Editing the Manuscript

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manuscript layout issues

The manuscript – printing, reading and editing some more.

Printing the manuscript was a task, to say the least. At almost 300 8 1/2 x 11 pages, not double-spaced, we had to stand by and wait for what seemed like eternity.

When it was finally done, I thought I was holding gold in my hands. I was so proud… until I started turning the pages. Turns out, the spacing doesn’t transfer from the writing program we’re using to Microsoft Word as flawlessly as we had hoped.

The deeper I go, the more errors I find. Not grammatical, but spacing, indenting, italics… the list goes on, and on, and on. And on.

So now, in addition to editing grammar and punctuation (Les edits nonsense bullshit words), I’ll be editing layout. We’re both confident a professional editing service is in our future.

 

 

Problem Words?

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Bad word

As, ly, ing, turned, glanced, muttered, suddenly, looked, then.

Bad, bad, BAD!

It’s amazing how many problem words can creep into a super-awesome story.

I asked, “Do you want to tighten things up?”

“Of course,” they say.

“Then stop resisting. Resistance is futile.” (Did I just say ‘then’?)

It all depends on how a word is used, and how often. You don’t have to swear off certain words – except words like ‘turd’. I don’t like ‘turd’. But make every word count. And don’t overuse any word. It gets boring and sometimes seems lazy.

We did a word count and I won this one. Tone down the “looked”s, the “glanced”s, the “then”s. And the “as”s! Holy cow, enough “AS”s already!

We’re getting there! Tighten, tighten, tighten! And then tighten some more.

 

 

Time is on Our Side

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Time

“He heard the knock on his bedroom door on Sunday morning. His parents didn’t care that he stumbled into bed at four-twenty or so Saturday morning.” Uh what? I thought we were talking about Sunday…

We need a timeline. A physical, drawn out, organized timeline of the happenings in Changers. Too much happens in the two-and-a-half-ish months of this story to not have some kind of timeline.

When you have a story with as many elements as this one has, the days must be correct, the events must happen in the right order, and most of all, THE TIMELINE HAS TO MAKE SENSE. I’ve read too many books that don’t have a clear-cut timeline and it is so confusing.

Luckily, the writers have my help. There hasn’t been a lot to correct but so far, I think I’ve done a pretty dang good job of finding the mistakes in *continuity* (although minor, they’re extremely important).

I swear they roll their eyes a little bit every time I bring something up. They’ll thank me later.

What’s in a name?

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what's in a name

Hmm…we decided some of our names aren’t all that cool. Or they have been overused somewhere else, or they’re too old-school-sounding, or they were popular someplace else that we didn’t realize until now. Or something.

We also wanted to be sure we’re using names you can relate to, and pronounce. Regular names are good, because the Changers series is about regular people in supernatural situations. One of the pet peeves in a book is when you come across a name that you’re not sure how to pronounce. Like Aoulange, or Saint Maureiliape. In The Hunger Games, it’s pretty obvious how to pronounce Katnis. But not so with a name like Hialgney. You get the point.

Names that are out:

  • Hickey – what the heck were we thinking?
  • Maggie – old, overused.
  • Martha – old lady.
  • Georgia – old school.
  • Heliotrope – we hadn’t used this, but just sayin’.
  • Dewey – Someone reminded us that David Arquette’s name in the Scream movies is Dewey.

 

Stacks of Notes

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notes to posts

“Write that down.”
“It sucks.”
“Write it down anyway. We might use it.”
“I had this really bizarre dream last night.”
“Did you write it down?”
“Of course. I didn’t want to suffer the wrath.”
“What, like I’m a slave driver?”
“Did you write down that dream you told us about last month?”
“I pieced it together.”
“They say you should write down your dreams as soon as you wake from them. Even if it’s the middle of the night.”
“Why? I remembered it.”
“Because it’s fresher in your mind. You’d be more likely to get all the details.”
“Well, I filled in with some stuff I made up. It was still good.”
“I was thinking about the book today. I was thinking instead of having that scene at the school, maybe we should make it at a player’s house.”
“Or with the punks.”
“Punks with a capital ‘P’.”
“Of course, that’s what I meant.”
“I’m thinking the school thing should be out anyway.”
“Maybe, but the players, at least most of them, are school age.”
“It could be summer vacation. It doesn’t have to be during school.”
“Sure. That would free them up to do more stuff. We wouldn’t have to keep saying, ‘…after school the next day…’ or wait till the weekend for something to happen, or for someone to do something.”
“Write that down.”
“I’m way ahead of you.”

Who said what? It doesn’t matter.

We had a stack of notes. The notes were an archive of blood, sweat and cheers. We wrote so much down on paper – sticky note paper, spiral-bound notebooks, printer paper, colored construction paper. We never used napkins, they rip too easily. We tapped so many notes into our phones, our tablets, our laptops. We installed and uninstalled so many different note-taking apps, we lost count.

There were no tears shed over this book. We laughed, talked, argued and got pissed at each other. In the end, we have been our own best cheerleaders.

Now, the notes become posts. An archive of the badass adventure we took together – writing a story. An awesome story. Writing a book. It’s an adventure we’re still on. We choose to remain adventurers. If this book never goes anywhere, never gets published, we will always say it was fun. It IS fun. We’re still on the train, and there’s no reason to jump off now.