Editing – Ugh… Do I have to?

Who ever said that writing was glamorous? Not me, I can assure you. I can think of many words to describe it. Glamorous doesn’t make the list.

The writing bit is fun. You know, making up the story and getting all the words on the paper and building up characters, scenes and plots. That’s a hoot, but not glamorous. It’s fun, sticky and sugary, like eating dessert for an entree.

The marketing – promotions, adverts and posts – that’s all boring but essential, like steamed vegetables.

The worst part, for me at least, is editing. I’ve already read the damn book. I’ve worked over little details, scrubbed whole bits out, rammed other bits in, smooshed it, smoothed it, worked at it and sat on it. Then, after a period of recovery, I get to do it all over again.

And that’s just the second draft.

Rinse, repeat. Third draft. Oh brother. Looking down at the plate, you’ve got something in the realm of cold porridge, mixed with a spoonful of unsoaked lentils.

Ugh. Editing. Spoon by spoon, it’s a slog to get through, especially the third draft. It’s where I have to concentrate not only on grammar and spelling, but flow, repetition and any major flaws that are sitting there. Did Barnes come before or after I fought the Unome? Was Belvedere oblivious to Sassam’s plot? How much did Wyra blab to Coraline?

Yes, these should have been taken up in the Second Draft. Doesn’t mean they were. Consider it the last chance to nut all of that out before the galley is produced. I’ve had some assistance to this end in the form of my father grabbing a red pen and for this I am very, very grateful.

Of course, since he stole the red pen, I’ve been forced to use the green for my own amendments. I can live with that. Want to hear the good news? It’s all done. The hard-copy side of things, that is. Now comes the second part of the editing task: working back over the printed pages and translating the scribbles and scrawls, side-annotations and asterisks over to the electronic version.

This the is down-hill part of the task. Doesn’t mean it’s any less unpalatable, just that it takes less time.

What’s the date today? May 1st. Cool. In that case, I have reached the decision to put this book up for pre-release May 4th on Amazon’s KDP (the Kindle Direct Publishing thing), for an official release June 1st. That’s from a Thursday to a Thursday.

I’ll try my best to document the process. I’ve got Smashwords and Lulu down, but the KDP is still a bit of a foreign concept.Mini Jeztyr Logo

Add that salt

In previous posts, I was banging on about how the audience can give feedback to the artist. In short, it’s a personal reflection from the reviewer and says more about their tastes and attitudes than the work itself.

This is a key concept to keep in mind for you, my fellow artist, when dealing with accepting criticism and feedback.

Objectivity

The problem with art is that there is a misconception that anything goes. If I call it art, then it must be art, and if I say, “That’s exactly how I wanted it” doesn’t mean that it’s perfect.

Whoa, whoa. Really? Yup, really. I cannot draw a circle and call it a square. I might say, “I’m challenging your concept of a square…”, that’s fine, I can call it whatever I like. I can call it Bob. I can call it, “The Impression of Time”.

What it actually is, is beyond debate. It’s still not a square by any definition. It’s a circle. And if my intention was to draw a square and I ended up with a circle, then what I did is not what I intended – it was a mistake.

If I write “Grandma waked to a shops,” and you pick me up on my spelling and grammar, it’s pretty evident that, by any rule book, the sentence is wrong. Of course, this sentence could be part of a character’s speech, and they are apt to mispronounce words or whatever, but that’s beside the point. The intent of the sentence is not what manifested – it was a mistake.

As a rule: Objective criticism is not personal so don’t take it that way.

As an artist, be thankful that the mistakes have been pointed out to you. If you’re drawing a realistic scene and someone complains about the perspective, listen to them rather than waving your hand and claiming artistic license. If it was your intention to display proper perspective, then another set of eyes to criticise your work is invaluable.

Perspective, like grammar and punctuation, or timing and chords (if we’re talking music) can be measured and determined as being correct or incorrect, true or false. Because of this, you can take the criticism and check it for yourself.

