Whenever I read articles about self-publishing your books, whether it be in paperback or e-book, everyone is always pointing out how important it is with editing. I agree, editing is very important, and I can get quite frustrated when reading books if I find an inordinate amount of mistakes (especially if it’s in the first few pages!).

However, they often tell you to use a freelance editor to do your editing. I don’t expect to make a lot of money on my books. An e-book, on average, sells a total of 250 copies in its lifetime. That’s on average, which means that you could very well be below that number.

If you then spend around £1000 on a professional editor for your novel, you’re most likely going to make a loss on your book. While I would like to think that I write mainly for myself (and this is true), I can’t really afford to lose money on my writing. So, I’m sorry my friends – but I have to do my own editing, revising and proofreading.

If I somehow get lucky and sell a lot more than expected – then I’ll spend that money. When I might stand a chance to earn it back. Until then, I’m on my own.

Do you do your own editing, or do you pay someone else to do it?

Keep or Discard?

As I’m editing my novel I’m finding myself questioning how many changes I want to make. There are things that I think maybe I should change, while at the same time I’m not sure if it would make the story better or worse.

It’s my first novel that I’m going to publish, and the people that have read it so far are basically a couple of friends and a sister. They’re not the most likely to give me negative feedback, and they also are not massive romance readers, so it’s difficult to ask them if they think this or that thing should or should not be included.

This means I’m left on my own, and as a writer I find that it can be difficult to be objective about your own story. You wrote it, and cutting parts out or changing them massively can be difficult, even if it’s for the better. That said, if I knew that it was for the better, I imagine that it would be easier.

Needless to say, I can see where editors come into the picture in the publishing world. A freelance editor is not something I can afford though, so I’m going to just have to make the decisions myself and hope for the best.

A few examples where I’m wavering (it’s a Regency romance):

  • The hero gets angry and leaves, going back to London. I enjoy the scene because it’s a funny exchange between him and his best mate, but it might be a bit over the top. Or does it show how impulsive he can be with his hot temper? I don’t know!
  • The male villain tries to sexually assault the heroine, in an attempt to ruin her. This might be too much, maybe it would be enough to just have her alone in a room with the intent of getting caught? Back in Regency times that might have had the same effect?
  • The female villain is very secure in herself, which I want to keep – but I feel like it sometimes veers towards slut-shaming from the other characters. Definitely do want to change this since I don’t like slut-shaming. When I wrote it ten years ago I was younger and didn’t really think about it, but seems very obvious now that I’m reading it again.

These are all decisions I’m just going to have to make on my own, and I am definitely struggling. Maybe I’ll end up doing a coin toss…

How do you deal with editing?

Have I lost it?

A big worry of mine is if I’ve simply lost the touch when it comes to writing. I used to love it – I still do, I just never really seem to get around to doing it any more! Did life come in the way? A lot has happened in the ten years since I finished my two novels, but it shouldn’t be an excuse. Other writers have to deal with life and things happening as well, and they still manage to write.

So have I lost it?

Am I no longer a writer? Can I no longer sit down and get those words down on paper the way that I used to?

I’ve tried writing the next book in the planned series that I started with those first two novels, but I can’t seem to get the words out. Everything sound wrong. At this point, I don’t know how many versions I’ve written of the first chapter. (Well, there are currently 25 items in the discarded folder, which includes some old plot lines and other things that have changed.)

It’s why I have considered not going back to the series for now (other than to proofread and revise the first two), since I seem to be completely stuck. But when I look at all of my other ideas, nothing appeals to me. The ideas seem fairly static, at the point where I left them, with nothing new coming to me.

So have I lost it?

No more inspiration? No more story ideas?

All I have are partly fleshed-out ideas, some are even less. Maybe I should just pick one and start writing. Maybe it will come to me as I go. Perhaps to get inspiration I must force myself to writewhether I have any idea of where I’m going or not. For the sake of writing.

Or have I lost it?

Scheduling Time to Write/Revise

I’m learning from my mistakes, and realizing that my original idea to write in the evenings just isn’t going to happen. In the past I lived on my own and could write whenever, but since just over a year back I live with my partner, and have discovered that I can’t write with him around. We share a desk, so he’s right next to me – which is nothing short of distracting. Especially when he’s yelling at random strangers in a computer game.

