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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Our books are not free!

The biggest event on facebook, I’ve seen in a while! and it starts soon!

https://www.facebook.com/events/206705409792190/

Sorry facebook for the double tap. Well worth it I think. 🙂

I’ve had the best time since we launched TSK’s second book in December, with a really well laid out plan of attack and some well-placed blogs and adds, we’re doing okay, sales and KU reads are really steady! and I’m proud of that.

But in the launch I did what most authors do, I had giveaway prizes. I love and will always love doing things for others if they REALLY want them, but I gave away between 2 events over 16 audiobooks, out of those prize winners only 6 actually have claimed their books.

These books cost a tonne of money to produce, and each gift costs around $20 or £20 (we’re almost even in cash value)

So I gave away £200 worth of goods, that no one really wanted.

So when a facebook friend decided enough was enough and she shared her idea on this event, I fully supported her, and I’m very proud of the gathering that is involved with this event.

Writing is not easy, it’s fun… sure.

It can be highly stressful too.

It is expensive.

To compete in the real world we have to pay out for many things.

Editing,

Cover art…

Proofing.

Marketing.

Our time is worth something.

Yet, all the time, artists and not just in the writing world are berated and asked for stuff for free.

My other qualm was before my book launch in December I took part in a big event for a $100 amazon gift card. We gathered email addresses for our mailing lists, which was fab.

However in January and up to date, because I gave my email address in, I’ve had over 350 emails, with authors GIVING books away for free 😦

I am very saddened by this, and it has to stop.

We are worth it!

Our time is worth it. You as a reader want hour after hour of entertainment, right?

But you won’t pay more than 2.99 ?

What’s that coffee cost you there, that you’re drinking? how much is that barista on per hour?

Yeah, you get my point, right?

I love my readers, and I love my fans, the comments and notes I get all over social media make my day, but I have to eat, I have to put a roof over my head.

Hugs to you all, and I really, really hope you guys will support this fab event.

I’ve got spending money tonight! So I’m going to buy some amazing books from some of these fabulous authors!

 

Listening to your own work as an audiobook!

 

Well it kinda says it all really. The last few weeks and well the whole of this year so far almost seem a blur, from one thing to another, ups and downs as with life always…

Yet today I had plans, I woke early and couldn’t focus, back on the good ole plan (lipotrim) to get me in the healthy zone in the docs. I did so fab last year, but I’m still at the top end of the weight I want to be, and what is healthy for me, so almost 2 weeks in and feeling the pain of it all haha, the second time is so much harder. But the benefits are worth it, I know they are.

So yeah, no focus and you know when you really need it and it’s just not there yeah. So, ibuprofen, some paracetamol and lots of coffee and I just about started to come around.

I have always so much to do, that never ends, write up crits for the team on Scribophile, (which I’m near done on) and continue with a script I’m working on, I did sign up for camp nano and my cabin is awesome, yesterday I hit the ground running with a few wordwars after work to write 3.5k on my futuristic SO with my fav female character, Sarah Mendoza. I have to warn everyone this is a little out of my comfort zone, space battles and hardship I can handle, but she’s leaning towards a slightly erotic tone of content, haha, I love her but boy she’s opening my eyes.

But, I had an email late last night… A good one, squeeee and cue all excited jumps etc. I had the go ahead to go over the first section of audio for both TSK’s book 1 – Lethao narrated by Greg Tremblay and for our Shorts, The Truth Hurts narrated by Holly Adams.

I’ve only just got into listening to AudioBooks, so the experience of living inside the world someone else created for a few hours is just settling into my mind.

It’s a whole different ball game when someone else is narrating your world, your characters and their story.

It’s not like I write it and forget the story, no, but it’s like experiencing it all for the very first time.

I still haven’t done as much as I’d like, a house to clean and stuff to do here, but I listened to Holly’s work twice (loved it) and then moved onto the first book which I’m now up to chapter 4 on. This might take me all weekend. Haha, but I’m loving it. Kinda here thinking, I didn’t write this did I? but yes, I did. I’m very proud of the team where we’ve come from and where I hope we’ll go.

Thanks for being there with me @TeamSecretKing you brought to life what was only in my head. Now it’s free for everyone else to enjoy or hate, hehehe

Hugs –

 

Dawn

CampNano!

So yeah. That says everything. April is looking good and I’m excited as usual. I have one story I haven’t finished from last year which is still begging to be continued. I am heavy in beta edits still from TSK’s book 2, which I’ve 7 chapters to get through this weekend. I’ve been out this morning with mum got some bits to keep me going and now I gotta knuckle down and get on with it. 🙂

Anyone else doing it? want to join in my small writing group on facebook… It’s a small group of last years camp participants a few nano friends and will have some from this year 🙂 but we’re from all over the world, all ages and genres, some huge talent…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/549921195147203/

If you do let me know, the more the merrier to get April well off to a good start. We’re in plotting and planning stages still but the more the merrier.

EXCITED!!!!!!

Feeling better :)

After being so wiped out with a chest infection last week, I am feeling much better. This is great for me because even looking back on last year, I hit Feb and was ill… then it got better, much better.

Contains triggering talk below…. just fair warning to some of my followers.

I made the similar decision to get back on top of me, like I did last year. But in a diff way. I don’t have 5 stone to lose anymore, but I do need to cut out the crap again, almost 12 mths off Lipotrim and I’ve put a little back on, my main concern is I’m still not technically in the healthy bracket according to my doc. Sigh. But, that means I can be.

I went back on Lipotrim on Monday, to shift that last bit of weight hanging about. Get myself back in the right frame of mind and to detox after Xmas etc. Don’t think I’ve been a week without drinking so I know that will do me good. I’m not going to be on it long, maybe 4 weeks. That’s just because of how strict the diet is and that I really don’t have much to go. I’ve got to be careful I don’t upset my family after all. Even if this is for me and for my health. Hubby’s been great, he understands, so fingers crossed. If I do drop too much, I have to come off, simple, but we’ll see how it goes. Talking to lots of people this is harder the second time around, so I’m not expecting the same results at all, only time will tell.

I will admit, it’s still very difficult. But once over the first week, I’ll be fine I’m sure of it.

In regards to my projects. Things are moving along well. I got a really good review this week on TSK, the reviewer really took the time to say everything and in my mind she really understood what I was going for in writing it.

http://www.amazon.com/review/R3LFDC9NDCWA6R/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B0149F9NQI&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=133140011&store=digital-text

I’ve gotten the first set of script pages off to some friends on another collab project I’ve been helping on. That was a good move as I really love this gal and her work. So fingers crossed the pages are well received and we’re on the right path with it.

In regards to the TSK website, yey, it’s well underway now. The members only section has it’s first short published, and I’m excited to share the rest, as they’re just fab, not all written by me  (I might add) and that is really one of the best things about being and managing TSK now, it’s such a project that other people can write, draw, etc etc and it still fits into place, just like it was meant to. I love reading work that I didn’t write and it follows exactly those characters and how they could and would react in certain situations. It’s just amazing.

The artwork is really steaming ahead. Andrew’s just fantastic and I am thrilled to see them come together with the shorts. They show everyone visually what I see in my head and then some!

All in all it’s been a roughish start to the year, but it will be a very good one!

Keep dropping in, I’ll keep you guys posted. Book 2 is in final stages of editing! Squeee…. and working on cover ideas right now!

Love and hugs.

Dawn