Remember: Objective criticism can be verified externally.

And I’ll take the time to reiterate my stance on ‘correctness’ because it bears repeating: Just because a painting doesn’t have perfect symmetry, or a singer dropped a note, or a writer put his comma in the wrong spot, doesn’t mean the artwork is instantly less enjoyable.

Subjective Criticism

The other problem with art is that there is a misconception that good art is good for everyone. After all, everyone subscribes to the works of Bosch, right? Everyone enjoys reading Dean Koontz, right? Everyone digs Daft Punk, right? Right?

Wrong.

The reason is simple. Different people like / dislike different things. The old adage says that “You can’t please everyone” and this is the truest statement of them all. I know people who don’t like Star Wars, or Harry Potter, or Celine Dion (it’s true!).

Big rule here: No work of art will appeal to everyone.

As such, you cannot expect that your efforts will be labelled as five stars by everyone or even anyone.

The other way of saying this is that you must expect that you will receive negative reviews. Full stop. You’re deluding yourself if you think otherwise. In fact, I’d argue that you should be worried if everything you’re not getting negative reviews.

Of course, if you’ve poured your heart and soul into a work, only to find that everyone who has bothered to tell you what they think says that it stinks, then it’s time to step back and appraise it from their point of view.

It may, genuinely, 100%, honest-to-goodness, hand-on-heart stink and you’re so committed to it, and have worked on it so hard, that you can’t, or won’t, see that it isn’t really fit for public consumption. If this is the case, and I truly don’t think it will be, but if it is then it still doesn’t mean that you stink, only that what you made stinks.

OK. Fine. Learn from this and move on. Take the criticism, push your chest out and start your next piece – or perhaps tidy up what you’ve got, fix the flaws and try again.

Don’t forget: Any genuine feedback is good feedback.

From what I’ve seen, though, reading through indie books and listening to indie music (Head to The Blitz, now! You can listen while you’re reading) and such, is that there is a natural filter, Fear, that acts to prevent the artist from dishing up tosh. While it can be debilitating, it means that anything the artist does finally squeeze out is going to be refined and sculpted to their liking.

I’m not talking random snaps and duck-faced pouts on Snapscat, I’m talking actual honed and published material. Hence my reasoning to claim that, more likely than not, what you’ve got isn’t tosh. More likely than not, the right person hasn’t seen it.

If a thousand people hate your song, and one person absolutely loves it, is he wrong? Not at all! He’s the only one out there who gets it. He’s the one who has something the others don’t have – a connection with the artist.

Importantly: If someone has taken the time to give feedback, take the time to accept it.

Wankers and Arseholes

There are arseholes in this world. There are people who will bag you, pay you out, drop one-star bombs, write incoherent gibberish on a feedback form, troll you in forums… you know, arseholes.

Then there are the wankers. The ones who talk to hear their own voice, take an opposing point of view simply to have an argument, use their almighty Google-fu to assert their point, correct every minor flaw with their mighty keyboards… you know, wankers.

Thankfully, there are fewer of them out there than there are genuine people. They’re easy to spot. They know how to get a reaction. Writing back, getting aggressive or defensive, stewing over it or cyber-stalking them isn’t going to do a lick of good. Hunting the White Whale what flipped your boat will only end in tears.

Always: Leave the arseholes and the wankers alone.

By listening to what people like and don’t like about what you do, you acknowledge your audience, close the loop and, at the same time, gain a valuable insight into how your work is being received.

If everyone is saying that it needs more salt, perhaps you can afford to sprinkle some more on before you push out your next dish?Mini Jeztyr Logo

When Too Much is Too Much

Ooh. Oh, man! You’ve copped a whopper of an urge to write. Your Muse has gotten stuck into the coffee and now there’s no shutting up. Ideas are flowing out of your head like water from a hydrant – unrestrained, spilling out all over the place.

What you’ve got here is the opposite to the accursed and often lamented ‘Writer’s Block’. Rather than being starved for ideas, you’ve got too many. So you should be stoked, right?

