Numbness

Okay, before you start trying to guess what I mean by numbness, I’m going to tell you.

Yesterday I went to the dentist and had a wisdom tooth removed. That’s where the numbness comes from. Wow! six needles it took! Just as well my dentist had a tv on the ceiling with coral islands showing. It looked like it was a drone video but it was greatly calming. Because I thought that darned tooth would never come out! It was stubborn!

But, out it came and I am up to eating soft foods and liquids. Yesterday was cold foods and drinks and today was lukewarm. Of course, being the rule-breaker I am, I had scrambled eggs for tea last night. I swear, I let them cool down a little!

Main thing is, apart from the jaw itself being tender for having had to sit in a skewiff position (I swear, the online dictionary says that’s a word and my mum used to use it all the time!) and losing a tooth, I am just about back to normal. I’m not going to have a lot of crunchy things for the next few days but I should be back to full on vegies and toast after that.

I will admit, there was one point that I almost said ‘no, don’t do it’, but I endured it all the way to the end. I will say, though, don’t go on Facebook straight after you get home – the mistakes you make are eye-opening! Now, though? Now I’m going back to Consequences 3.

Investing in yourself

So I’ve decided to invest in myself. I have signed up for an editing course. It’s something I struggle with, I don’t know any other writer who doesn’t, but I decided to do something about it.

It’s an online course and although it’s through an American education company, it’s endorsed by the Australian Medical Association. I know, I know. Weird. But it seems quite comprehensive and I just have to remember when I’m doing the course to think like an American and then when I’m applying the learning to my own work, to think like an Australian. Easy to do?

I’m not really sure. I will find out sometime after I start the course. I could have taken the course that started on 17 June, but I thought that would be difficult to catch up with, so I’ve signed up for the next one – 15 July. That’ll give me time to prepare for it. I am looking forward to it because it should up my skills and hopefully expand my working life to something in the editing industry.

For now, I can ask all to wish me luck! I’m probably going to need it!

Achievements

I did it! I completed my editing course. It’s not an accredited course, but it sure has opened my eyes to the world of editing. To be a more successful editor, I’d probably need to do a more intense course but this has worked fine. And it works for proofreading other people’s work, too.

I have definitely embraced style sheets. These are really handy as you’re writing because it helps you remember the spelling of names – especially important in science fiction and fantasy where a lot of names are just made up words and nothing remotely like any name in English, Latin or any other language.

Mind you, I don’t know how other writers get past the unusual name side of things for Sci Fi and Fantasy. I usually hit a dozen keys on the keyboard simultaneously and then put vowels in where the word seems to need it to sound all right. That doesn’t mean it’s not hard to say, but there are a few names in my dragons’ vocabulary that are downright tongue twisters! Oh, and that’s the dragons in space, not the ones on the Gold Coast – those names are easier.

Style sheets also tell editors and publishers how you want to deal with trademarks – if you use them – and acronyms – again, if you use them. You can also put a rule in on how you want numbers dealt with – I think the old unofficial rule was 1 – 100 were spelled out and numerals used after that. But any writer can decide if they want to break that rule.

Because style sheets are there to ensure consistency. I have people with titles in the Consequences books. The style sheet reminds me how to deal with those titles in today’s contemporary world. For the Clans in Conflicts books? Not so necessary because those are generally feudal titles but I’ll still use a style sheet when I get back to Dark Reign to ensure consistency.

Where is the year going?

Wow, two weeks into training and I suddenly realised the year is more than half-way over. What happened to it? Did it just slide down the drain? When I contemplate it, we really did have a lot happen.

In March, Simon and I went to Terrigal to meet my editor, then we headed back home, arriving a day after the border had closed. So, we had another two weeks at home.

Then in May I got a cold and had to get tested for covid-19 (nasty test) and was given the all clear. In June, I got an email back to request that I participate in an online/auto interview. Which I did, then got invited to an assessment day, which I also did. Then came the interview and referees and now, 5 weeks later, I’m half-way through training in a new/same job! Which is an amazing company with a 70 year history!

So this year has been really, really super busy and finishing the trilogy of Consequences. Once they’re done, I’m hopping back into Dark Reign to finally finish that one and start on one of the others in the Clans in Conflict series. Then again, November will rear its ugly head and I’ll be itching to do new writing – which will either be Delta Recoveries or something entirely new!

So fun and full-steam ahead for one busy person. (Wow, I nearly said Chick but I don’t know if I can be classed as that any more!)

Eight lessons down

Wow! I’ve already done eight lessons in my editing course. Now this may not be one of those super-dooper courses that give you a certificate, but it is, indeed, helping me with my writing and my own editing.

I used to go through my works in whatever writing program I was using – Scrivener or yWriter – and then put the first-edited version into word and throw that one one screen with the Scrivener or yWriter version on the other screen and minimise every other page on both screens. Then I would take every sentence and turn them around in notepad to see if I could get them to sound better. Once that was complete, I would then put it into a tablet computer, and, coupled with the work’s notebook (usually one with a beautiful cover) and sit somewhere and go through the work page by page noting down errors and where a new scene was needed.

What I am trialling now is to open the work in word, save it as a different version and use track changes on the file itself along with a style sheet to keep track of names, spellings, how I’m noting any trademarks I might use (yes, it does happen, sometimes) and how I want numbers handled – when I switch them to numericals rather than write them out. I also keep names of places in that style sheet, too.

Now, I’m pretty sure that Scrivener can keep track of all that for me, but this is great practice for me because I’m a plantser. Let me explain that in another post.

