How to Keep Up With the Details in Your Manuscript

Love these, Sheila. Very best of luck!

COW PASTURE CHRONICLES

As I’ve said before, writing  “The End” on the first draft is only the beginning of your work on the road to publication. One of the things I discovered, immediately after completing a 77,000 + word draft, is keeping up with the details, even with Scrivener, seems like a monumental task.

When did that character show up? Are the descriptions consistent? Does the timeline make sense? Do I need to name that character? Is the character necessary? And, so on. There are more details to keep track of than one imagine when you begin writing your story. 

So here are a few spreadsheets I’ve come up with to help me. Feel free to copy the format, should you find these helpful.

  • Character Appearance Spreadsheet –  Scene by scene. At a glance I can see where every character, including minor ones, appear in the novel. An * designates an active…

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I did it! 12 short stories in 12 months!

12 SSWC Badge KimberleyI’m not quite sure how it happened, but I’m very pleased to say that I was one of the 30 people worldwide who completed the 12 Short Stories in 12 Months challenge.

Many thanks to Mia Botha for putting on the challenge and keeping us all motivated, and to everyone who took part in some or all of the challenge. If you fancy having a go yourself, keeping to very specific word counts and prompts, the challenge restarts in January 2018. http://www.12shortstories.com

Dad would have loved the theme of the ‘coming undone’ story that was my favourite of the whole challenge, so Dad, this one’s for you.

Holding photo

To Have and to Hold (c) Kimberley Cooper 2017

“Ready, Dad?”

I look down at my daughter. At that little button nose, those almond shaped eyes, that very special look that told me as soon as she was born that she had Down’s Syndrome. But more than anything I see her ivory satin dress, the lace train, and a perky tiara set on top of her dark curls.

Ready? Is any father ever ready to give his little girl away on her wedding day?

While she waits patiently for my answer, a sob crawls out of my throat. This is a day that twenty five years ago, I never thought would come. I never thought she’d go to college, get a paying job and move out and live independently. And I certainly never thought she’d find the sort of love that led to St Mary’s church.

“Oh, Dad.” She tuts and pulls the perfectly folded silk square from the top pocket of my jacket, and wipes under my eyes, which I’m surprised to find are pouring tears down my cheeks. “You’re leaking. Don’t leak.”

I sniff, and smile. It’s the expression her mother and I used to use when Lucy cried as a child over something she found momentous. A grazed knee, a dropped ice cream, a mean comment from a classmate. Yes. Those were the ones which hurt me and Martha too. Made us wonder whether we’d done the right thing sending Lucy to mainstream school, where the kids weren’t always understanding and kind. But in my experience, kids weren’t good with those who were different, anywhere. I seem to remember some wrong-uns at my school when I was a boy. Back then, a fist or a well-placed boot sorted them out. That would never have occurred to Lucy. There wasn’t a mean bone in her body.

I take the handkerchief from her, scrub a little less delicately under my eyes, blow my nose. “It’s ok, pet, I’m fine.”

“Hmmm.” She gives me an old fashioned look like she knows that’s a fib.

“No, really.” I take a deep breath. “Right.” I pass my hand over my hair, smooth back the greying mass, which springs back into the same place it was before I touched it. Damn unmanageable hair. I’ve had it cut short for this day, despite the fact that Martha prefers it longer. Likes to run her fingers through it. And Lucy was always tugging on it when she was a baby. I seem to remember she learned to stand when hanging onto my hair. I don’t know who was more pleased when she learned to walk on her own; me or her. Certainly I had less of a sore head when she did.

“Ok, are we ready?” I echo her question, and my voice cracks, and I have to clear my throat a couple of times.

My beautiful girl looks me in the eye and says solemnly, “This is what I want, Dad, you know that, right? Tom loves me, and I love him. We love each other like you and Mum do.”

I am robbed of my voice again.

A brilliant smile breaks out onto her face, and she puts both hands on her hips, elbows out, in that pose she often used when she was a child, stubborn and not prepared to be persuaded from a course she’d set herself on. Oh, yes, that’s my girl.

I nod. “I know.”

“Well, then. Let’s do this.” She takes my arm and steps forward. I have no choice but to walk too, or face being pulled along like Deddy Bear used to be. Lucy could never pronounce the word ‘teddy’, so Deddy Bear he was on that Christmas Day she unwrapped him, and Deddy Bear he stayed. A grey well-worn stuffed toy that dangled by one arm at all times. Through puddles. In the mud. Dropped in the potty. You name it, Deddy Bear got dragged through it. That toy was in the washing machine or on the line, drying, almost more than it was in Lucy’s bed.

