Sometimes, We Characters Need to Explain The Position

Hello everyone. Firstly I hope you are managing to cope as well as you can with all the trials and troubles in your world. They do seem to be very testing times.

Anyway, allow me to introduce myself to those of you not familiar with The Precipice Dominions stories, those being Of Patchwork Warriors; Our Skirmishers of Lace, Steel, and Fire and the concluding work Daughters of Circumstances. Arbiters of Consequences. My name is Trelli, as I am an orphan of unknown parents the folk looking after me never did get around to giving me a surname and until recently it never bothered me much. However under the influence of adventure, consequential excitement and of course ever the present Ethereal, in a fit of exuberance I titled myself Trelyvana Waywanderer and folk did seem to find it easier to cope with. It must be one of those quirks, that people do like a bit of the grandiose, at least when you are expected to place your Sanity, Integrity and Life all at risk for the good of…. a lot of people.

I am here as representative of the three of us. That is myself and my very good friends Arketre Beritt and Karlyn Nahtinee . Although Karlyn says she should be known as Karlyn Beritt now, but Arketre says in view of the situation there is a case for her being named Arketre Nahtinee. And then the whole business gets very tangled, so I say folk should read the three books and decide for themselves. (I understand that last statement could be read as ‘Marketing’- which Merklin says……Oh dear now I am getting ahead of myself and digressing; bear with me and I’ll start again).

Due to the events subsequent to Daughters of Circumstances. Arbiters of Consequences Arketre and Karlyn are somewhat preoccupied with more pressing personal matters whereas since I am now in the heady world of politics it would seem to be a requirement to have (1) An Opinion on; (2) Advice to give about; and (3) The need to explain, everything you come across, which is where this, (I believe the term is) ‘Post’ originates.

I understand those of you who follow Roger’s blog will be aware the third volume is completed and awaiting a book cover. As I am very familiar with the frenetic pace at which he uses keyboards; which is very rarely in synchronicity with his thought processes and also his inclination to use very convoluted prose I thought it would be helpful to read back over the two previous volumes for errors in typing, transmissions, syntax and of course continuity, so I stole away a copy of each of the volumes and with feet up on my favourite sofa, a few small snacks and a large pot of herbal brew started off.

Oh dear, I thought. Although that maybe a bit of an exaggeration, more a case of ‘Hmmmm’. It’s not the errors in typing, apparently those seem to be something quite unavoidable unless you hire a team of at least five dedicated proof-readers and then there is the risk they can get into a fearful argument between themselves over punctuation and other rules of grammar, thus holding the whole business up.

No, the problem was, whereas he did get the general narrative correct, in a linear fashion, as it were, some of his details were quite incorrect.

For instance: When Arketre had her first conversation with Zweideutig and introduced us, while the discourse between the two went on Karlyn and I did not get into an undignified wrestling match which Arketre threatened to break up with a bucket of dirty water. We were simply having a spirited argument over my reading matter, how I had appropriated the said works and whether Karlyn had the right to go rummaging through my possessions, this was halted when Arketre in her best LifeGuard sergeant style required our opinions on a temporal displacement. I asked Roger how on The Good Lord God’s World he had decided his account was the correct version of events.

‘Well Karlyn told me-‘

‘Karlyn told you?’ I exclaimed ‘You’ll be believing one of those ridiculous YouTube or FaceBook accounts next!! I have told you before. Watch her eyes! If she blinks swiftly twice and her glance darts to the left, she’s up to mischief . Oh really Roger! You are a good sort, but you are too willing to listen to the words of the more lively folk,’

Then I had to take him to task about his assumption I had certain physical feelings for Wigran. He tried to defend himself by waffling about ‘subtext’ to which he was told in no uncertain terms to ask me about sub-texts as I had had to deal with them all, in the whole three volumes! Honestly, you would have thought someone of his age would have known better!!

Basically I have undertaken to guide him back through the account. For the reputations of everyone, be they good or bad, and to give full credit to those who played fleeting but important parts in the drama. As I understand it; historians in your world are doing this all the time; they write a book, new evidence turns up and every so often they write a new edition with some alteration or other. The basic story and the important elements, though, all remain the same.

