About This Blog

This blog is about my books (of course), but it's also about writing in general and the editing process. I love the puzzle of a novel, and I'm happy to share anything I know about editing and revising. Any questions? Leave them in the comment box or send me an email, and I'll address them as quickly as I can.

Monday, November 18, 2013

In Which I Contemplate Taking Up Pictography

Thanks to my new method for revising and my amazing new proofreader, I have passed another milestone when it come to Book Two in my Chronicles of Nequam series.

I am now ready to read the whole blasted thing out loud.

I kind of hate this part, but unfortunately, I think it's way too valuable a step for me to skip. (After all, I need to see how the characters' lines will sound when they make a major motion picture out of it, right? Hey, it could happen...) For those of you who have never written, then rewritten, and rewritten, and rewritten, think of it this way:

Imagine a book. A good book. Even a book that you really really love. Now, imagine that you are stranded in a cell with that book - and nothing else. So you read it. Then you read it again. And again, and again. Somewhere in here you take to carving pictographs on the wall with your fingernails, because the sight of the book makes you feel just a little bit crazy. Then you read it again - out loud.

Essentially, this is the basic process for revising a book.

I will say that the task isn't nearly as daunting as I first thought it would be. When I decided to read Laryn Rising out loud I looked at some books on cd and figured it would take about thirteen hours. I think it took more like fifteen, but still that's really only the equivalent of sitting at a desk for two regular work days. It took me more than two sittings, of course, because of irritating things like work, and laundry, and children who want to eat Every. Single. Day. (Wouldn't it be awesome if humans were more like pythons and only required a meal every five to fourteen days? I fantasize about such things...) (And please note that I do love my children. And I do feed them. Most of the time. If there were just more hours in a day!)

Book Two is about 20,000 words longer than Laryn Rising, which means it will take me longer to get through, but I'm trying to feel geared up for the challenge. It would probably be easier to face if I hadn't JUST finished going through it, but it's either work on Book Two or start trying to format Laryn Rising for printing. Since we know how I feel about anything involving the word 'formatting' (see previous post) we can safely assume that at this point I'm still hoping the Formatting Fairy will visit my house one night and do it for me.

I admit it's unlikely, but as miracles have been known to happen I will continue to put that off for now. After all, it's only fair to give the Formatting Fairy as much time as possible to get to my project, right?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

My Dilemma

I have so much to do - but I can't decide what to work on first.

First, there is Laryn Rising. Sales of the e-book are going great, but I need to get a paperback version out there. Unfortunately that means getting the whole cover designed and formatted, and getting the interior book design done. In an idea world, I would simply shell out scads of money to have both of these things professionally done.

Newsflash: This is not, and never has been, an ideal world.

Newsflash #2: I do not have scads of money.

And so, I am forced to do as much as I can the hard/do-it-yourself way. I do have my limitations, however, and there is probably no way I could do the cover design and format without losing my sanity completely (and having it turn out disastrously). Therefore, I will be paying my amazing cover artist to do that part for me - but as that requires coming up with money, I'm trying to be optimistic about when I'll get that done. The interior design I will attempt to do myself. By 'myself' I of course mean that my sister will probably end up doing 9/10ths of it for me due to my complete inadequacies in all areas of life involving the words 'computer formatting', but out of a sense of duty I will be sitting next to her and sweating over the whole project (and over the fact that she could suddenly drop dead and leave me to figure out my mail chimp, website, next book, and all other things involving 'formatting' by myself). Conclusion: Laryn Rising is still classified under the 'Not Done' project heading, and is therefore still putting demands on my time and energy.

Second, there is Book Two, which I believe will be called Finding Shemballah. (Any thoughts on this would be appreciated, btw.) This book is complete, and all developmental editing has been finished. This leaves me with the tedious clean-up work, which will require going through the blasted thing at least three more times myself, and then sending it on to my amazing proofreader (whom I just discovered amongst my very own family members. Who knew! If anyone wants her services, she's up for hire...) There's also my cover to stress over (see my pinterest page for progress) and the map. How did I forget the map! Of course writing about Plymouth required me to draw a map, but it didn't occur to me until the other day that I now need to find some professional map-drawing-person to 'professionalize' it for the book. Where are these professional map-drawing people? Does anyone know where they hang out? (Preferably one who loves working for free, and isn't interested in scads of money...)

And then there's Book Three. Prequel to books one and two, and set in Plymouth one hundred years prior to the Fed girls' arrival. I. Must. Write. This. Book. It's kind of non-negotiable - yet it's driving me crazy. I finally decided to set it aside and start a completely unrelated project. Inspiration hit, and I sat down and plotted an entire novel out in no time. I was all set to start it when I came back to Earth and realized that I need Book Three. Why? Because I can't wait to write books four and five of The Nequam Chronicles, and neither will be possible unless I finish this prequel.

At least now I know how I found the time to write the first two books. It seems that while there is time in my life to sit and work on one major project, things become much more complicated when I start layering them all over each other. I used to wonder why author's wanted to go away to quiet mountain retreats to write when it was so easy to sit in your kitchen and hammer it out... Now all I can think about is a quiet little shack someplace, with no phone, no one wanting dinner (why do they insist on eating every day!) and no laundry. I can only imagine what I could do with five days of such an existence. Of course, I'd have to bring my sister, or half the stuff would never happen...