Monday, 14 June 2010

Proof that redrafting has taken over my life

On the way to work today my mind idled upon whether or not to be seduced by the chain-store coffee shop as I changed from Delayed Train One to Stupidly Delayed Tube Two. I had been fooled by the promise of good coffee from this place before, when what I got was a few squirts of brown boiling steam. And you know what I thought to myself? I thought:

Do not be tempted by the offer of ‘good coffee’. Good coffee is a bad literary device...

And then I blinked and wondered what on earth I was thinking! Is this proof that redrafting has finally sent me bonkers?

Good news is that I have finished the edits from the final print out (or rather, draft eight). Since then I have been tackling four pages of ‘anomalies’ (pictured below) – these are general queries and questions about the story for me to answer / sort out / ponder upon.

For example – some of these anomalies were changing character names. A lot of the time I will think a name goes really well together and sounds really good in my head, only to discover that it’s the name of a 1980s TV presenter, or my old junior school teacher, or a friend’s ex-boyfriend. I remember once an old novel idea of mine that had the name ‘Andy McNab’ in it, as I thought the name sounded good, and then I realised I’d obviously seen it in a book shop / newspaper somewhere! (Andy McNab being a best-selling action author.) So I have to doubly check the names I have used. There’ll be more on the topic of anomalies later!

Another thing I have been doing is recording an audio version of my story. Oh my. There are a couple of reasons for this – one being to speak the words aloud and see how true they sound, the other to listen and gauge if it all hangs together and works well on the ear. Sadly I have to also listen to my voice! Who is that girl with the odd accent? I feel I need to do some vocal warm ups, whatever they are. My dodgy voice aside, this was a really excellent idea. I cannot stress it enough. There were a lot of superfluous words creeping in the body of my text – even in the beginning chapters – which I hadn’t spotted before, but after listening I could safely take out them out without compromising the story. Managed to prune 800 words from the first three chapters – and I was thinking those puppies were done and dusted! Just goes to show I must never get that complacent. I have only recorded the beginning chapters for now, but will go over the whole book in time.

You'll be pleased to hear that my furry writing coaches have been hard at work keeping me focused by snoozing on all my important papers. Even better than that, Ginger kindly let himself be an additional work surface when I was running out of room.

I just cannot go wrong with writing coaches like that! Helpful, cuddly, and always sitting on the thing I want to find. Like homing beacons. Although I am starting to get paranoid that my eventual queries will be sent out with bonus cat hair.


Piedmont Writer said...

You talk about anomolies -- I just re-read a book from my shelf on sunday (reading day). And I found the new WIP I'm writing, the one I totally love, with all the great character names and fantastic plot line -- Is the same exact book I read on Sunday. I guess my subconscious is more powerful than I think. The last time I read this book was at least 3 years ago. I've only been on the WIP since March.

Jayne said...

Oh no, Anne! If it makes you feel any better, I actually queried that awful story I wrote with the name 'Andy McNabb' - to the author's own agents. Needless to say they didn't get back in touch with me... *blushes with shame*

Aubrie said...

Sometimes I have to change a character name like that. I had Captain Ritter and then I thought: what about his first name is John? And then my editor pointed out that John Ritter was a famous actor. Oops!

Recording an audio version of your story is the best idea I've heard all day. I'm going to try it!

Old Kitty said...

Awwww good for Ginger!! What a complete star and very helpful furry coach! I bet he inspired you lots!

It's so interesting to know that hearing an audio version of your story helped you. It's not something I'd do for myself but if it works - go with it!!

As for cafe bought coffee.. on the weekdays I only go to one guaranteed coffee person (Liverpool St Station - smaller costa along bishop's gate) who makes darn fine coffee without fail and even under stress.

The rest of the time - it's pot luck! Which is annoying considering how much it costs! :-)

GOOD LUCK with your drafting!!!

Take care

Jen said...

You have such an awesome writing coach, I have two and they are the best!

Congratulations on finishing your final edits! How exciting! I'm just at the beginning but it gives me hope that I'll do great and push through with my great writing coaches!!!

JustineDell said...

Maybe I should get me a writing coach! I neve thought about recording an audio of my book. That's a great idea. You can play it back in a few days/weeks and see if everything flows. simple, yet so helpful.


Talli Roland said...

GINGER KITTY! And there you were on Twitter complaining about the lovely ginger kitty - for shame! :)

I hear you on the editing, and I'm only on Draft 2. Ugh... such a long way to go!

Good luck with it all!

Erica Mitchell-Spickard said...

