I have concluded that using a professional editor is a very good idea. That said, I also think it is important to keep your editing goals in mind, and make them explicit. I have determined that my goals are not literary, but commercial. Brilliant phrasing and eloquence and perfection in word selection are great if they happen to happen, but spending endless time aiming for them gets in the way. All I desire is Clear, Correct, Consistent, Concise, and Done. Brain-cycles spent doing more than that, for me, are wasted.
Clear: Is it easy for the reader to understand what I am saying?
Correct: Does it follow proper conventions, and did I say what I meant to say?
Consistent: Does the style and format stay true to itself, so the reader doesn’t get goofed up on things that are not really a part of the story?
Concise: Aim more for Hemingway than Rand, but don’t be obsessive about it, because–
Done: Without this, the rest is wasted. Don’t play ivory tower, think Larry the Cable Guy, and just git ‘er done.
Your choices might be different, because you might have different goals… just be clear what your goals are.
I’m experimenting with a tip-jar. Sometime soon there should be a “Donate” button from PayPal on the sidebar, where you can through in a donation for the hyper-localized poor writers fund if you think the story The Stars Came Back was worth more than the $2.99 Amazon price. It’ll also be helpful when I get set up to sell the story via other outlets, and if it goes big then then I have branded swag, too. That may be a while, though.
I’ve come to the conclusion that doing much more editing has a marginal utility approaching zero, and possibly has negative value to me. Yes, spending more time working with my editor might improve the writing slightly, but I think the ROI in terms of sales or time isn’t acceptable. The writing is good enough for most people, and more dollars spent on it won’t measurably increase sales but will cost cash I don’t have and delay the launch, while more minutes spent on it will only rise my frustration levels and will decrease time spent writing new stuff. So I’m now working to wrap up the details of formatting, cover art, other art, Amazon stuff, and other details I didn’t even know existed before I started this thing. Target is before the end of the month. Fingers crossed, but it looks like the home stretch is here.
Five people asked to be proof-readers, and I sent them the first quarter to read through and comment on. Three have returned it and been sent the second segment. Two have returned the second and been sent the third. One returned the third and been sent the fourth today. Yay! When I get three returns on the fourth segment, or my editor gets back online and sends me something, then I think I’m good to publish. Gad, what a tedious load of work. Paul pointed me to the following Churchill quote: Continue reading Proofreading progress
I’m pretty much done, and proof-readers are going through it. The cover is done (unless I get a cover-quote from someone famous). A “story internal” logo is nearly done. Gradually typing away on the next book.
Continue reading Year in review
Paul has been having fun creating some graphics. Here are a trio of still in-process views that show sort of what it would look like from inside the bridge (Com, Pilot, Command). We also have some updated “ship blueprints” over on the Graphics Page.
Continue reading New bridge views
Looks like I’m close enough to done that I need a couple of proofreaders, ones that will read, notice things wrong, and let me know about them so I can fix them. Not sure how many I’ll need. I can email the story in parts, a proofreader can make comments and highlight stuff using the “review” feature in MS Word, and when I get a commented section back I’ll send out the next hunk. There shouldn’t be a lot of errors, but I’d like the final copy as clean as possible. My editor would be doing it, but she had to go deal with a family situation and will be away for a little while.
Post a reply if you have the time and are interested.
Paul has been modeling Taj for a while. He put together a basic video showing Helton’s first walk-through, playing with some free software in his spare time. Thanks much.
Odd. For some reason when I download it to watch, it shows blank until I hit “replay,” then it plays just fine. Let me know how it works for you.
Writing is educational. I keep learning new things. Recently, it’s been Latin. After a few go-rounds for clarification and refinement and correction with Paul and a prof at Seattle U, we have figured out the proper Latin for Tajemnica’s original motto and her new one.
Consero deletum was her commissioning motto, and it means “I close to destroy.” Simple, to the point, up front. Doesn’t leave a lot of room for misunderstanding.
Liberos transfero qui terras liberas faciant is the “new business” motto, meaning “I carry free people to create free worlds.” Also to the point.
I think of them as two sides of the Armadillo coin. If you want to work with them for freedom, they’d be happy to help you out. Get in the way… and find out up close and personally just what deletum really means.
[Later edit and tangential note: I had contacted several UW Classics grad students with my Latin translation question. I wasn’t just asking them “here translate this for me,” it was “Latin is important, I want to do this properly, did I get it right?” I didn’t get so much as a form-letter email “we don’t do that” in reply from ANY of them. Upon the suggestion of my editor, a SU grad (“A lot of old Jesuits, there”), I picked the first one mentioning “Latin” in his profile and “cold-called,” sending him an email, only to receive a polite and helpful reply within hours. We exchanged a dozen or so emails to get the details ironed out. SU profs rocks! UW Classics grad students? Meh.]
Wow. I thought the “last pass” would be quick, catch a few things, and I’d hit the big “publish” button in the cloud. Yeah, sure, you betcha.
I’m up to page 131, and I’ve hacked out about 1500 words by tightening up phrasing, cutting redundancy, and making things clearer. I’m finding numerous corrections that need to be made, beyond simple typos obviously introduced during careless editing of larger errors. My writing has improved significantly between the start and the end of the first pass of major editing with a proper editor point out my thousands of mistakes. Much of my writing is clear enough, but not particularly smooth reading. It’s getting MUCH better. [Later edit: Looking at the very familiar corrections I made in the first 130 pages, I think that somehow a batch of early edits got discarded with a “version control” fail. I.e., as my editor and I mail back and forth, each updated version is saved with a new name and new edit start on that. At some point one of us grabbed an older version. I think. At least, that’s what it looks like, or else editing introduces a LOT of errors.]
Also found out the Latin I used, with Paul’s help, isn’t quite correct, either. New version via a prof at Seattle U is “Consero ut deleam” for Taj’s original motto, and “Liberos transfero qui liberas orbis faciant” for her new one. But we are still not 100% certain of that, either, and checking further.
As slow a reader as I am, it’ll not be done tomorrow, but I’m working pretty full time on it. Soon. Long before Healthcare.Gov is fast and secure.
Consero ut deleam