A one-off post featuring (almost) shameless vote wrangling

Yes, you’re right: this post is basically an excuse to use the verb “wrangle” in a title 🙂

However, it’s also to say “yay!” because, wonder of wonders, I’m nominated for a Bloggers Bash Award!

2nd annual bloggers bash awards 2016

I’m nominated in the Best Pal Blog Award category, the criteria for which is: Which blogger do you want to go to the pub with? Or maybe have dinner with? Who never fails to reply to comments, and has thoughtful things to say. Maybe they encourage the community through weekly challenges or blog parties. Who wouldn’t the blogging world be the same without?

This is so lovely. I’m thoroughly delighted to be nominated. *cue happy dance*

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Visit to Coombe Abbey Country Park and a quick writing update

Coombe Abbey hotel and Coombe Abbey Country Park near Coventry 3

If you follow my ramblings, you’ll know I recently sent the first 3 chapters of my book, Art and Soul, to an editor. His feedback lead to me deciding to cut chapters 1 and 2 and do a whole other bunch of edits (more about all this here).

I retreated to the writing cave and the edits are done! I sent the “new” first three chapters to the literary agent who had asked to see them (*biting nails until I hear back*). I also sent the whole manuscript to the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writer’s Scheme (*biting stubs of nails until I hear back*).

Hopefully the agent will want to see the rest of the MS and I’ll get positive feedback from my RNA reader.

In the meantime, after stepping out from the writing cave and blinking in the sunlight… We went to visit Coombe Abbey and Coombe Country Park, which are near Coventry and a short drive from us.

Coombe Abbey hotel and Coombe Country Park near Coventry 1

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7-7-7 Writing Challenge

777 Writing challenge featured image

The 7-7-7 challenge encourages writers to go to the seventh line on page seven of their work in progress (WIP) and share the next seven lines.

The lovely KJ Chapman and Mollie both nominated me for this challenge and I’ve been typically rubbish at getting round to it. I’m sorry 😦 They are both wonderful writers and people, so please check out their blogs!

In very exciting news, KJ is publishing the second book in her EVO Nation series – EVO Shift – on March 1st. More about that here.

I’ve cheated and taken what were nine lines (they come out at more than that in the format they’re in below) from page seven of my current WIP which is my second, as yet untitled, novel. More contemporary women’s fiction. Some context: our heroine, Fran, is reluctantly helping a young man find a book in the university library.

777 challenge snippet from Plan for the Worst by Claire Huston

 

As is always the way, I’m not convinced by my use of commas here. Hey ho, it’ll probably all get cut before the book’s finished 😉

I’ve got round to this so so late, I won’t tag anyone because I’m sure everyone’s already been tagged. However, if you’re reading this and would like to do the 777 Challenge, please go ahead and let me know so I can check out your post!


Claire Huston / Art and Soul

 

 

Exciting writing times and why I may be absent for a while…

Exciting developments, my friends!

Excited gif

 

But first, the story so far. Skip this if you’re up to date on my writing-related wafflings…

I’ve written a book (see Art and Soul for more about that). I’ve been sending the first three chapters to literary agents, but haven’t been getting anywhere. I recently sent it to an editor and he suggested deleting chapters 1 and 2 and starting with chapter 3. As a result, I’m currently staring at a huge pile of edits.

And now back to the exciting news!

Having thought I hadn’t made the cut (and been rather disappointed), last week I was beyond delighted to receive an invitation to join the Romantic Novelist Association‘s New Writer’s Scheme. The Scheme allows unpublished novelists writing in the romance genre to submit their manuscript to an existing RNA member for critique. You also get to take part in all RNA activities and events.

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Editing your novel. My experience of getting professional feedback

To date, I’ve submitted the first 3 chapters of my first novel, Art and Soul, to 23 literary agents to no avail.

So, before continuing with submissions, I decided it was time to ask a professional editor to look at those first three chapters and give me critical feedback.

I researched my options, selected my editor, sent off my first 3 chapters and synopsis, and waited for their report with a mixture of excitement and dread.

Editor writing cartoon

The good

I paid for critical and I got it. However, for the sake of my own self-esteem I must keep repeating an opening comment: “on the whole” I write well. That’s a relief. I shouldn’t chuck it all in just yet then. 🙂

The improveable

There were bits and bobs I won’t bore you with, because the headline, Dear Reader, was tremendous: cut chapters 1 and 2 and start with chapter 3.
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Editing your own writing: identifying your errors and bad habits

Support group for writers editing cartoon

Back in December, I wrote a post asking whether you can ever really finish editing a piece of your own writing. I talked about how I’d recently re-read my entire novel after a six-month break and been surprised by how much I wanted and needed to change.

