Tag Archives: editing

Done… kind of

It took most of the day, but I finished this editing pass on all three books. I got kind of excited when I finished Mari’s swamp adventure around noon.

Percy the Space Chip took a little longer, but here we are at 4:00 and it’s finished, too.

There will be another pass of all three, but this is worthy of celebration. The next pass will be to read them all like a regular person would.

I need to be thinking about cover art, and figure one at a time is the best here. Once Upon a Time in the Swamp will be first. Hopefully, Lizzie and the hat will be around Halloween. I’ll hold the SF trilogy until they’re all finished and edited.

I’ve mentioned before this is my least favorite part, but it’s necessary. I’m chipping away at it and it will all get done eventually. With luck, I might start drafting the next volume of the SF trilogy by next month.

Somewhere in there, a couple of friends have published new books and I really want to read those. I’m not hurting for drafts right now, so slowing down for a bit of reading is a worthy break.

Back to the paycheck job tomorrow. I hope all of you enjoyed your weekends.

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Back on the editing effort

I spent several hours this morning going over a chapter of one book before switching to another. I wound up with one chapter that required some serious rewording here and there. I’ll need to give this process another good shift, but I’m making some real progress.

The best sign involves Lizzie and the hat. These are short novels by design. I feel like their brand of humor works best in small doses. I completely finished this pass on their story. That leaves me to bounce back and forth between the other two books.

I still have additional passes I want to make, but this version is the hardest one and I’ll be happy to get it finished.

I really need to be thinking about cover art, but we’re constantly broke in this era. I’ll have to earmark funds to get that done. I’d like to publish “Once Upon a Time in the Swamp” sometime before summer. There have been a ton of releases lately and I know of more coming soon. Just have to jump in when I’m ready and let the fates decide.

I want to keep sharing some of my Pinterest boards with you. These are great references for me when looking for something for specific stories. This board is mostly just a bit of whimsy. I shared one of the big ones last time.

While there was a wagon like this waaaaay back in my book, Panama, I haven’t written anything like it since. This board makes me want to take a slow vacation somewhere, and maybe drag Stevie Nicks along for the ride. https://pin.it/1xzBVZw

Maybe you’ll find something to inspire one of your stories.

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A bit more work

I’m still editing. It’s mostly boring work, but I am seeing things that need repair. I find editing tedious, and that means it doesn’t make good blog fodder either. I’ll suffice to say all three manuscripts are up to chapter 11, then leave it there.

Today, I used my headphone with some YouTube playlists. I really like this option, but the advertisements are a nightmare. There are probably some without ads, but I haven’t been lucky enough to find them. I have one that’s instrumental blues, one that’s called samurai warrior music, and one I’ve been saving. It’s all the spaghetti western music by Ennio Morricone. I’m open to hints as to where I can find ad-free versions of long playlists. I don’t mind one up front, or even the occasional peppering. One (in the middle) of every song is too much.

One thing I never mention is that I research constantly. Some things make it to my storyboards, others are simply notes to tuck away.

I learned something about LIDAR. This is kind of like radar, but it’s been used to discover lost civilizations in the rain forest and other places. I have a story way in the future that will need this information.

I need a name for a group of celebrity ghost hunters. They’re going to be obstacles for Lizzie and the hat sometime this Spring. I’m having no luck, but the best I came up with is The Four Clairs. (Meaning Clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience, and claircognizance.) I’m not thrilled with it, but might run with it.

Technetium is another discovery. It’s a radioactive, rare earth, material. I doubt it’s truly dangerous, but I can still write it that way. My idea involves aliens, and it’s way in the future. This one only has a sheet of notes. There isn’t even a storyboard yet, but I think there will be. I like the ideas I’m getting for this one.

I’ve also been looking up images of Alfred E. Neuman. It’s for a gag in one of the upcoming hat stories. Even some of the humor needs a bit of research.

Maybe this is one of my secrets. I have things developing all the time. Some of them will never get there. When I’m ready for a project, I usually have something pretty close to jump on.

