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

Going Wide – R. A. Mejia – Adventures on Tera

One of the most notable authors in the genre because of his podcast and reviewing abilities. Going wide is Ramon Mejia with this great series.

I listened to all the audiobooks that were out when I found the genre, and these were a nice addition to my list. 🙂 Really good if you love audio!

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Bio –

I’m R.A. Mejia, and I’m an author apparently. I write in a genre called LitRPG. It combines video game and tabletop RPG mechanics with fictional writing. I fell in love with the genre a while ago and started to consume every book in the genre. I loved the genre so much that I wrote my own story. If you read my stories and love it, then I’m happy. If you don’t love it, I’ll recommend some other LitRPG for you to read that you might love. If you’ve ever dreamt about living one of your favorite video games or wondered what stories could be told from a gamer perspective, then the LitRPG genre is for you.

If you want to see reviews for all upcoming books, check out the podcast too! 

https://litrpgpodcast.com

https://www.books2read.com/ap/8P1PLx/RA-Mejia

Going Wide – Puatera Online – Me!

Following the main picture I posted a few days ago and so there’s at least some kind of order in the chaos I’m promoting myself. 🙂 Yey me!

For those who haven’t tried this series. Desert Runner is also now FREE! across all platforms, and audiobooks accompany (and will accompany) the whole series.

My universal link – http://www.books2read.com/ap/8GGNM8/Dawn-Chapman

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Bio

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 three generations.
This year her experience of working with others expanded. From Drama, Sci-Fi, Action, to LitRPG/Gamelit. Dawn’s built a portfolio of writing, consulting, publishing and audio proofing.

Website –

http://www.dawnchapmanauthor.com

Facebook pages –

The Secret King – http://www.facebook.com/TheSecretKing

Puatera Online – http://www.facebook.com/PuateraOnline

New Release – DragonBlood Throne – Tom Fallwell

                                             

BLURB

Orphaned as a young child and growing up alone in the forest, Delina lives a life of isolation; her only companion a saber-toothed panther. Her strange eyes frighten those she occasionally encounters, so she keeps to herself, until a young, wounded warrior ends up at her doorstep. As she nurses him back to health, she discovers she is more than just a young woman with unusual eyes, she is a dragonblood, destined to become the ruler of Almar.

 

Now hunted by the dark sorcerer who murdered her father, usurped his throne, and killed all her kin, she must find out how she can release the essence of the dragon inside her to defeat him. Everything depends upon her willingness to embrace her legacy and reclaim the Dragon Throne.

Excerpt from Dragonblood Throne: Legacy, by Tom Fallwell

Copyright © 2017 by Tom Fallwell – All Rights Reserved

Ignoring the two scribes fidgeting nervously behind him, Kargoth anxiously watched the cosmic tableau of the moons unfold in the darkened sky from his balcony. The rare, lunar eclipse was only moments away from its apex, the new moon phase of Tibel almost centered within the bright ring of Sianor behind it.

While he would never admit it, not even to himself, Kargoth was fearful as he waited to see if the prophecy was true, if there would be a sign indicating a dragonblood still lived in Almar. The words of that prophecy played continually in his mind as he waited with bated breath.

Ring of the heavens,

Ring shining bright.

Darkness the lesser

Than greater moon’s light.

When the ring glows bright

As the moons above turn,

Blood shows the sign

Of the dragons return.

A dragon reborn

From an innocent child.

The power will grow

As emotions run wild.

The dragon will rise

When all hope seems lost.

All evil will pay

The dragonblood’s cost.

The dragonblood comes,

The darkness will die.

The dragon wings spread

And the dragon will fly.

“Here it comes,” Kargoth said, never removing his gaze from the moons. “Now we’ll see if there is any truth to this prophecy.”

The scribes trembled, fearing their High Lord’s wrath, as Tibel firmly centered itself in front of Sianor. The light in the night lessened momentarily as Tibel covered much of Sianor’s full and bright splendor.

The slim circle of light around Tibel began to burn brightly, becoming a brilliant glowing ring in the night sky. For a moment, the scholars hoped that perhaps the prophecy was false, but a red glow began to fill the darkness of Tibel. It was as if some celestial being had poured a bowl of blood into the mold of the darkened Tibel, now glowing with a red, unearthly light. The eclipse became a white circle filled with a blood-red glow.

The prophecy was true! It was a sign of blood! Of dragonblood!

The scribes slowly backed away from the balcony in fear, anticipating the wrath of their lord. They could almost hear Kargoth’s rage brewing inside him as he suddenly turned on them, his steel eyes boring into their souls.

“It’s true! That beast, Jeraldin, had another child!” His anger turned on the two robed figures. “You should have known this sooner! You impotent cretins!”

He raised both hands in front of him, palms outward. The terrified scribes turned to run, but it was too late. A dark fiery energy streamed from both his hands, as jets of black, searing flame engulfed the two men. Their horrifying screams of agony echoed throughout the chamber and into the halls beyond as their bodies were consumed by the deadly power Kargoth had loosed upon them. Within seconds, only smoldering piles of ash remained on the floor.

Dropping his hands in frustration, a deep and tortured frown peeked from the shadows of his hood. Kargoth stormed toward the throne room door. “Guards! Guards! Get my generals! Now!”

Whoever this dragonblood was, Kargoth had to make sure they never lived long enough to be a threat to his power. He would scour the entire kingdom and find this dragonblood. He couldn’t allow one of their kind to live.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

   

 

Early in life, Tom Fallwell discovered a love for fantasy and science-fiction, delighting in the wonderful escape into realms undreamed of. Weaned on the greats like J.R.R. Tolkien, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert E. Howard, Roger Zelazny, Robert A. Heinlein, and Michael Moorcock, just to name a few, Tom’s imagination was forever inspired by those marvelous tales.

One day, he discovered a simple book of rules called ‘Chainmail’, by Gary Gygax, and found a new love: the love of creating adventures and stories of his own. ‘Chainmail’ evolved into ‘Dungeons & Dragons’, and Tom played consistently with friends as both a player and a dungeon master (DM) for decades. Such activities helped him develop his ability to create worlds and stories for other players to enjoy.

Now retired from his long career as a software developer, Tom writes all the adventures and characters that constantly fill his mind and shares them with the world.

Website: http://tomfallwell.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTomFallwell

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Tom-Fallwell/e/B00IV2JSJI

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/11303749.Tom_Fallwell

Rangers of Laerean Series: https://www.facebook.com/RangersofLaerean

Dragonblood Throne Series: https://www.facebook.com/DragonbloodThrone

Where to buy

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073SYDP68


Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/735008