The church doors open, and Lucy gets her first view of the congregation. She shrieks, loud and piercing, and my ears ring. “Daddy, look at all those people! They’re all here for me.”

And everyone bursts out laughing. And clapping. And my heart stutters with joy.

Lucy sweeps the church with her gaze, lets go of my hand and steps in front of me. She beams up at me, and excitedly paddles her feet, running on the spot. She puts her arms round my waist, laying her cheek on my chest. Squeezes hard enough to force a grunt from me.

“Daddy”, she says, “this is so special.”

And it is. And she is.

The buzz in the church simmers down as the congregation settles again, and I can almost taste the expectation in the air. The organ starts up, and the strains of Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, drift down the aisle. I have to stop myself from humming along; as I did while I waited for Martha to walk up the aisle at our own wedding, all those years ago. Oh, yes, it took a while for me to live that down. We were almost divorced before we got married.

I look up, toward the altar, and Martha’s there. She catches my eye and I shrug, apologetically, and I see her shoulders move as she laughs. She knows me. And thank God, she loves me. Still. She’s standing, waiting for me and Lucy to process in a stately fashion up the aisle.

But Lucy’s having none of that. No, with every eye on her, and probably every heart in every mouth, she takes my hand and gallops up the aisle, tugging me along like a taller, more smartly-dressed Deddy Bear. Someone in front of us giggles, someone behind snorts, and then again, the whole congregation is laughing and clapping. Love pours out of the walls of this hallowed place as Lucy and Tom’s families and friends get to their feet to welcome the beautiful bride.

And then we’re in front of the vicar, and next to Tom. He only has eyes for her, and she for him.

So when I kiss her hand and pass it to Tom to hold and step away, I don’t think either of them notice.

I join Martha in the pew and everyone shuffles along a bit to allow me some space.

Martha links her arm through mine, and squeezes me against her body, her warm weight so vital and alive. “Good job.”

I shake my head. “I blubbed like a baby out there.”

She sniggers. “Softy.” She looks at Lucy, standing tall and proud next to her bridegroom. Tiara slightly askew now, with the speed of her journey down the aisle.  Lucy’s showing the vicar her sparkly nails, painted for this special day. Whether he wants to see them or not.

Martha’s voice is proud. And maybe a little wistful. “She was always Daddy’s girl, wasn’t she?”

And as the tears return to the corners of my eyes, as I watch my only daughter say her wedding vows clearly and loudly, I can only nod and whisper. “She always will be.”

Dad16a

 

 

 

I’ve gone and done it again …

… gotten involved with something else when I probably should have been writing. No, hang on, I have been writing – I’m still doing the 12 Short Stories in 12 Months challenge, and work is ongoing on my dark scifi.

But what’s really kept me busy at the moment has been a return to creating unique quirky, greetings cards. I did this years ago, but it fell by the wayside for a while until recently, when I rekindled my interest. If you can, could you please hop over to my Etsy store, and let me have some feedback?  https://www.etsy.com/shop/KimberleycooperGB#about

Thanks ever so, and have a great weekend, all.

6x6 Harley

Get up, live your life, carry on

It’s a uncertain world out there. And I can’t add anything to what others have said about the atrocities that have been and continue to be committed worldwide.

But I can ask everyone to have faith in themselves and each other. Have Hope. Whether you’re into coloring or not, here’s my message.


(C) Kimberley Cooper 2017

Book Funnel giveaway – including my book Angels Above and Below!

Beasts and Magic Covers.JPGWow. I’ve come over all unnecessary.

I’m honoured to have been given the chance to take part in a Book Funnel promotion by one of my favourite authors, Jami Gold. Jami  writes great fiction and also has a string of excellent writing resources available. You can find out more about both at her website http://www.jamigold.com

The Book Funnel promotion runs for 1 week only, so if you’d like to get your hands on some free paranormal and fantasy romance, head on over to https://books.bookfunnel.com/para-romance/qrjf5m4izi Beasts and Magic book giveaway

Go on, there’s nothing better than sitting down on a sunny day with a long glass of something and some nice hot romance …

 

 

New Carer Support

This is the charity I’m proud to work for, supporting family and friend Carers (caregivers) in West Sussex, UK.

