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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Happy Release Day! – Maraukian Wars – bk 2!

This year has been very interesting, to say the least, and after working from Jan to March with the fab Michael Chatfield in a stint only a few could actually stick to, I’m proud to say that our first co-written piece in his series launched today. 🙂 huge grin on my face!

https://amzn.to/2oXlctl

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When Mike asked me to help out on this series, I was a little hesitant. Already 5 books in writing in someone elses world is not that easy. But, I considered all my options and for those who know me, they also know I love a challenge. So, stepping up my reading game, I blitzed through the Harmony War’s and soo fell in love with the characters he’d created. I don’t lie when I say, Mark Victor stole my heart. After getting to know Mark and Tyler throughout the first 5 books, I was eager to dig in and create with Mike the visions he saw for them into the Maraukian Wars.

We had our fair share of life trials and tribulations in the 54 days we sprinted our asses off, but the results I think speak for themselves.

I hope you guys will love the extra I bring to the characters you already love, and I hope that there’s a few more which may also steal your hearts.

So go check these badass covers out, by the amazing Fred Gambino – https://www.facebook.com/fred.gambino.6 and pick up the series…

Harmony Wars – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01I5WV02Q

Maraukian Wars – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GVSPD57

SQUEE! Launch Day – Desert Runner –

Blurb – Desert Runner – Puatera Online – Book 1

Book link – https://www.amazon.com/Desert-Runner-Puatera-Online-Book-ebook/dp/B0756BNGHD

An NPC story.
With her pain potions in short supply, Maddie accepts a deadly job, pick up a package in Trox City and cross the desert plains to Port Troli. The only issues – an unwanted passenger and Tromoal breeding season.

 

 

 

Bio – Dawn Chapman

 

Dawn Chapman has been creating sci-fi and fantasy stories for thirty years. Until 2005 when her life and attention turned to scripts, and she started work on The Secret King, a 13-episode Sci-Fi TV series, with a great passion for this medium. In 2015, Dawn returned to her first love of prose where she revelled in the world of The Secret King, Letháo and First Contact, as an epic prose space journey over 3 generations. This year her experience of working with Producers/Directors from the US and AUS has expanded. From Drama, Sci-Fi, Action, to Litrpg. Dawn’s built a portfolio of writing, consulting and publishing.

Author Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kanundra

Amazon Profile – https://www.amazon.com/Dawn-Chapman/e/B014A0RUBC

Twitter Link – https://twitter.com/kanundra

 

Audiobook Review – The Tower of Zhaal

Straight onto the second! Excellent work, this one was so much better in my eyes because I loved where these characters went!

“Better and Better!”

I was glad that I had this one to listen to after the first ended. Of course, it’s a stand alone book and felt very organic. But I wanted more from this world. Glad CT Phipps delivered with this, I also believe there’s a third coming sometime soon. 🙂

I am not very up with Cthulhu and their myths and legends, of course, this just made me want to dig into this very weird and terrifying world.

The Tower of Zhaal kicks off with just as much action as the first. Where Booth and Mercury are kidnapped and taken to save the world. A Very weird way of asking, but I can also see why the society might need to do it this way.

What I really enjoyed about this, was that even though we thought Booth and Mercury couldn’t get more involved, the character development around these two was still exemplary. So deep and emotional that I felt for their relationship as odd as it was, and as loving as it seemed.

I still think every woman Booth comes across is one he’s been in love with at some point, and the re-introduction of his wife made this much more interesting. So many things to go wrong, so much to lose.

This book will defo have you on the edge of your seat, high action, high horror. Booth changes a lot, not just physically as he embraces the person he really is, or the alien that he is, but also on a mental level. And I really liked this about him. There was a great strength in him and it showed in his decision and of course, some non-decision as life just seemed to roll on around him.

I admit getting to know these characters made a better impact on me storywise, it flowed on from the first, kept me hanging and engage, and emotionally invested. The monsters were terrifying, the world so detailed I thought I was there…

When’s the next one out! I’m having a book hangover… Although I am starting on the super villainy books, it won’t be the same. : (

Great, great job. Thank you for the entertainment guys!

AudioBook Review – TFS Ingenuity

Taking a little break from some other audiobooks, this was a nice one. 🙂 and I look forward to more.
TFS Ingenuity: The Terran Fleet Command Saga, Book 1 | [Tori L. Harris]

“Not too bad”

I picked this up last week, needing a break from some of the LitRPG I’ve been listening too and this sounded pretty interesting.

I always like following Jeffery around, usually not too disappointed. But, I have to say this one was a little bit of a letdown. Only in story mind you, not his narration, can’t ever fault the effort he puts in.

I think what bothered me was the length of this as much as the fact there was a great deal of information, backstory and other things that lead towards the sort of climax of the story and then into the possibility of a next book. I think there were lots of places that story was almost skimmed over, where I’d have liked to get to know some of the smaller details, the conversations and the actions that this huge world and writer could have explored.

Maybe walking us through some more about the tech advancements would have also helped. I love science in my story but also want to feel it fits right, I defo wanted more here too.

I did really think the characters were developed enough, I felt for them in all their situations, and even for the aliens that were visiting and fighting to help Earth. As for who is what and on whose side, I’m still not 100% sure. There’s so much to ask and to hope we get some answers for. I’m very interested in the next book, so I’ll look for it now, or keep my eye on Jeffery.

I do also think length wise this is a lot of set up for the rest of the series, and that this is a long-standing story that might well span a lot of books. So I might forgive this a little more.

Thanks for bringing me new writers and to the writer for the new worlds. 🙂