Lake of Spirits proofreading and editing is finished!

Posted on August 25, 2011 (Subscribe to Blog)

As the title of this post suggests, I'm finally finished with Lake of Spirits. Well, almost. I just want to read it through one more time before I publish it. Experience has shown that I always find additional typos on that final read-through!

So this post is to say that I'm about to post to say the book is published. I expect Lake of Spirits to be available on Kindle and Nook by the last day of August, and in print within the first week or two of September (that process is a little slower). I'll post further announcements on both momentous occasions.

I said long ago that this book would be published "sometime during summer 2011" and, later, "sometime in August 2011," and I'm happy to say I managed to keep that promise... but only just. It's been a tough couple of months – too much work and not enough time to write. (This is a complaint from the writer in me; obviously there's no such thing as too much work in the real world. I just wish I had a clone. When is a clone-making machine going to be available to the general public? Come on, stem cell researchers, get on with it!)

I want to give my ego a boost and post the following words from Iguana Proofreading. To avoid spoilers, this is a snipped version of the summary. There are also lots of other comments and notes, and these have helped me clean up the manuscript where needed. Sometimes, things that are perfectly clear to me are a little vague to readers, and that's why writers need proofreaders.

Well, you've outdone yourself this time...! This is excellent! In many ways, your best yet. This is a different kind of adventure... not a physical adventure, with a quest or a journey. This is a psychological adventure. This fourth installment engages the emotions like no other before it, and is really a rollercoaster of anger, jealousy, resentment, revenge, fear, pain, and sorrow. This shows that you don't have to send the main characters on wild and wonderful journeys battling fantastic creatures and monsters; you can beguile the reader in a much more personal, intimate way.

Jolie is your tool, your key, to this – and she proves to be a masterstroke. All throughout, I was kept guessing as to whether she would prove to be a good egg or as nasty and conniving as the gradually building suspicions allude to. Was she doing all those things on purpose? Was she just a little bit immature and naive, and not realising the extent of her behaviour? Was she misunderstood... or was there something else going on?

This reads very much like an Enid [Blyton] book – I remember the occasional 'special' character popping up in, say, Famous Five tales and forming the focus as a befriended stranger. Edgar springs to mind, the son of a nasty uncle and auntie that the kids always had run-ins with. (I think that book was about the kids running away to go live by themselves on an island, or something like that.) Jolie is very much like that, with not everyone warming to her, and treating her with suspicion.

This has a different feel to previous books in the series, but certainly not unwelcome. This is an insightful look into daily village life – their daily lives – and gives you a chance to see what things are like back home when the children are not on a wild adventure or mission in dark and dangerous lands. [The village of] Carter is starting to become familiar, and I felt as a reader that I myself was starting to settle into my new home and learning the layout of the buildings, the woodland trails that surround the village, and the people that live there.

There are some areas that need some clarification, a little more detail, all of which are detailed below and within the Comments throughout the manuscript itself, but all in all, there's not a lot wrong with this at all! Try as I might, I couldn't find any areas that needed a major rewrite and in my mind, apart from the little bits and bobs I mention, it's just fine as it is! Nicely balanced, exciting, tense and emotional, and a bloody good read!

Thanks, Darren! I had to laugh at the comparison to an Enid Blyton book. On the one hand, I feel like my books are far darker in tone than Enid Blyton's adventures for children. But I do see Darren's point and I can easily imagine Blyton readers enjoying the play-off between the characters in Lake of Spirits. For all those Blyton readers out there, this is probably more like the introduction of Ragamuffin Jo and George's instant dislike of her, only a whole lot more serious.

Next stop: Kindle and Nook. Stay tuned!

Comment by NIGEL ROWE on Thursday, August 25, 2011...

An intriguing review. It looks to be a good read — you've probably made it when one of your characters get compared to Edgar Stick!

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Thursday, August 25, 2011...

Indeed! Although Darren just emailed to clarify that my book, while Blyton-like in one small respect, doesn't go as far as using 1940s dialog like this:

"Oh, what a simply ghastly person!" said Abigail.
"Rather!" Hal agreed.
"Oh, Hal — you really are a brick!" gushed Abigail.
"Lashings of ginger beer, anyone?" called Robbie.

Now, THAT would be horrid.

Comment by MING on Friday, August 26, 2011...

Well done on getting the edits done! The review makes you want to read more... good luck on getting Lake of Spirits out as soon as possible!

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