On Self-Editing: A Cautionary Tale

by Annie Daylon

SElf-Editing
Mistakes, I’ve made a few… Are the few worth mentioning? Yes, if mentioning reinforces the lesson and helps other writers. 

Recently, one of my novels was launched into the world with editing errors. The reason for this? My contract with an editor fell through (these things happen). In an attempt to meet my self-imposed deadline and in the absence of a ready-made alternative, I decided to save money by self-editing.  Warning: Don’t do that!

Please note that I am not speaking of content editing here; my content editor was fantastic. I’m talking about proof-reading. I am an avid reader. I am schooled in grammar. Still I messed up. Why?  Perhaps because, knowing the intent of my own words, I just I slid right over the typos toward the expected outcome. 

When, in an aftermarket read, I noted a couple of errors, I sat with them for a while. Do I edit or not? Self-publishing is expensive; authors don’t make a lot of money per book. It was not until the book was purchased by the library that I jumped in to edit mode.

I edited once. Cost $79 (that’s $100 Canadian.) When I read the revised proof, I noticed that I had omitted a word.  

I edited the whole thing again. Another $100. When the proof came back this time, I found one sentence in which I had inadvertently added a word, a tiny, three-letter word.

I asked the lady at Create Space if it would cost me another $100 to remove that word.

“Yes, Ma’am,” she replied.

I said “Stet,” writer speak for let it stand.

When I am about to release Book II of this series, I will go back and give Book I another sweep or, better yet, hire someone to do it for me.

Work In Progress Badge

I have ( and am) a Work in Progress. Sigh.

As for my work-in-progress thriller, I’m NOT editing it myself.

Dear Readers, my apologies. 

Dear Writers, hire proof-readers.

Dear Everyone, If you notice any mistakes herein, drop a line in the comments. I’ll edit. Guaranteed!

I invite you to join my author journey: subscribe to blog or newsletter or both! The newsletter contains book news, blog posts, sneak previews, and, occasionally, fun facts about my beloved island of Newfoundland. To sign up, simply place the required information in the spaces provided on the right. Rest assured your email address will not be shared for any reason.

My best to  you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

Vancouver Visit: Things Are Not Always What They Seem

by @AnnieDaylon

Phone April 277

Things are not always what they seem…

 

Are you writing present-day fiction in a real setting? Are you wondering if you should visit that setting? 

In my last post, My Novels. My Research., I wrote of plans to visit the setting of my work-in-progress…

My Work-in-Progress is a crime thriller set in present day Vancouver… I have the characters and the details down, most of them anyway. But I want, once again, to walk in the shoes of my characters. This time I will take the Aquabus to Granville Island, visit a café on the beach, shop at Pacific Centre,  detail heritage buildings in the area, and, most importantly, do some people watching.”

Here are a few things I discovered…

  1. First of all, since my story takes place in May, I wanted to visit in May. But, when I learned that hotel rates would skyrocket on May first (the onset of the tourist season), I booked my trip for the last week in April. Had I waited the extra week, my hotel cost would have doubled. Ouch!

  2. I didn’t ride the Aquabus mentioned in my last post. The character in my novel who went to the Farmers Market on Granville Island would have taken the False Creek Ferry because it was closer to her home and therefore much convenient for her. (Good to know!) I followed suit. 

  3. Before my trip to Vancouver, I watched a TV news report from the shores of English Bay. Certain that shutterstock_212016496the flowers dotting the background field were clover, I wrote about the scent of clover combined with the scent of sea, a combination I remember well from my days in Newfoundland. However, when I strolled through the grass near English Bay , I discovered that there was no clover. The tiny white flowers I saw were daisies. (Things are not always what they seem.) I edited my manuscript.

  4. In my novel, a main character visits police headquarters. When I wrote the scene (prior to my visit to VPD headquarters), I based the setting on a TV show, one in which the front doors of the police station open to a narrow reception area with a long, open counter manned by a prominent and dominant female officer. On that show, everything on and behind that counter is clearly visible (possibly to make it easier to film).
    Reality is different. At the VPD Headquarters, there is a long reception counter, yes, but it is separated from the public by (what I assume is) bulletproof glass. As is required of all visitors, I reported in; that meant talking through parallel slats in an intercom to a woman whose voice was distorted by static. I couldn’t describe this person because, due to translucent glass (and my lack of stature), I couldn’t see much other than dark hair and glasses.
    Another surprise regarding the VPD came in the form of its accessibility. Despite the uniformed attention to detail and the church-like echo of voices in the lobby, there was no sense of keep-away here. I contacted the department ahead of time; I left a message which was responded to in short order. And I was welcomed (with a police escort) into the inner sanctum. (Thank you, VPD!)

