Tag Archives: editing

I love it when a plan comes together

I failed to take my own advice last night, and didn't do my word searches on The Enhanced League. I read the whole thing from start to finish last night, and I like it. The word searches can happen at any time, and maybe I can deal with some of them on the road during the week.

After I finish with them, this book will be ready for beta readers.

I slept in a bit this morning, but was still up before seven. Otto needed some “poodle time,” But he's snoring away in his bed right now.

His down time leads to my opportunity. The first draft of The Yak Guy Project is in the vault. I ended with a couple of emotional scenes, but it was the right place in my mind. I always like the “life goes on” ending, and after I wrapped up some threads, it just felt perfect.

It still needs some things, no doubt. This one is in first person, so I'm sure most of the sentences start with I, my, or we. This is the bane of first person, but I usually manage to change enough of them to make it palatable. Right now, it needs to rest while I turn full attention to Enhanced League.

My plans don't always come together, but this is exactly where I wanted to be sometime today.

I still worry about word count, but I've convinced myself that shorter is better for 21st century sensibilities. Enhanced League is 37,000 words more or less. Yak Guy is a novel at nearly 70,000. This will change during the editing phases, but it gives you a rough idea.

I don't know what to do with myself for the rest of the day, but I'll probably start those word searches. I need to read some blogs too, and now I have time to enjoy them.

Sounds like I need a new plan, and that has to be a call for beta readers. If I'm lucky that will happen next weekend, but I'd have to get incredibly lucky. Doubt, the raven, is whetting his beak as I type this. He loves my editing phase.

I also owe Chris Graham a few more posts, but if I drag my feet, I may be able to write about a new book.

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Runs, Hits, Errors

This was not an overly productive day today. The big thing was managing to pay all the bills before I leave town.

I managed to get through my critique, and made all the changes I could. This particular critique had more good remarks than bad ones. Believe me, it doesn't always happen that way.

That's really about it on the productivity front. I spent too much time playing with the dog, and I watched a baseball game. We finally decided to take the plunge and get the MLB package, now I can watch baseball all summer.

I've reached a point where I have to change part of my plans. I cannot put off editing of The Enhanced League until I finish the draft of The Yak Guy Project. That was a good plan, before we drifted into Spring. With Summer fast approaching, I'd like to get The Enhanced League out there.

This isn't a horrible option, because I don't require the silence to edit. In some ways, a bit of peripheral noise keeps me from getting into the story and lets me concentrate on the line by line stuff. This means evenings will be spent editing. I'll take my iPad to Louisville, but may not have time to work on that kind of thing. At least I can answer comments, emails, and may get to update my blog. I can also follow along with the RRBC party if I wake up early every day.

Then there is my error… I told all of you I have the post tomorrow at Story Empire. This is because when I checked the scheduled posts, mine was next. This is not the case. My post is up Wednesday, and someone else has to post tomorrow. Sorry about that, but with my iPad in tow, I can mange comments on Wednesday. Visit tomorrow anyway. Story Empire is made up of some awesome authors and you're bound to find something good.

Tonight, I'll probably start on my word searches. This is part of my editing process, because after this much time I know what errors I usually make. I have a living document with them and can go through them in order.

Tomorrow, I am going to start with The Yak Guy Project. It's my last good day to draft new material for about two weeks. Fingers crossed.

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Ready for the work week

My last day at the office was Wednesday. I have to go back tomorrow. Admittedly, I took this time off to pay my debt as an author. This might come as a surprise to many of you readers, but it will make sense to the authors out there. I'll try to give the rest of you a glimpse into the secret club today.

I need proofreaders, critique groups, beta readers, blog hosts, and reviews to make my books a success. There isn't a kind of shop where you can go get all of that. Being self published is often a matter of supporting your hobby without going too far into the hole. The big dream is to turn a profit someday.

The truth is you can pay for many of those services, but it gets kind of expensive after a while. This is why we all tend to help each other. At a bare minimum, we are a fresh set of eyes who can spot the difference between hear and here in a manuscript. It's hard to spot these kind of things in your own work. There are also times when we know exactly what we're describing, but readers aren't getting that vision. Different eyes will raise a red flag at these points.

I take advantage of this kind of help, so it's important to provide it in turn. We don't typically share project for project. It's more like a pool of authors who will do what they can – when they can. I rarely get the same people from project to project, but in the long run – they are the same group.

