on the writing & reading trail

Posts tagged ‘saga’

Edit diary and more . . .

The blog has had little attention of late – preoccupied with family matters.  But I managed to fit in some of the usual action – working towards publication of the first novel of a family saga series, writing, learning, reading, meeting friends, walking, melting in the heat. Fortunately not affected by the fires apart from intermittent smoke pall. Thoughts are with those who have lost so much.

Editing: Almost half-way through what is to be the final edit of Book One – Past imperfect. Making few and minor changes only.

Writing: Focussed on front and back matter for Past imperfect. Hadn’t given this serious thought before, but getting there. Still need to clarify permissions for several quotes. I’m hoping two are now in the public domain, but it’s a challenge to confirm that. Intending to publish first with Smashwords and then investigate the others.

Starting to gather plot ideas for the fourth, probably final book in the series. No title yet but the main characters will be familiar from previous books. One focus will be on international adoptions with Australia as the main setting. And of course the African connections will be maintained.

I’m hoping to work in parallel on non-fiction topics through 2013.

Book cover: Totally delighted with first draft for the Past imperfect cover and the designer’s proposals for the others. The master design will be modified for the next two or three books to reflect differences in location and content focus.

Changes pending

Changes pending

Pen name: I’ve been dallying over a pen-name for my fiction writing for a while and have eventually settled on Winfreda Donald. There is a story to that choice which I’ve included in the back matter for Past imperfect.

Colleagues / friends: One Writer’s Group friend, Nene Davies is featuring her work on The Next Big Thing today and her first novel Distance is to be e-published by an Australian publisher around May. You can visit Nene’s blog at www.nenedavies.com. Sara, another Group friend is almost ready to submit a manuscript to a publisher. Good luck Nene and Sara.

A walk in the park

A walk in the park

Other activities:

#1. I’ve been tagged for The Next Big Thing next week – looking forward to circulating that next Tuesday, 22nd January.

#2. Am working my way intensively through an online ProWriter course How to find readers and market your novel, devised by Joanna Penn and C J Lyons. I barrelled into it but you can choose to work on the content at any pace. For me it is terrific value as it provides a useful framework to all my random internet searches seeking ideas for marketing e-books. The material, blending as it does the experience of a multi-book author with that of a newer author on the block, is very practical and both presenters are generous with ideas, clearly oriented to a business approach to their work and emphasising the ethical with it all. They provide much support material and reference other writers as well.

I will be a little slow to get going, but now feel mentally if not technologically prepared to market Past imperfect when it is ready. Hopefully late next month.

You can tap into information on http://www.thecreativepenn.com/marketyourbook/. It works for me as a newbie on the scene but I think some established indie authors could gain benefit as well. Thank-you Joanna and CJ.

#3. I joined Romance Writers Australia and am impressed by the wide range of information and the support available to members. When I’ve finalised Past imperfect activities, my first port of call will be to seek a critique partner (or two) as I work on the next edit of Present tense, the second book of the saga series.

It feels like a positive start to 2013. Best wishes to all.

Progress note re family saga edit

Day 44 (June 27)

Editing:  A good productive day with editing. Moving on and thinking I might try focusing on both Parts One and Two of Present Tense (I’m trialling the new title – maybe it feels OK) to see if that will work. The parts are very different with few overlapping interests so it may be practical. I’m itching to get to some of the African content and I currently have several library books out that will be helpful to check previous research and to be mentally and emotionally in the right place.

Reading:  I finished Past the shallows. I was disappointed that I still could not relate to the human characters although there were a couple of wonderful sea episodes. Maybe my problem is that I worked many years ago with abused and desperate children in a Glasgow Children’s Home and Parrett’s characters didn’t resonate in a recognisable way. Who knows why? It’s all complex and personal as to what attracts or not.

I’m starting on a new family drama series, unfortunately tapping into Book Three, titled Found, by Karen Kingsbury. Chosen because it is large-print, I look forward to a comfort read of this designated best-seller – apparently over three million of this author’s books in circulation. I’m disappointed I couldn’t find the first of the series on the shelves. Today I returned four books, only started but left, because the print is too small for comfort. Sad. I really wanted to read each of them, the blurbs were so promising, not that that is a guarantee of satisfaction. The settings were India, Pakistan and Europe.

General: Tomorrow is a new day. Roll on the dual editing experiment.

Edit diary (5 April)

Day 39 (April 5)

A very good day. Feeling well and energetic again and the Queensland mid-autumn weather is perfect, although I do admit to feeling a bit nostalgic about real northern hemisphere autumn colours and the snap of coolness. Canberra was like that too, but it feels a long time since I left there early in 1992. Must look out some photographs as reminders.

Clear and wonderful blue

Goals: To work through at least three chapters of editing AND to give some thought to short story ideas.

Progress: Today’s editing went like a dream. I worked my way quickly through four chapters where it’s autumn in Scotland also; the year is 1983.  Freya’s grandmother remembers some unwelcome facts from the past while Freya is looking forward to a few weeks of leave which she intends to use preparing for her finals at the beginning of the next year.

Prolific purple blooms

Today Alexander was having a pensive time in Queensland’s spring, with the end-of-year purple blossom of the jacarandas beginning to show. And it looks as if he might find a way to end the impasse of separation from Freya, temporarily at least, although he wants to keep his ideas as a surprise. Bad move, as unexpected events are taking shape behind the scenes in Scotland.

Only the final chapter for Part One remains to be scrutinised, unless I bring forward the first chapter from Part Two – haven’t quite made up my mind about that.

My new indicative deadline for completion of the editing task for Parts One and Two, and therefore Book One, is now April 30. Possible? Maybe.

About the short stories: I think I’ve settled on two ideas, oddly both arising from a time when I worked in a UK community hospital – not sure why the long ago incidents found their way to the surface right now, but each seems to offer a seed for growing a fiction around it. One is about an old woman the other about a toddler.

So today’s goals were met.

Other: And surprisingly it’s a while before the bus is due, but not long enough to commit to a chapter. I can see the stop from my spot here in the library, so there’s time for reflection:

  • I’m thinking in my next edit sweep I need to check for writing style, to make sure that it differentiates between the characters sufficiently – I’m hoping it has happened alright as the main characters are so clear in my head
  • What is genre? And which one(s) apply for my story? The answer varies somewhat between each of the three books and contains more than a taste of a number of things: overall a family and friendship saga / a love story / there’s a mystery of sorts / a coming-of-age tale / a woman’s read probably. How do I respond to the question if I make a submission? Do I make a judgement one book at a time? Or consider the overall content of the current trilogy? And then the fourth book in the series is incubating away. It is quite different even though the characters will only have moved on around ten years – but most of the action will take place in Australia, instead of being spread between Queensland, Scotland, Europe and Africa.

More other: Pleasant surprise when I checked the Irish Fish Publishing site this evening for results of the International Short Memoir and Flash Fiction competitions – my stories, Memory rings true and Innocence lost respectively, were on the long lists.

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