on the writing & reading trail

Posts tagged ‘critiquing’

New novel, Past Imperfect available

Novel available

Book one of the Longshadows Series

Book one of the Longshadows Series

It was such a delight at Writers Group today to see Past Imperfect on multiple screens – Ipad, Kindle, Kobo. All my colleagues with readers had downloaded it. What a thrill! It is available free on Smashwords for a short period – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/301384


After that it was on with the business of critiquing each other’s work. We had a big load today – everyone present contributed material for comment:

  • There was the first chapter of a new novel – a sequel to Nene Davies’ first book Distance, which will be e-published by Really Blue Books next month. The new book with a working title of Further promises another great read.
  • Another was an American-based YA novel that is moving along well – in our humble opinions, quite brilliant.
  • A wonderful short story – humorous and full of characters we’ve all met and wish we hadn’t.
  • Memoir chapter of life in the 1950s in rural Australia by a young English migrant – real social history there.
  • The first chapter of a story destined for the education sector about a wartime mystery – a couple of youngsters have a project on hand to follow an emotional trail.
  • And a chapter from the end of my second novel Present Tense – set in Amsterdam after the medical evacuation of a humanitarian aid volunteer from Africa.

Lots of laughs, constructive comments and helpful discussions. And a wonderful lunch afterwards as four of us have birthdays just past or imminent.

I’m also posting on my new website – http://www.winfredadonald.com

Edit diary, writing, critiquing, reading

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.

Editing diary update

18 December

Editing: Continues. Nothing dramatic – just tightening – reducing word count – more ‘show’.

Below is another extract from Eyemouth on the east coast of Scotland (much later, now 1991, several years after Ness’s marriage) when the two sisters catch up. Ness is now settled after taking benefit from Freya’s health knowledge.

The coast was striking; wildflowers flourished, the yellow gorse cheered them, the sun shone. Occasional droves of yellow butterflies lifted Freya’s spirits. They stopped every now and again to sit beside the path or to lean on the fence posts along the cliff, to enjoy the views and to take photographs. There was no hurry.

They reached Eyemouth in the late afternoon. The second bed and breakfast cottage they tried had a vacancy. After wandering round the harbour, they relived Papa’s rescue by visiting the rocks where he’d been found, and spent time at the graves of the Dunbar grandparents. Freya had been the only family member at the funerals, just months apart last year.

Ness said, ‘You’re lucky Freya. You had a chance to get to know them properly, living here for so long. I barely remember their fiftieth anniversary; I was only four then, but they were lovely to Mama and me when we visited for a couple of days when you were living with Gramma, and they were so delighted to see Brad and me after the wedding. You told us to be prepared for their frailty that time but they looked fine to me. I don’t feel I really knew them. Still, it’s not the same as blood relations is it?

Freya deliberately stopped herself from following up her sister’s thinking. They were opportunities she would have gladly foregone, especially the time with Gramma and the separation from Alexander. The hurt would never go completely.

 Berwickshire coast

Berwickshire coast

Reading: Has been disappointing. Have read a couple of library books through without becoming truly engaged. Still haven’t found the bought one that was mislaid.

Critiquing: Our last meeting of the Writers Group was helpful to us all who submitted chapters or stories. I get a sense we are all making good progress – two people especially. One member is waiting on a publishing decision. Fingers crossed that it is the right time for her story with that publishing house.

Other: I’m gradually getting to know my new hybrid tablet/PC and after initial concern feel I made a good choice even though challenged by new learning on three fronts simultaneously – touch screen, Explorer 8 and Word 2013 beta version. Getting there – main problem is the smaller keyboard because I continue to work with normal PC and other laptop at home because I haven’t transferred all material yet. But the fingers are coping better each day.

Edit diary, Tech question, Critiquing, Anthology, Writers Festival

Days 115-117 (September 4-6)

Editing: Am working on Book Two in the mornings (current edit almost done, at least one more to go) and Book One in the afternoons (hopefully the last sweep). At the moment I’m still too close to the second story to see it objectively, but was a bit shocked in my revisit of Book One to find more than the occasional stilted passage surviving.

In both parts of the day there is much chopping and compacting along with loosening up. I hope the need for significant changes will tail off soon.

Tech question: I’ve been hankering after an iPad for a while but feel unable to justify the expenditure with a trusty laptop that travels with me for everyday use and a trouble-free PC at home. When a For DUMMIES book on iPad 2 jumped out from the library display table I couldn’t resist the chance to explore what it can do. So who knows where that could end? I’ve seen some writer colleagues toting a compact package with iPad, external keyboard and other bits and pieces working very effectively. Maybe the versatility, light weight and therefore easier portability will win me over.

Critiquing: Tomorrow’s meeting of ourWriters Group promises to be interesting. Most members continue to submit work each month. As always it is a joy to see new work or chapters that have been reworked, shining in different ways. This month I was so excited by a YA story that seems to have taken off – very talented writing. I can see it being snapped up when completed.

I’ve had online feedback already for my chapter, and look forward to tomorrow’s discussion of the comments. I had intended to wait for all suggestions before making changes, but related so strongly to one view that I have already done a big rewrite of one section with more to do in other parts of the story so that one of Freya’s character flaws can be more clearly understood. Very clear in my head but hadn’t come through to the page.

It will also be good to hear opinions about the experiences of several members who are participating in ongoing workshops sponsored by the Queensland Writers Centre.

Anthology: The number of views is climbing. Hopefully readers will enjoy the results of our fun experience. It’s free on Smashwords. Title is Ten Minute Tales by the Victoria Point Writers Group.

Queensland Writers Festival: There are so many interesting workshops and panelson offer it has been hard to choose. I plan to flit between a number all day on Saturday.

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