how to, NaNoWriMo, rambling, writing

#authorslife Finishing my first edit!! #NaNoWriMo #submitting #scary #hardwork @bookouture

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!!

My book on my Kindle!!!

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!!

NaNoWriMo, rambling, writing

Finishing my first draft. #NaNoWriMo #firstdraft #writing #amwriting #authorslife

So something pretty amazing happened yesterday. Not only did I write over ten thousand words in a day, but I also wrote two of the best words ever.

This is my third attempt at writing a book, the first was pretty rubbish but it taught me an awful lot. The second was better, I still think that the story is a good one and with a lot of work it might go somewhere but I’m not sure that I love it enough to do it.

The difference with this book is that it is a book that I know that I would love to read and I think that is why I also loved writing it.

I have never planned my books, I see photos that other authors post showing their boards or notebooks fully of planning, with each chapter outlined and every character thought through. I have no idea what it is like writing a book that is planned in such detail, but for whatever reason planning is just not for me. I have tried but I just can’t do it, my brain simply doesn’t work that way.

But I like it the way that I do it, I started this book with a vague idea of a plot and two characters in my head. I thought that I had a fair idea where the book would go but I was wrong, the book turned out totally differently to how I imagined. Well, not totally but very different. Another character appeared and demanded a bigger part in the story and that changed the book significantly. But I am very happy with the direction the book took and I love not knowing what is going to happen, it feels like the characters write the book and I am just the puppet that types.

I also had my first author lightbulb moment when the ending suddenly came to me, I’m not quite sure where it came from as I had had a different ending in mind, but the moment it came into my head I knew that it was the perfect ending.

Some of you may know that I had a busy November, not only did I do NaNoWriMo but my twins also celebrated their eighth birthday and anyone who knows anything about kids birthdays knows how time consuming and exhausting they are. I also squeezed in a bit of major surgery. It was a busy month.

So quite how I have managed to write seventy four thousands words in thirty seven days I do not know. But I did. And boy it feels good. I have no doubt that a lot of the book will be pretty rubbish, writing in a post general anaesthetic haze is unlikely to equal an amazingly written book and I know that I have made a load of continuity errors when my brain was too befuzzled (that so needs to be a word) to remember what I had written only a paragraph or two before.

But my enforced house arrest as I recover from the surgery has meant that I have had far more time to write, and it has been nice to think of something else too.

So my first draft is done, blooming amazing that I’ve got this far I think. But now the hard work starts…editing. This is foreign territory for me, I’ve never made it this far and so I’m more than a little scared because I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m going to give whatever it is my best shot! Any advice appreciated. Really, really appreciated!

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But for now, I’m am so happy that I got to write the words ‘The End’ and I’m proud of every single word that I wrote, all 74,311 of them!