Tag Archives: Writing

Travel Blog

The Orange Garden near San Sabina

Since the first of September, my husband and I have been in Rome, Italy. This is our second time there, so we’ve been avoiding most of the “must sees” in favour of lesser known sights, and it’s been a delight.

To read about some of our experiences, hop over to The Other Word, where I’ve been blogging about it.

I can’t really keep up with the posts so I’ll continue to talk about my experiences even when I’m  back in Canada.

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Proofreading Catalyst

A rough sample of the Catalyst Cover

The final edits are done. The picture cover has been designed by Bob Hobbs. All that’s left to do is the cover setup (the font will hopefully change), the formatting of the book itself, and the final proofreading.

The proofreading is tough. Even though I’m pleased with the story and believe it’s well crafted, by now I’ve read the darn thing at least five times in the space of a few months and, frankly, I’m a bit sick of it.

Soon I’ll have to read it again, and this time it’s a different way of reading. This type of reading is at the same time mindless and extremely focused.

It’s mindless because you can’t afford to read the story. Reading for the story is a different mode of reading. If you’re a moderately fast reader, like I am, you read ahead and anticipate the words. Even though you read the words, your brain doesn’t “see” them; it sees the story, the characters, the action, the setting. The words –if the story is well written– weave a picture, a mental movie of what’s going on. Even in a literary work, this vision building is the goal of writing.

With proofreading, you must focus on every word. Forget the computer’s spell checker. You are the spell checker. You must look at every word and make sure each is spelled and used correctly. It becomes a witch hunt for any spelling mistakes and false friends like “it’s” and “its”, “they’re” and “their” and “there”, “who’s” and “whose”, etc. Every word is scrutinized. If you fall into the trap of beginning to read the story, you have to back up and start over.

Granted, at this point there shouldn’t be too many spelling mistakes, which makes it even more arduous because, let’s face it, reading words for the sake of words is tedious.

And as a writer, when I get to that point, I must fight the compulsion to fiddle with the words one last time before it’s too late. This is a bad idea for two reasons: first, because major changes at that point can greatly delay the publication of the book and second, because there are chances that I’ll make things worse. The story is completed. Let it be.

And very soon, I’ll be holding a copy in my hands. Can’t wait.

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Can I write?

Yesterday, on LinkdIn, someone asked a question: My mom says my book is good, but is it?

The question turned out to be bogus, asked by a brand-new publisher trolling for potential authors. I didn’t realize it until I’d answered the question. When I thought back, I decided the answer I gave her shouldn’t be lost. I asked a version of that question when I first started to think I wanted to commit to writing more seriously. So, here is the answer I gave her:

Any writer, agent and publisher will tell you that the opinion of a family member is not a reliable gauge of one’s writing ability, even if they’re published writers themselves. Why? Because they love you. Because they don’t want to hurt you or your feelings. Because sometimes there’s a fine line between critique and criticism, and they’re afraid to cross it.

There are several thing you can do:

  1. Join a writing group. You can join a local writing group that writes in your genre. Your local library might be able to help you with that. You can join an online writing or critique group, although some of them are simply admiration societies and are pretty useless. Some of them, though, are quite good and can help you perfect your craft.
  2. Take a creative writing course. You can also take a creative writing course at your local college, or online. Some are quite good and don’t cost a lot of money.
  3. Read on writing techniques. There are tons of books on writing and self-editing that you can either buy or borrow from the library. One book that helped me tremendously is Orson Scott Card’s Characters & Viewpoint.
  4. Ask for unbiased advice. If you’ve always lived in the same town, you can go visit one of your English teachers, be they from high school, college, or university, and ask them for advice. But don’t send your manuscript or story to your favourite published writer. It is unlikely he or she will respond, unless you know them personally.
  5. Don’t stop writing. Don’t stop at one book. Write continuously; it’s only in doing it that you get better.
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Celebrating Zumaya Publications’ Birthday

Zumaya Publications celebrates its fourth birthday as an American Company (it used to be Canadian before; it’s been around a long time!) by having a month-long celebration at Coffee Time Romance and More!.

Along with their publisher, a bunch of Zumaya authors will hang around to talk books and any other thing we like to talk about, such as… cats! A writer must have a familiar, right?

We’ll also set up polls for people to answer. The current one is about multi-media ebooks and you can find it here.

One of the exciting events is a writing round robin, which I’ll start.  Each author will write in his or her style and genre. It should be a lot of fun. For that purpose, Zumaya has setup a blog at Worpress.com called Tales from Zumaya Books. Come and visit and see what we’re up to, either on the blog or at Coffee Time Romance and More!. The site is for all readers and genres and there are a lot of interesting people hanging around.

See you there!

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The Self-Publishing Dilemma

This week on Twitter’s #litchat was a discussion about “indie” authors, a euphemism now used instead of self-published authors, including those who start their own publishing company to sell their own books and those who use vanity publishing.

Indie publishing is touted as the new publishing model. Self-published authors claim that they are able to retain their own voice, that they are not constrained into a mold, that they are able to have control over all aspect of publishing the book, from writing it to marketing it. That’s all very well and good, but how about filtering?

In her article, When anyone can be a published author, Laura Brown asks the question. In all of the talk of the new publishing model, she argues that one element is being forgotten: the reader. How, amid potentially millions of self-published books, is one to find something good to read? Continue reading

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