As for the other places mentioned above: I took detailed notes on the architecture and layout of the shopping center wherein I have planted a fictional boutique. I ate a delicious salad at the cafe on which I’m basing the restaurant in my story. And I discovered a heritage building whose ivy-covered exterior and dark-paneled interior suit my needs precisely. 

Back to my opening questions…. Are you writing present-day fiction in a real setting? Are you wondering if you should visit that setting?

My answer… yes! Plan the trip. Immerse yourself in details. Then weave them into your plot.

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

My Novels. My Research. (Vancouver Bound: Boots on the Ground)

by @AnnieDaylon

shutterstock_212016496I am a multigenre author, born in Newfoundland, living in British Columbia. My novels are reflective of my bi-coastal experience in that they are set on the opposite ends of Canada: Newfoundland or Vancouver. The time element is also extreme: I plunk my work anywhere from the 1920’s to the now. The research methods vary, dictated by setting. The Newfoundland novels catapult me into the past: I read and view everything I can find on the historical events and settings. Here, I am focusing on the Vancouver novels (yes, plural because I’m nearing the end of the second) which are set in present-day and require boots-on-the ground research.

My first Vancouver novel, CASTLES IN THE SAND, is set in 2010 in the west end and, in addition to online research regarding the city and the plight of its homeless, I made two specific trips to the city.

On the first trip, I left the comfort of my west-end hotel at the cusp of dawn on a relatively-warm winter day and hiked the full length of Robson Street. Why? To see, hear, and smell the world as my main character, a homeless man, does. When he observes the pigeons strutting the sidewalk, he notices (because I notice for the first time) that the

  • “little bastards have red feet.”

The predominant aroma for him is the smell of coffee (not the smell of ocean air as I had expected.)

  • “I take a deep breath so I can suck in the Starbucks. All the beautiful people carry Starbucks.”

He hears the day beginning, not just generically in the roar of traffic but specifically:

  • “The bus engine grumbles…Whooossssh. Air brakes.”

  • “Won’t be long before the bolts on the door of the shoe boutique behind me twist open. Three bolts. Every morning. Like clockwork. Click. Click. Click.”

 That day, I also walked the Vancouver Seawall, toured Gastown, and ate at the Spaghetti Factory, all the while taking notes. My best discovery? At the end of a long day, while walking back to my hotel on Robson Street , I saw a young man in a white, puffy jacket. He was talking to a homeless man. I didn’t want to interfere but I wanted to eavesdrop, so I strolled past. The young man was saying “Let me help you to a shelter.” I pinged on that. For my novel, I created a new character, a Good Samaritan, who was dubbed “Marshmallow Man” by my main character.

  • “Some guy in a puffy, white jacket hovers over me. A marshmallow. A goddam talking marshmallow.”

My second trip to Vancouver was to finalize details. The backstory of my homeless character was that he had lost his home during the real estate crash. I had a specific residence in mind for him, one that I had found in the MLS listings, and walked the area surrounding that very house. I went to the nearby park where my fictional family played. There, I sat on a bench and penned a description of both house and park. I walked the tunnel under the Granville Bridge. And I sat in the foyer of the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library where I noticed a pigeon strutting the floor, a pigeon that inspired a caring moment for my homeless character. It was in the library that it occurred to me that all the chattering voices around me melded in to a ghost-like drone, into

  • “whirling ghosts of indiscernible chatter.”

The effect of all that research was not only that I was better-able to detail the journey of my character but also that I am now better-equipped to notice detail daily. (A bonus for a writer.) 

As for current research… My Work-in-Progress is a crime thriller set in present day Vancouver, again in the west end. I have the characters and the details down, most of them anyway. But I want, once again, to walk in the shoes of my characters. This time I will take the Aquabus to Granville Island, visit a café on the beach, shop at Pacific Centre,  detail heritage buildings in the area, and, most importantly, do some people watching.

