Plotting With ‘Saves the Cat’ & Editing…

WebsiteWUAfter my last post despairing about having written 11 projects and the cost of editing all of these, I was recommended an editor who turned out to be reasonably priced. So it’s not all doom and gloom after all. I haven’t booked anything in yet, but due to submit a project for her to work on in May, and I have another project ready for her if she can fit that in too. Considering the cost of this it should be manageable over the next year to get all of them done. That’s if she doesn’t get sick of Darkwood in that time. Strangely, the pandemic has kind of helped out my finances to, as it put a stop to all the home improvements we were going to do–plus it’s hard to spend much in this situation!

A purchase I got in just before the UK went into lock down was a couple of books on writing. ‘Saves the Cat Writes a Novel’ and ‘Anatomy of Story’. Both had a lot of positive reviews and I’ve seen recommended. ‘Saves the Cat’ interested me–not because it mentions ‘cat’–as it has a 15 point ‘beat sheet’ for writing a good novel. I really enjoyed the 7 point writing plan and used that with the majority of my last run of stories within ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’.

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New Covers & a Self-Publishing Problem…

WebsiteWUAfter lots of obsessive tweaking, wrestling with my perfectionism, and having to accept the limits of my budget, software and skills, I have finalised the new covers for my four horror novels. After trawling fonts for hours on end I ended up keeping the fonts I started with. But, I managed a kind of glow on the title which I quite like. It does make it look a little blurry looking as a thumbnail, but the white font consistent across all the covers now, should hopefully make the text stand out for each of them. I really like the new cover for ‘The Room’. A bit more engaging than just the picture of a door I had before. I wanted to have several dogs for ‘The Pack’, but also wanted the title in the jaws of a dog, so had to settle on one killer dog to maintain the in-your-face size I wanted for the title. ‘Ivory’ has the same image as before, and I have just redone the cover for ‘Harvest’ with a similar composition. The covers are all live over on Kindle now, and look good as thumbnails, so mission successful in my mind.

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Sneak Peek at New Horror Covers for 2020…

WebsiteWUWith a holiday and some decorating I didn’t have as much time for the next editing project of ‘The Dakrwood Mysteries’, so I decided to focus on the new covers for my four horror novels.

I couldn’t do much better than the image for ‘Ivory’, and was happy with the composition for ‘Harvest’; so just used new sources. ‘The Room’ and ‘The Pack’ are whole new covers.

I’m not sure about the font for my name at the moment, and the cover of ‘Harvest’ needs some more work, but this is where I am so far… some feedback would be great!

 

Darkwood Editing & Cover Redesign…

WebsiteWUEditing

I have revisited seven first drafts of ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’ for a re-read and edit and having the distance between writing them and reading them has certainly helped spot silly errors and areas for improvement. I also found a whole section of dialogue with no framing text around it… so I have no idea what happened there *sassy double thumbs up*. I have also had some different ideas about one tale to broaden the threat within it, so I will be adding some content to it to up the stakes. I have four more to read through, and then I’ll be having others do a read through, and then I will be paying for an editor.

Cover Redesign

I shared a sneak peek of the new cover design for ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’ and I have now revisited it and made some improvements… they are only minor, but made a difference. I have added shadows the Darkwood to better match her with Hobbs, and given her added some definition to make her arm and hand stand out, and added some decoration to her hat. I think I have the cover design I like…

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Writing in 2020…

WebsiteWUHappy New Year! I don’t do new year’s resolutions but I am a planner. 2019 was finishing up the next run of ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’. Of course, in writing, ‘finishing’ is never quite as final as the word implies. I have 11 first drafts finished, and this plan to revisit them now that there is some distance between my writing them, and editing them. Editing. *shudder*. I hate editing.

I think it was a good idea to just write all the Darkwood Msyteries in the next run, and go back to them after some time, as it should make editing I hate editing easier to see past the word blindness I get for recent work so I can spot silly mistakes–wrong words, missing words, repetition–but there is also that anxiety about reopening a file for editing I hate editing that hasn’t been worked on for nine or ten months. Will it be shit? There’s a bit of that ‘what’s in the box?’ Seven moment in opening a file. Please let there be a visceral severed head of Gwyneth Paltrow and not some awful prose…


Aside from getting a second run of ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’ out there, I will be relaunching the first run, with a new story slotted in to round the count up to 10 tales. A number I’m going to aim at for each run of stories. There will be new covers, and I’m going to try and go as broad as I can with availability, and I’m hoping to get the omnibus into print format.

I’m planning new covers for my four contemporary horror novels, and print versions of those too.

Most exciting of all for me, is that I am going to start planning and start a new contemporary horror. The next novel was intended to be ‘Sigils’, a story about people marked by mysterious symbols which imbue them with a supernatural ability unique to them–but, I want to be careful not to make it too fantasy, magicky, superhero feeling, as I want to make sure it stays firmly rooted in horror. I really want my next novel to be horror, so I’m skipping over that and into writing ‘X’, that’s a working title. I like the title at the moment, as the novel is about a guy with a scary ex, and how on a cabin retreat they are one by one marked with an ‘x’ for… well, I better not say. But, I think I will probably go with another title. We’ll see. It will be a ‘don’t go in the woods’ folk lore type tale, which I pretty much have sketched out from beginning to end in my head.

But first… Editing. Have I mentioned I hate editing… Oh, yes… I believe I have.

Editing & Formatting

New Look for ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’, & the End of My First Kindle Countdown Sale…

WebsiteWUNew Look for ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’…

Finishing up on the last in my latest run of ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’, I have taken a break from writing to rethink the covers for the series. For anyone who has stuck around long enough, you will have seen the covers change four or five times. Starting from the ugly to the acceptable. I will admit, I was daunted at having to get another 11 covers done. While I can have my insecurities about writing, I know one thing with a certainty–I am not an artist. And, after doing 2 or 3 new ‘art’ elements for the covers I decided that my stories deserve better than what I can produce with pen and paper. So, for each individual story I have opted for photo elements, and I am dropping individual art elements for each story–only the number and title of the story will change. The collections will remain as the leather look with just a few tweaks as I do like that classic style.

I spent hours trawling shutterstock for images. People who tag these images have a very loose interpretation of Victorian. Regency isn’t Victorian. Images ranged from original period, to Gothic romance cover, to cyberpunk, to… well, ‘sexy’ Victorian… There has always been one image I have fancied as Darkwood, and ended up just going for that one in the end. What I have always liked about is that her hat hides much of her face, so the reader can keep her looking just how they think she looks. That set me the task of finding a male with a similar hat over face style. I ended up having to do a bit of cutting and pasting for Hobbs, and both had to be recoloured, but I was pleased with how they turned out. I wanted some kind of detailed background, and trawling images of Victorian London and fog, I ended up just lifting a smoky element I use in my banner. That was handy. So… here is what the standard cover will look like:

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