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Write quickly, edit sloooooowly

A few weeks ago, I realised that I had a self-imposed deadline coming up. I looked at my diary and saw six days in Dubai at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature fairly quickly followed by four or five days in London. As I was moving into the last third of my work-in-progress, currently entitled Makeover at the Angel Café, I could see a problem looming. If I didn’t finish my first draft the time I left for Dubai then by the time I arrived back at my desk for the second half of March, my memory would have been wiped.

Picking up all the threads in order to finish the first draft would have been impossible. I’d have to go back to the beginning and edit my way through until I could gather my thoughts again. This did not appeal.

I don’t think I’m a particularly fast writer. I find the first draft takes a lot of thought, of toing and froing while I tweak plotlines and characters. But this time I was determined to reach the finish line by 1 March. If I didn’t, I could see myself being put back at least a month in my busy publishing schedule.

I decided to adopt the practice of writing quickly and editing slowly. It sort of goes against my usual MO but I thought it was worth a try. Here are my strategies:

  • Abandon the technique of writing myself into each session by editing the words written the day before. It takes time and I am going to edit those words again in the second draft.
  • file-17-02-2017-08-32-33Instead, at the end of a writing session, write a few notes in my ms about What Happens Next, so I don’t lose my flow when I come back to the book.
  • When I have my middle-of-the-evening thoughts about my ms, type them into my phone and email them to myself so I can add the good ones to my ms the next morning.
  • Accept there will be a greater number of ugly sentences and redundancies than usual when I reach the second draft. But my second draft is always for giving my WIP a rigorous shake up, so that’s fine.
  • Reduce the opportunity for interruptions. This meant reducing my time on social media.
  • Use the pockets of time I’d normally spend on social media to do small jobs (such as updating my blog).
  • Work smart. For me, this has meant: making notes when I think of things that need to be changed in what I’ve written so far, rather than going back and changing them;
  • file-17-02-2017-08-32-09and keeping a more detailed timeline than usual. On the face of it, this might seem like more work, but it saves me a lot of time when the information I might be hunting through my ms for is right there in my sprawly crawly handwriting.
  • file-17-02-2017-08-21-20Roughly – very roughly – work out the ending to my book, expressing it as plot points on sticky notes and getting them (roughly, very roughly) in the correct order.
  • Write almost every day. I know I can’t do this forever. If I don’t go out and enjoy the world, what am I to write about? But it’s fine for, say, a month, to write 6 or 7 days a week and it keeps my head more thoroughly in my storyline.

The second draft, of course, will be vital, to incorporate those notes and sort out continuity errors as well as the ugly sentences etc.

By the beginning of March, I should be able to tell you that the first draft is done. A few weeks later I hope the second will be, too …

Watch this space.

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The Laid-back Book Group discusses #TheChristmasPromise

When Tricia of The Laid-back Book Group contacted me to say that The Christmas Promise had been Featured Image -- 2969read by the group and was due to be discussed, I offered to reply to any questions. I found the result fun and interesting so I kindly asked if I could reproduce the discussion on my blog:

Tricia: My reading group met last Tuesday evening to discuss The Christmas Promise. Everyone really enjoyed it and loved the characters. They liked how you brought awareness to personal photos between couples landing on the internet.

Sue: I’m so glad that they all enjoyed The Christmas Promise! There are few things that give me more pleasure than people enjoying my books.

T: Here are a few questions and observations from our group:

The Laid-back Reading Group: How much research did you have to do for the online porn?

S: Unfortunately, it wasn’t hard to research revenge porn. There’s a huge number of online articles on the subject, a government campaign and case histories from victims in many parts of the world. I became angry on behalf of those victims and wanted to shine a light on the subject. I began with reputable and authoritative websites and let my research expand organically from there. Some of the case histories were harrowing: the mother whose 19-year-old daughter had killed herself in her humiliation; the documentary-maker who’d been told by the owner of such a site that he wasn’t in the business of making friends of women; ordinary people whose lives had been marred by online malice. What WAS difficult to research was the legal remedies available. When I began the book the UK had no specific law to counter revenge porn although there was a movement to create some, which the House of Lords dismissed. Then the House of Lords changed their mind between the book being bought and it being published so I had to rewrite! I wish they’d made up their minds the first time.

TLBRG: Alcohol has a negative presence in the story. Did you have to do any particular research about heavy drinking?

S: I’m not sure why alcohol was shown in a fairly negative light in the book as I enjoy alcohol and don’t have a personal drum to beat. Of course, people do act stupidly when they drink too much and that’s particularly highlighted by the Christmas festivities. Truly, over-consumption of alcohol just suited this particular plot and was credible with the Christmas background.

TLBRG: Why did you give Izz such a hard time? Making her part of the upload was completely out of character, even if drunk.

S: Things did go a bit awry for Izz, didn’t they? I’m quite glad if it appeared out of character for Izz as the point I was making is that alcohol does make some people act out of character. I think it’s clear that Izz never meant to do what she did. She was showing off her techie knowledge to Patrick and they completed the upload without thinking of the consequences.

