Some thoughts on editing (edited)

I know the cost of an editor seems expensive to many writers, but like any profession, quality work will require expertise and time. If you are on a tight budget, there are many suitable tools out there to proof read and even copy edit (Grammarly, ProWritingAid, etc). I would use one of those to clean a novel up initially.
After this, money could be focused on hiring an editor that can look for plot holes, pacing, and character development issues, and also provide suggestions on improving your work. If that's still not in the budget, I would suggest find some Beta readers with those skills.
Once you deal with their feedback, you could start sending to agents and/or publishers. Or self publish, if that's your route.

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The Trio

Well, it's been a while, but here's another Flash Fiction Friday offering. This one took a bit longer than the normal week - several, in fact. I'm trying to relax a bit and write without constant self-editing and the accompanying procrastination. Could be better, I'm sure, constructive criticism is welcome. 

The challenge was to write a story, examining a character, and the way they manage their stress. Plus, use a random character generator to give them three character traits. 1000 words max. I got naïve, caring and coarse, and decided to do as three characters. 

Like I said, took longer than planned and is a bit over at about 1080 words.

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A Zen Romance

This week's story was to be set in a bookstore, and include a random six words form a list of twenty. I got broken, music, mechanical, grubby, backpack, and cowboy. I've bolded the six words in my story. It took me much to long to get started, but I am happy with the result.  917 words, many of them good. 

Note:  These stories used to be posted on my Ravensview blog, but I'm going to start putting them here.

Continue reading " A Zen Romance" »

What About a Podcast?

I've already published two of my novels, Kirk's Landing and Return to Kirk's Landing. You can buy print or ebook copies from Amazon, Chapters, Ingram-Spark, Smashwords, iBooks, Kindle, etc. Or perhaps find a copy in your local library.  I've also written over 100 quick little Flash Fiction stories over the years, all up here on my blog. 

I'm thinking of doing a podcast of these - maybe a chapter a week, or a story a week, or both. Free of course. I'm told I have a good 'radio voice' so would do these myself, using my headset mic and Audacity and SoundCloud. Nothing too fancy. If it works out, I'd get better equipment, redo/repackage, and sell as audio books.


Cultural Appropriation as a Writer

We're all familiar with the issue of cultural appropriation, and how inappropriate it is. Usually. Whether it's kids at Halloween in Indian saris, or actors in black-face, or a First Nations mascot, we've learned (hopefully) to avoid it.    

But there have some articles lately discussing this from the point of view of a fiction writer. As we explore our characters lives, their goals, challenges, we explore other cultures, other peoples, other life-styles.  I might imagine my protagonist as a single overweight young black gay trombone player, and yet share very few of those characteristics myself. But by drawing on my relationships with friends, my own experiences, research, and some empathy, I might create a good story and successfully explore some of the issues that person might face. However, by dressing myself up, via my characters, in another culture,  am I showing disrespect for it? If it's a great story, and gets snapped up by a publisher, am I depriving someone else, that might be more like my character, the chance to publish about their own experience? Should I only write from my own life,  as a memoir?

Just asking, folks. Here's one article, from Writer unBoxed, by Keith Cronin, and another, from Vice, by Sarah Hagi.  


Writing as Therapy

I read an interesting article today on the therapeutic benefits of writing, especially fiction. The author, Jessica Lourey, writes:

I came to call this healing process “rewriting my life,” as I was taking real events and repurposing them to fit a fictional narrative. The power of this process is transformative. Writing fiction allows you to become a spectator to life’s roughest seas. It gives form to your wandering thoughts, lends empathy to your perspective, allows you to cultivate compassion and wisdom by considering other people’s motivations, and provides us practice in controlling attention, emotion, and outcome. We heal when we transmute the chaos of life into the structure of a novel, when we learn to walk through the world as observers and students rather than wounded, when we make choices about what parts of a story are important and what we can let go of.

And of course, the aim is not to publish this for the world to see - although that might be the path you choose.  It's the process that's important, so you can burn your novel, stuff it in a drawer, shred it, bury it in the backyard - whatever.

Try it, dear reader, and let me know how it goes. 

Selling my books - best way for readers and authors?

Like many authors, I have several ways to get my books into the hands of my adoring fans. Who number in the dozens, I'm sure ;-) 

Libraries and bookstores can order paperback copies wholesale from Ingram Books in the US, or overseas, or from Red Tuque Books here in Canada. Regular customers can order online from Amazon or Chapters/Indigo, or buy a copy direct from me at a book reading or writer's festival. Or if they bump into me on the street or in a pub or cafe, I always have a few copies with me. Of course. Or they can read it via their library. Only the Ottawa one so far, but I'm asking other libraries to order it, and readers can certainly request it on their own. Ditto for finding ebook versions - online, for Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, etc  - with no DRM protection so it can be passed on to others.  Or teh ebook may be in your library too. 

So which is the best way? 

For readers, a face to face purchase means they get a discount, on a signed copy, with a chance to chat with the author. Bookstore or online purchases are more expensive, but more convenient. And the library is both cheap and easy.

For me, the author, online or bookstores are simpler, but - since I have to sell to them wholesale with returns - my profit is much smaller. Face to face, even with a discount, gives me twice the profit, plus a chance to talk to my readers, and remind them to leave a review online somewhere. As for libraries, I get still the small wholesale profit, but the Canada Council of the Arts has a program that compensates authors for having their book in libraries. Plus this increases my readership.

Which is the best for me? Whatever gets my books out there, to be read, reviewed, and recommended to others.