Take it easy

Yes, be thankful. It could be worse. Hella worse. If you’ve never had a bad case of Writer’s Block, then just trust me on that.

It’s a fine thing, having ideas oozing out of your pores but wait! Wait!

Actually, don’t wait: be mindful that once the oil well has finished spewing its contents about, you’ll be back to the ol’ pump and distill routine. The stuff that’s coming out now, though, is unrestrained ethereal gold so don’t let it get away!

Write whatever you’ve got down. Or record it on your telephone’s dictation app. Or video yourself. Email to yourself. Do whatever it takes so that you can look at afterwards.

After? After?

Yes, after. You know, when you’re writing your book.

Jez, you’re kidding, right? I want to use these ideas now! I gotta capitalise on this opportunity!

Patience

Don’t make them into a book, please. Make little points or scribbles or sentences. You can make them into a book later. Trust me on this.

The problem, and it is a problem, is multi-faceted:

  • All the ideas that come at once don’t belong together – do more with less
  • Ideas that sound wonderful now might sound absolutely awful in the cold light of analysis (Been there, done that… too many times to count)
  • A good idea can become great with a little cultivating, otherwise it could be wasted
  • Chase all the ideas at once, and you’ll likely follow one and neglect the rest
  • Writing a book takes time and patience, not just a bunch of ideas.

It would be a tremendous mistake if you stifle your own creativity for the sake of trying to put it all into a structure, plot it out, etc.

Sure, you might have a moment of crystal clarity where you know exactly what you’re going to write and why. Great! That hardly ever happens, so run with that but, when you come up for air a few days later, the other awesome ideas have gone. They never were, and never will be again.

Here’s the thing: Ideas are like wild rabbits. They come out of their burrows at any time, and pop back down just as fast. You can seek them out, traveling down after into their warrens. You can attempt to coax them from their holes. There are many techniques that can help you do this. Once you have these ideas, though, you need to be ready to catch them!

And ‘catching’ an idea can be as simple as a little ideas book. Jot enough information to remind you of what the idea is, release it and grab the next one. Catch, tag and release. Catch. Tag. And Release!

If you tag it right, you don’t need to go hunting after it again. After you’ve exhausted your quarry, job done, relax, and know that you’ve got a pool of ideas sitting there, waiting for you to pick them up when you are ready. Oh, how the tables have turned!

Then, when you’re stuck, have a look at your little book of tags (or emails, recordings, whatever you’ve used) and scan through your list of critters to interrogate. And you know what? Those little idea-critters sure can multiply when left to themselves!Mini Jeztyr Logo

 

The Struggle of the Artist – Who cares?

It’s easy being an independent author.

You get to write what you want to write. The subject matter is up to you. You don’t have a big bad corporation leaning over your shoulder, shaking its head saying, “No, no, no. That won’t do. You need to have more werewolves. Vampires are so 2014. This won’t sell.”

Who cares? It’s your book.

Pfft! Who cares…?

If you want to kill off your main character, go right ahead! If you’re stuck for a plot point, deus ex machina is a viable option. Who cares? It’s your book.

Pricing and distribution is fine, too. With facilities like Smashwords and Lulu, you can push out your book at pretty much any price that suits you to pretty much any distributor. Do you care? After all, it’s your book.

There are no deadlines except for those you impose upon yourself and, hey, if you’re out by a week or a year, who really cares? It’s your book.

Tell you what, it’s easy being an independent author.

No, really, who cares?

Who cares? Who cares? The audience cares. They care a lot.

If you are writing the book for yourself, then go right ahead and do whatever. Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation and spelling. Ignore typos and editing. Ignore those tics, those cliches, those repetitions. Chuck everything into one great big sodding sentence, no breaks, and be done with it.

Writing for others means obeying conventions, like grammar and spelling, and it means putting a lot effort into editing, refining, sweeping, checking, double-checking, proofing, making sure the damn thing is what it’s supposed to be.