In short, in a couple of weeks, I’m Vancouver bound. Boots on the ground. Can’t wait!  🙂 

I invite you to join my author journey: subscribe to blog or newsletter or both! The newsletter contains news about books, links to some blogs, and occasional fun facts about my beloved island of Newfoundland. To sign up, simply place the required information in the spaces provided on the right. Rest assured your email address will not be shared for any reason. eNovel-Round-Logo

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue 

Storyboarding with the W Method

by @AnnieDaylon

sTORYBOARDING

Curious about how authors create their novels?

Some write freely, discovering the story as they go along. I do that, to a point. Then, with basic plot, key characters, and some scenes in mind, I create an outline.

I have experimented with different ways of outlining, including the use of note cards, step sheets, the Snowflake Method, and software, all of which are detailed by Robbie Blair in Eight Ways to Outline a Novel.  

The method that works best for me is the Storyboard. It is the most tangible, visual, and accessible way of plotting a story. Sometimes I have used a linear model, simply placing chronological plot points on a straight line.

In my Work-In-Progress, a three-act thriller set in Vancouver, BC, the story takes place over ten days. The details are tight. I want certain characters in a certain place at a certain time and I have to keep track of their every move. Enter: the W Storyboard.

Storyboarding by Mary Carroll Moore

Storyboarding by Mary Carroll Moore

My W Storyboard is based on Mary Carroll Moore’s model which lends itself well to the three-act structure common in the thriller.

The first line of the W—top to bottom—gives the story setup.

The first low mark represents the first portal or turning point. Once a character crosses that threshold, she must continue the journey. There’s no turning back. Either she can’t get back or there is nothing to go back to. (To quote fellow writer Brian Rodda, “The village is burned, the villagers are dead.”) 

Each successive point on the W, as shown in Mary Carroll Moore’s Youtube video, is another portal, another change in direction.

Because I usually know the turning points when I start my storyboard, it’s easy to fill in the portals on the W. After that, I have to get the characters to those portals and that means creating step-by-step details.

Using colorful sticky notes, I write plot points and place them along the lines of the W.  Wonderful things, those sticky notes: I frequently make changes and the notes can be pulled off and popped on easily. (Word of warning: if you plan to use sticky notes, buy the good ones; the cheaper versions tend to lose their stickiness and flit around like butterflies.)

My current storyboard has more than just plot. It includes:

  • Dates of Events, displayed on contrasting  sticky notes;

  • Images of actors who represent the visual type I’m trying to portray;

  • Character descriptions, detailing height, weight, hair, skin tone, eye color. (These are mere reference points which help avoid simple mistakes, such as a page 27 green-eyed character becoming brown-eyed on page 215.) 

  • Settings, sometimes written, sometimes images. (One setting in my thriller is a city loft, so I printed out a floor plan that suits my needs and pasted it on the board.)

Mary Carroll Moore states that her W formula is based on a book The Writer’s Time by Kenneth Atchity. The revised version, one which I am about to download, is on Kindle. The new title? Write Time: Guide to the Creative Process, from Vision through Revision-and Beyond

If you are an outliner, do you have any outlining tips? 

If you are a pantser, what are your thoughts about outlining?eNovel-Round-Logo

I invite you to join my author journey: subscribe to blog or newsletter or both! The newsletter contains news about books, links to some blogs, and occasional fun facts about my beloved island of Newfoundland. To sign up, simply place the required information in the spaces provided on the right. Rest assured your email address will not be shared for any reason. 

My best to you,
Annie Signature Light Blue

 

 

 

 

My Write Before Christmas: 2015

by @AnnieDaylon

ALL-ABOARD-with-medallion

My Write Before Christmas: 2015

It’s my Write before Christmas! This year I’m delighted
To blog hop with BRAG for I’ve been invited
To share my tradition of greeting in rhyme
Readers and wordsmiths at holiday time.

Authors work solo but none are alone.
It takes a village, an adage well-known.
With this in mind, herein I’m highlighting
Links and events in this world of writing.

