Saturday, 21 November 2015

10 Editing Tips For Authors

1. Leave it alone

Don't start editing immediately after finishing your first draft. Leave it a few weeks or even a few months. Approach it in much the same way as any reader would and correct accordingly.

2. Don't look at everything and think it's rubbish

Be brave. Don't be scared. It's normal for writers to hack away at their manuscript as a woodcutter would a tree, but that doesn't mean that it's all garbage. A writer has to learn to look for the green shoots of progress and to nurture them.

3. Always look for plot holes

Ask yourself: does this make sense? Would something else work better? What would the reader find more believable? Write like a winner not a beginner.

4. Make your character as realistic as possible

No 2-D characters please. Humans aren't like this and neither should fictional characters. Make sure that like the narrative they're entirely believable. Respect your reader.

5. Always look to cut.

Stephen King says that he looks to snip 2000 words from his manuscript. Me too. Cut off the flab to ensure a smoother, quicker read for the reader. Remember less is more.

6. Pay attention to your paragraphs

No winding, meandering rivers of prose please. Break them up to build pace, excitement and suspense. Look at which sentences could be broken off to stand on their own.

7. Avoid any unnecessary adverbs

Ideally, you should only use an adverb - particularly in dialogue - to inform the reader of something they would not have known otherwise e.g using the adverb "cheerfully" to describe someone's speech if they are normally dull and dour.

8. Avoid any unnecessary prose

Cut anything that doesn't add to the story or if it repeats what you've already said. Make each word count for something.

9. Make sure your dialogue is realistic

Make it as close to real life as possible. I die every time I see "Graham and I", instead of "me and Graham" when I know from their background that the character wouldn't speak so perfectly. Likewise a kid from the Bronx wouldn't converse like an Oxford don.

10. Keep editing

Don't stop until it's the best that you can make it. Don't get bored half way and then send it to the publisher regardless. If it takes ten read-throughs then that's what it takes. Typically for every day of writing you should be looking to spend one day of editing.

Final Word

If you have any comment to make on the content of my blog please do not hesitate - I love a good discussion!

If you want to check out my novel - Jack Strong and the Red Giant - about a 12 year old boy's adventures on a spaceship check out the link below:

Jack Strong and the Red Giant

Saturday, 14 November 2015

10 Tips For Authors

1. Write. Write as often as you can when you can. Never procrastinate. Writers write, dreamers dream.

2. Read. Read as much as you can as often as possible. Words are the whetstone to a writer’s mind. Novels will improve you as a writer.

3. Plan what you write. Always. A good writer is also a well-prepared one. Avoid any unnecessary literary cul-de-sacs.

4. Set clear, achievable goals. It could be a chapter a day or a few hundred words. Just make sure that it’s doable. Small steps will take you to some exciting places.

5. Finish what you start. A writer writes not just for the sake of it. Don’t flip from one project to another. Start it, finish it.

6. Leave it alone. Don’t start editing as soon as the ink has dried upon your manuscript. Leave it a few weeks and then go back to it. Then read it as any reader would.

7. Edit, edit, edit. Always be prepared to re-read and re-write your novel multiple times. Don’t be scared to look at it again and again. Whatever it takes.

8. Let someone else have a look. It could be friends, family – someone you trust to give you honest, constructive feedback. Consider what they say and be prepared to LISTEN and ACT upon their advice.

9. Never give up. Most if not all writers get rejected but it’s vital that you keep sending your work out to agents and publishers.

10. Take a break. Writing is a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes take a week or a weekend off in order to re-fresh your batteries. Make sure you’re writing in five years’ time, not just in five days. 

Heys Wolfenden is the author of the Jack Strong series of books, about a young boy's adventures in space, available now on Amazon: Jack Strong and the Red Giant

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Good writing habits

Why I Started Vlogging

1. Promotion

Yeah, I admit it - the number one reason why I decided to start my own vlog was to (occasionally) promote my novel Jack Strong and the Red Giant as well as showcase my poetry. My vlog gives me the opportunity to access a new audience that is distinct from the people who normally read my blog as well as the many social media platforms that I use. Already it has gotten me at least one new reader (alright it's not a stampede but it's something) for my Jack Strong series, as I was able to inform one of my channel subscribers about a book giveaway last month. Hopefully as the weeks and months progress and the posts tick by my vlog will help bring my work to the attention of other like minded readers.

