Submitted

Sunday, January 31, 2021, I sent an email with my manuscript attached. I received a confirmation and a call that it’s in the reviewing process.

The process of writing a book is long. I will admit this one didn’t take as long as Silent River, which took thirty-five years to get published. This book took me about six-eight months to complete. I did some plotting early in 2020 right after COVID hit and I was laid off my job.

Writing websites serve as helps to those who use them. In 2007 I joined Writing.com and I can’t begin to praise the writers there. I posted story after story. They critiqued my work and showed me what I needed to do to make the stories better. They also helped me to become a good reviewer/critic. This site gives me the opportunity to give back to those who helped me.

However, posting stories there may or may not get you the immediate response you need when you are writing a novel. I receive review request now and then. I didn’t ask for reviews from those who are on the site as I wanted a variety of responses. I submitted my chapters to The Write Practice.

This site isn’t free like writing.com is. You can’t earn your membership on TWP like you can with WdC. This site is set up to teach you how to get published. Joe Bunting has seminars, that run the gambit from learning to plot your novel to write 2 publish.

The Write Practice writers gave me great feed back with in a few hours/day. After I posted my chapter (or portion there of) I had to review three other writers before I could see my reviews. It helps everyone get noticed. In return I had a number of followers who reviewed my work as I posted. This kept me on track and gave helped me to be accountable for the weekly posting.

Once I finished the manuscript. I needed readers to tell me if I left holes in the plot, or changed names (which I did, thank you Molly G. for catching that) Then as I blogged last time, I edited it. I know there is no book that is perfect, but I will say this is the best I’ve produced so far and I’m still learning.

I have another plot I’m starting and a rewrite for a friend that’s in progress.

Thank you all for following my blog and supporting my writing.

Photo by Torsten Dettlaff on Pexels.com

Editing is work!

This is a wakeup call to writers. Some of you have passed this stage and some of you are, like me, have to be hit over the head with it. Editing.

On my first book, I had an “editor” who went through my manuscript line by line. I appreciated that, but one person can’t do it all. I’m discovering that. My next book, had a quick Grammarly edit and I had the program read it back to me so I could hear it. It sounded good and I let it go to a publisher.

This time I put it though the Grammarly program and caught most of the problems they detected. On Facebook there are advertisers. I saw one that had a program indicating it did an in-depth look at the manuscript. It’s called Authors A.I. I finally figured how to submit my MS. What a wake up call. They gave a list of words that had been repeated as well as other areas I needed to look at. I began to work on that.

A friend had mentioned a program she used and I’d listened to her talk about it but didn’t pursue it. This time when she talked, I listened.

Autocrit is an amazing program if you want to work your manuscript into something that readers aren’t going to pick apart. (There are those who will do it no matter what you do.)

The first section I chose to address was PACING. I found it had to do partly with my writing and partly the way the program read my MS. I fixed the problems until I had a thumbs up.

My next point of attack dealt with STRONG WRITING/show vs. tell. I’m still there working on words they highlighted, Know, see, there, feel/feeling and it’s. These words are hard to replace and not use other words they list as telling. I’m still working on this section, but I’m almost done.

I know when I get through this process, I’ll have a better book than I had at the beginning.

Update: I finished the laborious task of editing. This is tedious but well worth the effort. I’m sure I didn’t catch everything. Knowing I did my best gives me satisfaction when I pressed the SEND on the email.

Photo by Ono Kosuki on Pexels.com

The Writing/Research

I’ll go back a few weeks. I finished the manuscript (MS). Now what?

I sighed as I looked at the last edit I’d done. Okay it may not be perfect. (My inner self kept saying it’s not good enough and it’s a dumb story). I kicked that thought to the gutter and marched on. What do I need to do next? Readers, a beta reader(s). Luckily I have people who know people. I had a reader who loves to read and reviews on Amazon. She was eager to read my MS. I sent my baby off.

During the last year I’d been receiving calls from publishers who said my first book was reviewed by their team and it qualified for a promotional package. I asked a lot of questions about what they do. I received lots of emails with price packages . One of the things I did to qualify the company was to go to Amazon and search for their publications. I would click on the books and check for the date published and how many reviews they had.

Publishing a book doesn’t mean a promotional package was purchased. However, if you are selling your book to friends a family and they like the book, beg them to write a review. Even if it’s a star rating and “I read the book and liked it. I’d recommend it.” It’s something that says someone paid money to buy it or was gifted it and read it.

I want to say just because you choose to have a publisher help publish your book and you have to pay for their services doesn’t make you a looser. I’ve heard so many people say “Don’t pay anyone to publish your book. It’s a scam.” “You’re not a real writer if you have to pay to publish.” That’s not true.

There are companies that will scam you. You need to look at the fine print and ask questions. If you have researched this self publishing process, you won’t be taken in. It’s another route to getting your work to the public. If you’ve crafted a story following the writing guides you will connect with readers. They will read your book.

I’m going to say this about me. I have insecurities. I’m afraid to write query letters and try the traditional publishing route. I told myself they would take my MS (if they accepted it) and it would take a year before it would be published, or longer. It might not be what I sent in. I’d best do the pay to play route.

Accepting that I knew how to market and work to promote my book. I just hoped it would be as well received as The Vanishing of Katherine Sullivan. I will have to take that chance.

That being said I chose Gold Touch Press. I know their weaknesses. I have a limited budget.

To be continued—-

The W Plot Diagram

It’s been a long time since I posted. I’ve been finishing up my latest novel Beneath the Ice. I need to let it sit before I start editing it again. I hope to have it ready to submit for publishing next month.

