Life Cycle of a Writer – Sue Fortin

I was just looking back at when I did my last update for Life Cycle of a Writer and can’t believe it was as far back as the end of November where I talked about feedback and had some great input from Sue Moorcroft and Louise Jensen, you can see the post here.

In that post I had recently gone through the editing process for my latest novel Sister Sister and now, by pure coincidence, I am going through the editing stage with my next book – currently untitled and no set release date yet.

In between these two editing stages, I’ve been pretty much occupied with writing my current wip. I must admit, I struggled for several weeks to settle on an idea. I had hoped it would just sort of come to me or that I would find inspiration in my folder marked ‘Book Ideas’. Sadly, this wasn’t to be, all the so-called book ideas either didn’t have enough story or no story whatsoever. I kept telling myself not to panic, that something was bound to occur to me but as the days and weeks rolled by, I started to question my wisdom. In the end I had to sit down and force myself to come up with at least one good idea.

I started by writing down themes I would like to explore and relationships that interested me. Then I wrote down some situations or circumstances that would put these ideas to the test, where there would be conflict and resolution needed. It took some time, but eventually I began to get the inkling of an idea. It wasn’t a clear idea and then took a few more weeks to develop into anything meaningful. By this time, I was up against the clock for my March deadline.

Towards the end of last year, myself and three other Romaniacs, Laura, Catherine and Lucie had planned a writing retreat weekend and this fell at the right time for me. It was the impetus I needed to kick-start some serious writing and to immerse myself in my story for three days without interruption. It was a lovely luxury and I benefitted hugely from it and went on to complete the first draft in just two months. I must admit, it was hard going with this one. Some books seem to flow and other books need rather more coaxing – this one was definitely a high maintenance one, but I got there in the end.

So now I’m about half-way through my structural edits, with several more rounds to go. Once the final proofed edits have been returned to my publisher, it will be back to plotting another novel, which hopefully will be more straight forward as I seem to have ignited my imagination again and already have three new ideas for books roughly plotted out.

Sue

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Follow up Friday

So… how did we do with our targets this week?

Vanessa:

  1. I’m on target with my edits – I need to finish the final polishing of the wip this week ready to…
  2. Send the wip off to my agent!!

I did it!!! Finished the polishing of my edits Tuesday night and pressed send! Now it’s time to obsessively stalk my email in-box…

  1. Finish a short story for a mid-Feb deadline (still on the list from last time!!)

Sort of… Didn’t manage to finish the short story but I have written a new flash fiction piece for another competition. 300 words instead of 3000 🙂

  1. Non-writing related: when the wip has gone off, do some very neglected housework!

We’ll say no more about this one!

Catherine:

I’ve only written 500 words of the 5,000 word target, but there is still the weekend to go and I have babysitters to help get me to my deadline!

I have a nice shiny loooonnngggg TTD list.

Relocation occurring on Saturday!

 

How has everyone else got on this week?

 

Life Cycle of a Writer – Sue Fortin

This is my first Life Cycle of a Writer post this year, my last post was at the beginning of December, click here for a recap. So, since then a few exciting things have happened.

I had a fantastic few days in Shropshire where I met up with the other Romanaic girls and we had our Sparkle Weekend. It was a 70’s theme and we had great fun dancing in the kitchen and belting out some old school tunes.

edits1In my last update, I was waiting for news on the submissions I had made for my fourth full length novel. Since then I have had one official rejection, one assumed rejection as I never heard anything back, two offers of publication and one offer of representation by an agent, Kate Nash of Kate Nash Literary Agency. I was delighted to accept Kate’s offer which I blogged about here and was grateful of the advice as to which publishing offer to accept. HarperImpulse,who published my previous three novels, will be publishing my new novel – we are still deciding on a name for it though.

Last week I actually finished the first round of edits for Book 4 and I am now waiting for the next round to come in. Hopefully, we can get down to sorting out a name and book cover soon.

I’ve also been drumming up interest for the library talk myself, Laura and Catherine from the Romaniacs are giving in Chichester on 25 Febrary. Ticket sales are going well. If anyone is in the area and fancies coming along for a chat, we’d be delighted to see you there.