Haha, I love the kitty picture. Redrafting is hell and takes over so much of my life. It's always in the forefront it seems no matter how far I get from it. My characters name themselves and I never really thought to check the name and where it came from. I probably should yikes!
My husband reads my work back to me because I can't get past my own voice to actually hear whats wrong or what works. Bless his heart he's such a good man <3 him. Good luck in all your redrafting :)

Janet O'Kane said...

Love the picture of Ginger 'helping' you! I'm typing this with Doris (tabby, 18 years old, few teeth) nodding off over my keyboard. My excuse for any typos.
Your names dilemma reminds me of the first time I combined the christian name of one of my characters with the surname of her estranged husband. He was Tam Turner, her name - Paige. They're the Watsons now.

Eliza said...

Thats sounds like hard word, but I'm glad ginger is being so helpful. My quartet would be "signing" everything with muddy paws!

Laura Marcella said...

Congrats on finishing your final edits! That's really exciting and you should be proud!

Don't worry about the cat hair on your queries- perhaps the agents you send them to will think it's from their own kitty! Good luck with the anomalies. :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Oh, I want a writing coach now. And I know my daughter definitely wants one.

I love this post. I always enjoy reading about other writers' revision techniques. I couldn't record myself because my accent is really kooky (I've lived in three countries--not counting 4 months in Finland).

Congrats on finishing your final draft. :D

Amy said...

I love the idea of recording yourself reading your manuscript. I can imagine picking up so many mistakes/ odd bits that way.

You are so nearly finished, right?

Anonymous said...

This seems like so, so much work. Good luck!

And I also have the same troubles with names. :)

Donna Hosie said...

Lots of luck with the redrafting. Those are some serious notes you have there!

Happy Frog and I said...

Well done! Hope it all goes well. I love trying to think up character names but it is so tricky!

Fran said...

Love your cat worksurface! What a purrfect solution.

Wendy Ramer said...

Cat hair can only win them over. And if not, you don't want an agent like that representing you anyway.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

We have a cat that looks almost EXACTLY like the one in your picture. His name is Sherman! LOL!

Congrats on finishing your edits. And what a great idea to record an audio version! :-)

melandri said...

writing..i love writing..

visiting from Indonesia here..happy blogging

Alice in Wonderland said...

Just read the comment that you left on my blog, so I decided to pay you a visit.
I'm loving what I have read so far, but I agree with you that finding names is a pain. I love historical novels, but finding names to suit the period is such hard work!
What I do is go back to a year and find the most popular names of the least this gives you an idea of the names. Surnames, I just skim through the telephone directory and keep my fingers crossed!
I am so pleased to find someone else in England who is also a writer.
My work is my own, unless stated, but I do have my favourite writers.

I'm returning the favour and following you too!

Jayne said...

Hi Aubrie – I am so glad it isn’t just me that does that! Do try the audio – be interested in reading your thoughts on it if you try.


Hi Old Kitty – Ginger is a lovely boy, always helpful. As for the coffee – I also go to Liverpool Street so will remember your coffee recommendation!


Hi Jen - I also have two furry writing coaches; the naughty tortie is a little more camera shy though. Good luck to you and your beginning edits!

Hi Justine - I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts if you do go down the audio route!

Hi Talli – I have dutifully smacked my wrist. And draft two – already? To me you are super speedy. Good luck!


Hi Erica – I totally agree – that is exactly how I feel about redrafting. Your hubby sounds a star!

Jayne said...

Hi Janet – Aw, love the name Doris for your elderly tabby! Please give her a chin tickle for me. And ‘Paige Turner’ made me laugh – naming characters can be very tricky business indeed!


Hi Eliza. A quartet! Wow – bet they keep you busy!


Hi Laura – Thank you! I cannot really escape from cat hair – my clothes just look odd without it!


Hi Stina – I bet your accent is lovely! Living in three countries – gosh, what stories you have to tell! Great experience for a writer. :)


Hi Amy – I picked up so many odd bits that I had to go away and quiver for a while. And yes, nearly finished!


Hi Sandy – I know – can’t seem to work any other way though!


Hi Donna – Thank you!

Jayne said...

Hi Happy Frog – I too love making up character names – it sets the whole tone of the story.


Hi Fran – Ginger is always willing to lend a paw, or his side.


Hi Wendy – Ha! And true, very true...


Hi Shannon – Aw, give Sherman a tummy tickle for me!


Hi Melandri – thank you for visiting from Indonesia!


Hi Alice – Thank you for coming by, and sharing how you find names. I also look up the most popular baby names for a particular year. I find it’s not really a problem with the names of my main characters – but it’s the lesser characters – these are the ones I have to watch in case a familiar name / surname creeps in. And yes, I’m from England – London to be precise. :)