Posts Tagged With: editing

Cerulean Bound Update

Happy April, everyone!

It’s been pointed out to me by the lovely Celeste DeWolfe that I haven’t blogged since January. Whoops! My incredible bad. Here goes!

Since my January post, I’ve been plugging away at editing Cerulean Bound. I rewrote a ton of stuff, added a bunch of new scenes, completely changed one of my villain’s motivations, etc. I finally finished going through all the editing notes, and now I am at the stage of “re-read the book again and make sure all the edits actually make sense.” This is my favorite type of editing, because I’ve hypothetically worked out all the kinks, so I shouldn’t have any big things to change — just enjoy the story, and hopefully shave off a few thousand words in the process. Streamline, baby!

Once the re-read’s done, I’m going to send it back to my alpha reader and editor for a second go-through. Hopefully they’ll have fewer notes this time, which would mean once I correct the new stuff, I’ll be able to start sending the book out to beta readers. From there … another round of editing, maybe two? My editor is a perfectionist, which is great in that it means the end product is always top-notch, but terrible in that it takes forever to do anything. (I love you, Mom!)

In life news, I recently went to Disney World with my mother, brother, and best friend. It was lots of fun — we ate, we drank, we rode assorted roller coasters, we ooh-ed and ahh-ed at fireworks, etc. Thank goodness for Fast Passes — waiting two hours in line for a 90 second ride is just silly. Some of my travelling companions got hit with a nasty cold during the vacation, but I ate many oranges and managed to escape the virus … until I returned home, and it walloped me in the face. I am now sniffling in my fluffy bathrobe with a mug of hot tea, surrounded by tissues, vitamin C, and throat lozenges. Nooooooooo!

I’m off to make cookies after this, then get down to some freelance proofreading work. (By the way, if anyone needs any proofreading done, hit me up!) Once that’s done, it’s back to editing Cerulean Bound. I’ve also started re-reading Imminent Danger and Chasing Nonconformity, in a valiant attempt to make sure I don’t contradict myself in book 3.

I’ll check back in when I’ve got more news on Cerulean Bound. I know it’s been a long while since book 2 was released, but hopefully there are still a few people out there excited to read book 3!

Have a great week, and stay awesome 🙂

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Categories: Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

Editing Fun #1

I’ve officially received edits back from my editor and alpha reader on Draft #2 of Cerulean Bound, so it’s time to start sharing some of the more ridiculous “edits” they’ve done.

In today’s showcase, I present to you the first and last pages of the manuscript my editor (/mother) returned to me yesterday.

 

Anyone have a guess on what the bread means?

Right before I sent Mom the manuscript, I reminded her of the “sandwich” approach to critiquing, which is to bookend all the “fix this” “fix that” with positive comments. I.e. the first piece of bread is positive crit, then you delve into all the stuff that needs changing (the meat of the sandwich), then end off with another piece of bread/positive crit.

Mother, bless her, took this literally. As you can see, she put actual pieces of bread into the manuscript. And, in her words, the bottom piece of bread has jam “to make it extra tasty.”

This week I will be going through her comments, as well as revisiting my alpha reader’s comments, to come up with a gameplan for fixing whatever’s broken in my book. I’ll start with big picture stuff (my alpha reader suggested adding a couple of scenes from Grashk’s perspective, which I really liked), and then deal with the nitty gritty details.

Hope everyone’s having a great week so far! Stay awesome 🙂

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Finished Cerulean Bound Draft #2

Phew!

After noodling over the second draft for about three months, I finally got the darned thing done! I have my editor and alpha reader to thank for this: my editor, for reminding me that she has a ton of free time over the holidays to read it, so finish it already, and my alpha reader for promising to read it over this weekend if I could get it to him by noon today. Technically I got it to him at 12:15, but hopefully he’s willing to overlook the tardiness.

The first draft clocked in at 142,000 words, and I managed to get the second draft down to … drum roll … 110,000! There is still some chopping to be done, of course. I’d like to get it down into the 90,000 range, which is more reasonable for a quick-paced YA story, not to mention that forcing myself to get rid of ~15k words will make the story tighter and better. But I’m pretty proud of losing 30k words in one fell swoop. Hopefully I didn’t cut anything too important …

Anyway, draft 2 is off to my editor and alpha reader. I should hear back from my alpha reader by Monday (we’re doing lunch), but as for my editor … it could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. It’s difficult to say with her. It’s the off-season in the B&B world, so hopefully she’ll have lots of time to devote to tearing the manuscript apart. Fingers crossed!

