Tag Archives: editing

So it begins

He stares at me through obsidian black eyes. Eyes as black as his heart.

How I allowed this creature to live in my writing cabin is beyond me. My sanctuary. My place of creativity and fun, invaded by a malignant presence of his kind. Stealing my joy, causing me to hate my own stories.

His name is Doubt, and he seems to show up about this phase of every book.

He sets his wings and glides to my desk

I opened the Serang manuscript and started my word searches. My critique partners made sure I cleaned up all my stupid errors. Doubt paced back and forth across the desktop, knowing, waiting.

It wasn’t until I got to its/it’s and started finding mistakes, then he croaked out his evil laughter.

What made me think I could be an author?

***

“Hey! You are an author.” Lisa entered the room. She wore a pencil skirt with blouse and jacket. “This happens to you with every story. I don’t know why you let him get to you like that.”

“I start out with such good intentions. The story is fresh and exciting. I’m into it with new characters, settings, problems to solve, even enemies to face. It’s even exciting to reach the end. Then I get to this phase, and it all seems to suck so bad.”

“That’s because you’ve mentally finished the story. You’ve carved something from raw stone, and you’re proud of it. Then you realize a bit of sandpaper and polish would make it so much better.”

“But, I thought it was beautiful.”

“It is, but it isn’t finished until you polish it up a little. It’s like using makeup.”

“I don’t use makeup.”

“It’s an analogy. You write them all the time, so you ought to be able to follow one. Your blog is like lounging around the house and watching TV, maybe picking up some sticks in the yard. It’s you, and you have a casual vibe going on. A book is like going out for a big evening. You want your hair, nails, and makeup right. Maybe you spring for a new dress, which is like your cover art.”

“Okay. I think I’ve got it.”

“You may not like the work that goes into it, but you’re going to like the reception when you finally get to the party.”

“So if I want my book to go to the party, I need to put the work in so it looks and performs its best?”

“Bingo!”

“Okay, I’ll do the work… and he still sucks.” I pointed at the raven.

“He’s a bird. You’re putting your own emotional baggage onto him.”

“He wears it well, though.”

“Basic black is always in style.”

“Maybe I should take a lunch break.”

“Nope. You’re looking for any reason to put this off. I’ll make you a sandwich and bring you some of those new M & Ms you liked. The sooner you get Serang ready, the sooner you can get to the new story I’m in. I’d feel a lot better if you got that far before I have to leave to pose for all the promotional artwork.”

“Fine! And bring something for the raven. It’s rude to eat in front of him without offering him something.”

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A small update

I put the finishing touches to The Viral Blues this morning before dogs and family started stirring.

From my perspective, it was good enough to share with critique partners, but I have a lot to fix. They were all fast today, and I had responses before we even finished our goofing around for the day.

We decided to drive back to Donnelly, absent the trailer. My USFS maps indicate a lot of campgrounds on the back side of Cascade Reservoir. In all these years, I’ve never taken the drive around the lake, and today was the day.

The best campgrounds were near Donnelly, and after the pavement ended there wasn’t a lot to offer on that front. Beautiful, no doubt, but not quite what we were looking for in a campground. (There is a custom hat maker in Donnelly, but I resisted. This is like catnip to me, but when you’re broke all the time you have to behave.)

I was a bit disappointed in the road maintenance. The Forest Circus usually keeps the roads bladed pretty well, and while this road is big, it’s a pothole and washboard disaster.

We stopped one place to let the dogs potty. Otto was impressed that squirrels here live in the ground. He sniffed and dug at several holes. Frankie just freaks out, because she loves her own yard.

I snapped a few photos, but they all came out about the same. Here is one if you’d like to get a look at the scenery.

A more responsible photographer would have stepped off the road

There are ospreys everywhere you look, but not an eagle in sight. We also saw tons of pretty songbirds, and a few white pelicans on the water.

We’re getting ready for supper right now. I worked through one of the critiques, but am saving the others for later. I’m off Monday too, and that might be a good time for those.

If I get far enough, I might start the word searches on Serang.

Here is a still life from inside the camper.

I’ll probably fiddle around with Pinterest or something after supper. We thought about bringing a DVD of Captain Marvel, but blew it off.

We’ll go home at a leisurely pace tomorrow. That will give us time to wash the camper off, put our stuff away, and still have a day to accomplish things on monday.

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Crazy day, good stuff

Old What’s Her Face is still working nights. This meant another day of keeping everyone quiet so she could sleep a bit.

We had breakfast together again, then she unwound for an hour before heading for bed.

Quiet time is great for authors. I worked through the previous segment of Serang, then started writing again. Today’s effort came to about 3600 words. Something else wonderful happened too. At 75,000 words, it came to the end. Serang is now a first draft.

I fiddled with the new part for a few hours, then sent it to my critique partners. Next weekend I’ll look at all the critique suggestions, then may start my editing passes. It’s best to put it aside and look with fresh eyes, but the first chapters are months old to my eyes. I can do all my word searches on weeknights.

Honestly, I nearly made it. I wanted it out before school ends, but it wasn’t meant to be. This might turn into a November release now.

