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My Last Days Continues!

word-countOver the last three weeks, I’ve been chugging away at My Last Days, trying to get through the first draft.  You can see the recent word count history there on the right.  A couple of big days early on, but I’ve been slowing and missing days due to “real life” getting in the way.  It’s been a busy month for me and I’m just now getting back to writing every day.

I’m about 40% done now and am finding it more difficult than it was to get through A Sour Chord’s first draft.  Maybe because I had already known how that one would end and what all the main plot points were since I wrote the short story so long ago.  With My Last Days, I’m honestly making it up as I go along.

My goal is to hit 100,000 words with the first draft, though I think I’ll probably end up closer to 80,000 when I’ve written all that I think the story needs.  I may try to push it a little bit, though. If the editing process is anything like A Sour Chord’s first edit, I’ll lose a few thousand words that get cut out during that process, so I think I’m shooting for more so the end result is a more readable book that doesn’t feel too short.

I wrote another 1,502 words this morning in a single chapter and have planned out the next three chapters to help me through the rest of this week.  I realize that at some point I’ll have to go back through and re-think the entire story, its meaning, and organize the chapters into a more sensical order.  Right now I think I’m just writing haphazardly to get the words out onto the paper.

I wonder if other authors struggle with their second book more than their first.  I’d imagine so.  I think most people that write have a big idea for their first novel and power through it and then get to the second and hope they have as good of an idea as their first.

On the A Sour Chord front, editing continues there.  My editor, Lauren, is working through her first edit and then will go back and do a full line-by-line edit, and probably hate every sentence I’ve written, but hey, that’s what you pay an editor for!

I’m behind my own personal schedule with having A Sour Chord available, but that’s due to my ignorance on how this whole process works.  I thought I could power through it more quickly than was really possible. I’m learning a lot as I’m going through things and am thankful that my life leads me the opportunities to not only learn this process, but to follow through with it.

More updates coming soon and hopefully a sample chapter (once we have a final draft of one!) will go up on the site as soon as possible.  Thanks for checking in!

A Sour Chord update & Progress on My Last Days

It didn’t occur to me until I just typed the title of this post that both of my first two books have three word titles.  Completely unintentional, I assure you.

Since my last update, a number of things have happened. So let’s catch you up, shall we?

  • I launched this here website.  It’s not entirely finished as a lot of the behind the scenes stuff that I built is relying on the first book being done and for sale.
  • I finally found an editor that I’ve hired to do the final edit before the book can go on sale.  Turns out one of my good buddy’s fiance is getting her Master’s in Creative Writing, so that’s a good fit.  I look forward to being done with that process — the whole editing part has been my least favorite so far.
  • I’ve made progress on the second book — My Last Days — which I’m 25,000+ words into.  You can see the progress of the word count there on the right in the progress bar (along with the progress bar on A Sour Chord.)

What’s next on my agenda?

  • Finish the edit for A Sour Chord
  • Have the cover art designed
  • Publish the book and hope someone buys it (other than my mom.)
  • Continue working on My Last Days and repeat the process.

Is it wrong or am I insane that I already have an idea for the next book after My Last Days?  I keep coming up with these ideas of stories that I knew or told or heard when I was younger and think they’d make good books.  Since this whole process is rather easy, I figure why not? I’m in my 30s now and have the time and resources to do it, so why not be an author?  I may not be the next Stephen King or J. K. Rowling, but I’m doing the best I can!

Third Draft *really* complete this time!!

As I sit here watching Die Hard on this fine Saturday morning, I thought I’d post an update on where things are.

I finished the third draft early this week.  There’s around eight new chapters and three or four have been expanded further, but were previously existing chapters.

I’ve also spoken with a few more editors and am planning to make a final choice shortly, once I hear back from one more (that came highly recommended).  Pretty exciting stuff!

At this point, I’m just looking forward to being done with this whole part of the process.

I’ve started thinking through ideas for book covers and have discussed it with the designer who’ll be doing the work — she had some ideas, as well.  So hopefully we’ll move forward with that in time for the edit to be complete.

It’s looking more and more like this is going to take longer than I originally thought, which bums me out a bit. But it’s a learning process and I’ll know better for next time, I suppose.

I can’t wait for you all to read the final book.  It’s something I’ve come to love over the last five months and I hope you will, too!

Third Draft Complete!

Based on the feedback I received from the four folks that finished reading A Sour Chord, I’ve revised the book to complete the third draft. I’m really pleased with the first feedback!

I sent out the book to a total of 7 people and heard back from 4, so I’ve done some revisions based on that feedback.

At this point, I don’t think the other three folks will send along their feedback, so I proceeded without them.

Based on that feedback, I wrote four more chapters, expanded on three, and gave some more backstory to certain parts of things.  I think, at this point, I’m 100% done.  So what’s left?

  1. Hire a real editor.  Someone that’ll go through, read the whole thing, and tell me what needs to change.
  2. Have the cover artwork done.
  3. Incorporate editor’s changes.
  4. Publish.

I’m shooting to have this whole thing done by the end of September, but I think that’ll be a bit tight, given how long the editing process has taken so far.  We’ll see.

I’m happy with the progress and third draft. I can’t wait to get this out there and see what others think.

Friends are reading A Sour Chord!

So much has happened in the last week!  Let’s get you all caught up, shall we?

