Tag Archives: Communications

Road to Publication #19: Completing the ARCs

Whew!  Anyone want to take a breath with me?  Breathe in, Breathe out.  Breathe in, Breathe out.  Ahhhh feels good, doesn’t it?

So, yes, the arcs are done.  What did I find?

There were a few odd editing errors.  I mean… really odd editing errors.  For instance, a sentence ended a paragraph in the original version.  All of the rest of that paragraph was deleted, but that particular sentence remained, but was added to a different paragraph where it made no sense.  Yeah, weird… I know.

What I also came across were places where a string of speech was removed for one reason or another, leaving what was left behind “hollow”…  meaning someone answered a question that was never asked, or things like that.  Yes, weird again.

I also found a sentence where a word was missing, but it was in the original text.  Isn’t that odd?  I guess I took for granted that the file would be cut and pasted.  Apparently not.

What I marked mostly was something that I DON’T think they will fix, even though I asked for it.  The reason is that I just saw the same thing in a published novel from this publisher.

It’s silly, and very anal I will admit… but on my Kindle, if a sentence falls off with a “…” at the end… if placed correctly, the “…” will be treated as its own word and end up all by itself on a line.  I asked that ending “…” ellipses be attached to the final word in each case where they appear.

Like I said… I can ask, right?  I hope they do it, because I think it will look better.

The hard part of this whole project was transferring all my notes from my Kindle onto an Excel spreadsheet so they could review it in the format that they requested.  I suppose it would have been easier if I edited on my computer in PDF format, then I could have just created the spreadsheet at the same time.

Yes, in retrospect it would have been easier, but if I come across this again, I will probably do it the same way.  The reason is that I enjoyed the experience of reading it on the Kindle, as my readers will see it.  It just looked “different.”

(And it’s cool having the cover with my name on it appearing in my Kindle Carousel 🙂 )

Ah… vanity… definitely my favorite sin.

Oh!  Impromptu movie game!  Anyone know who said that line, and what movie it came from?

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Road to Publication #18: Reviewing the ARCs, OH NO!

Holy Crud.  This is not happening.  I just found out why you DON’T want to have two works being published at exactly the same time… and even worse… by two different publishers.

I was stunned this morning when the first round edits for Connect the Dots came through. I thought I would have another week.  I have two weeks to finish the ARC edit (the very last edit) of Last Winter Red AND finish the first round edit for Connect the Dots.

Okay.  Breathe.  It’s all good.  This is a great problem to have.  People are going to spit at you for having this problem.  Take a deep breath.  Chocolate helps.  Good.  Relax.

Okay.  No problem.  I can do this.

So… back to Last Winter Red.  I started reading it on Kindle last night.  I made a lot of highlights on the ARC with the handy Kindle Notes feature.

The reason for some of my notes is because my writing style has changed a lot in the last few months since I worked on Last Winter Red, and things don’t seem right to me anymore.

I did find a missing quotation mark at the end of a sentence.  Easy fix (I hope).

What is odd, is every once in a while I stopped and said “Is that what he said?” or “Did I write that?” or “Wait.  That makes absolutely no sense.”

I’m wondering if I even wrote some of these things, or if they were edited to the point of losing “something”.  I want to go through the whole thing, make notes, and then go back to my original copy and see if I need to smack myself upside the head for past mistakes.

Maybe I do.  At this point, I’m not sure what happened.

Either way, I think some more changes are in order.

What makes me cringe over this is that I could have made these changes months ago.  I am tucking this away as a “lesson’s learned” though.

I did have a bad feeling about not reviewing the full version before it went to copy editing.  You know that deep clawing pit-in-your-stomach feeling when you think you lost control of something?

To make sure this doesn’t happen again, I MADE SURE before I signed the contract with Still Moments Publishing for “Connect the Dots” that I WOULD have a chance to review a final before it went to final editing.  Not only that, I will get to see a FULL VERSION as it stands through each round of the editing process.

For a control freak like me, this is a huge relief… because I know I will not be down to the wire and fixing errors I would have seen earlier.

This is not J.Taylor Publishing’s fault either.  It is the way they work.  All publishers are different, and as an author, I need to be ready for this.

What I need to do now is finish reading and marking.  Then I want to go back again reading carefully for spelling/punctuation errors, and then I need to document and changes necessary on  a spreadsheet.

I need to do this within one week, so I can devote the next week to Connect the Dots.

Once again, sleep may become optional.

Road to Publication #10: Publisher responds to my second round of “Re-edits”

Yay!  My second round or re-edits were accepted.  Next stop?  Copy editing.

I admit, I am a little nervous that cutting and pasting were done and I didn’t see the final product before it went to copy-editing.  I’m worried about formatting, punctuation, etc. before it gets there.

What I need to do is stop worrying and let this process just HAPPEN.  I will get another look at it before it’s printed.  It’s just nerve-wracking.

Copy editing should be done by early September.  Until then, I need to work on that marketing plan, and sit back and relax…

Yeah, right.  Don’t know how to do that.  I’m knee deep into my next project.  No rest for the weary writer!

