Saturday, 26 October 2019

Allison's Latest - October 2019

Just to say I'm almost at the end of the final editing stage on the book I'm working on as an editor at the moment.

The whole process has been enjoyable and I know I'm taking in things that will benefit my own writing. For example, editing someone else's work has reminded me to check for things that are easy to overlook in the understandable excitement of getting your story down and then out there!

How often do you check if your paragraphs are indented (a) properly and (b) consistently? Hmm...  this kind of thing is the final polish to your work before submitting it anywhere. But it is easy to rush that final polish or to forget it altogether (especially if you're close to a deadline!).

An important part of editing but it is not the only thing. Pixabay image.

What do you think of when you hear the word editing?

Looking out for typos, grammatical errors and so on? Yes, that is all vital, but so is checking that the structure of the story and the collection it is in makes sense. Collections have to have a sensible running order.

Some stories feed into others beautifully and you want a nice "flow". Readers do pick up on that. I know I appreciate it when I read stories that flow well together like that. It just adds that something a little extra special to the book and author, editor, publisher and, ultimately, reader will all want that.

Editing work needed here I think!  Pixabay image.

Monday, 21 October 2019

Other Ways of Being

Okay, so this is a collection of my own stories. Most of them have been published elsewhere or listed in a competition. Again, just like the collection I mentioned last time, this book went through all the same processes that all of our books go through:
·         Three stages of editing
·         Proof read (in this case I was a proof-reader and another in-house person proof read)
·         Design
·         Cover designs that produces a cover that looks attractive, is technically sound and speaks to the market place
·         First level marketing

So, here’s the blurb:

"Other Ways of Being" is an anthology of stories that ask us many questions about:
otherness: Is a stranger a threat or is he just trying to help? It may be as clever as being a fortune-teller but is it helpful?

  • other times: Is the wild woman really a little girl that she used to know? Will they be safe now or should they worry about the bright soldiers marching? Which horror does the deep sleeper hide?
  • other histories: Who was that strange child? How did they manage to feed so many people?
  • other worlds: Can a couple remain together even when their natures threaten to keep them apart? Is a seemingly incompetent wizard cleverer than he seems? What happens when an alien makes a mistake and almost gives himself away? Do animals help each other in their struggle against the damage that humans are doing? Who exactly is the lady in blue? Is Bradley’s the best story ever?
  • our near futures: Can a man survive in a dystopian future if he has no more human contact? What can ATMs do when society goes moneyless? What happens when the money runs out? Just how smart will the smartphone get? Or driverless cars for that matter? Where will we find sanctuary when the extremists start winning? What happens to the clones when the blueprint gets sick?
  • other sexualities and genders: Will we get used to Toni?

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Because Sometimes Something Extraordinary Happens

This is a book we put together for our very own Debz Hobbs-Wyatt. All of the stories have been published before or have own competitions and now she has the rights back. They only needed the lightest of edits. So working with this book was different.

Debz anyway is an editor herself, but even so, it’s hard to edit your own work. Besides this work had already passed several gatekeepers. So, there was just a light copy edit and proof-read. I wasn’t involved in proof-reading so this delightful volume is waiting in my to be read pile. I’m familiar with some of the stories but not all of them. I’m looking forward to it.

Debz provided her own ideas for the cover and this involved a photo of her grandmother. My goodness, Debz doesn’t half look like her.

Meet a mixture of beguiling narrators, from seven-year-old Leonardo Renoir Hope trying to change the past so his dad doesn’t die, and George and his carrot-growing friends on an east London allotment waiting for the world to end, to Amy Fisher who realises that her husband, after his sudden death, is not who she thinks he is… but who is the other Mrs Fisher? This one adds a touch of medical horror to the mix.

All of the stories are about ordinary people when extraordinary things happen to them.
As usual we need reviews.

Find it on Amazon here

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Update from Allison

Just a short post to say I've recently completed Edit 1 on a flash fiction collection.

I thoroughly enjoyed the process. It is a question of looking at the stories individually and then how they work as a whole, of course.

