Thursday, 15 January 2015

So, you've written a novel. What next?

You're novel's all written. What do you do next?

First, off step away from the manuscript. Have some fun. Zap zombies on a computer game. Catch up with your favourite TV show. Hey, the whole new season of Orange is the New Black is on Netflix.

Had a break? Feel rested? Now it's time to look at your manuscript again with fresh eyes.

You're looking for -

Spelling mistakes - do not trust spell checkers. They can lull you into a false sense of security and change words. Mine change violet jumpsuit to violent. Don't know what it had against violent.

Plot holes - did you bring a dead character back to life? Not resolve a part of the storyline that needed to be resolved? Don't leave someone standing on the ledge of a building without having them persuaded not to jump, or rappelling down to break into that office.

Look for continuity errors - Did you rename a character halfway through the book or change the spelling of their name? Were they shot or kidnapped, and you carried on writing like they hadn't been?

Get rid of all the fluffy words like just and only as much as you can. They don't read well and are unnecessary.

Did you commit the sin of writing he/she started to (ADD AN ACTION like run) - Have someone run not start to run.

Check for errors you and only you would make - For instance, I had stench the flow of blood instead of staunch the flow in one of my books and I did I even notice. My publisher's copy editor didn't, but the proof reader did. But, she only spotted one, another two instances were left in the book.

Don't have characters doing the same thing all the time -
I found too many taking a deep breath in my latest book. Shake it up. Have characters doing different things.

Please don't send your novel off without the best chance of publishing success. Publishers and agents want you to make it easy for them to say no. Don't hand them that reason.

Happy writing folks. Would love to hear what you are working on.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Who should I dedicate my book to?

Writing a book is tough work, so why shouldn't you get the finishing touches right? Finishing touches like the dedication?

I'm sure I'm not the only one whose mind goes blank when it comes to dedications, so I'm writing this post as much for myself as to help anyone else.

So, who do you dedicate your book to?
Ask yourself these questions -

Who inspired you to write?

A teacher at school?

A friend?

Your parents?

A relative?

Did someone go beyond the call of duty to help you write the book?

Do you have children and they babysat for you?

Did someone encourage you to write when you were about to give up?

For instance, Stephen King threw his manuscript for Carrie in the trash. His wife rescued it.
Dean R Koontz dedicated one of his books to his dog who had passed away.

I dedicated Hell To Pay to my mum Rosemary and Aunt Isobel, as well as two of my best friends who sadly died young. They are the two strongest women I know and Nancy Kerr is a strong female protagonist and the star of the the Die Hard for Girls series of books.

Tip: I dedicated the book to them, but could just have easily have named my main character after them. Instead I named Nancy Kerr after two of my best friends at school.

Remember, dedicating your book to someone makes a wonderful gift. Don't waste the opportunity your hard work's brought about by not using it.

Note - the Die Hard for Girls books were relaunched as the Crime Files by Limitless Publishing in April and May 2015. 

DI Duncan Waddell - Detective in a Coma Book 2

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