Artists Town – Rewrite DONE #amwriting

Artists Town by Emma Baird

Drum roll – I finished rewriting something this week. Big deal, Ms B, you say, and I don’t blame you.

But regular readers and friends might know I LOATH rewriting. When I finish a book, I go off it very quickly. In the perfect world, it would rewrite itself, magically upload itself on Amazon, Kobo et al., and then, oh I dunno, sell? And sell in enough quantities to make money.

I gave myself a ticking off. Emma, I said, the magic fairies do not come along and do this for you. In came the carrot and stick. Restructure the novel – BOOM; you get a glass of wine. Fail to rewrite for an hour or so. WHACK – you’re not allowed to write anything new. (Writing new stuff is what I love doing.)

The carrot thing, unfortunately, ran out on 1st January as I signed up for one of those Dry January thingies, so that motivated me to rewrite faster.

Rewriting Artists Town kept presenting different issues. I changed my mind numerous times about the order of some chapters. A weird and wonderful crime that took place in the 1990s was my inspiration. When I did more research, I had to change quite a few things.

And then there were the bloody comma splices. My factual writing differs a lot from my creative writing style. It turns out I am forever putting independent clauses in one sentence. I’m not keen on semi-colons, and they shouldn’t be used too frequently anyway. I rewrote a lot of sentences as a result.

I end a lot of sentences with prepositions too*. I took them out where this would improve the prose, but left in a lot of them as otherwise the sentence didn’t sound natural.

But hey, at least I know what comma splices are now!

One rewrite does not a finished novel make. Improvements are still needed. And I have some factual stuff I need to check – police procedures relating to crimes committed in different jurisdictions. But the project is a lot further on that it was two months ago.

Here’s the blurb for the book, which I hope to publish later this year:

Fifteen-year-old Daisy has been dragged along on a family holiday in a small Scottish town against her will. But then, that’s what happens when you suddenly develop a chronic health condition. Your mum and dad take away all your freedom.

Still, the holiday has its compensations. There’s Katrina, resident ‘cool’ girl who decides to take Daisy under her wing. Katrina happens to have a gorgeous, older cousin who looks at Daisy in a certain way. Is this holiday about to change Daisy’s life for the better?

Escaping from London seems to have affected Daisy’s dad. He’s got some madcap schemes in mind, but just where is all the money for this coming from?

Set in 1990, Artists Town is a coming of age tale that explores friendship, first love, learning to be cool and navigating life’s challenges.

 

*See the wonderful Grammar Girl’s article on ending sentences with prepositions. She also does a weekly podcast which manages to make grammar easy to understand AND interesting.

 

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Writing Resolutions for 2018

Image result for 2018

Write something that makes a profit?! Okay, if we count my copywriting business, that’s ticked off. But there are areas I want to move away from and plans I have for 2018.

Look for work elsewhere. Copywriting, and especially using job bidding worksites such as PeoplePerHour and Upwork, isn’t sustainable for me. The pay is dreadful, and most of the small contactors want too much for too little. I’ll stay on the sites, but I’m not going to put the same effort into pursuing work there as the ROI isn’t worth it.

Author services. This market can only continue to expand. If the robots are coming for our jobs, then more people will have time to write, and they’ll need accompanying services, beta reading, editing, formatting and more. I’ve done more paid author services this year and I plan to expand my offering.

Check out AI. Artificial intelligence is already writing factual articles and sports reports. It’s even produced fan fiction. You can rail against it, or accept that it will happen and look for how you can work with AI. I’ve done this already through jobs where I’ve worked on AI translations to make them sound more naturalistic. Again, this is an area that will continue to grow.

Workshops. A friend suggested I think about running workshops. I hate the idea, as I’m an introvert, but resolutions are about moving out of your comfort zone, right?

Publish four books. Every success story in indie publishing points to proliferation (I flippin’ love alliteration) and the Amazon algorithm rewards you if you can upload something every 30 days. This can include short stories. I’ve got four draft novels that need tidying up. Edit, go forth and publish dear gel…

Ongoing development. I’ve taught myself a lot about book marketing, and especially online marketing but I’m no master of it. If you want to stay ahead, you must keep learning about this subject.

