Patience in Editing

Greetings all. I’ve returned, albeit a day late.

I had to work yesterday, and a day shift at that. So I didn’t get a chance to sit down and do anything but that. It was a twelve-hour shift, because of the holiday, so when I did finally get home I was wiped.

I’ll say this though, the editing is progressing well. The co-author has begun formatting chapter titles and the like. Seeing that, I’ve been implementing the formating as I go along as well. Already I’ve gotten up to chapter eight again, though I didn’t number them the first pass through. I didn’t even name them last time. I wanted to get them read through first. Now that I can look at them as a whole, titles are coming to me. Though admittedly the co-author began titling when they began their pass through first.

They’ve changed a few things, nothing huge. I went and read through what they’ve done before I went forward with where I left off. I did a bit of editing there, but didn’t change much. I know I’ll be seeing those chapters a few times more when I go back again, and it helps to have some distance from the previous read anyway.

That’s another thing about editing. You need some distance. If you simple editing a chapter the next day or week you’ll miss things. You’ll read it like you meant it, but not see the missing words you needed to put in. Now I usually edit the previous writing session before I begin the next section, but that is really me getting myself up to speed with where I am in the story. That helps to limit those missing words that might be forgotten, but it’s no substitute for real editing.

So don’t be impatient. If you really want to have something polished, take your time. Time is the friend of a good book. While some people might be able to read their own words and find mistakes easily, I say they are more likely than not to miss things. But you’ll miss less if you’ve taken time to do other things. Or like in my case, don’t work on the same section of writing over and over, back to back.

It also helps to have other people edit. I’m very lucky to have a co-author this time, and I was lucky before to have a few editors. I’m excited to see what we finally end up with, though currently I’m quite happy with what we have. Of course it’ll need that polishing I’m talking about. That’s why I tend to thoroughly read, and re-read, edit, and re-edit. At the very least I want to go through this book four times before handing it off for perhaps more thorough editing. But we’ll see what the future holds.

I’ve already added around a thousands words. I mentioned that there was a bit missing in a section, so I put in a little something more. This is likely to happen at least one more time, so that’ll add in more passes that I’ll need to do. However the story is flowing well, and I want to make sure that continues.

So with that, I’ll leave you. I hope perhaps some of my words encourage your own work, whatever that is. I’ll talk to you again next time. Have a great week.

 

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: An estimated 30% into editing

Steven Oaks

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Editing First Drafts

Hello all. I’m back again.

Do you know that I love the act of writing? I love creating something new. I suppose I like it most when I think it’s good, but in the end it’s the act of creating that motivates me.

There’s nothing like staring at a screen for several minutes while your mind tries to discover where you want to start. Then all of a sudden inspiration hits you, and you’re off. It’s those times before you begin that are the hardest. It’s like staring at clay, and then suddenly seeing the sculpture underneath.

It of course helps if you have an idea of a story first. But where should you start? I’ve heard “At the beginning of course”. But what is the beginning? Is it the birth of your character? Is it the first time they have a problem related to the story you want to tell? Is it their call to action?

In the end it doesn’t matter. It only matters that you start. It’s your first draft at that point. If you feel it needs additional material you can always put that in later. Be it after you’ve finished the draft, or if you realize there’s another way to begin your story.

The reason I mention this is not because I don’t have a good beginning to this book. I happen to be very happy with it, and it has the tone I want. But because there may be additional chapters or parts I want to fill this book with. There’s a bit missing now. It could be resolved by deleting a character all together, but that would also lessen some of the impact in the motivation they bring to the main character.

I’ve recently finished my first pass through the draft, and the co-author has done work with the first chapter. Not much was changed, but it did lead us to discuss certain motivations and world building that needs to be polished. Now when I say not much has been changed, you can take that perhaps I added or subtracted whole paragraphs, but the narrative has remained the same. A single sentence or word can make the difference in the enjoyability in reading, so I’ve been working on that mostly.

Right now it’s all about making the world feel relatable. That motivations are clear and reasonable, or at least understandable. That might not sound difficult, but when you are telling a story that you don’t necessarily want to turn into thousands of pages it can be easy to just gloss over certain aspects and expect the reader to accept things. But that’s a first draft. It’s almost short hand, or can be. Now it’s time to fill in the blanks that might have been left, and make it whole.

If I hadn’t found any flaw, I wasn’t doing my job. You need to be hard on yourself. It makes it easier when you have a co-author, or an editor that’ll take you to task. But in the end you need to be willing to accept that you’ll make mistakes, and be willing to re-write whole parts. You won’t be perfect your first time. Even after years of writing you’ll make mistakes. And that is okay. It could even lead to making something even better when you find them. I hope to do so, now and in the future.

As it is, I’m happy with what we have, but not yet satisfied. I’ll be working towards that this next pass through.

I hope you have a good week. Until next we meet.

 

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: An estimated 27% into editing

Steven Oaks

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Improving your skill

Tis I, Steven. I have returned.

And what does this return carry with it? Oh, not much. Another book read, more anime watched, and my journey into Agents of Shield just beginning. And of course editing.

I’m having a great time reading what myself and the co-author have written. Few corrections needed still, though I’m re-wording things a bit. Trying to make it less samey, if you understand. Using the same word paragraph after paragraph when trying to explain things isn’t helpful. And certainly is annoying to me.

