Weekly Round-Up

Weekly Round-Up

Sorry for the hiatus in my content, I have been extremely busy with editing and it has not allowed time for creating content, and I spent the first two weeks of April visiting family in Zimbabwe. Don’t worry: I won’t bore you with my holiday photos.

This post has something for everyone. There are links to some great advice as well as some interesting news from PRH who plan to reward readers for their loyalty. I’ve also included some great book suggestions.


Penguin Random House in the US has launched a ‘Reader Rewards Loyalty Program’, a free promotional initiative that lets readers earn one free book for every 12 PRH titles they purchase.


5 Secrets of Story Structure: How to Write a Novel That Stands Out (Helping Writers Become Authors Book 6)

by K. M. Weiland


Want to take your writing to the next level? Discover the “secrets” of story structure other authors are overlooking!

If you’ve read all the books on story structure and concluded there has to be more to it than just three acts and a couple of plot points, then you’re absolutely right! It’s time to notch up your writing education from “basic” to “black belt.” Internationally-published author K.M. Weiland shares five “secret” techniques of advanced story structure.

In the multi-award-winning Structuring Your Novel, Weiland showed writers how to use a strong three-act structure to build a story with the greatest possible impact on readers. Now it’s time to take that knowledge to the next level.

In this supplemental book, you’ll learn:

    • Why the Inciting Event isn’t what you’ve always thought it is
    • What your Key Event is and how to stop putting it in the wrong scene
    • How to identify your Pinch Points—and why they can make the middle of your book easier to write
    • How to create the perfect Moment of Truth to move your protagonist from reaction to action
    • How to ace your story’s Climactic Moment every single time

And much more!

By the time you’ve finished this quick read, you’ll know more about story structure than the vast majority of aspiring authors will ever know—and you’ll be ready to write an amazing novel that stands above the crowd.

Outline Your Novel

by K. M. Weiland

Can Outlining Help You Write a Better Story? Writers often look upon outlines with fear and trembling. But when properly understood and correctly wielded, the outline is one of the most powerful weapons in a writer’s arsenal.Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success will:•Help you choose the right type of outline for you•Guide you in brainstorming plot ideas•Aid you in discovering your characters•Show you how to structure your scenes•Explain how to format your finished outline•Instruct you in how to use your outline•Reveal the benefits•Dispel the misconceptions include exclusive interviews with ten respected authors, answering important questions about outlining. Outlining can organize your writing and help you take your stories to the next level. Find out how!

Edit Ready: How to make your book as good as you can, before you send it to an editor.

By Harry Dewulf


Edit Ready is an author’s reference book for use during story development, writing and both self editing and when you get your manuscript back from your editor.

Put like that, it sounds rather dry, but reference books always do.

Actually, though, although it has an exhaustive contents page, three different indices and 6 appendices, this is not a dry reference book. In fact, the ink is never dry for long.

Because Edit Ready is compiled from notes, guidance, teaching and conversation with authors, while working with them to make their manuscripts as good as they can, but also, to help them to become better authors.

Every time I edit a book, I look at the topics that arise, and try to find a way of generalizing the help and advice I give to its author, so that I can pass the advice on to all authors.

So really, Edit Ready is an attempt to avoid editing, by ensuring you know in advance about anything and everything that your editor has to deal with. The idea is that this will make you a better writer.

Speaker for the Dead

by Orson Scott Card


Ender Wiggin was once considered a great military leader, a saviour for mankind.
But now history judges his destruction of an alien race as monstrous rather than heroic.

In the aftermath of the war, Ender disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: The Speaker for the Dead, who told the true story behind the battle with the aliens. Now, years later, a second alien race has been discovered. But again they are strange and frightening – and again, humans are dying.

It is only the Speaker for the Dead, secretly Ender Wiggin, who has the courage to confront the mystery . . . and the truth.

The Hugo and Nebula award-winning sequel to the classic science fiction novel Ender’s Game

Broken Empire

By E. A. Copen

In an empire where political power is everything, Captain Timothy Val wants one thing: to serve his empire with honor and distinction. But after a mission to quell a revolt goes terribly wrong, Timothy is branded a traitor and barely escapes with his life. His only hope of regaining his lost honor and clearing his family name rests in the hands of a senator planning to use him as the face of a revolution.

With an intergalactic war looming and civil unrest spreading through the empire, Timothy must tread carefully. Assassins wait around every corner, and his new allies have made him powerful enemies, enemies that may not be entirely human.

Migrating Invoicing System to WooCommerce

Migrating Invoicing System to WooCommerce

This is just a quick note to all who have received emails from me about account details.

In order to reduce the time I spend managing admin (I would really rather be reading, writing or editing), I am migrating my invoicing system over to my online store to keep it all in one place.  The added bonus is that WooCommerce handles the reporting side for me, but…no…No more horrible admin talk! This also means that my clients will automatically be kept updated with offers and other information about the service.

