Workflow Update



Recently I posted about my writing workflow. In that post I exported my first draft from Plume Creator to OpenOffice for editing. The problem with using Write or Word to edit is that you wind up with multiple version files and comments or changes can be lost or not backed up. So for my current WIP (Counterattack), I’m going to use Google Docs. I’ll export from Plume Creator as usual and then upload it to GDocs and label it Draft Two. Do all my editing in GDocs and then when done, let my Beta Readers read directly from the document and add their comments to it all at once. Then I’ll stop sharing it and either take or reject their comments and clean up the document again. Rename it Draft 3 and then invite my editor to edit the document. When he’s done, I’ll make his changes and then clean it up again. This will continue until the Copy Editor is finished. When the document is all done, I’ll use Jutoh to create the ebook and break out the chapters to RTF to send to my Graphics Designer for the paperback layout.

At this point in time I only have a few chapters left to write on Counterattack. Then I need to self-edit Draft Two so that it’s readable by the Betas. I’d like to be to the Beta Reader stage by December. Somewhere in there I’ll be starting to write Devon’s Blade with an eye to getting that one out next year too. We’ll see if this new change to GDocs speeds up the post production flow for a novel and if it works for Counterattack, I’ll probably make it my default workflow.

The Rising Update

Many thanks to my Beta Readers who read The Rising last month and provided me with some outstanding feedback! I’ve completed the spot fixes from the Second Draft and now I’m preparing to start the third and final draft of the manuscript. At this point, I’m looking at the ebook release some time in May. I still need to finish up this third draft and then have it edited and copy edited.

My novella, The Blood Empress is now in the hands of Beta Readers so I should be getting comments back from them in the next few weeks. Then I get to start the whole, Second Draft routine again with that book. In the meantime, I’m not writing. With only a few hours a week to work on this writing career, things move slowly for me. I have outlined the 3rd book of the Starforgers Trilogy and so writing that will go faster as a result. Next up is to outline my next novella, which will probably get written before Book 3.

On the workbench:


Anyone care to guess if the KIV-3 model rocket above is capable of actually launching? I plan to find out this weekend. “Hit the deck, he’s launching!”


Star Series Notes – Chapter Quotes

While I’ve been working through Katie’s edits on Starveyors, she brought to my attention the importance of the pre-chapter quotes that I have been using in these books. Here is what she said about the one I used for Chapter 17 (Click to Enlarge):

The idea to include these realistic quotes from fictional works came from a friend of mine who reads much more Fantasy than I do. He suggested that they would help the reader become more involved in the story by adding to the world building. He was right. Thanks Scott!

As Katie indicated in her comment, they can also convey a bunch of useful information in a way that doesn’t feel like an info dump. But more than that, they also let me the writer, more fully develop certain POV characters by sampling what they had to say about the events that were taking place in the chapter.

The keys to doing this effectively are to keep the quote relevant to the action in the chapter and to keep it short. Also, you can’t reveal to the reader any surprises that may have not come yet. That can be a challenge.

One thing that I have not been able to pull off yet is to add to the narrative in a substantial way with each chapter quote.  The idea would be to tell a subplot with Twitter-like sound bites. If the novel was told from a single POV, that might be possible. Similar to journal entries by the protagonist. As cool as that might be to pull off from a nerdy writer perspective, I don’t think it would work in this particular Space Opera series. Having different points of view in the quotes really does add to the world building. Or in this case, the universe building.

STARVEYORS – by Ken McConnell, available this December, from GB Press.

Starveyors Back from the Editor

I got my copy edits back from my editor, Katie Abderhalden and they are fantastic. She’s really good at finding the weak points in my writing. This time around I set records for head hopping and showing not telling. I hope she had those comments in her copy and past buffer, because typing them over and over would have been tedious. Every novel seems to have something that I lapse on all the way through.

This novel was not as much fun for me to write as Starforgers. I’m not sure exactly why, but I expect that its because there is a substantial lack of esplody things going on. In fact, the idea in this book is to stop shooting and blowing things up. It’s about a peace treaty and ending a war. Not saying things don’t go wrong, far from it. But the galaxy is more civilized and less wild in this time frame.

So I’ll be in editing and fixing mode for much of this month. I hope to have the manuscript into the final proofing stage before the end of November. I’m still expecting to launch Starveyors in December.

Editing a Novel is still in the Dark Ages

NO CHAOS Daniela Hartmann via Compfight

Someone needs to build a writing tool that is better than Word and Write for editing a novel. The biggest issue I have with using a word processor is that they just don’t handle larger documents gracefully. How hard is it to buffer a 400 page rtf file? It must be more difficult than anti-gravity cars. Because nobody has done it yet.

The commenting features of these modern word processors are great. Heck, live editing in Google Docs is really cool. But even Google Docs chokes on loading longer documents. Novels can be hundreds of pages in length, especially an Epic Fantasy novel. Why can’t I load and edit such a long piece of TEXT easily on my computer? It’s TEXT!

Anyway, here I sit, using Write to edit my novel and wondering why I have to suffer with such a simple concept. I have other beefs with these programs too. The biggest is the lack of a portable dictionary of words added to the document. WTF people? I make up all kinds of words in my novels and carefully add them to my document dictionary and then I open the novel in another computer and bingo, now all my words are forgotten. I really dislike that.

Okay, back to the editing.