Poet Posing on Prose Platform

Changing view - Changing Mind

Isabel Storey on whatever takes her fancy this day.

Birthing a Blurb

This has been the process in my attempt to craft a blurb for MIXED FORTUNES. Think I have it nutted out now, following help and suggestions from within FB groups, FB itself and responses to replies to email question.
The major stumbling block, it seems, is not being able to identify my market. Some love but not romance, some sex, but not erotica, some mystery, bits of violence but not much. In other words,
slices of Life.


Have adopted a strategy of taking a very close look at the blurb and cover, including fonts and colour, of books I take out of the library and which I enjoy reading. Eclectic mix. Then thinking back to the fictional but based on fact story most enjoyed. Came across the book by sheer luck as that paperback was the only book available to me when cooking on an outback sheep station. Don’t remember the name or that of the author, but can recall the story and the effect it had on me.
So, can I identify my target market as being folk who will be in the right place at the right time to find a copy of my book to hand? Too much in the lap of the gods?

We take what we can get and am grateful.

Activating the Passive Voice

The more I attend to this, the more cheerful I find myself. Leads me to wonder if, when most if not all, instances of passive voice is changed to reflect the active voice whether I will internalise the feeling as a permanent feature? I find it difficult these days to type the word ‘just’ when that used to be just about the most frequent and unnecessary word used.

 

When amended over 1,000 passives to actives and uncovered about sixty hidden verbs will I self-edit out the passive voice in future?

Watch out World!

A more positive Isabel is possibly about to poke her head over the horizon.
One tenth of the total manuscript attended today.
There may be those of you who think “What the heck is all the excitement about?” I was about ten years old when given the last grammar lessons in school before leaving school at barely fourteen. When Stylewriter kept pulling me up with ‘prefer active verb’ my reaction was “What the!” I have read how to recognise the rule – chased by a zombie – but it was only when making an individual note on paper the notion finally took hold. It was a fat notepad anyway and I wondered if ever I would fill its pages.


Feeling chipper and cheerful.

Needless Panic.

There is light at the end after all. My earlier assessment on the number of pages was based on my cack-handed efforts to emulate a copy on printed page BUT Google had the answer – wipe brow with relief.
Aim to complete editing by the middle of September so I can hand it over to a pair of eagle eyes in the head of my Norseman friend, Laurene.
End of September will likely come with the result of not winning one competition and that will be in time to enter another, the answer to which will be known in early February. Leaves time to obtain professionally designed cover and interior design before the April release.
Huge sigh.

Back to Square One

THIS IS ME TODAY.
Set page size, font size, etc as it would appear in actual printed copy. FAR, FAR TOO MANY PAGES.

Back to the drawing board.

 

One book, severely pruned? Two thirds of original

OR

Three very skinny books?

 OR

Expand to create a decent sized trilogy?

While I think this all through, my present plan is to save a copy of the most already edited version in Google Drive, Dropbox and on a USB. That done will revert this laptop to factory settings and load and reinstall only those programs I find really useful. I have a tendency to try out interesting looking things which, even when uninstalled, can leave their little footprints.

If I don’t pop-up in Facebook, Google Plus or emails you will know why. Not Missing in Action, but transferred to Rehab.

 

 

Tightening Tenses

While finding all the missing ‘t’s I came across some tenses of which I need to be sure I have down pat. While current action is in present tense, anything thought of reflected most likely to be past or future or varieties thereof. Have already corrected a few ‘was’ to ‘is’ when scouring for the ‘t’, so that will be the next global search throughout the whole document.

Search for the missing ‘t’ before ‘he’

In order to locate the ones I missed while typing story, I trawled through 1,990 instances of ‘he’ to locate 5 missing ‘t’s. Other typing mishaps of late is the appearance of an errant ‘m’ in front of a word, but that is easy enough to see on the screen as I read recent input. I am SO looking forward to getting MIXED FORTUNES up and out there – off my desk and computer. It is a story which was hatched from events back in the 70’s which grew until I could no longer ignore it. At first I thought it a trilogy but total word count would mean three very thin books or, as I have now decided, one very long book. I say, very long, but about the same length as 20000 mLeagues (see what I mean) Under the Sea and less than The Two Towers.
Am waiting on my power bills to come in so I can see if there is any left over from my Utilities Savings to transfer to my Book/Website account. Then onto professional cover design after deciding on blurb for back cover.
Sitting on my mind’s back burner is the next book while I tinker with the notion of a series. As I derive great pleasure from plotting I am assured of fun times ahead.