Carers Support West Sussex

male profile icon, white on the blue background

Jackie is a member of the Carers Support Dementia Team and has written a piece about what it’s like meeting new carers at our 1:1 sessions in Henfield.


Today I have set up my ‘work-camp’ at The Haven in Henfield where Carers Support West Sussex have a room for private consultations with carers to offer support and information.  As I settle in I can hear the cheerful greetings as staff welcome the regulars who come to The Haven for day respite. It’s a very warm and comfortable environment and I’m always happy to come here to work.

Today I have arranged two separate appointments to offer support to women who have completely different lives.  The thing they do have in common is that they both care for a family member who has been diagnosed with dementia.

My first meeting is with the wife of a man with moderate dementia.  I…

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My second mandala coloring book is in my Etsy shop!

The Non-Sweary Coloring Book of Four Letter Words is now available for digital download in my Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/527404521/the-non-sweary-coloring-book-of-four?ref=shop_home_feat_2

So, if you fancy coloring some mandalas and being inspired and uplifted by some positive, affirming quotes featuring four letter words like Love, and Hope, and Good, then head over to Etsy for the digital download. That way, you can print the designs on any paper or card that will go though your printer, or you can digitally color using a program like Paintshop Pro, or Pigment, or Recolor.

If you’d rather have a hard copy version, Amazon can provide you with that, at viewBook.at/Non-sweary-coloring-book-of-four-letter-words

Be creative, enjoy, and relax!

Front cover

The Non-Sweary Coloring Book of Four Letter Words

Love design

‘Save As’, and color

… is the not-so-short-and-snappy, but very accurate title of my second coloring book, available now.

 

Sweary coloring books are pretty popular right now, but they don’t appeal to me. What about the other four letter words which are so much more positive? Words like Love, and Hope, and Duty? And Good, and Life, and Hero?

I still wanted to draw mandalas for coloring, but decided to merge them with positive, affirming quotes using those four letter words I would have been happy to use in front of my Mum.

And I’m really pleased with the way the book has come out. If you fancy a printed copy, the link to Amazon is viewBook.at/Non-sweary-coloring-book-of-four-letter-words  and a digital version will be available on Etsy shortly.

As an example, one of the designs from the book is above – feel free to ‘Save As’, and then print out to color for your own personal use.

Have a good weekend, all!

Kim book

British Summer Time arrives!

I love it when the clocks go forward. And what a glorious day too. A walk on the South Downs was definitely what the doctor ordered. In just over an hour, I ticked off pretty much all the sights and sounds of spring. Lovely.

Except for the smell.

  • Green woodpecker – tick
  • Chiff chaff – tick
  • Skylark – tick
  • Sparrowhawk . Probably the same one that covered the patio in feathers last weekend – tick
  • Warm sun – tick
  • Bluebells in leaf if not in flower yet – tick
  • Daffodils – tick
  • Gorse in flower – tick
  • Cooling breeze -tick
  • Dog walkers – tick
  • Cyclists – tick
  • Farmer ploughing, followed by a horde of seagulls – tick
  • Wind from the north, which is really unusual here. And that’s when I realised that not only was the farmer ploughing, he’d also been muck-spreading too. – TICK. Urgggggh.
Ashley Mothers Day 1

South Downs. Brighton and the sea in the distance

Perfectly Imperfect Mandalas is on Etsy!

My first coloring book Perfectly Imperfect Mandalas: 40 original hand-drawn pieces of art to color, is now available for digital download on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/519229439/perfectly-imperfect-mandalas-40-original?ref=shop_home_feat_1

Priced at £3.59 or local equivalent, the advantages of this digital download include:

  1. You can print the designs on any paper or card that you like, depending on how you wish to color. So if you want to use watercolors, go ahead and print on watercolour paper. Markers will do best on slightly thicker than normal paper (I like cartridge paper), and pencils and gel pens on pretty much any paper you have to hand.
  2. You can ‘Save as’ the individual designs into your favourite digital painting package. I like Pigment if I’m on the Ipad and Paintshop Pro on the PC.

But if you want a printed book, that’s available too, you’ll just need to go to Amazon at viewBook.at/Amazon-KimberleyCooper-PerfectlyImperfectMandalas

Have fun creating!

front-cover

Perfectly Imperfect Mandalas