Kim’s Top Tip: Editing Vs Proof Reading, So What’s The Difference? #writerslife #writingtips #amwriting

women writer funny

 

Good question! Okay so as part of the writing tips I want to share here and there, this one came to me last month after writing, editing and proof reading two books to release.  I’m not an expert, I don’t claim to be one, I would never swap my role as a writer for an editor. This is my take and advice on what I’ve learned. Let’s get into it!

To me editing comes before proof reading. This is the natural progression I follow when I write. Write, edit, edit, edit, proof read, then proof read!

What is Editing?

To me once I’ve wrote the last word, in the last chapter, on the last page, in the last paragraph I’m ready to edit. I don’t edit as I write. Why? Personally… I’ll never get any writing done. I’m a hardcore editor of my own work before I put it in front of my actual editor. If I spend to much time on this I’ll never create, so I don’t do it until I’m done writing.

Personally what I do is read through my work checking for these things in general:

  • Consistency in names, places, dates, times.
  • Plot holes.
  • Tense, spelling, use of English etc.
  • That I am happy with the storytelling, build, heat, crime scene, suspense, all that jazz. It’s as I want it to be told.
  • Check facts. I often use real places and events when writing.
  • Character development, I like to make them pop as best I can and not be flat.

My aim: to ensure it’s accurate factually, consistent.  (Hopefully) no one will read it and go huh?.. What Kim?

What is Proof Reading?

In my view once I’ve got my work cleaned up, and my characters stand out, it’s then time to proof read it. My focus is not on the nitty gritty above, as all this is as best as I can get it. It’s now time to read through my work and check the flow of the story also see if I can spot a missed full stop, capital letter the minor details that make me shriek in a high pitched voice, what’s that b*tch typo doing there??  🙂 . I’ll proof read maybe a day or two after I’ve done the edit(s). Then hand to my editor to look over. She then works her red pen magic, and hands me back my work with her personal edit and proof read. I also send a rough copy to my Beta Readers at the same time, they come back with comments…. the whole process of correction (edit) proof read starts again based on what I get back!

Aim:  Personally, proof reading for me is to pick up the minor things and polish up, check the flow.

So what’s the difference Kim? You’re doing the same thing.

Yes and smarty pants! To me the edit is more focused and I really cut up my work, chop scenes, add scenes, develop characters and plot. I don’t do that in a proof read, as this is already done. The proof read is to check what I’ve done in edit makes sense to me, and hopefully you… and there is logic, it’s readable.

Do You Really Need To Do Both? Can’t The Editor Do it?

Like I said when I posted a tip on how to find an editor and who should editor your work, you can read it here, editors don’t write the best sellers, page turners or five star rated books writers do. Personally, as a writer I feel  it’s my work, don’t be lazy. My advice and personal view is don’t fall back on only your editor, or Beta Readers to write that page turning five star book, you do the work.  Wanna write? Good …Writing = editing= proof reading= your A-game = happy readers hopefully= some five star reviews hopefully.  You do the math, still not convinced you should do a bit of DIY, and not leave it all in the hands of an editor?  Great glad you agree 🙂 .

I’ll see you soon with another tip! Happy writing.

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Kim’s Top Tips: How To Write A Steamy Sex Scene *wink #amwriting #romance #sex

Hmm well that got your attention didn’t it! Step right up, this is Kim’s class on creating steam in your stories. So last month, or maybe earlier this month… I can’t remember the days roll into one I’ve been so busy. Wait.. wait no it was this month, I set up a new  blog habit of  writing a tip or tick I use or have learned. I started to get messages from aspiring published authors and writers asking me to read their “hot new shit”, they wrote LOL.  They asked for some tips and advice. I was like of course! Lemme see it. So here I go with tip #2 you can read tip #1 on editing right here.

First I want to say, I’m no expert I’m not a know-it-all I too am learning, these tips are just my take on things. Second, I’m not an erotica writer at all. All I do when I’m not writing crime or general thriller /suspense is write romance, with a bit of steam. I like to add some heat to my writing. Second, I’m not overly explicit with sex, I’m a mother and one day my son will read my work *cringe.* Also I’m fed up of my mum looking at me over her glasses like “Kimberly… I’m on page sixty six?!” Then I’m like what the hell did I write on page sixty six?! *cringe* so let’s get into it! Here’s my tips.