I haven’t shared a Pinterest Board for a while, and some of you seem to enjoy them. I create these things for inspiration. Sometimes I return to them for ideas about creatures, settings, characters, and more. Not usually for main characters, but supporting things. Let’s go for one of the big ones today. This is my Fantasy Board https://pin.it/1JYU7Vm

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A different angle on editing

I’m down to the final reading of each manuscript. This is something I always do, but since I have three, there might be an option.

Today, I started out reading one chapter, then switching stories to do the same thing. Right now, I’m up to about seven on each story.

I did this, because when I get into the tale, I start enjoying it, then I miss things. I have no illusions about missing something. There’s always some stupid thing that gets published.

It honestly feels like it’s working better to do it this way. Doubt I’ll ever have three finished stories at the same time again, but this one time it feels right.

I’ve also decided I still have to do a final final reading only concentrate on one entire book. Maybe I made more work for myself, but if the product is some small degree better, it will be worth it.

I started watching The Last of Us on HBO last night. Pedro still has to impress me after that dismal Wonder Woman movie. Honestly, it doesn’t look like much goes into being The Mandalorian. That’s about my favorite thing of the last few years, but he’s a guy in a suit 99.9% of the time.

The girl from Game of Thrones is fun, but the one who died early on was, too. I am enjoying the settings. I can recognize some of the fungi that went into making them, like shelf mushrooms and slime molds.

I actually wrote slime molds into the SF book I’m editing right now. These things are cool, because they move, have a certain amount of memory, and a few other amazing things. I’m not creating zombies out of them, but modifying their genes to have them perform useful tasks, like identifying minefields.

The show makers seem to have done their research into fungi. They shouldn’t be completely bound by facts, and they aren’t, but it’s nice to see some of the small inclusions. Things like “root” systems that can cover miles. Some fungi could be the largest things on Earth if you consider acreage over weight.

Things otherwise are kind of boring. Work has been extreme and home feels like a food and sleep station around the office. Things seem to cycle like that, and I’m looking forward to a week where things dial back a little.

I might get another lap of editing this evening. Right now, I need the break, and might not return to it until Sunday.

Hope all of you are having a great weekend.

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I’m so tired…

I’m not afraid of work, never have been. I’m trying to remind myself this author gig is what I do for relaxation. Somehow, I failed today.

I had to deal with dicey WiFi all morning and a couple of router reboots. Then AutoCrit refused to load, so I had to paste my MS in there multiple times before it decided to work. I still blame the weak-assed signal. Eventually, I caught a strong section of signal and everything loaded.

I spent about 12 hours correcting grammar and punctuation in my SF novel. It always amazes me how many words are one letter different, and I found and corrected several of those. There were a lot of doubled words that needed killing, along with all the commas and question marks I had to fix.

Spelling and grammar apps don’t particularly appreciate science fiction either. Place and character names kind of make it cry.

Where did my fun and relaxation go?

On the other hand, I am overjoyed at getting this leg finished. All three books have passed this waypoint. I still have some specific word searches I want to do next, but hope the technology might have eliminated that phase for me. I’ll still test it out.

The last lap will be to read them all to see if things make sense.

It looks like I won’t be drafting anything for another few weeks, but this part has to get done. Before I start back up, there are a few books I want to read, too. I decided to stay in this phase for a while longer. I’m not hurting for drafts and will dedicate as much time as I must here.

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Ugh! Editing

I got to the writing cabin kind of late today. Old What’s Her Face and I usually have Sunday breakfast at home, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the week. Nothing too fancy, just really nice.

It’s also the day I call my Mother and I dedicated an hour to that.

Drafting new material is my favorite part of the job. I love the process of coming up with new characters and having them interact. Today, I had to grit my teeth and start editing.

I walked into the cabin’s living room which serves as the public-facing office.

A talking yak debated something with a talking hat. A retired leg-man was discussing the breakdown of modern society with a Chinese monk woman who carried a huge guandao.

