Tag: editing

Life of Fictitious Ink

In the summer of 2013, I started down the path of setting up my own publishing company, looking to the day when the rights to  some of my own novels would revert back to me. With baby steps, I went through the process of setting up my business, getting a licence, and registering my publishing company – FICTITIOUS INK.

In 2014 I published a little ‘test’ book called LIFE IS A HIGHWAY: ADVICE AND REFLECTIONS ON NAVIGATING THE ROAD OF LIFE.  The book was based on a speaking engagement I did at a women’s retreat, and I thought it would serve nicely as a giveaway.

I also decided to test myself further, and publish a children’s book – THE SLEEPYTOWN EXPRESS.  This was a very personal project, as I wanted to publish it as a tribute to my late mother, who often sang Haven Gillespie’s beloved song to us as children. I started painting the illustrations shortly after she passed away in 2007, but it took several years and much time getting copyright permission etc, before the book would be a reality.

In 2016, three years after getting my business licence, I decided it was time to publish something more substantial. I had learned a few things about formatting, various software options, and other best practices, and had the next perfect ‘test’ book in mind. I’d received the rights back to my NEIGHBOURS Series, so republished these as a  set of serialized ebooks along with a complete volume in both ebook format and paperback.  It was my biggest publishing effort to date. It basically took up most of that summer, but it was well worth the time and steep learning curve it took to get this book the way I wanted it.

Somehow, in the busyness of that summer, I also got the idea for a little prayer journal which I put together called THIRTY DAYS OF TARGETED PRAYER: A JOURNALING TOOL TO BOOST YOUR PRAYER COMMITMENT.  Again, my motivation was rather personal. I am a voracious ‘journaler’ and often ‘pray’ while doing so. I wanted a systematic way to pray for other people and this is what I came up with. (By the way, I’ve been using it myself ever since.)

The learning continues and in 2017  I reformatted and republished THE SLEEPYTOWN EXPRESS as a hardcover book, which is so much nicer than the paperback. I also published two children’s books as class projects, writing and illustrating the story books with my Art 7 and 8 students.  HOCKEY IN THE WILD and FIRE BEAR are the results.

The second in the NEIGHBOURS Series also came into being with another set of serialized novellas and a complete version called KEEPING UP WITH THE NEIGHBOURS.  And I finally got around to the impetus for this whole experiment, which was to republish my own work when I got the rights back. My first published novel got revised and republished under a new name: CONSPIRACY OF BONES (And the Beat Goes On)


When I actually take the time to write it all down, I feel pretty satisfied. Sometimes it is easy to feel like you aren’t getting anything accomplished, but I can see steady growth and forward movement. I have plenty of plans for Fictitious Ink for the coming years.

Check out the FI website here for more cool photos.


Favourite Tools For Authors


Construction worker/Builder with tools. Isolated on white backgroundThere was a very informative and interesting panel at InScribe’s fall conference in September of last year which asked four different authors to share their favourite writing tools. On the panel were: Linda Hall, Rik Hall, Jane Wheeler, and Janice Dick. (And yours truly as moderator.) Here is a helpful list of tools mentioned:



By far the most popular tool (no surprise here) was Scrivener. Everyone on the panel – including me – love it. Here are some of the reasons:

– deals with complete projects

– flexible, user-friendly

– compile feature for whatever end result is desired, also for separating character / plotlines

– character / setting templates

– linked research

– notes for scenes, document, project (always visible)

– scene categorization (date, time, POV)

– can be colour-coded

– use for any writing or organization project (blogs, recipe collections…)

if you’re not using Scrivener, yet, you should really give it a try. It is free for first month (non consecutive uses so there is no pressure) and even then it is very affordable. I bought two subscriptions (one for my Mac and one for my PC) long before the trial period was up. It’s just that awesome.


Some tools just never go out of style. Invest in a good thesaurus or fond one online. It’s a great tool for bridging the gap between the right and left sides of the brain.


This was a popular one as well. Here are some of the resources suggested:

Elements of Style – Strunk & White

Woe is I – Patricia W. Carr (concise and humorous)

Write! Better – Ray Wiseman (succinct)

Writer’s Digest Books (eg. Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell, Scene & Structure, Characters & Viewpoint, etc.)


This is good for checking how your files will look on a kindle device before you go ahead and publish. Just drag and drop word docs and pdfs into this program and send them to your Kindle device. Another option is ‘Kindle Previewer’.


Any software that reads back to you is very useful when self-editing. It catches those mistakes that your brain skipped over because you knew what you meant to say. Mac’s have a built in ‘text to speech’ which you can check out by going to the system preferences. My Mac will read highlighted text using the ‘Option+Esc’ keys. There are other programs like ‘Natural Reader’ that are popular. The reverse (speech to text) is also useful if you want to ‘write’ while walking or just tired of typing all the time. You can use your computer or your phone for this.


Many different sites were mentioned and I suspect this one is very much about individual preference. However, here is what I managed to jot down:

Livewritethrive by C.S. Lakin

The Creative Penn by Joanna Penn

goodreads – for leaving reviews, getting reviews, creating an author page, and interacting about books

facebook groups – too many to mention or link to!