I cannot comment on what he has written about the more private interludes Arketre and Karlyn shared. He has said they were written based on Arketre’s accounts and with her looming over his shoulder; he added this was most unnerving. She said he had left the best bits out, trying to type with his eyes shut was the most damn fool thing she had ever seen and if he had spent less time looking for references in a Thesaurus he would have got the thing done in half the time. Apparently there were other observations but he was not repeating them. And having found out what he had been writing Karlyn would not speak to him for days afterwards, which itself may have been to his advantage. In any case on this topic he has my sympathy. Personally I thought he has been most fayre in an adventurous wryly tasteful way on the subject of my own later experiences and so have forgiven him for being such a noddle over Wigran.

I am not very angry for it has been fun to read back over the adventures and he has been very sympathetic to us all but in matters of import, as these are to us, it is necessary to get the record straight.

I will keep you appraised of matters.

Best wishes to you all

Trelli (Silc)… or Trelyvana Waywanderer


Microsoft Word Actually Being Useful in Self-Editing

Editing. Outside assistance

I have to be one of the world’s worst in this department of the writing process. People finding mistakes in my spelling or syntax or questioning punctuation is bad enough. When anyone suggests even in the most friendlies of tones that there could be improvements in a character or plot line then hopefully visible warning beacons start to flash and they will drop the subject. Should someone be unwise enough to try and be critical then if they are lucky they just get the cold treatment. As my wife says ‘You’ll not be told’. And I won’t.

Except in the case of one short-story (unfamiliar ground for me) where without the valuable help and patience of Rachael Ritchley the story would have never flown.

Visit Rachael’s site. It’s a treasure trove for writers of Fantasy and Rachael does not only write YA Fantasy she creates the most amazing covers

Rachael Ritchley

So back to me ‘n self-editing

My fault. My problem. But enough of these quirks,  introspections and possibly controversial comments. Let us away to the practical.

One of the issues with self-editing is that no matter how diligent you are, there will always be tendencies to:

(A) Overlook a mis-spelt word because Word recognises it as another word eg.  You have written a passage in which you character makes an entry in their Diary, only for you to find when the book is out in the public domain the character appears to have been writing on the walls of a place where milk products are made.

(B) Lose control of those indefinite or definite articles when you were sure you had them in the write place.

(C) Forget at night time when you final shut down your device to intone the mystical chant which will ward off the evil cyber-pixies from sneaking in and make typos in your precious work.

(D) Not notice that sentence is a tad too long and those commas or semi-colons don’t hack it for you.

(E) Somehow fail to notice that the piece of prose which in your mind is brilliant, is actually in the cold light of reading by someone else to be incomprehensible.

(F) Possibly be guilty in the eyes of one grammar sect or another of an act of punctuational heresy.

Now aside from (E) & (F) which are unavoidable even to the most astute and gifted writer, the others are the banes of writers who insist on ploughing their own self-publishing, self-editing  furrows (or according to some of a harsher outlook- digging their own graves)

So never mind about all the blah-blah about holes in plots, lack of character development, structure of narrative etc which truth be known are but mere opinions what about those aforementioned pesky practicals? Which despite what you might consider to be your most diligent efforts still sneak in?

Well, let us away to the Word Toolbar. Normally for a writer a nightmare jungle, that truth be known has been designed with a heavy weighed favour for business presentations and academia while having no notion of  how to assist in the artistic process.

I knew there was some function which read out written copy because while typing out at a goodly rate I used to accidentally hit a combination keys and someone would start speaking at me. (Apparently it’s Alt+Ctrl+Space…how the heck could I hit those accidentally????)  However by stubborn diligence this was tracked down to ‘Review‘ and thence ‘Read Aloud’

Screenshot Review Read Aloud

Once ‘Read Aloud’ is clicked on, at whatever word your cursor is on, away will go the narration.

Overview and Observations

The voice reproduction is not very robotic. If fact the voice word per word is very human. The narration would not pass muster on an audio book, but never mind that is not its purpose. So let’s look at a breakdown on the process:

The speed of the narration is designed for the listener to pick up on errors or questionable phrasing so you will notice ‘things’ . Each word is highlighted as it is spoken, thus you can pin-point the pesky problem. Though the narration does not stop so you have to be swift if you want to amended it there and then. Go the A and click to stop the narration or use the set of tools which will be visible on the right side of the screen; you can change the voice, and speed- the latter is not recommended, it is not subtle.  Do not try and amend without stopping as the amendment will be at where the narration is and not where you want it.

