My Writing/Edit Process

 

 

There are a fair few people who have asked me about my editing process because my books have very few errors. (This post may well have errors, fair warning)

So, I’m going to post it here.

Everyone has a different way of doing things, and you will get used to your own. Just practice and test things out. See what you have fun with, what works and what doesn’t.

I am a screenwriter by trade. Yeah, you can look me up. That means I write really lean and mean. Fast action and really hard-hitting pace. I don’t screw around. This does sometimes mean my prose suffers. My style thus comes from a lot of hard work and in using the best people around me to work with me to beat the crap out of me… (err my writing, lol)

This is how I do it.

1 – Writing – 

For the most part I have that ‘movie’ in my head. I see everything in script form, so this means either a 3-act structure or a 5-act. Totally depends on my mood and thus easy to spot in my novels.

I’ve had coaches from all over the world, spoke with and learned a lot from them. I have relished every time someone selling for a living has made the time to reach out and let me know what they loved, and what they think I needed to work on.

Dialogue for me comes naturally. All the fluff description, nope.

I sit down. My choice of venue is www.mywriteclub.com because of the people I have met there over the last 3 years. It works. It pushes me beyond any other writing app. Usually, I write out 800-1500 words in 25 mins, with a break. Then start again. Because I work full time 30-40 hours a week, my daily goal is 3-6k it really just depends on the mood. I push for the higher end and most times I do it. But, work… drains me, so I’m happy with the 1 chapter. My days off or when doing a short shift, I aim for 6-10k

2 – First pass – Typos and Punctuation

This is without a doubt the hardest pass for me, because it’s literally just the typo, punctuation pass. I am no grammar guru, I’ve learned a lot in the last few years. I also know I suck at it. When I sprint, I also tend to miss out ‘speech marks’ so I have to insert a whole lotta them. Sometimes I miss a good few, I hope I catch them all, but I know I don’t too.

3 – Dedicated Alfa team

Yes, I do have some really amazing people. They will look over this if I ask them. I don’t usually, but it’s there if I need them. This is only if I’m unsure about where something is going, I’m usually pretty good with direction though.

4 – My Second Pass

This is where I pick apart the arc in each chapter, that means I look at how it begins, where it goes and where it ends. Get in late, get out early. This all means I look at each overall length and decide if it works.

5 – Character depth/word use

Two hits here, if it is in third POV and I am using a multicast, (like for The Secret King) this is a check on their screen time. If it’s in First Person POV then I make use of this time by doing a quick over word usage check. I have my crutch words and so do many other people.

6 – Dev editing

For some of my smaller pieces, I’ve not used paid Dev Editing. This is because my Alfa and Beta readers are fantastic and I’ve been able to work with them to fix any smaller holes. This works for me because of my scripting. I do love shorter pieces, they were the most fun in film school and beyond. Using all the tricks to get those hooks into readers in the least possible time.

7 – Fixing

This means I have to read the dev edit notes. Step away. It takes me a day or so to let any feedback settle. No matter my time schedule. I don’t rush this. I trust my muse, but sometimes it’s the tiniest way of wording something that makes the story or my meaning of it come out better, easier. This process usually takes the longest, and is one I cherish, because, without the notes from those readers, my worlds would never be as polished. I value my ‘editors like gold’ because they are. If you find someone who you love to work with. DON’T ABUSE THEM.

8 – Letting the whole thing sit

This is also a pretty important part of editing for me. To take a break from something. There’s not always time for me to step away from a project for long. This year’s schedule has been intense as all hell. 1 million words! I think I was crazy, but I am almost there! One book left to write… just one!

So for me, it might not be ‘walking away’ and coming back to it a few weeks later. The dev edit stage is a good time for me to do something else. To let the muse wander to another world and to see and play over there for a while. This is my way of breaking.

For some I know it’s to play a game they’ve been waiting on for a week, to take a reading holiday, or binge-watch the shows they’ve missed out on.

For me, it’s also cleaning house… making sure I spend extra time with family or Bobby J

9 – My final Read through and Pass

Scrivener is brilliant. Working with Editors is also brilliant, but they work in word. So the passing to and from Scrivener gives me a headache. For this stage, it’s mostly in Word now… so I make sure it’s in my format template for the story world, and I sit and read through – backwards…. Scrivener is great because the Mac version will read to you. There are lots of programs out there that you can convert to, that will also do this. I highly recommend it.

10 – Copy Edits

I have used a few people over the years, but trust RMJ Editing the most, and the edits for the books she’s worked on get high praise indeed. There are many reasons as to why I love this editing service, Rogena has never let me down. She’s pulled out all the stops with serious attention to detail and her extra comments on my story have helped me even beyond dev editing. You can find her website details and services here – https://www.rogenamitchell.com/

Other than RMJ Editing, I have used Chimera Editing Services, this was a last-minute jump due to time constraints. I found no fault with their work at all either. I would use them again in a heartbeat. Very professional and affordable. http://www.chimeraediting.com/

11 – Working through copy edits and final notes

Sometimes there’s still the odd thing that needs a little building on. Although Copy edits are supposed to be just that. It’s great to get a note to say if something isn’t quite working so I can still fix it. This comes with trust, and in building working relationships with the editors you use. I choose to use different people along the way because I get the most value and differences of opinion throughout.

