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.

What next?

After the festivities of Christmas, reality has set in and whilst I made some big plans at the start of 2019, within weeks it became obvious that these would be unachievable.

It has been a lot to admit that despite my original intention to publish The KeyMaster this autumn, circumstances won’t allow. I was so excited to think that this project I’ve been working on for so long might finally be on its way to the big wide world that it’s been crushing to realise this will just not be possible. Yet.

Besides coming to terms with this sad truth, these last few months have been frustrating for me creatively as my laptop finally gave up the ghost. Its memory had slowly been eaten up until there was nothing left and my documents just wouldn’t open.

I didn’t think it would affect me like it did; as a writer you feel helpless, like your creativity has been squashed. I know you can use paper and to plot I do, but to write I like to type straight away.

This last week, I have been fortunate enough to be gifted a Bluetooth keyboard from a family friend, so I can at least continue typing. But circumstances haven’t changed.

Consequently, my next steps forward are to finish the final edit of The KeyMaster Book 1 and move on to Book 2. There are some plotting and planning techniques I’ve come across through the Instagram writing community that I want to try (If you are a fellow writer, I seriously recommend you using Instagram to connect with like-minded writers. It’s such a vibrant and supportive community.) If you are interested in seeing how they go, keep an eye on my social media and website for posts and (hopefully) videos.

What am I doing now?

There are two weeks left until the end of the academic year here in the UK so I’m currently struggling through tests and marking. I’m really looking forward to using naptimes on my author work rather than marking and planning.

My plans for the summer are:

  1. Edit my first draft to send to my editors.
  2. Organise my author website.
  3. Find a designer for my front cover.
  4. Finish a gift for any who sign up to my mailing list.
  5. Learn how to format properly
  6. Start plotting Book 2…

I think that should keep me out of mischief! *^_^*