It was a post on BGS that solved the issue I’m having right now. I’m only 1,000 + words into my new novel, and I don’t know why it’s so difficult. I know what I want to say, I know what I want the characters to do.
Writer Kay Seeley wrote that she felt sad to leave her characters at the end of her novel. After I responded that I often feel the same, it occurred to me that my problems above are because I do not yet know the characters!
It’s like beginning a new job - you see the people, you don’t know them, or what makes them tick. Or joining a new school. Who are all these people? After spending time with them you know them better!
Which means I have to get back to writing and get to know these people who are as yet, shadowy figures in my imagination.
Thank you Kay!
After a month on NetGalley, my book has been downloaded by 44 readers/reviewers. But I only have 4 NetGalley Reviews to show for it. According to Admin Liz from BGS in her video Using NetGalley To Get Reviews. this is about average for the number of downloads. However, they are all positive, and that makes me very happy, though it beats me why a reviewer who loved the book only gives it 3 stars...she wrote:
"A lovely story for Christmas time without being to (sic) overtly saccharine. A real rip roaring tale of pioneer folk!!"
Someone told me that 3 stars is a good review, but it's hard to believe that when it's right in the middle between Bad and Good which is more like Neutral to me.
AJ of BGS sent me a spreadsheet of those who downloaded the book. He recommends I email the reviewers to thank them, and to email those who have downloaded the book and not reviewed it, to do so, politely. A nudge. ..
(I wonder if BGS would do the emailing for me?)
My head is full of history and romantic intrigue, and to come from there, to pondering spreadsheets, is quite a trauma!
HAPPILY, the Amazon Reviews are all 4s and 5s. I like this one because she 'got it' - that is, what I was trying to do.
Many writers like myself don't have an editor. Unless you have money to spend on editing services, or someone owes you a big favor like that stranger you rescued from drowning 10 years ago (and it's a long shot he or she reads your genre anyway , she might be into Beowolf) you might not have an editor. What to do? I like to set my story aside for a while. It really helps to clear my mind of it. Like I have been doing for the last few days over Christmas. The story has been completed, yet I know it is not finished.
I think of my story as a painting. The rough outlines, filling in shapes, unifying many different parts into the whole. There is something to look at here, something amusing perhaps, for the reader to linger over...and a jolt there making the heart turn over.
Then, there's the polishing - that which makes it beautiful, a stand-out, I hope.
When I go back to my story I know I'll see things that I couldn't see when I was immersed in it only a short week ago. A character needs sharpening. A bit more color in this scene. And did this character say she doesn't drink tea in Chapter Two and here she is telling someone she takes a spoon of sugar in Chapter 26?
Maybe draw out this dialogue a bit, you want the reader to remember it. And shorten this other...nobody cares what this minor character has to say if it doesn't move the story along. The spelling errors, the repeated words - the stray words left after I copied and pasted a bit from one section to the other.
My favorite part of writing is to get my fine sable brush and do a little highlighting here and there...so to that now!
Consumers love reviews. Do you read reviews of the books you buy, if the author is unknown to you? I certainly do!
In fact before I purchase anything, I read reviews. Other users experience is important.
Sometimes reviews are very curious. I picked up a book with a religious theme of late, and saw that it was either loved or hated. I decided to give it a try, as it made me feel curious as to why Reviewer 1 would rate it One Star and others rated it Fours and Fives. I downloaded it for myself to see what the deal was. Actually I'm going to rate it Five also, and I conclude that the One Star reviewer just did not understand what the writer was trying to do. It is a very good book!
So you see, even a bad review can help spike interest! 'There is no such thing as bad publicity' they say.
- Somebody asked this in a book group of late. It got me thinking. Actually, I like to feel a sense of loss when I close the book. Like waving family or friends off at the Airport. We've had a wonderful time together, now they are disappearing from my life once again. And I will miss them.
Don't characters become our friends? We get to know them, live with them, hope with them, laugh and cry with them. And, I hope experience Joy with them in the closing paragraph.
I write books for myself then, perhaps! Because I do all that. I want to feel the character's friendship as I write. I want to love them! And when I finish writing a story, I will miss them. I will mope. I will go back and tinker with them, get Katie's heart to beat a little faster perhaps when she meets Leon for the third time, get Leon to steel himself a little more against this girl who draws him without her even knowing she's doing so.
I hope that WHAT STIRS IN WINTER - A PIONEER ROMANCE does that for the reader, if that's what my reader wants too.
I think I've explored every corner and examined every bit of paper in the house. Today I went to the Transfer Center to find they'd changed the closing hour to an hour earlier, but no worries.
This process is exhausting and I feel fitter than I have in years! It's worth it on every level. Go for it! My mind is clearer already. I found some great photos of my husband which sparked memories for him when he worked in Alaska. Some are keepers. Also, family memoribilia.
We have set most photos aside to go through later though, it holds us up as inevitably there are stories attached!
I'm still wading through mounds of paper. Learning as I go, about storage in the future, when I next go to sort these out.
First, rubber bands deteriorate...they become mushy and messy. They are vegetable of course from Malaysia or Brazil or wherever they have rubber trees! I have to pick bits of them off envelopes.
So now I have to go back and take all the rubber bands off everything I have put away already.
I thought I'd be finished by Easter. In fact I still intend to be finished the paper purge by Easter - but I won't have the shredder by for a few weeks more, partly because I know more stuff will pop up.
I am delighted to share with you a cunning trick while sorting papers! I have so many bits and pieces, quotes I like, little factoids etc. Coming by these, I say "Oh what a great saying, I have to keep this." I set it aside. But upon taking it up again, it does not hold the same magic at all. I don't know why my brain responds with enthusiasm the first time and with 'blah' the 2nd! I still love the quote, but have no wish to keep it. So all that stuff I like, goes in a pile. Then a second glance to experience 'blah' before it goes into the recycling.
I feel like 'Little Jack Horner' pulling out a plum.
The real Horner was a vulture capitalist in Tudor England, His first name was Thomas, and it during the dissolution of the monasteries that he grabbed some real estate, or so it is claimed. The nursery rhyme is supposed to have come from the fact that he hid the title deeds in a pie to deliver them safely to London, but before he handed them over he pulled out a nice little property for himself.
Instead of thanking items for having served me, I thank God. Objects are not alive. Otherwise, Kondo's method is very similar to the Christian way of Simplicity. Most First World Christians don't know about this, even our pastors struggle with too much stuff.
Pope Leo X111, the Pope of the working classes who wrote the classic Rerum Novarum, said:
"Once the demands of necessity and propriety have been met, the rest of what one owns belongs to the poor."
Radical, isn't it? A good starting point. Of course 'necessity' and 'propriety' might be open to wide interpretation, depending on what one is used to.
Do I need my laptop? Yes.
Do I need 20 blank DVDs? No, I will not use them. The reason I have 20 is that I couldn't at the time buy less than that number. I used one or two.
This is how we accumulate needless junk!
Do I need a 2nd Winter Coat? I hesitate over this. One is for winter rain, the other for warmth, and not to be worn in the rain.