Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Editing Book Two

I know several writers who will give me that look out of the corner of their eyes and shake their heads, but...

I like editing.

My process of writing a book is thus:

1.  Write rough draft (brain purge)
2.  First edit (pencil edits)
3.  Second edit (checklist edits)
4.  Third edit (copy edits)
5.  Pass off to editors (evil hackers)
6.  Fourth edit (appeasing the evil hackers)
7.  Final edit (copy edits part 2)

Brain Purge

It is just that; a brain purge.  All of my ideas and the characters demands are brought to life on the screen.  I don't spend a whole lot of time trying to make it perfect; I just dump it all out before I forget it.

Pencil Edits

I stumble through the rough and write in corrections and edits on the hard copy and give it a quick dusting.

Checklist Edits

This is where I'm at with book two.  Possibly the longest part of the process (other than the purge).  I have a checklist of aspects that I look at, one at a time.  This is where the manuscript really makes a transformation.  Where the pencil edits leave me with one or two comments per page, the checklist makes the manuscript look like one of my ill-fated term papers from high school.
I really get excited about the book during this part of the process.  It starts to take shape and goes from that crap that Hemingway refers to, and becomes a novel.  Not quite complete yet, but by the end of this step, I will have read the manuscript 12 times.

Copy Edits

I could almost save this step for later, but I hate to pass off a dirty manuscript to the editors.  The misspelled words and other things tend to draw their attention away from the story and continuity that I want feedback for.  I do use some software that helps point out weaknesses, though I don't always follow its suggestions.

Evil Hackers

This is tongue-in-cheek really.  The people that look over the manuscript and provide feedback are invaluable.  I don't always listen to their advice, but more often than not, I do.  This is really the most value-added part of the process.

Appeasing the Evil Hackers

So, this is like trip number 14, 15, and 16 through the manuscript.  I look at all of the notes from the editors and weigh their input.  I hate to admit it, but in most cases they are right.  However, they like to squeal on those rare occasions that I ignore something.

Copy Edits Part Two

Here it is, the last run through.  And you know what?  I still miss things.  You would think after seventeen reads the manuscript would be pristine.  The problem is the human mind often reads things as they should be, and not as they are.  Most times "teh" is read "the".  Things will fall through the cracks no matter how many times I run through it, but it still annoys me.

Of course, the most frightening part of this process is throwing it out to the readers.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I, Am a Writer

Bonus points to those who caught the movie reference in the title.

Over the last couple of years I have found myself amused at the similarities between the reader and the writer.  We both want a good story.  We cheer the good guy, jeer the bad guy.  Sometimes we even find ourselves wanting to find some nugget of good in the bad.  And the similarities carry on and on.

I often tell people I write what the people in my head tell me to write.  Other writers understand the premise, my wife and many readers fear I am mildly insane.  Yes, I am.  My characters have to have some semblance of "real" to them in order for them to come across as believable in the readers eyes.

So, as I write, though I have the rough story in mind, the characters guide the story.  They do things as they would do them, not as I would want them to do.  Many times their reactions surprise me and toss the storyline from its straight line.  In essence, the story unfolds for myself, as a writer, in much the same manner that it unfolds for you, the reader.

When it comes to the end of the book, I feel much the same anticipation as you do.  How will this end?  What happens next?  It always seems the last few chapters of a good book holds my attention the most asss I read them, and it does much the same as I write.  I experienced this when I wrapped up the rough draft of Blood of Two and I am experiencing the same feeling as I roll to the finish with the follow-up.

It's not just the excitement of completing this phase of the project, but it is the story.  I have an idea of how this book ends, much like I do when I read Stephen King or John Grisham.  I may have an idea, but I want to know.  What will these characters do when they are faced with these events?  You would think I know, but I do not.  This is one of the reasons I find writing so exhilarating.  I get to experience those same emotions I have as a reader, and I am writing the darn story!

I only hope that one day my skills reach the level that I can spend my time living these stories without the intrusion of a real job.

Quick update on the progress of Drums of Rallinwar - Book Two:

A stormy spring interrupted what I had going.  It wasn't just the cleanup alone, but my mind was on more important things.  The tornadoes had a devastating impact on friends and family.  If I wasn't helping with the cleanup, I was thinking about it.  Honestly, the book had fallen down the list of priorities.

Things are still not as they should be, and likely will never be.  Even as I type this I yearn for things to return to some sort of normal.  However, the last week I have been able to set aside a substantial amount of time for the project, and my mind has been on the task.  The progress has been amazing.  My wife has been amazing for allowing me to lock myself away for hours at a time.

I anticipate the completion of the brain purge within the next few days.  With that said, there is still a long road of editing ahead.  I have told you before, I will not release a substandard product to meet a deadline.  I will put every effort into making Book Two better than the first.

Look for the new title in November.  I will keep you updated.  And most of all, thank you for your understanding.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Thoughts of Freedom

As we cruise up to the USA's Independence Day celebration, I thought I would share my thoughts on a certain family cult from Kansas, their desire for attention, and how their evil has created something good.

I will refer to this group as "unwanted guests", because that is what we call them in the Patriot Guard Riders.  I don't want them to see this post when they do their daily Google search for their organization, because that is what they want; attention.  Sure, they claim to be a righteous group that is against, well, just about everything.  The truth of the matter is they are those insecure kids that always act up just so people will turn their heads to them.

They are evil.  Yes, they carry around their bibles and crosses, preaching their interpretations of what they believe will cause pain to those around them.  I'm not even sure they believe what they preach; they just like to stir the pot.  Evil to the core.  Like so many cults have done over the centuries, they use religion as an excuse for their own misguided agenda's.

These unwanted guests show up at funerals to inflict pain on those who are already in pain.  Do not mistake this.  They are not their to spread "the word", there are other, more effective, ways to do this.  They laugh at your pain.  Evil.

Just like some rock and roll bands from the seventies and eighties, with their pentagrams and demons, the unwanted guests use their bibles and crosses to get attention and money.  And there you are, the core of it; they do what they do for money and attention.  And they love the fact they get paid to be evil.

The Patriot Guard Riders was formed in response to this evil.

Standing For Those Who Stood For US

And what a wonderful thing!  The Patriot Guard Riders attend funeral's of veterans and fallen soldiers only as INVITED GUESTS.  We stand a respect line before and after the services, escort the soldier to the cemetery, and stand watch during the burial.  All of this to shield the family and friends from unwanted guests, and most important, to show respect for the soldier.

Honestly, it is a shame that it took an evil cult to bring this about.  We should have already been showing this respect decades before.  It is a sight to see and it has brought tears to my eyes more than once.  One of the largest funerals I have attended, the procession of motorcycles stretched for couple of miles.  Regardless of how you feel politically about one war or another, these men and women served our country; some gave all.


As evil as the unwanted guests are, they have the right to do what they do.  Is it wrong?  From every angle, it is wrong.  It is just plain evil, but they have the right to do it.  Soldiers have given their lives to afford these knobs that right.

With all that being said, I just want to thank those unwanted guests.  I want to thank them for prodding us into doing what we needed to do.