Tag Archives: editing

When you get ‘possessed’ and it’s only 5.30 am

I am close to 9000 words into the sequel novel and I am coming up for air. It’s odd when a chapter writes itself in two hours. Oh sure it will be edited and tweaked probably a million more times, but it’s flowing, good and fast like the Hudson River.  If that flows fast?! Just popped into my head. I think it, I write it. Where does it even come from?

Starting a new novel usually takes longer, finding the character’s voice, and his or her quirks. I have talked many times on here about how you need to create flaws and mannerisms and tics that make your character feel real. And while some you plan, most appear — by magic. What I had never thought about before was how nice it is to write characters that are already fully formed. The thing about a sequel is you already know your ‘people’, well the key ones at least, so their voice comes so much easier. And that is what I am finding now.

In addition, picking up the story threads six weeks on means I also know what happened to my people, and by way of a quick but not overdone recap for those who have not read book one (even though you hope they will have read book one) means you can process what happened. And the plan I have drafted means I also know where this is heading. I know the function of each chapter. Only now come the surprises.

It’s interesting how many things happen as if by magic and certainly there has been some of that since I started to work on this sequel. This morning is a case in point when my favourite flawed character with the most distinctive voice ends Chapter 4 in a way I have never actually planned. Oh, the thing it relates to was going to happen in this chapter, but not quite this way. And this is what I was talking about last week: when it surprises you but feels right, then it should surprise your reader.

So I thought I would share before I go back in to tweak.

Writing is a powerful way to lose yourself to find yourself.

And I am now possessed.

And that, for now, is all.



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Tunnel Vision

It was such a great week last week after the ‘new agent news’ and finally feeling as if I knew what I had to do next. So I found myself up and working at 5 am every day, after a break from that for a while, and fully in that zone: that fully immersive state we all relish if we can get in there! It does mean everything else falls away around you as you write, and some mornings I was aware of the hubby speaking until he probably realised I was not ‘in the room’ and off he’d go and next thing a coffee would plonk down beside my computer mouse. I have him well trained!

So edits under guidance completed along with new synopsis and off to my agent. I am now doing something I have never done before. Working out the plot intricacies of a sequel! I had always intended a sequel to this novel (not saying which one yet) but had not quite worked out what would happen. I spent three hours at 5 am scribbling and thinking. I am not there yet but something is slowly emerging! I often find I need to look the other way for a while to see it clearly as if plots like to take shape just out of shot. My mission for this week is to get something together and find my EUREKA plot moment when I realise what it has to say. And to be ready to start writing it!

Writing is a process of many stages.

  • Planning: advice? Never force it; let it come when it wants to, just nudge it along as I do not recommend waiting for your muse either.
  • Writing new material: is the really exciting part and my fingers get a buzz when I am in that zone. I think that is probably the most exciting phase. This is when the true magic happens and often things you could not have planned!
  • Editing: I relish because it helps your work to take shape and become something so much better than that first draft. And if you are lucky enough more magic creeps beautifully in 🙂


Many many rounds of edits later it might or might not be ready but it has to reach a point when you MUST let it go and if you have been working on the same thing for too long — rest it and write something else. We can get too close to it. My advice for anyone wanting a career as a writer and intending to find an agent and a book deal needs to let one novel go and work on a new one, especially when new to it. Get a critique, get solid editorial feedback and learn how to improve — but when you have reached that point know when to rest it and work on something new, taking those newly acquired skills with you. Agents want you for a career, not a single book. My fourth novel was the one that was finally deemed good enough to find a publisher.  But nothing is ever wasted because you have something to later work on.

So that is me, just wanted to pop by to report in mid-editing a manuscript for a client!

That is all. Happy Writing! Happy Week!

Books HD

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Mentoring Programme for Writers

I seem to do a lot more mentoring these days which I find fruitful for many reasons, for both myself and my clients.

We are all so busy in our lives and so writing that novel, finishing that short story collection, completing that project gets pushed aside. But when we have a weekly phone call and an expectation to produce something it forms a focus.

I am not sure how some of you are getting along with your new year’s resolutions but February is often the time when we flounder. So, I am proposing a six-week mentoring programme that begins next month for a small group, let’s say 6 writers with partially finished projects and serious intentions. You would need to set aside at least two- two and a half hours a week to work on it, but really if you call it 3o minutes a day and get up earlier, for example, it is pretty easy to do. And then another 30 minutes to an hour for a discussion which can be one-to-one or we can do a group chat later as we progress so we support one another.

All it will cost (and we do really need 6 of us) is £125 for 6 weeks of mentoring and finishing with a meet-up if not too widely dispersed so I am suggesting London. I have not run this before but my feeling is that it will be worthwhile as a way of kick-starting serious projects, so you do achieve that dream this year. At the end of the course I will offer guidance on what to do next including submitting your work.

If you are serious I need an email telling me about your writing project and intentions, how far you are along with it and what time you have available.

Email me now writer@debzhobbs-wyatt.co.uk



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Taking stock

Sometimes all you need to do is stand back and look at your life and appreciate just how far you have come to see where you’re heading.