What is steam/heat?

Well according to standard romance writing norms, it’s the level of sex  / intimacy in your writing. The amount / frequency and how sexy it is. eg is it very explicit with graphic details, or in the middle more sensual but there is a clear idea of who is doing what, and to who, or less so and all the characters do is hold hands.

High heat: lots of sex, graphic, explicit language. Your kindle will be on fire. ( Erotica).

Mid range heat: moderate levels of sex,  or often, graphic but maybe not as explicit. But the word cock is used! For example 🙂 Your kindle will steam up for sure.

Low level : nothing to write home about.

How to decide on your level of steam/heat?

Personally, I….

  • Let the story talk to me, the plot kind of dictates how steamy I get.
  •  Consider what else has happened in the story.
  • Consider my characters, their age, who they are as people, and what is suitable realistically for them as people.

Personally I’m mid range heat, generally as I’m not an erotica writer. My advice to those wanting to heat up their writing, is to consider the points above. Also remember you don’t have to write romance to bring the heat. A classic example is when Didi and I wrote It Was The First Time I Killed A Man,  for The Suspenseful Collection that’s a crime short story with mid- high range heat levels in terms of how descriptive it is. However the character (Lisa) made it appropriate to bring the heat, because of who she is. Do you see what I mean? Work heat into your writing regardless of genre  based on your characters, and who they are if it fits. You don’t have to just be a romance writer. Just make sure it is appropriate, and the level is good for the characters, don’t write a sex mad underage kid.

Okay smarty pants Kim, how do I actually write sex, I’m nervous and shy

Good question. Again, personally I approach writing about sex, love and emotions from this angle

  • Get over shyness, sex is natural  write like you’re proud regardless of who the characters are, I stepped into the shoes of an explicit lesbian serial killer for God sake. I got over the “what will people think” by the time we blogged it.  Mean what you write give it heart. Don’t write like a chump!
  • I’m a girl, as you can see.. so for me naturally I tend to focus on the emotional side, not just inserting body parts and the “ohhh ahhh do me now part”. I get into character emotionally. What do your characters feel, about the moment, the other person, the situation etc. I express this or show it via their actions and dialogue. I try not to “tell it” if I’m writing third person too much, some times you have to but try to focus on the character’s actions showing feeling.
  • Be natural, what do you honestly think is a hot sex scene?? I interviewed the erotica author Ava Sterling a few months back, her take on is was to use your experience… within reason so go for it. I’d agree with this advice from an actual erotica author.
  • Use more than just “oh it feels so good” “don’t stop” lol let the dialogue flow in a realistic way.  Also, would a real man/woman stop in the middle of doing the deed and say some dumb sh*t?? No!!… Well I hope not anyway. Keep it realistic, focus dialogue on the moment and heat of the scene, not the weather.
  • Hype up the five major senses.  This will ramp up your writing so much. Again, this is a personal thing how I write, but do what works for you. Try not to just focus on feeling or how good it feels, and characters say this over and over. Sure it feels good. We have other senses, vision, hearing etc.  What about touch how does a part of the body feel?, Taste ?* Raises eyebrows* get creative with whatever your character is tasting, that kind of thing. Or smell, I love a man who smells goooooooooooooooooood ladies you get where I’m going with this right? The weak feeling you get, when you smell a man’s aftershave unexpectedly when he’s up close. AND it’s fresh or whatever your preference is.  Whoah!!

  • I’m a sucker for it. Use this, work it into your writing how do the characters smell?
  • Don’t be over sexual and think that’s the best way to go, sometimes sensual is just as good. Unless you are writing dark erotica where foul language is needed, and most suited. In your everyday romance you don’t need to really take it there. Some raw language but not over kill.

And my best bit of advice, send your scene to someone to read, I did when I wrote Lover’s Retreat there’s a really steamy scene in there, the person I sent it to wrote back and said  “I think I need to call a babysitter, and go jump on my husband, that’s how you do it!! ” HAHA :).  Get feedback, it’s so helpful and think about what reaction you want from readers. I did in that particular scene want to make readers feel a bit hot under the collar, send your work out and see if you’ve delivered. Take all feedback and perfect your craft if you did not deliver. It’s fine, no one will know just re-work your scene.