In unrelated news, I’m still at my dad’s house for the holidays, hanging out with him and my brother and generally “chillaxing” as the young’uns like to say. We play a lot of Civ 5, go on walks in the frigid outdoors, and occasionally watch movies (just saw Jumanji yesterday — hilarious). I’ll be heading back to Nova Scotia this upcoming Tuesday, which hopefully will not be buried under a mountain of snow when I arrive.

Happy New Year to everyone! My resolution is to write every day. So far I’ve managed it, but we’ll see how that shapes up once I get into the busy B&B summer months. Maybe I should try getting up early and writing before I head downstairs to cook breakfast and clean. Then again, I’m so not a morning person, so maybe not.

Until next time!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Every time I listen to this song, I want to conquer a foreign country. Possibly I’ve been playing too much Civ 5.

Categories: My Works, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 12 Comments

20k Words Cut from Cerulean Bound!

Woohoo!

I’ve fallen into a really productive schedule this holiday season, which is basically to wake up, eat breakfast, and then edit until my brother wakes up around 12 – 1 p.m. Then we go do Christmas-y stuff. This works great for me, because when I have the entire day to edit, it’s an intimidatingly large block of time, and I’m more likely to procrastinate. Whereas if I know I have a set end time, I’m able to focus better and actually get stuff done. Hence, 20k words cut from Cerulean Bound — and counting!

I’m about 75% of the way through the manuscript, which means I’m now coming up on the ending. I expect the editing to slow down significantly, because the ending is, obviously, the part of the book I’ve gone over the fewest times. So it needs the most work. I don’t imagine I’ll fix all the problems with this go-through, but I should at least be able to make sure it all makes sense before I send it off to my editor and alpha readers.

Also, sushi! I’m off to all-you-can-eat sushi this evening with a few friends, and I’m super excited because usually I live in a very small town that has literally zero Asian restaurants. But now I’m back in civilization, and I fully intend to stuff my face with sushi, dim sum, pad thai, pho, and every other delicious non-fish-and-chips food I can get my hands on. I’ve actually been having dreams about dim sum. Sheesh.

I hope everyone’s having a wonderful holiday season! Stay warm, and stay awesome.

Categories: Writing | Tags: | 9 Comments

10k Words Cut from Cerulean Bound!

Editing on Cerulean Bound proceeds at … I want to say a “good clip,” but realistically it’s more a slow crawl. I had started November with the intention of getting the second draft done by mid-December (a.k.a. right now) but then I got laser eye surgery and things went a tad sideways.

Long story short, either the LASIK people didn’t do the surgery correctly, or my eyes are just being difficult, because my vision never got up to 20/20. It’s supposed to take a couple of days to clear up after the surgery, but by seven days out, I was still seeing blurry. The surgeon says I’ve “regressed,” which is supposedly something that usually happens around the 3 or 6 month mark, so I guess I’m just special. This means I’ll have to go for a touch-up surgery in the spring, and until then the world is ever-so-slightly out of focus. I can still drive, but the signs are blurry, and I have to make the text on my screen bigger so I can read it.

All this is to say that my editing plans got completely derailed by the surgery, and I couldn’t properly read (let alone edit) for a good two weeks after the surgery. Then my eyes had a bad reaction to the steroid drops (because of course they did) and that knocked off another week of productivity. By the time I got properly into editing, it was basically December.

But! Now I’m back home in Ontario for the holidays, so I have a good two hours every morning of (relative) peace and quiet to get my editing done. There are the occasional (read: frequent) interruptions from my father, who’s very excited that I’m home, but they’re brief so I can usually get back into the editing groove without too much trouble.

As of today, I have officially knocked 10k words off my whopping 142k first draft word count. Now, YA books are generally between 70k-100k words, so I still have a ways to go, but I’ve been able to streamline scenes and even delete a few extraneous characters, so I’m hopeful I’ll be able to get down into the 110k words zone by the end of this edit. That leaves 10k-15k for my editor to chop, which is fine, because my editor loves chopping. If editing doesn’t work out for her, she’d make an excellent lumberjack.

That’s all! Just wanted to check in and let my devoted fans (all six of them) know that I have not, in fact, forgotten about book 3. I’m hard at work, and am doing my best to get it ready for a Spring 2018 release. Stay tuned, and stay awesome!

Categories: Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

What’s the biggest thing you ever cut from a manuscript?

