Thursday, June 21, 2018

Reading Challenge Progress This Year So Far

Already near the end of June, meaning the year is already half-over. It just seems to be flying by fast.

Around this time of year, I like to take a look at how much I have read this year to date and how many of my reading challenges I have completed up to this point. I'm always uncertain how much longer to go on with the open-ended, year-long challenges, but I often like to keep going till December on these ones. As far as some of the checklist and bingo ones go, I have a tendency to finish some of those before the year is half-over and this year is no exception.

What's in a Name

What's In A Name 2018 logo

This seems to always be the first one I finish each year. Then again there are only six categories. 



Another that I tend to finish fast as well, with only nine categories.

Book Only Logo
I can't believe how quickly I got done with this one. It has 18 prompts, but most of them aren't very hard to fill.

Just last night I  completed all 12 categories in this one. It is not required to complete each category, but the more you read for this one, the more chances you have of getting entered in the drawing for an Amazon gift card. I like to complete all the categories. 

On several of the other checklist and blog challenges I am doing, I have one or two books left to complete the challenge. On both the AtoZ  and Alphabet Soup challenges, I have one letter left, the hardest one of all--X. If you have any suggestions, let me know.  And I'm not sure how many holiday-themed books I'll be reading over the summer, as Holiday Season is the only category I have left on Full House.

As seems to always be true, some of the challenges I have signed up for this year seem to have disappeared. Either the link to the challenge or the blog hosting it just suddenly gets deleted. The link to the Read the Rainbow challenge has disappeared, although the blog is still around. And I was annoyed to see the Mental Illness Advocacy challenge deleted before the year even began. I have enjoyed doing that one since it's a subject close to me. I liked for a similar challenge, but to no avail. I now think I will start one for 2019. And I also have begun to think about which of my challenges to offer next year. The Literary Loners one didn't get many signups this year, so that one may have to go. It was the first one I ever created and hosted. Not sure about the others just yet. though I definitely want to do the memoir one again. I will begin deciding this at the beginning of fall, when the sign ups for challenges start to around. 

And I just discovered that the blog hosting the seasonal bingo has been deleted again. As always  I hate it when this happens, and now I'm uncertain whether to continue reading for this one, as a lot of the categories are very tempting.

And as of today I have read 146 books this year already.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Quiz: How Creative Are You?

I agree with most of this one.

"You Are 82% Creative"
You are an incredibly creative person. For you, there are no bounds or limits to your creativity.
Your next creation could be something very great... Or at least very cool!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Quiz: Are You a Hippie?

"You're Not Exactly a Hippie..."
While you're not a hippie, you've got the spirit of one.
Like most hippies, you have deep beliefs and unusual interests.

You may not buy into hippie fashions, music, or heavy drug use.
But at heart, you are a free spirit and suspicious of the status quo.

Monday, June 18, 2018

How to Handle Editorial Feedback


Sending your manuscript off to an editor can be nerve-wracking. Even though you may be paying them for their services, getting feedback can be difficult when you have spent so long trying to make your book as good as it can be.
An editor’s job is to find mistakes, not just regarding spelling, grammar and punctuation, but also with regards to how your story works overall. 
Of course, if you are paying an editor to review your book, it is up to you to direct them about what kind of feedback you want. Just remember however that having a professional editor review your work before you send it to agents and publishers makes a massive difference in terms of your chances of success. If you choose to self-publish, a professional editor can ensure your book goes on sale being as the best version it can be. 
So how can you prepare yourself for editorial feedback and learn how to handle it professionally?
Don’t panic!
When you first look at the changes an editor has made, there may be a lot of them. This may make you feel utterly disheartened or completely outraged, but either way, the key is not to freak out.
There may be hundreds, even thousands of edits to your manuscript. A lot of these, however, will be minor amendments - a comma here, a formatting change there and are therefore nothing to worry about. 
Additional edits may require more time to look over and absorb, but remember edits don’t mean your manuscript was awful to start with. Many excellent books need a considerable amount of editing before they hit the shelves and it’s something all writers must go through to make their book amazing. 
Be thorough
Take your time to go through every edit and consider whether you want to accept it or reject it. Don’t rush this. At first, you may feel wounded by some of the suggested changes and your natural reaction may be to refuse them. However, this might not be what is best for your book so try to stay calm and be as objective as you possibly can be.
Saying that you also don’t have to accept every suggestion an editor has made. It is your story after all. Just be sure you are clear in your reasons for doing so and make sure it’s not just your ego getting in the way. 
Ask questions
If you aren’t sure why a particular edit has been made, get in touch with your editor for clarification. Doing so can help you get a better understanding and insight into their thinking which will reassure you that they know what they are talking about and have done an excellent job. 
Proofread once more
Once you have accepted or rejected the changes made by your editor, it is a good idea to have a final read-through of your manuscript to make sure everything is as it should be. It can be easy to accidentally make a change that then doesn’t make sense or creates an error elsewhere so reading through one more time will make doubly sure your manuscript is perfect and ready to be shared with the world!
Working through your edited manuscript is one of the very last stages of finalizing your book. Doing so takes time, effort and a cool head. It’s not easy to let someone else get their hands on your work so pat yourself on the back and take some time to celebrate your achievement!

