Here i will share my journey of hopefully one day recognising my dream of becoming published writing what i love to read; Romance!

Friday, January 18, 2013


So a few posts ago i asked for help with Editing. Where to start?

One of my writer friends suggested i load my story to my kindle to have a read through first, looking for flow and any major mistakes/flow problems. This is working a treat. I have noted about 170 parts that need either tiny tweaks or major rewrite or even deletion and i'm only 3/4 of the way through!

Another writer suggested i scrap the whole first draft and start again! Apparently this worked wonders for her story. I for one, am too afraid to! But after doing lots of research for 'when' and 'where' i'm going to set my story (it is currently in fantasy land!), i'm going to try and majorly edit to fit and failing that - *gulp* - i'll start over!

Another writer, Jackie Ashendon replied with the following:

Good question. Okay, what I do is first read over the whole thing before I do anything. Then I always do the big things first - characters and conflict since both drive the plot. Are your characters consistent? Does the internal conflict work? Have you gone deep enough with it? Are their motivations clear? Have the h/h got clearly defined character arcs?
Once you're good with that, then look at each scene. Do the scenes move the plot/conflict along or are they just filler? Or do you need to add more, etc, etc.
After I do that kind of stuff, then POV fixes, language, grammar etc is next and that's usually the easy fixes. I know some people advise doing the small things first but there's kind of no point fixing POV in a scene if you actually don't need the scene at all.

I think a combination of all this makes sense to me.
I've already noticed that my hero's GMC is seriously lacking - so that will be the first thing i work on, Oh and he seriously needs to alpha up! I can't believe i wrote him so wussy!
Then i'll take a deeper look at my heroine's GMC - just to make sure my h&h clash and meld with the right things!

So thanks for the advice everyone, i feel i am better equipped at tackling this edit :)

Does anyone approach their edits differently?

Friday, January 11, 2013

World Building

When i write a story i try to write "what i know". But when i've set a story in a city or country that i don't know much about, or have created from scratch!, then it requires some research and building.
For my Princess story i have created an island in the North Sea, close to England. I've researched the surrounding countries's history to get a sense of where they came from, how their culture and buildings etc were formed. I've searched about the sea, trade with these countries... It is endless.

With my Secrets and Lies story, i built a whole new fantasy world. I'd written and drawn maps, worked out seasons etc, researched herbs. But i've now decided to ground this story somewhere real, so have relied on history again. Doing research to find a good historical time to work in with my story. I've researched a place - the Hebrides. Now i have to do more extensive research of this place - seasons, climate, names, people etc.

My writer friend Nicole MacDonald created a world Gar'nyse for her BirthRight Trilogy. The things she's researched is incredible and she created names using a fantasy name generator. Her creatures are created from myths and her own ideas.

Kaily Hart has written a wonderful article about world building, Check it out Here!

How do you create your world for writing? And it doesn't have to be fantasy or historical as Kaily tells us.
Do you keep copious notes about your story? Your world?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Release and Author Interview - Nicole MacDonald

Welcome Nicole!

You must be super excited to have your final book in the Birth Right Trilogy, Feel the Burn finished and ready for readers to download!

I am! Also rather exhausted, I kind of feel like I did after finishing my last bout of exams at college - thrilled & terrified ;p

How long has it taken you to write the trilogy?

Around three and a half years. It's rather scary to write that down!

What are you going to do now that you have finished it? Do you think there will be a spinoff of other characters or do you have completely new stories in the works?

I don't know exactly yet, I have heaps of ideas but I think for the moment I might have a breather and enjoy just being a reader again! Of course, as I say that I'm noting ideas down *grin* but I'm not promising anything!!! (yet)

The Arrival, your first ebook is available in book form, is that right? Where can your readers purchase this?

Everywhere that ebooks are sold. Amazon/Smashwords/Sony/Kobo/iTunes/Barnes & Noble - the list is constantly updating! And of course the first book is available free almost everywhere.

How do you come up with the names for people and the places? How do you not get them all mixed up? You must have an extensive file with all the names on!

To create the names I often use friends/family names and just rearrange the letters. Leseach is an anagram of Chelsea and Nnelg is Glenn backwards. Other times I use a fantasy name generator to give me ideas. The name generator is great for ideas.
I don’t have a particular file system for the names, though I probably should. For me, because I’m so involved in the story in my head the names just make sense. I remember them all the same way I remember clients/workmates names – all through recognition of the characters. Occasionally I do need to flick through my current draft to check the spelling of a name (or that I haven’t overused certain letters, making the names look/sound too similar) and the note pad beside me bears the new names of characters for a little while. But no permanent file.