Lisa Burton, the robot girl was in a dither trying to get root monsters down from the antler chandelier.

Percy, the Space Chimp pointed a hairy finger from across the room. “I got a bone to pick with you.”

I slammed the door, and returned to my vehicle. “Nope.”

I returned home and parked myself in a spare room we use for an office. The old Mac opened the AutoCrit website just fine, and I was able to upload my manuscript. However, it never highlighted a damned thing.

It feels great to produce a perfect draft, but I never have and something was wrong. I wanted to use my iPad to make the actual edits.

The site works perfectly on the iPad, and my dreams of a perfect MS were shot down.

I wound up using the split-screen feature and the iPad for everything. This isn’t particularly easy, because the text is so small in split screen. Clicking on AutoCrit’s suggestions is a little more touchy at this small size, too.

I admit to chickening out on the big stuff and worked on The Hat story because of its size. I managed to fix all of my typical mistakes. Mostly missing punctuation. I seem to miss a lot of question marks when I draft.

I have the free version of AutoCrit, so I don’t have all of its amazing features. Still helpful with spelling and punctuation. I had one word spelled wrong about five times. At least I was consistent.

That hat story moves into the TBR editing pile. I think I’ll take on the swamp story in the morning. I dread this stuff, but it must be done.

It’s been a while since I shared a Pinterest Board. This is a good one for all authors. Sometimes we all need location and setting. Check it out and let me know what you think https://pin.it/3ILyqyc

This one has markets, catacombs, a street of birdcages, public gardens and more.

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Am I done? Maybe.

My only goal today was to do some writing. I’ve previously mentioned that Once Upon a Time in the Swamp required a long denouement.

My intent here was to wrap things up, but also provide a potential future for Mari. I have no intention of a sequel, but I want readers to know life goes on after her traumatic events. Today, I reached that point.

Mari’s tale came in over 70,000 words, but that’s not real lengthy. I’m of the mind a story will be as long as it needs to be. I like the story, but there are always things to second guess about one. Time for that later.

At some point, I’m going to have to spend some real money on cover art for all these stories. I think they’re worth the cost of good art, and that industry also needs a few patrons. In fact that gives me an idea for a possible Story Empire post in the future.

It’s time for me to embrace the thing I hate most about these projects… editing. I have three finished books at this time. They are tentatively called:

Of Space Chimps & Asteroids

Goodbye Old Paint

Once Upon a Time in the Swamp

I think I’ll pick up Percy the Space Chimp and see if I can shove his story through AutoCrit. This is somewhat dubious, because I’m going to have to try using the ancient Mac for the website, and my iPad for the corrections. Things were so much simpler when I had two iPads, but iOS won’t let the old one update anymore.

I don’t expect this to be a single day event, and know it won’t be particularly easy. If I can make that work, my next step will be to read it from start to finish and make it suitable for the public. This one will be held back until I can write two more volumes.

After that, the other titles will follow that same path… maybe.

Already second guessing this. Old Paint is a Hat story, and therefore, the shortest of the three. Maybe I should try this experiment on that one first. Ugh!

Either way, I’m determined to start this next phase this weekend. That means no drafting of new material for at least a month. Deep breath, but it’s time to shift gears now. Fingers crossed.

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That’s a wrap

Vacation is over. I had three projects to deal with, and only accomplished a project-and-a-half.

We got our daughter relocated to her new apartment, and that took a few days. (One for recovery. Part of one to exchange furniture and get the replacement to her.)

I don’t feel like this was a squandering of my leave time. I spent plenty of time goofing off because I wanted to. It’s taken me years to learn something that’s probably obvious to the rest of you, but I’m allowed to just relax and do fun things occasionally.

I’ll do my best to complete that project for a friend, but I’m halfway finished. I’ll dedicate next weekend to that with some real focus.

After that, I want to read through The Midnight Rambler from start to finish. I haven’t looked at it for a while, so relatively fresh eyes could really help the story.

