Tag Archives: editing

WIPpet Wednesday: I’ve Got Nothin’

wippetwednesdayI think the title of this post is pretty self-explanatory. I have nothing new for WIPpet Wednesday because I have written nothing new on any of my WIPs.

Haha.

I’m so productive.

Anywho, in keeping with the spirit of one of my 2015 goals (be more bloggy) I figured I’d use this space for some updating.

I spent the weekend in editing hell.

What do I mean by editing hell, you ask?

Editing hell is agonizing over sentences and word choices and comma placement and action beats. Editing hell is searching the document for repeated phrases. Editing hell is searching the document for dashes, so you can make sure your spacing is consistent for all dashes (that was fun). Editing hell is running a spell check and finding no less than 5 misspelled words! One of them was sovereignty, so I guess I can forgive that, since we’re only human, after all. 😉

Revision Tip: FOR THE LOVE OF FLUFFY UNICORNS RUN A FINAL SPELL CHECK.

You see, that was the last time I could touch it before I sent it away to be formatted. And then I freaked out. And then I saw the Kindle preview and got excited again. Shew. It’s been an emotional whirlwind of a week.

So that’s where things stand, presently. Tonight, I approved the final e-book versions, with all the fun graphics added, and so now we’re on to the print version! And there was much rejoicing! Huzzah.

I’m still freaking out, by the way…just doing a better job of hiding my emotions!

Oh, before I forget, you can now add Stones on Goodreads. Almost 30 people — and I don’t personally know all of them! — have already added it to their To Read shelf. I’m having mini-panic attacks over this as well, because that means these people might actually read it, and then what if it suuuuuuuuccccckkkkkkkkkkkssssss.

I could probably ramble on and on about my nerves and over-excitable emotions and bore y’all to death…but instead I’m going to take deep breaths, eat chocolate, and remember this: “Trust your dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story.”

*fingers crossed*

Alright, enough about me; let’s get on to the good stuff! You should definitely check out the other contributors to WIPpet Wednesday because I hear there’s a sexy pillow fight involved. Get on it! 😀

As always, a big thanks to K.L.Schwengel for babysitting us!

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Goal Setting (Or, Stuff Jessica Fails Miserably At)

I’m not ready for today to be the last day of 2014; honestly, I don’t know how the year disappeared so fast. But, since tomorrow will begin a new year, I figured a little introspection was in order.

I don’t normally like to make a big hubbub about New Year’s resolutions, mainly because I don’t make them. I’m more of a short-term and long-term goals kind of girl. Sometimes they get written down, sometimes they don’t. IMG_45412206201343

That being said, I can’t tell you what I was thinking about this time last year (two years ago, I was suffering through the aftereffects of mutant strep throat, so I wasn’t thinking about much). But I can tell you what I managed to accomplish.

In February, I founded a YA critique group. We’re still going strong!

In April, I made the decision to indie publish my first novel. My goal was to get it out into the world in December, but I underestimated how long the process would take. So I guess I get to carry this goal over into 2015…huzzah!

In August, I found a new job, which has its ups and downs.

In September, I dumped the guy I always (not literally always, but you get the idea) thought I wanted to be with. Best. Decision. Eva. (And yes, I’m counting this as an accomplishment, and if you knew all the details of this, you would as well).

In October, I closed on my condo. MY FIRST PLACE. YAY ADULTHOOD.

In December, I was able to unveil the cover of Stones, which was some very exciting stuff. I was also able to turn 26 with minimal fuss and no quarter-life crisis breakdowns.

Those are the highlights of 2014…now we can proceed to goals for 2015!

Here’s the most obvious one: publish Stones and Finger Bones. This will be happening in February! I am thinking it will be ready to go by Valentine’s Day weekend, but I’m not releasing a specific date until I get the bugger formatted.

The rest of my goals are going to be broken down in categories for easy reference and so I can make lists. I love lists.

