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Get an analyst’s report of your first draft

Here’s a service I never even knew existed until recently but cannot recommend enough. I had written the manuscript for my second book; Monica but something about it just didn’t gel. Something I could not put my finger on. I was happy with the obvious stuff like the characters and the narrative but somehow it just didn’t feel complete to me. I also felt I was having to ask myself too many questions about the flow of it while I was writing it.

So I enlisted the help of Cressida Downing; the book analyst. For a small fee she (and other people who offer a similar service) promise a “warts and all” appraisal of what you have written so far. In other words feedback ranging from “this is good” to “you’re wasting your time here”.

The feedback I had was like an epiphany for me. She had totally nailed where the divergence was and the effect it was having on the work over all. In addition to a written report picking out strengths and weaknesses of your draft she also gives a consultation to help you find the right route forward with the rest of it. Coaching for want of a better word and a great sounding board. We have one such call scheduled for next week.

If you find your self floundering with getting a new idea down on paper. Or even if you just want what you have written sanity checked by someone who knows what they are talking about, this could be the answer for you.

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First Edit – First Book

I recently found a publisher for my first book. It is a compendium of fascinating old, Welsh legends and stories of folklore. Everything from ancient wars and kings, to dragons, ghosts and ship wreckers. Here’s a link to the full synopsis if that is your kind of thing. My middle child (who self identifies as non binary) is a great artist and photographer so I got them to do all the illustrations and photos to bring it all to life. As we are both currently unemployed it seemed a handy alliance to forge.

I have found that publishers are a lot more likely to take a punt on an unknown writer if they have produced a work of non-fiction rather than a novel and this one is now in quite advanced stages of pre-publication. Over the weekend I had the post edit version of my manuscript land in my inbox and today I read it through. I was a bit apprehensive that they might have changed pretty much everything as I am still lacking confidence in my own abilities. I guess that’s what comes of waiting 52 years before even trying to write my first book. However I was worrying unnecessarily. Most of what has changed is just my appalling spelling. The content, feel and flow is exactly the same as my first draft which is reassuring. May be I’m not completely rubbish at this after all 🙂

It occurs to me that at this rate it will be ready for publication in a few weeks so I thought I would have a look at setting up a website so I can sell my own copies direct. Especially as I expect to publish another two books hot on the heals of this one. One already finished, the other half way through. If you click on the book cover below you can check it out. And constructive feedback from someone who knows what they are talking about is always welcome, although to manage expectations I am not about to pay anyone to do it for me because I am skint.

Legends and folklore of Bridgend and the Vale