The Life Cycle of a Writer

After giving my house some love this week, aka doing the housework, I’m going to get back to the novella series I’m working on. The French Retreat was released last Autumn and I’m currently in the middle of writing book 2 in the Falling For France series; The French Affair. I had to put it to one side while I dealt with my edits for Book 4. I’m looking forward to going back to France with the novella and, fingers crossed, that we (me, husband and youngest) can get out to France for real and visit our cottage. We haven’t been for a while and are getting withdrawal symptoms. It will also be a good chance to do some research.

christmas hayley 089

Sue 

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Motivation Monday – 8th February

Happy Monday everybody! Time for some of us to share our targets for the week ahead – writing and non-writing related!

Vanessa:

  1. I’m on target with my edits – I need to finish the final polishing of the wip this week ready to…
  2. Send the wip off to my agent!!
  3. Finish a short story for a mid-Feb deadline (still on the list from last time!!)
  4. Non-writing related: when the wip has gone off, do some very neglected housework!

What are everyone else’s plans for the week? I’ll let you know how I got on on Friday!

Vanessa x

Jan:

Well, my targets for this week are: 1)  To complete and return my answers to some fab questions posed to me by a fellow writer for her blog. 2) To chase up some research enquiries for Book Two. 3)  To gear myself up for my next dental appointment this coming Thursday (second half of root canal treatment, oh joy of absolute joys!).

Catherine:

  1. Write 5,000 words minimum to be on target for book deadline.
  2. Relocate my twins and myself to my mum’s house while my husband stays behind and we have new heating fitted in the house.
  3. Write another TTD list for all the things I need to do in the run up to P Day! Just over a month to go!

Follow Up Friday 5th February

So, how did we get on this week? Did we achieve what we set out to do on Motivation Monday’s post? Let’s see …

author picSue :

  1. Final read through of manuscript on Kindle … tick
  2. Tweak as necessary … a little tick as I’m 75% through with the tweaks
  3. Send to editor … that will get a tick later today

All in all, a good week for me, despite a few unscheduled interruptions which have probably put me back by a day. Will send the manuscript over to my editor today – fingers crossed she will like what I’ve done.

edits part 3

Hope everyone else had a good week and, if not, don’t worry as there’s always next week!

Celia: Have my three tasks been done? No, no and no. Have been off sick all week – feeling very sorry for myself and eating a lot of hot buttered toast but not doing anything else. Have put all these jobs on hold. Will try again as soon as the muse and the ooomph return. Well done Sue!

 

 

Motivation Monday 1st February

author picSue :

Monday is here upon us again, I hope you all had a good weekend and ready to tackle the week ahead.

My To Do List isn’t very big, but if, I mean when, I get it done it will be a huge relief to me. So, here it is …

  1. Final read through of manuscript on Kindle.
  2. Tweak as necessary.
  3. Send to editor.

edits 2

 

Dragonfly

Celia: This is my first time on Motivation Monday, for a  very good reason – I haven’t had any writing motivation to report! The day job is syphoning off lots of energy and the writing part of it hasn’t been much fun. BUT, the new area for creating works of fiction is waiting for me upstairs in the spare room, and this week I’m aiming to use it to:

  1. Redraft and enter 2000 words and synopsis in the SCBWI Slushpile Challenge for the start of a YA love story.
  2. Write the next part of the Year Five spoof Greek myth play.
  3. Continue with edits of WIP, even if only a couple of chapters.

Launch 017

Life Cycle of a Writer – Jan Brigden

There it sat in my inbox.

‘EDITS REPORT’

The butterflies descended before I even opened the attachment.

The lovely email from my editor, introducing herself and offering me all the support and encouragement I could have hoped for, put a huge smile on my face, but I don’t mind admitting to you that, upon initially reading the proposed structural revisions for my first novel, the photo below pretty much summed up my mood.

 

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I could hear my fellow Romaniac Vanessa’s voice in my head: “Freeze it for a couple of days, Jan, then have another read and things will look much clearer.”

Mr B, of course, agreed, and being as fantastically calm and reassuring as ever, came in from work the following day, clutching these: 

 

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Sure enough, upon reading through the report another two or three times, and accepting my lovely editor’s kind offer to walk me through it page by page, we arranged to meet in London.

I’d been a bit apprehensive on the train beforehand as, having absorbed the suggestions and feeling enthusiastic about ninety per cent of them, (even though I had no clue if I could actually implement them successfully!) I also knew there were one or two points we were likely to disagree on.

