BookReview ~ The Introvert by Michael Paul Michaud #books #bookreview

A vacuum salesman by day, the introvert lives a quiet life alone with his dog until a work relationship and a dark secret from his past team up to create an uncomfortable imbalance in his otherwise ordered life, one that soon finds him squarely at the center of a murder investigation. With his thoughts continually urging him to make people “red and open” and to “achieve it” with his girlfriend Donna, what follows is a sometimes brutal, oftentimes hilarious, and absurdist account of the life of one very anti-social and unexpected anti-hero.

Guest Review ~ by Lee 

I wasn’t clear how to even categorise this book. It’s a fairly quick read and at the outset I had a pretty low opinion of it. The title is misleading and that I think threw me. My view was that this is a book written by an extravert trying to portray what it’s like to be an introvert. I still feel that to a degree. The writing is a bit clumsy in places.

However, the main character isn’t an introvert really or maybe I’m just offended. He’s more high functioning aspergers.

I’ve read comparisons to ‘The Curious Incident of the dog in the nighttime’, but it has little in common with that and more in common with ‘American Psycho’.

If you find it slow, stick with it. It improves.

My rating: Three Stars!

 

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Writing Tips – How to self-edit a book #amwriting #editing #books #writingtips

While nothing can replace an editor, there is certainly a lot you can do yourself before it reaches a professional’s hands to get your work into shape.

And your beta readers will thank you!

I’m definitely not claiming that this is the perfect way to self-edit, nor the only way! But this is what works for me.

What’s wrong with just reading it?

I am brilliant at spotting typos and editing errors in other people’s work.

I am utterly useless at spotting them in my own!

I do know a number of ‘lucky’ individuals who can spot what’s wrong in their own work…but this is not me. Once I have submerged myself in my story, I am pretty much blinded to a myriad of problems from that awkward sentence to that typo to using the wrong word!

So, I have an editing routine, and that forces me to explore my work in a way that brings the issues to the surface.

What tools do I use?

Word: I use Scrivener for writing, but I still copy and paste the manuscript into word between each round of editing.

Why do I like Word? Because Word still picks up a good number of simple defects, and if you are anything like me, you only need to look at a sentence to introduce a typo.

And it takes no more than 15-30 mins to check the whole manuscript!

Hemingway: Simple to use and cheap! I bought the desktop version, but you can use it on-line for free.

Why do I like Hemingway? It’s great for picking up passive voice, adverbs, and unnecessary words. A quick pass through Hemingway a chapter at a time clears out a lot of garbage from my work.

Grammarly: Simple to use, but with costs (monthly / quarterly / yearly subscription).

Why do I like Grammarly? It picks up an interesting set of errors that complements the Hemingway findings. For example word choice / better word pair / wrong word. I have also found it to be reasonable  on grammar. I will do a more in-depth review of Grammarly in another blog post. It’s excellent for that first draft!

The sequence of editing.

The high-level activities

  • Read the whole manuscript looking for plot holes (optional)
  • Word
  • The spreadsheet – list of words and phrases that are my personal weak spots
  • Hemingway
  • Grammarly
  • Read and correct a chapter at a time
  • Listen
  • Read the whole manuscript

Let’s get into the details…

I have managed to stop myself editing-as-I-go, which means the chapters can be in a pretty grim state when I start editing.

There is a temptation to jump into reading at this point. But again, I have found it more effective to get on with my editing routine. Things that are missing in the overall plot do still become apparent even without doing a whole read, BUT, I’m going to put it as an optional here as long as the first read doesn’t turn into a random editing session.

1. (Optional) Read the whole book looking for plot holes. No editing yet!

2. Search for the words and phrases on my spreadsheet. So what is my mysterious spreadsheet you might be wondering. Well, it’s a list of words and phrases I have noted to search for in my work.

For example crutch words like ‘just’.

There are over 200 different words and phrases I look for!

It’s not always a seek and destroy, some of the words or phrases just lend themselves to a poorly written sentence. Whenever I find them I can reassess that sentence and tighten it up. I’ll give you a couple more of my examples, however, I would suggest that any such ‘seek’ list is a personal list a writer builds up over time in relation to their own writing style and their own weak spots when drafting

  • Nodding, shaking head and other visuals. We all have our favourites, and most real people nod far less than you realize. Do a bit of people watching, you will be surprised!
  • Feel, feeling, felt – what is it they are feeling and is there a stronger word choice that will cover this (he felt sorry for them = he pitied them). Some of these may also indicate telling, such as ‘he looked angry’. I also search for ‘look, looked, looking’!

3. Put the whole manuscript through Word. By the time I have finish hacking the sentences about it’s usually in a bit of a state and a quick 30 mins to run it through word again will help.