Beyond that, everything is kind of loose ideas. I’m bound to start another story, and might even start two. I also need to come up with some artwork for Midnight Rambler, at least in my mind.

I might not get it all done next weekend either, but I’ll move the chains somehow.

For now, it’s back to the grind with some focus on what my job requires. I’m going to be way behind, and it might take the first couple of days just to catch up. I will, somehow.

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Slow weekend

This was one of my two day weekends. These seem to happen more frequently around holidays, and it is what it is. That didn’t leave much time for author chores.

Our daughter came to visit on Friday. She spent the night and I had a wonderful visit with her on Saturday. No lamenting that time. I really enjoyed our time together, but it didn’t leave much room for anything else.

Still loaded with Asian pears. I tried to send a bag home with my daughter, but she passed. I might have to look up some recipes for them.

I really boogered up the last chapter of Good Liniment I shared with my critique group. I spent the rest of Saturday trying to repair it, and still don’t like it.

I spent this morning talking to my parents. They got to go pick choke cherries, and I’m kind of jealous. It sounds like such a nice day afield. Things like that aren’t in the cards for me right now, so I’ll have to live through their adventures.

This afternoon, I went beyond the crappy chapter, and some of the repairs seemed to work better there. Still don’t feel confident about it. I’ve gone from being excited to worried about this book.

Hopefully, by 2022, I’ll get over it. I have so many ideas for Lizzie and the hat, and this story needs to be one of them in my mind. I even made some notes to improve a story that’s four books down the line.

I spent a little time trying to cobble together something for a bit of October promo. That’s always been my best month, and while I don’t have a new release for the Halloween season, I have plenty of options to draw some interest.

I also wrote back material for Wreck of the Lanternfish. I got a little emotional addressing the eventual readers. I’ve spent a lot of time and effort with these characters over the last few years. It’s nearly ready to go. Once I get paid, I’ll probably contact my formatter. Or, I might read through it once again. Who knows.

That’s it for my author’s time. It might not seem like much, but I moved the pegs a little on several projects. I didn’t write any new words, but there will be other weekends.

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Not a lot to show for this weekend

I try to stay busy, I always do, but sometimes there isn’t a lot to show for my efforts.

It started off with a visit from our daughter. I’m a firm believer that family comes first, so I never tried to do anything until she went home. We had a nice visit, and she even managed to cut my hair while she was here.

Had to deal with a loss of power to the deep freeze. This involved a stupid GFI switch. We didn’t lose anything, but had some things we had to cook PDQ. I discovered it because my beer mugs didn’t get frosty overnight.

Beyond that, it was all “Stuff.” I worked on something for Teri Polen’s Bad Moon Rising, but it isn’t ready yet. I worked all the way to the end of the Lanternfish story. I feel like I caught most things, but I always miss something. Reading it once more might help. I’d like to publish it sometime in November.

I also dedicated some time to Good Liniment. Nothing too earth shattering, but I reworded a few sections prior to sharing it with my critique group. I included a text thread in this section, because Hat stories include dumb things. It looks like they all came across the right way. One never knows when I text my daughter, photograph the screen, upload it to Apple Pages, then leave Apple to share it in Word format. My daughter and I had fun creating the texts.

Then there were graphics. I’m not a graphics guy, but I took a tip from Harmony Kent, then assembled the rest by hand in a graphics program I have. The end results weren’t too bad, and I might use them one day.

Word count, not so much. Certainly less than a thousand words. I’m not feeling any kind of rush on this project, so I’m not going to lament this. It’s supposed to be a side project, and I’m going to treat it that way.

It’s kind of productive, but not in a way I can demonstrate. I think next weekend will be similar. I’m ahead for a change, so I’m not going to beat myself up over it. Eventually, the side project will cause me to start a main project. Lanternfish will come out, and I’ll have to figure out some promo for it. Maybe early next year I’ll release Good Liniment.

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