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“What’s the hardest part of being an author?”

I waste spend far too much time on Face Book, but I find such interesting stuff there.  Like Curiouser Editing LLC, which is where the theme for this post came from.

So, the question was asked, both in the group Curiouser Author Network and on their blog:

“What’s the hardest part of being an author?”

and from reading the responses it seems that a lot of people hate editing.

I’m weird. I don’t really mind editing — it makes my little organizational soul sing and dance.  Oh, sure, I whine and complain and moan about it, mostly because I’d rather be writing something new, but I really sort of enjoy it.

Everyone has a different approach to the process: here is a little bit of mine.

I load the novel onto a thumb drive, go to Office Max, get it printed and three hole punched, put it in a binder, and put a paperclip on each chapter.  (I have pretty colored paperclips.)

Then I take out one chapter and sit down with it, some pretty colored markers, some pretty colored highlighters, and some pretty colored Post It notes in various sizes. (Are you catching a theme about pretty colors? LOL)

Oh, and I keep a spiral notebook at hand to use to write major notes to myself. (I have a ton of partially used spiral notebooks and this is a great way to decrease the number of them.)

Remember all those pretty colors?  (How could you forget them, right?)  They come into play now.

Grammar corrections and typos are marked in red ink. If a page happens to be free of them (ha!) I put a red 0 in the top right hand corner so I know that I can skip that page when I make the corrections to the Word doc.

Then other colors get assigned to other uses:

  • Check to see if I said/did… (blue ink)
  • Scene re-writes – I’ll put a number in say, green, on the print out, then write that same number in the same shade of green on the notebook and hand write at least a rough scene to insert when I get back to the computer.
  • Sometimes I’ll draw lines in different colors to rearrange paragraphs.  Or I’ll label the paragraphs A,B, C and put them in a new order when I get back to the computer.  Colors help make it easier to see what I’m doing.  Plus, I can have a green A and a purple A and know which is which.  (My rough drafts get really messy.)

Post It Notes get used in conjunction with highlighters.  I’ll highlight something and put a sticky note next to it that says “Retcon this” or “Retcon to book 1” or “Go back and make this clearer before now.”

I also make changes to the Word doc a chapter or two at a time instead of waiting until the entire thing is done, as that can be overwhelming.

Then I read through it on the screen, make more notes about continuity, and smooth out some transitions that got roughed up in the first go-round.

And then I load the new version onto a thumb drive and…

So what is your editing method? Any tips or tricks to share?

(Oh, and for the record, my reply was that for me the hardest part is promotion:

“Marketing. Definitely marketing. I absolutely suck at self-promotion. (I was never good in selling advertising, either.) I don’t like “bothering” people by shoving ads for my books in their faces all the time, probably (at least in part) because it annoys me when I see it.”)

 

 

 

 

 

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Just Another Laboring Day…

Happy Labor Day to those in the United States.  It’s just another work day for me, although one that has a better rate of pay than normal.

And I’m in a really good mood and am going to happy dance through my shift.

Why is that?

Well, I got Sanguine back from one of my pre-readers, the ever-wonderful Sarah Wesson.   (Seriously – check out her blog and her books – she’s awesome!)  It made sense to her and her only main comments were regarding description… or my lack thereof.   Easy things to fix, so that’s on my agenda for my day off tomorrow.   (I would do it today, but I have to go to work and don’t want to do a rush job.)

(Well, she also wants a sequel, and she says I owe her a keyboard – and probably a cup of coffee.)

Also on my agenda for tomorrow is figuring out Goodreads.

Yes, I am slowly forcing myself into the self-promotion thingy.  Ugh, ugh, and double-ugh.  Triple-ugh, even.

Towards that end, I set up a Wattpad account and am posting chapters from both Song and Sword and Sanguine on it.  Song and Sword is a bit easier to do because with Sanguine I have to read over the excerpts first to make sure they aren’t too explicit.

I’ve also been making myself a list of things to do on a daily basis, and looking at it tells me one thing:  fall is starting.  I always get a burst of energy in the fall and think I can take on the world.

And that world includes all of the plot bunnies that are hopping around in a folder on my computer.  Right this minute I want to write everything.  Right now! All at once!

I’d better get busy…

 

P.S.  Hopefully by Friday’s post I’ll have at least narrowed down the choices for the cover for Sanguine.  If I have, I’ll have a page for them here for previews and feedback.

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Back At It

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve done my usual posts.  Sorry ‘bout that.  Between my job sucking the life out of me and a concerted effort to make it through the latest round of changes in Sanguine, well… Time sort of got away from me. (Not to mention the fact that I keep losing track of what day of the week it is because my schedule changes all the time.)

Anyhow…

Sanguine is in the hands of a couple brave pre-readers and as soon as I have their feedback (or maybe sooner if I get too antsy) I’ll be formatting it and getting it published.  I suppose I could work on all of the front pages stuff in between now and then.