Sure, it’s your book, but it’s written for someone else and, when they’ve bought it and read it, it’s their book, too. That’s why they care.

Deadlines become real: If you say you’re going to have a book out by December 2016, then that’s what the audience expects. Sure, the audience can’t sue you or fire you if you don’t deliver, but they can get miffed if you keep pushing the date of release back.

Being an Indie means many things, but one of the main things is that the thick layer of abstraction between you and the audience is not there. It means you have to be the big, bad corporation. You have to be the one whipping yourself to get things done. You have to exercise self-discipline, take any issues on the chin, handle complaints and emails.

All marketing falls on your shoulders. You don’t get to have the big, bad corp telling you what’s currently trending, nor do you have banner ads, and YouTube videos, or sponsorship, or endorsements, or reviews, or Oprah.

All you have is you. And even if everyone else in the world doesn’t care, you should care.

Geez, it’s hard being an independent author.Mini Jeztyr Logo

Lulu – Page Numbering & Chapters

If you have a table of contents, one of requirements is that the numbers of the chapters must match perfectly. However, there isn’t much point having a table of contents with page numbers if you don’t have page numbers.

Introducing: Page Numbers

This has got to be the fiddliest part of the whole exercise. Why? Because it involves headers and magical fields. There may be many ways to skin a cat, but this is how I do it. If you’ve got a better / easier / alternate way, feel free to let me know. Anything that makes life easier, right?

I put my page numbers in the header, top-left for left-hand pages and top-right for right-hand pages. You can put your page numbers at the bottom, in the footer, with pretty much the same process.

First, show the view as ‘Print Layout’. This will give you a clear idea of what is a left page, and what is a right. You should see, for example, that your first page, your Title page, is a right hand page.

Select “Insert -> Header -> Default”

InsertHeader.png

This will put a magical header at the top of every ‘default’ page. Because the Title page is a ‘First Page’, it doesn’t get this, which is a good thing because your Title Page must only have the title, the subtitle and author (no page numbers).

Numbering should start from your Copyright and ISBN page, and be consistent all the way through.

Get on with it…

Alright! Sheesh, I’m laying down the what and why and stuff. OK, so when you add your header, go to the page settings in ‘Format -> Page…’:

PageSettings.png

In the dialog. You’ll note that you can also adjust your headers and footer from here. You can also uncheck ‘same header left and right’.

SameContentHeader.png

Why? Because you won’t be having the same header left and right, that’s why.

Hit OK, close the dialog and, at the top of every page, you’ll have a grey rectangle. This is your header. If there’s a big, gangly space underneath, you can adjust the header size and spacing from the page formatting dialog. At this point, if you want ONLY your page number, then ignore the next bit about tables and skip down to the next bit.

Click inside the header, and insert a table 3 columns x 1 row. You may need to format the table to remove borders. Right click -> Table Properties -> Border – and set to blank border.

Now, click in the middle cell, and go to the menu “Insert -> Field -> Other”, or hit Ctrl + F2, and select the Chapter Name from the list. This will insert the current chapter for each page. Then click ‘centre align’ to make the chapter label centred. Do this for the right header as well.

Page Numbers, finally

Now click on the left header’s left cell (or just the left header if you aren’t using a table) and make sure it’s left aligned.

Go to “Insert” -> Field and choose the “Page Number” from here.

PageNumebr.png

Boom. All left pages are now numbered!

On the right header, click the right-most cell, and right align it. Insert the page number there and, boom! all right pages are numbered!

ChapterAndPage.png

It’s as easy as that. Now, because you’ve introduced a header, this can push out the contents of your pages, so the Table of Contents you created previously will no longer match. Right click on it and press ‘Update’ to realign the TOC with the pages.

If you want, you can stick your page numbers up the top, and your chapter title down the bottom, or both at the bottom. (Almost) Anything goes. Just be sure to align left page numbers to the left, and right page numbers to the right.

