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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Cover Reveal! TSK’s book-2-First Contact

 

I’ve been slacking a little as I’ve had so much to do, but here it is!

First-Contact-final-best (2).png

Book Description – 
FIRST CONTACT.
With their journey from planet Letháo fraught with peril, the Aonise finally arrive at what they hope will be a new home. Earth offers a new start for the displaced race, and Kendro, King of the Aonise, desperately seeks a peaceful end to their voyage. However, once they make first contact, not all is as expected. Some humans are not as welcoming to the alien species, and their resettlement onto Earth is faced with resistance from splinter groups determined to drive the Aonise away from their planet. Coupled with internal strife, can Kendro appease all, or will greater misfortunes come to pass?

Excerpt

A loud ringing echoed through the house. Prime Minister Robert Walker bolted upright. His wife, Christine, still slept, her chest rising and falling in even breaths. Is that… the…

His heart pounded in his chest, as the ringing stopped. Silence. No…

Glancing at Christine, he let out a breath seeing she hadn’t stirred. The chemo from yesterday had wiped her out. They were trying to rest, and now, he was terrified what little rest they’d had at their country holiday home would be ruined. As the phone rang again, Walker threw the covers off, and reached out for it. Damn, this will wake her.

Monday, 23rd Sept 2041 – 1:14 AM flashed on his clock.

Picking up his phone. Walker hit answer, and slid out of the warm bed into the cooler air of their hallway.

“Hello.”

Christine murmured, turning over, and searching blindly in the bed for him.

“Robert?” The Chief of Defence’s adrenaline-pumped voice almost screamed across the line. Walker listened to words he never thought he’d hear. “We’re at Threat Level Critical. A copter is on its way. Suffok will meet you at the nearest hotel conference room.”

What? Critical? The UK hadn’t issued critical status ever. What on Earth is going on?

“I’ll be right there.” Then, Walker thought of Christine. He couldn’t leave her alone. Not tonight. Phoning his sister-in-law, he asked her to come over and stay with Christine.

There were highly trained nurses stationed in the house, but they weren’t family. Guilt clutched as his conscience, as he headed back to the bedroom and dressed.

Christine had settled back, and he perched on the end of the bed, stroking the back of her head. “I’ve got to go out. Ani is on her way. She’ll stay with you tonight.”

His wife turned to face him. “At this hour, seriously?” The annoyance on her pale face and bloodshot eyes spooked him.

Walker sighed. Christine knew his job came before lots of things. “I’ll see you for dinner.” He kissed his wife gently on the forehead.

Christine didn’t respond. She turned her head away from him. Concern filled him, as he gave her one last look before hurrying to the door. He had no way of knowing if he would be home for dinner today, or next week.

 

 

 

About the Author

 

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 great passion for this medium.

In 2010, Dawn returned to her first love of prose. She’s been working with coach EJ Runyon who’s encouraged her away from fast paced script writing, to revel in the world of TSK and Letháo as an epic prose space journey.

This year her experience of working with Producers/Directors from the US and AUS has expanded. From Drama, Sci Fi to Action, Dawn’s built a portfolio of writing, consulting and publishing.

 

Books by Dawn Chapman

The Secret King, Lethao
The Secret King Lethao – audio book
The Truth Hurts –  novella audio book

Bree’s results – novella audio book
https://www.amazon.com/Dawn-Chapman/e/B014A0RUBC

Coming soon
First Contact book 2 of The Secret King scifi series – Release 20/12/2016

The Secret King – anthology TBA

How to find Dawn Chapman

Face book fan page – https://www.facebook.com/TheSecretKing

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

Twitter TSK – https://twitter.com/

Twitter Dawn Chapman – https://twitter.com/kanundra

Website – https://www.thesecretking.com

 

I AM BACK!

OMG guys, I’ve never been so frustrated or upset as I have been the last few weeks, losing sleep and worrying over my account…

I was logged out after a power failure at home. I’d recently had some major phone issues and hubby had also upgraded his phone, so that meant no 2-step authentification. Which my blog is set up for. And I have been locked out!

I have really just been going nuts…

I sent an email off to wordpress, and heard nothing. Presuming it went to spam I checked everything everyday for two weeks…. nothing. I had to email them from another account… and then finally got to talk to someone.

Over the course of the last week. We’ve been back and forth over the account, and I believe someone has reset it from 2-step…. or I’ve been hacked.

NEVER MIND… the fact is I’m back!

I’ve so so much to get you guys clued up on, reviews, and of course TSK’s progress. More will be coming tomorrow 🙂

Love and hugs…

Dawn

 

Cover Reveal for our Second AudioShort!

This is our second short – again by the amazing and talented Holly Adams –

https://www.facebook.com/hollyadamsnarrator/

Brie’s Results (to be released soon)

Brie's Results V3

And our blurb is –

Fresh from her medical exams, Katya Brie heads to a new life on Outpost Frelik. Thrust into her duties, Brie tends to badly wounded, yet handsome, Lt. Commander Sheve Hadi. From that moment, life takes an interesting turn, as she finds herself amid treason, conspiracy, and a plot that threatens her, the Ainoren, and everyone she loves on Letháo.

Are you interested? If so let us know why entices you!

Cover Reveal for our first AudioShort!

For our second reveal is the fab short narrated by Holly Adams – (soon to be released, no date set yet) The Truth Hurts – if you want to read this for free, and get a sneak peek at the line art to accompany this in our Anthology go register for the website for free! (at the moment) and you’ll get access to everything we’re doing, and all the apps.

http://www.thesecretking.com

 

tsk_-_the_truth_hurts_v2.1

And our blurb is –

Kept away from her grandmother for most of her life, young Natalie stumbles upon a secret hidden in the old woman’s drawings: communications from another world. She quickly finds herself learning not only of an alien race, but the many dark truths that pulled her family apart.