I take my time here also, go through each page. Mostly I agree with things, sometimes I don’t. And a change here and there’s not accepted.

12 – Final Proofing

I can ask a couple of amazing people to help here, and I treasure them just as much as anyone else, having these people around you, means the most. They can focus on anything, missing/wrong on the ‘reader’ level.

Do not skip this part either!

For paid proofers I’ve used some from Fiver, who were pretty darned good for the prices, and most recently Jerome Kroger who is in the process of setting up his editing websites and services. All found and spotted just a few things that I’d missed.

13 – PUBLISH!

Hitting that button is the scariest thing you might ever do! We all worry about it… we wait with anticipation and refresh amazon… all day long…

Think about how you word things to us… J reviews help! Kind words and helpful spots also help… choose how you do so with the integrity you’d like someone to reciprocate.

However, that is never the end! Always just a little tweak or ten!

There will be a couple of pesky typos or missing words that get through.

14  – Audiobook Pass

I hadn’t considered this one before I started Audiobook’s. But it is…. And this one embarrasses me because sometimes no matter the huge effort I put in above, the narrator will always spot the odd inconsistency that we missed. Sigh.

 

I adore them all, they have picked out a few typos and wrong word choices. But, yes, this is a really final pass over… although usually, it’s also way after the publishing phase.

So, there you have it. My process.

How do you do it?

 

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Gamelit/Litrpg Going Wide Authors

Gong Wide  2.jpg

From left to right! Roll Call is!

RJ Castiglione’s – Fjorgyn: A Rebel Rises: https://www.books2read.com/ap/xdyJQR/RJ-Castiglione

Dawn Chapman’s – Desert Runner: https://www.books2read.com/ap/8GGNM8/Dawn-Chapman

Michael Chatfield’s – Emerilia: http://books2read.com/u/bMQXQB

G.R. Cooper’s – Shepherd Moon: Omegaverse 1: https://amzn.to/2MpnpHT

K.T. Hanna’s – Initializing: https://www.books2read.com/Initializing

Lars M.’s – The Wayward Bard: https://www.books2read.com/u/bzPWQ2

R.A. Mejia’s – Adventures on Terra – Book 1: Beginnings: https://www.books2read.com/ap/8P1PLx/RA-Mejia

W.D. Nix’s – Avatar Online Launch: https://books2read.com/u/m0gkpP

Why are we doing this, and doing it together? 

There’s been a lot of talk about this over the last few months, and for those who don’t know the reasons behind the move… it’s pretty simple.

Amazon has been trying to nail down on false reads for their KU program. And unfortunately, there’s been a slew of genres that were tagged, from Gamelit/Litrpg to Romance and Harem/Reverse Harem.

What that meant for a good few of my friends was that the page reads they’d been seeing for their books. (newly released books) were suddenly halved. In fact, more than halved in some cases.

In all the time I’ve been publishing my own Gamelit series, I’ve always had consistent KU reads, more so than my sales. So for the numbers that my friends had for KU reads to suddenly be slashed to less than their sales, something just doesn’t add up.

So some of us banded together and we made the decision to go wide as one!

I’ll be promoting these authors on this blog over the next week and sharing their amazing books.

So keep an eye out later this week, as I link in the first one! the fab RJ Castiglione’s!

AudioBook Review – Ascend Online

Finally this got out of ‘being pending’ on audible –

Ascend Online: Ascend Online, Book 1 | [Luke Chmilenko]

“Great listen! more please!” 

Concept/world-building – 4
Plot – 4
Character – 5
Dialogue – 5
Prose – 5
Conflict/resolution – 4
Overall rating 4.5

I picked this up as Luke’s highly recommended in the litrpg Facebook groups. So, when the audio was put up for pre-order with Luke Daniels as the narrator I nabbed it quick.

It’s a long listen, so it did take me a while. But it was well worth it.

Plot

For me, the start of anything takes a while, and I do admit this was a little slower for me than usual, but it’s more than worth it.

Where the world that Marcus actually lives in, isn’t very well defined or spoken about much. The interaction with his friends at the start and then into the game is. I enjoyed all that each character brought to the story, and more from the NPC’s.

Once the story really does start to move forwards, you get the experience of Luke’s gaming and background as the world of Ascend Online develops, bits of history and information are peppered in just the right places so not to feel like too much of an info dump and you are as excited as the players for the challenges they’re about to face.

It’s got enough crafting, fighting and loot to make all the gamers want more, and the stats read out aren’t as heavy as some other litrpg books. It doesn’t slow the pacing at all, and Luke does a great job with reading them so they’re also not just hard core skill lists. The story telling around these alone helps make this a book to remember.

Character

There wasn’t quite enough of the ‘real’ world for me. I would have wanted some more interaction with it through Marcus, even if it meant he had to log off once. However, each of the characters that Marcus/Lyrian enter the game with are well defined enough once he meets back up with them in the game.

