A Belated Happy Easter and a Timely WIPpet

Hello all, I hope you had a lovely Easter filled with family and chocolate. Today is Wednesday and I do have a WIPpet for you bit I think from now on I’m going to take a slightly different approach to WIPpet Wedensday’s. Rather than post random snippets, I’ll post consecutive ones starting with today’s offering. And it’s not the only thing I’m changing around here. You can read more here  and also see what I’ve been up to with my editing process.

The excerpt comes from Chapter 23 of Queen of Hearts. Thoren has imprisoned Karavere in the castle of Lord Trent because of reasons and spoilers. All you need to know is that Kara is currently confined to her room. Please bear in mind I haven’t edited this piece yet. :)

Thoren thundered into the yard, wrenching his horse to a standstill at the last possible moment. A serving woman squealed in fright, dropping a basket of clean washing in the mud in her frenzy to escape his horse’s flashing hooves. Thoren laughed. He swung down, landing lightly on the bottom step to the castle door. The rest of the hunting party were nowhere to be seen, left to find their own way back after Thoren’s own triumphant entry.

“You there!” he summoned a stableboy, “Take the carcass to the kitchens and take care of my horse.”

“Yes, my lord.” The boy replied, struggling to wrestle the deer carcass down off the horse’s broad back.

Thoren skipped up the steps and flung open the doors to the Great Hall. He did not notice the portcullis in the inner wall close behind him. He went straight to the lord’s chambers, not caring about the trail of mud he traipsed across the fresh rushes. He took the stairs two at a time and came to Karavere’s door.

“Are you hungry yet, princess? I have deer. Beautiful, succulent, juicy venison. You are welcome to have some. If you care to join me at table?” There was only silence from beyond the reinforced door. “What? No answer? Perhaps you have finally found that thing which usually comes so naturally to women, blind obedience?”

Karavere stepped from the shadows of the doorway opposite, flanked by Tiemil and Lord Simeon Trent. “No, I have not. And I doubt I ever shall.”

5 Things I’ve Learnt About Editing

As you may have noticed, there have been a few changes around here. I’ve decided that in order to build and expand my author platform, I need to readdress the purpose and style of this blog. Originally meant to document the progress of a novel which has barely changed in the two years I started this blog, the posts now focus on WIPpet Wednesdays and the occasional rambling. It’s time to get a little more structure so from now on I will gradually be introducing posts on my experiences as a writer, tips about the craft, reports on seminars and events I attend as well as notes on my everyday struggle with putting pen to paper. Prompted by a conversation with a friend also beginning to build her platform, I’ve changed by username to my pseudonym in order to build recognition of it. The blog name is staying the same for now because I like it and can’t think of anything better just yet.

But enough of all that. As those of you who regularly read my blog would know, I’m in the process of editing my first novel. Here are a few things I’ve learnt so far. :)

  1. You really don’t need dodgy adjectives or pesky adverbs. Like, ever.

It has been said a hundred times before and will be said a hundred times again by writers much better than myself but the truth of the matter is at least half of the adverbs and adjectives in your manuscript are redundant. I was reluctant at first to cut them. I had this idea that modern writing was bone dry and ridiculous, that the omission of adjectives and adverbs did nothing but over simplify the text. In an act of rebellion I dumped so many adjectives and adverbs in my first attempts that the reader could barely discern the meanings. It was bad, really bad. In fact, it was terrible. Although cutting as many adjectives and adverbs as I could lowered my overall word count by nearly two thousand, it has made the rest of the manuscript run a lot smoother. That said, there are times where adjectives and adverbs are necessary and do add something to the writing. Just make sure that you use them wisely.

  1. If you think its fine, you’re probably wrong.

All work needs editing. Even if you think it’s perfect, I can promise you it won’t be. But don’t be disheartened because editing can fix even the most atrocious of problems. As I have admitted before, I am floundering in the deep when it comes to working out my editing process but I had to start somewhere and I am good at editing others people’s work so for once, I took my own advice. I always tell my students to read what they have written out loud, as stupid as it may feel. This is super important when it comes to dialogue because it helps to a) make sure it flows well and b) ensure each character’s voice is distinctive. I also have to force myself to look at my work objectively, distancing myself from the characters and places and events that sprang from my mind and treating them as critically as possible. If you cannot be objective towards your own work, you will never edit it well enough. That said, beta readers come in handy for those parts you just can’t make yourself cut.

  1. Don’t try to tackle the beast, learn how to tame it.

If you are just starting out editing a huge work like I am, read first. Read every blog article and advice column you can get your hands on. Read what worked for others and what didn’t. Practice on shorter pieces, essays and short stories. Practice on someone else’s novel because it is always easier to critique someone else’s work. Make sure though that you note your processes so that when you are ready to tackle your own work, you know what you do and what you look for.