4. Hemingway: Chapter at a time. Looking for passive voice, unnecessary words, adverbs.

5. Grammarly: Chapter at a time. Looking for passive voice, grammar, better words, wrong words etc.

6. Word again! Because I have an amazing ability to reintroduce spaces or typos!

7. Listen using text to speech: OMG this is the absolute best for spotting those sneaky missing words or even wrong words where autocorrect has jumped in.

8. Read a chapter at a time. REPEATEDLY. And keep adjusting those awkward sentences. Until I am 90% happy. (I say 90% because otherwise I would never finish!)

  • I also check for unnecessary backstory at this point…if in doubt hack it out!

9. Word again!

10. Text to speech again!

Done!

Now I can read the whole book from start to finish: By this point most (but certainly not all) errors will have gone such that I can at least read it with a level of flow. If you are anything like me there are many more iterations of reading.

And then you send it out to Beta readers.

And then you change it!

And then you edit all over again!

I do hope you found some of this useful! Happy editing 🙂

If you want to try Hemingway or Grammarly, here are the links:

BookReview ~ Room 119 by TF Lince #books #goodreads #bookreview @Room119TFLince

Room 119 High-flying trader Dean Harrison has it all – the London penthouse apartment; the fast car; the beautiful wife. But when the threads of Dean’s life start to unravel, they do so with alarming speed.

Following the advice of a frail stranger, Dean sets off for Welnetham Hall Hotel and is plunged into the mysterious world of Room 119 – a world where nothing makes sense. How does everyone in the hotel know his name? Why does he travel there on a train line that shut down over fifty years ago? And who is the sinister man in black who pursues him wherever he goes?

As he gradually pieces together the puzzle of Welnetham Hall, Dean is forced to re-evaluate his life and realises that nothing is more important to him than his wife and daughter. Desperate to get back to them, he vows he would lay down his life for the people he loves.

It’s a promise he may have to keep.

Guest Review ~ by Lee 

What a ride! I nearly put this book down as my first genuine DNF. I just thought the initial part of the story was too ‘unreal’ and it irritated me. Yes, fiction, unreal, blah blah. But it was worth persisting. The story is like a blend of Ghost of Christmas Past, Life on Mars (TV) and Wall Street!

It’s a great story with some great feel-good moments. It put me through all of my emotions and at one point I was ‘Oh no, you’re kidding’.

The characters are engaging, the writing is ‘easy reading’, but maybe lacks some sophistication. However, it is the author’s first book and from his ‘foreword’ he only started writing in 2017.

I formed an early opinion as I often do and considered this a 3/5, then as I progressed I gave it 4/5, then ultimately because I enjoyed the tale so much a lenient 5/5.

Good stuff!

My rating: Five Stars!

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What it feels like to write a book #writing #writerslife #amwriting

How I feel when I start

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How I feel when I finish my first draft

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How I feel when I read my first draft

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How I feel when I start editing

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How I feel when I finish editing

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How I feel when I ask someone to read it

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Why I believe in setting new year’s goals #writing #amwriting

It’s been nearly four years now since I started blogging, and exactly four years since I set myself a goal to write a book. With this anniversary in mind, I thought I would share my own reason why I believe in setting new year’s goals. I still have a long way to go in my writing journey, but every year spent working toward my writing dream is a year well spent.

I just wished I had started working toward it sooner 🙂

You don’t have to set a goal on the 1st January, whenever you set that goal is the right time. But sometimes a new year provides an opportunity for us to assess where we are and where we want to be.

It can also be the catalyst for us to embrace change, set a new direction, and follow our dreams.

If you have read my about page, some of this will be familiar…

Why I believe in setting New Year’s goals…

I have never been one for new years resolutions, for making plans, or setting goals, or any of those things that most people do every year on the 1st January.

I don’t do diets – too boring.

I don’t want to run a marathon – too hard, jump out of a plane – too scary, or to ‘find myself’ in Tibet.

I have always been at heart a bit of a drifter, and a lot of a procrastinator, and yet at the same time I have never let go of my dream to publish a book.

I spend anywhere up to 20 hours a week working toward this dream and have done so for nearly 20 years. For far too many of those years I never actually committed to converting that dream into a reality…I am the living embodiment of George McFly out of back to the future.

On 1st January 2013, I watched the ball drop in Times Square, and like every other year I never set myself a goal.

The 1st January 2014 was a little quieter, and I had a little more time to reflect. This time, everything changed because I set myself a goal – just one – to publish a book.

It took me a lot longer to get there than I ever expected, but I’m always going to look back on that day and be thankful and grateful that I changed my mindset.

Happy reading and writing and dream chasing in 2018!