If I’ve missed anything writers our there let me know, drop me a comment.

Happy writing!!

Guest Author Over @ Author Jane Risdon’s Blog. #author #writerslife #writingtips

I had a lovely time as Author Jane Risdon’s guest  this week.  She made me feel very welcome. She asked me a lot about my experience with traditional and self-publishing, and what tips I’d give to writers who shy away from using a multi-cultural line up for the characters.

Check it out here:

Guest author with Jane Risdon

 

Writing Tip: Character Profiles & Their Importance #writerslife #amwriting

I’ve just sat down to do a couple hours work on the next novella story for my Romance Set in Paradise series, I started to think a lot about character development (as I normally do) as I’m creating a scene that’s unfamiliar to me. On top of that my main character is in a situation also unfamiliar to me. In order to do this  scene and story justice, other than research, one thing I have learned while creating unfamiliar or difficult scenes is it’s helpful to react to things as your character would rather than yourself. In order to do this you need a detailed character profile. (In my humble view).

When I wrote A Stranger in France, all 90,000 words were mapped out across chapters and character profiles, it helped A LOT especially as the characters are so far removed from me. I also wrote from a male POV – two very different males! So I had to keep in line with what my character’s traits are rather than me a thirty four year old woman. The benefits of a character profile I can not stress enough to every aspiring or even established writer out there. Here’s my take on this and why I’d say use them, don’t write blindly…. even if Stephen King does it!

  1. You’ll be consistent and save yourself a hell of a lot of headache while editing, you’ll have less red pen marks on your work from your editor saying ” you said x on page 57 now you say y on page 78″ LOL.
  2. Your stories will pop and so will your characters.
  3. You’ll write in an unbiased way, as your characters react to things based on who THEY ARE not  who you are.
  4. Character profiles can help move your story in a new and exciting direction!
  5. You’ll suffer less so called “writer’s block”.

So how do you go about developing a character profile? Here’s how I approach it as a tip generally you could….

  1. First see them as real 3D people. How they look, sound, smell, dress, talk. This helps to enhance your writing. ( I feel) and the reader’s experience.
  2. Interview them. Where do they live, car they drive, hobbies, interests, their general take on life?
  3. What is their overall goal in your story? What do they need to make sure happens to achieve it? What will happen if they don’t achieve their goal? What’s at stake?
  4. Take into consideration your genre and story length. I say this as you don’t want to take up all your words on too much of this if you’re writing a short story- a short story to me is like 30k words, to others this can be as little as 10k…. If you’re crafting a full blown novel over 40k words then by all means really work on your character’s profile and make them pop. With genre, I’m all about the suspense! 🙂 this is where my talent is, so to make the suspense come across character development helps within my genre, as I am SHOWING readers things via the moments of my characters rather than TELLING. Some genres don’t need this much work on characters to create the atmosphere of the genre.

And that’s my reflection on creating difficult scenes, and how to make your characters come across as some what believable! If you’re a writer what approach do you take? Do you even agree that character profiles are useful and important?

I better get back to work on my character profile and try to finish up this scene. In the mean time, drop me a comment writers what’s your view?

 

Success

Calling All Authors/Aspiring Authors…. Take a Look at This #amwriting #author

Afternoon

And happy Easter, I have come across a lot of talented authors and unpublished authors over the last year. I believe in promoting yourself as well as authors, if you’re an author reading this would you like a spot light  for your book or interview on my author site?? There’s no catch I promise.  Let me know and I’ll share it. This is just part of a new direction I’m taking my author site in, I’ve done a few author interviews, personal book reviews and shared new release news for other authors it will now be a permanent feature on kimknight.com.

Another direction I’ll be moving in as well is sharing (more) writing and publishing tips, now I’ve successfully  traditional and self-published four books and now writing my fifth. It’s been an experience I tell you!

If you’re not published as yet, do you have questions or concerns over the process, your work, ideas or anything else?  Maybe I could help if I have list of questions I’ll happily answer them.

Anyone who wants to participate send me a message via the contact Kim page and let’s begin!

 

Writer’s Block: One Author’s Experience & How to Overcome it #amwriting #writerslife

Craft

This writing prompt is inspired by some questions posed for Goodreads authors to answer. I thought about my response, and thought it be great to share with you all aspiring authors out there! And anyone interested in how I went about writing A Stranger in France, Not Just for Christmas and Code Redhead- A Serial Novel.