Most of my time off was spent paying my authorly debts. The rest was spent on other duties, just like at the workplace. I'm proud to say I finished my last authorly project at about 1:30 today. Then I hauled off all the fruit tree branches, and declared myself done.

I feel a bit like that guy at the top of the post, but I also feel pretty darned good about it. I got to read some awesome stories, some for a review, some as a beta reader.

The good news is that my metaphorical office is clear. On my next day off I can return to my own novel. I'm kind of excited about it to tell you the truth.

I'll spend the rest of the evening catching up with most of the blogs I neglected to read. After that, it's off to bed early enough to go to my workplace all fresh and ready for work.

One of these days I'll have to take some time off for the sake of time off. It could happen, someday.

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Trying to get back in the routine

Today is my flex day off this week. I got kind of a late start, and it felt good to sleep in for once. I spent an hour feeding Otto, and playing with him and his squeaky fox toy. After he settled down, I headed for the writing cabin.

I landed my gyrocopter and parked on the runway. When I took the elevator down into the basement, I noticed the formerly haunted biplane was missing. The yak was standing in his stall, waiting for me to get back to his story. “Where’s Lisa?”

“She has not returned,” the yak said. “I need to graze, if you don’t mind.”

I opened the stall and led him out the back door. “Stay near the cabin. Lisa isn’t here to guard you, and there are all kinds of fantasy creatures in the woods.”

I left him to his breakfast, and went in through the front door. Bunny needed food and fresh water, so I took care of him before settling into my office.

The window was open, and Doubt the raven soared high above the grazing yak. I grabbed the critiques I received weeks ago and went to work on them. The guys are enjoying The Yak Guy Project, and I didn’t have a lot of tweaking to do. We’re about to get a new member this coming month and I’m excited to meet her and get some different input.

I scheduled my next post for Story Empire and moved on to some of my short fiction. I wanted to do a read through on some of the stories for The Enhanced League. I made a few edits along the way.

I’ve been called for drifting into present tense a few times now, so I try to watch for it. I discovered one such place in a short story. It seems to be when using internal dialog. To my mind that is happening at the moment and present tense feels more intense. I changed it to past tense anyway. When I use contractions like “it’s and he’s” it feels correct for dialog. There is no reason why they aren’t contractions for “it was” and “he was.” Am I justifying, or am I reasonably correct? (Probably justifying.)

I opened a blank page to start the next short story and my phone rang.

“This is the Orange County Jail calling for Mr. Boyack. You have a collect call from Lisa Burton*. Will you accept the charges?”

“Yes.”

“So, um, hi. I ran into a little trouble here in Florida, and need you to post my bail.”

“You have internal phone capacity, why are you just calling now?”

“Turns out there are no signals at all in the jail. I’m fine, but can’t get a signal out. I even tried routing through their printer, but it’s a pretty stupid machine.”

“What happened?”

“Well, I had a lovely visit with Susan Nicholls, and she told me where I could find a new swimming suit, and some flip flops to go with it. That lead to a cute cover up, and some other cool shops–”

“Not the shopping, why are you in jail?”

“I’m getting to that. I just bought a cute denim outfit and some shoes before heading back to the airport. I always fly my own plane, because I can’t pass through security. Too much copper and titanium. So I wandered through the gate and pulled the chocks away from my tires when I was approached by two TSA agents. I swear, I was just minding my own business and coming home.”

“What did they want?”

“Turns out they have a problem with the machine-guns on my biplane. Some plane affictionado had to check it out, then got worried and reported me.”

“I thought you removed them. I hope they weren’t loaded.”

“Um, yeah, about that. You have some pretty scary stuff in the sky’s above the writing cabin. There are dragons, and aliens, and even witches on broomsticks. I may have a class three battle chassis, but I’m not going to survive a fall from twenty-five thousand feet.”

“How do you think your antique biplane would fare against an alien ship?”

“I need you to stop the writer’s brain for a second and post my bail.”

“No problem. I’m sure they impounded your plane. How will you get home?”

“Well, I’m going to un-impound it. Then I’m hugging the ground to avoid radar and coming straight home.”

“You’ll never be able to go back to Florida.”

“No, my plane will never be able to go back. I can still use the rocket-pack if I’m ever invited.”

“Okay, I’m logging in to their site right now. Oh look, they take PayPal.”

“Did you feed Bunny?”

“He’s fat and happy, and the yak is grazing right outside my window. Watch your tail, they may chase you as you fly off.”

