Elspeth Cooper

Purveyor of fine fantasy adventures

Category: news (Page 1 of 21)

Quick update: my newsletter and GDPR

Okay, this is just a quick note to bring you all up to speed with what’s going on with my newsletter. I know I haven’t sent one out in absolutely ages (read: years) but I’m hoping to change that.

The past

Previously I was using a fiddly plugin for the website, and my webhost kept spanking me for being a Spammy Spammer Who Spams. I was poorly and the struggle to create and send out the newsletters became just one more thing I didn’t have the spoons to deal with, so I kind of . . . let them go. Not proud of that, particularly, but wishing it could have been different won’t make it so. Now that I’m a bit more adept at managing my limitations, I can only try to do better.

The future

2018 is a new year. I have a new web host (a much nicer one, that’s actually in my time zone, more or less) and I have ported all my mailing list contacts over to a new home at MailChimp, whose tools make producing newsletters a snap. I am hopeful that this means you’ll all start hearing from me again soon.

A caveat

One little wrinkle in all this is the imminent arrival of The General Data Protection Regulations or GDPR on 25th May. This is EU legislation designed to ensure online marketers secure your explicit permission to send you stuff. To make my newsletter subscription form GDPR-compliant, there is an extra box for you to check. This means I have to ask you all to sign up again, if you want to stay on my mailing list.

I sent out an email this weekend to all my subscribers asking them to do this. You can use the same email address you originally signed up with, or a new one; it doesn’t matter. Everyone who has not already re-registered has now been unsubscribed, so you shouldn’t get any annoying “this email address already exists” messages.

If you don’t want to stay on the list, that’s fine. Your email address has been unsubscribed and will be deleted from my list before the new regulations come into effect. You won’t hear from me again. You are, of course, welcome to resubscribe at any time.

If you do want to be on the list, please click the Newsletter link in the menu at the top of the page and fill out your details. New peeps are always welcome. If you change your mind at any time, there’s an unsubscribe link at the bottom of every newsletter.

What you can expect from my newsletters

I’ll try not to bother you more than 4 – 5 times a year. My aim is to keep you updated with news about my books – including THE DRAGON HOUSE. I’ll also be telling you about any cons or events I’m attending, there’ll be subscriber-only giveaways to enter, and maybe some deleted scenes and sneak-peeks at upcoming stuff.

Don’t hesitate to drop me a line if there’s something else you’d like to see!

 

Grey Chinese dragon on roof

New year news

I gave myself some time off over the holidays. As any writer will tell you, the holidays are an opportunity to get so much writing done, have this manuscript knocked into shape in no time. And then, well, The Holidays happen. There’s late nights and lie-ins and family stuff and all that delicious food won’t eat itself, right?

Anyway, I gave myself a pass, and promised I wouldn’t beat myself up if I didn’t get much done for a couple of weeks. Instead I would use the time to rest, recharge and refocus, so I could come out swinging in 2018.

First up, an update on where things stand with THE DRAGON HOUSE.

The headline figure is 120,000 words (so far) on what I hope is the final draft of the book. This is not the end, because I am re-re-re-x10n-writing the last act after realising I’d made a huge misstep. I thought I could write my way out of them, but it turns out I couldn’t, and I should have stopped trying some time ago. Sometimes it really is better to just accept you’ve goofed, tear it down and start again from a firm foundation.

Speaking of which, this 120k is pretty solid, I think. It’s the result of some tough love from my agent, a lot of work and me being in a better headspace. These last few years have not been great but I’ve said all I want to say about that for now.

So, 120k and moving forward. Beta-readers say it holds together, so all that remains is to take a deep breath, and nail the dismount. Wish me luck.

A note on process and progress

Some authors like to post progress meters or word-count totals for the books they are writing. If this works for them to inform their readers and hold themselves to account as deadlines approach, more power to them. That doesn’t work for me. I don’t like (and instinctively mistrust) raw word count alone as a metric for measuring my own progress.

Regular readers will know that my writing process is best described as organic, even free-range. It’s messy. There’s no formula or road map to get to the end, and the only GPS stands for Gut Plotting System. I tend to find out what my books are about by writing them. I also edit as I go, pruning and filling as needed. As the shape of the story comes into focus, I get a better idea of how much more work is required to adjust the lens, as it were.

Not all of this adjustment equals more words, of course. It might mean I need less, or a bit of both. It’s fluid. I do a lot of writing/editing by feel, which is why a hard, arbitrary figure like 186,048/200,000 is not a meaningful measure of progress to me. Nor is crossing things off lists, much as I like doing that. I’m not even disciplined enough to stick to a drafting schedule, except for the last one, where it counts.

So my writing process is linear, until it’s not. My word and character choices are deliberate, until they become instinctive. I know where I’m going but still surprise myself along the way. And I know that I’m done when I get there, because when it’s ready the work sings.

I never said it was a *good* process, did I?

Featured image © creativecommonsstockphotos | ID 84970466 | Dreamstime Stock Photos

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