While I took a break, and ad popped up on my Facebook. It advertised how to Plot Your Novel in 5 Days. It sounded interesting. I logged in to take the free course. What’s a week? I thought.

A while ago I came across a newspaper article about a murder that wasn’t a murder, back in the late 1800’s. The whole story was too fantastical not to capture my interest. I played with the plot, set it in the 1920’s in Stillwater, Mn, then added a detective as a main character. The story fizzled. I had the beginning and end. So this detective needed to solve a murder that would over the course of a couple years not be the murder they thought it was. Confused? So was I. How could I write this zany story?

I decided to apply this Plot-in-a-week to the story and see what came out of it. What a journey it became. What I learned about plotting filled in details to the plot structure I already knew.

DAY 1-What is your protagonist’s core want? That got me thinking. My main character is a detective and he wants to solve a murder. BUT what does he really want? I wrote something down and played around with it for a day.

DAY 2-What is the main goal and what obstacles need to be overcome? Now I needed more. So his goal is to solve a murder, and obstacles are Organized Crime in that prohibition era, that is ripe with dirty cops and bribery. I went back to his core value. What if he were a moral man who wouldn’t take bribes? Okay, then what if the dirty cops in his station pressed him to leave the case alone. After all the girl was a dancer or prostitute, they didn’t matter. What is my character’s reaction to that? more writing.

DAY 3-What is the “inciting incident” or the “all is lost” moment? I looked at what the bullet points I’d written so far. I needed two dead bodies. In order for the end to work I needed a body he finds in the present to remind him of the body he’d found 3 years ago. Now the plot began to work. I went back and quickly filled out what happened to the first body from the newspaper article and added a character profile that would work. I was on a roll.

Day 4- The PLOT W-This is where it all came together. We were supposed to write the inciting event, then at the bottom of the first V, the first major setback. At the top of the next (upside down V) the major triumph. At the bottom of that V, the major low, the all is lost moment. The last was the climax and end.
My muse flowed. I had all the main points along with the points in between. When I was done I looked at it and I had my novel ready to write. I have a map. I may take detours, but I know where I have to be at the 5 main points. I can’t let myself get so far off course I can’t get back.

On the zoom call for that day, they picked (randomly) 4 plot diagrams to critique. Mine was chosen and they loved the idea. They liked that I took the details farther than just the 5 points.

DAY 5- The wrap up. What did I learn? What is my next step. Now just go write.

If you are interested you can look for Plot Your Novel in 5 Days or any of their other sessions. If you want more help you can find them at http://www.happywriters.com

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

The Oxford Dictionary

We have come to take the dictionary for granted. From my earliest years we were sent to the bookshelf where a thick, heavy book full of words to enrich and enhance our speech as well as our read sat. Looking for the proper spelling of a word, you might come across an interesting word. There might be a word that would catch your eye in passing that would stay with you for years.

Today I watched the movie The Professor and the Madman. How did the Oxford come to be? It’s a fantastic tale that we never knew.

What does the Oxford Dictionary mean today? We have at our fingertips any word we need. There had to be an original list so the Scholars began a tremendous undertaking.

They read books and old manuscripts looking for words and tracing their origins. The movie chronicles this journey as it relates to two men. The story intrigued me as I realize how far we’ve come since then. From heavy tones to paperback pocket size, then to auto correct as we type.

Words woven together creates stories. They tell truths and lies. The use of common words or the crafting of less used words they can make us laugh and cry. How often do you use the dictionary in the written word? Have you ever just looked at words around the one you questioned.

Take an evening and watch this movie. The next time you look up a word use a dictionary you have on your shelf among the myriad of writing books.

CONFLICT

Every story needs it to engage a reader. Why do we read stories or watch movies? We are presented with a problem and we want to see the struggle the Main Character endures in order win. This is a great article that addresses this when writing.

Lockdown can be productive

This time of shut down has been productive for me. I have finished my novel and now I’m editing it. I’ve been posting and getting great critiques. Being able to post one to two chapters a week and getting immediate feedback has pushed me to be productive. I’m a Procrastinator with a P.
This novel will be published this fall. I’m hoping the title BENEATH THE ICE is a good one. I checked Amazon and there are a number of books with a similar title. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or bad. They are, for the most part, in the same genre.
Let me give you a brief synopsis.

While Detective Andrea Watson is watching ice blocks being cut from Blue Lake, she sees something in the ice that causes her concern.  She discovers body parts encased in netting.  She and FBI Agent Fletcher Peterson are on the search for a serial killer. 
She deals with a misogyinistic police department, a pesky reporter, as well as a interested parent. Will she and the agent be able to find the killer before he kills again?

While helping others and reviewing their work I find my own writing is getting better. I honestly am talking myself into pitching it to an agent next month. Maybe I can bypass the self publishing route and get an agent and publisher.
I need help with crafting a pitch and query letter. The idea of that is daunting.

Cover Artists

Cover art is the hardest part of publishing. You have an idea but nothing you see on stock photos that are free seem to fit your vision.

I’ve looked at many artists’ sites and they seem to be more in the fantasy, science fiction, or a basic box cover.

Here is an artist I found that seems to fit my vision. I have a children’s book I’d like to get published. It’s about A Dragon with a Bad Habit. I’m hoping to find a publisher

Here is Kristen’s web page. Contact her for artwork. https://www.deviantart.com/kcie-aiko/gallery/all