“As soon as I get a signal, I’m going to link into their communications and make a mess of them. They can look for me in the Bermuda Triangle or somewhere.”

“Okay. Bail’s all posted, but I don’t know how long it will take at their end. You owe me too.”

“I know, and thanks. The money will go right back into your account once I can hack their system. I need to scrub my record, and destroy all video of my plane landing in Florida. It will be like it never happened, I promise.”

***

* Lisa Burton is my personal assistant and the spokesmodel for Entertaining Stories. She’s a robot and made her debut in Wild Concept. She also has a short story in The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack.

 

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Assessing my effort so far

On Friday night I posted a list of things I want to accomplish before returning to the paycheck job on Tuesday. I think I’m doing a pretty good job of things so far. Let’s take a look at the list, and I’ll scratch things off to indicate what I’ve been doing.

The checklist:

  • Take life as it comes, including another date night and puppy play
  • Work on short stories
  • Read all my Macabre Macaroni stories, edit as needed
  • Publish my second Experimental Notebook (mostly)
  • Work on any Lisa Burton Radio stuff that comes back in the mail
  • Go through my critiques and make changes to The Yak Guy Project
  • Read one book, start another
  • Blog

I got a bunch of writing done yesterday, so I completely ignored that today. It was hard, because it’s what I want to be doing. Mom always said you have to finish your Brussels sprouts before you can have dessert. It’s kind of like that.

Otto and I played a bunch. He’s teething right now, and looks kind of like a wild boar with tusks in the bottom jaw only. The top canines are coming in fast though and his rawhide toys were pretty popular today.

I put in some work on future Lisa Burton Radio interviews. Those are all in the mail, finished, or awaiting final approval. I still have to schedule this week’s post via WordPress. Maybe I’ll do that after this posts. I love the scheduler option for these.

I finished my reading project, but didn’t get around to starting the next one. I have a book of short stories next by one of the regulars here. I want to read another one by a friend after that. Short fiction is one of my favorites and I’m kind of excited about both of them. Sue and Nicholas, I’m talking about you.

I probably screwed up on the publishing front. I wanted to do a short pre-sale for The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II. When I pushed everything through the mill it asked when I wanted to book to deliver. It never asked me when I wanted the pre-sale to start. I wouldn’t be surprised if I have to write a panic post tomorrow because the pre-sale already started. If that’s what happens, I’ll have to own it like I planned it, but readers of this blog will know the truth. Maybe I can blame everything on my assistant.

Some of the items on my list are ongoing, like blogging and working on the short stories. Tomorrow I’ll save the Macabre Macaroni stories for break times. It may seem odd, but reading and tweaking seems to use a different part of the brain than drafting new material does. At least it does for me.

I’m going to focus on the short stories in The Enhanced League. I may crack into the short stories I want to read too.

Then again, I may not do any of that. I may have to write a panic post about the release of my new book. If that shows up in my timeline tomorrow, you can all have a laugh at my expense. I really wanted to start on the 24th, not the 15th. Part of the problem is the lack of time to dedicate. My wife and I have plans that won’t provide another day to do this.

So there you have it. Picking away at my list, and I can do the fun stuff tomorrow. I think I’ll have two of those pumpkin beers tonight, but I doubt they’ll help me sleep. I’ll probably toss and turn all night wondering if Amazon will have my book available tomorrow morning.

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The saga of my weekend

Yesterday was the day of chores. Disassembling the sink was the easy part. Even reassembling it wasn't too bad. I have creaky parts today in my body, presumably from crawling around in the sink cabinet.

What is the deal with that stopper linkage? It isn't bad enough to have to crawl around and get covered with old sink gunk. At the end, you have to solve some kind of money puzzle that is kind of like taking the bent nail off of a horseshoe while blindfolded, contorted into a pretzel, and with your hands behind your back.

I confess that my sink still doesn't have a functional stopper, but I can use it otherwise. I'll probably get it if I keep trying for another few months.

I also managed to fertilize the lawn. Old What's Her Face* bought into a system from Zamzow's this year. We have to put certain bags of stuff on the lawn at certain times to make everything beautiful. I have no idea what their Humagreen product has in it, but it is the dirtiest stuff I've ever seen.

My feet turned black while looking at the bag, and it got worse from there. I bathed immediately afterward, and the black stuff sunk to the bottom and formed a sandbar. I Googled the ingredients, and it contains 10% iron. Iron's heavy enough to act like that.