Road to Publication #7: Dealing with the Dreaded Line Edits.

I’m glad I slept on it before working on the line edits.  You definitely need time to separate yourself from your initial emotional response before you deal with something like this.  Your initial desire is to roll up your sleeves and fight for everything.

But I know that wouldn’t have been right.  In truth, 85% of the edits they made were spot on.  I wouldn’t have seen that in “angry author mode.”  I definitely needed to calm my little creative butt down.

What I did was this:  The day after looking at the marked-up copy that made me want to rant and rave and throw things… I sat down, and calmly opened the “clean” copy.

The clean copy is the version of what my MS would look like if I accepted all of the publisher’s suggestions.  It made it easier to read, without seeing my own words slashed out in red.  It made the process much less “emotional”.

I read along, and saw their changes.  Most were fine.  Move this sentence there, transpose that sentence.  Delete this word… no biggie.  Like I said… 85% of the changes were fine.

I remember another author telling me once, “Choose your battles while in the editing process.”  So, I sat back, and decided which were really so terrible that I could not live with them… that equated to about 15% of the changes.

There were a few things here and there that really bothered me.  They were silly editing mistakes, like changing a word to something else, but that word is already in the following sentence making it repetitive.  In cases like this, I changed it back, and wrote a note as to why.

Now here was the biggest problem.  At one point, it is important that a character rips her dress.  One page at the end of the scene shows how she rips her dress.  The editor didn’t like the scene, so they cut it.  However, they realized that it was important, so they added the line:  “Her dress was soiled and ripped after…”

I cringed.  The editor removed the “show” and replaced it with “tell”.  Nope… sorry.   Not in my story.

I didn’t change it back word for word, but I did re-write the scene to make it shorter, and flow better.  I did agree that it didn’t fit too well at first.  Now, however, it seems to flow better, and it is a quarter of its original length.

There were a few more sections where they cut out parts of conversations, leaving the end-product… umm, let’s just say that I had to re-write.

Before I submitted, I made sure to explain why I made all the changes.  I didn’t want to seem abrasive, but everything I “Fixed” I felt strongly about.  I would have been embarrassed if it was published the way it had been edited.

Now?  Well, I do think it is tighter after this editing.  It wasn’t all bad.

At the moment, I am just waiting on their reaction to my comments and re-edits.

Lesson Twenty Seven from a Manuscrupt Red-Line: Fluidity in Action-The Art of a Good Fight Scene

An example of a poorly written action scene:

Jason punched Eric in the face.  Eric fell to the floor.  Eric groaned and rolled over.  Jason wiped his chin and laughed.  Eric popped up, and Eric swung at Jason, but missed.  Jason ducked and swung at the same time.  Eric crumpled to the floor.

(Yes, I totally made this paragraph up.)

The publisher’s comment on a similar (but not as poorly written) sceneThis is a very stilted fight scene. It reads action, next action, next action, next action without the fluidity that’s needed for a fight scene.

For an intro into where these tips are coming from, please see my post: A Full Manuscript Rejection, or a Gold Mine?

You can also click “Rant Worthy Topics” in my right navigation bar.  Choose “Gold Mine Manuscript” to see all the lessons to date.

I have to admit, when I read the action passages in the Gold Mine Manuscript, I had the same comment.  The author was satisfied with the speed of the scenes though, and only made moderate changes.  Not being an expert, I backed off and figured it was just a “style choice”.  Guess not.

This fits in very well with my recent post on “Art of the Conflict”.  This scene is not about dialog, but this is definitely a conflict.  This one needs something inserted to break up the action, rather than action inserted to break up the dialog.

Now, I am not going to put a lot of time into this, since the scene is totally fake.  But let me add a little “art” to make it “flow”.  Fluidity is what they asked for.  Okay, here it goes…

Jason grunted as his fist swung toward Eric’s face.  Eric tried to dodge, but instead felt the sting of the older boy’s ring cutting into his jaw.  He fell to the floor with a muffled thump, and groaned as he rolled over.

Jason wiped his chin and laughed.  “I told you to stay down.”

Eric pushed up onto his knees.  “Why, so you can just pummel me?”  He popped up and swung at Jason, but missed.

Jason ducked and swung at the same time.  There was no time for Eric to react.  His head creaked back, and his jaw rattled as he crumpled to the floor.

Better, huh?  Not perfect by a long shot, but not bad for three minute flash fiction.  Can you feel the difference?  The staccato choppy “This happened-That happened” feel is gone, and the scene “flows”.

Of course, this is a first draft.  In editing, I would have to remove the “ing” word and the telly “felt”.  I would also insert a little emotion when Eric realized he missed, but this is definitely better by far than the first.  The art draws you into the scene.  You experience it, rather than just watching it.

The art of the conflict… If you don’t have it, go get it.

If you want to see a great published example, pick up a copy of  THRONE by Phillip Tucker and open up anywhere in the last hundred pages or so.

I hope this helps to make it more clear!