Every writer needs a break from their computers once in a while. Something I’ve found always relaxes me is baking my favourite cake. This is not just any cake. It’s gluten and dairy free and has a few secret ingredients that make it tasty and healthy.
How can a cake with these ingredients be anything but good for you!
Time for a cuppa and a slice of cake.
I’ve just printed out my novel for the final time. As soon as the kids go back to school next week, I shall lock myself in the summerhouse and set about my final proof read. I’ve read lots of articles on proof reading and done plenty of editing over the years to have come up with a checklist that works for me.
- Use a hard copy (it’s too easy to skip over errors on the computer)
- Read aloud (but make sure the neighbours can’t hear you)
- Read it slowly, word by word (at reading pace your brain skips over words it expects to see and doesn’t pick up the errors)
- Use a ruler or blank page to highlight the line you’re reading (this ensures you don’t get ahead of yourself)
- Keep focused and hydrated by drinking lots of water (this helps keep you awake, and the trips to the toilet provide plenty of short breaks)
- Use a colourful pen to highlight the error, mark the sentence in the margin and fold the corner of the page over (triple insurance against the error being missed when updating on the computer)
- Avoid all distractions (escape from the phone and the internet)
- Keep a notebook handy (make notes of any last minute niggles to sort out)
- The editing should already be done at this point so focus on grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice and spacing errors.
- And finally, there’s no harm in resetting the computer spell checker and giving it one last go.
Then it’s ready for the next stage, uploading to Kindle.
Have you got any last minute proof reading tips to share?
A recent blog on fantasy-faction.com got me thinking about the length of fantasy books.
They are usually weighty tomes, which I don’t have a problem with until you start building those into trilogies and series and clocking up thousands of pages.
I believe there should be more standalone novels in fantasy. It’s always sad when a book you’ve loved comes to an end, but isn’t it good to have closure? To know that the next book you pick up will be the start a new adventure with the author. To discover new worlds and find new characters to fall in love with.
I’ve even been put off starting series because the scale of them is just too daunting (Game of Thrones as an example, though I’ve loved the TV series). As an author I’m in awe of the skills involved in holding it all together, but as a reader I just don’t have the time to invest in them.
I intend to challenge the trend by publishing my first novel, Visions of Zarua, as a standalone. At 153k it’s not exactly small, but it’ll be interesting to see what reviewers have to say.
After that, my next project is a duology. And as I begin to tackle the task of editing it, ideas for book three keep surfacing.
What is it with us fantasy authors?
I’ve just added a novel extract of my fantasy novel, Visions of Zarua, to my website. I hope to self publish this later in the year and blog about the experience.
Blackberries and plums from the garden.
225g cooking apples, 225g plums, 225g blackberries, 3tbsp of water, 2tbsp lemon juice, 600g sugar.
Cook apples and plums for 10min (until soft). Add blackberries and lemon juice and cook until soft. Then add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Boil until a jam consistency is reached.
I am working on a pre-press release for my upcoming novel and would appreciate any feedback you have to offer.
Two wizards, 350 years apart. Together they must save Paltria from Zarua’s dark past.
An ancient darkness haunts the realm of Paltria. Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master Kalesh dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate. Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer. The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of Zarua. Can Paddren decipher his visions in time to save the Paltrian people from the dark menace of Zarua’s past?
I will soon be updating this site. Please come back soon.