So when I think of writer’s block in the traditional sense, I think of a writer sitting behind their lap top with a blank page, with a blank mind- they don’t know what to write or how to start. I don’t personally experience this type of writer’s block. I don’t mean this in a cocky way either, it’s because I’ve personally found a way to avoid it. But I’ll be honest I do experience lack of discipline/ sticking to my own writing schedule I set, this is mainly due to life and being  a busy mama. But when I do sit down to write, in between being a mama and work I’m never blank. Generally speaking, the former experience is what I’ve read and heard most writers experience. How do I avoid this common type of writer’s block, that is so damaging to a writer’s productivity  and even decreases their chances of finishing  their novel or short story? Simple…

 I have some form of detailed plan, I know what you’re thinking we all plan our storytelling ideas, hmm yes but the key is detailed.  Before I even write “Chapter One” at the top of my blank page  when I have a novel or short story idea I do the following:

  1. A detailed mini synopsis of EVERY chapter.
  2. A detailed character profile for EVERY character, especially those who take centre stage.
  3. Drum up two possible endings for the story.
  4. Drum up a few shockers/surprises/ OMG I never saw that coming twists. (this step depends on the genre I’m writing. I do this for romantic suspense and thriller a lot).

Every writer finds their own way and their own voice, but for me in order to avoid that “shit what do I write now?” Feeling, or find myself at a dead end with my story, I have a full idea of how the story will play out in the start, middle and end,  and an idea of what will happen in EVERY chapter for EVERY character. It’s quite a detailed plan. This is step #1 this way when I sit down to write I know what direction I’m going in, just from glancing at my synopsis of where I am with writing. Now don’t get me wrong my detailed chapter synopsis is not set in stone, when I wrote A Stranger in France  for one of my characters a scene I wrote  just came to me that very night I was writing. It was a creative  thought on the spot and it tied in with the story (lucky), so I went off the track I set out on. Another thing I find about this approach is it helps me to  think about possible word count, as I know what will take place in each chapter before I even write it and how long  certain scenes may play out for.

#2 is just a personal thing, many writers have an idea in their head of who their characters are, but I’m a little OCD. Mainly as I enjoy writing from first person, and try to make my characters pop on the page. (Which can be  a challenge as you need to become that character and react to situations as they would, not yourself). Due to my personal writing style, I like to sometimes use I NEED  to know my character’s view points, attitudes, likes and dislikes to a T,so I can be consistent when I am writing their POV. But generally I’d say this is good practice.

#3 this is my plan B, in case I decide to move off my detailed chapter plan, just back up! But it also helps me to move in the right direction when writing, to know what to write and when so I don’t experience writer’s block.

#4 I love this part! And it fits with genre I write in and my personal enjoyment of writing. You can’t have a romantic suspense, without the suspense or even a little surprise. You can’t have a thriller without some kind of thrill 🙂 in my humble personal opinion. If I am honest, this is the most enjoyable part as a writer for me, I love building up a little roller coaster to keep the pages turning. 

With  two out of the three of my published works and my current novel I’m writing now I followed my natural “blue print”, of how I  personally avoid writer’s block. I managed to finish a 90,000 odd word novel and 20,000 odd  word novella. And hopefully I’ll finish what I’m working on now as a guess this maybe about 60,000-70,000 words. The only time I went off track was when I wrote the short story for Code Redhead – A Serial Novel with twelve other authors … what do you think happened? Yep I got writer’s block LOL. I had my idea based on the writing prompt we were given but no real direction or plan, I was less organised and it took me a lot longer to get into my flow. Why did I not stick to what works? I think, looking back it was because the authors featured in Code Redhead- A Serial Novel only had 14,000 words as a limit for their story- teeny tiny ! So I thought to myself, this will be a breeze. But I was wrong,  it was a learning curve for me as a writer. Shorter word count (when it comes to writing for a novel not a blog) means  nothing. I learned in some ways it can be more of a challenge, to write an engaging story with a tiny word count  you need to  focus on the story developing plus balance character development etc.  Also when I saw the cover for the book, I went back to the drawing board, originally my story was a nice sweet feel good romance I called it “From London with Love” originally, but the cover of the book did not scream sensible shoes and a nice cardigan when I saw it LOL. No, to me the writing prompt my publisher gave us all, and the cover said to me “Kim, pull out something a little more stilettos and  a little black dress for your main character.” So that’s what I did, but not as quick as I would have liked, I did get writer’s block in the traditional sense for the first time! But I over came it and the story changed direction and the characters took on a new direction … eventually.