The new plan is to write in the afternoon when I get home from work. I usually have a couple of hours before he arrives, so that will be my writing time. As long as I can stay awake, that is. Definitely my biggest issue at the moment.

Once my new job starts, I’ll have even more time every day before the partner comes home, since I’ll either have a day off – or I’ll be coming off the night shift and will have from whenever I wake up to when he comes home.

I definitely need to schedule my time though, because if I think “oh, I can write whenever” – it doesn’t happen. There are too many other things that I’m doing. (Most of all sleeping, or working. My life is filled with excitement, as you can see.)

My goal from now on will be to revise at least one chapter per day. I’d like to schedule some writing in there too, but I haven’t quite decided what I’ll work on first. To ease myself back into writing I might just finish off a couple of short stories (not for publication) that I have lying around. Get my fingers (and brain!) warmed up again with something that’s not as important as something I plan to publish.

What are your goals and how do you schedule your writing time?

2017 (!)

I can’t believe that it’s 2017 already. Where did the time go? This means that I am out of excuses, since I’ve been saying that this year is when I will get back to writing and get my stuff into gear.

So, I need to make a plan. A writing/editing plan. Keeping in mind of course the available time I have, and my limitations in regards to my chronic pain and fatigue. I don’t want to have another burn out, but I also don’t want another year of doing virtually no writing. This is it. I’m going to publish at least one of my books this year. It “only” needs some editing. (I say “only”, because it needs a lot of editing and editing is hard work.)

I don’t really want to do New Year’s Resolutions, as I don’t necessarily believe in the whole “new year, new me”-thing. But I would like to put some goals up for the year.

  • Create a writing/editing schedule and stick to it.
  • New blog theme, including a new header. I find it difficult to choose something I like. It needs to be easy to read while also easy on the eyes, and not too boring.
  • Get better at commenting on other blogs.
  • Read more books (maybe review them?).
  • Finish up my short stories.
  • Publish first book (self-publish as e-book) before the end of the year.

Non writing/blog related ones are:

  • Start getting rid of and sorting through all the boxes of stuff just “hanging around”.
  • Finally sort out the closet in the hallway. It’s a mess!
  • Figure out a better way to store things in the kitchen. It’s small and I desperately need to figure out better solutions to fit things!
  • Home improvements (lots of rooms need painting etc. and we’ve been here a year now, no more excuses!).

What are your goals/resolutions for 2017?

I need a plan

Since I’ve decided that 2017 is the year that I’m going for it in regards to getting a novel published (most likely self-published as an e-book, but I will write more about that another day), I need to start making a plan on how to go about it.

In fact, I really need two plans. The first one being how to get my manuscript edited and ready for publication, the second one being a general writing plan. A schedule, basically. I need to figure out how to fit writing into my life again.

I started this blog a little bit before 2017 as a means to get me back into the writing habit, even if only to blog for now, and to start said planning.

My first step will have to be to find a dedicated time for writing. This is most likely the most difficult part, and I admire writers who seem to be able to sit down and just get it done. I need to work on becoming one of them!

My weekends and evenings are generally free, minus two nights a week. The biggest issue for me is probably energy, rather than time. When I get back from work I’m usually knackered, and I often end up falling asleep. I suspect this is because of my chronic fatigue, in that I have a limited amount of energy and work tends to drain all of it. Still, if I can somehow push through it – that’s easily an hour or two every day that I could write rather than sleep.

Me, after work.

Me, after work.

I think that’s going to be my goal. Limit the sleeping (anyone have any tips on how to stay awake?) and use that extra time to write.

Step two will be to figure out how to split my time writing between the things I want to write/do. There’s the editing/proofreading and formatting that needs to be done on the finished manuscript(s), as well as the writing I would like to do on new projects. I don’t think it’s good to do only editing and proofreading, one also needs to do some writing and get the juices flowing. And after all this time, I definitely need to practice writing again!

What I need to do!

What I need to do!

Writing Woes

I have discovered that I have some problems with my writing. There are always periods when I feel like I struggle to write, but this one is a bit different. Since moving in with the boyfriend, writing has become extra difficult.

