First, Thanks to Mark Leslie Lefebvre, Kobo Writing Life blog has featured a digest version of my recaps of the seminars. Hope you’ll pop over.
I finished the draft of my next Blackthorne, Inc. book, as yet untitled. I went through the draft before sending it to my volunteer beta readers, looking for glaring errors (no need for them to see all my mistakes.) It came in at almost 108,000 words, so I was looking for things I could cut as well. Killing our darlings if they’re not pulling their weight is part of the process. Sure, I thought I had some clever dialogue, but I didn’t need three pages to make a simple plot point. I’ve included a link to that scene at the end of this post, just for you, my faithful readers.
I edit as I go, but I still miss things. For example, in one scene, Dalton had captured two men. Or was it three? Or two? The number kept changing.
Then, I got a message from a reader asking if I would tell Olivia’s story. I hate to admit it, but I had to go back and look up which book Olivia had appeared in. She was a relatively minor character, but when I found her scene, I realized there was a major contradiction in the new book. Luckily, all I had to do was delete one sentence and that was taken care of.
Sometimes, making a simple change can end up in having to rewrite an entire scene (and hope that’s the only place that needs to be fixed). I decided it would work better for Elle to shower and change her clothes at the beginning of a scene; that one change led to many more, and probably took me longer to rewrite than it did to write it the first time.
Now that I finished the first run-through, I’m ready for the next phase. This is reading from a hard copy. The idea is to fool your eye and brain into thinking they’ve never seen the book before, when of course, they’ve already dealt with it countless times. My technique, which I’ve mentioned in the past, is to print a hard copy in a different font. My eye is used to Times New Roman, which is a serif font. So I’ll use a sans serif font for my edits. Also, I print it in a smaller font (since I’m reading it like a book on this pass), and in two columns. This makes the lines a different length, so words line up differently, and all sorts of new things pop out. I also print it on both sides of the paper, but that’s just because I don’t want to waste paper. My new printer will be getting its first real test when I do!
On this pass, I make notes, not edits. My supply of sticky notes gets another workout on this pass, as do my red pen and yellow highlighter. I’ll also keep a pad of paper and jot more notes about things that need to be addressed. If I get tired of reading, I’ll take a chapter or two and go back to the master copy and implement the basic changes.
Once this is done, and I’ve hit ‘the end’ again, I’ll send it to my editor. She’s the one who will be seeing the book for the first time, and I know she’ll have many more corrections (edits) and suggestions (revisions). Once I implement those, the book should be ready for formatting for all the various distribution outlets—I’m thinking about late September/early October for a release.
And for that cut scene, click here
Causes Terry Odell Supports
Pro Literacy Worldwide, The Nature Conservancy, The Adult Literacy League, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society