Basic novel structure

Basic novel structure

With NaNoWriMo fast approaching, there will be many writers embarking on a new writing project this November. With this in mind, I have put this PDF together to serve as a basic guide for outlining. This has been built from a handwritten version compiled by Nichole McGhie from thexcitedwriter.com and is based on K. M.Weiland’s Outlining your Novel which is worth a read on its own.  The poster is designed to print out onto 2 A4 sheets of paper and still be readable so newbie writers will be able to pin it up in front of them. I recommend you do. While the information in this poster is by no means exhaustive, it does offer a sound framework.

From my own experience of NaNoWriMo, now is the time to get outlining and thinking about tour plot and characters. I will stress here that I didn’t actually finish my first draft until May (oops) but I am now in the final stages and hope to complete my final round of editing on time to get it formatted and then self-publish in November. The reason I didn’t finish on time is that I started without a complete outline and then got stuck at the midpoint while I worked out what should happen. This is not an experience I wish to repeat and it is also why I strongly advise my clients to prepare an outline before they start. Having an easy means to keep track of your plot, sub-plots and character development will save you a massive amount of time and stress in the long run. It is also the best way to

Having an easy means to keep track of your plot, sub-plots and character development will save you a massive amount of time and stress in the long run. It is also the best way to avoid a huge amount of rewriting – not to mention disappointment – after you get it back from your editor, having already given them a migraine. If you want your editor to love you, then you MUST outline but I wanted this to be more of a ‘how’ post than a ‘do this and this is why post’.  Most seasoned writers by now understand the importance of planning, especially if they write in series. I’m addressing the novices and the people who are planning to dip their toes into creative writing for the first time so below are a few more pointers you should be thinking about while writing and planning.


  1. Think carefully about your POV. Does it work for the genre?
  2. Is your story more heavily weighted in favour of plot or character? Ideally, This should ideally be a 50/50 mix of both but some genres can cope with more than one than the other.
  3. Is the conflict proportionate? A story without a problem to solve isn’t a story and that’s basically what is meant by conflict.  This can be internal or external but there must be an obstacle between the character and where they want to be and it has to be believable.  That’s about the crux of it. Think about how often you have put a book down because it wasn’t grabbing you.  Ever thought about why? Most of the time I have found it’s because the protagonist’s life is either too easy or too hard; everyone loves them and everything happens their way or, the less frequent, a complete train wreck of a character whose problems are insurmountable and there is no hope of them ever overcoming them. The protagonist doesn’t have to solve the problem, and sometimes that can make for a more interesting story, but there still has to be a possibility that they will overcome that obstacle. Do they realise why they don’t manage their task?
  4. Consider plot progression as well as pace, Do the events in your plot occur within in a logical progression? They need to present a sequence of events leading clearly from the beginning (the catalyst) to the conclusion. A series of seemingly unconnected events will only bore your readers. In other words, if a character is doing something, they need to have a good reason to be doing it.
  5. Use an editor. Spellcheck can’t correct structural issues or dialogue.


  1. Use the act of writing to show off your vocabulary and hope it’ll cover up the fact that there is nothing happening. Really, don’t. A strong story, with the action at the right points, can support some flowery Hardyesque prose. A weak one? Well, you might as well have rewritten the Mayor of Casterbridge (that book is a sore point with me). You will also give your editor a headache.  A good one will spot this a mile away and should call you up on it.
  2. Don’t describe what one of your cast is about to say and then put it into dialogue. If you are in doubt about what someone has just said, read it aloud.  Would that sound awkward coming out of someone’s mouth?
  3. Don’t try to outline every last detail. You need to leave some room for flow.
  4. Don’t try to edit as you write. You will get nowhere quickly. Get that first draft down then go back over it as a read-through before touching anything. Make a note of your plot points, as well as where they are, and compare them with your outline. This should help to identify any weak areas to fix in your self-edit before sending it to an editor.
  5. Do not send your unedited first draft to an editor.

I haven’t forgotten you…

It’s been a while since my last advice post and for that, I can only apologise. Things have been rather fraught since the sudden death of my father two weeks ago and a few things have had to be set aside while I process. I should hopefully be back on top of it over the next few weeks. All I ask is that people please bear with me. Please feel free to click around my nice new website and contact me with any queries etc.  I aim to reply to all emails on the day that I get them.

Welcome to my new website!

Here it is!

I’ve now closed down the old editing blog and copied my posts across so I am only managing one website. This site allows you to send enquiries, view prices and services, as well as read news and advice on writing, editing and self-publishing, all in one place.

It also allows you to post testimonials and reviews of my service. Feel free to have a click around and explore and do let me know what you think.