Overall Heath & Wellness:

  • Continue making better food choices
  • Choose and start taking a vitamin D supplement
  • Stop tolerating sucky people
  • Stop vehemently loathing work (yes, it takes away valuable time that could be used for writing or trolling the internet, but I have a mortgage to pay)

Home Improvements:

  • Paint master bedroom and bath
  • Find a bookshelf for room
  • Bring all books from home to new home

Reading, Writing, & Publishing:

  • Finish 25 books. I know this might seem like a low number to some, but I’ve been really slacking on my reading habits. I don’t think I even finished 10 this year, which is terrible!
  • Do a better job of tracking these books, probably utilizing Goodreads
  • Choose these books from the collection I already own and make list
  • Write at least 5,000 new words per month. I think this goal will complement my writing style better than daily or weekly goals, since I tend to write in fits and starts, and some days are more productive than others.
  • Outline book 2 of the Black Towers sequence (I think I need to be more diligent with outlining this one to make sure threads are being resolved, tangled, or cut as appropriate)
  • Draft a Black Towers novella
  • Participate in bloggy activities. Blog more in general. Let’s aim for at least twice a month!

And there be my goals! Mostly manageable, I think. I probably won’t be officially publishing anything else in 2015…but never say never! This, of course, depends on how fast I get things drafted, polished, edited, and all that jazz. If anything, I can aim for publishing the novella at the end of the year, but I’m not going to make than an official goal…yet. 😉

Happy New Year, minions!

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On Writers and Reviews

As the release date for Stones creeps ever closer, I find myself growing ever more anxious. The cover is out in the world, with my name on it and guys…I’m kind of freaking out.

I think I’ve officially entered the “What in the name of fluffy unicorns have I done?” phase of publishing. Has anyone else been there?

If you were reading my other blog, you might know that I started writing this book at seventeen. Do you know how long that is? Nine years. Nine! That’s almost a decade, and now I’m just going to throw my baby out into the world and let her be judged and dissected and poked and prodded??

(Maybe no one will notice. But, my mother has been telling every living person she knows, so maybe not.)

Insanity. Madness, I tell you.

I know there’s very little left of the story 17-year-old Jessica envisioned; I don’t think there’s an original sentence left, but these characters have been with me since the beginning (most of them, anyway. The telepathic cat got cut).

Needless to say, I feel very affectionately towards Aurelia & Co. and it distresses me that someone out in the world – or the internet – might not feel the same way.

Which brings me to the other point of this post: reviews.

I’m supposed to be working on writing a scene that fleshes out some character development, but in the name of procrastination, I’ve been reading negative reviews of popular books on Goodreads.

Is this productive and/or healthy? I don’t know.

But I’m rationalizing this frenzied research by saying I’m preparing myself for the worst. How bad can it get?

Hahahahahahahahahaha.

Now, I like to think that I’m pretty thick-skinned. My writing has been taking punches since my first Intro to Creative Writing class in college, which I handled very gracefully, with only minimal griping behind the professor’s back. But these were very supportive environments, and mediated so things could never get too nasty.

Ever sorted the reviews of a book you liked by the users who gave 1 star? Yeah.

Most of the time these reviews are well-structured, eloquent, constructive, and sometimes amusing. And sometimes I agree with them. I’ll admit it; I don’t like every book I read, even though I know the author invested a lot of time and energy into the writing of it. I know they probably feel the same way I do about their “babies”.

I’m sure a “What the hell is this shit?” still stings, even for the most established authors.

But, here’s the kicker: established authors with popular, traditionally published books have 15,000 positive reviews, glowing with praise, to balance out the 800-1000 negative reviews.

As a soon-to-be indie author, like all the awesome indie authors before me, my work is going to live or die by reviews and recommendations. And one “What the hell is this shit?” review could dissuade many a potential buyer or new fan.

By no means do I have a perfect book (does anyone?) and I’m sure there will a typo or two (hopefully just two) that evaded the many eyes that looked over Stones.