I needn’t have worried, because within ten minutes of meeting my editor and seeing her passion for my novel and my characters, and hearing her brilliant explanations of how the edits would help to enrich the overall story, I was eager to get cracking.

 

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I’d wrongly been of the mind-set that we were on opposing teams. Why would I feel like that? Was it preciousness on my part kicking in? Over-sensitivity to criticism (albeit hugely constructive) perhaps? It was very much a two-way discussion, with my thoughts and ideas fully respected. To quote my editor: “It’s your book, Jan.”

And so I set to work. It took me longer than I’d hoped, with a fair few huffs and puffs of frustration at myself along the way (and much cake & choccie scoffing!) but when I read through the revised copy of my manuscript, and could see how my editor’s proposals had strengthened the novel, I felt elated.

 

VLUU L100, M100 / Samsung L100, M100

 

I only hope my editor feels the same 😉

To say I’ve learned a lot from the experience would be downplaying it.

It feels great and very exciting to be part of such a fab team.

Next up … Line Edits!

Chocolate Button, anyone?

Jan x

 

 

Dear Auntie Romaniac…details, details, details…

Keyboard

 

Dear Auntie Romaniac,

I’ve got a practical dilemma this week rather than an imaginative one. In the writing basement is the prequel to Little Boxes, which came out last year. It’s called Moondancing, and it’s my first baby, started in the first place as a one-chapter assignment at college, developed over the years for fun and finally licked into some sort of shape and sent to the NWS. It then went back under the bed as, frankly, it was awful.

Now it’s been revamped, edited and generally given a spring clean and it’s been accepted for publishing. The problem is that the dates, ages, character details etc don’t always exactly match and flow into the next part of the story.

Where do I begin? LB is in ebook format only – copies of it and Moondancing are on my Kindle,  but can I do a proper job without printing them both out in full? Research and checking finer details are my two (very) weak spots).

Help!

Celia

We’re Going on an Edit Hunt

We’re going on an edit hunt,

We’re going to catch some big ones,

What a lot of track changes,

We’re not scared.

Oh no, a repetition!

We can’t just avoid it

We can’t just ignore it

We will just have to deal with it

 

edit cave
The Editing Cave

It was pretty dark in that editing cave some days and I spent an awful lot of time in there earlier in the year while I completed the final edits of my second novel ‘Closing In‘.

It was a good process as, unlike my first novel which had been edited a great deal before it was seen by my publishers, ‘Closing In’ had only been seen by my lovely Romaniac friend, Jan Brigden. She had cast her eagle eye over it when it was a mere novella. Since then it morphed into a much bigger story, so I was rather apprehensive sending it into the publishers.

I thought I’d share a few of the things that have been picked up along the long editing road.

Over-use of certain words

I use the word ‘just’ an awful lot. I did actually know this already, so I went through my manuscript and managed to half the amount of times it appeared. A lot of the time is wasn’t needed or could be easily replaced with ‘simply’, ‘merely’ or ‘only’ depending on the context.

I took out the word ‘seem’ in a lot of the sentences, as I felt it diluted the impact of what I was trying to convey. For example, ‘The cold seemed to seep up from beneath her …’ became ‘The cold seeped up from beneath her …’

The revised version, I felt, was much stronger.

Not to repeat myself

I don’t mean the obvious ones of using the same word twice in a short a space of time but where the sentence has become convoluted, a bit waffly, drawn out – saying the same thing but with different words. (See what I did there? 🙂 )

‘… in his usual polite way, as he always did.’ became ‘… in his usual polite way.’

The same when two characters were having a telephone conversation. Originally I had written ‘… he ended his call with Ken.’ On the read through, I realised that identifying Ken wasn’t necessary – who else would he be ending his call with? So that simply became ‘… he ended his call.’

‘Dark shadows’ – aren’t all shadows dark? So, here, I deleted the word ‘dark’.

The Editor

I would be remiss of me not to acknowledge my editor and thank her for all the hard work she put into the manuscript too. Having input from someone who has no personal connection with the manuscript is invaluable and, I’d say, vital.

Final Read Through

I like to send the edited document to my Kindle for a final read through (Click here for a post how to do this). It’s amazing what you spot reading it in a different format to the one you composed it in.

Closing_in

Closing In‘. is very different to ‘United States of Love’ but I really enjoyed writing it and hope readers enjoy it too.

Amazon link

 

Sue Fortin author pic Jan 14

 Sue

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