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Tag: editing

Sky High Book Cover Preview

I recently finished the cover design for my new book, Sky High. Here is a preview of what it will look like:

Sky High Book Cover
Sky High Book Cover

After careful consideration, I decided to have my book copy-edited professionally and I’m currently waiting on the editor. I can’t wait to see it finally published!

I hope you like the design! Let me know in the comments or by email.

Sky High Update and Writing Resources

It’s been a while since my last post, and it’s been a while since I had time to work on Sky High. There’s a lot going on at work right now, and family events have kept me busy on the weekends. Therefore, today’s post will be rather short, so I can use the time to edit my book instead.

There’s a great offer up at http://storybundle.com/nano right now. For as little as $15 you get 13 (!) awesome books about writing. And for $10 more, you get all of last year’s NaNoWriMo storybundle-books as well. That’s 25 books for $25!

Go check it out! I did, and I have just read Writing To The Point by Algis Budrys. It somewhat changed my perspective on writing, and took away some of my worries about editing Sky High. 🙂

That’s it for today – I’ll get busy on Sky High now.

Sky High v1.0 done!

Can you believe it?? I never thought I would get here.

But somehow… it doesn’t feel as rewarding as I thought it would. I guess that’s because of all the work ahead…

Last week I wrote through the climax of Sky High and now I am done. Well, almost. I still need to write the dénouement. Since finishing the climax, I’ve been trying to find the motivation to continue, but all I could think of were the many, many things that I have to change. So I decided to call it quits here. I’ll write the dénouement when I’m done with the big structural changes.

So what now?

The things that come to my mind right now, when I think about the story, are all the issues and flaws. There are so many things that I want to revise. Most importantly: I clocked in at 64007 words. That’s 11000 words short of my (somewhat arbitrary) goal of 75000. It’s very short for a science-fiction novel, even if you consider it YA. And knowing myself… I fear that I rushed through the story and that I need to expand on some of the topics and scenes. If not all 🙂

Where do I start?

Brandon Sanderson has a video about revising a book on Write About Dragons, and I intend to follow his process. I find this scheme immensely helpful, because it breaks down the myriads of tasks into a very simple process to follow:

  • 1.0 Straight through beginning to end, taking notes as he goes on changes of direction that will need to be fixed in…
  • 2.0 Continuity edit, done immediately afterwards
  • [Brief gap]
  • 3.0 Polish for tighter language, cut about 15%
  • Send out to alpha readers (writing group, editor, agent, wife)
  • [6-month gap, during which time he takes notes on things to change]
  • 4.0 Incorporate alphas’ feedback and his own reflections
  • 5.0 Second polish
  • [Send to betas, fans etc. – not the same people as alphas – plus editor]
  • 6.0 Last fixes
  • 7.0, 8.0: copy edit and proofreads (polishes)

I have v1.0 right now, but I will probably add in a v1.5 (expanding the story) before doing v2.0. This is the first time I will be editing a full book. It’s a daunting task, but I really look forward to it!

Do you have any tips on editing? Let me hear about it in the comments or via email!

Elyse and Writers of the Future

Elyse is a short story I wrote in September 2014. The idea stemmed from a friendly competition we had at work: The goal was to write a short story which contained a certain theme or item. For Elyse it was a hand fan. Initially we set a very ambitious deadline of two weeks, but we quickly realized that this was just impossible. It took me about four weeks to complete the first draft.

After running it through our online writing group at the Reading Excuses forum, and a lot of editing, I finally ended up with a story of about 11500 words. I was a bit concerned about the slow beginning, but I was very happy with how the story developed and with the reveals. I didn’t really know how to further improve the story, so I submitted it to Writers of the Future back at the end of June 2015.

It took them 51 days to respond. According to The Grinder, that’s way below the average acceptance response time, so I suspect that David Farland – the head judge who first reviews all stories before sending them to the other judges – discarded it pretty quickly. David has some very fine writing advice out there and he repeatedly preaches how you have to start a short story in the middle, jumping right into the action. I guess the slow beginning was the end of it.

I have to say that my experience with Writers of the Future and David has been very positive. Apparently the team behind the contest changed the way they notify writers of the results: Rather than waiting for all stories to be judged, results are now sent out as they become available. I asked Joni Labaqui – the friendly Contest Director who sends out the emails – whether there was any way to receive feedback regarding my rejection. I thought her very busy and didn’t really expect an answer, but she did reply. As I thought, they don’t have to time to provide critique for everything that is entered, but instead she provided two documents about how to “boost your prose” and how to improve openings of stories. Nice!

I had been following David on Twitter for a while already, and I’ve known him to be friendly and approachable, so I tried getting feedback from him directly as well. And sure enough, he replied after a couple of days. Unfortunately, he told me that he’d have to go through the stories again, to tell me the reason for the rejection, and was just too busy at that time. He seemed really sorry for not being able to help and pointed out that the competition was really strong this quarter. I really appreciated that he took the time to send me that message.

I’m not the type to give up easily, so I sat down and did what I should have done before: I cut about 2500 words from the story.

During the process I looked at what I had written and thought, “which scene would be a good opening”? There was one in particular which I had wanted to put at the start of the story last year already, but back then I could not do it, because it would have broken the continuity of events. So I just deleted everything that came before it, including the slow beginning.

The hardest part was deleting a scene that I liked a lot, and that I thought was important to the story. But now that it’s gone, I realize that it wasn’t really necessary. Guess I still have a lot to learn when it comes to “killing your darlings”. 🙂

I submitted the new version of Elyse just the other day. I’m confident that it’s a better story now. Fingers crossed!

Do you have any experience with Writers of the Future? What’s your experience been like? I’d love to hear from you by email or in the comments.