I think most of us know that you use method writing as you draft. In those scenes of intense emotion, how long does it take you come out of it after writing? Does it feel surreal when you're done for the day?

Depending on what scenes I’m working on at the time, I can stay partially submerged in the other world for days, even weeks. Especially when I’m working through the really intense scenes. It does feel surreal coming out of it, actually it feels bloody exhausting at times! I’m very grateful that Glenn can deal with the random mood swings so well *lol*.

I have noticed some similarities between characters with those in movies - have you drawn inspiration from movies such as Avatar and Lord of the Rings?

Everything inspires me – documentaries especially – so it’s not surprising that you see some similarities as those writers/directors also drew inspiration from nature. Earth has so many weird and wonderful creatures to give me ideas and I love drawing on the old legends and tales for inspiration – after all, they were inspired by nature too!

What has been the weirdest Earth creature that has inspired one in your story? What creature did you create from it?

In Jenviet’s castle in, Feel the Burn, Cat comes across bone crunchers. Those squat little creatures were inspired by Tasmanian devils  

Which old legends have particularly inspired you? Maori, Fae? Which has been your favourite?

The old Greek and Roman tales and the ancient Gaelic tales. I don’t have a particular favourite, I just love all the creatures they have in them!

Now i'm sure these questions are some that many new writers who are wanting to self publish would like to know:

Was it easy to self publish?

Yes and no. Technically anyone can do it and the process, while fiddly, isn't that hard. But so many other parts of it are intensely time/energy consuming. It can be a very rewarding hobby but also very frustrating.

Where did you find the artists for the covers? What was the cost for this?

Keary Taylor did my first two covers, and I bumped into her on my blog! She actually did my first cover for free (after seeing my dismal attempt *lol*) and then the second cover I paid for as she'd just started a cover business (and I TOTALLY recommend her!) The third cover was created by a fan of the books, Lisa Vella. I'd found a gorgeous picture I had intended to use for the cover but I couldn't find out who owned the rights to it. And naturally, I didn't want to risk any copyright issues. Lisa came to the rescue and created the cover to Feel the Burn from scratch!! I was stunned :) 

Have the profits you have received been more or less than you expected? (We don't need figures!)

Yes, more than expected. Considering there are over 1.5 million ebooks on Amazon alone, it's very exciting to be sitting in the top 10-15k. So while it isn't a full time income yet, it is a hobby that is starting to pay it's way. Although if you wanted to break it down into an hourly rate it would be very sad *lol* Writing for me, is very much a labour of love.

And that labour of love is available now!
Buy Feel the Burn here from Amazon.
And you can see Nicole's blog here

Continuing from the second book of the BirthRight Trilogy, Awakening, is the final installment—Feel the Burn.

The battle to save Gar’nyse is upon them and already the costs are insurmountable.
With no other option but to knowingly sail into a trap, the girls, the Griffon Guard, and the gathered forces set forth to reach the castle and destroy Jenviet. However the loss of Alek means the task sits fully on the four girls’ shoulders and with only one of them at their full Elemental abilities, the risk of death, or worse— failure—is high. Now with nothing to lose, Catherine refuses to link with the other girls, hoping that she alone will be able to take Jenviet. But the malevolent Sorceress of Vo’Arum has other plans…

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Editing, and I need YOU!

So, i am editing my first ever story Secrets & Lies.
I wrote this story in 2008 starting when my daughter was 6 weeks old. It took me a year.
When i finished it my dad printed and bound it. It hadn't been edited, it was very rough. Everyone who read it said it's a great story.
I read back over it about a month after i'd finished and well, it needed a lot of work!
I was really bad with head hopping! one sentence was in the heroines head, the next from the hero's father etc :S
So, five years later i am editing it.

I have started with the first 6 chapters, deleting head hopping, making scenes in one person's POV.
Upping the tension by deleting all the obvious 'hints' to character's backgrounds.
And, i have done research. When i wrote it, i created a fantasy land in an unknown time. It was easier to create my story. Now i want to solidify it, ground it somehow, and i have chosen a place in the Hebrides, in around 1100 AD.
So lots of research, about clothes, food, names, travel etc etc..

So my question for you writers, both published and unpublished. What do you tackle first on your first edit through?
Inserting place names and history?
Changing some of the plot line? Character motivation?

There seems so much to do, i am a bit overwhelmed where to start!! So your help is greatly appreciated!