31 July 2013, Writing Ideas - Editing and Proofing
Announcement: My novels Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness are about to be published. I write this blog about 2 months prior to its publication. I just heard that the proofs will be here soon--likely before the end of the week. My publisher also wants to put the entire set of novels based on Aegypt on contract--that's 5 more novels for 8 total. They also want to put my other novels on contract. The release schedule should be one novel every 2 months. I'll keep you updated.
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I'm using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I'll keep you informed along the way.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
1. Don't confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
I just completed my 21th novel, and I'm working on numbers 22 and 23. I've been putting together novels in the
100K range pretty quickly lately. I can write a novel of this size in about 1
month. This is working from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm a day. Before I move to science fiction writing, I'm going to touch on a couple of stray subjects. The first is editing and proofing.
Step one is
getting the words on the page. As each chapter is finished, I review it and
rewrite. I make notes at the bottom of the chapter about the next steps in the
plot/story line. This means when the novel is first completed, it has been
through a first draft and a full rewrite. I always use spelling and grammar
checking in Word, and I note every suggestion--even if I don't take it! (This is
true of readers too. If you don't like their suggestion don't take it, or better
yet, fix the passage, sentence, paragraph using your own style--never ignore
your reader's comments. You are free to ignore computer grammar checker
comments--they usually can't handle most dialog etc.)
Step two is a full
rewrite. This is the big fix it stage.
Step three is to hand the
manuscript to my prepublication readers. I usually have two at this stage. They give me lots of
help with punctuation, words, etc. and that is great--what I really want is
continuity in plot and theme. I want to know where the work needs tightening and
where it doesn't make sense. I usually get these comments/ideas from discussions
with my prepub readers.
Step four is incorporating readers' comments and fixes
and a total rewrite. I usually have had a while to think about the work and
recognize where it might need help. Look especially for missing descriptions and
incomplete or illogical incidents or inappropriately foreshadowed events etc.
Every time I go over the work from that point on, I will make changes.
Key things to look for are overused words, expressions, trite constructions,
spelling, grammar, punctuation, cohesive forms of words (spelling of numbers,
Step five is getting ready for publication. When the work first
comes to me from the publisher as a formatted pdf, I read it quickly hunting for errors and
checking the editor's comments. This is the first go through.
Step six is
the long lingering review of the first formatted pdf. This is when I send it to
my readers. I use three readers for review prior to publication. I know there
will be more than one go around, so I send the results of my long review back to
the publisher before I hear from my readers.
Step seven is the second
formatted pdf review. This is when I incorporate my reader's comments and
corrections, and then I complete a "read out loud review." Always accomplish a
read out loud review prior to the final. You will be glad you did.
eight is to go around again--if necessary.
Step nine is accomplished with
the final document. Pull the pdf into Word and let it check for spelling a final
time. You can do this by opening it, or by copy and pasting it into Word. This
is the last chance. At this point, you probably won't be able to find any more
Step ten: don't read your own books--you'll find errors. I
guarantee it. At this point, you probably don't want to ever read the novel
For more information, you can visit my author site www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com, www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, thefoxshonor, aseasonofhonor.