Friday writing

Ok, here is the thing with writing… No writer is perfect. At least not alone. We all depend upon other sets of eyes to catch the mistakes before it goes to print. Alpha and beta readers, editors (of both developmental and copy types), these all give the feedback needed to polish the manuscript for publishing.

Copy editors (like Xterraweb or Deedra Nichole editing) go through the manuscript for grammar and spelling mistakes. They check for tense and wording. These are your basic editor.

Developmental editors (one of the listed also has developmental prices…but there are quite a few out there. Those are the editors I personally have worked with.) work with the author who is stuck. They will help find plot holes and flaws in the characters and story. They help find solutions for the author who can’t see where to go with that story.

These are just before it goes to publish. At publication there are even more possible people involved. It depends upon your book. Children’s books often require an illustrator. Then there is a cover designer. (I do my own. Not everyone does.) Some even use publishers, and marketers.

So everytime you pick up a book… Consider the amount of work it took to get it to you. No author is alone in creating the book. And it takes effort and skill to get it in your hands. Do everyone involved a favor. Review what you read.

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First Draft Friday

Today I want to talk about the writing process. To be specific, I think that I will talk about the first draft/initial edit. Both adult novels and children’s books have the process in common.

The story must be written. Until it is on my screen, I say screen because I have not used paper in years. I have arthritis and it is harder for me to use pen and paper. I miss it. Still the stories must be told.

Children’s stories are usually my telling my daughter a bedtime story. I have to tell it how it comes out in my head. Then I go back and I clean up the grammar and the story itself. My tagline speaks of a half mad poet. Well, it’s a truth. I am not entirely sane. It makes communications occasionally difficult.

Writing a story is another form of communication. Some days it is easier than others. So, I will often catch in my edits a bit of confusion and have to fix it. That is what the first draft is for.

Choices.

So… I am 3 poems from finishing the writing of Spilled Verse. I am often in a crunch on the last five or the first five of any volume. Not that I should be, but it always has my anxiety going nuts in that ten poem stretch. Self doubt is the highest during those.

I have other issues that require attention at the beginning and end of a volume. Layout, editing, cover design and choosing a new title. That is where I am now. I have a list of “possibles” that I keep just for my poetry volumes. These are ones that I use to pick from.

My current list is nine long. It helps me to have options. I will likely be doing the cover reveal for my teaser Tuesday on my next volume.

Friday World building

       Today the world building topics are Religion and Time. These are both the most important and the least important for any world.

     This world has multiple religions. Each religion has a different view of the divine. Religions shape morals and virtues, and how the inhabitants view themselves. Morals are a strange thing. People aren’t born with an innate knowledge of what to do inlife, or how to act. It only makes sense, then, that people would turn to religion as a guide for how they should behave. That’s easy enough to see with the world we live in. Nearly everybody learns the golden rule growing up. Nearly  every religion has this same rule, in some form or another. When you get further into the details of differing religions, you see that each has its own set of morals and what it feels is “right.” This can range from Evangelicals who feel that same-sex love is a sin because of an archaic passage from the old testament to vegetarianism as a way to avoid hurting other living creatures,commonly found among Hindus. So, what does this mean?

        Well, this  means that when you’re crafting a religion, one of the things to think about is what morals you want in your world. What do you want the gods to stand for? Do you want to have a full pantheon to cover all of the aspects that one can find in the divine? Are there different gods for each race? Different taboos are often religion-centric as well. These taboos can have minor consequences on your world-building in some ways. For example, maybe you just want to make things more interesting by adding details such as characters who avoid certain kinds of metals or stones because they’re strictly forbidden in their religious texts. These taboos can also have major consequences on your story. For example, even in the modern day and age there are a lot of prejudices against albinism in some African countries. You can imagine the consequences for such a character.

       When crafting a religion, it only makes sense to think about the cultural impact said religion will have. Holidays, prayer, rituals, religious pilgrimages, the way that people keep track of time (as in our AD system), taboos, fasting, celibacy, religious bathing/cleansing… These are just a few practices that exist within different religions. Many are so ingrained in our culture that people don’t even think of them as “religious” any more.  Also remember that the same religion can have many different interpretations, leading to different branches and sects. They can be quite different, and they may not get along that well. This is another thing that is often forgotten. Throughout history there have been many different types of religions. Some have a single god. Some have an entire pantheon. Some see gods as people. Some see gods as animals. Some gods are both people and animals, depending on the story that’s being told. Some religions see gods as having no form. Some religions teach that god is the universe. Some say that there are no gods, but there is power in everything.

   Is your main religion science or a lack of religion? Why is this so? Religion is sometimes a bit of background knowledge. It may never come into your story, or it might be the focus. Still it is something you should know.

Time

  Look at your calendar, Is the way your world laid out similar to ours? Our world is on a 24-hour day.  We have a 7-day week and a usually 30-31-day month. There are worlds with 20-hour days, or 48-hour days. There are worlds with tenday weeks. Time controls everything we do. Often the time is controlled by sun and moon rotation, but you could have a world that had a magical accident. Your world has flexibility. Though this information can help your story to form.

Professional vs hobby

I have been working on going through my poetry volumes (also did Serena’s novella and her novel). I have been updating covers, double checking layout, spelling and grammar. Now, I published all of them… So I should have been doing very little… And for the newer ones… I have been doing less. I was an indie publisher from the get go… But I really had no clue what I was doing. I designed my covers but I didn’t have access to the tools that I have now. I have learned. I have grown.

The first image is the first cover, the second is the newest. Just because I was not knowledgeable doesn’t mean that I approached publishing as a hobby. Hobbyist, in my opinion are the ones who don’t actually put in any effort to improve how they do things.

I have two more volumes of poetry…Music for the soul and soul’s door. I think that I am finally happy with how they look. I think that I will put off the cleanup/ refresh of my kids books until December as November is shaping up to be very busy.

What is the difference between pro and hobbyist to you?