Typically when I write “The End” on a story, that is the beginning of the journey. Revisions and editing are a much longer, and to me, more difficult process than writing. Writing is a lot of fun! Editing? Not so much.
We each have our own methods and our own ways of doing things. I tend to get more granular as I write each draft. Ooops, but hold on. I really need to talk about how I define “draft” here, because it may be different than you think.
In ways my background as a computer nerd come to the surface in my draft numbering scheme. There are two or three components. There is the draft number and then the revision number and often a date-stamp.
I follow normal writing convention by calling my original rough draft “1st draft”. If I were really following the software model, this would be draft “0”.
I change the draft number when there are significant changes, usually end to end. This is typically rewriting chapters, deleting large blocks of text, adding chapters, adding large blocks of text, etc. Of course, as I said, as I go on it gets more granular, so I’m not adding or subtracting chapters at draft five! At that time, it is just a feeling that there have been significant changes since the last draft number. Continue reading
I hate editing.
A few of you may remember my serialized novel, The Old Mill, that I posted a little over two years ago. After finishing the book I decided to put it on the back burner and work on other things for a while. One problem is that there are a few similarities with my book The Halley Branch and I wanted to put some space between the two. So the rough draft, which I had posted here, was sitting, gathering dust. For some reason i couldn’t get the inspiration to pick it up again. In my opinion, the hardest part of writing is doing the second, third, fourth, fifth, etc. drafts. The first draft is the easy, fun part.
A couple of weeks ago I picked it back up and started the next draft. I haven’t made it very far….
The first thing I ran into had to do with names. I changed the name of one character half way through and have already run into both versions of the name. I don’t remember why I changed it and which is the final name. I’m about 90% sure that I will have to make a third version of the name. The problem is, a lot of names run in the main family of the book, so doing a search on the name is only partially helpful. I may hit another character with the same name. Continue reading
I am currently doing a few editing run-throughs of my novellas targeting some very specific problems relating to “show vs. tell”. Yes, this is a huge topic and many words have been written about it, but I just want to talk a little bit about what I am specifically targeting right now.
There may be technical names for the various types of “telling”. I’m not sure. There are two variations that I am looking at, though I will mention a third as well. Here is an example of the first:
The sun was bright causing a blinding glare from the desert. John was hot, tired and thirsty. He knew that if he didn’t find shelter soon that he would most likely die.
Yeah, not great writing, but that is not the problem. I could dress this up and try hiding the “tell” quality in a fancy wrapper, but if it basically boils down to, “the sun was bright, it is hot and John I tired,” it is pure “tell”. A possible solution might be: Continue reading
I spent a lot of time working on the formatting of my first book, Seasons of Imagination. I downloaded a template, but it did horrid things to the book. So I wrote down all of the settings that they used for formatting, like margin and gutter and such. Sticking those into my original document was better. Finally I had it.
But when I received the first copy, it was awful. So I redid it. And it was better. Good enough.
I tweaked the format a little for The Fireborn and a little more for The Halley Branch. It was getting pretty good!
Or so I thought.
After I put out The Halley Branch, someone who had read all three in paperback noticed an issue. A big issue (I won’t tell you. Find it yourself ;) ). So when I started working on Embers, I made sure I fixed it first thing.
So Embers was put up with my fix and using all of the stats for my pretty good formatting. I ordered a proof, just to be sure. Continue reading
When you are done, you’re done, right? When I post something on my blog, once I click publish, it is a done deal. If I go back and find 10,000 typos? Oh well, too bad. OK, I do sometimes go back and correct things, but usually not after the first day or two.
I spent a good chunk of time the last few weeks before I published The Fireborn reading over it to catch errors and typos. I also had two people go over it for me. Between the two of them, they caught a dozen or so things that I had missed and had a handful of subjective ideas. So when I clicked Publish, it was a done deal. I had done my work.
A couple of months later I heard some complaints that there were a lot of typos. I knew I would have to go back and fix them, but I didn’t want to. When you are done, you’re done! Last week I finally broke down and faced the inevitable. I had to fix it. Continue reading
About two weeks ago I started a second draft of The Halley Branch, a novel I wrote for the blog in real time in 2015 (I wrote and posted a new chapter every day). Last night I was talking to someone about drafting, and we were thinking slightly different things. I am a little curious on people’s opinions about how to draft. I know, each person does things their own way, like the old arguments about being a Planner or Pantser when writing the first draft, but I am still curious.
I see two major styles of drafting, Old School and Edited Draft. OK, I made up that last one because I didn’t want to call it “The Lazy Way”, particularly since that is my current technique. I’ll give you a definition as to how I see these methods. Continue reading
I have recently been attempting to edit my book, The Fireborn. Notice I say “attempting to edit”, not just plain, “editing”.
When I edit, I find myself in one of three modes:
- Real editing! I look at every word with a discerning eye. I make changes. I delete things. I add things. I correct things. I am editing!
- Proof reading. I read through and pick up some of the more obvious errors and correct them.
- Reading. I read. I enjoy. I continue to read.
I sit down for an editing session. After two hours I’ve discovered that I spent 5 minutes on “Real editing!”, 25 minutes on “Proof reading”, and about an hour and a half just sitting back, reading and enjoying myself.
Hmmm, what’s wrong with this picture? Continue reading
So I just got through marking every story from my short story book that has appeared on my blog as “private”. Not all of the stories have been posted here and most of those that have were edited quite a bit for the book, but I still thought it best. I also took them out of the drop down menus at the top of the page. If you know all 200 or 300 stories I’ve posted you can go through and figure out which ones are missing ;)
It’s getting a lot closer to being real!
When you read a story here on Trent’s World, you are usually reading an unedited first draft. Well, maybe not 100% unedited – I usually will take a quick read-through and correct the most obvious mistakes, but it is almost always a first draft. And you know what? I’m fine with that. This is not a literary magazine and most people reading the stories enjoy them. If I spent the time to get them all “publish ready”, I would have posted closer to 20 stories than 200.
I am bringing this up now because I am in the process of doing another read-through of the short stories that will be included in my short story collection. Continue reading
Like a poke in the eye….
Yesterday I sent my short stories out to a few beta readers. I had already sent it to “the usual suspects”, that is two family members that do a lot of beta reading for me, but it was different sending it out to non-family-members. So last night I took some time and started reading through the stories. Ouch. Of course I noticed a lot of mistakes, a lot of really rough areas, places that I thought could be written a lot better, etc. My thought was I that I should have done one more major revision before I sent it off.
And then it got worse. I started second guessing some of my choices for inclusion. I had an “alpha reader” who went through all of the stories I had posted on my blog (over 200) plus about a dozen longer ones that never appeared on the blog. She read through them twice, grading each story. I took a couple of hours to sit with the alpha reader and made a yes/no list. I went over the list a few times, reread everything that was on the plus side and came up with the final 36. Yet 2 ½ months later I would read a story and think, “Why did I chose that?” Continue reading