This is to say a quick hello to everyone; I am more than aware that I have posted less frequently than usual. You are not forgotten, rather I am working hard to finish my first draft. Along the way I ran into a couple of obstacles.
As I have written my draft across two various platforms and programs – my iPad and Scrivener on the computer – I realised a while ago that the speech marks and apostrophes were not synced. In other words I had two variations across my whole document.
Last week I bit the bullet and began rectifying the problem. Hence hours of work going through each chapter, finding and amending each and every apostrophe and speech mark – I never knew my characters were so chatty! Listening to music I have managed to make this mostly a painless task but the work accrued as in the process I started to re-read and found other errors – of course.
Some of spacing, some basic grammar and two words flew out at me like red flags! ‘Now’ and ‘then’ must have appeared on every page as I wrote quickly, with the ideas and words flowing freely. Trying to place myself in the story I obviously decided to do so literally, ‘now’ scattered like petals, liberally falling across the draft. On re-reading instead of immediacy it was clunky and became an annoying intrusion across the narrative. Out it went – along with ‘then’. Many other changes also followed.
I’m sure this is not the way to do it! It’s not neat, seamless re-writing. It’s a constant revision, some chapters more than three times, others still on their first real draft. It’s my way of muddling towards the end.
The additional chapters have mostly been written apart from the all important finale. Somehow I’ve managed to delay that – the premise is firmly in my head, the way it’s going played out endlessly.
Is this delay psychological? Once written will that be it? Finished for round one (or two, or three in some cases!)? My major goal of actually writing a novel achieved?
No more procrastinating. Next week I’m buckling down, facing my fears, continuing with the apostrophes, finishing the final chapter.
My apologies for a short absence – with my next post it might be time to pop those champagne corks and have a celebratory drink – before the real hard work begins. I’m under no illusions!
‘She wasn’t ready to return home just yet, her peace and contentment carrying her down to the harbour, to the boats. Even from here she heard the familiar orchestra of the mast riggings beating against the wooden masts; the various pitches in sound rising to a crescendo with each new gust of warm summer breeze. She stood with her bare feet perched up to the edge of the wooden boards, gazing out to sea, closing her eyes, soaking in the contentment of the perfect day.’
From ‘An Island Girl’
© Annika Perry
49 thoughts on “APOSTROPHES, SPEECH MARKS AND NOW!”
I hope that your edits are going smoothly dear Annika. I know this feeling so well as you know, and it is so frustrating when you think you’re ready to do a read through and then find errors you weren’t expecting. I felt elated and exhausted when I finished my first draft in September. I am at last back to the rewrites that I worked on until early December and I found it so hard after such a long gap. I am only just now getting back into the swing of things. I’m finding that my earlier work from the early chapters need to be totally rewritten. I had far too many ‘thens’ too. I have a weird, messy system but it’s the only one that works for me, I hope anyway. I am thinking of you and very much looking forward to your celebratory post which I know won’t be too far away. Keep at it, not long now, and we’ll pop that cork. And if your book is anything to go by just from the excerpt at the end (and I love the beautiful photo), then I can’t wait to read it. I grew up going on holiday on the Norfolk Broads and the ‘…orchestra of the mast riggings beating against the wooden masts…’ is one of my happiest, most enduring memories. Just beautiful your writing Annika… ❤ xxx
Bless you, Sherri, you’ve made my day!!! 😀 I’m grinning away and chuffed to bits you enjoyed the excerpt and you’re right, my next post is not too far away – keep your eyes peeled! Your ‘weird, messy system’ sounds like a great one if it works for you and rather similar to mine. Odd how those words that stand out like red flags pepper the script – I’m seeing new ones already. Grrr… I admire you for going back to your book after a long break and appreciate that it is really tough. Well done and keep at it – you can do this! Many thanks for your warm comment. ❤️
Bless you and thank you dear Annika, and I’m keeping my eyes peeled, you bet! Have a super weekend 🙂 ❤
Whew! I’m glad I’m not the only one with editing issues. After I finished my first book (yet to publish) I found myself changing nearly everything. 🙂 How do you like Scrivener?
Jessica, I think all writers have editing issues to one degree or the other. The problems that I had were on the larger scale – and this is before I start revising or deep-editing. How did it feel to nearly change everything? Do you mean the story line? As for Scrivener I’ve found it terrific for what I am using it for – particularly the cork-board and moving chapters around and slipping between them with ease. I can highly recommend it. I know there are a zillion other features I haven’t even discovered yet and they make me slightly vary – I now have some time to try and learn even more about the program! Do you use Scrivener? If so, do you like it? Have you compiled from it?
Oh, I see. Mine is a nonfiction, and I put it away for several months then edited it. I found myself changing things that I really liked originally. It was exhausting. Too many expectations of trying to make it my absolute best work! 🙂
I haven’t used Scrivener. I heard it was detailed and a bit tricky to learn, but great as well. I’m glad to hear it works well.
