Editing Tips by Emily Williams – Guest Post

On Monday author Emily Williams shared some of the research that informed her novel Letters to Eloise – do check that post out to find out more about her book. Today she shares her editing tips – do please share your top tips in the comments too.

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For any other budding writers and authors out there I have complied a list of editing and proof reading tips for Letters to Eloise. These tips and tricks I developed during the writing process from my debut novel. It is great to share ideas, so I look forward to hearing more tips from other authors if you would like to share.

 

  1. After finishing writing each chapter, read through twice, and then move on. When you have finished the first draft, read through the book once more from start to finish.
  2. Take time away from the novel – I had two years but I don’t mean this long! It really does feel like reading the novel with fresh eyes and amazing what you can spot after doing this. I really enjoyed reading the novel again and was surprised at my own writing. Sometimes you are stuck in the moment of novel and this perspective away really helped.
  3. Ask a few friends/family and beta readers (unbiased) to read for content and to spot any plot holes/errors.
  4. Make plot/character amendments.
  5. Read aloud — to see if each sentence flows with the punctuation and edit any stilted sentences.
  6. Read aloud backwards, sentence by sentence, from finish to start. This seems tedious but really takes you away from the actual story and concentrates on the proof reading. I was lucky and had someone to do this for me for a second time.
  7. Proof read; make changes, and then proof read again. I made the mistake of giving the same proofread copy to different people. I wish I had waited until the first changes came back and then sent an updated version out. That way each copy comes back improved, rather than the same errors being spotted by different people over and over again!
  8. I discovered a list of common words to eradicate from a novel (repetitive words and ones that stilt the flow) and found each of these words by find/replace to check whether the word was still needed in the sentence or could be cut out. I also found a list of common errors such as using apostrophes to indicate contraction and searched for all of these to check they were correct. (e.g. it’s or its).
  9. Have some different beta readers lined up – I had several amazing readers – each one found something different from the other. Some I asked to read for errors and others to read for flow and story plot. The feedback was highly valuable.
  10. After all the changes are updated, read a final time.
  11. I sent the novel to a professional proofreader to give a final run through and then updated these last changes.
  12. Again, read through a final time. Next is the nightmare that I found formatting, but that is another post! I have learnt a great deal from this process.

 

Huge thanks go to Emily for writing these two posts for me and for sharing a copy of Letters to Eloise which I am looking forward to reading.

 

 

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – Review

A very happy book birthday to Strange the Dreamer – the first in a new duology by Laini Taylor author of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series.

This has been one of my most anticipated reads of 2017 after reading a sampler last year. The sampler also encouraged me to finally read her first series, which I loved, and I entirely blame, for making me plan a trip to Prague in 2018.

The setting of Strange the Dreamer is entirely fictional so that should save me some money, although I will be needing the follow up in Hardcover too. I got my little grabby hands on a beautiful signed and blue edged copy on Saturday so spent the weekend reading it. I’d already made a mask prop for bookstagram and the story is set in a city called Weep so Sadness was a must for the picture below.

Weep

Synopsis

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around— and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? and if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

What I Thought

Looking at the reviews on Goodreads it appears Laini Taylor is quite a polarising author, and I’m glad to say  I am fully in the love her camp. Her writing is so beautiful that it made me read more slowly because I didn’t want to miss any words or the images they create. I’m not a very visual reader normally but, I can see her worlds.

We are thrown straight in to a world where people have two hearts and blood and spirit runs through them. I would have liked a pronunciation guide for some of the words because my brain was getting twisted trying to read them but I loved the myth and mystery that that bought.

Much as in her previous series we focus mainly on two points of view, that of Lazlo and the blue skinned goddess, though we do step into the minds of other characters too at times. There was only one point where the POV shifted within a scene unexpectedly. But, it was in a shared scene.

Lazlo is a dreamer and believer, a lover of books and stories, and as a fellow book person I was naturally drawn to him, but I also felt for Sarai, and was compelled by her inner conflict. Gods and Monsters seems to be a common theme in Laini’s work and she doesn’t shy away from exploring the murky side of what makes a Hero or a Villain. Consequently her characters are rich and complex, as well as humorous and human. There’s one character that reminded me of Claudia from Interview with a Vampire and there is more than one heartbreaking relationship explored in this book.

