Saturday 20 April 2024

~ Blossom ~



Had to take some photos before it all disappears :)

Tuesday 5 March 2024

On The Editing/Redrafting Process - here's mine, what's yours?


This morning when I logged on to TwitteX, the first post I saw was this one, from @AndyMacCreative

Tweet in link above, if you wish to reply :)

I started to explain my set way, for Andy and anyone else who likes to read about how others approach the whole writing process (I love it!).  Then I realised it was becoming blog post length, so here goes...


What I do, on finishing draft #1 of a novel:

1.  Write THE END, tell husband the good news, watch telly without guilt!

2.  Probably the next day, I open the document and go back to the beginning for Draft #2.  I'm aware of the very good advice to let a book 'settle' for a month before redrafting, but the way I see it is this: by the time I get to the end, I haven't read the first chapters for some time, which amounts to the same thing.*  I go through the whole book, word by word, sentence by sentence, and re-write what doesn't work/could be written more succinctly/is wrong consecutively/is irrelevant, etc etc.

*Having said that, when I look back on old books of mine I experience all sorts of cringe moments, so perhaps I ought to let them all 'settle' for at least fifteen years.  😁

During Draft #2 I find that some of the events don't tie up.  That I've changed a character's personality, or forgotten that they wear glasses, have a dog, whatever.  This is where I make most changes to the actual story.  I use lots of post-its.  'Need more detail about Xander's relationship with Asher' or 'David survive or not?', etc.  The notes go on the notice board in front of me.  I colour code them for areas of the novel, for instance green for character tweaks, pink for one location, etc.  It's all fairly haphazard, though!

I write the timeline down as I'm going through, so I don't have someone doing something on a crisp autumn day when it would actually still be summer.  Or sweating when he should be freezing.  It's just a list on a piece of paper that I can refer to.  For instance, 'Brian escapes: early August.' 'Norah gets to Safe Zone: April Yr 8'.   Nothing complicated.  I also write down the characters' dates of birth so I can work out what age they are when.  

I fantasise about doing a proper spreadsheet to print off and stick up, but I never get round to it, so two pieces of scribbled A4 suffice!

3.  When Draft #2 is done, I go back for Draft #3.  Same process, read through every word, from the beginning.  I find it's during Draft #3 that the story itself becomes properly formed.

4. Drafts #4, 5 and 6 are for really fine-tuning the prose, the dialogue, etc.  Making it all tighter.  I make a list of slang words commonly used by each character.  For instance, if Xander always describes those he doesn't like as 'dickheads', I don't want Jon using the same word.

5.  By the end of Draft #6 I'm fed up with the sight of it, which is when I send it to my proofreader.  Once I've pressed 'send', I pretend I'm going to write the blurb, research its Amazon categories, catch up on my TBR list, make a detailed plan for the next book and clean the flat from top to bottom, but instead I spend these days of freedom doing 'Which Last Kingdom Character Are You?' quizzes online (last time I did one I was Father Pyrlig) and idling around YouTube.

6.  When it's back from proofreading, 10 days or 2-3 weeks later, I go through it from the beginning once more.  Draft #7.  

7.  My novel then goes to Very Picky Test Reader.  This is always a difficult week.

VPTR reads the book on a Kindle screen, and makes notes.  Once this is finished, I go through all the notes and decide which changes I want to implement and which I don't.  These are then transferred to the main document, online.

8.  I then read the whole thing on a Kindle screen, which gives a new perspective to it.  I don't know why, it just does.  Other people do this by printing it off, but I find it simpler and cheaper to do it on screen.  I'm a screen rather than a hardcopy reader anyway, books-wise.  If I find anything else I want to change at this point (I always do!), I make notes, which are then transferred to the document.

9  It's done!  I chuck it at He Who Formats, and it's out of my hands, hurrah!  Then I really do have to write the blurb and research the categories....

If you would like to share your own editing methods, please reply to Andy's tweet directly (link in first sentence), or in the comments here!

Saturday 3 February 2024

Winter Trees and flowers




Tuesday 26 December 2023

Boxing Day Walk



Yesterday I ate half a Betty's sticky toffee cake, approximately 10 biscuits of the chocolate and shortbread variety, and about 765 Quality Street, so today I breakfasted lightly on two boiled eggs and strode out, while I could still get out of the front door.

While I was trying to get a closer shot of this ivy, I leaned too far forward and fell into the holly bush.  I mean properly fell, in the dirt, and had to scramble out.  Two people walked past as this happened but neither of them offered to help - I wonder if they thought I was drunk?! 😁

This was the action shot taken as I fell... 😆

Anyone lost a parrot?  Or two parrots?  They're actually ring-necked parakeets, usually only seen in southern England, but occasionally seen elsewhere if escaped from captivity.  