Blog break: Otto invaded Old What's Her Face's shower. It was my job to dry him off, now he's running around like a crazy dog. Back to the weekend report.

We had date night at The Yardhouse. I had an upscale hamburger, and it was so filling I couldn't finish. I had a couple of wonderful beers, a stout and a Belgian Quad.

I woke up this morning to the sound of sirens. Someone must have decided to run from the cops at 6:00 AM. They must have driven circles around my subdivision.

Good news, we've had rain and thunderstorms all day. Idaho needs the water, but that has to be great for the fertilizer I just spread. I'm taking it as a stroke of luck.

After calling my parents this morning, I decided to tackle writerly things. I worked through my critiques and shaped up The Yak Guy Project. I decided I need to rewrite a character the guys haven't even seen yet. Yak Guy has several mentors, and I find them all talking the same way. This one can be more of an older brother type character to make him distinct. It's going to take some time, but will be well worth it.

I also worked through a wonderful markup of The Experimental Notebook II. This also took some time, but it improved my short stories greatly. Everything is looking good on my publishing schedule for this one.

This afternoon, I assembled another Lisa Burton Radio show, and scheduled a couple of guest posts to this blog. We have several interesting guests this week, so stay tuned.

I never wrote a single new word of fiction, but consider it a very productive weekend. I hope all of you had a great one too.

* Not my wife's actual name.

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It’s time to get some help

I made sure to water all the outside plants while it was cool, then went to the writing cabin. Doubt, the raven, still hates my short stories. He tends to hate everything, and being able to move beyond his concerns is part of the trick to this stuff.

I took a small break to go over the last critique submission. For some reason, my printer decided not to talk to any of my hardware and I had to completely re-boot it. That seemed to solve the problem, but I’ve never had to do that before.

I finished up a couple of final word searches, and I’m to the point where I’m debating the merit of the tales themselves. This was the time when I sent the first Experimental Notebook out to beta readers. That time, my fears were unfounded. Every story in that book was someone’s favorite. I have my favorites too, but I couldn’t have been happier with those results.

So, what to do now? Is it time to pull the trigger? I’m never really certain. I called for my assistant, Lisa the robot girl.

“What’s up, boss?”

“I think it’s beer time. What do you have?”

“It’s a little early for you. Are you sure?”

“I think I’m done here.”

“I have a nice Belgian beer, but it’s made in the USA. I think you’ll like it.”

“Call the beer horns, and have one with me.”

“You know I don’t have to eat or drink.”

“Yeah, yeah. It’s only to make others comfortable. So be sociable with me.”

She whistled and the beer horns came running; tails wagging and sounding off like baby tubas.

We had a couple of nice cold Belgian brews and I called it a day. So, it looks like I need some help.

“Enjoy the rest of the weekend with your family,” Lisa said. “I’ll clean up around here.”

“You’re the best.”

***

Beta readers really help with the writing process. I need someone to tell me when something just isn’t right. I did a bit of experimenting, which is the point of these stories. It’s great when it works, but I need to know when it doesn’t so I can fix it prior to publication.

I probably have the email address for all my regulars, but I would never force anything on anyone. I’m looking for up to a half-dozen people to read this book of short stories and get back to me. I have a schedule this time too. I want to publish this in late August.

This is my standard fare; science fiction, paranormal, and one fantasy. It also includes two non-speculative pieces that I really liked. Rather than waste them, I made sure this book included two more stories than the last one. In other words, these will be free add-ons.

If you sign up, I need to get your report back by the end of July. That’s nearly a month to read a (free) book that should read pretty fast. That way I can spend early August making adjustments and get the formatting finished to pull this all off on schedule.

I’ve never scheduled this tightly before. Cover art is on order. Lisa Burton promotional art will be next, and I need to pull everything together before I release the book. I am a little bit ahead of time, but something always seems to come up, so I’m starting now.

This is my email address (in code to fool the bots). Coldhand (dot) Boyack (at) gmail (dot) com. Drop me a line and I can send out Word, Apple Pages, PDF, or ePub as you please.

There you have it. I need beta readers. Be brave.

In other news, my wife and dog are home. We might find a way to pull off date night and spend some time together for the rest of the holiday. Otto was a big hit with family, and everyone was surprised at how heavy he is. I admit he’s like lifting a lead block.

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