TLBRG: Faux dating – Have you checked the urban dictionary definition? They felt they should make you aware of what it says.

S: No, I hadn’t checked the Urban Dictionary and simply made the term ‘faux dating’ up. Now I do check I see the UD’s definition is when a man pays for dinner and gets no sexual reward. I’m not too worried by that, although my reactions are: a woman should expect to pay her way on any date, partly because why the hell shouldn’t she? and partly to avoid any expectation that she should be intimate in exchange for food. You’ll remember that the subject of financing dates is a theme of The Christmas Promise and Ava has strong feelings on the subject. I garnered opinion from men and women in their thirties on social and in person on this subject. Dating etiquette is fascinating!

TLBRG: P.61 – searching tongues – one member said ‘Tongues really? – Was this necessary?’ and felt this shouldn’t have come until much later.

S: The heat level of a book does provoke a wide range of reactions from readers. How we conduct ourselves in intimate circumstances is so personal that when we read something that jars it can feel uncomfortable. I do understand this but I don’t know a one-size-fits-all solution. Personally, I don’t feel that tongue being involved in a Christmas kiss is unlikely or outrageous.

Many thanks to Tricia and the members of The Laid-back Book Group! It’s been great chatting with you.

the-laid-back-book-group

 

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Audiobook: The Christmas Promise by Sue Moorcroft

Audio books are a growing market and the voice of the actor is part of a book’s success. This is a lovely review of the audio version of ‘The Christmas Promise’ and I’m reblogging it because it illustrates the importance of the narrator’s voice.

splashesintobooks

“Modern issues dealt with in a festive romance”

the-christmas-promise

Overall 5*
Performance 5*
Story 5*

I just didn’t want to switch this audiobook off. A superbly crafted story complemented so well by Laura Kirman’s use of different ‘voices’ for the characters and her expressive reading of the story bring it to life, make a fantastic listen.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Christmas Promise?

The comparisons of how Ava is treated by her bullying, drunk and threatening ex-boyfriend contrasts dramatically with the usually more supportive reactions of Sam Jermyn, though he, too, has his moments! All the moments with Sam’s Mum, as she endeavours to enjoy the festive break recovering from major surgery before starting chemotherapy are also very moving and memorable.

What does Laura Kirman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Laura Kirman uses changes in pace…

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The Christmas Promise by Sue Moorcroft @SueMoorcroft #FridayReads #ContemporaryFiction

Let’s round off 2016 with this lovely positive review for The Christmas Promise from Cathy Ryan on Between the Lines! I’ve been thrilled by the reaction to The Christmas Promise – a Kindle #1 for goodness sake! Talk about wildest dreams! – and thank you, Cathy, for understanding so well what I wanted to achieve with Ava and Sam.

BetweenTheLines

  • 32227415Author: Sue Moorcroft
  • Published: December 2016 by Avon
  • Category: Contemporary, Romance
  • four-half-stars

For Ava Bliss, it’s going to be a Christmas to remember …

On a snowy December evening, Sam Jermyn steps into the life of bespoke hat maker Ava. Sparks fly, and not necessarily the good ones.

Ava Bliss is struggling to scrape a living from her bespoke hat making business and, although she shares a house with her best friend Izzy, finding the rent is becoming a real worry. Her dreams of running a successful high-end millinery business are fading fast and to top it all it’s Christmas, Ava’s least favourite time of the year. Money troubles are not the only problems for Ava. Her ex boyfriend is harassing her and threatening to make public some photos Ava deeply regrets agreeing to.

There’s one upside though – Sam Jermyn commissions her to make a hat for his mother, Wendy…

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Catching up with Sue Moorcroft!

I was asked by lovely Valerie Holmes to update an interview I did on her blog in 2014. Here’s the result. I’m genuinely amazed at how much has changed in two years!

valerie holmes, author

15044728_1345143528830561_1521520340_oIt has been exciting to catch up with Sue Moorcroft to see all that has happened in her career since I interviewed her back in September 2014.

Hi Sue and welcome back! I know that 2016 has proved to be an exciting year for you, so tell us how much has changed.

This is an interesting idea – to be asked to update an old interview! I’m genuinely surprised by how much has happened in a little over two years and really thrilled that so much of what I was just beginning to work towards in 2014 has come to pass.

I had to look at my life and make some decisions. I wasn’t getting where I wanted to be writing-wise and I felt under tremendous time-pressures. I examined everything I did under three headings:
– What makes me happy/unhappy
– What’s good for me/bad for me
– What…

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The Christmas Promise – Sue Moorcroft

Thanks to Sophie Newton for this wonderful review of The Christmas Promise!

Sophie Newton

9780008175528.jpeg.pngDon’t let the title pull the mistletoe over your eyes with this one – this novel will have you gripped from start to finish and you’ll be laughing until you’re crying – literally.  The author makes you feel as if you know the main characters of Sam and Ava and of their warmth, love and passion for one another.