Writers and editors are still human, people! 😉

But, I think I’ve crafted an entertaining read, at the very least, and no one will feel the urge to “hurl this book across the room with disgust”.

What about you, fellow indies? How do you feel about reviews and how do you handle them?

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Updates Galore!

Greetings, my lovely peeps!

Thing have been a little hectic here lately, and I don’t have the energy for a useful informative post, so you’ll have to settle for a “life update” post instead.

Business Item Number 1:

I started a new job about 3 weeks ago, which accounts for all the busyness I’ve been encountering recently. I haven’t had nearly enough time to cultivate and tend to my social media outlets. And my Pinterest boards. The struggle is real, y’all.

Business Item Number 2:

I got that infernal prologue written and sent it off to my editor. She returned it with minimal revisions (yay!), and I got it critiqued by my writing group last Monday. Besides a few piddly issues — like Track Changes deleting spaces — I’ve officially finished the heavy-duty editing process! Woop woop!

I cleaned up the piddly issues (hopefully) and literally just sent Stones off to a second round of beta readers.

With all that being said, here’s an updated, still-subject-to-change publication schedule:

September: Stones in the hands of new betas, start working on that back cover copy (do not want).

October: More editing and proofing. Depending on what kind of feedback I receive from betas, I may or may not send it back to my editor. If changes are minor, I’ll just prepare for a final proofread for small errors. Also, COVER REVEAL MONTH!

November: Formatting, final cover design for the paperback version, and any miscellaneous issues.

In my mind, I’m still on schedule for an early December release. Of course, since this is my first time, I could be seriously underestimating the time it takes to get Stones out and about. I also don’t think I’ve got much wiggle room for catastrophic events or grievous errors. Anyone know what those could be??

December seems to be creeping up on me so fast!

Oh, and I’ll be throwing promotional stuff around in there as well. Oy. So much to do!

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The Macanaw Peaches

Two posts in a row? What’s going on here? *checks self for fever*

Anyway, so I’m having some issues with writer’s block. I might have had a small epiphany about adding a new first chapter/prologue that shows a very important scene that’s mentioned towards the end of the book. It has the potential to be a total badass scene if I can get any words put on the page. And my editor would like to see it tomorrow. Heh heh heh.

I’m feeling the pressure!

I told a good friend about my blockage (mer) issues and he offered to help by writing something to inspire me. And thus the first piece of Stones and Finger Bones fanfiction was born. I was highly entertained so I thought it would be fun to share this piece with y’all. 🙂

**Note: This piece contains some mature undertones. Proceed at own risk.**

“Why have I been awoken?”

Marel was unprepared for the question, unprepared for anything that happened in the cluttered castle cellar.  This summoning had not gone as he had expected, not in the slightest, but it’s not as if he could send the being back into the void.  No, the books only talked of the acquiring, the controlling, nowhere did it discuss what to do when you tired of the power.

It dawned on him, too late perhaps, that he was now indelibly tied to the unlikely figure standing within his chalk and blood runes.

“You are… a Drathraq, yes?”

“Why have I been awoken?” it asked again, his voice sounding of smoke and leather and dark alleys.

Marel found himself becoming annoyed, and then found himself annoyed at his own annoyance – this was a being plucked from the ethers of a distant and magical plane, a swirling amalgamation of powers and charm words and forgotten rituals.  Of course it would have questions.

“I need your aid, Drathraq.  I need your powers.”

The being considered this request.  Stubby legs propelled it about its prison, toes testing at the edges of chalk but never daring to touch them.  Eventually it stopped, a man in appearance only, to lock its gaze with Marel’s.

“I am not Drathraq.  I command Drathraq!  They bow to my desires!  I command legions of them, I send them forth to collect secrets from dreams, to drip poison into the ears of chancellors.  I am no pale shade flitting about a planescape.  I am Kostadin, Drathraq-curr.  I am King!  Now release me, fool.”

