Friday, June 26, 2015

Stuff I Learned While Editing My Third Book

I'm getting set to head to Tamarack in the morning, so, though you can't tell it, I'm writing this on Friday. One of the joys of summer is time to get writing work done. This week, I've made some changes to both Harsh Prey and Kisses and Lies. No changes to the storylines or anything. For Harsh Prey, I updated the cover and back cover as well as fixing an alarming number of errors, proofreading and otherwise. It now has crazy stuff, like headers and page numbers and all the words are (I hope) spelled correctly. Kisses and Lies had but one typo that I could find and the cover was already amazing, so that didn't change, though I did change the back cover to include the blurb and a short bio. Both books now take up a lot less room, too. I changed both to single spaced, which did a couple things. First, it made the footprint of each book a lot smaller, which is pretty environmentally friendly. Second, it saved pretty heavily on print costs and I'll be able to pass the savings along to buyers.

But while I wasn't working on that stuff, I finally started this week with editing and revising Shalan #3, In the Shadow (Available around beginning of October). This process has taught me a few things. Here they are, in no particular order:

business, working, office, desk, laptop, macbook, computer, technology, writing, notebook, penI like editing on paper instead of the computer. I've never done that since the olden days when I had no choice but to write and edit on paper. Since I got a word processor program for my sexy new Commodore 64, which came complete with a dot matrix printer and no hard drive, I've done all my editing right on the computer screen. This time, however, I accidentally started doing it on paper. I say accidentally because I never would have done it if I hadn't printed out a copy so my medical consultant, the real Dr. Mathur (that will make sense when you read the book) could make corrections when I butchered the medical scenes. I went through her comments and made corrections and then, before I knew it, I was editing the whole thing on paper. I found myself moving around in the text checking continuity and tweaking the storyline in ways that would be downright difficult to do on the computer. So I think it's paper editing for me from now on.

I've come a long way as a writer. Since I did an edit of HP immediately before ITS, I realize that, while I think the first book was good, I feel like the newest book is exponentially more engaging. Part of that is because I've had three books now to flesh out Harry, Dee, and Otis, making them more three-dimensional as time has gone by, but I think it's also about just honing my voice as a writer. I hope you'll agree.

I tend to be my worst critic. That's not really news, especially to my Pepper Potts, aka Maria Delgado. She and I were texting about the new book and I said something positive about it and, even through text, I could tell she was pleasantly shocked that it wasn't another critical statement about myself.

Speaking of Pepper and Dr. Mathur, this book, more than any other, reminds me that I can't do this alone. Poonam came all the way from Hershey, Pennsylvania to work with me on the medical scenes in this story. Without her, those scenes simply wouldn't have rung true. Maria reads every version of every book and, though she doesn't do a lot of editorial work, she is my own personal cheerleader. Her support is unwavering and it means the world to me.
dog, pet, animal, sad
I can make myself cry. When I wrote the first draft of this book, it was a dark time for me. The story goes into some really tragic and scary places within human nature, But I never cried. This time, though, as I reread after having put the story away for a couple months, one scene in particular brought a tear to my eye. Harry and Dee are just as real to me as if they were flesh and bone real and when a heartbreaking thing happens to them, it breaks my heart too. Yes, I made them up and I could have written them any way I wanted. But most writers will tell you that, no, I really couldn't have. It really doesn't work that way.

And finally, I discovered--okay, I really just confirmed something I already suspected--that I would love to do this stuff full time. It's summer. I could be outside. I could be traveling. I could be making money teaching summer school. What am I doing? I'm going to bed early and getting up every day and either writing, editing, or marketing. And I'm happy as a clam. I really, really hope I don't have to wait another 8 or 9 years to get to do this all the time. But I guess that's up to the book buying public.
So there they are. Six things I learned this week. That's a lot of stuff considering I only started Monday. So what did you learn this week?


  1. I am glad to be a support in any way I can be. :)

    1. I really do appreciate it. You're a good friend.

  2. I am glad to be a support in any way I can be. :)