WIP Blog Twelve: Ready for Proofreading

WIP Blog Twelve: Ready for Proofreading

This week’s Work In Progress news is that ‘Agents of the Truth’ is (almost) ready to go to be proofread. I say almost because it’s not booked in until the 25th which gives me enough time to leave it alone and wait for last-minute thoughts to pop into my head, and enough time for my PA to give it a read. She’s already picked up a few typos I’ve missed, and the more of those we find, the better.

Am I happy with it? Yes. When will it be available? Hopefully, by the second week in February, before Valentine’s Day if I can, as I don’t want it to get caught up in the slew of releases that day always brings. So, keep watching the blog and my Facebook page for more news. Also, keep watching for the next WIP, as work on Larkspur Four has already begun.

More about that next week, and coming soon… the cover reveal for ‘Agents if the Truth.’

WIP Blog Eleven: Nearly There

WIP Blog Eleven: Nearly There

Welcome to the Work In Progress blog. It has been 11 weeks since I started on ‘Agents of the Truth,’ and I have just finished line-editing the manuscript. I have just under two weeks before it goes to proofing, so there is still time to make adjustments should I need to.

This week, I thought I would give you an extract to whet your appetite and leave it at that.

This is from chapter two. To set the scene: Archer, Lord Clearwater, is to hold a masked ball at Larkspur Hall. The newspapers have already covered the story and prematurely announced that the Queen’s grandson, Prince Albert Victor (Prince Eddy, as he was also known) is to attend. Invitations have been sent out, and Archer and Tom have been dealing with the acceptance letters.


There was no letterhead, no date, and not even a letter. Just a piece of plain paper on which were glued a series of words in different fonts. At first, he assumed it was James replying to his invitation in a way designed to be a joke. The unconnected words, however, suggested something far more sinister.

Prick, Bleed, Poison, Die, Wrong…?

They brought a memory of his youth, and although it was partly pleasurable, it was mainly unnerving.
‘What is it?’ Tom was at the door with a collection of envelopes. ‘Are you unwell?’
Archer slipped the note beneath a book and looked up, feigning ease. ‘Hm? Oh, no. All is well, thank you. Just, er… Just pondering Shakespeare.’
‘What on earth for?’ Tom took three long strides into the room and placed the letters on the desk. ‘Never mind. Here are today’s acceptances. The genuine ones. Where are you going?’
Archer had collected his jacket and was making for the door with his pace and pulse quickening. ‘To the library,’ he said. ‘I have an urgent meeting.’
‘With whom?’
‘The Merchant of Venice.’


And so, the mystery begins… and deepens… and becomes more mysterious… and then another mystery starts… and things really get interesting!

WIP Blog Ten: ‘Agents of the Truth’ Draft Three

 

WIP Blog Ten: ‘Agents of the Truth’ Draft Three

I am in week ten of writing the next Larkspur Mystery, ‘Agents of the Truth.’

Today, I will set about chapter 15, giving it a line edit. I’ve spent the last few days editing every line in the book from the start to the end of chapter 31, going through them for grammar, ease of reading, and picking up as many typos as I can.

My writing process so far:

Draft One: Write the story for me and keep each chapter as a separate file, titled by Number, Day of story, Point of Chapter. I just sit down and write it and don’t care how well I write the sentences but keep in mind the plot, character arcs and consistency.

Draft Two: I read-through for plotting, pacing and repetition. I eradicate what has become unnecessary; add in what I forgot last time. If I notice a typo, I run a search/find in Word for that typo, to check I’ve not done it elsewhere. I often do this with names. I might write Jams instead of James, so I search/find ‘James’ just to be sure it wasn’t a one-off. At this stage, the MS is in one large document. *Tip* Add oft-mistyped words to your autocorrect list.

Draft Three: I pull the draft two MS into separate chapters again, and run ProWritingAid (PWA) for grammar and style, overused words, sentence length, clichés and then, once again, style. This process picks up on the repetition of words and verbs (too many have/had/has in one block of text, for example). It identifies long sentences where I’ve joined separate thoughts/threads together with and, but, while… I also avidly check for adverbs. (Words like ‘avidly’.) These can be signs of lazy writing, and influence the ‘show don’t tell’ rule. Better than writing, ‘he said angrily’ is to show the character being angry. The PWA check also helps with typos and punctuation.

That’s where I am right now. Draft four will be another read-through before the MS goes to be proofread. I should point out that, if I feel it’s warranted, I will completely rewrite a chapter or section from scratch. I did this more when I was starting out than I now have a handle on construction and flow. These days, I know when to stop writing in draft one, tear that page out and start again, rather than leave in a substantial chunk or chapter to be dealt with later. So, drafts two onwards tend to be editing rather than rewriting.

And, while that’s going on, I have made a date with my proof-reader, so I have until January 24th to complete my edits, and I have sent a cover idea to Andjela and asked her to think about the image. The images today are some of the ‘idea shots’ I sent her.

The cover won’t be of a cute young man this time, because ‘Agents of the Truth’ is more of a classic detective story than it is about a dreamy young thing falling in love. It’s an adventure that changes a character’s life (two characters, actually), and it follows on from book two ‘Keepers of the Past.’