Now and then can sneak in, especially when you’re struggling with timeline problems in a non-chronological story. Solution? Write a chronological story, or do an outline. Even with an outline, though, I find I can’t stop all anomalies. A character may appear that hasn’t been introduced, or is introduced in the beginning in present time, and then appears in a flashback! Another word to avoid: Suddenly. And yet not al “ly” words should be avoided. Doing that all the time can lead to some convoluted sentences. As for your example, this is not a criticism, but hard-learned by me: try to avoid the same word twice in a sentence (unless your are writing prose poetry). You have the word “mast” twice in one sentence. All you need is “rigging beating against the mast.” Also, when talking about noise or sound, you may not need to use those words. Finally, I haven’t tried Scrivener. Are you able to share Scrivener docs with others so that they can comment?
Sorry about the typo. “And yet not all “ly” words…”
Thank you for your comment and lovely to have you as a visitor on my blog.
I appreciate your feedback but I have made it clear that this is my first draft so I am fully aware that there is scope for improvement and corrections which I will be doing on my revisions of the manuscript.
As many writers know, it is never easy to showcase one’s work and perhaps I was too keen to share a snippet of my book. However, I have enjoyed the many positive comments and support I have received thus far regarding both this post and all my previous ones.
Sometimes it takes a while…
waiting for new posts 🙂
Hopefully you shouldn’t have to wait too long for a new post!😀 I’d set myself a year to complete the first(ish) draft of my book so I’ll be just over that, which I’m pleased about.
I am waiting to read it in future. All the best.
Ah, many thanks. Shouldn’t be too long until ready…just see what I do after that. Self-publishing or try traditional. So many decisions!
This reminds me of my impending WIP revision. I know I’ll have a metric ton or more of “was” and “just” to whack! Happy revisions!
Julie what surprised me was how I hadn’t noticed those ‘certain’ words re-appearing constantly in the first place! Enjoy your editing / revision. 😀
Sound like the joy of editing to me, Annika. 🙂 😀 Did you know you can use the “replace” function in Word to fix the apostrophes and quotation marks? I’ve had to do it once and it worked great (thank goodness). Those characters do get chatty, don’t they? Good luck with your editing and good for you for dedicating the time to tackle it!
Thank you so much for your comment Diana. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I didn’t realise how much (so far at least) I would enjoy the editing. Chopin playing on the computer, it’s quite relaxing! Scrivener does have the ‘find and replace’ function but for some reason it wouldn’t work on the quotation marks. No idea why not, at least this way I’m getting a much earlier look through my draft than anticipated! 😀
I haven’t tried Scrivener, Annika, though I’ve heard it’s a useful tool. I like editing too – there isn’t that first draft pressure 🙂
Your approach seems fine to me. That fact that you’re having to go over things because of the punctuation will mean you spot other errors and things which can be improved.
That is so true, Rod – it’s been satisfying ‘catching’ the other errors and also doing quite a bit of re-writing – not something I was considering doing yet as I had already gone through it once. A very ad hoc approach that seems to be working for me.
I am impressed with your calm and almost happy approach to correcting all these speech marks and apostrophes. Music does help, I grant you.
There is no right or wrong way to edit. Yours is fun and your way. Just go. Soon those champagne corks will be flying.
I am very taken with the excerpt from your book. It engages all the senses in such a vivid and serene way. Am eagerly waiting to read more.:)
Mirja, I better get ready to duck from all those champagne corks! 😀 Yes, I am very calm – so far. Watch this space in a few months time on the nth edit! It might be a very different story. Great you enjoyed the excerpt – it takes a bit of guts to put it on the post as it’s obviously something very close to me. Hopefully won’t be long until you can read some more…
I have faith in you… my bottle of champagne it ready to be opened!
Thank you! Keep it chilled! 😃
Listening to music always makes menial tasks so much nicer. Good luck, Annika! You can do this!
Thank you so much for your support, Jill. 😀 It really helps! I’ll keep listening to the music and tapping away.
Good luck with your editing – it does sem a bit of a pain though. Having read the excerpt from your book I can’t wait to read the finished article – but no pressure!
Thank you, Mike and so glad you liked the excerpt. Don’t worry – I put all the pressure on myself!😀 So far the editing has been fun and not torturous! I like improving the story and its presentation.
A couple thoughts come to mind: 1) Search-and-replace didn’t work? MS Word doesn’t always put an em dash in, rather inserts two dashes. I have to search-replace with the right long dash. . 2) I find that bitesize-chunk editing very useful. I use Autocrit to edit just so it finds spots where the writing is rough (for a variety of reasons). I go in, edit, revise, and have a nice glow of accomplishment as it sounds so much better. It seems to stick when I reread the entire book.
Thanks for the update. I love reading how other authors do their work.