Kostadin drew himself to his full height.  His egg-shaped body straightened, doughy face gleaming with triumph.  Candlelight gleamed over his glossy, balding head.

Perhaps he would be more regal in clothing, Marel considered.   The books he had pilfered from the wizard Kreemar had said nothing about this.  Clothing was a human construct, a point of shame – would clothing even materialize when a being was summoned from another plane?  Would clothing be magical as well, an ethereal glimmer of…

A match lit from inside the circle, breaking Marel from his thoughts.  Kostadin lit a hand-rolled cigarette that now dangled from his lips, and with a flap of his hand he snuffed and tossed aside the matchstick.   With a slowness only presented in the immortal, Kostadin inhaled.  The cigarette glowed, illuminating his face, for a full minute as he pulled.  He was left with a singular tube of ash, which he ate, and exhaled a plume of smoke that’s majesty was only  marred by his wet-eyed gasping and coughing.

“No, no, that’s not what I wanted at… a Drathraq-curr?   King of… oh, yes, this will do fine.  Just fine!  I need your aid, King of Shades.  You will help me… with my brother.”

“Your brother?” Kostadin asked, “Which brother?”

“My only brother!  The King!”

“Your brother The King?”

“Yes, my brother, The King.  Too long I’ve waited in his shadow… I need you to help me remove him from power.”

“Remove him from power… yeah, yeah, I think I can do that.  So, what kind of removal are we talking about, Marel?  Are we talking, remove him from the throne?”

Marel shook his head.

“Remove him from the country, send him on a vacation?”

“Ugh!” Marel threw up his hand in exasperation.  “He’s the King, his whole life is a vacation.  No!  I want him dead, Kostadin!”

“You want him dead?”

“Yes, I want him dead.”

Kostadin ran a hand over his bald pate, and resumed his pacing in thought.

“Alright.  I’ve got this.  You ready?”

“Yeah, I’m ready.”

“Okay,” Kostadin clapped his hands.  “Here’s what we do.  First, we’re gonna butter up your brother, really get him buttered, tell him he’s handsome, tell him he’s the greatest, tell him no one can beat him.  Then!  You ready?  Then we get him to enter a contest with you.”

“Like it so far… go on.”

“So we get him to do a contest he can’t possibly win, but he’ll be so buttered-“

“Will you stop saying buttered!”

“-that he won’t even see the danger, and – are you with me here?”  There was a flash, and a single moment in eternity where the candles snuffed and time stopped and the world ceased to exist.  Then the moment had ended.  The darkness abated.  And Kostadin stood at the edge of the chalk, a sardonic smile splitting his moist lips.

“The loser gets executed.”

Marel loosed a long, toneless whistle, and rocked back on his heels as if pushed.  He nodded, slowly at first, but soon it had turned emphatic.  “Yeah… yeah!  That can work!  Ohh!  But come on, he’s really good at everything, what would I do?  Go up and say ‘Hey, you sure are looking good today, why don’t we go hunt some rabbits, loser gets killed’?”

“No, that won’t work… no, it’s gotta be something you can be sure to win…”

“Well…” Marel said, “There is something.  Our, ah, our mother caught him…”

“Caught him?”

“You know.  Alone…”

“Alone?”

“Yeah, Alone.  She caught him.”

Kostadin’s eyes widened, his mouth opening and tightening into a perfectly puckered circle.   His laughter rang out in a sharp, sudden peel.

Marel’s voice rose to be heard over.  “So what I- SO WHAT I WAS THINKING, is I make it a contest.  Who can go the longest, without, you know.  Without figuring out The Business.”

“You want to do a contest with your brother on who can go the longest.”

“That’s right.  ‘Cause, you see, he’s done this before, mother catches him regularly.  It’s awful.  So he can’t resist.  It’s the perfect plan!”

Kostadin did not flinch, but Marel jumped as the door to the cellar slammed open.  The lanky form of wizard Kreemar flailed into the room, head bobbing, arms waving, curly mass of hair bouncing.

