Tuesday, November 24, 2015

When Words Fail #amediting #amwriting

As an author, I have absolutely no idea how non-writers view the whole process of writing and publishing a book. I know if I'm struggling with edits or squeeing over cover art or fretting over hitting release dates or word counts, my fellow authors will at least understand what that means and how it all works. I'm sure to non-writers, especially those who don't know anybody at all who writes, it might seem alien and untranslatable territory.

So this post might not make a lot of sense unless you write. Just lately, I have really, really struggled with edits. Editing is a process conducted by a profession who helps turn a book, whatever its level, into something great. Trust me, it doesn't matter how good or experienced you are as an author, an editor can always make it better. Well, providing you have a good one and you're prepared to work with them. I might flinch when I open edits, squirm at many of the comments, tear out my hair when I fail to hit the mark, and make frequent complaints on Twitter, but I adore my editors and appreciate every single comment or suggestion they make (even if I don't always agree with them. The trick is achieving a balance and discussing any issues raised. In general I've been told I'm a good author to work with because I tend to take all my edits to heart. There are occasions, though, where I refuse point blank to change something, or protest and maybe meet the change halfway. You don't have to accept every change in your MS).

With Keir's Fall, my issues with the edits were entirely of my own creation. Now, I've been writing all my life, from the very first moment when I can remember harassing my dad to write out my rather long winded birth name for me to copy (I can't remember how old I was, but probably about four). Okay, so technically for 41 years of my 45. I've been published for three and a half years. By now you might think that writing should come easy to me. Well, it does. I can sit and write a few hundred, maybe even a few thousand words a day without really thinking about it too much. I can string sentences and plots and characters together reasonably well. But the challenge now comes in saying the things I've said a dozen times or more but in a new way. You can only describe pain as searing, scorching, piercing etc so many times before you feel like you're repeating yourself. You can only make so many analogies before they stop being fresh and new.

And I don't know how to fix it. I spent my summer holidays binge reading partly in the hope of refreshing my vocabulary, but when it came to editing Keir's Fall this autumn, the words just weren't there. I knew what I wanted to say, what I wanted to make readers feel, but I couldn't come up with the way to say it that I hadn't done before. On the whole, that's what hampered my edits most of all, especially when I was getting comments of  'repetition' and 'you've said this before'. My main editor has been working with me long enough that she knows all my favourite words and phrases, even if they crop up in a new book. Le sigh. (I also got my wrist slapped for lack of emotional punch, but again, that ties in with the running out of words issue).

So I'm wondering if it's time for me to go back to school. Or rather, to school full stop. The majority of my craft has been learned from the simple acts of reading and writing, and most of the technical stuff from a short Writing Creative Fiction course and professional edits. But I feel I'm still missing something. Maybe some workshops of some kind will help me, or at least make me feel less inadequate. I have some special projects I'd like to work on next year, but right now I don't feel as if I have the proper skills to pull them off.

In the meantime, apologies for taking so long to get Keir's Fall out to you. Not only did I fall behind schedule, but being a Brit I forgot to take Thanksgiving into account and the fact that most of the publishing platforms I work with are US based and therefore hugely affected by that holiday. Yet another excuse, but a valid one. Have another promo teaser as compensation. I can only hope you find the sequel worth the wait...

Status update

Round one of the secret project and round two of Reunion are still with my editor, but since these aren't due for release until June and May respectively, there's less haste required (and at least you know those will more likely release on time, unlike Keir's Fall. >.< ). The cover reveal for Reunion will take place after Keir's Fall releases. Revived, my Rebecca finalist, will probably go to my editor in the New Year as I want to expand a couple of scenes and tweak it a bit more. My superhero short for an anthology submission still requires a bit of polish before submission, but again this is being left to one side until I get KF out.


Keir is still available at most online digital retailers for just $0.99/99 Euros/99p until the end of the year. It'll go back up to $4.99 after that until further notice.
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The print giveaway of When Dark Falls at Goodreads is only open for six more days, so you need to jump in quick for your chance to win (open internationally)

Goodreads Book Giveaway

When Dark Falls by Pippa Jay

When Dark Falls

by Pippa Jay

Giveaway ends November 30, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway
And all my titles will be 25% off at All Romance eBooks as part of their Black Friday deal (Keir will NOT be part of this promotion as it's already heavily discounted to $1 on the site). Visit my book page HERE on the 27th.

At Romancing the Genres I shared a list of Christmas (and other holiday related) scifi romances for your seasonal pleasure. :P

Just three more posts before I take an extended break over the Christmas/New Year holiday. Woo hoo!

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