There have been several books in the past that for whatever reason the author continued to use a certain phrase over and over. Now this can certainly work if it is a build on the previous use, but when it’s merely a lazy way of using words, or as if a thesaurus hasn’t been used, it sounds dull and boring. To me it sounds like the author didn’t go over their first draft with fresh eyes, and just accepted whatever they had written previously. Perhaps done to meet some deadline, yet it makes it seem lifeless. As if the writer didn’t care about what they were writing. Or so arrogant that they can’t imagine editing their golden words.

It’s not nearly as bad or noticeable when you just read it, but when read aloud it becomes readily apparent. Hence why I recommend reading your book aloud, to an audience if you have one. Or have a text to speech program read it back to you while you edit. All editing I’ve done for previous books have included this step, and I think they are better for it. Maybe they aren’t perfect still, but I know for sure they flow much better than they had from that first draft.

When writing the first draft don’t worry about it so much though. You’ll get bored if you have nothing to fix. Also your job in that first draft is to just to tell the story. Maybe you’ve done so with an outline, but don’t get too caught up in making it perfect first. You’ll be editing and reviewing. Or you should be. You can’t expect it to be perfect the first time around. You’ll try to make it so when you edit.

Another thing I recommend is reading. Whether it’s a good book or bad, they seem to help you understand what you like about your own style, or they show you another style you’d like to write in. All books can’t be gems, but even the bad ones can show you what to do or not to do. Hence why I think my current writing has improved, besides the whole repetition of writing itself.

Creating, or writing, is like a muscle. You must continue to exercise it, else-wise you’ll slip back to where you began. Never improving. Yet when you push and put effort into working, you’ll see improvement. It may be slight, but you’ll get better. And if you ever hope to build those giant muscles that allow you to easily sit before a keyboard and just be able to write beautiful prose after prose, you must exercise. Reading is a part of that. So work, and be better. Read, and be better. Learn and improve.

We all start out as novices, even if some of our creations are purposeful and lovely from the start. But time and effort will reward, and you will reap benefits that you can’t imagine.

With that I’ll leave you this week. I hope you find something you enjoy working on and creating. All I’ve said stands for any creative task. Work on it, and look at what others are doing. You’ll get better.

 

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: An estimated 23% into editing

Steven Oaks

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The Punisher

 

Howdy folks, I’ve returned.

Another week has passed, and I’m filled with excitement for writing. That excitement does come and go, but even if I’m not feeling especially motivated I still write. I think that is something that isn’t thought about by most new writers. Perhaps they think they’ll only be able to write if the mood is right, but really to finish what you’ve started you have to keep going even when you don’t feel like it. It has been said by others, and I find that it is correct. So here I’ve said it again in hopes that it can motivate others even when they don’t feel the spark of creativeness.

So what have I been up to? Well I finished the Punisher Netflix series. I wasn’t completely sure about it before I started. He wasn’t my favorite character in Daredevil, and I wasn’t too interested in seeing what they were going to do with him. However my misgivings were unfounded. They did a good job building up his backstory, while allowing that to create a world where he functions. A world filled with disillusioned former soldiers. And while I wasn’t completely sold on the actor they cast for the Punisher, by the end I can’t see anyone else playing such a broken man. A hardened soldier left with nothing after his family is killed, he seeks to end the evil in the world. One death at a time.

This vigilante isn’t here for the justice of the law, he is here simply to end injustice. His methods are permanent, and he has gone about it by murdering any he sees as harming the innocent. Jaded by the same government who’s orders he took blindly for years, he no longer feels they serve the people. In that vein he refuses to seek their aid, as he no longer trust them to do the right thing.

Fortunately for him and us the viewer he hasn’t made a mistake in judgment, and has only killed those that are evil, or those that blindly work for said evil. If there had been mistakes he might have had to reevaluate his world view, but he apparently does his homework. There are very few shades of gray in this story, unless you count the Punisher. He is the gray, and he is aware of it, but he refuses to back down, as he is convinced he is correct. And while others may bring up that killing isn’t the right way, he never really seems to think about it.

In the end I enjoyed the show, though I think more scenes should have been dedicated to questioning the right and wrong of what he was doing. Some people he killed were merely doing their job, but I suppose he may have justified it. Soldiers to him are merely extensions of those that give orders. Still, I wasn’t always on his side, but I understand protecting yourself from those that have weapons pointed at you.

The trappings of military have always been interesting to me, when it serves a larger story. Take for instance Stargate SG1. Yes it’s a science fiction story about exploring other worlds, and alien cultures, it still has a military force at the head of said exploration. I think that served to further the story. As such, I think the same thing for the Punisher. Had he been simply a civilian serving up vigilante justice, it wouldn’t have worked as well. He was and is highly trained, and has a grudge against organizations such as the government. He can’t trust anyone, and that isolation after being apart of a team is really at the heart of the show. He misses his family, be they his wife and children or his unit, and wants to still trust in them, but always hesitates to fully do so. Caution is his way of life, and he holds himself away from others even while he attempts to protect them.

So yes, I recommend watching this show. It may not be my favorite marvel Netflix original, but it certainly was better than some. And he avoided being wrapped up in the miserable tonal mess that was the Defenders, so at least he’s got that going for him.

Until next time, have a good week.

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: An estimated 22% into editing

Steven Oaks

Follow me on the things below.

ce70Twitter-icon Connect-with-SDK-Welding-on-Google+ Tumblr-Iconurl goodreads_icon_256 YouTube-App-Icon