In this post, I thought I’d share some of my editorial findings and pet problems. All punctuated by some good cartoons, of course 🙂

Peanuts Snoopy Editing and writing cartoon

One of my most common editing notes was “fix flow”, which makes it sound as though I need a plumber rather than an editor! These were places in the story where I felt the connection between sentences or paragraphs was too sudden or jarring and needed smoothing; as if reading were like climbing down a ladder and suddenly a rung was missing. I blame these absent rungs on a previous round of harsh word-cutting prior to submitting to literary agents. From “internet wisdom” I became convinced that if my MS was over 90,000 words I had no hope of anyone asking to read it. And so I cut as many words as I could, leaving things a little too bare in places. However, now it seems I’ll be self-publishing, the book can be as long as I damn well think it needs to be! So the words are going back in (you can’t stop me, mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha… you get the idea).

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Help! I’m now on Facebook and Pinterest!

I finally did it. I created a Facebook author/blog page! I even figured out how to put the widget in my right sidebar here on the blog, although at time of publishing this it still wasn’t showing up properly in Firefox (although Chrome is fine… weird) and I don’t that’s something you see if you’re viewing the blog on your phone… But hey, I still managed it! 🙂

Claire Huston author Facebook page and pinterest

I’m still working out what I’m doing with it, but I’m getting there. In the meantime, if any of you would be kind enough to drop by and “Like” my Facebook page I would really appreciate it. It’s a bit lonely over there at the moment… *tumbleweed rolls past as the wind howls*.

If you have a Facebook page, please leave me a link in the comments below so I can return the favour 🙂

Also, if any of you have any Facebook wisdom/insight of the “if only I’d known this when I started using Facebook” kind, I’d really appreciate you sharing it with me! Are there any groups I should join, for example?

Pinterest Claire Huston book covers board

And as if that weren’t enough, I finally got onto Pinterest too. So far I only have a few boards, but it would be nice to have some friends on there. If you have an account, please let me know in the comments below so I can find and follow you 🙂

You’ll see I also put together a little bookish social media graphic to put at the bottom of my posts. Clicking on the appropriate button will take you to my pages on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest. Looking forward to “seeing” you there. If I’m not yet your friend on Goodreads or Twitter, leave me the links for those too so I can put that right!


Claire Huston / Art and Soul

New pages to make my blog easier to navigate

Holidays are a good time for some blog housekeeping (cue brilliant comic from Fowl Language Comics…)

Christmas clean up from Fowl Language Comics

I’ve recently created a few blog pages to keep my blog content organized and make posts easy for visitors to find (I hope!).

Now under Sweet’s Cakes on the top menu (see screen-grab below) you’ll find:

  • A new Recipes Index. I’ve listed all my recipes in alphabetical order under headings such “Cakes” and “Biscuits/Cookies”. Creating this page was also a great excuse to use this cute cupcake clipart:Cupcakes images cartoon for blog
  • Baking. The archive of all my baking posts, appearing in reverse chronological order.

Screengrab of new Art and Soul recipe index page cakes muffins brownies biscuits cookies and desserts with links

And then under Reading (see screen-grab below):

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One Lovely Blog Award

One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you to Deanna at a novel glimpse, Clare over at Dual reads and T.K. Lawrence at Read It or Not Reviews for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award. Please visit their blogs for great book reviews and recommendations.


The Rules:

  • You must thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  • You must list the rules and display the award.
  • You must add 7 facts about yourself.
  • You must nominate 15 other bloggers and comment on one of their posts to let them know they have been nominated.

I know I was nominated three times, but I’m just going to do 7 facts, not 21!


1. I love Pixar films. My favourite is WALL-E but I still haven’t seen Inside Out, so that could change.

Wall-E Eva and Wall-e kiss

 

2. When we lived in Spain I used to run (the weather was more conducive to it as a hobby). My greatest achievement was finishing a half marathon without stopping or vomiting.

3. My knees are now rather creaky so I don’t run anymore.

Running for normal people cartoon

4. This isn’t too bad because although I can drive, I don’t have a car, so walk everywhere pushing my son in his buggy. When you live in a hilly place, this is darn good exercise.

5. I find TV talent shows like The X Factor rather addictive although my interest usually wanes once we’re past the audition and knock-out phases.

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Editing your own writing. Can you ever be “done”?

When is a book finished? And other writerly ponderings…

I finished the first draft of my first novel, Art and Soul, back in November 2014. I spent two months editing, then sent the manuscript to my first two readers. While they were reading, I read a couple of books on self-editing and realized I’d committed a lot of glaring errors.

I used my readers’ feedback and what I’d learnt from the books to do another complete manuscript “fix”. I then sent this draft to more readers. Their feedback resulted in more re-writes, particularly to the beginning of chapter 1, which I freely admit I’m still not 100% happy with.

The writer funny by Tom Gauld cartoon writing problems

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