Posts Tagged With: editing

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!

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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

BIG Imminent Danger Sequel News!

As you may know, my mother and I have spent the last few months doing an intensive edit of Chasing Nonconformity (sequel to Imminent Danger). And I am almost ludicrously pleased to announce that finally — FINALLY — we’re done!

What does this mean? Well, first, I’m going to spend the weekend re-reading the entire thing to make sure we didn’t do anything too crazy during our editing sessions. Then, early next week, I’m going to send the book out to my top-notch beta reading squad. They’ll read it, send me comments, I’ll spend about a month going through them all and making revisions as necessary, then I do a bit of formatting, and then BOOM! Sequel is published! Summer 2015, baby!

On that note, anyone want to be a beta reader? A few of you have already expressed interest (Misha Burnett, Celeste DeWolfe), and it’s possible others have and I’ve just forgotten about it because my memory is laughably terrible. SO, if you’d like to beta read, please let me know! You’d have about a month to read and send me your comments — and your reward, of course, would be a shout-out in the Acknowledgements section and my eternal gratitude.

That’s all she wrote! Wooooooo!

***

Totally related media of the day:

So as I was SHWOOP-ing over the past 5 months (gasp!), I randomly tweeted fun SHWOOP moments. I shall now share my favorites here. No worries if they don’t make sense out of context — very little that I say or do makes sense.

 

 

 

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Chasing Nonconformity Update

As of yesterday, I have officially hit the halfway point in my exhaustive edit of Chasing Nonconformity. Huzzah!

Mother and I started off our editing “SHWOOP” sessions, as we call them, back in February. We meet on Google Hangout every few days and spend an hour or two working our way through the book. This was very slow going, as it usually consisted of mother reading a sentence, staring at it, deciding she didn’t like it, and then telling me to re-write it with very vague directions on what she thought should change. This might repeat four or five times for a single sentence before we moved on to the next and started the whole process again.

You may think I’m joking, but I’m not. It was taking forever.

Then, a few days ago, inspiration hit. More like common sense. If both of us go through the chapter separately before we meet, we’ll have already ironed out all the wrinkles and the SHWOOP session itself will be smooth sailing!

Has your brain exploded yet? Because mine did.

Anyway, our SHWOOP sessions over the past week have been going phenomenally well. We get at least a chapter done a day–two yesterday!–and we’re practically flying through the book now. It probably also helps that we’ve hit the halfway point and the action’s really picking up, so we may or may not be getting through it faster as a result.

I thought I’d share some random facts about the book with you now, since you’ve all waited so patiently and deserve a teaser. Please note that everything listed below might change–I still need to do my uber-beta-reading round, and comments from that could easily shift things around. Anyway, as promised …

*SPOILER ALERT*

An insider look at the current draft (not final, but getting close) of Chasing Nonconformity

  • # of chapters = 42
  • Current word count = 98,997
  • POV characters = Eris, Varrin, Miguri, & Sebara (new character!)
  • Planets/systems visited = 6
  • # of times Varrin smirks = 14
  • # of times Grashk hisses = 17
  • # of times any character sighs = 66 (oh dear)
  • First sentence in the book = “Sebara paced outside the bronze double doors that led into the private chambers of Trystan Gara’dar, second son of the emperor of Rakor.”

The end.

Unrelated media of the day:

Okay, this is a fun one: Harry Potter quotes taken out of context … (Source)

Categories: My Works, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments

Excerpts from SHWOOP editing session #2

SHWOOP editing session #2 went off without a hitch last night, and was once again live-tweeted by yours truly. Here are the highlights:

shwoop 2 tweets

We are now officially 3/4 of the way through … chapter 1. *winces* Yes, I know it’s going slowly! But we are making progress, such as it is, so … yeah, lol.

That’s it for today!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Categories: My Works, Writing | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

SHWOOP Editing Session #1

I know, I know — what the heck is a “SHWOOP Editing Session?”

That’s what I’m calling my nightly editing sessions with my mother as we attempt to cut Chasing Nonconformity from 106k down to under 100k. And, obviously, revise the book to make it better. It’s not just about chopping out sentences, people!

You may recall mother and I doing something similar for the first book in the series, Imminent Danger. I actually managed to film one of those sessions, resulting in a vlog that still amuses me to this day.

Right. So we’ve started up a new round of editing for the sequel, and it’s going about as well as can be expected. Sadly I can’t record any of these sessions, as we now live in different cities and I don’t know how to record a Google Hangout. If anyone does know, tell me!

And now for the fun stuff.

I attempted to live-tweet the event, which was complicated by the fact that Twitter baffles and frustrates me. That being said, here are 3 of the tweets I did manage to get out into the interwebs:

shwoop 3

shwoop 1

shwoop 2

I’ve also got a couple of quotes from myself and my mother to amuse you:

Me: *opens chapter 1*
Mom: Wait, I haven’t read it. Is this how it starts?
Me: Yes, the content of chapter 1 is how the book starts.

Mom: I’m going to read it out loud as I go, because I’m assuming you’ve read it.
Me: Considering I wrote it …

Mom: What’s a word we use for cats?
Me: *what the heck what does that even mean*

Me: It’s like a big leaning tower of Pisa in space, and each level is a level. You can quote me on that.

Mom: *dying from laughter* Are you saying there’s no chance of her turning her communicator off, but there IS a chance she’d throw it down an air shaft?
Me: Yes.
Mom: *proceeds to laugh for another 3-5 minutes*

Oh! I also have a screencap of mom laughing, because why not:

3

Tune in next time for SHWOOP Editing Session #2!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Categories: My Works, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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