At this point, check that your Title page has no page numbering, that your TOC is correctly picking up the chapters and their respective pages. If it’s all good, you’re nearly there!Mini Jeztyr Logo

Lulu – ISBN, Copyright and Table of Contents

Last post I showed you how to begin converting your eBook to a paperback. Choose the font, format, etc. and begin by separating out your first page from the rest.

Now fix up the rest of the front matter.

Copyright

After your title page, add a page devoted to the copyright, ISBN and any further edition, front cover or publication information. I do my own front covers, and publication / printing is at the mercy of Lulu, so I can’t help there, but you will want a copyright.

Lulu can give you a decent copyright, similar to the below.

ISBNCopyright.png

You can insert the copyright character from the ‘Insert’ menu, then selecting ‘Special Character’ or, the easy way, is to type (c) and let Open Office replace it for you with ©.

Make sure you get the year right. And who it’s by. You wrote the book, right? So it’s copyright to you.

Oh, there’s that ISBN again

Yeah, there it is. I usually put in

ISBN XXX-XXX as a big red flag to remind me to replace it with the ISBN once it has been issued.

Copy it and paste it exactly how Lulu gives it to you. While it’s pretty much a bunch of numbers, the separations do have significance, and it’s a heck of a lot easier to double check if you compare the numbers in blocks.

Just… copy it exactly, ok? CTRL + C, CTRL + V. Job done. Move on.

Table of Contents

“Charlotte’s Web” has a table of contents. So does “Celtic Fairy Tales”. “Street Fighter” does not. And guess which of these books people have read? (Hint: It’s not Street Fighter)

I’m also very embarrassed that a novel based on such an atrocious screen play is even sitting on my shelf. Excuse me while I wash my hands.

Back to the table of contents: This is actually really easy.

Create a new page (after your copyright and ISBN), click on the “Insert” menu, then “Indexes and Tables” and then “Indexes and Tables…”. If you’ve marked your Chapters as ‘Headings’, then you’re golden. If not, go back and make all your chapter headings as ‘Headings’.

TableOfContents.png

 Hit the ok button and, boom, the TOC is made for you.

If you need to style the TOC, click on the element in question, like the Contents Heading and set the font / weight / size as necessary.

One last, but very important, tip: As you shuffle stuff around, add in pagination, modify breaks, etc. the TOC may not (will not) keep up. You need to right click on the grey area of the table and press “Update Index/Table”.

NB: Be sure to Update the Table as the last step before exporting. The Table of Contents must match the page numbers of the chapters perfectly.

 

Lulu – Printing Requirements

You’ve got your eBook up and ready to be made into a print book. Bully for you! This is exciting stuff. You’ve done all the hard yards, now it’s just the tedious (but important) yards.

Lulu insists that, if you’re going to distribute your books, you follow some rules. These rules are fair, not outlandish or anything, but it can cause you some grief if you’re not sure what’s what. So take your time, go through this as a guide (not complete, but, hey, it’s a start), and be thorough: digital format allows you to update mistakes quickly. Printed format is quite unforgiving.

I use Open Office to write my books, mainly because I’m used to the interface. If you use a different word processor, the steps should be similar, although I doubt they’d be exactly the same. Maybe same but different.

Lulu uses PDFs as they content, but will also accept Microsoft Word docs and raw .txt files. In any case, I export to PDF before uploading.

Size, Format and Fonts

With eBooks, you write, and that’s that. The formatting is (mostly) up to the device upon which the viewer is reading. Sure, you can set the font and make this a heading and that bold, but readers can override your setting and change everything to Comic Sans (which is evil) if they’re feeling frisky, increase the line spacing, decrease the lines per page, etc.

A printed book, last time I checked, doesn’t have this luxury. So you now need to take off your writing hat, and put on your type-setting hat. Don’t worry, you’ll get through this.

Firstly, choose your book size (see eBook to Hardcopy – Lulu). Sounds obvious, right? Well, there’s more to it than just that.