I’m torn about sharing this, because it’s going to be so long before anyone can actually read it. A peek at the cover might whet someone’s reader brain, so here it is:

This one is a companion piece to Voyage of the Lanternfish, but is quite a bit more serious. Serang is a serious character and deserves to be treated accordingly.

The weird part is our weather. We had a drizzle of rain when I got up, followed by sunshine, then thunder and lightning, then more sun, then a torrential downpour, wind, sun, another downpour, a hailstorm, sun, another hailstorm, and it’s sunny right now. Who knows what the rest of the day will bring. Maybe something cool like a haboob. Mostly I just like saying haboob, it’s probably too wet out there for one.

I think I’ll probably spend tomorrow getting acquainted with The Viral Blues once more. I put this aside in a misguided attempt to get Serang published before summer. Don’t know if I’ll do more writing on it, but it could happen.

Either that or I’ll scope out some old movies. John Wayne will probably be winning World War Two somewhere for Memorial Day. Hope everyone has a lovely holiday tomorrow.

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Date night, kind of

Friday was my only writing day. I went through the Serang MS with the intention of deleting a chapter. I know we’re supposed to kill our darlings, but in this I failed. I deleted 10 words.

Part of this has to do with setting up some tragedies that wouldn’t be as tragic if treated as backstory. While Serang is a character from Lanternfish, her story does not have the comedic undertones that Lanternfish has. She is a serious character in that book, and her origin story is serious too.

Who knows how it will be received? I never do.

After I finished that project there was no time left for new words. Old What’s Her Face is off Saturday and Sunday, so that might be it for writing this weekend.

I may rough out some cover ideas tomorrow in anticipation of hiring Sean Harrington to start my artwork.

Speaking of Sean, he made me some cool pointers. I have a whole collection of them. Mine are more monstrous than the typical fingers you can find on Pixabay. Their purpose is to give direction on my blog.

It works like this. My sidebar has linked covers to my two most recent titles. By clicking on the covers you can grab a copy of The Yak Guy Project, or Voyage of the Lanternfish. I recently shared three wonderful reviews of Lanternfish, and I have the intention of writing more adventures for the crew.

You can also find a slideshow featuring all of my covers. There is a link to my Amazon page if you’d like to check out the older titles. There’s going to be another story for Lizzie and the hat. You might want to jump on board with The Hat about now too. I’m thinking of holding it until October. It will fit the Halloween theme pretty well.

I had a gift card to Old Chicago Pizza, so we decided to go there tonight. It was kind of disappointing this time. Our server didn’t know anything, and simply told me they were out of every beer I wanted to order. Finally, I told her the guy at the table across from me just received the beer I tried to order. Lo & behold, they did have it and she brought me a pint.

The pizza was off tonight too. It’s almost like there was old dough in the freezer or something. We’ll still go there, but we’re chocking it up to a bad night. Didn’t recognize a single person working there, and we go there a lot.

After that, we went to check out the new Albertsons on Fairview. This is their version of competing with Whole Foods. They have over two acres under one roof. They have some cool stuff, like jackfruit and a million kinds of salami. It’s one of those places where you would make impulse purchases. With lines about a quarter mile long at the checkout stand, my impulses didn’t happen. Maybe we’ll go back in a couple of weeks when the newness wears off.

As for writing, well… I have Wednesday off. I have one chore to take care of though. I have to go to town to get my truck sniff tested. The test doesn’t take long, but the travel back and forth does.

I think I could have accomplished more, but this cold is lingering. I’m still phlegmy and coughing. I feel a lot better, but I still missed one day at work last week. This thing can’t go away fast enough to suit me. It makes my mind foggy, and that isn’t good for writing new words.

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Tolerable productivity

It was another good day, but doesn’t compare to yesterday. Yesterday was one of the rare ones.

My goal was to work on edits to the Serang story. After I got off the phone with my parents, I didn’t feel like it. I accomplished a lot of procrastination today. Editing is one of my least favorite things.

I caved and added to the nameless project. It isn’t as much as yesterday, but it was a good day. It came to about a half chapter, maybe a bit more.

This section involved rescuing our heroes by using Gina’s backup plan. This top secret spirit of vengeance made a mess of the zombies, and that was before the bad guys pissed him off.

Hint: this one includes a lot of my previous characters. This one seemed to be a fan favorite at one time. Hint #2: the voodoo ritual took place beside a lake.

These guys are heroes, but against 75 to a hundred slobbering smelly zombies they needed a bit of help. Plus Lisa is out of commission.

Lizzie and the hat rushed the crane that manipulates the electro-magnet. It was operated by a type-one zombie. These are more Voodoo centric and aren’t the same thing Walking Dead fans might be thinking about.

They reached him about the time the “spirit of vengeance” arrived on the scene. This required some ducking for cover. Eventually, they got to the crane and we had adventures in operating the most complicated piece of equipment in existence. Typical Lizzie and the hat banter accompanied this scene, but their friends didn’t get crushed by an old Impala. A few zombies did.

Lisa is still out of it, but the extinguishing of the magnet will allow her to start on the road back. (She’s going to be so pissed at me when she gets back to work.)

