Friday 19 June 2020

The slash and burn stage of editing

I’ve written enough over the years that even when a novel is just an embryo idea, I know how long the finished book will be.

My idea for Boxed In, due out later in the year, was always a book of under 100,000 words, so when the first draft came in at 140,000, the serious editing hat had to come out.

The editing journey was a slash-and-burn fest – CLICK HERE for some more detail on nuances, twists and the ghost of a children’s book.

The end result of the initial charge through all 140k words, wielding the newly sharpened editing pen, was an uncannily accurate match to my original prediction – a book of exactly 99,999 words.

Boxed In is the latest book in Penny Grubb's Annie Raymond series, following on from Falling into Crime, Where There’s Smoke, Buried Deep and Syrup Trap City.

Friday 12 June 2020

Guest Blogging – how to help you and your host

Header image from the post on Sharon Booth's website
It used to be that a book had to be seen 5 times before it lodged in a reader’s mind. According to a Society of Authors presentation this week, that number is now 22.  Yes, we can all point to social media, but most of its impact is both short and transitory.

Blogging has more depth, each post a dedicated URL, and that URL can be highlighted via social media months after the post has gone live. This is why blog tours are arranged for launching titles, not just to give an initial boost but to provide content for future promotion. Yet guest posts don’t have to be reserved for new titles.

Hornsea Writers member Linda Acaster has accepted a guest spot on Sharon Booth’s website. Both write Romance, but Sharon writes Contemporary RomComs and Linda writes Historical Drama so their readers don’t necessarily overlap.

‘I knew I’d need to be light-hearted in my approach, both to appeal to Sharon’s readership and to fit with the tone of her blog,’ Linda says. ‘Beneath The Shining Mountains is set among Native North Americans of the early 19th century so I also wanted to convey more detailed information, in this case about their decoration techniques.’
Moccasins with porcupine quill decoration 1882

The answer was to write an associate post on her own blog, linking in to Sharon’s and linking Sharon’s into hers.

‘I approached Sharon first, obviously, and she thought it an excellent idea.’ It also meant that both websites get extra links which help in search engines searches.

A win-win.

Friday 5 June 2020

Adventures using dictation - April Taylor on talking to herself.

As some people will know, I have arthritis in my hands. This means I can no longer write 3000 words in one sitting as I used to. It has, as you can imagine, had a significant effect on my writing life and my productivity.

Basically, I decided to switch from Apple to Windows, purely so that I could use Dragon Naturally Speaking. Since I took this decision at the beginning of the year, my writing life has been...let's say up and down!

I had used the integral dictation software in Word, Google docs etc. and some free and very cheap software packages. My experience was less than stellar and not good for my blood pressure. They may be fine for general emails, but writing an entire book. Certainly not. The decision to change took a long time and I was very conflicted by how much it was going to cost. But the time came when it was almost change or stop altogether. That was not viable.

I made the change. Yes, it has been a tad bumpy at times, especially because I write historical crime, which has a whole different vocabulary, even as far as names of characters. And, now, of course, I can dictate on the move and Dragon transcribes my recordings. The landscape in which I now live has inspired the new series I am writing and when you see one photo of it, you will understand why. The freedom to stand in the midst of it and dictate what I see, hear etc. has brought a new dimension to my writing.

You can read about my journey so far here:

You can read more about April Taylor here: