Monthly Update (April)

We’re going to start doing monthly updates. Yay! Mainly for me to feel accountable for how much writing/revising I’ve done during the month, but also to see what I’ve been up to in general. Honestly, I think I forget myself if I don’t write it down.

Writing

Currently revised chapters: 14

I didn’t get as much done this month as I had hoped, but I have great excuses reasons. I spent just over a week on holiday, during which I didn’t do a single thing related to writing. Also, while it might look like a measly number, I stopped after chapter 14 when I realised that after ten years this novel needed a lot more work than just editing. Meaning that I’ve gone back to chapter one and started heavily revising.

Since then I’ve been revising, spending sometimes upwards of four hours per chapter, rewriting and trying to make it better. I’m nearly back up to where I finished (14), so if I can keep up a steady pace, I should be done revising before June rolls around. Then commences editing and proofreads.

My biggest problem, which I’m sure I’m not alone in, is lack of time. Every other week I have a few days off, but the other week I have several days in a row where my spare time is all of two hours between waking up after a night shift and then having to be back at work. During those two hours I generally have to shower, walk the dog and eat some dinner. Some of those days I’ve managed to revise half a chapter, but that’s rare.

I sometimes worry that I’m spending all my time revising rather than starting to write something new, but I think it’s best to focus on getting this novel ready first. I’ll worry about the next one later. The positive thing with all this revising is that I’m suddenly finding myself with lots of story inspiration again, something I’ve been lacking for a long time. So hooray!

Other stuff

I spent just over a week back in Sweden over Easter, and it was great. I loved seeing my family again. Below will be a spam of photos from the holiday, so feel free to ignore. The holiday was great, even if I got no writing or revising done.

Mom made a cheesecake decorated with Malteaster bunnies. Yummy!

When the egg is nearly as big as the kid, we might need to think about this…

The favourite thing the nephew received.

Mom made Easter egg cakes. It’s actually a cream and half a peach.

It snowed… SNOWED! Come on Sweden!

The one scenery photo I took, and it’s not even good!

A wild sprite appears!

Nephew happy out on a walk.

Niece rocking the tutu and sunglasses look.

 

I’m not afraid of flying

As I’ve just been traveling by plane I started to think about flying, and how I feel about it. A lot of people in my family are afraid to fly, while I’m not. I mean, not really. At least not enough to keep me from traveling by plane to whichever destination I need to go. That said, it doesn’t mean that I enjoy flying.

The evening before my return flight I was listening to the radio while they were talking about the fear of flying. Statistically it’s safer to fly than to drive a car or go by train, yet a lot of people are afraid of flying – but not those other things. They gave a few possible reasons for this on the show, but not the one that I personally find the most obvious – the odds of survival.

I feel like if I’m in a car accident or train accident, I have some chance to survive. If my plane goes down… The odds are kind of stacked against you on that one.

Exactly what I don’t want to see when going in for a landing.

I like to think that I handle flying fairly well, I’m just aware of my own mortality. I dislike the take-off and landing the most, possibly because that’s when the most accidents occur. Turbulence is very uncomfortable as well. I don’t even like roller-coasters, so going into a quick dip at 30,000 ft isn’t my cup of tea. It worries me when I hear about research that show that the turbulence is going to get worse and worse because of our carbon dioxide emissions. Turbulence might possibly bother me more than anything during a flight.

The better way of flying?

Then there are the maths. On average I probably do three round-trips a year. It’s nothing compared to people who travel for work, but it’s possibly more than the average person? Statistically, I imagine that the more flights you take, the greater the odds of something happening. I’m no maths genius though, so it probably doesn’t work like that at all.

How do you feel about flying?

Happy Easter!

It’s that time of year again when we stuff our faces with chocolate and chase rabbits down the hole…

I’m currently in Sweden visiting family, and so I get to enjoy the Scandinavian traditions which are actually quite different. No bunnies and none of the traditional British Easter eggs that we all know and love. There are Easter eggs of course, but you wouldn’t be able to go out and buy yourself a Maltesers or Galaxy egg. Rather they just have lots of the tiny ones, in a pick and mix type.

You see a lot more of chickens than bunnies, and because all Scandinavian traditions are mixed with their old ways, there are Easter witches. Because… Well, because when they converted Scandinavia to Christianity they found that it was easier to just let them hold onto their old ways, and just tag the new Christian traditions onto them. So now they are left with a combination of both.

Most of the dates of the heathen holidays pretty much lined up with the Christian ones anyway, so why make a fuss when they could just combine it? You can notice it in a way because up here they tend to celebrate all holidays on the eve rather than the day. Like most of the celebrations take place on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day. I celebrated Easter yesterday (Saturday) rather than today (Sunday).

They also celebrate Midsummer’s Eve (originally summer solstice) every June.

But today we’re talking about Easter.

So, Easter witches.

It all stems from back in the day when people were very superstitious. They believed that the night before Easter, all of the witches would get on their brooms and ride to Blåkulla (Blockula) to meet with the Devil for the witches’ Sabbath. While obviously no one believes in witches anymore, the tradition somehow lives on in the children dressing up as witches for Easter.

See how scary the Easter witches are?

Beyond dressing up as witches, the traditions vary depending on where in the country you live. Some parts have an approach similar to Halloween where the children will walk between houses and ask for candy. The area where my family live, the children will draw something on a piece of paper, fold it into a letter and fill it with candy. They’ll then throw it into their friends’ homes and run off, and the friend is meant to run after them to try to catch them.

I love finding out about local traditions or even traditions that differ between countries. That said, with internet and the amount of information that’s around these days, I do find that the lines blur. People see things on tv/the internet and suddenly things from other countries appear. (Like I actually saw a couple of Easter bunnies in the Easter parade yesterday, something I’ve never seen before in Sweden.)

In any case, I wish you all a Happy Easter – no matter where you are in the world.

Does your country/family/region have any special Easter traditions?

Weekly Update (of sorts)

Considering the fact that I don’t post enough in any given week to truly warrant a weekly update post, I’ve decided that in the future I will make it a monthly update. It just makes more sense with my posting schedule.

That said, I had a good week with editing this past week, hitting my goal of one chapter per day. Go me!

Nothing is being written at the moment, since I’m putting all my focus into the editing of this novel. And we’re talking about a lot of editing. It takes me anywhere between 1-3 hours per chapter since I’m re-writing quite a bit. Also, there’s the thing that I just want this done, you know?

Part of me is worried that I should be splitting my time between editing and writing, but for now I’ll focus on the editing. The second novel has already been written as well, but will also require extensive editing. However, maybe once I get to that one I will actually split my time between editing and writing.

In other news, I’m on holiday for a week, and so I expect that my editing schedule will suffer. I’m bringing my laptop with me, but because I’m going home to visit my family – I don’t think I will have a lot of spare time. Still, I will do my best to not fall too far behind. If nothing else, my mom tends to go to bed a lot earlier than I do, so I might be able to do some editing once she’s asleep.

Reading Pet Peeves

I’ve been doing a fair bit of reading lately when I work my waking night shifts. Writing at work has turned out to be difficult since it requires quite a bit of focus, and I need to always be aware of what’s going on. Reading works though, and you won’t hear me complaining about that.

With my newfound reading time, I’m finding new (and old) pet peeves in the books that I’m reading. It should be said that these are all personal views, and doesn’t mean that a story is any better or worse than any other. We all have our own preferences, and something that I enjoy might not be someone else’s cup of tea and vice versa.

Some of my pet peeves:

  • Historical Inaccuracy
    When reading romance, I will often allow for a little suspension of belief, as long as it’s not asking for too much. You have your couple waltz before it was actually a socially acceptable dance, sure – I’ll let it slide. However, if your hero has a tobacco plantation in the south of England and is a slave trader… Just, no. Slave trading was illegal for Britons after 1807 (the story took place in 1813-1817), and I could be wrong, but I don’t remember reading about British tobacco plantations? (That weren’t located in the West Indies etc.) I’m sure there were people who still worked in the slave trade, but then the author should have made it clear that he was doing something illegal.

 

  • Head-hopping
    Fortunately, this isn’t something that I see a lot of in published books (whether self-published or traditional), but I’ve been reading some stories on Wattpad and Fanfiction sites (I know, I know – but sometimes it’s a lot of fun!). When the writer hops between the points of view of the main characters abruptly, sometimes within the same scene it’s very jarring. Please change chapter or at least a section break to give me a clue that we’re now in someone else’s head!

 

  • Infantilising
    I’ve mainly seen this in a couple of the very few erotic romances I’ve tried, but I know it sometimes happens in other books as well. It really creeps me out. When the hero is either talking about the heroine in terms that make her sound very young/girlish, or even worse calling her “baby girl”, “little girl”, “young girl” and so on. Extra squick points if he refers to himself as “daddy”. No, just no.

 

  • Dubious consent
    The book I’m currently reading has the hero more or less barging into the heroine’s flat at their first physical meeting (they’ve only spoken on the phone previously), and proceeds to spank her and do other sexual things to her, while she’s yelling at him to get out, to stop etc. It just made me very uneasy. Even while knowing that the author was trying to show him as dominating and her as a submissive who had forgotten how to be one (??!), it just didn’t sit right with me. Now, I’m no expert on BDSM, but isn’t the whole thing about consent and trust, in reality? You can’t just barge in and decide that you’re the new dominant without any base rules set? Correct me if I’m wrong.

 

  • Series not advertised as such
    This doesn’t really apply to series where each book is its own story with a beginning, middle and end (especially if each book is a new couple). But if you’re selling me a story, and it’s going to end on a cliffhanger – I’d like to know before I purchase the book, please.

 

These are some of my pet peeves, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten some.

Do you have any pet peeves in books? What are they?

Editing

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?

Weekly Update

It’s been a rough start to the year with leaving my old job and starting a new one. Then finding out I was pregnant a couple of weeks after resigning. Then miscarrying two days before I would have hit week twelve. As if that wasn’t enough, I then ended up in the hospital with complications from said miscarriage.

I’m back at work again as of this week, and I’m also trying to get back into the editing of my first novel. This year I am going to publish it, and that’s that.

Editing

Numbers of chapters edited: 5

My goal is to edit one chapter per day, but I’ve discovered that the days when I work a few nights in a row – I get nothing done. It could be because I get home from work around 9 am, sleep until 5 pm and then only have two and a bit hours before I have to leave for work again. Now that I know that’s how it works in my new job, I can try to make up for it by doing an extra chapter on days when I’m not working.

Writing

I’ll be honest. I’ve done zero writing other than the edits. Definitely need to find a way to jump start my writing. Whether that is to write some random crap that’s never meant to see the light of day just as an exercise or to just force myself into a new project – I don’t know yet. But something has to be done. Editing is well and all, but I need to write something new too.

Other Random Stuff

It was my weekend off, and I would have been able to get quite a bit of stuff done – only I ended up hardly being home. Once I woke up after my last night of work on Friday I had a follow-up appointment at the hospital, and then went out to dinner and a movie with my partner’s mother and sister. On Saturday I went with the same two ladies again to do some clothes shopping, and then a trip to IKEA to buy a few things (like the yummy meatballs).

Today, Sunday, we’ve been away most of the day to my partner’s grandmother for a big family gathering that they have once a year. All the family come down from the various corners of the UK, and it’s a really fun day. Then in the evening I spent a few hours raiding in World of Warcraft, like I do every Sunday night when I’m not working. Because I’m a geek.

How was your week? I hope it was more productive than mine!