2. It's Something New

I love writing this blog and communicating with other people about the writing craft but I don't want to stagnate - I want to experiment and try different things and of course recording a weekly vlog is very new in today's publishing climate. Some of the vlogs on YouTube are astonishingly successful - gaining well over a million views week in week out - though writing blogs (as opposed to ones about make up and what they're doing for Christmas) aren't as popular. The most successful writing vlogs can expect to get anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand views every week, but it's still a great opportunity for writers to advertise and market their work as well as go into detail about the writing craft.

3. It Can Help My Writing

Since I normally read silently,I have found that recording myself as I read aloud and then publishing it on YouTube provides me with the opportunity to hear how the words sound. This then allows me to check on the effectiveness of my vocabulary, particularly the words I use for my description and dialogue. After reading and putting the first two chapters of Jack Strong and the Red Giant on YouTube this has already given me some pause for thought about how some of the narrative can be improved and built upon.

4. It Could Help Me Get Published

If a vlog helps me to improve my writing then it will also make my novel a more attractive proposition to the many agents that I send it to, thus making it more likely to get accepted in the near future. In addition it will also be something that I can draw attention to in the covering letter that I send to agents and publishers. Since many of these want authors to be experts at marketing their own work it will obviously demonstrate that not only am I doing just that, but that there is also a ready-made audience out there familiar with me and my work.

Final Word.

I only started my vlog a few weeks ago so it's early days yet. So far I've had about two hundred views in total, but as the weeks and months progress I am confident that this will continue to grow. In a few months' time I'll write another blog post and give you an update on my endeavours. We'll see how it goes...

If you want you can visit my vlog here:

If you want to read my book Jack Strong and the Red Giant about a bullied 12 year old boy's adventures on a mysterious spaceship then you can check the link below:*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Saturday, 24 October 2015

5 Reasons Why E-Readers Are Important For Your Writing

1. You Don't Need a Publisher

Gone forever are the days when aspiring writers' sole route into the publishing world was via agents and traditional publishing houses. The advent of the e-reader has changed all that. Now - either as a means to gain entry into the traditional publishing market or as an end in itself - the writer has the domains of Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple and Google etc with which to ply their trade. This allows the writer to gain access to their market, thus allowing them to gain a consistent readership. And isn't that what we all want - to be read?

2. It Can Help You Get Published

By building up your readership and hopefully fan base there is also the prospect of getting your book picked up by a major (or even minor) publisher. E.L James' 50 Shades of Grey is one such example and Amanda Hocking's Trylle trilogy is another. Ultimately, traditional publishers are interested in whether or not there's a readership for your book so if you can demonstrate that there is then you have a good chance of getting picked up by one in the future.

3. It Helps You To Improve As A Writer

Essentially, publishing via an e-reader is an online version of a traditional writers group. It allows you to come into contact with other like-minded individuals who will then give you either positive or negative feedback. Ultimately, this allows you - again much like a writers group - to see your work in a more objective light, thus allowing you to constantly update and improve your work.

4. It Builds Your Confidence

But what if it's rubbish? What if I'm deluded? Such self-doubt is very common for writers especially when the rejection slips start pouring in and hopes of a six figure publishing contract start to fade. But if you publish your book via an e-reader you gain access to people who will view your work positively. Every time I get a good review for my books on Amazon my confidence rises and I start to believe that maybe - just maybe - my story has potential and that I have a future in this industry.

5. It Helps You Pace Your Novel

E-readers are all about tapping, swiping and scrolling. The reader wants the story to bounce along accordingly, especially if they are reading it on public transport, so you must make sure that your novel is constantly flowing. To facilitate this you need to cut out all unnecessary description and backstory.This is anything that impedes the narrative and will cause the reader to get bored and STOP READING. Don't dawdle. Be concise. If you have any overlong paragraphs then chop them down and make some smaller ones. It will increase the pace of your novel and make it not only more readable but also more RECOMMENDABLE. Remember the reader is KING.

Final Word.

If you have any thoughts and opinions on the contents of this blog then please do not hesitate to post a comment.

If you would also like to take a look at my novel Jack Strong and the Red Giant, about a bullied 12 year old boy's adventures in space then check out the link below.*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Jack Strong Chapter One School's Out