What kind of book do you have? A novella? A tome? If it’s a light read, you might consider a pocketbook format. If it’s meaty, perhaps you’d like the A5 size. The larger the book, the more expensive it is to print per page, but remember that larger pages hold more words, and therefore each page is less expensive but, and here’s a rule: Don’t let the cost guide you. Rather let the book have what it needs.

What’s your target audience? Children? Teenager? Adult? Older-adult. This can give you a hint as to the size of your type, the spacing and the font type. Larger fonts for children and teenagers, maybe very fine fonts for epics and war stories. The size and type will affect the page count but, again, don’t let the number of pages lead you: choose what’s best for your audience and stick to that.

Now, the font. Pick up a book from your bookshelf. What’s the font? Serif or sans-serif? Does it have the little ‘flickety bits’ on each letter, or is are the characters straight lines? It’s a matter of preference, but I like to read books in serif fonts, and I’ve got my Kobo set to this, only because I find I can read easier and faster. Eh, up to you.

A Worked Example

Let’s start with Jolimont Street Ghost. It was an eBook, published with Smashwords, and I needed to make it into a paperback. When writing, I had everything as ‘default’, thus:

JolimontSW

See how everything just runs together, including the copyright and the Dedication? All the front matter is rammed onto the one page.

We’ll have to change that.

OK, like the rest of Paranormology, I opted for a pocketbook, it’s 10.79cm x 17.46 or 4.25″ x 6.88″. OK, so I set the first page and default page size to this. This is under Page styles (see below).

JolimontFirstPage

Front Matter

The first port of call is your front matter. Your eBook can’t just be printed out any old how, it needs, among a host of other things, to have a proper title page. That’s right, a page dedicated solely to the title, subtitle, series number and author(s).

Hit CTRL+Enter to make a page break under my title. I then click on the page with the title and set it to being a ‘First Page’. That is, I nominate that page’s type as a ‘First Page’. I then edit the margins to give me a 2cm clearance on each side. For a larger book, this isn’t so pronounced.

For the rest of the book, or ‘Default’ pages, I set the margin to 1cm. I’ve found this give a good clearance of the text from the spine – I have read a book once where I needed to practically breaking the binding to read the words next to the spine – and a comfortable reading margin from the book edges. Don’t worry about the little grey margin line, that won’t print out.

Set your font to ‘Title’, set your sub-title, series and author fonts to something a bit smaller. Put them centred. Job done.

Bummer. Lunch is almost over. Stay tuned, I need to get some more screen shots. Coming up, we’ll cover the rest of the front matter, including the copyright, ISBN and table of contents. After that I’ll show you how to add in page numbering, chapter titles on pages, tables of contents and images, and also what to look for when you finally hit the ‘go’ button.

Right now, though, I’ve got to get back to writing code.Mini Jeztyr Logo

 

Blurb is a Four Letter Word

Third draft of Jolimont Street Ghost is done. More changes, “whoops, how’d that get in there?”, get rid of that unnecessary tosh, red pens and redder eyes.

Now I’m going to let it stew once more, while I figure out a release date, and attack the problem that, for me, is writing’s equivalent of cleaning the shower: the blurb.

It’s just a summary, right?

No. No it is not. If you’re thinking of a synopsis or a digest, that, to me, is akin to cleaning the toilet. I’ve got my own beef with synopses, but this is about the blurb.

The blurb is important. It let’s the reader know just what the book, this marvelous creation, is about. It’s a hook to get their attention and feed their curiosity. It’s a marketing tool. It’s a filter to let an audience decide if they will enjoy it. And it comes in two forms: short and very short.

The short can go onto the back of the print edition, and it’s also sent to various re-sellers. the very short is also sent to re-sellers and is what gets pushed under the nose of the audience when they click the ‘tell me more’ button. So it’s gotta be short, sweet and to the point.

Therein lies the challenge: How does one convey the subtleties of the book when they’ve got a limited character count? How does one grab the reader and say, “This book is (or is not) for you!”? How does one give a story line without giving away the punchline?