  1. At the end of the day, you know best.

When it comes down to it, you as the writer know what is best for your story and if there is something that you’ve been told to cut but cutting it affects a hundred tiny things further down the track then keep that part in but check it. Make sure it flows, that the characters motivations are believable here, that the reader’s interest is maintained. You may have to take the section apart and put it back together again in myriad different ways until the puzzle pieces fit.

  1. It is a constant learning process.

Editing, like all things, is a constant learning process. You will never know everything, you will never catch every typo or notice every weird turn of phrase but that is okay. There is no right or wrong way to edit. You must find a  method that works for you and stick to it. Most importantly of all, find someone who you can trust to tell you the truth and who is willing to read your work and ask them to edit it for you. A second or third or fourth perspective is invaluable and it is these beta readers who will pick up the bits you missed.

It is not always easy but in the long run it is always rewarding. :)

Also, as part of my blog revamp, I’m opening the floor to questions about me, my characters, my works, and my writing so feel free to contact me at inkandpapyrus [at] Hotmail dot com

 

Lost Words – How to insult, describe and perplex with words from 17th century and beyond!

Amelia E. Browne:

A bit of wordy fun for your day. :)

Originally posted on The Tempered Pen:

I was planning on writing a post about when is the right time to call it a day with a book you’re not enjoying. And I was doing well writing that.

 

But then I found this website.

 

Here we have another list similar to the one that I’ve shown you before with the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

 

Only this time the words have been forgotten and aren’t necessarily insults (but you and I both know they’re going to be used as such)! So, ladies and gentleman, for your delight and delectation I present to you some of my favourite words from my perusal. Full with their definitions of course!

 

 

Squiriferious

Having the character or qualities of a squire

Why yes I did imagine a squiriferious squirrel when I read that word, and you should too!

 

One day the squiriferious Reginald hoped to be…

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The Querying Writer, as explained through gifs

Amelia E. Browne:

I feel this is really relevant as I begin my research on agents and publishers. Now I know what I’m getting myself into. :P

Originally posted on :

After you hit send…

But then–a response! Before you’ve opened the email…

You finally open it. If it’s a pass…

But if it’s a request…

And then after you send your manuscript, back to…

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Progress and Backwards Steps

We all know what it is like to juggle real life and writing. It takes effort and dedication and a lot of hard slog. Nevertheless, that knowledge doesn’t make it any easier. That said, I finally began to edit this week. It was not much mind, but something. I think what spurred me on was talking to a writer friend about stories and writing. He made me realize that my manuscript is not going to write(or edit) itself and that if I do ever want to get somewhere with this whole writing gig, I need to be proactive. That means finding time to write, making sacrifices, writing and editing through the mental block.
The rest of the week was spent designing temples and palaces and other buildings which I keep promising to show you and then forget to. Oops. Now that university work is a bit more under control and holidays are coming up soon, I will have more time on my hands to blog and do all those other little yet important things.

And now to the main business of the day, the WIPpet. This excerpt is from chapter 9 (for the date) and is rather long as I feel you deserve a longer excerpt as I didn’t post anything last week. Context: *spoiler* has occurred sending Kara into a spiraling pit of depression. Three months after *spoiler* she grants an audience with two of her childhood mentors, Lord Markey and Lord Jonyen, who have a potentially treasonous suggestion.

Lord Markey: “Our proposition is this: you are the true heir to the Farilien throne. Lord Jonyen and I will support your claim regardless of the personal cost. And with our backing you will train in swordsmanship and war so that when the Haeleans reach our northern borders with a host that your father refuses to believe exists, you will lead us into battle like the ironmaidens of old.”

“What does that have to do with the succession?”

“If the Haeleans are not defeated when they attack, there will not be a throne of Fariel nor any line to succeed it.”

“You are capable, my lady,” Jonyen took over, “your absence from needlework did not go unnoticed, nor did the scratches and bruises. And to all intents and purposes, your education equalled your brothers’.”

Kara considered, “You will swear me allegiance, even though it is treason to do so?”

“My lady,” replied Markey seriously as he drew his blade, sunk to his knees and with the pommel facing Kara and the swords wicked edge hanging over his unarmoured chest, he pledged, “By all that is holy, the Raheni, this land of Fariel and the graves of my ancestors, I swear that I, Raenin Markey, Duke of Rhea, will serve and obey you, Karavere si Piren, princess of Fariel and true heir to the throne, until the end of days. I pledge my sword to you. I pledge my life to you. I pledge my soul to you. So I do swear.”

Kara sat back on her chair, stunned by the ferocity of Markey’s pledge but before she could gather her wits, Jonyen too adopted the pose, “I, Timen Jonyen, Lord of Fremmel and father of a child widowed, do pledge by everything holy, by the spring and the summer and the autumn and the winter, by the many graves of my departed children and on the lives of the two that lived, my allegiance to you, Karavere si Piren, princess of Fariel and true heir to the throne. I swear that I shall serve you, obey you and keep your confidence until the end of days. I pledge my sword to you. I pledge my life to you. I pledge my soul to you. So I do swear.”