I'm still not at this stage and am deciding when to send off my memoir to the publishing contest Blydyn Square Books. But I've already known that I can expect criticism from both editors as well as from other I have let read my works. 

Not panicking is one thing that would be hard for me. I know I'd be riddled with anxiety over what the editor will suggest as edits. I can see them handing over my manuscript with the suggested edits and feeling too anxious to look right away. The feeling of "I can't look!" 

Proofreading is one thing that has taken me a lot of work to do. I was looking over my memoir just a few days ago and saw several typos, omitted words and such. I only got as far as the prologue and first two chapters, however. But I know I'll find some errors in the rest as well. 

Asking questions might be tough for me. I've often been too afraid to ask why someone thinks this or that, or why I should do this or that. I now see myself as having to get more assertive in this area.

I definitely will celebrate in the end.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Haven't Written Anything New Yet

I'll admit I've been slacking off on writing lately. I'm trying to decide if I want to start writing what may be a sequel to the diary novel. I seem to have some ideas in mind. Earlier this year, I jotted down a dream I had that I'm still trying to decide if I want to write a story based on it.  Just trying to find some inspiration! 


Yesterday, however, I began looking over my memoir for the first time in a while, noticing some typos (typical), and wondering how many more, if any, changes I'll be making to the story. It still seems hard to believe it's been two years since I began the memoir. Which reminds me--I began re-reading Prozac Nation yesterday. Several challenges I'm doing this year have prompts to re-read a book, and I'de been waiting to re-read this one in full, not just glance over different parts. It was the book that inspired me after all. And I read on Twitter this week that Elizabeth Wurtzel is working a sequel to her iconic memoir. She asked if readers would like to read an excerpt of the new book. I, among other users, said yes to the excerpt, and let the author know how I chose to write about my own experience with depression and Prozac after reading her book. I didn't bother saying how at one point I felt telling my story wasn't such a good idea since I felt it was too similar to hers, but was eventually convinced mine is different. I still don't know why I felt that way. But I got over it as you can see.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Should You Change Your Story For a Publishing Deal?


Let’s face it; there are not many writers in the world who wouldn’t love a publishing deal. Sure some of us might find the self-publishing route more rewarding, even more lucrative than if we were to sign with a traditional publisher. The majority of us, however, have a shared dream, and that’s to find a traditional publisher who is willing to take a punt on us.
But one thing many of us don’t think about is what we would do if that publisher wanted to take on our book, but wouldn’t agree to do so without making significant changes. Would we blindly accept, so glad that they picked us that we would let them do anything to our precious manuscript to see it in print? Or would we baulk at the idea and refuse, even for a considerable sum, to let anyone tamper with our sacred work?
This is something every writer should think about. Where is it that you would draw the line? How much would you be willing to change if the price was right? Would you never sell your soul just for a publishing deal, or does that sort of thing not matter to you at all - they are the professionals after all, and know what sells, so why not?
Writers need to ask themselves:
What do I feel comfortable with?
Don’t let a publisher push you into making changes that you hate. There is always room for negotiation and compromise. At the same time, it pays to be flexible. If you outright refuse to make any changes to your story, you’ll come across as difficult to work with which may make them wonder whether doing a deal with you is the right move after all.
Do I write for fame and fortune or something more?
Understanding what inspires you to write in the first place will help you come to an easier decision when realizing just how far you’d go and how many changes you’d be willing to make. If your motivation to write is merely to see your name in print and have people buy your books then making changes may not cause you to bat an eyelid. If however, you write because you have a particular story you want to share with the world, you might feel very protective of the words that have created that story and the specific message you want to get accross.
Would I regret it?
If you have a sneaking suspicion that you’ll end up regretting it, then it’s probably a good idea to stay true to yourself. There is nothing worse than feeling as though you have let yourself down and damaged your authenticity as a writer.
On the one hand, if your book is good enough to get a positive response from a publisher, even if they do want to make changes, that’s something to be very excited about. On the other, if you were to change your story and get your book published, you’ll then have a much more robust platform from which to write another book, and this time may feel you have the experience and backing of your fanbase to argue that your stories should remain as they are.
At the end of the day, this is a hugely personal choice, and there really is no right or wrong answer. But it is something worth considering, because knowing your limits, and understanding how you feel about your story can only prove beneficial in the long run.

Even though I have not yet tried to get a publishing deal, I seem well are that the publisher may want to change some things about my story, or ask me to change them. I made a lot of hard and careful decisions of what to add to the memoir and what to delete from it. Now I'm waiting to see how much I will want and need to add to the diary novel and what do delete, though there currently isn't a lot to delete--or there'd be no story at all! I have yet to even go thorough the diary to see what errors I have made (and I know I made some!), and I'm still struggling with the title. And there will be some polishing to do. Also, I am now wondering of I need to go over the memoir any more. 

I now feel prepared to negotiate with my eventual publisher on what to add or delete, and what to title my works, should they not like what I choose. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

What to Write Next...

As I have been trying to decide what to work on next, I found this meme. It sounds a bit like what I have been thinking. I have been thinking of trying to write more on the character from my diary novel that could easily become another book, a sequel to the WIP.

BTW, I may be coming closer to a title for my current work. In a post last week, I shared some titles I have come up and some that were suggested by others. Two people who commented to the post said they like the title "Confessions of a Metal Mouth."