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Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

The copy edit

I was very excited yesterday when another heavy, fat brown parcel arrived at my door from Hachette – the latest version of my manuscript with copy editing notes. I immediately opened it to find my manuscript, notes from the editors, and a guide to the copyediting symbols to help me decipher the notes!

Unlike the structural edit, which looked at big picture issues around my plot and characters, the copy edit is a detailed look at the finer points: sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, points of view, and a closer look at the text in terms of consistency.

While it looked incredibly daunting last night when I began to flick through the wad of pages, I can see that many of the hundreds of pencil marks relate to really simple things that I am happy to change. There are a few details to add and more to check, but overall, it’s not a rewrite on the same way as a structural edit and I ho pe to tackle this page by page, paragraph by paragraph.

It’s another stage in the development of a novel, a stage that I am privileged to be at. With each step along the way, I can see the book evolving into the version that will be on the shelves (or virtual shelves for the e-book!) in March 2013.

I’ll also have a new website up soon.

Now I just need my three little ones to sleep so I can start editing!

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This morning, I met with Matt Richell, the Sales & Marketing Director from Hodder and Headline (Hachette) while he was in Perth for a few days. We discussed books and publishing in general, and of course, my novel.

It sometimes feels that Perth is quite isolated form the publishing world, given that most of the major publishers, literary agents, writers’ festivals etc are based on the East Coast of Australia, although I do wonder if that sense of isolation is common to all writers. While I enjoy the solitary nature of writing, I also love to talk about books, and am really excited to be given access to the publishing world, full of people who are as passionate about stories and writing as I am.

Matt did give me one piece of advice (well, he gave me lots of advice but this piece stuck): celebrate each stage of the process. And I do.

When I started writing ‘Fractured’, the idea of it ever being published was something that seemed so distant and unlikely. Now I am actually going through the process of structural edits, copy edits, proofs, cover design…all those things are real and no longer mysterious processes. I still feel incredibly privileged to have a team of professionals working on the book with me and I’m really excited to see what the next few months hold as publication gets closer.

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I’ve been quiet here recently, but I do have some pretty good excuses I think…

A couple of weeks ago I sent back the structural edit of my manuscript to my publishers after a pretty intense month or so of working on it. While the process was all-consuming, I really enjoyed it. It was fantastic to have professional editorial feedback on the big picture of the story and suggestions on how to improve it. It was encouraging to see that most of the comments were around issues that I knew weren’t quite right anyway. There comes a point in writing when you lose objectivity – you know your story so well that it’s hard to step back from it and see how others view it. That was what was so useful about this process, and I hope the manuscript is better for it.

Since then, I have been preparing for the impending birth of my third baby, who is due very soon. So it may be quiet here for a little while longer until I emerge from the fog of life with a newborn…

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I have just spent a lovely weekend at the Perth Writers Festival, which was held on the grounds of the University of Western Australia, a great spot. I’ve only ever been to the odd event here and there at writers’ festivals, but this time I went for the whole three days. There was a great mix of sessions from emerging and established authors, as well as some more thought provoking and ‘political’ sessions on religion, food and ethics.

The writing sessions I enjoyed most came courtesy of writers Rohan Wilson, Favel Parret, Janette Turner Hospital, Craig Sherbourne, Craig Silvey, Jo Nesbo, Johan Harstad, Charlotte Wood, John Birmingham, Eliot Perlman and Cate Kennedy.

I also went a particularly harrowing session by Nigel Brennan, a photojournalist who was kidnapped in Somalia, and a more delightful and hunger-inducing session on good food by Matthew Evans

The only down sides? The 15 minute wait for coffees, and the very rare Perth rainshower during Women of Letters which meant a move from the beautiful outdoor venue to a tent! And of course the amount of money I spent on a huge pile of new books…

If you went along, I’d love to hear your thoughts…

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Doctors who…

I’ve recently come across a website that may be of interest to both medics and writers. It’s called ‘Doctors Who…’ and is an initiative of Varuna, The Writers’ House in the Blue Mountains of NSW. You can see the ‘Doctors Who’ website here.

Varuna, the house, was previously owned by writers Eleanor Dark and Dr Eric Dark, a medical practitioner, hence Varuna’s interest in the link between medicine and writing – an area that I too am very interested in.

I found out about this website through a post on Twitter announcing a creative writing competition for medical students and doctors hosted by the MJA and Varuna. You can read more about this competition here, but if you want to enter, be quick as the closing date is soon. I’ve sent an entry in, even though short stories are not usually my strongest form of writing, but I need to keep sending my work out there.

There are links on the ‘Doctors Who…’ website to doctors who combine their medical work with other interests including advocacy, creativity, innovation and creativity. There are some big name writers on there, including Peter Goldsworthy and Nick Earls – worth a look.

 

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NaNoWriMo – I’m doing it!

I have decided to sign up for NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month)after weeks of procrastinating about it (which of course is time that I should have been writing). I may be ‘cheating’ a little as I’m already about 20000 words into my second novel, and NaNoWriMo is about writing a 50000 word novel from scratch in a month.I’m not going to start a new one, just try and add 50000 words, which would bring me pretty close to the end of the first draft of this novel. My original aim was to have the first draft done by Christmas – and this is a way that I can do it.

It will be hard with work and children to fit in, but I’ll give it a go. I am still waiting for news about my first novel, and getting stuck into the second novel is a good way to distract myself from the waiting and jumping every time the phone rings.
And if I don’t manage 50000 words in November…it doesn’t matter. Even to get half of that would be brilliant.

Good luck to any others taking part!

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I have just read an amazing short memoir called ‘Last-Ditch Attempt’ by Rebecca Epstein in Griffith Review. From her bio, Rebecca is a Masters student (in non fiction writing) at Iowa State University, and she also has Bipolar Disorder.

In this memoir, Rebecca describes her mental illness beginning in her teens, and how it was eventually diagnosed in her early adulthood. It not only includes vivid descriptions of how it feels to her to be hypomanic and manic, but also shows glimpses of her experience of the medical system: her psychiatrist, hospitalisation, and being both on and off medication. She writes beautifully, and given that she wrote at least some of it in a hypomanic state, the writing at times reflects the thought disorder and pressure of someone whose mood is elevated.

This is the best piece of writing I’ve come across that helps to capture the experience of mania and you can read it online here, or in print in GriffthREVIEW33 ‘Such is Life’.

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