Uplifting

Something more cheerful than the pic on my last post. funnily enough the content of the previous post – about nightmares – was, I thought, very positive. Never mind.
Have finished writing and now into (a) taking a break, (b) editing, (c) thinking about cover which means I must sometime decide on the title. Have been feeding alternatives into Lulu’s titlescorer ans so far the highest is 41.4% for MIXED FORTUNES as against next highest 31.7% for TRUST. All other permutations lower.
Had a good clear out of paper and notes no longer needed. Have yet to clean up my hard drive, Dropbox and Google Drive.
Weather is not encouraging walking or going on bike to swimming pool.
But for this very instant, more paper to sort then coffee and Fay Weldon.
Be well.

The Value of Nightmares

An eye, very like this, seen first in the film “Spiral Staircase”, used to wake me to sitting in terror.  The eye (through a hole) filled the screen prior to each murder of women in boarding house, each with a different disability. Later in life while enjoying/enduring a psychotic episode, I reassured myself by believing there is always someone watching over me. Or Someone.

Another series of nightmares had me in a lift/elevator shaft, jumping from side to side above the lift, grabbing onto wrought iron walls,  my parents in pursuit as the lift rose up and down, but never squashing me. Have read this as no matter how high or low the bipolar takes me, I am safe from being crushed. Rising above and outside the moving box.

For me, the most valuable nightmare is/was the one that came true in real life as I followed my dreams on waking.  I use it now to reassure myself that I am on track – the dirt running track in the following poem – and with the cheering from friends responding to David Collins-Rivera review of MIXED FORTUNES as posted on tumblr (see below) leads me to the comfort that I am on the final stretch. (For how this worked out in real life one would have to read “Life Before Lithium” on Smashwords. ) Now I am applying it to my writing life.

A witch used to chase me

through a three dimensioned maze

always found an opening

but not the way out

before the maze disappeared

and the witch

turned into a tribe of gypsies

in full cry behind me

as I sped

from village hall

up the main road

between disused railway tracks

to the field

where pig-lilies grew.

Up the bank

across the recreation ground

up clay-slip slope

and stony path

dirt running track

gravel road

pine trees

by gate of school

to disappear.

 

But one night,

the night they went

forever,

I made it.

Fell into the arms

of the waiting headmaster

deafened by the cheering school

the witch and the gypsies

demons of my night

let me sleep

undisturbed.

http://wordacrosstime.tumblr.com/post/162945342034/mixed-fortunes-work-in-progress

Edit, Shred it, Read it, Merit

Such a buzz with that wonderful feedback. And my strange reaction. It seems while I WANT praise, even need it, when it is given I curl up as if embarrassed to be exposed. (But I did manage one boast through a bcc email. If you did not receive, please let me add you to my list?)

How do you respond to praise?

Woke this morning thrown off kilter. Head full of new ideas for new stories, new books, wondering if I can weave them into MIXED FORTUNES all the while knowing that would be stupidity. Same as taking pieces from another jigsaw and forcing into this rather than let the pieces fall aside for another day.

After giving myself a good talking to, back to bed for a minute or two of meditation, reading emails, Facebook and reprimanding my absence from Google + for some time, washing some marble chips for the pot plants on the patio- FINALLY got down to some editing. The way I edit works for me on several levels. My eyesight requires this Low Vision keyboard, my fingers are either at times fat or too light or doubling up on keys which means I have to keep a very close eye on the screen. I read the last section written, take a snapshot in Scrivener, control a to copy into Word (on second screen) then run the text through Stylewriter. I cannot speak too highly of Scrivener and Stylewriter. When Stylewriter marks a passage with Excellent or Good on its Bog Index and/or Style Index I move on. When both or either Indexes show any combination of Fair, Poor, Bad or Dreadful I work on that piece until it ranks as Good or Excellent. Overall there are few instances of passive writing and often I see no way of avoiding that  without tipping and messing about with tenses. Usually when I am in someone’s head.

Do you think your thoughts in active or passive mode?

How often do you have your eyes checked? The first instance of macular degeneration can sneak up and be on its way to being so advanced that treatment (eye injections) can halt the worsening but not improve the vision. Were I to rely on my left eye alone I could not write, read or type and watching TV would be a pain.  Knowing the very first sign when my  right eye began to be affected enabled immediate treatment.  Dr Durkin is set on saving my writing eye with four weekly injections in the right and keeping the left on hold by an injection every six weeks.

I cannot emphasise enough a recommendation to download an Amsler grid from  the internet – or get a chart from your optician and CHECK, CHECK, CHECK. Particularly if you are 55 and over.

That’s all folks?

 

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