Hey Space Cadets, how’re you doing today? I’m fine, working on the editing my final Sleeping Legion novel and dealing with some family medical issues that are slowing me down. Not the kind of stuff that needs airing, as it isn’t my laundry, but it’s been a slight roadblock for me. I made myself a promise when I started that writing wouldn’t get in the way of my family time and right now that has been a priority. I will still push ahead editing this, and I’m over halfway through this major revision. I think Boss Man and I are on the same page with the book now, and specifically how we link my series back into his. So, let’s push past the dreary realities of life and talk about writing!
Like every career, you want to continually improve and put out a better product. Stagnation is death in any entrepreneurial enterprise, and writing is no different. After surviving four different book edits, I’ve learned a bit about my writing process. I know I have certain strengths and weaknesses that have to be accounted for in my final review of the novel. Ideally, you will write the best first rough-draft that you can. This requires some self-actualization along the way. I know that I have a tendency to be verbose, and I write my first draft lite to compensate. There’s only room for a few wordy writers, and I’m probably not one of them. Yeah, I’m looking at you, George RR Martin and Brandon Sanderson. My books need to be at a certain word count to hit the genre sweet spot, and that doesn’t include describing every blade of grass. Correcting for one known trait has resulted in my leaving out critical details like surroundings. Tactics don’t matter in a vacuum, or at least my editor keeps suggesting that to me. And by suggesting, I mean he screams it, and veins pop. It’s ugly people, and I wouldn’t wanna deprive his son of a Daddy. Besides, we have a series to write together, and my Ouija Board is broken, so I need him with a pulse!
All jokes aside, because of the quirks I’ve learned about myself, I can now make plans for future world domination. I’m making a checklist for my minions that I plan to use on the final draft. I’ll include that here for you to steal ideas from. Or you can point and laugh!
Checklist for developmental editing pass:
- Chapter setting
- Remember all of your senses (sound, touch, smell, ect)
- Anchor readers in beginning of chapter
- Who character is
- Where character is
- Clear prose, can the wordy academic garbage
- Smoother dialogue
- Plot consistency
- This is where a good universe bible comes into play. Click here for a good explanation of the concept.
- With universe bible in hand, let alpha reader check your work. I married mine, but a friend will do in a pinch! If you find you need multiple alpha readers, might I suggest the joys of polygamy?
- Balance desire to do new things tactically, with plausibility
- This is hard because you don’t want to be stale, but much of combat is formulaic. Ideally, you win the battle before it’s fought, thus avoiding it altogether. But that’s boring, and books have to be exciting!
- Ensure you close all story arcs.
- And here is where I keep adding tips I pick up along the way as I encounter future problems.
Anyway, I hope my checklist was helpful! Feel free to start a lively and raucous discussion in the comments on the issue and maybe we can all learn something new.
Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!
–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are videos used by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.