Gupta got shot during the firefight, and Lizzie and the hat popped him to their secret cabin for some first aid. I’m now debating what kind of archaic old weaponry Lizzie’s ancestors might have stored there. This really is for a humorous scene involving Lisa (Still out of it), but I don’t know whether to include it or not.

We looked at my open browser windows a week ago, and that was kind of fun. Here’s what’s open right now:

  • Entertaining Stories. (Naturally)
  • Two different pages for that online convention. I did sign up for it, but have no idea what I’m doing.
  • Oils in Witchcraft and Hoodoo.
  • Hoodoo candle magic.
  • The Gutenberg Bible.
  • Psalms and Verses in Hoodoo.
  • Grumman F2F airplane. (Oops, another hint.)
  • Stinger missiles.
  • Photographs of crane interiors.
  • Coban medical wrap.
  • Injection vials.

This could only be one of my stories, right? I was particularly happy with my Voodoo/Hoodoo ritual. The secret to these is to do some research, then make it all up anyway – but based upon that research.

I did move on to the Serang edits. I worked through two of three critiques. These need to be done, but I also needed some whiny time. I could have moved the team-up story further down the line. I could have dealt with the last Serang critique. A little of both isn’t bad, but I’m left with that feeling of not getting something off my list.

No idea what I’ll do tomorrow. The same projects are still on my list. It might be smart to slow down the team-up story. It’s at around 35,000 words right now. I don’t want to bring it in under 50K.

There will be some words dedicated to the wrap-up. Gina promised the participants rewards, plus we need to see the positive result of their effort. Quarantines need to be ended even if it’s just a blurb on the television. Gina and Gupta aren’t “contractors” in this tale. They don’t get rewards.

I’m thinking about doing a self imposed quarantine at the mansion for all the characters. This means they’re going to get exposed to one of the viruses.

Lisa and Jason Fogg seem to be immune to everything, and the dog gets a free pass. Would a brief section of being too close for comfort and bickering be hard for readers to digest? I haven’t seen this done at the end of the story before. It’s usually a getting acquainted section at the beginning. I could trickle in knowledge that their efforts paid off. What do you guys think? You’re all readers.

There is a risk in dragging this part out. I have a lot of characters, and only the main ones will get focus in this part of the story. I’ll probably limit this to Lizzie and the hat, Lisa Burton, and briefly Clovis.

For this reason, maybe my best bet is to shift over to Serang tomorrow.

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Fiddling around friday

I woke up about 5:30 this morning. Sometimes life is just that way. I goofed around and checked email, my RSS feeds, Facebook, and all the other places. Email notifications reminded me that I had the post at Story Empire today. I recommended a craft book I really enjoyed. Here is a link, if you want to check it out.

Then I moved on to my work in progress. My last section was pretty action packed, so this one slowed things down. Clues were gained during the action bit, so some of those were examined in this section. These sections are always slower to write too for some reason. Still, 2600 new words is nothing to sneeze at.

I wrote with a handicap this morning too. I had both bulldogs in my lap the whole time. That’s about 120 pounds of fun to dodge with my iPad.

There must have been a dozen times they had to go outside to chase the squirrel. I’m a good doggie daddy, so I played along. Not a bad word count at all considering.

Then I went through a stage of polishing Lanternfish up. This took a couple of hours, but I’m glad I did it. I think it improves the overall product.

Beyond that it wasn’t too exciting. I needed time to think about my story, and stopped about noon. That’s about the time Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow came on. I decided to watch it again. Gwyneth had great hair in this one. Back then she was kind of known for her hair.

That’s about it for me. It’s personally exciting, but not exactly blog worthy. I’ll spend the rest of the night monitoring comments here and at Story Empire. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

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Planning and scheming

This is my flex day. I mentioned before that I work ten hour days, and get a rotating day off each week. We get the occasional three day weekend out of the deal, and this is one of mine. It also allows for a bit of manipulation if you watch the calendar. That’s what I’ve done for November.

My next flex day is Wednesday the 7th. I took vacation on the 8th and 9th. This means I’m off from the 7th through the 12th, because the 12th is a holiday. Burn 20 hours of vacation and get six days off. Not a bad deal.

This weekend is going to be all about clearing the decks. We’re taking the camper to have it winterized this afternoon. Since we got paid, we’ll probably work in date night. I can still get my Halloween tee shirt at Old Chicago if we hurry, and that’s likely where we’ll end up. Probably time to coil up the hoses and drain the water heater to keep ahead of the silt. I might even get a haircut, just to get it out of the way.

I’ll have time to work on some Lisa Burton Radio slots if anyone is interested. The recent ones have produced really well. Some of that has to do with the book being presented, but also the involvement of the author. The last few authors have shared everywhere, and are still sharing everywhere. I see the click throughs to Amazon too. Lisa could use another few guests right now.

I’ll probably keep polishing up Lanternfish this weekend.

During my vacation I want to hit it hard. There is a new story I started, and my work life just didn’t allow me time to do much with it. If I clear the decks this weekend, my vacation time is wide open to make some real progress.

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