“Marel, they’re in!”

“What’s in?”

“THE MACANAW PEACHES, MAREL, THE MACANAW PEACHES!”

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What I’ve Learned About Revision (Part 1)

Trolling

sometimes i troll my editor

Since Stones is back in the hands of my editor for the third (and maybe final?) time, I figured I would let y’all know what I’ve learned (if anything) so far, as a first-time indie author.

I’ve titled this “part 1” just in case I think of any more gems of wisdom later on. 🙂

Trust Your Editor

Hopefully, since you’ve hired them, you trust them…but this point goes further than that. You have to trust that they understand your vision. You have to trust that they know what they’re talking about, as a professional and as a reader.  Which is why I would recommend that you ALWAYS find someone who either reads or writes in your genre. And LOVES every minute of it.

When I first get something back from my lovely editor, I read through all her comments first…and then go complain about her to anyone who will listen. I bitch and moan for a couple days and then go back and read her comments again. And begrudgingly admit that she might be right about a few things.

Buuutttt…

Trust Yourself Too

Only you know what’s at the heart of your story; an editor only helps you get there in a clear and concise and grammatically correct way.

The Littlest Fixes Are Buggers

Okay, so this one might just be relevant to me because I’m a tad special. I had the hardest trouble doing line edits and addressing comments like “need tag”, “need to see a reaction”, “needs to be reacting”, “why isn’t she reacting???”

Clarifying character motivations and fixing plot problems were a piece of cake compared to fixing the little inconsistencies.

 

What have you learned about yourself or your writing through the revision process?

 

Related Links:

15 Questions You Should Always Ask Your Editor Before Hiring Them

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One Round Down

After one all-nighter*, a marathon writing weekend, and 4,000 additional words later, I’ve officially completed one round of edits and returned them to my lovely and patient editor. Yes, I ended up with more words, but filler was still trimmed and the additions are decidedly juicy. Stones was already rather skinny for a fantasy, at only about 76K words, so I’m not worried about buffing it (her? him?) up a bit.

Everything anyone has ever told you about editing and revising is true. It is so hard. There was much squealing in frustration, which my dog loved. I’m exhausted, starving (although, probably because it’s lunch time), and my little writing brain is totally fried. Compared to this, writing the blasted thing was a piece of cake.

There was also cake eaten…to inspire productivity.

On that note, I’m off to find food…

editing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Note: I did not finish edits in just one night. The whole process took about two weeks, but I apparently saved all the hardest parts (read: heavy emotional scenes) for last and had to stay up extra late to meet my deadline. 🙂

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Deadlines

deadlines

 

I’m drinking the haterade and feeling the pressure!

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Procrastination Station

I should be working. Instead, I’m taking color-coded chapter notes based off my editor’s feedback. That still counts as being productive, right?

New Image

One of the biggest issues I’m struggling with is over-showing vs. not showing enough. During scenes of particularly high drama, when the reader is supposed to be feeling very strong emotions, I’ve either created melodrama or emotionless character drones. Melodrama is a weakness that I’ve been aware of since I first started getting my work seriously critiqued (college, mostly). I’ve apparently remedied this weakness by not including feelings at all, which caused my editor to suspect my character had been possessed, since she wasn’t showing any emotion during an emotional scene. Well, demonic possession wasn’t quite what I was going for.

So, how do I fix this?

Answer: I have no idea.

Oh…were you waiting for writerly advice? Heh heh. 🙂

How about a plan of action instead? Right.

First, I’m going to take a good long look at these scenes and make sure all characters are reacting (at all) and are reacting appropriately, given the situation and their personalities. Falling out of character during emotional scenes is a no-no. Also, eliminate all and any cliches and stated emotions (so-and-so was sad). The biggest thing I need to do is dig deep into my characters and make sure I’m pulling from their fears, and hopes, and experiences to make the scene theirs, and not something I’ve seen or heard before.

I guess this is what revision is all about, eh?

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