Pronunciation is nearly flat of accent, but is overall very good. Some words can sound quirky (Eg: ‘Squirrel comes out as ‘Sk-wi-rell’), contractions might result it the word being spelt out in single letters, along with any sounds you may write such as ‘Hmmm’ (‘H-m-m-m’), others however the programme has no problem with. If you are writing Fantasy or SF you might well find a whole new dimension to those place and character names.

It will read as it finds, thus is very good at alerting you to something your hearing picks up but your reading speed missed. Pesky typos are exposed in their oddities and those definite or indefinite articles are shown to be in the wrong place. The programme does not appears to have universal sensitivity to punctuation, but there is a definite pause when coming to a ‘full stop’ , this is very useful when it dawns on you that particular piece of prose is far too long as one sentence.

As it is a programme you will have to accept your characters are going to sound somewhat soulless; although there is one slight benefit to this. If their intent, emotions and individuality still come through then you know you are on the right track!

A flat and soulless read can be very useful in picking up on one of those oversights as highlighted in (E). The writer on hearing something narrated back to them in this fashion will have ‘Uh?’ moments and revisions will start to form in their mind. Thus prepare yourself for a 1,000 word extract collapsing while crying out ‘re-write’ ‘re-write’ . As you know these re-writes might be conducted at haste and contain their own ‘issues’, ‘Read Aloud’ will point those out to you too.

One final thought, aside from self-editing books this system would be very useful for those very long blog posts, the pitching letters, book summaries and blurbs, for all of the above reasons.

My Own Experience

Having become familiar with the basics, my own method is as follows.

I work one chapter (on average 2000 – 3000 words) at a time. It is advisable to conduct a review in smaller ‘chunks’ so you can keep track on the errors/problems and revisions arising.

To repeat. When the narration highlights an issue I click on ‘A’ to stop the process and conduct the revision there and then, before clicking back on to continue. Some writers might find this disruptive and prefer to have a notebook and pen at their side to record the error then tackle a group of problems in one go.

I also use this system on reaching a part of the narrative which (1) I know was rushed because it was only a link between two important parts, or (2) there is a complex interaction. These might have already been cleansened of any errors in typos, syntax, wrong word, punctuation etc however listening to a flat narration has often given me a broad picture insight into whether the intended basics of the extract have worked.

Currently I have found the average number of words reviewed each day is approaching a minimum of 5,000 which take me about 1 hour per 5,000. These figures of course are very individualistic and should not be taken as any you should aim for. They are simply an observation, each person will have separate targets and outputs.


I have to say, for once Word produced a most useful aid to the overall writing process. This is recommend to anyone embarking on self-editing in its entirety. It would also be useful for anyone looking to send their work to a professional editor or beta-reader, after all their job is challenging enough without having to confront those items highlighted in (A) to (D)….items in (E) & (F) are between you guys.

Try it with a small portion of writing first and see if it works for you.

Have a good re-write

Musings on Writing- You Should Always…. 1

You should always…

When you are conducting that most perilous of tasks…THE RE-WRITE

Alice in Wonderland

Upon re-discovering one of those true gems you created (you might think inadvertently…The Muses know better )



say something like:


Wives and lovers happy woman

Congratulate yourself Laughing Guy…..Yep! You’ve earned it.







Let off steam with a little dance…physical or allegorical


And treasure this interlude through the rest of the hard-slog that is the lot of the Writer.

Know ye this…..


Let the words flow (you can sort them out later)

Writing 2

Writing 3

Writing 4

writer-2….. See…….. I can do it!


Learning to Live with ‘The First Draft’ and its Consequences.


If you have only recently started out writing consider this as a benign warning which  should not discourage you.

And there was January 2020.

If you have been writing for a while you probably are familiar with this sort of thing. Re-write, self-editing before you dare to let the work see the light of day….The process starts of with a promise that this time you will be meticulous in spelling, punctuation, continuity and syntax checks, using whatever computerised tool you semi-trust. So away you  go, examining the narrative for each of the above and as you go along making a tweak here and a tweak there. My! Look at those words pass by. Wow! When you were writing this one, you must have been on a roll!!