The Christmas Promise is also a novel with deep, relatable meaning of how Ava, a milliner, manages to deal with abusive bullying from her ex-boyfriend with the tedious financial issues of day to day life.  You cannot help but feel for Ava, she is so well described in every aspect of the novel, drawing you in to her; you want to be both her friend and her mother, to console her when things go wrong, and to cover your eyes when things go right! Sam has a kind hearted…

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Why Write a Christmas Book? Author Sue Moorcroft Explains

Reblogged from the lovely Poetic Parfait blog – why I wrote a Christmas book. (As it’s been in the UK Kindle top ten for a couple of weeks I’m very pleased I did! 🙂 )

My thanks to Christy of Poetic Parfait for hosting me.

Poetic Parfait

Please join me in welcoming author Sue Moorcroft to the blog! She offers insights into writing a Christmas book and the origins of her latest novel The Christmas Promise in this holiday guest post. Take it away, Sue!

*<[:{)  *<[:{)  *<[:{)

Writing a Christmas book was a new experience for me. I’d written quite a few short stories for magazines set at or around Christmas but never anything longer. I’m not the world’s biggest Christmas fan.

I suppose there are three reasons I wrote The Christmas Promise. Here’s the chronology:

Waterstones had given me an opportunity to sign books in my local store. While I was handing out my bookmarks and chatting to prospective readers I was able to observe the table at the front of the store piled high with novels featuring Christmas. Those novels were just walking out of the store. A couple of people even came…

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Three ways to #win a copy of The Christmas Promise – countdown to paperback release!

14650182_10154069974562843_4596464296072225474_nAs it’s less than a week to the paperback release of The Christmas Promise I thought I’d start early celebrations by bringing you three different ways to win an early copy.

Just click any (or all) of the links below. There’s nothing much more onerous needed than to click or comment for any of these fab opportunities!

Take a Break magazine

Avon Books UK Facebook page

Laura’s Little Book Blog

I’ll be chatting about the book on the Bernie Keith Show on BBC Radio Northampton on the 30th November and here are the details:

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The paperback cover is so beautiful and bling that I can’t wait to see it on the shelves. (I can love the cover without boasting because that gorgeous jacket is all down to Avon Books UK, not to me.)

German TCP coverI’m absolutely thrilled to say that the German edition, WinterZauberKüsse (Magical Winter Kisses) is currently number 33 in the mass market paperback chart and it has gone into a second print run to keep up with demand.

I love this cover, too! Fischer, the German publisher, has done me proud.

I’ve even learned recently that a new technique was developed especially for the white sparkly snow on the paperback. How cool is that? (Sorry about the snow/cool pun.)

the-christmas-promiseThe ebook of The Christmas Promise has been in the top ten Kindle chart for the majority of the last ten days and so I’d like to thank everybody who has bought it, reviewed it, shared my posts or just talked about it. You totally rock.

Thank

you!

And don’t forget to enter the competitions.

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Carole Blake

This week publishing has lost a bright light and an incredible woman. Carole Blake eased my way into becoming a client of the fantastic Blake Friedmann agency by introducing me to my agent, Juliet Pickering, which led to my contracts with Avon HarperCollins, Fischer, Bazar and with another possibility waiting in the wings. The loss is personal to me but so much more so to her family, colleagues at the agency, and her clients. My friend Liz Fenwick speaks movingly of Carol on the Vulpes Libres blog:

Vulpes Libris

Yesterday, the publishing world was stunned by the news of the sudden death of Carole Blake, co-founder of the Literary Agency Blake Friedmann and author of the perennial best seller, ‘From Pitch to Publication’.

We asked one of the many writers she represented – Liz Fenwick – for her memories of one of the publishing industry’s titans:

~~~:~~~

Carole and LizAs I write this I’m struggling to believe that a woman of such vitality as Carole isn’t here any more. The world is a lesser place for her loss. She is also someone who is hard to write about without using superlatives – and I can hear her voice in my head, editing me.

But I have to say that she was so vibrant, so loving, so fierce and so passionate, I can’t believe all that energy is gone – and gone far too soon. She had only just celebrated her seventieth…

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How I trended on Twitter with #TheChristmasPromise

Take Five Authors

The 6th of October saw the ebook release of The Christmas Promise and #MyPromise is that the morning passed  in a blur of social media activity. Although I’m a touch typist and once worked as a copy taker on a sports paper (i.e. I type quickly) I could hardly keep up with Twitter.

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The blog tour had begun, the first reviews were in ‘wildest dreams’ territory and it seemed that everyone I know Tweeted to wish me well. And the result was:

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#TheChristmasPromise trended on Twitter for over two hours. The Digital Media Manager Tweeted this:

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My editor emailed me, my agent Tweeted me, I kept checking Twitter’s sidebar and it kept being up there. Talk about exciting!

And now you might want me to tell you how it was achieved. The problem is, I’m not sure. There must be so many factors influencing it, not least of which is what else was…

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