Author Growth

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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:

  1. Description
    1. Chapter setting
    2. Terrain
    3. Remember all of your senses (sound, touch, smell, ect)
  2. Anchor readers in beginning of chapter
    1. Who character is
    2. Where character is
  3. Clear prose, can the wordy academic garbage
  4. Smoother dialogue
  5. Plot consistency
    1. This is where a good universe bible comes into play. Click here for a good explanation of  the concept.
  6. 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?
  7. Balance desire to do new things tactically, with plausibility
    1. 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!
  8. Ensure you close all story arcs.
  9. 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!  

brown_bess

JR

 

 –> 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.

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16 thoughts on “Author Growth

  1. “Tactics don’t matter in a vacuum, or at least my editor keeps suggesting that to me.” I hope that’s meant metaphorically. Otherwise, your developmental editor needs to have a conversation with your copyeditor’s clone-sibling about how tactics DO matter in an environment of extremely low/nonexistent atmospheric pressure.

    I agree about not describing every blade of grass, though. Unless there’s something special/unusual about the grass that will allow the protagonist to win the fight.

    Good news: A tendency to go too “lite” on description is curable. My clone-sibling, as a result of his experience in technical writing, used to go too far with “just the facts,” forgetting that in fiction, we also want to know how the viewpoint character feels/thinks about the situation, plus a bit of visual or other relevant description of surroundings, other characters, etc. He still tends more toward a sort of minimalism than otherwise, but that’s to be expected, considering some of the influences on his writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that my academic training as a historian in my past life gets in the way, I often have to untangle my sentences during editing so they’re accessible. I read an old paper I wrote in college and couldn’t help but think I sounded like a pompous jackass.

      As for the tactics in a vacuum, well it was meant metaphorically. Lucky for you, since you won’t have to bother your clone-sibling! And more good news, Corey isn’t my editor anymore because he’s making the jump to full time writing. Well, it’s good news for him anyway! I’m thrilled to finally get to hear about The Wasteland he’s had hiding in the bottom draw.

      *Good News:* I’ll always have my copy editor friend over at *North of Andover*!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Boss Man here. Family first all the way, and when it’s time, I’m looking forward to seeing how the killer climax to your series fits back into the Human Legion. Especially since I’ve already written some of where it picks up at my end 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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