As a reader, I love spotting themes in books anyway. There is also the added enjoyment, for me anyway, when each story builds on that theme and runs it with it until the end. It has a powerful impact and that is always a good thing.

Am looking forward to the next stage in due course.

Writing is re-writing, as they say.  Pixabay image.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Enjoyable Editing Enticing

How much am I enjoying editing? Now I’m really stuck in I am enjoying it immensely. The digestion of words weaving different perspectives and narratives entice me into thoughts of writing. After a long slog before my new editing role my works in progress (WIPs) are finally seeing the light of day. My dining table is unusually clear as writing takes up less space than crafting. Painting, editing audio interviews in a voluntary living history project I’m working on, and writing new stories have surfaced from beneath a sea of lists.

Having just returned from a relaxing (yes, relaxing) holiday I was somewhat flabbergasted to find my table still clear. As if the lists might have multiplied by themselves when I wasn’t looking. Normally my holidays combine volunteering but not this one! The highlight was a cruise from the Isle of Mull where the houses are made of ticky, tacky?

Anyway, I will prioritise editing this week between my normal routine of ups and downs in levels of wellbeing. Just 🤔 of the lovely Scottish landscape then returning to gorgeous Dartmoor makes me feel forever alive and grateful.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Transforming Being

This is the second e-book we have produced for the Waterloo Festival. 

"Transforming Being" is the theme of the 2019 Waterloo Festival Writing Competition. It is also the title of the e-book, which contains the fifteen winning entries. We chose these because they tell a good story, have a strong voice, and are imaginative in their interpretation of the theme. The writers present us with characters that are believable and rounded. The stories all contain a pleasing narrative balance.

Entrants were asked to produce a short story or a monologue. Style is diverse and each story is completely different from the others.  

We had  a few hundred entries to choose from and it was difficult. We awarded points for how well the stories adhered to the theme, how dynamic the story was and how strong the writing was.  The theme was interpreted in many different ways. Just focussing on these three criteria didn't create enough clear winners so we carried on and looked further at narrative balance, characterization and presentation.     

This is the second year of the competition and the second year of producing an e-book. Next year there will be a third e-book and the winning entries form all three years will be published as a paperback as well.     

See more here.   

Sunday, 25 August 2019

On Having My Mind Boggled...

I went on the Bridge House Publishing editing course back in May and it was an eye-opening experience.

Bridge House carry out not one or two but three edits of work. Naturally this takes time. The course showed what each edit did. By the time all three edits are carried out, writer and publisher know they have a polished piece of work to be proud of but this was also enlightening from a writing viewpoint.

What all good writing has!  Pixabay image

The more you can do on your own work before submission, the greater your chances of having your work accepted. Seeing the different editing stages really brought that home. It was also awe inspiring to see the work behind each edit and understand why every stage is crucial.

As a flash fiction writer (From Light to Dark and Back Again, Chapeltown Books), I’ve learned to develop editing skills given I’m writing in a form where every word must punch its weight if it is to stay in the tale. But seeing how much good editing matters to a publisher was enlightening. It really can turn a promising story into a great one.

Good writing is re-writing. There is no such thing as the perfect first draft. Pixabay image

It was also mind boggling to discover the different ways stories are formatted, even though Bridge House do set out clear guidelines.

It was clear how much time can be saved from the editor’s viewpoint if the preferred formatting is followed. It is very much in our own interests as writers to follow these things then! So regardless of anything else, I took home a great deal to apply to my writing, particularly the thought what can I do to save my publisher and editor time?

We could all do with more time to write, to edit, to submit work etc. Pixabay image.

Now I’m going to be on the other side of the fence as well and looking forward to this immensely. I am glad to say I am one of Bridge House’s new editors and I look forward to working with them and with the author whose work I will be editing soon.

I learned not to be afraid of editing when I finally grasped the point that this was going to make the difference to whether I would be published or not. What writer does not want to get their work to as a good a standard as possible?

A good publisher will want to bring their writers’ work up to the best it can be.

A good editor then is the publisher’s and the writer’s best friend.

A good writer will recognise what an editor and publisher can do in helping to hone work to as high a standard a possible.

There is a challenge to us all there, I think!