Having succumbed to the latest strain of the common cold, courtesy of my youngest child, I took a couple of days off editing as my brain ceased to function well enough to read and edit. Instead, I took some time to read through the feedback I got from the Ink and Insights writing contest, collated the information into one document and then wrote myself a little ‘to-do’ list. ‘Little’ as in it’s an A4 sheet of paper long!

As mentioned, I’m quite nervous about sharing my writing, but am strangely okay with it being pulled to pieces. Having it graded in the ‘real’ world, as opposed to hitting the specified criteria of a university module tick sheet helped, (and I am so glad the days of scraping into the right grade band, or needing 110% in the next assignment to reach it, are over). The four editors who ‘marked’ my first 10k for the contest were clearly knowledgeable of the sci-fi genre, and of writing techniques, but most importantly of all, they were readers being invited into the world and characters I’d created.

One of the things I look for when reading is how quickly I am enticed into a story, if I can get a connection (or feel) for a character, what their dilemma is and if it’s a story I want to invest my time in. I’m pleased to report all four judges were interested in my start (hook), although a couple felt the main event could have come sooner, one thought I could drop the first chapter, and a couple thought the story would work just as well without the second chapter (which I’ve been in two minds about keeping since writing it). So, all in all, a positive start to the feedback.

Then it went into the nitty-gritty…

My biggest ‘fail’ has got to be description writing, which I know is a weakness of mine. I don’t like to do a block of text describing everything, or what somebody looks at, so instead try and find ways of showing it through whatever character’s pov I’m in. Clearly, this is something I need to do a little better than I am. When editing, the one sure thing to get me writing a comment in a document is if I can’t ‘see’ a setting or a person. And it doesn’t take much, just a line here and there can change that for a reader (and I need to do a lot more lines of description here and there then I am doing at present).

Basically, this contest scores you on a wide range of writing elements. I did pretty well in most of them areas, but still have a major list to look through and think about, some of which is technical/stylistic choices, some are plot/story/delivery. Either way, though, I now feel as though I can view my own writing with a little more objectivity now.

There’s about six weeks left to Nanowrimo, so my plan of action (and I promise I’m not going to keep blogging – and boring you – about this) is to:

  • Address the points raised and make some decisions
  • Make some sort of plan for writing the rest of the novel (even if it’s only key plot points). It was all drafted, but disappeared from my hard drive/Dropbox while I was preoccupied studying Shakespeare. I’m pretty sure *I* didn’t delete them, but whoever is to blame, the files were lost and they aren’t going to rewrite themselves.
  • Get in the habit of writing every day and not in between book edits as I do at present i.e. stop hiding behind the ‘being too busy’ excuse and get editing/writing.
  • Become the queen of time management (seeing as cloning oneself is not, at the time of writing, an option)

That is all.

Books to edit 🙂