I am aiming for mid-February as a release date (while avoiding the Valentine’s Day deluge of romantic shorts that flood Amazon and KU every year.)

If you’ve not started the Larkspur series yet, you have time to begin at ‘Guardians of the Poor’ and enjoy the ride.

See you on Saturday for my regular, weekly author’s blog.

Jack

 

WIP Blog Nine: Draft One Complete.

WIP Blog Nine: Draft One Complete.

Hi, just a quick update as promised. My Work In Progress, ‘Agents of the Truth’ has reached the end of draft one at 111,000 words. Yippee!

I am about to start a read-through for a story edit, to make sure all points of the mystery add up, and to check my timeline. I feel it is going to come across as ‘bitty’, because it feels like I have had to work on it in fits and starts. Christmas caused a two-day hiatus, but only between the end of the climax and the epilogue, but organising and playing the piano for a carol concert and other pre-Christmas activities also caused hiccups. While they were going on, I was also looking around for freelance writing work, assisting newbies with stories, editing and restructuring website reports and things, so having to pay the bills also rather gets in the way of the creative flow.

However, I have brought to an end a three-part adventure starring Dalston Blaze and Joe Tanner (and others), and feel that now, Dalston and Joe can settle into a stable new life, while I bring new characters into the Larkspur Academy. That will start once ‘Agents’ is finished, and there is a way to go yet. I am still aiming for the end of February as a release date, and will soon fix up a time for proofreading and organising the cover.

Meanwhile, it’s back to draft two, and a mound of Christmas leftovers we still need to get through before I can extract myself from the sofa, get out and do some walking, and settle back into my more usual routine.

I will be here on Saturday for an end-of-year round-up. See you then!

WIP blog Eight: Nearly There

WIP blog Eight: Nearly There

Hi all, and welcome to Wednesday and my work in progress update. When people ask me how long it takes to write a novel, I usually have no idea how to answer because by the time I get to release it, I’ve forgotten when I started it. This WIP blog has helped change that, and I can say that it has, so far, taken me eight weeks, and there is still a long way to go. Not so much in the first draft storytelling because I am now about to climax, if you’ll excuse the expression, but once that is done, and I have epilogued (excuse the made-up word), there is still a way to go.

A random photos of the model kits I like to build in my downtime.

Yesterday, I finished chapter 27 yesterday and made inroads into chapter 28. Last night, I was running through ideas for the climax with hubby Neil, because he makes a great sounding board, and I worked out I still had, probably, about, maybe… five scenes to go before the story will be concluded. That would put me at roughly 110,000 words, which is a nice ‘get your money’s worth’ length. After that, however, and after Christmas, comes the draft two-stage and the editing down, ‘bettering up’ and putting all things as right as I can before I can be happy with the finished product. After that comes the cover design, the proofreading, the layout and all that jazz, so we are still looking at February as a release month, all being well.

Sensible storage is important.

And a random photo of our main town.

As I write each chapter, I save it in a file that is automatically linked to me OneDrive just in case, and I give each one a number, of course. What I also do, however, is name the file with a piece of action; the more critical the action the better. This is so I can remember where certain things occurred, and can easily find them if I need to go back and change or check something. I just looked down my list of saved, individual chapters and thought you might like a small insight into what’s to come with ‘Agents of the truth.’ Some examples:

01 Newspaper announces ball

02 14th October threat one

08 18th Friday The Killhaddocks

16 Archer letter to James and 26th Sunday

20 After Newgate

27 D leaves London 3.15 at Larkspur

That should mean absolutely nothing to you, and that’s how I like it. All will be revealed in time.

Double-Check for accuracy

A vague attempt at a Christmas scene, our-house style.

Something that was revealed to me the other day has put a bit of a groan in my step. This novel runs to a timeline, as I like to do, with some chapters starting with the location and date. I checked the legitimacy of these dates with what I thought was a reliable online calendar. I.e ‘What day of the week was October 30th 1890?’ and from that, I drew my own calendar of days/dates. All well and good until I got to chapter 24 ’30th Wednesday Larkspur preparations’ and checked the news for that day in history with the British Newspaper Archives. There, in print from 131 years ago, I found the Morning Post, Telegraph and others were published on Thursday 30th October. So, when I go through draft two, I’m going to have to change all dates/days and double-check references to ‘three days to go’ kind of stuff and make sure things remain accurate. I guess I don’t need to add this authentic detail, but I like to do things properly. That is why, for example, in ‘Agents’ you’ll find the climax happens under a moon that was full two days previously, and the newspaper articles the characters read were actually published in those papers on those days. Background detail is fun!

Happy Christmas

Anyway, I must continue with chapter 28 and hopefully get into chapter 29. I don’t think I’ll be finished with draft one by midday on Christmas Eve as I hoped, but I’ll be close, and after taking the weekend off, I’ll be right back at it. Meanwhile, have yourself a lovely Christmas if you celebrate it, or holiday if you don’t, or weekend if you don’t take a holiday, and I will be back with you next Wednesday for WIP Nine.