“Thank you, my lords,” Kara whispered.

Writing Competitions and Opportunities Digest – Edition 40

Amelia E. Browne:

Some interesting competitions here, perfect for those looking for a break in novel writing or those between projects. :)

Originally posted on Limebird Writers:

Howdy all! Welcome to the 40th Edition of our weekly writing competitions and opportunities digest. The last edition is available here.

This week’s offering consists of short film scripts, flash fiction, travel writing and a multi-anthology call out.

Hope you have a good writing week…

——————

Opportunity type – Short film script submissions sought for Arts Educational school.
Theme – A contemporary subject matter, with a cast of people mainly in their 20s.
Word count – Equivalent of 10-12 minutes film time (i.e. approx 10-12 pages).
Organiser/publisher – Arts Educational Schools London.
Reward – “Successful scripts will be filmed by a professional director and director of photography and the subsequent film will be edited to broadcast standard. Writers will be fully credited for their work and receive a professional standard showreel of the film.”
Eligibility – Not specified.
Deadline – May 23, 2014.
Link for info – Arts Educational script…

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Working with an Editor

Amelia E. Browne:

Some interesting points for those beginning to edit. Personally I still have very little idea where to start. And I also cannot kill my darlings, not just yet anyway. :)

Originally posted on WordServe Water Cooler:

Kariss manuscripts They say that all good things must come to an end. Sadly, the same holds true in writing. As you turn your manuscript in to the publisher, you abdicate your position as ruler of your own fictional kingdom in favor of an advisor who tells you all the wonderful things you did wrong and how you can fix them. (For example, my editor would have asked me who “they” is in that opening line.)

But this “bad” thing doesn’t actually have to be bad. In fact, think of it as iron sharpening iron. Who knows your story and characters better than you? And who better to help you improve than an unbiased person who likes to read and knows a whole lot about writing and how to craft a story?

I am by no means an expert, but as I edit my second book, I realize how much I learned while editing Shaken

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“Kill your darlings”

Amelia E. Browne:

Food for thought. :)

Originally posted on TomAlanBrosz:

“The advice to ‘kill your darlings’ has been attributed to various authors across the galaxies…and Mister Heist hated them all.

Why teach young writers to edit out whatever it is they feel most passionate about? Better to kill everything in their writing they DON’T love as much.

Until only the darlings remain.”

- Brian K. Vaughan, writer, in Saga #17

Oswald Heist

The late D. Oswald Heist, Author
(Illustration by Fiona Staples)

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A Late Addition

Yes, I know it is getting rather late and in some parts of the world (mine included) it is well past Wednesday. Oops. Nevertheless, according to wordpress I still have 50 mins to write and post this. So it totally counts, right?

Due to assignments and other obligations I haven’t yet got around to writing the architecture post I promised you but I have been working on city layouts (again inspired by my lectures) so when I do eventually get around to it, there will be lots to see.

This week, in honour of my blog’s birthday last week and my own birthday tomorrow, here is an excerpt from Queen of Hearts about birthdays. It relates very loosely to the date, sorry. This occurs in happier times which is nice for a change. Karavere and her brother Brythorn have been summoned by their father, King Piren.

“Tomorrow is your sixteenth birthday. May the gods help us but you will be of age. At the feast tomorrow evening, I will announce your betrothals. Brythorn to Lady Arbrie Jonyen and Karavere to Lord Thoren Hallten.” He waited, as if expecting some protest. None was forthcoming. “It is of the upmost importance that you do not dishonor me or our family tomorrow,” he gave Kara a hard stare, “Were your mother here, she would no doubt have some kind words for you. But she is not. So I will say only this, do not disappoint me.”

“Yes, Father.” The twins replied in unison.

Piren studied his daughter, “What? No arguments? No reasons why this betrothal should not go ahead?”

“No, Father. I am happy to do my duty.”

“Hmph. Well, that’s new but one should not curse the spring for not being summer. You may leave.”

Rewriting: 7 Simple Tips – Part One

Originally posted on WordServe Water Cooler:

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When we started The Shepherd’s Song, the ideas came fast and the words flowed.  We didn’t stop that precious flow by asking ourselves questions. Our mother had taught us that. Get the words down, then you can shape them and refine the writing.

Here are some tips for rewriting, and some examples from the first chapter of The Shepherd’s Song.

1. Stick to what the character is personally experiencing.

FIRST DRAFT:  The ambulance doors opened and Kate’s stretcher was pulled out of the back. The wheels hit the ground and they were inside within seconds. Doctors and nurses surrounded her, each performing a different task, all with the goal of saving her life.

This first draft tells us what is happening. We hear the voice of a narrator. But if the scene is from Kate’s POV, we want to show the reader only what she is…

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