Sunday, November 27, 2011

Oh, honey. Your first novel!

George McFly: Like I've always told you, you put your mind to it, you can accomplish *anything*.

I think my son summed it up best with this smile:

I hold in my hands a real book that actual trees had to die for. It feels good. 

Now I just have to check to see I didn't misspell the names of my main characters.

Fingers crossed we can get this out before Christmas.


About me.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I think I just finished.

On the auspicious date of 11-11-11, at 11 past 11, I sent draft 11 of my manuscript to my editor.

It has been chopped, polished, proofed and exported. Italics have come and gone, and characters have lost their names only to find them again with a little 'find replace'

My map has been inserted and acknowledgements have been written. Passive voice has been ignored (because rules are made to be re-written) but active voice has at times been toned down (too many doing words can over do it)

As always, much of my action happens as other things also happen. But that is life and I am not Hemingway.

I could change it again I am sure, and I fight the urge even now to reopen Word and take one last peek. But you have to draw the line somewhere.

I didn't write it in a month, but I did finish it in the month of writing novels, so that too, I hope, is a good omen.

Not -- as I said to my editor -- that I believe in magic. 

Well, not much, anyway.

Okay, maybe a little bit.

About me.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The sanity of an good editor

If you read my last post you know I was struggling with some of my proof editor's comments about certain character names.

I took some advice from my readers (Thanks K.T, Mel, Aldrea and Angela) and I went ahead and changed them all. 

Luckily I also emailed my publisher and told him of the changes, and I received a wonderful email telling me to stop the press and not change a thing.

I think it is easy to lose sight of the big picture when you have written something as long as a novel. Especially when you have had half a dozen people give you their opinion on everything from your character names to plot points. It can be tempting to give in to every demand and try and make your book everything for everyone.

But that can be a real bad idea, almost as bad as not taking any advice at all.

This is when a good editor can save your sanity. As much as they are the one who asks you to sacrifice your first born on the rocks, they can also be the hand that holds you back from the killing blow.

So now I am -- I think -- almost done. As in, the final edit, pack it up and ship it off to the printers done. I will sleep on it tonight, and give it one last look tomorrow to make sure I didn't miss anything that Word's "find replace" stuffed up. (does anyone else have trouble with bloody Word not being able to find, you know, words?)

So thank you again, dear editors everywhere, we need you more than we know.

(If you need a good book to read, Michael, my editor, is also a writer. Perhaps that is why he understood the need to let my Warlock keep his name)


About me.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A rose by any other name....

Would be really silly right? I mean, if roses were called flunkwerps they may still smell sweet, but we'd all have a hard time handing them over to a date.

My problem? Character names. Proof edit was returned you see, but four of my key character names raised some flags. 

The Sheriff, my editor pointed out, was named after a brand of vacuum cleaner. 

My Witch, he quite rightly observed, was 'A cross between Enema and Oedema.' (I thought I was being clever by using anagram creator on "Medea") 

My fox was named after the most obvious cliche for a fox character you can get.

And nobody has ever liked my Warlock's name. When proof editor realised that if you say my Warlocks first and second name together he could be confused as a sibling to a little known 'Harry Potter', I had to accept defeat.

Normally I love naming characters (despite what it looks like, I am mostly pretty good at it) But this close to the end it fills me with dread.

These characters are real now, at least to me, and to re imagine even one of them, let alone four, makes the book feel different.

So, my question is, how do you name names? Or even better, have any of you ever re-named a main character late in the game? How?

So far I am doing my usual round of Wikipedia references in mythology, then a bit of google translate when all else fails. (seriously, Warlock in Galician is Bruxo- If only that didn't sound like a dish washing powder i'd use it.) But i'd love to hear any advice.

Also, whats the consensus on diacritics? Personally, I love them, but I can go overboard. 


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Italian food, wine and books.

I had the chance to go to another book launch today for an ex-teacher turned culinary author, Marisa Raniolo Wilkins.

Her first book, SICILIAN SEAFOOD COOKING, was officially released today in Carlton, Melbourne, the home of all things Italian.

Aside from the chance to see another person go through the process of launching a book, I got to enjoy a selection of terrific nibbles, accompanied by equally delicious wine. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

So If you like good food, I suggest you check out Marisa's blog, and remember that Christmas is just around the corner.

In other news, upon returning home, my inbox held the email that I have been waiting for: My proof edit is done!

As I said to my editor in response to this news, the anxiety I have been cultivating during the wait instantly metamorphosed into anxiety over imminent publication. 

Fair warning: My book launch will have neither the quality of food nor wine that I experienced today.

About me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My Galaxy

I hope this works.

Last year I stumbled upon a great little book called 'Goodnight Forest Moon' on Boing Boing.

It is a parody of the classic 'Goodnight Moon' that almost everyone who has children has read (at least a thousand times)

Well, It got me thinking see, because there is a sequel to the original called 'My World' and if anything my son likes this more than Goodnight Moon.

You don't have to say 'Star Wars parody of a classic book with a sequel' twice to get my creative juices flowing. So I set out to make my own.

That was a year ago. Since then I have been a little more interested and preoccupied with my novel, but recently I have hit some down time due to the wait for proof editing. As I have said in a previous post, there are many things I could have spent my time on, but my best friend's child is having a birthday party this weekend, and he is going dressed as Darth Vader. If you read the original tale of the conception of 'Goodnight Forrest Moon' you know that I had no other choice but to finish the sequel.

And I did. Just then.

*edit 2012* >> just worked out imgur. This should be easier:

And here it is for you to download. Enjoy. (Alternate download.)

There are much better printing and book binding instructions at Noah Dziobecki's page. Mine should assemble much the same.....

Please leave a comment if you have any trouble.