We share a desk, and I’ve realised that I find it incredibly awkward to write when sitting next to someone. Writing, to me, is a solitary activity – and sitting right next to someone who is busy playing games, sometimes chatting to friends on Skype; it’s really putting me off!

I wish I was able to write anywhere, under any circumstances. But as it turns out, I need things my way to be able to do it.

It’s extra frustrating, because I really want to get back to it. I am slowly plotting a series of shorter stories set in a fantasy world. It’s basically just romance stories with a fantasy setting. I have no great plans for them other than publishing them either here on the blog, or on a separate blog dedicated to the series of stories. (Since there’s quite a few if I continue them all.)

Naturally, I also want to do the finishing bits on my two written books, and finally continue on the third (and eventually fourth, to finish the series). These I want to release on Kindle and/or other e-book publishers, since you can do that on your own.

I have so many ideas, y’all. I just need to figure out how I will be able to write with someone next to me. Help!

So. Many. Ideas.

So. Many. Ideas.

Title Help!

Right, so I need help to come up with a title for my first book. I originally had it down as “As He Likes It”, but with erotica being so popular these days, I’m worried people would think a title like that is from that genre (which it is not).

It’s a historical romance, set in the regency era. It’s the first book in a series of four; The Howertys. (I came up with that name when I was a teenager, yes – that’s when I started the very, very first draft… I wonder if perhaps I should come up with a better surname for them.) Each book is about one of the Howerty sibling. They all have names from Shakespeare’s writings (because their mom loved Shakespeare), and so I want the books’ titles to be plays on Shakespearean titles.

The stories aren’t based on the stories in Shakespeare’s plays, it’s just the titles, really. Because… Well, it amuses me.

I do like the “As He Likes It” title, (based of course on “As You Like It”), so I think I might keep it and using it for the fourth book in the series (when hopefully people already know what they’re getting into since they can see what the previous books in the series are like).

That does leave me short one title though!

Book 1: ???
Book 2: Taming of the Rake (The Taming of the Shrew)
Book 3: Winter’s Kiss (The Winter’s Tale)
Book 4: As He Likes It (As You Like It)

I was thinking something along the lines of “Once Upon a Midsummer Night” (A Midsummer Night’s Dream). Originally I thought “A Midsummer Night’s Kiss”, but then I’d have two titles with the word “kiss” in them, and I’m not sure I like that.

Opinions, please! I need them!

Also, if you can come up with anything – feel free to share! To help, here’s a list of Shakespeare’s plays (the ones with titles that aren’t just a name or two!):

The Tempest
Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Merry Wives of Windsor
Measure for Measure
The Comedy of Errors
Much Ado About Nothing
Love’s Labour’s Lost
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The Merchant of Venice
As You Like It
The Taming of the Shrew
All’s Well That Ends Well
Twelfth Night
The Winter’s Tale
The Two Noble Kinsmen

NaNoWriMo 2015

I’ve been talking about wanting to do NaNoWriMo for years, but never got around to doing it. This year I’m wondering if maybe it’s time to just buckle down and do it. One might say that it’s a bad idea what with just having moved to a new country, being busy unpacking and getting familiarised, and trying to find a job. One might not be wrong…

Still, there’s an excuse every year. There’s always something going on. Last year I was playing the World of Warcraft expansion that was released in November. Next year… Who knows? So… Maybe this is the year?

If I’m going to do this, I need to decide beforehand on which book I will work on, since I need to work out the plot before I begin. I remember reading somewhere that you shouldn’t work on something that you care too much about, since when you’re writing that much in such a short time – it’s probably not your best quality writing. So the next book in my historical romance series is out of the question.

What do you guys think I should go for?

These are a few of the things lying around in my “Ideas” folder (all the names are temporary):

Lady Matchmaker
Regency Historical Romance

Lady Match / Lady Matchmaker / My Lady Matchmaker. I haven’t decided on a title, but to be fair, that’s the least of the issues. Basically, the heroine is a widow who knows most of the ton and who is/isn’t looking for a wife/husband – so people started coming to her about it, and she turned it into a business. Whether for profit or just fun, I’m not sure (leaning towards fun). Everyone knows that if you’re in the market for a spouse, she’s the woman to talk to.

Our hero isn’t really interested in finding a wife, but he’s been pressured into seeing Lady Match by his mother. He and Lady Match used to know each other, and things are definitely tense between them. (A prank gone wrong forced her into her marriage, and it was not a happy or loving one.) Naturally, he will eventually realise that the only woman he wants is actually Lady Match – and not one of the simpering debutantes that she’s trying to connect him with.

The first paragraph, which was written years ago (I have a thing about writing the first paragraph of stories):

A discussion with one’s mother could only ever result in misery. As Nicholas Atherton was standing on the curb looking up at the white townhouse he vowed never to speak to his mother again. Or at least he would have if such a thing would have been possible. Why was it that his mother always managed to get him to do the things he least wanted to? Like visiting this house.

The Little Mermaid
Regency Historical Romance

Obviously, not actually the little mermaid story – but a regency story vaguely inspired by it. The heroine will be in England searching for her father after her mother in Norway passed away. All she has of his is a letter with his first name and a personalized pocket watch that he had given her mother. In the harbour she ends up saving a man’s life as he falls into the water (or something similar). He later boasts about it at White’s and says he will marry the girl who saved him (remembering only the pocket watch).

Yes, yes – it’s a bit silly… But could be fun?

Unknown Title
Regency Historical Romance

Some people would say that love struck them like a bolt of lightning. This was not the case for Richard Dashwood. He had loved one woman his entire life, and he would never have her. She was the belle of the ball, the incomparable of the season, the daughter of an earl, an heiress… The list went on and on. She was also his friend. And she was in love with another man.

The first paragraph I wrote for this idea. (Yes, I have a thing for first paragraphs, so sue me!) The hero is friends with the woman as well as the man she’s interested in, and they both ask him to help facilitate their romance. Cue angst! I’m all for torturing people in my stories.

Unknown Title
Contemporary Romance

David Grant had been burnt by love. His last girlfriend left him mere weeks before their wedding to go back to her good-for-nothing ex. That wouldn’t have been so bad, had she not also taken the child David had helped raise for several years. Since then, David has ignored all things romance and thrown himself into his work.

Katie Davies is everything David doesn’t want. A single mom with her life in disarray. Yet he finds himself inexorably drawn to her and her warm smiles. Does he dare to open himself to that potential heartache again?

Okay, I realise that’s an absolutely awful “back-blurb”, but it’s the best I can do just like that, and I think it gives an idea of the story? I’ve never written a contemporary… But maybe it could be interesting.

Or maybe I could just write lots and lots and lots on my fanfiction. Does it count if it’s on two different stories?

Anyway, does anything here sound interesting at all?

Little Things

Something positive coming out of my renewed interest in fanfiction is that I’ve remembered how much I love writing. I’ve been writing upwards of 10 000 words the last few days, which admittely isn’t that much – but it’s more than I’ve written in years! So, I’m happy.

It’s also renewed my resolve in getting my novels out there. I think that the goal should be to publish the first novel no later than January 2016 (preferably before the end of this year, but January-16 works as well). That gives me the remainder of the year to proofread and edit it. I know grammar is one of my issues, and there are also some things in general that I want to change. Hopefully someone else is still up for helping me a bit with the grammar, once they’ve recovered from tax season?


My sister also mentioned that she might be able to look over it during the summer, and I need all the help I can get, so I’m grateful for anyone willing to help.

The goal for myself is 1-2 chapters per week of editing, starting next week since this week is going to be insanely busy. That should have the editing done in enough time to still let me figure out how to convert it to Kindle format, make a cover etc. before the deadline. Fingers crossed I can keep this going!

I also created a Tumblr account, because reasons. Actually, basically I wanted somewhere that I can post the little, silly things that I find while browsing that just don’t need a whole blog post. Mainly focused on silly things like fandom etc. though, maybe some writing inspiration.

I’ve been browsing around a bit today, and OMG there are so many awesome Dragon Age screenshots and art out there that I’m squeeing at times.

Beautiful art by anivy.tumblr.com  /fans self

Beautiful art by anivy.tumblr.com /fans self