A new writer? The world’s a mysterious place.
Catch a conference! It’s there that you’ll come face-to-face
With writers and editors and agents and such.
Volunteering’s an option if the cost is too much.

Don’t want to travel? Still want to learn?
This Indie group can ease your concern
About writing and publishing and marketing scenes
With FREE online events in 2016.

Love story contests? There’s fun with deadlines!
This>Contest Calendar’s< a favorite of mine.
As is Poets & Writers, a site that makes space
For a Contest and Grants and Awards Database.

Got a post that helps others? Want it retweeted?
@MondayBlogs is a place you’ll be greeted.
Ready to market? Don’t know the score?
Book Marketing Tools has ideas galore.

Having trouble with structure? Can’t seem to outline?
K. M. Weiland has guidelines to help you refine.
Seeking courses or webinars to carry you through?
Writer’s Digest will surely have something for you.

There’s a ton of advice from Elizabeth Craig
Author Media’s the place if tech is a plague
And if you’re afflicted with grammar trouble
Grammar Girl delivers help on the double.

Bestseller Labs has suggestions for selling;
Enovel Authors has info compelling
“How I sold 30 000…” is well-worth the buy
Martin Crosbie’s the author (I wish it were I ! :-))

Do you have a routine? Great tales must be spun
And writers toil daily to get the job done.
(On that note, dear writers who are reading this verse,
If today you’ve not written, go away and WRITE FIRST!)

So here’s to my tweeps, and all Facebook friends,
I’m new to the latter and the fun knows no end.
As for Tea & Critique with friends Fran and Mary,
I always apply their sage commentary.

Here’s to you, readers, on you we rely,
The work’s not complete until you stop by.
Samuel Johnson once said (and I paraphrase herein)
“A reader finishes what a writer begins.”

Thanks, BRAG Medallion and Layered Pages
for bidding me join with your blog hop sages!
Debra Martin‘s site is next on the hop,
she’s there tomorrow, be sure that you stop!

That’s it for this year. Best wishes to you
As 2016 comes into view.
And now, ere December rolls out of sight,
Happy Christmas to all! Have great reads and great writes!

Sardis, Retreat, Christmas 034

My best to you,
Annie Signature Light Blue

 

Goodreads Giveaways: Anticipation and Information

by @AnnieDaylon

First and foremost, many thanks to readers and writers whose support and encouragement made it possible for me to release both a novel and a picture book this year.
As I write this, I am in the middle of Goodreads Giveaway events for both books!
Entry numbers are climbing as is my anticipation of the email announcing the winners. (Dec. 5th entry deadline.)

The Goodreads Giveaway procedure is pretty simple:

First, read:

Your Guide to Giveaways on Goodreads

Then:

  • contact Goodreads if you have any questions (all mine were answered courteously and promptly);

  • select the dates for the Giveaway;

  • fill in the form;

  • await approval from Goodreads (mine came swiftly); 

  • begin promo on FB, Twitter, Linked In, … whatever your social media outlet;

  • either prepare a box labeled Goodreads Giveaway into which you put  books, mailing envelopes, and anything else you wish to send (bookmarks, personal notes,etc.) or await the winner list and send books directly from the printer.  

Something to Consider:
Due to mailing costs, I offered my novel– OF SEA AND SEED— only in Canada, and my picture book– THE MANY-COLORED INVISIBLE HATS OF BRENDA-LOUISE— in both Canada and the United States. But…
After my giveaway was underway, I came across a bit of wisdom from Catherine Ryan Howard who stated that the purpose of giveaways is to increase awareness, and writers should make giveaway prizes available internationally. Mailing costs can be offset by offering fewer copies. (Brilliant, that! Too late for my current giveaway, but perhaps not too late for you!)

So:
After you’ve read the Goodreads Giveaway How-To-Do-It instructions, you might want to jump to the following post in which Catherine Ryan Howard offers, in addition to the above mailing advice, other giveaway  tips that may be of help to you.
Goodreads Giveaways: Don’t Do What You’re Told 🙂

My best to you,
Annie Signature Light Blue

 

 

Free Short StoryI invite you to join my author journey: subscribe to my newsletter which contains news about books, links to blogs, and occasional fun facts about my beloved island of Newfoundland. Place your first name and email address in the space provided on the right. Rest assured your email address will not be shared for any reason. 

