Tag Archives: action/adventure

Editing Frenzy… Now what?

This week was, admittedly, a little bit nuts. I finished the first draft of The Hoard of the Doges, the Quinn sequel; got the ebooks up and running on Kindle and Nook; did the first quick edit of The Hoard of the Doges; did the final edit of Undaunted Love; emailed the agent who suggested the romance that it was done; did several hours of plotting for the August Camp NaNo novel (working title is “Where the Ducks Went” but be assured that’s not the title!); and started figuring out about marketing.

I’ve written about my editing process here before, but it seems to be a frequent question, on all forums (and in person), so I thought I’d share it briefly again. Keeping in mind that, for whatever reason, I write very clean first drafts, here’s what I do:

*  Print it out. There is something really satisfying about a couple hundred sheets of paper, filled with words that your wrote.

*  Quick edit. This is my first run through, as I do zero editing during the writing phase. Zero. My inner editor is on vacation. This edit is for typos, name changes (I always have at least one secondary character whose name has changed mysteriously during the writing process), and anything obviously flawed. What I am not doing is checking for grammar, sentence structure, perfect word placement, etc.

*  Beta readers. I have a few people who are always my go-to’s, but if I’m writing in a new genre, I get more. For Undaunted Love, my foray into Christian historical romance, I asked a dozen people to read it. All they are reading for is the big stuff: characters, dialogue, plot, believability, etc. NO small stuff.

*  Word-by-word edit. Now we come to the big edit, first on paper. This is where I take (or don’t) suggestions by beta readers (my rule of thumb is that at least 30% need to comment on the same thing before I make a change, although I consider all the comments and decide for myself if I agree). I read for word placement. I do spellcheck. I fix grammar. I change the formatting if necessary (for instance, there are a lot of letters, and one song, in Undaunted Love, and it took me awhile to decide how to structure those from a formatting standpoint). I add chapter numbers (not always successfully, unfortunately!). In short, I am thorough.

*  Make all the above changes in the document. Sometimes I decide, reading it on the computer, that I like the original better. Sometimes I change it differently than I changed it on the printed manuscript. Basically, I’m trying to re-re-read, and polish it up.

And that’s it. That’s my editing. The writing takes me 3-4 weeks (usually), and the editing process, from first edit to betas to final, between 4-6 more. Most of that depends on how long I give the beta readers to get back to me – and I tell them up front what that deadline will be, and don’t bug them. Out of the 12 betas for Undaunted Love, I got detailed feedback from half, spotty from a couple, and nothing from the rest. And that’s OK – your betas are doing you a HUGE favor, for free… They have lives, and things happen! Ask enough that, if you only get 50% response, that’s workable.

So now what? My goal was to get Undaunted Love finished and the agent contacted by the end of the weekend. I was on a roll yesterday, though, and pushed through, so now I have two days. The August Camp NaNo doesn’t start until Wednesday, and I’m mostly done with plotting, just need to do some research on EMPs, the Enigma machine, non-viral WMDs, and some geography.

My thought is, marketing.  I know, it’s a bad thought. At least for non-marketing professionals like myself. But, other than word of mouth, an author has to do it (even if you’re published by a traditional publisher, anymore you have to do it). I’ve saved a lot of links in a folder, so I think this weekend is the time I get those out, see what I need to do next, and start tooting my own horn… Not my strong suit, by any means, but I believe in Solomon’s Throne, and the Quinn series, and I really think you’d like it. And your friends. And your neighbors. I just have to figure out a way to convince you of that, too! Hence my crash course in marketing.

Trust me, I’ll keep you posted!

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Busy busy busy all the time…

The recent 106 degree temperatures were a dead giveaway that it’s summer, and, as a 12 year homeschooling veteran, I take summer seriously. I am as ready for summer as my kids have always been, and we take a long one – this year my son (my only remaining child at home!) was done around April 26, and will not be back in full swing until after Labor Day. And yet, it’s already July 24! How did this happen??

In April I wrote a screenplay for Script Frenzy, and edited it, before the end of the month.

In May, we were in Uganda for 3 weeks (go here to see why), and while we were there I did a ton of Civil War research, which included reading actual diaries of young women from both the Confederate and Union sides. I researched battles, the way the military was set up, how they came to war… (Here’s my secret feeling on research: when I’m in the middle of writing and I do it, I think it’s pretty fun. When I am doing nothing but research, it makes me want to take a nap.)

In June I did Camp NaNo and wrote the Civil War romance, on which I am now doing the final edit before sending to the agent who suggested it. That was 88,370 words.