I don’t want to say much more because I don’t want to spoil it but this book is magic and you will want to savour it and it will destroy you and … how long do we have to wait until part two?

If you’ve read the book and want to discuss DM me on twitter.

Also over the weekend I read samplers for The Boy on the Bridge by MR Carey and Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh but thankfully only have to wait until May to read them. Lucky really as I’ll be doing Camp NaNo in April.

 

 

Letters to Eloise by Emily Williams – Guest Post

Letters to Eloise – The story behind Abelard and Heloise

Letters to Eloise is the heart-wrenching debut epistolary novel by Emily Williams; a love story of misunderstandings, loss, and betrayal but ultimately the incredible bond between mother and child.

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Author Emily and her family

Thank you so much for welcoming me onto your blog for my guest post. Today I am going to talk more about the story behind the quotes from ‘Abelard and Heloise’ that are woven through my debut novel Letters to Eloise. I don’t want to give away any plot spoilers so I will leave these out and hopefully tantalise you with a snippet of the story so you’ll want to find out more! Letters to Eloise is my debut love story that was published by Lutino Publications last month.

 

The blurb …

 

‘Receiving a hand written letter is something that always puts a smile on my face, no matter who the sender is.’ Flora Tierney.
When post-graduate student Flora falls unexpectedly pregnant during her final year studies she hits a huge predicament; continue a recent affair with her handsome but mysterious lecturer who dazzles her with love letters taken from the ancient tale of ‘Abelard and Heloise’, or chase after the past with her estranged first love?
But will either man be there to support her during the turmoil ahead?


‘Banish me, therefore, for ever from your heart’ – Abelard to Heloise.

 

The story behind the name Eloise …

 

When I first started writing Letters to Eloise, I had planned the overview of the plot, and then was in the process of deciding the names of the characters. I have always loved the name ‘Eloise’ and looked it up in a babies name book to find out more. I researched each name in the novel this way to try to fit the names meaning with the characteristics of the character. The meaning of the name Eloise is ‘famous warrior’ and the name is linked with the Germanic name derived from ‘hail’, which means robust and healthy. The name fitted this character perfectly.

 

Love is incapable of being concealed; a word, a look, nay silence speaks it all. Abelard to Heloise

 

I read about how the name became famous due to the tragic love letters between Heloise d’Argenteuil and her tutor Peter Abelard. This lead to my further research into the love story of Abelard and Heloise, and the tragedy of their relationship. I became interested in this true story and bought a book of their letters to read. The website ‘Sacred Texts’ had translations of their letters to each other and this source was invaluable in my research. I would recommend a read. I had never even heard about the ancient tale before, and found myself fascinated.

 

The relationship was a scandal at the time, due partly to Heloise’s age and Peter Abelard’s position. Tragedy followed their illicit relationship as other people fought to keep them apart. However, by writing letters — for over twenty years — their love continued to burn for each other despite the tragic circumstances. The story is an inspiration, as is their courage and passion, which kept their love alive despite the separation between them. The quotes from their letters to each other fitted parts of the storyline of Letters to Eloise perfectly, so I interwove them into Flora’s letters to her unborn child.

Abelard leaving Helose - 12th century

Abelard leaving Heloise – 12th Century Fotolia illustration -with thanks

 

Heloise and Abelard is a passionate, true love story and I knew the name Eloise was a perfect fit.

 

God knows I never sought anything in you except yourself. I wanted simply you, nothing of yours. Heloise to Abelard.

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Read Letters to Eloise, which is out now on kindle and in paperback, to find out more about the story of Abelard and Heloise and to follow Flora’s story and her own predicament.

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US – http://a.co/0VshOdw

UK – http://amzn.eu/iO8Gtrf

Follow Emily on twitter @EmilyRMWilliams

 

 

Emily has also been kind enough to share some editing tips so pop back on Wednesday to find out more.

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