In honor of leap day, today’s theme is leaping. As in, leaping over awkward plot points to get to the heart of the story. During the editing process, writers cut all number of things: useless characters, random sub plots, flowery but unnecessary description, adverbs, etc. So, I put this question to you:

What’s the biggest thing you ever cut from a manuscript?

For Imminent Danger, the biggest thing I can remember is the “descent to Alpha Centauri Prime” scene. Originally, the galactic hub planet was surrounded by a minefield–the remnants of an old space battle. So ships had to line up to be guided through the mines. Varrin, being Varrin, decided to skip that whole tedious process and tackle the minefield himself, resulting in a 1000 word action sequence where Varrin pilots the Nonconformity down through the mines, and Eris and Miguri panic a lot.

When I sat down to chop 20k words off the story, that was one of the first scenes to go. It was fun, but ultimately didn’t need to be in there. Plus, as my brother pointed out, it kind of didn’t make sense that one of the biggest trade hubs in the galaxy was surrounded by mines that no one had bothered to clear out yet. So the action sequence was scrapped, and the descent to Alpha Centauri Prime was cut down to a paragraph.

For Chasing Nonconformity … hoo boy. With Imminent Danger, I did a lot of revising, but the basic structure of the book remained the same. But with the sequel, I pretty much re-wrote it from the ground up. So almost everything got cut and then rewritten–with the exception of Trystan, Sebara, and Fino’jin, who were in the story from day one.

So I can’t really pin down the biggest cut, but certainly one of the large ones was Bax. Bax was a shapeshifting bounty hunter who Fino’jin hired to help track down and capture Varrin. During the original climax of the book, Bax shapeshifted into a jsgarn (big angry monster) and nearly killed Sebara. She did eventually defeat him, although she then had to jump out of the low-flying spaceship they were in at the time (I don’t remember why) and then broke like half the bones in her body upon hitting the ground.

In the re-write, Eris and Varrin’s plotline completely changed, and Bax didn’t work with the new story so he was axed. I don’t regret that one at all–he was mildly interesting, but definitely not a stand-out character. I wrote him as sort of a “blank slate”, in that he didn’t exhibit much personality at all because he shifted forms so frequently that even he didn’t really know who he was. But there wasn’t enough room in the story to explore his character properly, so instead of trying to shoehorn him in, I just cut him.

So, all you writers out there, what’s the biggest cut you’ve ever made? Or the most memorable? Or the cut that absolutely destroyed you, because you loved that particular scene/character and hated yourself for having to leave them out?

Unrelated media of the day:

Categories: My Works, Writing | Tags: , , , | 16 Comments

Monday Writing Update

NaNoWriMo is officially over, and I have officially … lost.

Dammit.

Now, in my defense, I came pretty darn close. I started at 31,881 words and ended at  71,889 words, which means I wrote a grand total of 40k words. Not quite 50k, but still a great deal more than what I started with! So, I’m calling this one a moderate success.

Of course, my story is still in shambles. I’ve reached about the 1/3 point in the plot, and I’m 70k words in. So that means the book is on track to be 210k words long. Yikes. Excessive editing and cutting and rewriting will cut that down, but it’ll be a hassle for sure.

In other news, I’ve recently launched a proofreading service. This is partially because I’m good at proofreading and want to do more of it, and partially because my income is laughable at the moment and I need to pay rent. So, if you’re looking for someone to proofread your next book before it goes live, hit me up! The going rate is $0.0015 per word, which works out to $150 for a 100k word novel.

My final life update is something I mentioned before, but am still excited about–I’ve acquired a seasonal job at a local tea shop! The hours are whacky, and I’m having a devil of a time remembering the 150+ teas we sell (and by “devil of a time”, I mean it will never happen), but it’s still been quite enjoyable thus far. Money is always nice, not to mention it gives me a reason to leave the house and get a bit of exercise. I won’t be able to head back to Ontario for Christmas this year, but I’m planning an awesome road trip in January/February once the contract’s over so I can go see my folks. Huzzah!

I think that’s about it. What are you awesome people up to these days? Any fun holiday plans? What’s your favorite kind of tea? Let me know in the comments!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

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Help! NaNoWriMo Woes

We’re now on day 23 of NaNoWriMo, and I am very woeful. Apart from being 5 days behind on my word count (noooooo), I’ve also encountered a very frustrating problem that I’m hoping y’all might have some advice for me on.

