Camp NaNo: July 2019

I signed up! I’m doing it and let daily goal too! I’ve never done anything like this but I’m really enjoying my cabin, the support of my fellow campers and a chance to totally focus (as much as I can!) on my writing.

I’ve been sensible with my goal: 15,000 words for the month, just under 500 words a day. I’m also using Chris Fox’s 5k power hour method of weird sprinting which is stressful but do good!

Anyone else taking part in Camp NaNo?

I never win anything!

The last thing I remember winning was a bottle of Babycham from the Summer Fair raffle when I was at primary school. It promptly vanished and I never got to enjoy my prize, although my parents seemed quite chuffed (!) But, I can now say differently as I recently won a critique from a professional editor on the first 5000 words of my WIP!

I came across the giveaway on Kristin McTiernan’s new YouTube channel. Kristin is a professional editor and fellow author I know through Instagram (@kristinmagoo) and when she announced her new channel I immediately subscribed. I now eagerly await her videos to be uploaded. As someone who is self-editing one book and writing another, I devour any hints and tips I come across from editors and authors. Anything to help me improve. Her channel is no different.

One day whilst listening, I heard her mention a giveaway: a critique of 5000 words! I immediately entered with all my fingers and toes crossed. I’m nowhere near sending my manuscript off to editors, but I knew I would benefit from a professional’s opinion. Days later, a notification came through that I’d actually won!

After taking the weekend to make my first 5000 words as good as I could, I nervously pressed ‘send’ and a week later my critique arrived!

I received several pages covering “First Impressions”, “Grammar/Punctuation/Mechanics”, “Characters”, “‘Grab’ Factor” and “Editing Recommendations”.

As a teacher, I understand the benefit of constructive criticism, so the process didn’t faze me at all. It was great seeing the opening chapters from someone else’s point of view. Sequences and reactions were questioned which I would never have considered. Kristin herself was friendly with her critique but honest; the perfect combination needed to get manuscripts looking their best. I would highly recommend her and can already see improvements in my manuscript. All in all, it was a really positive experience. (Phew!)

If you’re in need of an editor or simply want to reach out, her website is can be found here.

The KeyMaster: A Mood Board

I’ve never put together a mood board. I’ve always loved their aesthetics but just never put one together myself. That has now changed!

I initially saw the day’s prompt on Instagram and thought: “I haven’t got the time for that one”. But I made the time and, whilst it took ages (and it did), I’m glad I’ve done it. I have missed the deadline though… Ah well.

But, here it is!

The boots represent Erica, whilst Michael is depicted by his top hat. Time travel is key to the series, and is hinted at by the central and top left images. The black and gold of the top left and bottom right images reflect the spirit and soul. The bottom left are the sinister Lost Souls that are taking over the world and the top right depict the Faeries’ elemental powers.

I’m planning to make further mood boards for each of the key characters, but this is a general one providing an overview of the key aspects of Book 1.

What do you think?

(Pictures courtesy of Pixaby and Pinterest).

One or two?

The KeyMaster has two protagonists, in my eyes. Some might say Erica is more prominent than Michael, but to me they are equal. Without either, The KeyMaster would be incomplete. Allow me to introduce them.

Michael Nicholas is a Victorian gentleman, so a few of his flaws stem from his upbringing: his serious nature, quiet and reluctance to voice his opinions directly. His younger years were spent in slavery and were, understandably, extremely tumultuous so he avoids speaking of them if he can, but they have left scars. He thinks little of him and his worth.

Erica Shylocke is from modern times and is sometimes a bit brash and hasty in what she says and does, especially if faced with uncontrollable situations. She can be quite headstrong and has a vision of her future. She has always been considered a bit weird and has been an outsider throughout school, so isn’t used to opening up. She has a secret that few would react well to and naturally avoids.

Intrigued? Tag along for a ride your soul won’t forget!

Images from Pinterest.

©Gina Jamieson 2019

20th August: National Radio Day

When I was young I used to listen to the local Radio Station Ram FM, now Capital. I still like to listen to it, but I have to stay I can’t stand advert after advert. I then turned to Radio 1 and happily listened to them for many years. But I got bored of RnB and bad pop, so one Christmas I turned to Classic FM for some festive-sounding Christmas songs and wasn’t disappointed. I regularly listen to it now but I have an eclectic music collection bad from my Uni days when I experimented with a lot of different sounds and realised I had a broad taste.

Whilst at Uni, as I was a student of Durham’s former Department of East Asian Studies, I came across Utada Hikaru. The manga intro to her song Passion, played a pivotal role in forming the elemental beings of my Faeries. In fact, I have named the Faeries’ realm after her: Utada. I hope you enjoy. And if you liked Kingdom of Hearts, you might recognise her.

Self-editing

I have to admit I’m enjoying self-editing my book. Prior to this, I had little experience of editing, let alone self-editing. Consequently, I researched lots and, as per normal, ended up finding my own way.

I have marked books and assessments for over 10 years, but always within the constraints of the school’s expectations and marking code. Here, I have found editing my own book a little similar to my book marking, but without the worry of staying within a marking code and failing to meet expectations. In other words, I can rip my book to shreds and not worry about upsetting anyone by my brutal honesty! I can also use other colours other than red and green. Simple things.

I have already scrapped two characters, if you count a cat enough of a character. My male lead has changed quite significantly too. (But I won’t post any spoilers here, as I don’t want to spoil it for those on my mailing list – who will be given the five chapters free once they are ready).

Things that have worked for me:

Read-Through – I have found doing several read-throughs, marking in different colours, highly beneficial. Whilst some articles recommend focusing first on typos, then on punctuation, etc. I find I can’t do this: if I encounter problems I have to sort them straight away.

My first read-through was a lot less brutal than my second, so I would recommend anyone else in a similar situation reading through their manuscript several times.

Kindle-Editing I have also found it extremely useful emailing a mobi copy of my manuscript to read on my Kindle. Apart from it being such a thrill to see my book as a readable eBook, it’s been very useful highlighting and making notes for improvement whilst reading. I shall keep doing this every couple of chapters so that my book will have been self-edited to oblivion before sending it onto professional editors.

Making notes on my Kindle.
Self-Editing featuring my lovely multi-coloured pen, and my Kindle.