In July, I finished the sequel to Solomon’s Throne, called The Hoard of the Doges (about 84k words). I did a quick first edit on that yesterday. (Editing cramps my eyeballs…)

In July, my first novel, Solomon’s Throne, was published as well, and that involved a lot of work with Streetlight Graphics, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, VistaPrint (I had postcards made), and OvernightPrints (bookmarks). Initial response has been great, and I’m hoping the people who bought the books last week and over the weekend will start getting reviews up soon.

August 1 I will start August Camp NaNo, and I’ve been noodling through that storyline over the last week or so. As I’ve posted before, it will be a YA dystopian fantasy thing… I will also start work with Streetlight Graphics the week of August 27 to publish The Hoard of the Doges.

Additionally, my son will start a couple of co-op classes that week, will have his 16th birthday during the month, and is in full swing with football. And my daughter will go back to college for her senior year. And my husband is publishing his first book. And I might have laser eye surgery.

September… I think I’ll rest!

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Have you gotten your copy? And keeping it fresh.

Summer reading time is here! (For the record, I’ve never understood “summer reading”… I read all the time!) Solomon’s Throne is now available on Amazon in print and ebook, on CreateSpace in print, and is “processing” on Nook but will be available soon. Thank you to all who have bought signed copies – I’m about out and will need to order more. But please feel free to order online – it’s a fun, exciting read with engaging characters, and interesting plot, and a lot of traveling around the world.

In other things writing…

I finished the first draft of The Hoard of the Doges, the sequel to Solomon’s Throne, and will be doing the first “quick edit” in the next couple of days in preparation for it going to beta readers. The book will be published in mid-September if all goes well. The Quinns are off on another exciting treasure hunt, with the world’s oldest crime family on their trail. Stay tuned!

The final edit of Undaunted Love begins this week also. This book, after much deliberation, is being sent to an agent. This is challenging for me, because I’m really sold on indie publishing. But… she wanted a Civil War romance, and that’s what I’ve got. So we’ll see how that goes. If she doesn’t want to represent it, I’ll go the indie route with that one. It would then probably have a September release date also, depending on Streetlight Graphic’s schedule.

I am doing a Young Adult dystopian fantasy (much more dystopian than fantasy!) for the August Camp NaNo. I’m excited about the concept (my screenplay is also dystopian, although not fantasy, and I really had fun writing it), and YA is a lot shorter, so it will be a more laid back month. I’ll either get it finished in 2 weeks like I did the screenplay, or I’ll write less per day. Either way, it will be more relaxing!

I’ve been trying to figure out how many books a year I can write and not be burned out. I think 4, although perhaps 5 or 6 if I needed to. But 4 seems like a good number, when you add in editing and beta readers and editing again, and then, well, life. For me, I think the main thing is genre… When I do too many stories in one genre I get bored or tired (or something).

For instance, I really love the Quinns and Mac, and I love the treasure hunt genre and doing research and all that… but I’ve done 2 of them in a little over 8 mos, and I’d be just as happy not to meet up with them again until next year. I’ve had several beta readers ask me (vehemently) for a sequel to Undaunted Love, but I don’t think I will (at least not this year!) because honestly, how much can 2 people go through??

For me, the key to keeping the writing fresh and fun is to have a loose (very!) outline, a fun plot (usually requiring research into interesting and unusual locations), characters that I love (or love to hate). I’m not writing the next great American literary classic. I’m writing to have fun myself, and so my readers will have fun reading. I hope to keep doing that for many years to come!

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The books came!

My husband came in the door an hour or so ago and said, “You got a box.” I said, “Maybe it’s the books!” He said, “Yeah, it’s heavy!” So we pulled it open and there they were – the first “first editions” of Solomon’s Throne!

I am beyond thrilled! The cover is even more awesome in person, thanks to Glendon at Streetlight Graphics, and right about the time the box came, I got the ebook files from them as well.

Now, I have to admit that I found 6 typos proofing for the ebook version that I hadn’t found in the print version. That’s really frustrating, although I guess, with over 93,000 words, 6 isn’t so bad. My daughter says it makes the “first edition” more valuable. Ha! So we’re going with that. In the meantime, please excuse the editor’s bad eye/brain combination!

You can purchase the book here and here, and the ebooks should be available by Friday. Thanks all!!

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5-4-3-2-1…LIFT OFF!

SOLOMON’S THRONE is now online and available for purchase in print format here! It will be up on Amazon (print version) in 5-7 days, and later this week in eBook format for Kindle. I am super, super, super excited! How’s that for a turn of literary phrase?

Here’s the cover – hope you buy and enjoy!

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