Jacqui, on Scrivener it wouldn’t do auto search and replace, but I am doing auto search and replacing manually – just as well as in some places used double quotation marks etc. I have never heard of Autocrit but it must be very useful. As it is I have been re-writing chunks that sound clunky to me as I read through it – seems to be working. Slow though…Yes, I love reading the work processes of writers – learning along the way and also learning there is no right or wrong way!
“Constant revision”–I think that’s the process for many of us. 🙂 Good luck!
Ah, thank you Carrie, I needed a phrase for my manic activity! 😀 Just one question – is there a point I know when to stop?? Many thanks for the good luck wishes.
At some point we have to say we’re finished or we could be adding and deleting commas forever!
When I was about eight years old, our teacher advised us to avoid “and” and “got”. He wrote the two words on pieces of paper, placed them in a tobacco tin, and we buried it at the edge of the school grounds. I’ve kept his advice in mind; I wonder if the words are still buried there?
What a great teacher! This lesson must be one that the whole class remember to this day – you included. Instead of just repeating the same mantra to everyone, he made it so visual, physical, real. I feel as if I were there and need to look through my book at all my ‘ands’ and (!!!) amend accordingly. Hopefully there shouldn’t be too many ‘gots’.
Good luck with your editing! I’ve not long been writing my own novel and it’s still very much in the beginning stages. It is both affirming and daunting to read about your efforts at the other end of the tight-rope, as it were, and I’ll look forward to hearing your excitement once it’s all done! Thanks for sharing and thanks for providing a ray of hope for other would-be writers! ☺
Thank you, Adam. I still feel I have such a long way to go but remember well reading blogs from others who had just finished their first/second book and it seemed impossible when I just started on mine. However, the time has gone so quick and I have a full draft so near completion. Your words mean a lot to me and I so believe that sharing, encouraging and inspiring each other here on wordpress is one of the most important components. Good luck with your own novel; I’ve read some of your writings – you can do this! As for my screams of excitement when I’ve finished – you won’t miss them! I’ll post them loud and clear. Thank you for you lovely comment.😀
I agree, and that’s what I’m finding so wonderful about WordPress: the amount of sharing and encouragement amongst writers and readers is incredible.
Fantastic, I’ll eagerly await your day of triumph! 😄
Editing is very time consuming. I am sure I’m spending more time editing than writing the draft.
I hadn’t realised how much time this would take I must admit! So far I see it as a challenge which I enjoy; spotting errors, correcting sentences, re-writing to improve the story. May that positive spirit continue to rule!
Me too! I’ve been busy editing Book 1 (I hope Krystallos will be a series,) so I’m only blogging at weekends, during the week I’ve been editing my manuscript, and I’ve written a prologue. I now feel that at last I’m getting somewhere, and hopefully soon it will be time to look into self publishing, getting some cover art done. Quite a daunting thought but I’m getting there.
How exciting, Marje! 😀 Did you foresee Krystallos as a series from the start? I had only one book in mind for mine but that has easily morphed into what could be one more book or even two. Do you have any idea where you will get cover art done? I have seen some suggestions on WP but haven’t decided anything yet. Congratulations on being so close to self-publishing – a massive achievement.
Thank you Annika. I did have Krystallos in mind as a series early on. I haven’t quite decided about cover art yet, I’m thinking of asking a couple of friends who are artistically inclined if they can help me….. or perhaps have a go at designing it myself using my photography as a template.
I wondered about trying to do it myself as well. You have such brilliant photographs, so maybe that is the way for you to go at least for the start. See what the feedback is and take it from there.
Thank you Annika. I might do a post on my blog at some point to see what feedback I get… perhaps a choose the best cover type thing? I’ve seen other bloggers doing a similar thing. Nicholas Rossis comes to mind. http://nicholasrossis.me. He’s a lovely supportive blogger to follow. Cover art is definitely one of the next things on my priority list to do…
At some point of revisions, we have to decide that we are finished and need to publish. Editing is tedious and sometimes odious. However, the finished product is better for our attention to details. I loved the excerpt from Island Girl along with the photo. Sounds are as important as sights and sometimes the smells. The writing process is exciting as we let those words come out freely and without revisions at first. Happy writing to you.
Thank you so much, Mary Ann and I’m chuffed to bits that you liked the excerpt so much. Throughout I’ve tried to bring all the senses into play in my writing, at times worrying I was overdoing it – your comment has allayed my fears. Writing this book has been extremely exciting, very emotional. As I did the initial story I had no idea of all the spellings, grammar errors, but I think it was better that way – to get the story down. The editing is a fun challenge I feel (so far, anyway) and definitely so necessary – I want it to be as flawless as possible. Warmest wishes to you.
Writing is the whole parcel: get it down, edit, edit and more edits until finally it is done – or we are in the process. 🙂 Cheers back to you and continued happy writing adventures at your end of the pond.