Pick of the Twitter: August, 2015

Pick of the Twitter 005

Looking for writing/marketing tips? Here are my Top Twitter picks for August, 2015:

  1. 7 Tips to Promote Your Book for FREE  via @111publishing

  2. An Updated Guide to the Marketing in the Big 6 Social Networks  via @socialmedia2day

  3. Book Launch Tips for Traditional and Self-Published Authors  @BookBaby

  4. Overwhelmed As An Author? How To Work With Virtual Assistants  @ChrisDucker via @thecreativepenn

  5. How Long Is A Novel? @MaeveMaddox

  6. How to Write Vivid Descriptions by @ChuckSambuchino via @JamesLeeSchmidt

  7. Protagonist and Main Character— Same Person? The Answer May Transform Your Story! @KMWeiland

  8.  “What Should a Novelist Blog About? Do’s and Don’ts for Author-Bloggers”  by @anneallen via @thecreativepenn

  9. How to Self-Publish Your Book on a Budget by @miralsattar

  10. Have you seen our FREE Author Marketing Checklist? Great guide for authors! @bkmkting

  11. Writing Your First Book: 5 Tasks to Focus on Besides Writing: @thewritelife

  12. Broken, Not Bitter. An Author’s Life with Repetitive Strain Injuries  @thecreativepenn

  1. It Only Gets Harder Once You’re Published  by Chuck Wendig

  2. 8 Tips for Writing a Synopsis:  @ceciliaedits via @elizabethscraig

  3. How to Find an Editor as a Self-Published Author via @janeFriedman

  4. Take Your Writing Outdoors: 9 Tips for Successfully Working Outside @thewritelife

  5. Making Bad Things Happen to Good Characters @aliventures

  6. Writing Your Book’s Back-Cover Copy  @JaneFriedman

  7. Basic Formatting of Your Manuscript (Formatting 101) by @JodieRennerEd

Many thanks to Tweeters and Bloggers alike!

A FREE SHORT STORY is yours when you subscribe to my Author Newsletter: simply your first name and email address in the space provided on the upper right. Rest assured that your email address will not be shared. 

My best to you,
Annie Signature Light Blue

Pick of the Twitter: July, 2015

Pick of the Twitter 005

Looking for writing/marketing tips? Here are my Top Twitter picks for July, 2015:

  1. Spicing Up a Story With Similes & Metaphors @JodyHedlund

  2. 2 Ways to Make the Most of Your Story’s Climactic Setting  @KMWeiland

  3. Omniscient Point of View– Craft at Write on the River  @Bob_Mayer

  4. Verb Mistakes #9: Past Tense forms of Lay and Lie @MaeveMaddox

  5. The Key to Writing Good Action Scenes (Hint: It’s Not Just the Action)  @KMWeiland

  6. Writing Advice from Joyce Carol Oates  @BuzzFeed via @GalleyCat

  7. Advice for Authors from a Bookseller’s Perspective   via @WriterUnboxed

  8.  Authors, confused about promoting your books on Twitter? Go day by day via @Bkmkting

  9.  TWITTER TIPS for AUTHORS  via @IndieAuthorNews

  10. How to Find an Editor for Your Book: 5 Crucial Questions to Ask  via @thewritelife

  11.  50 Simple Ways to Build Your Platform in 5 Minutes a Day via @WritersDigest

  12. Choosing One Brilliant Idea for Your Business Book  @BookBaby

  13. Top 10 Confused Words in English [G-H]  @MaeveMaddox

  14. Ask a Literary Agent: What Do You Look for in a Query Letter? @thewritelife

  15. Question: what constitutes a book series?  @Janet_Reid

  16. Book Publicity: The Top Ten Things Book Publicists Want Authors to Know by Cindy Ratzlaff @BrandYou

Many thanks to Tweeters and Bloggers alike!

Free Short Story

 

A FREE SHORT STORY! Simply subscribe to my Author Newsletter by placing your first name and email address in the space provided on the upper right. Rest assured that your email address will not be shared. Thank you.