The Scene, the Theme, the Premise and the Moral

The hard work of writing the book is done, so writing less than a hundred words should be a cinch, but it ain’t. To help out, I write down the Premise, that global statement of hypothesis, that drove the book.

Then I write the moral out (which is surprisingly hard to summarise into a sentence), and put words pertaining to the theme and the scenery of the book, all in the same vernacular and perspective as the book. For example, with Paranormology, the narrator is relating a personal story from a Victorian era, hence the blurb will be a description, by him, of his tale in his manner of speech. Atlas, Broken, in contrast, is written in a third person, as an observer of Henry, in a more modern tongue.

Thus, the scribbles on my page read:

“A curse brought about by an individual can only be attended to by that individual. Rumour, gossip, conjecture, public opinion and speculation are born from assumptions. Assumptions. Science claims to make no assumptions, yet relies upon them. Light and Dark. Balance, what goes around comes around. Summoned demon, born in darkness. Occult, sorcery, physical harm, reputation harm.”

With these words and phrases, I then construct two sentences, one about the metaphysical nature of the book, and once about the physical side. In this way, I can give the reader two aspects to help them out.

“The supposition that darkness is merely the absence of light is both popular and false, as those who practise the occult can affirm.”

“In the dark cellar of number thirteen Jolimont Street, a house we had assumed benign, I unwittingly brought forth an ancient evil that threatened not only our reputations, but our souls.”

There. That’s 320 odd characters, 80 shy of the limit for the ‘very short’ version. Add in the series information, and I’ve reached my limit.

It took about an hour to write, twiddle, poke, and condense (I’ve got a little boy blowing a very loud recorder, so that skews the figures). That’s why it’s like cleaning the shower: A whole lot of scrubbing and rubbing and swearing in a cramped space, with very little at the end to show for it.

In the ‘short’ version, I’ll be able to add in another sentence or two to expand on the concepts of gossip, rumour and the like.

Now I’m going to go and have a lie down.Mini Jeztyr Logo

It’s that time again…

‘Jolimont Street Ghost’ second draft is done. Still a few things to tidy up. Still some paragraphs that need work. But now it’s time to break out the red pen.

Yeppers, it’s head down, bum up, editing hat on with some white noise flooding my ears, reading over the printed pages of the next great thing, cup of coffee dripping onto the pulp, marking little annotations with my red pen in cryptic squiggles and hieroglyphs.

There’s more to consider than just the story, though. Now that I’m at the pointy end, I need to update the Paranormology series image, figure out an actual release date rather than ‘sometime around March-ish’ – ah, a deadline.

What else?

And, you know what? I’ve been doing some thinking. This episode is in stark contrast to Grosvenor Lane, which is light-hearted and childlike. As I was doing the second draft, I realised the protagonist has grown a lot. His thoughts and attitudes are more adult and the situation he finds himself in is less Enid Blyton and more Howard Lovecraft, and this transition is palpable across the other two books.

It wouldn’t be fair to judge the series based on a single book now, would it?

So, as an extra kicker, Jolimont Street Ghost will be free.

As such, there’s no pre-release period, so I’m going to have to factor that into my release date as well.

Aw, man. More work.Mini Jeztyr Logo

Jolimont Street – First Draft

This time, no mucking around with silly plots. What am I talking about? Well, if you look back a fair few posts, Hampton Court Ghost started life as a train-wreck. There was a mangled plot and a weird premise that just got worse as it developed.

If you can call a descent into silliness ‘development’.

I had to rewrite the whole thing, razing it and starting practically from scratch. Not so with Jolimont Street! There are markers and placeholders and XXX’s pointing out where I know I need work, all those things, but all in all, it’s a story that stays with its premise. In short, I’m chuffed.

Now I’m going to leave it for a bit, concentrate on something else. After a couple of days I’ll revisit the document with fresh, critical eyes and then, after that, I’ll do the hard copy and red-pen technique. Maybe I’ll work on the front cover in the mean time. Something brooding, not too innocent.

Stay tuned.