But now I have an issue. Yesterday I started a new DnD game with a group of new people. And I’ve told myself that I need to write up a background to my new character – even though, like my characters in my stories, my DnD character evolve as we go. Because this is good practice for me in my character creation in my novels. Although I don’t necessarily have to have their background already created (after all, my characters don’t usually exist until they’re suddenly in the book) when I first mention them, I do, at some point, need to write down some information relating to them.

So, excuse me while I go and write a background to my new DnD character.

Doors – open or closed?

Okay, so this week was a spectacular week work-wise. One door closed and another has opened. New adventures to come.

On the editing side of things, I’ve decided to edit Consequences 3 using track changes in word rather than just reading through scrivener. What an eye opener that is. I thoroughly recommend it for those who are just starting to edit their own work or for those who struggle with editing. I even found things I hadn’t realised I’d done wrong.

It’s still not the same as writing completely new work, but it is a task that is part and parcel of being a writer and I’m determined to polish my own work as much as possible before it goes to an editor.

On the other side of things, it appears I have sprained the joint where the thumb joins the hand. It’s okay for typing but writing is currently a major chore. So, I’m concentrating on using the keyboard to update.

New Posting Day

First of all, let me apologise for the tardiness of this post. Friday swung past me sooooo quickly that the day was over before I realised it. And, of course, yesterday was our trip to Quairading.

But, before I go any farther, I also have to let you all know that I am changing my posting day to Saturday. It might be early, it might be late, but Saturday it will be. The reason will become clear in a few weeks.

So, today is about an editing course I have been doing over the last couple of weeks. Wow! What an eye opener.

If any of my friends who are writers have not heard of a style sheet, I suggest looking them up and trialling them. I will be using them from now on. Especially with my sci fi and fantasy books. Yes, I’m talking about Delta Recoveries and Killion as well as my story about dragons and the Gold Coast.

Even if you keep lists of names, etc., which I do, using a style sheet puts them altogether along with how you want to work with certain words, when a number stops being written as a word and is a number only and things like that. Oh, and what you want to do with trademarks and other words like that.

Like, how many of you know that Windsurfer is a trademark but the generic term is sailboard? Not many people realise that. I’m not too sure myself about smartphones but I use it in the Consequences trilogy, Dark Dimension’s sequel and in both Delta Recoveries and the dragon book. So I’ll probably check some references and make sure that’s a generic term. Because I don’t care what brand is in use — if my readers see an “iPhone” or a “Samsung”, that’s fine. They’re pretty similar to each other these days.

So take a look at style sheets — they may even help those of you who create worlds to game in.

Upskilling

So, as you all know, I have been editing quite a lot lately and my editors will tell you I sometimes just don’t get the right thing happening.

Therefore, I have commenced an editing course (how formal is that? ‘commenced’!). This, I hope, will give me that insight on how I can write better and tweak my writing so that it appeals to most people. It’s a hard thing to do when all you want to do is write new words and sentences but editing is a large chunk of a writer/author’s daily grind. We need to polish our works. We need to make sure they follow their own paths and that their characters are polished and three dimensional. We need to make sure our plots are solid with no holes and come to a natural conclusion. Mind you, those conclusions may take more than one book to pan out but as long as they do, then we’re on the right track.

Oh, and we have to learn not to repeat words or phrases too much unless it’s in dialogue and the speaker is intentionally repeating someone else’s words.

But editing usually picks that up – although I did learn in the first lesson that typos sometimes get missed, so luckily I have a friend with the eye of a hawk who usually does a last minute proof read of my work before I finalise it.

So hopefully by this time next week I will have more skills to share and be able to tell you how I have utilised them in my own work.

Late

Well, last week went so fast I ran out of time!

But, things are going well. I have got back into working on Consequences 3 (editing, that is) and did get asked what category the plot would come into. Well, since Consequences 3 is almost a stand-alone book, I haven’t quite figured that side out. When I have finished, then I will take the time for it.

It’s funny how the weather plays a part in typing. We’re going through an icy snap here (for Perth, at least) and it does make typing a bit harder. Then again, I am in the room with the fire. Just have to talk to the boys about lighting the fire!

I was going to apply for a writer-in-residence for a local organisation that I have joined, but they want me to run a workshop and I’m stuck on that. I’d love to get it but that one little bit of information I don’t have. I could use balancing writing and a working life, but when it came to ‘how are you going to run it?’ I couldn’t think of an answer. So I’ve pulled out of that.

But I do have my editing course starting on Friday so I think that will help me with editing. My secret to editing is to turn every sentence around until I get the one that sounds the best. Whether that’s the appropriate method or not, I don’t know.

So, being a plantser, I have to write down the fresh ideas that are screaming at me, then sit and work out a plot, a synopsis and outline. Only then do I really know where I’m going. I have written a few outlines at work but I have quite a few to go – including one for Dark Reign. Then I might get back into finishing Dark Reign. So, I’m sorry for all those waiting on the sequel to Dark Dimensions but it may take a little longer to get Dark Reign out there. I have proven I can write 3 books in less than 2 years but that was at the cost of Dark Reign.

Investing in yourself

So I’ve decided to invest in myself. I have signed up for an editing course. It’s something I struggle with, I don’t know any other writer who doesn’t, but I decided to do something about it.

It’s an online course and although it’s through an American education company, it’s endorsed by the Australian Medical Association. I know, I know. Weird. But it seems quite comprehensive and I just have to remember when I’m doing the course to think like an American and then when I’m applying the learning to my own work, to think like an Australian. Easy to do?

I’m not really sure. I will find out sometime after I start the course. I could have taken the course that started on 17 June, but I thought that would be difficult to catch up with, so I’ve signed up for the next one – 15 July. That’ll give me time to prepare for it. I am looking forward to it because it should up my skills and hopefully expand my working life to something in the editing industry.

For now, I can ask all to wish me luck! I’m probably going to need it!