Essentially, my story is going to be too long. Like, massively too long. I’ve spent the past two years turning this story over in my mind, working out all the details and character arcs and whatnot. But now that I’m putting it on paper, it’s way too long. I just hit 63k words, and I’m not even at the halfway point yet. Not even close. Right now, the story’s looking to be 150k+ words. Which, for a YA novel, is … not good.

So I’m basically looking for suggestions on how to proceed. Obviously the book can’t stay that long. But what’s my best option for dealing with this?

A) Keep writing, and finish the first draft. Once it’s all done, go back, re-read, and re-evaluate the story. Cut out unnecessary scenes, tighten phrasing, etc., and get it down to a reasonable word count.

B) Stop writing. Re-read what I’ve got and tighten it up now, so I can keep writing off a solid base.

C) Keep writing, and finish the first draft. Don’t go crazy cutting scenes — just let the story be how long it needs to be. If that’s too long for traditional YA books, either embrace it and publish anyway, or pursue other publishing formats — i.e., release the story in multiple parts (ala Lord of the Rings) at a reduced price

D) Whatever y’all can come up with!

Right now I’m leaning toward option A, because I figure getting it all down on paper first is my best bet before I start chopping stuff. But I welcome any and all suggestions!

While you come up with awesome advice for me, please also enjoy the very chill unrelated media of the day.

 

(Very Chill) Unrelated Media of the Day:

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , | 33 Comments

Imminent Danger Sequel Update

Great news! Revisions for Chasing Nonconformity are coming along quite nicely. I’ve got all my beta reader feedback in, save for two folks who are sending it my way soon. And I’ve incorporated all the feedback I already have into the story. I’m now in the process of re-reading the book and making random edits here and there as I go.

Once I get the last two remaining beta reader comments back and get their suggestions worked in, I’ll send the novel off to my editor/manager/life coach/mother, who’ll read it through and make her own random edits. Then it comes back to me for another read through. And maybe a few more random edits. Definitely a few more random edits.

Next up, formatting time! The book goes into my Createspace book formatting document, where I add pretty chapter headers and put in page numbers and whatnot. Then I send off the page count to my graphic designer so she can whip me up the paperback version of the cover. Then I print off 2 copies of the book — one for mother, one for me — and we do more reading and editing.

Finally, once we’ve read and edited the proof copies to our hearts’ content, and I’ve gotten the fancy paperback cover from my designer, it’s publishing time! Ebook goes live, paperback goes live — victory!

So that’s the game plan. We’re looking at a mid to late August release date at the moment, depending on when I get that beta reader feedback in, and how long mother’s multiple read-throughs take. She’s busy with house renovations, so she’s low on free time, whereas I’m totally unemployed and have all the time in the world! Huzzah!

Have an awesome week, everyone, and thanks for reading the update!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

I have a weird feeling I already shared this one, but I never removed the bookmark, so maybe not. Either way, enjoy!

Categories: My Works, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Pro Editing Tip: Remove Filter Words

Today’s editing tip is courtesy of the glorious Nicholas C Rossis, who was kind enough to beta read Chasing Nonconformity. (Note: Yes, I’ve finally started revisions! Book should be out by summer’s end! Huzzah!)

In his excellent beta reading notes, he mentioned my overuse of “filter words”. These are, essentially, words that make the world seem as if it’s being filtered through the character’s eyes.

So, for example:

With filter: Gabby felt her heart shatter into 1,558,309 pieces.

Without filter: Gabby’s heart shattered into 1,558,309 pieces.

Another example:

With filter: Humphrey heard someone squawk violently.

Without filter: Someone squawked violently.

One more:

With filter: Olivia saw the duck transmogrify into a treble clef.

Without filter: The duck transmogrified into a treble clef.

Removing filter words will both tighten up your writing, as well as help to remove that extra layer of distance between you and the character. And removing distance is always a good thing. Not removing distance leads to separation anxiety, which leads to my roommate’s dog literally crashing through the screen door to reach her owner.

To learn more about filter words, the extraordinary Nicholas C Rossis recommends this article. Seeing as I’ve now described him as both “glorious” and “extraordinary”, I’m confident we can trust his good judgment.

To infinity and beyond!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Random Harry Potter jokes, because my roommate has been marathoning the HP movies and it seems appropriate …

Source: http://imgur.com/gallery/QO5Z6

 

Reminder: Imminent Danger is free to download today (July 6, 2015) — grab it if you haven’t read it yet!

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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