This joyous state will last at best into word 20,000 (much earlier if you are writing short stories or novellas), then the plot creeps up over you shoulder and whispers in your ear, some doubts whether you seriously expect readers to believe this was how characters actually got from Word 1 to Word 17,432.

While you are pondering on this matter one of the major characters points out you most certainly did not consult them about what happens from Word 83,732 onwards and if you wish them to have a complete change of outlook of this magnitude could you please include a chapter involving a traumatic brain injury. This shakes you, because under these twin assault 66,000 words between these two objections appear to be in jeopardy.

Make a frantic note to re-read up to Word 18,000, you flip through the document to about the half-way point, circa Word 84,000, read one bit and panic; the character has a point. You  then dash back to that splendid bit somewhere around Word 40,100 only to find the 500 words are not as sparkling as you remembered them being; in fact what was supposed to be a heartfelt rendition of one person’s feelings is starting to resemble a collection of clichés and plagiarisms from five over-rated novels now gathering mould in bargain bins

By now the entire work is starting to crumble to allegorical dust, despair comes slithering with an ‘I toldja so!’ And a year’s worth of toil lies before you with a big ? stamped on every page.

Actually I say…..

So what is the point of a year of hammering out about 200,000 words of complex interaction between a multiplicity of characters in Vol III of a Fantasy series if you don’t find it falling apart on the first re-write, edit or whatever you care to call the process?

Well that’s my opinion.

Time well spent getting all shot of the bad ideas, lacks of continuity, failure to keep a consistency in the characters and sub-plots which are going nowhere, Flushing them out of the head, heart and ditching the influence of that one book you read/heard and are now wondering ‘how did that ever get published without being indie?’. (Regrettably there is always ‘one’).

Towards the end of last year I forged on so the assertion could be made the first draft was finished  by the end of the year. It is somewhat pleasing as this is being written to be able to say there is very little recollection of those last 30,000 words. I do recall however The Plot  saying ‘Enough! You are not paying attention to me. You have cast(eth) me aside for some tawdry spectacle of a high body count and quite implausible actions by a collection of ill-tempered and scatter-brained imposters while the original characters have given up and gone home for the holidays. I too want no more to do with you for this season. We will all return in the New Year when you are of more sober and mature mind,’ 

Thus MY January 2020 was slightly different.

‘OK, folks are not psyche so do not expect them to understand one half of what is going on unless you include a better prologue.’

I can do that….

And so prepared myself for what else was bound to come, I mean that was into Word 3, and The Plot was also wishing to have a talk with me, because once more it had been swamped in characters doing ‘business’. It was confident in this objection because it was supported by several of the characters who said, whereas they didn’t mind ‘business’, it should only be in small doses and who cares what they had for breakfast? And could they convey emotions other than by smiles or snarls? One of them wanted to know just what they had to do with the whole book anyway? Sure they were there a lot up until half way through, after which I seemed to have forgotten about them except in the last 2,000 words. Another pointed out he seemed to have been dropped out of the very sky to assist one of the major characters to get from place to another, after which he was given nothing to do but run around in the background in a very vague but peripatetic way.

I was ready for this.

Yes I agreed with The Plot. I listened to the characters.

This is one why I do so like Ctrl +C and have a Word.doc ‘Extracts deleted. Retained’ where the Ctrl+C’d get Ctrl + V‘d, so I can extract chunks of the ‘deleted’ and plonk them back somewhere better suited. So far 60,000+ words moved there. Another ‘why’ is that I can move whole chapters from one part of the narrative to another….This can be quite a never racking experience and prone to Word being evil, so always have a firm press of ‘Ctrl’ lest you find Word has gleefully deleted 1,000 highlighted words and left you with a ‘c’. Should that happen, swear, close the doc and ‘No! Word you do not want to (expletive) save it!’, Then start again.

And I have this  cool Note Book my wife got me for Father’s Day last year


In which I am entering a synopsis of each chapter for continuity and making sure I don’t stray from The Plot

I do like re-writes. They are quite the adventure.