from Bookouture, but I also did something very exciting. Scrivener helped me convert my manuscript into a mobi file that can then be transferred to a Kindle to read. So I have my book on my kindle. This just blows my mind! I feel so happy and proud! I know that there is an awful lot more to do on my manuscript but I’m just amazed that I have got this far!!
If you live in London and fit the criteria you can submit your completed manuscript here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/applications-are-open-for-1-2-1-feedback-from-bookouture/ but you don’t have long!!