As for them being supporting characters, they’re pretty great all by themselves. As for a fav one, I’d have to say Natasha has a spot, but defo Amaranth has the biggest. (sp)

Dialogue

I thought all the characters had decent dialogue. And also with Luke narrating, they were a breeze to listen to, each with their own personalities which really shined through. Luke did a great job with the ladies in the group and also with the demons and other worldly creatures. I did, however, think that the two overlords of the game were brother and sister at first, till I realised they were sisters.

Graves’ character drawl was also really good to listen to. Awesome job from both narrator and writer in design of the bad guys and in the way he really stood out in the narration.

Conflict/Resolution

I think because this has so much scope for the series, that there’s always going to be underlying threads we don’t see tied up. But the overall conflict in this book was left with a satisfying ending. Even if I did want more of the book and story world.
You can’t expect me to listen to almost 18 hours of something and not come away with a book hangover! Omg give me more!

I am glad I picked this up. And I really do look forward to more in this series from both Lukes’

AudioBook Review – Delvers LLC – 2

Obligations Incurred: Delvers LLC, Book 2 | [Blaise Corvin]

“not too bad at all :)”

I have to admit this one took me a little longer to pick back up than some other second books have. And I really wasn’t sure why. I think the characters in the beginning of this and the situation they find themselves in just didn’t grab me as much as the MC’s being stranded on Ludus in the first book.

However it did pick up, and I was glad that I stuck around.

The POV switches were handled a lot better in this book, considering there were only a couple of changes in the first, this had a lot more balance in it, and because I’d gotten to know the others, it was good to get inside their heads a little more.

I’ve seen some of the other reviews and comments about Thirsty as a character, and I have to admit, I loved him/her. I think this is exactly the kind of situation and personal event that would happen. It wasn’t his fault he ended up on Ludus anymore than it was for Henry and Jason, and Jeff’s characterisation of him/her both were fab. I really enjoyed the performance and the person underneath it. Thirsty plays a great and integral part in this book and I hope that we do see more of her 🙂

Overall, this book did seem to take on a life of its own, there was the onset of their journey and then it was taken over by having to defend against a horrific attack. I thought it all came together really well. And Jason was just fab. No spoilers, but the ending, brilliant.

It may have seemed a little on the short side, but only because we know that although this was a novel and story on it’s own that there’s a lot of setting up and more adventures to have.

I kinda think this would be the series for me that I’d binge listen to, one after the other because that would make this much more fun. Waiting on the next one is hard…

Come on Blaise and Jeff. More!!!

AudioBook Review – Cthulhu Armageddon

Had the terrifying experience of CT Phipps this last week. 🙂 awesome book and great narrator!

 

Cthulhu Armageddon | [C. T. Phipps]

“Western/Horror/Humour”

I have to admit, that following Jeffery Kafer around brought me to this book. I kept looking at it, reading the synopsis and then not picking it up, but I did still keep on coming back to it. A friend kept pushing me to give it a go, and I’m glad that I did. I’m not very familiar with Cthulhu as a story, but because it seemed to be myth/law, I did a little digging and found many references to it. Nice job on creating this amazing world around something so diverse in its creation.

C.T. Phipps has an extraordinary imagination, both for the setting and the characters. It starts off really quick and the action just doesn’t let up. The humour, both dark, and gripping kept me listening even with the horrible creatures and destruction of our world.

Booth’s mission with his team turns bad and he loses them all or so he thinks, he’s not only any clue how he eventually escapes but he’s left with a strange handprint on his shoulder. As things unfold Booth’s adventure grows in intensity, he’s to take the blame for his team’s death, resulting in a public execution, that the ‘torturer’ Mercury fakes because she wants him as a guide in the wastelands. It seems her life is on a short leash as well. So booth agrees to help her reluctantly.

The friendships that develop and the journey that Booth sets out on is fraught with monsters, danger, and death.

The monsters are horrible. I didn’t think that anything he could continue to see and witness would scare him more than the previous encounter, and in one sense, I think that being terrified all the time did get a little repetitive. I believe that more you’re exposed to these kinds of things the more that you get accustomed to them, or at least a little immune, the horrors of war and life in the wastelands would be more and more like normal life, but the fact was that Booth seemed to just keep on finding things so horrible and sickening that it kind of detracted it for me.

The narration was, of course, pretty spot on, there were great characterisations from Jeffery especially with Booth, I enjoyed the performance and the ladies, even if they all did seem to fawn over the MC. The only one who gave as much as she was dealt with, without an emotional attachment was Jackie, and she was a kid, everyone else seemed to ‘want’ to be with or had been with Booth, and that got a little old, more so thinking that he actually might want to be with the woman who tortured people…. Booth seemed to just do the opposite of what I thought he might when there was a pretty body near him.

Overall I was impressed both with the story and the narration, so I picked up book 2 and am almost finished with it 🙂 Thank you for the entertainment, really enjoyed the journey and the ending was really exciting! solid 4.5 stars from me all round.