🎄🌞🎄🌞🎄🌞🎄 ðŸŒžðŸŽ„🌞🎄🌞🎄

Monday 27 November 2023

Now That's What I Call Old

We all make jokes about 'Ooh, must be getting old' when we'd rather stay at home than go out, or when we have a mental block about someone's name, but if you understand any of the following, you're not 'getting' old at all.  

You've already got there.

Nice one, Mr Bowie, but I'm not sure you meant the person who thinks Oasis and Nirvana are new music, who hasn't worn high heels in 15 years and who not only has a favourite teaspoon, but thinks her coffee tastes different if an alternative is used.

In all its glory. 


If it's the first and third Tuesday of the month... 

When the next day is 'normal' bin day, ie not recycling or garden rubbish, I empty all the small bins into the big one and tie up the full bin liner so I can take it downstairs and put in the wheelie bin.  That's normal, right?  As is sometimes taking it down the night before, and going out late at night to pull the bin out onto the street in case the bin men come earlier than usual.

Now ... this what I call old:

Not only having put the bin out the night before, but looking out of window next morning and feeling smug because I did so.  Especially if it's raining.  And reporting on this achievement to my husband, expecting a metaphorical pat on the back.


Now that's what I call old:

The other day I took a brief look at the Billboard Music Awards hashtag on Twitter, and found that I had not actually heard of any of the artistes aside from Mariah Carey (who was probably getting an award for most glamorous old timer, or something), and Taylor Swift, though I do not believe I have heard any of her records, and certainly couldn't name one.  The rest all appeared to be Korean children.


You know you've crossed the Rubicon when you become aware of the restorative powers of a cup of tea and a toasted teacake.  Around 20 years ago I worked in a café in Cromer and wondered why this was the mid-afternoon snack of choice for all the pensioners who would come in.  Now, I understand.


'You look the same as you did when I first knew you!'

In your 50s, when you meet up with friends you've known forever but haven't seen for a while, you each think the other looks about the same.  Of course neither of you actually do, but you know each others' faces so well, and your favourable impression is helped along by the fact that you're too vain to wear your glasses, so everyone is in soft focus.

However, when you get into your 60s, you know it's all falling apart for both of you.  There are no cries of 'You don't look any different!'  Not least of all because you've given in to the glasses thing, otherwise you'd fall down the step to the loo in that nice café you've chosen for lunch.  No, you no longer automatically meet in a pub!

With my friend Abi, last Friday


Sometimes, when you happen across the social media bio of Gen Z people, you genuinely don't know what half of it means.

3w4, she/her, aro ace queer, Side A ... Some frog lady literally just some Amphibby guy ðŸ’šðŸ¹ ðŸš She/her ‼️ Perpetually stuck in Amphibia Season 2 ... zelda + OCs! demise is my blorbo - my loz comic "Destiny"🔥 


'You tell me about your aches and pains, and I'll tell you about mine.'

Nowadays you might feel the cold more - and each morning you do a quick assessment of which bits hurt most: the arthritic knuckles, the arm you used to carry a heavy bag yesterday, the lower back pain, the sciatica...

My spectacular osteo-arthritic finger.  They're all varying degrees of bad, but this beauty hurts so much and constantly; I've just got used to it (and yes, I've tried everything imaginable, waiting for steroid injections!).


The years pass by ever more quickly...

You know how when you were a child in the 1960s or 70s, you would see pictures of your parents from the 30s and 40s and think how funny and old-fashioned they looked.  You may have recently realised that there was less of a gap between the 30s/40s and your own childhood/teenage years, than there is between the years of your own youth, and NOW.  If you know what I mean.

Mum, early 1950s


'But then we grew up in a time without social media...'

You don't just think that the 1970s and 80s was a better time, you know it was.  Even the long dark teatime of the soul that was the late afternoon in on a winter Sunday, when there was nothing to watch on telly (because there were only 3 channels) and the pubs had shut at 2 pm and would not open again until 7.  What the hell, it was character-building!  

Every day, something makes you feel grateful for having your youth when you did, not least of all because you got to see all those rock bands in their heydays, because you could smoke in pubs, and there weren't any bouncers on the door and it was safe to walk home alone at night and people ate real food and had family meal times and you can remember when this was all fields.....

With various chums (and a couple of my sister, below) from about 1975 - 1980.  Bottom right, above, was with Ray, my first long-term boyfriend.  Before camera phones, digital cameras, etc... the photo booths were much used!

(me in 1985)

Other posts about the ageing process...