A couple of people mentioned that they liked to use some ‘old school’ methods of organizing when they write. For instance, index cards for each scene help one to visually lay out a book to see if it flows. Another mentioned using coloured pens specific to each character, the plot, setting etc. (FYI, Scrivener has both of these functions as well. Bonus!)


Linda Hall mentioned developing her own shortcuts to increase her productivity. (For instance: chc = church) To do so on a mac, go to Systems Preferences —Text—Shortcuts. (She suggested checking out court reporting for usable shortcuts.) This is very useful when using a phone, too.


Rik Hall, Linda’s husband and a professional publisher, mentioned two programs for those who are getting into self publishing:

I certainly found the panel very informative. I hope you have gleaned some useful bits of information here, as well.

Tips and Tools From the Editors

Construction worker/Builder with tools. Isolated on white background

Good editing is another tool in your toolkit!

Some very insightful tidbits and advice were shared at an ‘editor’s panel’ at Inscribe’s 2016 Fall Conference. On the panel were the following expert editors:

Carol Schaefer, columns’ editor for Fellowscript Magazine; Nina Morey, editor in chief of Fellowscript Magazine; Dale Youngman, of Pagemaster Publishing; Susan King, editor of The Upper Room. 

Some key questions:

Why do I need an editor?

–        Carol Schafer used losing her keys as an example. She’d lost her keys and looked EVERYWHERE  for them with no success, until someone else came along and found them – in plain sight. I’m sure we’ve all had moments like this in our lives. The ‘obvious’ is not always obvious. Sometimes it takes another set of eyes. We all have blind spots. In the end we want the very best product we can manage and therefore good writers WANT to be edited. It makes them better.

What are some of the different kinds of editing?

–       Structural – This is an overall ‘big picture’ edit: (Are there holes? Is there flow? Show don’t tell rule etc.)

–       Copy editing – focuses details and rewriting.

–       Proofing – find all typos etc. (Some may call it line editing.)

      More takeaways:

– The best editing is invisible… it brings out the best of the author.

– Send the best copy you can to the editor. (So do some self editing first! Run it by your critique group first. Read it out loud.)

– Don’t trust the tools! Spell and grammar check can make mistakes. Be BETTER than your tools. Get out the grammar books and review! (It’s good medicine!)

– Put your work away for awhile. Come back to it with fresh eyes.

– Boil it down. Eliminate and tighten.

– Editors are looking for excellence, not perfection. (Know when to move on!)

– submit to guidelines and be organized if you are submitting to more than one place.

It’s okay to disagree with your editor, but make sure you are open to suggestions. Listen and learn. Your editor is not your adversary. Expect to be dismayed and challenged, but in the end, be pleased. Editors love TEACHABLE authors.

Suggested resources:

Telling Lies for Fun and Profit

Grammar Girl


Chicago Manual of Style 16th edition

Strunk and White’s Elements of Style

Monetizing Your Creativity (podcast)

Add Some Colour

chromatic-wheel-2As an artist as well as a writer, I know the importance of colour. Yet I’ve read a few manuscripts with a distinct lack of it.  Rather than ‘fifty shades of gray’ perhaps we should be looking for fifty words to express exactly what we envision.

Here is a list (not comprehensive by any means) to help you think outside the ‘wheel’.

Red: crimson, ruby, cherry, scarlet, brick red, auburn, vermillion, burgundy, candy apple, russet, maroon, ruddy, wine, rose…

Orange: copper, coral, tangerine, peach, pumpkin, apricot, carrot, melon, persimmon, topaz, mandarin…

Yellow: canary, butter, daffodil, amber, bronze, dandelion, goldenrod, straw, gold, lemon, saffron, mustard, ochre…

Green: avocado, ivy, lime, olive, emerald, bottle green, forest, chartreuse, Granny apple, teal, aquamarine, jade, aqua, neon…

Blue: azure, turquoise, cerulean, cobalt, sky, peacock, robin egg, royal, indigo, sapphire, navy, baby blue, cyan, denim, ultramarine…

Purple: violet, mauve, plum, amethyst, lilac, orchid, magenta, periwinkle, lavender…

Pink: (technically pink is a tint of red, not it’s own colour) salmon, blush, fuschia…

Brown: chestnut, tan, rust, caramel, coffee, beige, chocolate, ecru, dun, walnut, cinnamon, mahogany, burnt sienna, sandy, terracotta, khaki, sepia, fawn, taupe, burnt umber…

White: alabaster, snow, chalk, bone, ivory, pearl…

Black:  jet, ink, coal, ebony…

Gray: silver, ash, dust, charcoal, smoky, slate, steel…

Using metaphors and similes is another wonderful way to add colour to one’s writing. You probably noticed that many of the words in the above list are actually metaphors. Orange is an especially good example.  Many of the words for orange are types of food!

Have fun with this list and add a little colour to your writing – and your life!

This post originally appeared on the Inscribe Professional Blog on October 15, 2015. 

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