A lot has happened this past month and now I am beginning to get back down to earth and focus on my writing and my editing work. I have work scheduled into April so all good 🙂

I am also still working on the new short story since there is a looming deadline I would like to meet. It’s an odd week as I have a touch of the lurgy and so under advice from the lovely Mr B I am not at the gym! NO!!!!!! I feel fine (ish) but the cough is doing my head in!)… but I am sure the world will not implode if I miss the gym for two days! But I do need to write!!!

If you need a reality check stand still and look at what you have because I promise you there is always always something to be grateful for ❤

That is all. Enjoy your day folks…


A photo of us (in glasses) as we read our own vows after the real ones! I am not sure I have achieved the I promise to try to talk less though!

Us 3Debz and Mal with The Revd Canon David Tudor, 19.1.19, St Nicholas Church, Canvey Island, Essex

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Passion and only passion

The only way to feel a real connection to all that you are and all that you aspire to be is by following your true passion.

I have said that many times but it is so true.

I see so many people moaning about things in their life instead of counting their blessings. We all know life can throw tough things at us and there will be times when smiling and getting back up proves to be a real challenge. And you know what, some days it is okay to wallow. But know one thing — in the end, it comes down to choice and mindset.

I make a commitment to myself to follow my heart in all things and that no matter what I would make sure I was enjoying the ride, and learning from the mistakes. I have been working for myself for some nine years this year and it still never ceases to amaze me that I can do it and I can pull together a reasonable enough living to at least pay my bills. And we do have fun and get away, have date days, have meals out. But if pennies are tight we do other things and there are plenty of free things to do. Life is not about how much we spend but how many moments we truly engage in, it’s about how we spend our lives ❤

My husband also follows his passion and has for all his life. If he had followed what other kids from his estate were doing when he was growing up, he might have walked an altogether different path in life. He did not want to end up in trouble, so he built a gym in his shed and made a dream, one that he achieved. He knows about the need for passion, in all things. That what you might not be rich in, financially, can bring much greater rewards in the richness of life.

There can only be one way: following your passion.

The financial rewards will come, but as a side effect and should not be the reason for doing something.

If you love what you do it will never feel like work, right?

It’s been a busy week and I am now taking work on for April and beyond. If you need my services as an editor, for some structural editing through to proof-reading or you need some one-to-one mentoring or fancy taking part in some small group mentoring to finally work on that novel or collection of short stories then please contact me and we will launch the mentoring this spring/summer. Please email me if interested writer@debzhobbs-wyatt.co.uk

If you have passion, then you have drive and if you have drive you will always succeed.

Never Give Up.

follow your passion


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The Editing Tree



simple question:

Why do you write?

Why do you write like that?

Why do you need to tell that story?

Why did you do it that way?

Why did you end it that way?

Why is key to understanding what. 

What are you trying to say?

What is driving the action?

What does the character want?

What will they do to try to get it?

What will stand in the way of them getting it?

What happens next?

What leads to how.

How does the character set out to get the thing they want?

How much do they want it?

How will they feel if they never get it?

How hard do they try?

How will their own inner demons impact on getting it?

How much do their actions impact on others?

How do they change?

Editing is a string of key questions starting with WHY?




But always be prepared to start over and let new saplings take root elsewhere


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When to Delete Part 2 {Editing Tips}


As we saw yesterday we can make changes for the flow of the narrative by editing out any words that do not have to be there; but the same can be said of information and backstory (exposition), repeated information, non-functional scenes, plot points, entire subplots and whole characters!

This is the real nuts and bolts stuff because as you start to edit out these things you could potentially weaken the structure of the story or piece and make it unstable. What you do in one place can have serious consequences elsewhere, but structural editing is a vital part of the process. While I have called this Part 2, in reality, this is the editing you will do first before you tackle the things I talked about yesterday. You need to get the shape of the story right before you start playing with scenes that might not even make the final cut, right?

So look at:

  • How you handle the information we need to understand the story: character backstory, historical information, science information perhaps: the stuff you research. Do not include this as ‘information dumps’ but drip feed in on a need to know basis as and when the story dictates! And use the backstory stuff as a tease so you hook your reader as I have talked about before.


  • Tell the reader once; do not recap, by repeating information we already know, like Janice, my adopted sister… don’t keep saying who she is. If some information has not been used for some time find more inventive ways to remind the reader through their dialogue or a short phrase. Don’t repeat for the sake of it, this is more you reminding yourself of the story!


  • Make sure all scenes are functional: by that I mean they move plot, reveal character and by doing so explore theme. I talk about this a lot in my reports, narrative and dialogue has to be functional, like repeated information or information dumps it’s FILLER and needs deleting!


  •  Subplots that do not tie directly into the resolution of the key storyline: delete. The function of the subplot is to add layering to the story but not to add a whole other story!


  • Characters also need to be functional and assume defined roles. If you have too many then think about how they work and see if you can merge roles, so you have fewer key characters, doing some of the same things. Look at the traditional archetypes so you will have in there a mentor, lover, enemy, shape-shifter and remember characters can assume more than one role! At the editing stage, you might be killing your darlings… literally or writing them out of existence… oh the power of the writer. But remember, like everything keep drafts and maybe you’ll use the ‘decreated’ ones again. Now there’s a story… what happens to all the character who didn’t make the cut… like rejected toys? The victims of the editor’s imagination?



That is all, character voice tomorrow!





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