Thrown to The Blue, Writing Exercises

Capitalisation of Honorifics and Names is the Bane of my Editing Life

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What has this edit and my proof-reader shown me? That I am inconsistent in my capitalisation of honorifics and names. Oh my word! As soon as my proof-reader started pointing them out, she just couldn’t stop. I mean, seriously, I’m totally crap and inconsistent to the point of frustration.  Titles such as King, Your Majesty, and the more common ‘Father’ (in terms of referring to an actual person by that name), are just a few of my pit falls. This is how I picture my proof-reader’s reaction every time she has to correct me on this issue:

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What makes this edit even more exasperating is that my novel is full of honorifics with one of my main protags coming from royalty. Oh well, at least I am now aware of my annoying tendencies, right? Ha!

Do you have any annoying writing habits/ pit falls? What is your biggest editing peeve?


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Thrown to The Blue

2nd Redraft Complete

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The second and final redraft is now complete. It has taken a little over two weeks to work my way through the necessary changes. Of course, this was much easier than the first redraft and should have been completed within a week, but September has seen both myself and my hubby turn 30, so I havent been able to slog away and get it done. No matter-it is done now.

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What’s Next?

It has been over a month of redrafts, so now it’s fine tooth comb time. The plan is to get a week’s worth of editing done before I send the first half of the book for proof reading. It’ll be a game of cat and mouse; I shall try to finish editing the second half of the book before the proof-reader gets back to me with the first half changes. Yeah, because plans like that always work out for me- HA! I have to try and stick to the plan that has been arranged, but there is a little wiggle room. I need it, considering I have been having one of these weeks:

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I shall not be adding any more excerpts from here on in. I think I have been pretty generous thus far. As soon as my betas have their copies, I will have more of an idea of a release date, so I will update when I know more.

Can those who have mentioned being an ARC reader leave a comment, and I’ll add you to the list and get back to you- thank you.


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Tip Share, Writing and Me

Crafting Chapter Titles

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Chapters don’t always need titles, but when they do, they can be tricky to craft. My first books, EVO Nation and EVO Shift, are sci-fi and urban fantasy novels and chapter titles didn’t match the tone of the books. However, my fantasy novel, Thrown to The Blue, is split into different POVs, and each chapter is defined by the character’s name and a title. I’ve never had to craft chapter titles before, and it has been a great writing experience for me.

Here are the top five lessons I have learnt as a first time chapter titler.

Write the chapter before you title it.

You can have an idea for the title, but after writing the chapter it may not exactly fit, and you don’t want to have to tailor the chapter to the title. Once you have read the chapter, you can capture the overall tone/ message. You may even find a phrase or quote from within the chapter that works.

Not every chapter title needs to follow the same style.

I noticed this a lot in books I have read of late. The titles follow a style of some sort- perhaps just three words: For example: Sugar and Spice, Gold and Silver, Hurt and Betrayal. If this works for your novel, then roll with it, but please don’t think this is a necessity. You can have some short and sweet titles, quotes, one word titles. As long as the title sums up the chapter, then I don’t think it affects the experience of the reader if the styles are different.

If you can’t think of a suitable chapter title, leave it, and return to it later.

Sometimes a title is glaringly obvious, other times it eludes us. Do not force a chapter title, let it simmer for a bit before setting it in stone. It may even be worth not titling your chapters until your final edit. You can read through the draft with fresh eyes and the titles may jump out at you.

Sum up, but do not give too much away.

This is where it can be particularly tricky to find a suitable title. Summing up the chapter doesn’t mean highlighting the key narrative point in the title. For example: If Freddie is going to die in this chapter, it is best not to title the chapter ‘Freddie’s Demise’ or ‘The Death of Freddie’. This may seem like common sense, but I have seen it done. The impact you may try to make with a certain scene will be dulled by the reader’s knowledge from the title. Finding the balance between summing up and keeping it vague is what I found difficult.

Think outside the box.

This ties in with all the above tips. Forget what you have read in other books. Your titles should be unique to your novel. Just because particular titles or styles worked for another book, chances are they won’t work for yours too. Forget about your preconceptions on titling chapters and work with what you have written within each chapter. It is the best way to craft memorable, interesting titles that are true to your novel.


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Writing and Me

Re-Draft Time

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Even as I was writing Thrown to The Blue, I knew I’d have to re-draft and do some serious editing. Writing multiple POVs for the first time was refreshing, but challenging. I’m pretty sure my re-draft will involve cutting masses of repeated information. Sometimes, I knew I was doing it when I was writing, but I was on such a roll that I thought, ‘Oh well, I’ll leave it until the edit.’ In fact, I thought that a lot.. a lot lot. Wow, this edit is going to be quite the undertaking.

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After I post this, I shall be settling in for the re-draft. I want to dissect my manuscript, swap some chapters around, add a couple, and delete the unnecessary. As of now, I’m not sure how I’m going to proceed until I go through it with a fine tooth comb. I want to play with it and see what works. This could be weeks, if not months, of work, but is vital to my WIP. I know a lot of writers who don’t feel the need to redraft and head straight into an edit. I think a re-draft is an important step of my editing process, but maybe that’s just because I’m a ‘pantser’ and pour everything onto the page to be reworked later.

Do you allow yourself the freedom of a re-draft? Have you got any re-drafting tips that have made the process easier for you?


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Writing and Me

Why Are ARCs Important?