And, of course, there’s the cover, which is an exercise in indecision.  I’m doing it myself (yeah, yeah, I know – everyone says that’s a bad idea, but money is an issue right now.  Plus, I want something simple – just the title and my name on a star field.  My problem is deciding which star field photo to use.  *sigh*)

Anyhow, I’m now back to working on The Other Mages trilogy.  I’d like to get Book Two finished soon and maybe get Book Three finished before NaNoWriMo.  A lot of Book Three will be copied and pasted from the original, so that should be doable. Then after NaNo (or after I finish the trilogy if it’s not done before then) the editing starts on it and that’s going to be a mess and a half.

And I’ve decided that I need to do more promotion.  I’m a rather low-key kind of person, though, so that’s hard for me to do.   I’m going to start posting excerpts on Wattpad, though, at a friend’s suggestion, so we’ll see how it goes…

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It Seemed Like A Good Idea…

And then I started thinking about it…

Marketing really isn’t my forte.  I pretty much suck at it, in fact.

But somehow or other, while free-writing in 750words.com, I was writing about a plot bunny that hopped in the other day, and I got the “brilliant” idea that writing little short stories to go with The Academy of the Accord series would be a good idea.  I would post them here on my blog and they would be a fun way to promote the books, raise interest in them, etc.

But then I started thinking…

There are twelve books in the series, some of which aren’t written yet.  Should each one of them have a short story?

And how long should the short stories be?  (Answer: as long as they need to be.)

And what would they be?

Book One is the start of it all:  Marsden and Vinadi meet, overcome obstacles, learn to trust one another, and begin to plan the school.  I was thinking that its short story might be something from Marsden’s childhood – there are a lot of options there:  the incident with the captive wizards and tortured non-humans, something that shows his early training, something with his family, especially his youngest brother…

Lots of options.

Book Two is the start of the school, and introduces five new characters.  Tough to choose something from that, but I do have one in mind, one that will show the nature of one of the characters, and his relationship with the others.  I’ve been kicking it around in my head for a while anyhow.

In Book Three four of the above mentioned new characters go on a journey, sort of a rite of passage for the wizards in the group.  When they return, they find that Vinadi has hired an assistant – someone that none of them like or trust.  I think the short story for that would be how Barlen came to be there

Book Four introduces Senzu, a Wyverian apprentice wizard.  (Wyverians are a race created during the Wizard Wars, sort of a humanoid dragon.)  I have a couple ideas for a short story to go with it, or maybe I can combine them into one: they do fit together, and would provide a good back story for the book, and it would tie in neatly with Marsden’s comment in the book about the fact that he and Vinadi took a lot of journeys south.

Book Five gets messy.  (Book Five is messy.) It used to be the original novel (well, the second version of the original novel) and I’m not quite sure where it ends as parts of the latter part of it are being torn out and moved to the starts of two other books. (I swear, I’m naming Book Five “Migraines.”  Or “Excedrin.”)  So I currently have no idea what to do for a short story for it.

Book Six is one of the books being sort of gently untangled from Book Five.  Or at least the start of it is.  It’s another book that I can’t really come up with a short story idea for until it’s written, especially as the only thing I can think of sort of gives away some info that I don’t want revealed yet.

Book Seven is the other one being untangled from Book Five, but I have more of it written and planned than I do Book Six, so I have a couple ideas for it.  One involves the focus character, Brythel, slipping out of his house (before he came to the Academy) to go listen to the minstrels in the taverns.  The other involves Brythel and his cousins, and sort of sets the stage/provides some background for events in the novel – except that some of those events are also tangled into Books Five and Six.  (The three are sort of set semi-concurrently.)

With Book Eight I’m out of the confusion of concurrent novels and back into a straightforward timeline.  It introduces Terhesh, another Wyverian, and is set just after the end of Book Seven.  I’m not quite sure what to do for his short story yet, but I’ll probably do something set at Arcane Academy, which is where he started his training as a cadet.  It can involve Rarian, who shows up in Book Ten, and it would really help to have their past relationship sorted out before he gets there.

Book Nine is also written.  Mostly.  I sort of stopped because I got confused as to who was where and never wrote the last couple of scenes.  There are a couple minor characters in it that would be fun to explore as a side story – or two.  In fact, one short story is already started, and the other is the plot bunny that started this whole short story fiasco.  (And, no, they cannot be combined.)

Book Ten is started but hasn’t gotten very far.  Two new characters have been introduced, an apprentice and a cadet (Calef and the aforementioned Rarian) who left Arcane Academy to come to Accord.  I think the short story for this one will reflect back to something that happened in Book Eight.

Book Eleven is done, and has so many short story possibilities that it’s giving me a headache, especially since one of them could work as a short story for Book Nine as well, and it is already spawning two.  (Feast or famine…)

Book Twelve is going to (hopefully) wrap up the story arc that has been running through the previous eleven books.  (Please?  I don’t think I could handle a thirteenth book!)  Since I haven’t even begun to outline it yet, and have only the vaguest idea what happens (other than finally confronting the villains) or how it happens, I have even less than no idea what to do for an associated short story.  Maybe something with the villains…

See what one innocent little plot bunny can do?

And why does this make me feel like I’m writing fan fiction for my own books?

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