Sell directly. This year, I want to offer direct sales of my books. There are plenty of options, Gumroad, for example, or e-commerce via WordPress if I upgrade my site.

Happy New Year and thanks for following my blog. What are your resolutions, writing or not?

Picture thanks to Max Pixel free pictures.

 

Wattpad Adventures Part Three

Hello new follower of me on Wattpad! I pounce on ‘em, as they are small in number. Then, I stalk them. The profiles, sadly, are often irritatingly vague.

Where are you from, I ask. Just out of interest.

(Is this getting creepy yet?)

Then, I think up questions I’d like to know the answer to. How did you find me? Why did you follow me? What piece of my work interests you particularly? Is there anything you hope to get out of our new relationship?

I debate which one I can ask without seeming like a neurotic nut job who gets herself instantly unfollowed. Maybe number three? With parts a), and b) why, why, why did you like it? And, was it only like and not love?

TBH, that is just the tip of the iceberg. What I really want to ask is, gosh how did you stumble upon me, given that I’m about as visible as a…not-very visible thingie. Then, did you think, oh wow, this SavvyDunn is one super-writery person! I really love her. I’m gonna recommend her to all my 950,000 followers, all of whom actually prefer buying books on the Kindle to reading them for free on Wattpad.

Ah, wishful thinking.

My newest follower number one is reading my erotica. So, having tried to write endless sex scenes and bored myself to tears with it, it now looks as if I might need to start dreaming up new ways for two people (or more) to get jiggy.

I don’t want my newbie to feel cheated. He thought he was getting loads of sex. Instead, my characters spend most of their time obsessing about life, love, work… oh, hang on a minute. Something sounds very familiar.

Newest follower number two is a 14-year-old girl. I guess she wants to read the books I’ve written that are aimed roughly at the YA audience (though YA also gets a lot of reads from older people, some 55 percent of readers). To keep her happy, I’m going to have to go away and think up more teen girl aligning with vampires nonsense.

To keep it interesting, I might need to try the reverse harem approach – one girl, three or four guys to choose from. The rules of the genre are that she never makes her mind up, not by the end of the book, nor even the series.

Or maybe I could just ask newbie one and two what they want. When you write copy for businesses, they generally tell you what they want you to write about. That makes it easy. When you’re writing fiction, you guess what people want to read. And not always accurately.

One of the UK’s biggest indie success stories, Mark Dawson, surveys his readers once a year to ask them what they want to read.

Anyway, back to my new followers. Another thing you notice about the young things is that they blatantly ask for follows, reviews, tags and comments back. I don’t do that kind of thing because I’m a) British and b) I’d prefer it came naturally, people who genuinely like and read my stuff.

And how’s that working out for me? Wattpad followers – seven in total. Time for plan B, eh?

Writing Erotica – Harder Than It Looks

Lousy pun above, hmm?! I thought I’d try my hand at some erotica recently. How hard can it be (sorry!), I thought to myself. No need to worry too much about a plot, just put in TONNES of sex and it’ll be fine!

There’s a real niche market for erotica on the Kindle. That’s why it was invented, really, so people could read dirty books during their commute and none of their fellow passengers would be any the wiser. All the best-sellers appear to be self-published, and their covers have a home-made feel to them. Writing erotica appealed to me, as it seemed like a low-cost way to publish and make money.

A few attempts later, and I take my hat off to the porn writers. I ran out of sex scenes to describe after the first four of ‘em, and I am bored, bored, bored. I don’t mind writing sex scenes, but I’d prefer to write just a few of them and scatter them in a book where they can be stumbled upon and relished for their scarcity.

Once you’ve done your four or five sex scenes, everything else feels repetitive, a rehash of sex scene one or two. And it all gets so contrived. Perhaps regular readers of erotica don’t mind the contrive-ity of it all, but it bugs me. You read something and think, “Oh for heaven’s sake, they can’t possibly have sex here or again!”

I keep thinking of that award that is given out to writers annually, the Literary Review’s Bad Sex in Fiction. (Though, luckily for me, it’s only given to high-brow fiction writers, and I don’t put myself in that category.)