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Whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, advanced reader copies (ARCs) of your edited manuscript are important. Here is why…

What is an ARC:

ARC is the shortened term for ‘advanced reader copy’. An ARC is a copy of your work that you send out to a group of readers ahead of your publication date.

Note: an ARC copy is not the same as a beta copy. Beta Copies are usually sent out before the final edit to garner constructive feedback during the editing process. ARCs are edited, finished copies of your work that are ready for publication.

Why send an ARC:

  1. ARC reviewers can offer honest feedback before your book is even on the market. You can get a good idea on how well your work has been received
  2. Free promotion. ARC readers tend to be reviewers. Having reviews on blogs, Goodreads, and social media etc is brilliant promotion before publication.  Authors need reviews, plain and simple.

When to send an ARC:

Of course, it would not be an ARC if it wasn’t received in advance of the publication date, however, there are differing opinions as to how early to send an ARC. I have received ARCs up to seven months before publication, and some within two weeks of the release date. Ultimately, it is the choice of the author/publisher. I would not advise sending unedited ARCs, but again, that is personal preference, but please be fair in your time allowance. Give the reader enough time to read and review your work comfortably, unless they specifically agree to last minute reads. 4-8 weeks before publication is acceptable for sending ARCs (especially indie books/ eBooks).

How to find ARC readers:

ARC readers are everywhere, you just have to know where to look for them.

  1. Blog: If you have a blog, do a shout out for ARC readers and reviewers.
  2. Twitter: Write a tweet requesting ARC readers. OR search hashtags such as #bookbloggers #bookreviewer #bookblog etc. You can DM or find blog links to reviewers in your genre.
  3. Social media: Post requests for ARC readers and reviewers on all your platforms.
  4. Research: Use search engines to find book blogs etc. Most book bloggers have review policies for you to study.
  5. Netgalley: You can pay a fee to have your ARC signed up to Netgalley.com. Members can request copies of your work to review.
  6. Friends: Send out copies to honest friends. Make sure they will give you a review. The more reviews the merrier.

Keeping ARC readers for future use:

Once you have found ARC readers, you ideally want to keep them.

  1. Always thank them for reviews, even if it is not the 5* review you wanted!
  2. Reblog/ share their reviews and links. Not only does this help you, but it helps them get traffic to their platforms.
  3. Build a list of trusted reviewers. Ask all of your ARC readers if you can call on them in the future. Avid readers are a valuable assets to all authors.

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100% K.J Chapman, Writing and Me

Pet Peeve

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My pet peeve has been slowly growing of late. So much so that I decided to blog about it. The stem of my annoyance is articles, blog posts, writing books etc telling me what way is the right way to write. Let me explain: I appreciate informative pieces that advise writers of a certain style ie plotters or pantsers on some techniques to help with the process, but I do not like posts that say, Why you MUST plot your novel! or Why you should NEVER plot your novel. Or even worse…Do You Have Bad writing techniques?

Urgh! Please! Writing is a creative art form and with all creative artforms there is no one way and definitely no right way to do it. I’m a pantser, and although that is how I roll, I do not expect every one to be comfortable with this drafting style. If I write a piece about my writing process, I hope it would be informative, but not dictatorial.

“There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.”
—Doris Lessing

My advice to all writers is to keep getting those words down and stories finished in the way you feel is most comfortable and enjoyable to you as an artist.

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CampNaNo, Writing and Me

CampNaNo Update: Week Three

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Another seven days done and dusted. It is technically the end of week three, but there are 10 days left in this month, so my next update will be once NaNo is finished.

My word count for this week is 3645 words. My writing time has suffered due to it being the end of the school term for my little one, but I have still written something at least. The last 48 hours have wielded approximately 300 words, but I’m planning on a writing slog tonight to get back on track. Thankfully, I was on fire for the first two weeks, so I only have to write 7641 words in the next 10 days- totally doable, right? I WILL do it.

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For now, here is an excerpt from this week’s writing sessions:

A hexagonal shaped room with a vaulted ceiling, which by my estimation is situated in the very centre of the castle, holds pews upon pews of indigo robed sorcerers. The way the pews line up perfectly with all six sides of the room, circling a podium in the centre, is highly pretentious, yet masterfully thought out. They rise as we enter, but I’m sure it is for Teal’s benefit and not mine. Every man present glances over my white hair and shuffles in his seat at the confirmation they’ve all been awaiting. It takes all of my will power not to smile at their awkwardness in my presence. It does not bother me in the least for I am used to making people uncomfortable. In fact, I have mastered that particular art form.

I am aware of how my gown billows out behind me, of how the clink of my heels resounds through the hall as I walk with renewed confidence, and for the first time, I wear this gown without my shawl to show my arms and back. Teal did not say a word. Oh, his eyes certainly studied the tissue like scarring, but he kept his mouth shut. Just how I like it.

“Take a good look, gentlemen,” I say, as we climb atop the podium. “Get the ogling out of the way before we get down to the serious matters. I am not sure what fascinates people the most- the crown, the white hair, or the burns?”

Teal’s mouth twitches in a smile, and I watch a room full of men blush with shame. I’ve still got it. Sometimes, I feel like I lose myself with Reed. He’s my happy place, my curative place, and rather than keeping my darkness company, he heals the cracks and shines light on the shadows. The old Ezra would never have allowed her scars to be seen, the old Ezra would never have taken pity on those poor folks in Pontisef, and the old Ezra would laugh at the mere prospect of a new Ezra. It’s time I find a healthy balance; a hint of the old with a shot of the new.


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

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