I added another romance to Kindle today. This is one that hasn't been published before, but I have copy edited in line with the principles I'm picking up from comparing my original texts to the published versions. Have you come across the saying 'murder your darlings'? I can't remember which writing guru said it, but it means that if you think you have been doing some particularly fine writing, you should cut it out. It is so true! I've been noticed how the editor will cut lines of stuff that goes: "he stood up and looked at her with sad grey eyes, and they turned, and feet crunching on the ground blah blah" and simply replace it with 'They returned to the car.' All my painstaking attempts at creating atmosphere are simply stripped and replaced with a summary. Including in one book about 5,000 words of description of a family enjoying Christmas, member by member, activity by activity. I can see the point - this is a romance. who wants to see Dad cutting the tree etc. Anyway, having applied a savage edit to this book, it is now 33K rather than 55K words and a whole lot better for it. I've priced it as a novella and I hope readers enjoy it.
Thursday, 26 May 2011
Monday, 23 May 2011
So here's my cover solutions for now - I'm on with the next romance and for now I think it's more important to edit them and get them up on Kindle than it is to mess with covers - although I do think covers are important.
This week I've been thinking about lexical sets (a collection of words on the same subject) - when I teach I go on (and on, probably) about how there's ALWAYS a lexical set to be found in a poem or a piece of text. I encourage the students to find them and say what effect the lexical sets have on the piece they are analysing, how it affects mood and tone, how it builds a picture. So why then, has it taken me so long to appreciate the effect of lexical sets on a romantic novel? One of the things that copywriters do to my novels is change and possibly negative words to something with nicer connotations. I used to smile at bit at first. In one book a character I saw as comic pointed with a finger that 'had clearly been gardening.' This was changed to pointing with a 'beautifully manicured' finger. My couple found a dark corner in a restaurant. No, not nice enough. They were seated in a discreet corner. And so it goes, I honestly thought they were being over sensitive and fussy - until I wrote down each word. Over the course of about a quarter of a book: the words dark, oily, dirty, greasy, grubby, old and oily again were taken out. They look totally revolting piled up next to one another in a good old lexical set. Well for goodness sake! Who do I think I am, Salaman Rushdie? (Or any of those writers who like to pile on dirty filth in the name of realism - if you don't believe me, take a highlighter to one page and mark every negative word.) No way to I want to emulate that style, yet somehow I've been infected. I seem to think that in order to make a scene 'real' I have to use the kind of vocabulary favoured by 'real' writers. Well, no more. So far as I am concerned, a tree full of beautiful apple blossom is as real as a burnt-out car. No more negative descriptions for me! It's going to be cherry trees all the way.
Saturday, 21 May 2011
I give up, I really do. This is perhaps only one step better than a placeholder generated by Kindle, but it will have to do for now. The good thing about e-publishing is that you can change the covers at any time, so I think I'll get all my books online, then see if I can come up with a better cover solution.
What I'm busy with at the moment is copy editing. It's very interesting to compare the original text with copy edited versions - I know when I first got the books back, I was sometimes indignant at the changes made. The worst things publishers do to you is to find a nice picture they want to use, but which has a heroine with say, different coloured hair. They then go to your book and use search and replace to change red hair to blonde hair or black hair to red hair. This I hate. Because a search doesn't throw up expressions such as 'strawberry locks' or you have a heroine with black hair being taunted for being 'ginger' or a red-head deciding to put blonde streaks in, or a red-head looking fabulous in a scarlet dress. It really doesn't work. HOWEVER, I have to say that now 10 years has passed and I no longer remember what I wrote and why, in nearly every case I agree with the changes made by the copywriters.
Thursday, 19 May 2011
Tuesday, 17 May 2011
Sunday, 8 May 2011
Somebody contacted me and asked if it was possible to buy my books for her Kindle. I had to say, 'No,' because it isn't. But it made me wonder why I'd never put them up there? I know Kindle is growing in popularity. Virgin publishing have put 2 of my Black Lace books on Kindle, and people are even buying them, so why not all my old romances? And even more fun, the romances I wrote but the editors turned down. I'd love to see if they were right after all. Wouldn't it be great if readers liked all my books? I have to work on my IT skills, and find the right cover maker.