books, editing, short stories, Uncategorized

Editing your book… a beginner’s guide. Last part of ‘a night lost to the past’

Now that’s out of the way, onto this week’s blog on editing a book.

So, this week I decided to go back through and edit book one. Despite deciding that I’d finished with it; well until a professional gets their hands on it. My main worry has been getting the book edited so it’s consistent throughout. I’ve said in earlier blogs that I’ve had loads of support, and a friend was editing my book for me, but circumstances change and I suppose I was getting a bit impatient that it wasn’t going at my speed! It’s also a little difficult to nag someone when you’re not paying for the service. So, we looked through other options, and I decided to start using Grammarly. There are mixed reviews on this, and I agree you cannot 100% rely on it, but as a learning tool and keeping my work consistent with regards to grammar and punctuation it’s brilliant. I really feel that I’m learning a lot more about the editing process and the common mistakes I make. So poor old book one has been through the ringer with the editing process, lots of mistakes made, and lots of things learned – which I guess is the point. But well worth it. I feel it’s in a lot better condition for when it gets the all-important requests for the full MS.

Editing book two will be easier – I hope! Mainly because I will have learned about my common mistakes, and make sure I don’t make them in book two, but this is the process I intend to follow for the future books… I’m sure I will add to this along the way. But it may help any newbies who are just starting out.

1)    Write the sucker – once I have the story in my head, I go for it. Just get it down, editing as I go along does not work for me. (It might for you)
2)    Once finished, then follows a full read through with amendments to the storyline, making sure I keep my word count somewhere near what I want
3)    Run the whole thing through Grammarly, make amendments, learn…
4)    Full read through again with a run through Grammarly for consistency.
5)    Send out to beta readers (I had to look this up  – basically, they are your mates that read your stuff!) Some of these will tell me if the story is good/bad etc. Some will look at the story arc, make sure I haven’t killed someone off before they are actually dead! Some can advise on grammar/punctuation. I will pretty much leave it up to them. As long as the feedback is honest – it helps me.
6)  Make any changes suggested by readers then full read through.
7)  Take all Beta-readers out and get drunk to say thank you and hurrah book two ready to send out 😊

So, that’s pretty much my thoughts on editing a book. I’m sure I will look back on this blog post in years to come and laugh at my naivety about the editing process. But as it stands I’m learning on the go, so it’s my best guess at how to do it! Anything to add, as always feel free to leave a comment. Below is the last instalment of my Newark Story, this will be available as an e-book in the future and there will be a blog on how to self-publish. Enjoy your weekend, and the story 😊 I hope to see you next Friday once I have survived the dive…

Part Six : One Year Later

It had been a difficult year for Ben. The police had of course not charged him – they had no proof, mainly because he hadn’t done anything. Ric and Pete’s wives had been very supportive. He thought he had earnt brownie points from Karen after she had received the hobby horse back from the police. He’d heard the rumours though and knew what the looks meant. He couldn’t blame them really. There was simply no clue about where his mates had disappeared to. He missed them, he’d cried a few tears – he wasn’t ashamed of that. He cried tears with Ric and Pete before – mainly when they lost at football and drunk too many beers. But still.

Ben opened the door to The Prince Rupert pub, the familiar smells and sounds surrounded him; comforting him. The smell of beer, food and the open fires all added to the atmosphere and why they had loved the pub so much. He hadn’t set foot in a pub since last year.

He ordered a pint at the bar. The woman recognised him and smiled. Obviously, she didn’t judge him like a lot of people did. He thought it was a measure of a good pub that they kept the staff year in year out. Picking up his pint, he went to sit upstairs. Despite the solemnity of the evening he couldn’t help smiling every time he heard someone trip up the tricky stairs. They used to take bets on who would be the next victim. Pete had always been convinced that it wasn’t the stairs fault, he’d said it was the ghost of Prince Rupert getting his ghost servant to trip patrons up, because what kind of Prince would do that themselves.

He was just about to get up and get another pint when he saw Karen and Lisa emerge at the top of the stairs. Karen said a rude word as she tripped on the top step. Lisa stifled a laugh.

“We thought you would be here Ben,” Karen said, “Why didn’t you tell us you were coming?”

“Didn’t really decide until I was already out of the door. I see you’ve bought the hobby horse.”

Karen raised it up and smiled. It had been a tough year for all of them. He’d lost his best mates, but they had lost their husbands. Gone without a trace. They spent the evening getting smashed and reminiscing about their times with Pete and Ric.

“I willlll tell you this Ben,” Karen said slurring her words, “If Pete ever turns up.” She hiccupped and picked up the hobby horse, “I will smack this round his bloody head. I will. I will do it!!”

Lisa started laughing which resulted in all three of them blubbing and hugging each other. The Landlady came up and quietly suggested that they call it a night. Ben saw them both into a taxi and after a visit to the chippy, staggered over to the bench outside the castle gates.

Munching his chips, he stared into the castle grounds. It was pitch black, the only sounds he could hear was the noise from the pubs. After eating his chips, he lay down on the bench. Intending to sneak into the castle once he felt he was able to stand up straight. He promptly fell into a drunken stupor.

Hours later two locals walked by and stood looking down at Ben, mouth open – snoring away. Pigeons were enjoying finishing off his chips under the bench.

“Shame about them mush? Surprised me that he didn’t go an all?”

“You’re right there mush. Wonder what happened?”

They heard a sound coming from the castle gate and turned to look.

“Well, bloody hell!”

His mate was speechless. They watched as two figures jumped over the castle gate. They looked at Ben and smiled, and nodded at the men. The locals carried on their walk not believing what they had just seen. They would have to have words when they got back, there was clearly a problem with this castles portal.

Ben started to wake up, he was bloody freezing, and he felt like Karen had whacked him over the head with the hobby horse – he had a killer headache. Groaning, he sat up.

“Bad head?” Ric asked.

“Bloody killing. Too many beers in…” Ben gaped at Ric sitting next to him. He turned to his left and Pete was grinning like a fool.

“Where’s my wife’s hobby horse you dipshit?” Pete said.

Ben stood up thinking he was dreaming, or he had finally lost the plot and was seeing ghosts. He repeatedly looked from one to another; mouth agape. They had both changed so much, but it was definitely them.

“Are you going to change a habit of a lifetime and buy us a pint or what?” Ric said.

Ben finally found his voice, full of emotion he said, “Sorry, spent all night getting pissed with your wives, and a hobby horse. Come here you pair of dipshits, I’ve bloody missed you.”

They hugged and cried until they were exhausted. They didn’t talk about what had happened until many years later. They never wore fancy-dress or broke into the castle again. Ric and Pete became guides at the Civil War Museum, and Ben finally found love in the shape of a barmaid. Karen never hit Pete with the hobby horse, for which Pete was eternally grateful.


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