on the writing & reading trail

It’s been a while since I was in this space – life got in the way – more technology glitches – family health issues – time consuming investigations of retirement living options – eventually postponed decisions again. We are just not ready.

So, uncertainties settled for the time being, I’m back to the business of preparing Past imperfect, the first novel in the Long shadows series, for publication. Following my final edit, the manuscript is with readers.

Feedback: Readers are providing helpful feedback and I am thankful that one awkward blooper was discovered – absolutely confirms the need for dispassionate eyes to assess a manuscript. In one of my rewrites, an important intention of the protagonist was erased. Thank you Sara for your time generosity and discerning eye.

Writing: Am still working on front and back matter for the final submission – strangely more challenging than expected, but getting there. Until I press the publish button it is too hard to work on the host of other ideas that are calling my fingers to start new files to develop the short stories and memoir fragments that are clamouring.

Critiquing: Last Friday was Writers Group critiquing day, with a mixture of novel and memoir chapters, a short story and a writing exercise to discuss.  As usual we parted reluctantly from our session of laughter, serious comments and constructive criticisms, words of wisdom and mutual trust, with nourishing food for thought to improve our offerings.

Reading: The impulse to read fiction is curiously dampened when full-blown editing takes the stage but some still happens. My focus has been on social media and marketing ideas. I’ve mentioned it before, but the ProWriter course How to find readers and market your novel, devised by Joanna Penn and C J Lyons, is extremely helpful and I commend it to anyone preparing for e-publication. http://www.thecreativepenn.com/marketyourbook/.

However I did finish The secret life of bees by Sue Monk Kidd which was left behind by a family member who stayed recently – loved it. A Library Thing reviewer had this to say “The Secret Life of Bees is a coming of age story in the deep south in the early 1960’s. You will come to love each of the characters. Reading this book you will both laugh and cry. This book is about hope, empathy, and dignity across racial lines. I’m already to read it again!’

I am also reading The Forgotten garden by Kate Morton (only recently found her, and she’s an Aussie). If I’d discovered it earlier I might have found a way to adapt some of her seamless literary devices for backstory for use in Past imperfect. It is also interesting to find similar themes about compulsions that are driven by identity uncertainty, family secrets and family loyalties in her novel and mine. Find out about Kate at http://www.katemorton.com/

Next on the agenda: e-publication of Past imperfect – hopefully before the end of March.

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