What did I learn from this? Stick to my natural blue print that helps to avoid writer’s block. Even if you change the story line last moment, at least you have a detailed idea of where you were originally going before hand and can adapt it,  rather than  just doing what you love …  writing, a little blindly and ending up blocked, pressed for time and like argh! Second no matter the word limit 14,000 or 140,000 you need a plan.

So the moral is, ( for me on my journey to published author) that I want to share with you is plan your direction, plan your character’s direction, and then plan some more! Then write… like no one is looking and enjoy feeling stress free and writer’s block free.

 

 

Writing Prompt: Write About A Book That Affected You – Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn #amwriting #author #inspiration

Another writing prompt from the random situation generator I found on line, to spark writing creativity. There were a few  random situation prompts,  this afternoon that caught my eye- being a writer this one stuck out. I’d love to share why I love this particular book , (Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn), and how it helped me make some hard decisions as a writer and now author.

Where do I start with this book? Have you read it? If not you really should. If you’ve seen the movie the book is miles better, even though the movie is also good. A few of the things I admire about this book is firstly the genre, (psychological) thriller, the characters, the actual story line’s nuts a bolts (human relationships) and the way Gillian wrote the book. She did something that a lot of writers/authors (not me) shy from- she wrote in the first person. Some say, that this is a sign of amateur writing, I completely disagree and fight this point tooth and nail … I think if you can do it and do it well – get on with it. From experience it is a challenge to do this, if you write in the suspenseful type genres. Do y’all know what it takes to write in first person well enough for it to have the right impact on readers ? A hell of a lot! Gillian did a fantastic job, I can’t praise her highly enough. You have to react to situations like the character, not how you personally would and be consistent- challenging not easy.

When I read Gone Girl, I was there, totally engrossed, mouth open. I felt like I was right there with the main (crazy ass) female character, Amy dressed in black with my hat low, ready to commit the crimes she did in the book, along side her. I saw, felt, heard, tasted, smelt and experienced everything she did in all the (unthinkable) acts of madness Gillian made this character do, in this brilliant suspenseful thriller. In my (humble) opinion the story would not have had the same impact on me as a reader, if it she  wrote in third person.

Apart from the choice of  how Gillian decided to tell the story, through her characters as opposed to third person as the author.  And the brilliant ( unpredictable) twists and turns, the character development was spot on! From chapter one, I sensed Amy was a nut job I never liked her as a person, she was out of this world crazy, but guess what I was not about to put that book down. In my view Gillian created a villain and unusually a female villain- a total bitch I hated, but she ( Amy)  made me want to read right to the last page. To do that as a writer I think is something to be  very proud of.  Nice job Gillian.

How this author’s book helped with my own tough decision making as a writer is also quite important.  Firstly, I honestly believe that when one has a story-line knocking between their ears, the story will tell YOU how you write it eg suspenseful,  scary, horror, thrill, third person, first person whatever. That’s been my experience, while writing two books and now on my third. A Stranger in France (my first book) the story-line and characters I had in mind told me three things 1. suspense is the theme and overall feeling of the story 2. Kim you have to write first person if you want readers to feel and experience, what each of these characters go through, in the twists and turns you have in mind, third person won’t work.  What reading Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl did  for me personally as a writer is  to allow me to  say f*ck it! I don’t care what anyone says about writing first person. I am in the driver’s seat I am the writer damn it I’m going against the “norm” or what is considered as the usual approach for my genre ( romance),  I’m writing in first person, and I’ll do it  as well as I can !  To be honest if an editor or publisher said to me “Kim write this  ( book) in third person” I would have said no and self published, that’s how strongly I felt about it and how much I enjoy first person writing- becoming the characters as I write. So Thank you Gillian! You gave me some balls  that I will carry with me for life as a writer, after seeing an example of perfect first person writing, with excellent character development. I’d do it all again …  in fact I did 🙂   and I plan on writing more stories maybe in first person, using excellent character development. Thanks Gillian!