Saturday, December 17, 2011

Reflecting on "Reflections"

Last year, I wrote “Reflections”. It was supposed to be my 2010 30 day NaNo challenge, but it actually took me twelve months to complete it. The story went through numerous rewrites, the characters morphed from male to female, and the book took on a life of its own.

I tried to let Willow go, but somehow she slipped into the book. 

Over the past couple of months, I have been implementing edits. After so many rewrites, I am amazed at the number of small issues that still exist within the text. There are areas of the book that don’t flow very well; there are choppy sentences awkward phrases and bits that simply don’t make sense. Each time another section is reviewed, more inconsistencies arise and errors are revealed. Thankfully, I have an excellent editor, who also has a terrific sense of humour.

Well, everyone could use a good looking Dane now and then . . . 

She has a knack of pointing out the mistakes or areas that are poorly written, without making me feel as though I am completely inept – like most writers, I can take care of that feeling without any external help. Her comments are direct and to the point, and she doesn’t try to manipulate the story-line or character development into something I didn’t intend. Often, we find the same issue and come up with the same solution. When this happens, I know the right person is editing my book.

I had already rewritten this section when I saw her note. It made me laugh.

Every writer needs a good editor, proof-reader and supportive beta readers. Without them, a book cannot receive the polish and shine it deserves before being released into the world. Thanks to the few who have been so supportive over the past year, “Reflections” is well on its way to being released early this spring. I can hardly wait to receive the first proof copy in the mail. 

*This is the cover for the proof copy only, it will not appear on the actual book.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Emerging from NaNo Land

I’m coming out of NaNo Land in a bit of a haze, knowing there’s still much to do, but happy with my accomplishment. November was National Novel Writing Month, during which time thousands of authors sat glued to their computers, pounding away on the keyboard aiming for a word count of 50 000. This meant a target of approximately 1600 words a day. Broken down, it doesn’t seem like all that much.

Except – you have to account for all the small stuff that happens in between. This month seems to have been one trial after another. Between sick kids, hockey tournaments, family obligations and the everyday chaos that follows a family of six, I barely found time to write. The end result was me frantically scrambling to write over 9000 words on the final day of November.

Did I succeed? Of course I did! So now, I have a not-so-shiny new novel to edit, explore, shape and tweak until it becomes the work of art it is meant to be. It’s a fantasy book geared towards children aged ten to fourteen, depending on their reading levels and interests. My goal was to create an engaging story for mature readers, while implementing challenging language and appropriate content. Not an easy task for someone who has been focusing on Women’s Literature.

Of the three books I have written, this one was probably the most difficult, as I stepped out of my comfort zone, tried something new, and focused my energy on a much younger audience. Currently, the very rough draft is in the hands of a couple age-appropriate beta readers. Here’s hoping they enjoy this draft as much as I enjoyed the challenge of writing it.