Saturday 22 March 2014

Almost Ready to Start the 2nd Draft...

I just have to finish minor editing ready to submit 2 short stories, then I can begin reading the 1st draft (D1)

It's been a month since I finished, and I probably could have left it to settle for a few more weeks, but printing out those last 2 chapters (that had been waiting for the new printer to be bought and installed) started my brain whirring.

I really shouldn't have started reading them!

So this coming week I'll start the reading- and making notes as I go.

I asked friends for any helpful tips, and I'm certainly going to be using the red and green pen idea they suggested. Red for typos and grammatical errors, green for changes, where inserts are needed. I may also use a blue pen for anything that falls outside of these areas.

The second half of the D1 was much more rounded than the first half - I realised this as I was writing. I suppose by then I'd learnt a lot more about my characters and the plot line had become more fixed; also the changes I made in event order fitted better than how I'd originally imagined them, so the writing flowed better.

By the last few chapters my hero's home was staffed by a small group of servants who weren't there before, and a couple had distinct parts to play. Obviously they will have to appear as appropriate in earlier chapters, but I do know exactly where one will fill a suitable role.

I know that this 2nd draft is going to be as much of a learning process as the first was.

I've not only been discovering how my mind puts a longer story together, but also how to make the best of the time I have to write...

If you have any insights on the 2nd draft process, I'd enjoy hearing them.

Monday 10 March 2014


Things breaking...
All three...

After losing my broadband a month ago due to damage to the line outside the house, once I was reconnected I found my printer/scanner/copier wasn't working.

It took changing all the inks and doing a few maintenance tasks to get it to photocopy, but printing from documents on the computer, no!

There are two chapters of my first draft waiting to be printed out...

So I thought I'd start looking at replacement printers. Choices, choices...

Then the mouse began being unresponsive- checked for faults, made sure the driver was up to date and it was no better...

It was only when I went into John Lewis looking for a new one that I discovered how techy the mouse had become, and everything is geared to Windows 8, even if you're still on version 7!

I gave up in despair- not enough staff and too many people wanting help to hang around, so I looked online. That was a case of too much choice...

And yes, you've guessed it, the keyboard went next.

One moment it was working, then I shut the computer down while I was off doing something else, came back, turned the computer on and I got a screen load of data, and at the bottom, the message that my keyboard was kaput! (Admittedly it didn't actually say kaput, but you get the idea.)

I'd been intending to get on with editing a short story, but without a functioning keyboard...

My personal knight-in-shining armour (my OH) responded to my phone call and went and got me a new keyboard on his way home from work.

(As I had to do the keyboard, I tried a spare mouse too.)

It's brilliant. Okay it cost a bit more than a standard keyboard, but it's worth it. It's curved, and the central area is raised- makes typing consonants much quicker- I'm a one or two finger typer, but even better, the shortcuts are marked on the edge of the keys.

Now I've never been able to remember Ctrl and whatever letter to do things quicker, but now it's there for me to see instantly.

As that's three items that have gone wrong, I'm hoping that's it and I can continue writing, and printing, without further troubles.

Technology, can't live with it, or without it...

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles:

Saturday 1 March 2014

Confused About Publishing to Kindle? You Need This New Book...

Kindle Direct Publishing For Absolute Beginners: A guide to publishing Kindle e-books for beginners
Available on Amazon platforms
(image from
Unsure about creating a kindle e-book, then worry no more.

Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners by Sally Jenkins.

I think this new book will sell very well, as it covers so many essential elements of the publishing to Kindle process.

You can read about how this new book came about on Sally's blog here.

This e-book doesn't cover formatting in detail- there is an e-book that covers that aspect that Sally recommends.

Her book goes into all those other essential areas that you need to understand and use, from the pre-publishing stage- what you need to consider and check for before you begin formatting, to the options for cover design, and more.

You will find out about the thorny issues of pricing, royalties and tax- the latter has always seemed to be the most confusing issue for UK writers who have sales in the US (30% withholding tax, and the US Tax identification number- and how to get one).

Then after your e-book is loaded and on sale, important issues like keywords, getting reviews and keeping track.

I've only been able to have a quick scan through my copy- I bought it last night, £1.53 on Amazon's UK site but the parts I have read for compiling this blog post, have convinced me.

I like the straightforward manner in the way each aspect of the process is addressed, and even those elements that always seemed quite unnerving are no longer scary, or headache inducing.

This e-book is a purchase you will not regret making.