08 – ITBB : Self-Editing

In The Black Blood has been in the works for a number of years now. The book is written from the points of view of seven different characters and I began writing as most would, chronologically, but I soon realised that this wasn’t the best way to go about it. Each time I came back around to a character, I had to re-familiarise myself with exactly what had happened in their previous chapter(s), as well as the nuances of the voice I was writing in. I instead started to write by character, finishing the story for one before going back and finishing it with the next. Once all was written, I just had to slot it together. Then I put down the black pen and picked up the red one. Editing has been fun, for the most part; even more so now that I’m nearing the end!

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The first page of the first edit

My first edit was done immediately after finishing the book, looking for inconsistencies while it was all fresh in my mind.
My second was done after leaving the book alone for a few months, giving me some much needed distance.
The third was after feedback from a few people, giving me the benefit of outside perspectives.

And I’ve just completed my fourth round of editing, during which I made notes about everything I was unsure of or unhappy with, or anything I felt needed revisiting once I’d finished reading. I now need to go back through those notes, before having a read through each character’s chapters in turn to ensure their voices and styles remain consistent throughout.

A little while ago, I stumbled upon Blurb.com, a website that lets you create small runs of books. Once my edits are done, I plan on getting a few copies made (actual books that I can hold in my ACTUAL hands!) and giving them to a few friends for a final read through before I start the potentially mammoth task of finding a literary agent. It’s super exciting! Having a physical copy of my own will be so gratifying after having put so much work into this. Have any of you used a service like Blurb to make physical copies of your novels before seeking out an agent, or even used them in your self-publishing endeavours?

Have a productive day.

 

Points earned:

Recording at Get Loud Studios +5
Gig in Nottingham +15
Super Secret Project work +20
Blog post +2
Bought a laptop -425

Total points -255

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03 – Shiny Things (Points and Rewards)

The Points Project is simple really. Complete task, receive points, spend points. Easy peasy, but I think it’s time I explained how the points and rewards aspects work! I’ll soon make The Points Project spreadsheet available so you can play along too. Yes, it’s a spreadsheet, stop grimacing. It’s got buttons and everything! First thing’s first… how do I decide the points value of a task?

Allocating Points

Simply put, it’s a mix of time investment, motivation, and importance. As a starting point, I allocate one point for every 10 minutes that it should take to do a task, then adjust the value a bit depending on the importance of the task and how keen I am on doing it.

For example: Restringing my guitar isn’t the most exciting part of my music career but it’s important, so though it only takes about 20 minutes I give it a whole 3 points! By contrast, editing a chapter of my book takes around an hour. It’s also important but I actually enjoy doing it, so I value it at 5 points. The idea of doing things this way is that it’ll encourage me to do the things I would usually put off.

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It’s not an exact science by any means. If you’re playing along at home, just try and be fair. Figure out what works for you; the system will only work if you let it.

Earning Points

Easy:
Complete task. Get points.

Spending Points (i.e. Choosing Rewards)

Much like allocating points, this isn’t so straightforward to figure out. Again, try to be fair and figure out what works best for you. I spend points in two ways: doing and buying fun things. As with allocating points, one point equals 10 minutes, so if I want to spend an hour playing a video game it’s going to cost me six points. Likewise, I want to buy something fun, the cost is the number of points it’s going to cost me. If I want to buy a DVD for £10, it’s going to cost me 10 points too. Necessities (food, fuel, clothes, etc.) don’t count here, and if the purchase in question will help with future projects or productivity I halve the cost. Ideally, I never want to go into points debt, and it should only happen in the event of a big purchase that will have an immediate impact on my productivity.

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Both my points and rewards systems are movable feasts; they’ll need tweaking and refining no doubt, but it’s a starting point! Good luck figuring out your own methods. Have a productive day!

Points Earned:

Edited book chapter +5

Blog post +2

Total Points: 26