This year’s contenders include this one…

He puts his hands on Bianca’s shoulders and slips off her low-cut top. Suddenly inspired, he whispers into her ear, as if to himself: ‘I desire the landscape that is enveloped in this woman, a landscape I do not know but that I can feel, and until I have unfolded that landscape, I will not be happy …’

Bianca shivers with pleasure. Simon whispers to her with an authority that he has never felt before: ‘Let’s construct an assemblage.’ From The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet

The Literary Review chose this one in the end,

The Destroyers by Christopher Bollen

On the stone porch, in the hot, mountain air, we grapple with our clothing, which, in the darkness, becomes as complicated as mountaineering gear. Her black shirt around her neck, mine unbuttoned, our shorts and underwear slid to our ankles, we seem to be moving at avalanche speed and also, unfortunately, with avalanche precision.

So, writing about sex is something most people struggle with. Interesting to note too, that the majority of this year’s contenders are men.

Will I continue to write my own erotica, the imaginatively titled Unnatural Desires? I’m loath to not finish something I’ve started. And a challenge is good, right?

Then, there is that demand thing. As I said, the bulk of erotica available on the Kindle appears to have been written by indies. Maybe the quality control element isn’t so essential here. That’s not to say there isn’t such a thing as well-written erotica, just that perhaps erotica readers aren’t so bothered by the narrative structure and character development?

We’ll see.

Do you have any examples of badly-written sex scenes, or contrarily are there are any writers you think create great sex scenes? I think Fiona Walker does them really well, for example. I’d love to know your thoughts.

 

In The Shadow of the Gathering Storm

‘IN THE SHADOW OF THE GATHERING STORM’ is now available on Kindle.

It”s a compelling story of struggle, courage, determination and love during one of the 20th century’s most turbulent periods.

As the First World War draws to an end, Petty Officer Johann Schettler is embroiled in a mutiny of German sailors. This action turns to revolution as the German people begin to remove the ruling class from power.

Schettler is sent with the interned fleet to Scapa – suffering hardship and turmoil before escaping to Glasgow to reunite with his mother’s family.  He meets Kate A’Herne in the midst of the battle of George Square.

To escape from the security services they flee to Kate’s home in Ireland.  In a short but blissful period, they fall in love. But bliss turns to horror as they endure the brutality of the British Army.

They move to Dublin to help in the struggle for Irish Independence but find they’re still being hunted.  Can they turn this to their advantage?

You can read an account of the four historical events covered in the story here.

 

How to Devalue Writers – Part 2

Oh. Sometimes I look for writing jobs on Upwork. Most of the time, it depresses me, so I stick to editing and proofreading jobs. They aren’t well paid either, but tend to be from people who don’t expect the same kind of s**t as this dude… (Bold and italicised text mine.)

“I need someone who is already well-versed in the contemporary romance genre. Someone who writes quickly, ideally $15k/week+ and is open to constructive criticism… You must be creative and an exceptional writer. Not only will you be writing contemporary romance novels, you will also need to stay up to date with the market by reading a minimum of 1 book a month (chosen by me – you’ll likely need to read a book between each one you write).

“…Write detailed book outlines before beginning the book. Come up with unique plots for a great contemporary romance book. Write a full standalone contemporary romance book typically 70k in length – minimum pace of 15k words per week. (Exceptions made for outstanding writers)…

“A bit about me, I’ve been on upwork [sic] for about a year now, and I’ve worked with dozens of freelancers. Once thing I’ve noticed is that people are full of shit when they tell me they’re always on time and are easy to contact. I can sniff those people out relatively easily and I will fire them quickly. I’m not here to babysit, and I will not chase you around. I expect you to respect my time, and in return, I will respect yours. With that being said, I’m extremely fair. [Ya think???] If you can’t make a deadline just let me know in advanced and I will do my best to accommodate you.

“I’m not scary, in fact, I’m actually very nice. If you’re doing your job and are doing it well, we won’t have any problems! I’m looking for someone that I can work with long-term and someone who’s serious about wanting this job…

“Once you are paid for your work, the rights to the book will transfer over to me and I will be the owner of the book. You, the ghostwriter, will not receive royalties or anything beyond the agreed upon price.

Please, please fellow and female writers, NEVER apply for jobs like this.

Photo via <a href=”https://www.goodfreephotos.com/”>Good Free Photos</a>