What a busy and challenging month it’s been! There has been editing, a wedding (Kyra’s), a birthday (mine), a brutal bout of the flu and definitely lots of writing. Right now, it’s bucketing down outside (one of the craziest rainy days we’ve seen in a while) and I’ve spent the day reading and drinking tea (is there anything better?).

But yes, this month has been intense. I attended the beautiful wedding of Kyra and Justin in Robertson (and cried like a baby). They wrote their own vows and recited them in a gorgeous glen in front of a waterfall (perfect, right?), and then we partied the day and night away.

Throughout the second half of the month, I was really knocked about by the flu, and was unfortunately sick for my birthday. But! My dear friend Lisy was kind enough to throw me a combined birthday party with her partner, Harry. She did an amazing job of decorating, catering and pulling the whole evening together. Despite my raging illness, I had an absolute blast drinking and dancing all night.

As for my progress throughout the month…

My Books:

Red Hands

So, as you may have guessed from last month’s recap, the Red Hands manuscript has undergone what feels like an immense structural edit. I added almost 17,000 words to the book in a month (which explains why my other writing projects suffered), as well as ironed out some plot flaws and character motivations.

It’s been challenging to say the least, and I’m reaching the point where I need to be done with the manuscript – it’s overshadowing the other work I’m doing.

However, with that being said – it’s amazing seeing it come together, to see the plot tighten and the characters leap more fully-formed from the pages. Nicki Williams (the editorial assistant at Inkerman & Blunt) has been instrumental to making that happen.

She’s helped identify inconsistencies, character motivations and also overarching plot issues, all the while being incredibly encouraging. Because of her, when this book is published, it’s going to be as perfect as it possibly could be.

This stage of the editing process is nearly finished (fingers crossed, touch wood, etc.), and then it’s onto line editing and proofreading!

Finding Oremere (Book One, Work in progress)

In recent months, I’ve managed to take some time away from this manuscript. I’ve been doing some hard thinking about it’s structure and plot, and have identified a number of issues that need resolving before I recruit more beta readers.

Namely the multiple perspectives without a solid lead character. I’ve realised that I need to make one character more prominent, and their motivations more central to the overall plot. This will really strengthen the manuscript in my eyes.

So, I’ve started this edit, with a list of issues and possible solutions to apply. Hopefully this will up the ante, and raise the stakes for the characters, as well as get the reader even more emotionally invested in them.

I’d really love to have this next edit done within the next month, but there’s just so much going on that it seems next to impossible. But hopefully the big edits for Red Hands are nearly over and I can refocus my efforts here.

I’m seriously considering the self-publishing route for this series. I feel that I could make it work, and I love the idea of having control over the production schedule and how it’ll be marketed, though all this still feels a long way off.

Book II (Work in progress)

I haven’t made much headway in terms of my word count with book two in the fantasy series, however, I am pleased with how it’s coming together. As I may have mentioned last time, this book is far stronger in terms of direction and characters than the first, probably because I’ve had a whole book to get to know the world and characters, as well as the time to identify the problems with them.

In a similar vein to above, hopefully Red Hands will be put to bed soon, and I’ll have more time and energy freed up to have this series on the move again. It’s certainly been challenging having my efforts and attention so divided over various projects, and increasingly difficult to maintain motivation and momentum.

Editor’s Life:

Writer’s Edit

At the beginning of May, Writer’s Edit alpha launched a range of online courses to our inner circle. These include: How to Write a Novel, How to Edit a Novel and How to Submit Your Novel to Publishers.

So far, we’ve had some great feedback on the extensive nature of the lessons, and we’ve been working away at adding more courses to the shelf – How to Prepare Your Book for Self-Publishing, How To Self-Publish An Ebook, How to Self-Publish a Print Book…

These courses will be part of a subscription service available for purchase within the next few months.

I’ve been writing these courses in addition to my novels and freelance work, plus have also written a short ebook on how to choose the right publication path for your novel (with the help of Claire). We’ll be publishing this within the next month or so, and will be available to purchase from our site and from Amazon.

We’ve also recently recruited a new member to the Writer’s Edit Press team – Gillian Haines! Gillian is a Masters of Publishing student who has come on as a Book Publicity Assistant. She’ll be working tirelessly to get our books out in front of new readers and writers. Stoked to have her on board!

Kindling Volume III

We’ve had a slow start with Kindling Volume III (or so it feels), with myself and some of the editors coming down with the flu, but we’re back up and running!

In fact, I’ve just received the final, edited shortlisted pieces in my inbox, so I can’t wait to get stuck in and start finalising the manuscript.

I also had a meeting with Alissa Dinallo, our cover designer, and we’re determined to make the cover something really special for this third and final volume.

What I’ve Read:

  • A Court Of Mist And Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
  • The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
  • The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
  • The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

I know, I know – it’s all fantasy all the time with me this year. And I’m not even sorry. I think it’s really helped me escape from work and the challenges of my own writing, and reading series has really kept me motivated to read in general. Another great thing about this list? They’re all women writers.

I’ve become really conscious of having read mainly male writers in the first few years of my writing life, and I’m hoping I’m making up for it now.

Anyway, until next time!