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

Pick of the Twitter: June, 2015

Pick of the Twitter 005

 

Looking for writing/marketing tips? Here are my Top Twitter picks for June, 2015:

  1. Query Question: maps, illustrations and other visuals in novels  @JanetReid

  2. 3 Steps to Driving More Traffic & Selling More Books or Products via LinkedIn @WriteToDone

  3. How Authors Can Evaluate Hybrid Publishers @JaneFriedman

  4. Why Small Business Owners Should Seriously Consider Blogging @socialmedia2day

  5. The Complete List of Creative Distractions and Defenses Against Them @WriterUnboxed

  6. Want to Build an Email List? 7 Newsletter Platforms to Choose From @thewritelife

  7. Writing About Guns: 10 Errors to Avoid in Your Novel via @JaneFriedman (TY. Am writing thriller. Vital to know facts!)

  8. How to take a break from writer’s block by James Chartrand @menwithpens

  9. Writing a Book? How to Know When to Stop Editing and Move On @thewritelife

  10. Q&A On Writing, Self Publishing And Book Marketing @thecreativepenn

  11. Split Narratives: Dividing Your Story Between Two or More Narrators  @aliventures

  12. What Every Writer Ought to Know About the Omniscient POV @KMWeiland

  13. Writing When It’s Difficult to Write @elizabethscraig

  14. The Great Big List of Twitter Lists, Ideas, and Tools @socialmedia2day

  15.  A HUGE list of free ebook sites for authors to promote their free ebooks!  @bkmkting

  16. The difference between editing and proofreading: @LeahMcClellan

  17.  Where’s the white space? How writers can show, not tell, through dialog and narrative @CSLakin

  18.  “Long Term Book Marketing” @bkmkting

  19. The Only Thing You Need to Know About Writing Strong Female Characters @KMWeiland

  20.  Email Newsletters for Authors: Get Started Guide  @JaneFriedman

Many thanks to Tweeters and Bloggers alike!

 

Free Short Story

 

A FREE SHORT STORY will be yours when you subscribe to my Author Newsletter by placing your first name and email address in the space provided on the upper right. 

 

My best to you,
Annie Signature Light Blue

Pick of the Twitter: May, 2015

Pick of the Twitter 005

Looking for writing/marketing tips? Here are my Top Twitter picks for May, 2015:

  1. Recently, I watched, then tweeted about SHOWRUNNERS: THE ART OF RUNNING A TV SHOW  (Don’t usually include my own tweets here, but I was blown away by the amount of work these writers do! This show is available on Netflix and is well worth the watch!)

  2.  Wondering how to use Pinterest for author website? Check it out! via @BublishMe

  3.  Writing Different Genres? This is one of many Reasons to Use a Pen Name  by Danielle Hanna

  4. How To Make Your Book Stand Out In A Crowd by Kathleen Boucher via @shareholic @bkmkting

  5. 10 Ways to Promote Your Self-published Book [Infographic] by @chrisrobley via @bookbaby

  6. Chilliwack used book store parody video goes viral – Chilliwack Times  via @BlackPressMedia  @MargaretAtwood

  7. Book Marketing: How to Sign a Book  by Debbie Young @IndieAuthorALLI

  8. Steve Jobs: Do What You Love Motivational Video via @111publishing

  9. Pros And Cons Of Being An Indie Author by Joanna Penn @thecreativepenn

  10. Aspiring writers: Before worrying too much about networking/promo, FINISH WRITING YOUR BOOK by Debbie Ridpath Ohi @inkyelbows

  11. No, Not Anyone Can Write a Good Book  (Patricia Park on Becoming a Writer After Life in the Publishing Biz) via @GalleyCat

  12. James Patterson Gives Tips on How to Kill Off a Character  @GalleyCat

  13. 10 Book Marketing Tips from 2 authors, one traditionally & one indie published. @bkmkting

  14. 4 tips for writing children’s books by Alexa Elheart @bookbaby

  15. Spring Cleaning Your Blog in Ten Easy Steps by Allyn Lewis @allyn_lewis

  16. Want an Unforgettable Protagonist? Your Minor Characters Are the Secret  by @KMWeiland

 Many thanks to Tweeters and Bloggers alike!

Free Short Story
A FREE SHORT STORY! Simply subscribe to my Author Newsletter by placing your first name and email address in the space provided on the upper right. Thank you.

My best to you,
Annie Signature Light Blue