For starters, I’ve sent out the book to half a dozen friends to read and give me their feedback.  Not so much on the grammar and typo side, but of the story itself.  They’ve been chugging along pretty quickly.  I haven’t gotten any feedback yet, but I did set up a survey to capture their feedback and am anxiously awaiting some results to help nail down some final touches!

I also finished the second draft! I went through and re-read the entire thing last week, tweaking phrasing, word usage, and adding a chapter that I thought I wrote but didn’t.

Once I gather everyone’s feedback, I’ll do a third edit before sending it off to an official editor to get their feedback and make changes before going live with sales.

I’m beyond excited and I can’t wait!

Second Edit Complete!

It’s been a month since my last update and I’ve been hard at work on reconfiguring parts of the story.

Since the last update, a number of things have changed and gotten completed;

  • Our female lead has gotten a name change — I never liked the name I originally picked, so I went through a brainstorming session (bringing in some others’ opinions, as well) and finally came up with her new name.
  • The band’s name has been finalized as well — the name in the first draft was a placeholder and I knew that from the very first time I typed that name.  The name I picked I feel is strong and fits better with the characters that make up the band.
  • The second draft is complete — I reworked some of the bits and pieces to make the story tie together a little better.  I still have a couple of ideas for things I may change, but I want to get some feedback first.  Which brings us to:
  • I solicited some feedback from friends on the finalized second draft.  I have about half a dozen people reading through the book now who are going to provide their feedback to me.  I look forward to hearing what other people thought.

I’m still right on schedule for end of September, I think.  Though, at this point, I’m at the mercy of other people.  I’m hopeful I’ll have enough time to finish by then.  Things that are left to do:

  • Create the artwork for the cover.
  • Do a final edit.
  • Have a professional editor read through it.
  • Publish to Kindle, iBooks and Barnes & Noble store.
  • (Eventually) record an audio book version (assuming there’s any interest in such a thing.)

I’m getting both nervous and excited.  Only one person has read the book entirely through so far and I’m freaking out a bit having six more people read it.  I can’t wait to hear what they think!

First Edit Complete!

I was so excited about the progress this week (not to mention busy) that I didn’t have a chance to write a blog about this week’s big milestone: the first edit is complete!

Austin really pulled through and edited the last half of the book in about a week, and I managed to get through all his notes and changes in two days.  My eyes are still bothering me from it but I managed to get it done anyway.

While chatting with him as I went through his edits, he let me know that he felt like I took greater care towards the end, saying that the last few chapters had very few edits.  Which I found a bit surprising given that the last few chapters seemed to just fly out all at once — I blinked and before I knew it, I had the last chapters and was done.

My one question (so far) to him was whether or not he could predict the outcome — which he couldn’t.  I enjoyed that.  My whole point (with the story) was the surprise the reader and to end it on a note that would be unexpected but (hopefully) satisfying.

To prepare for the next round of edits I’ve printed a hard copy (which to my surprise was 226 pages and a whole black ink cartridge in my shiny new Epson printer) so I can mark it up with pen.  I’ll be on a plane in a little over a week to Vegas for a long weekend and will be doing some story and character editing on the flight there and the flight back.  I figure I should have enough time to write some notes and get down some thoughts after I get through a full reading for myself.

I’m really excited that I’m moving through this process at a greater speed now and with Austin’s notes, I feel like I’m almost unstoppable.

In case you’re wondering what the book looks link printed, here’s a picture I took:

Printed!

Editing Continues and Some Thoughts

I’ve been chugging away at the edits that Austin sent over before he left for a vacation in Greece (I know, I’m jealous too!) and I’d guesstimate I’m a little less than halfway through the list of edits he had.

So far I’ve trimmed a few thousand words out through the various edits, which I think is good.

Going back through and editing has allowed me to read a lot of the actual book myself.  It’s helped me realize that there’s some changes I’d like to make.

Most notably, I want to change my lead female’s name — for reasons I won’t get into here.

I also want to change the name of the band — as a placeholder I’ve been using Resolute Resolve, which makes no sense and is flat-out stupid.  I’ve known since I started writing that this would be a placeholder, I just have to spend the time to come up with a different name.

I need to revisit describing some of the characters — I’ve done this twice so far already, but need to do it again as now months after writing some of the characters I’m having a hard time remembering what I wanted them to look like.

The story needs some work — there’s certain keys that I wanted to hit to make sure that the end is really powerful.  It’s not a twist in the traditional sense, but I think the ending comes as somewhat of a surprise.  My hopes is that I pulled it off well, but I know that there’s some work that needs to be done.

I’m still pretty well on schedule for where I wanted to be at this time.  I’m hopeful that when Austin gets back from vacation we can plow through the rest of the edits, and then I can use my (fancy new) printer to fire off a printed copy to mark up with a pen.

I was hoping I could do that on the plane on the way to my vacation at the end of the month, but I don’t think that’ll work out with the timing.  Perhaps I’m wrong, but time will tell.

Just about halfway through

I’ve been chugging away at doing my first read through and am just about halfway there.  It’s such a surreal experience to read your own work, especially since I’ve been reading it on the iPad.

Though I decided the other day that once I’m done with Austin’s edits (which should hopefully be soon), I’m going to print a hard copy to markup with my changes.  I’ve been finding things as I’m reading through that would be easier to just jot down on paper, and go back and make those changes. Nothing major, but little things here and there: this reads funny, this character was taller earlier. That sort of stuff.

I also started interviewing some editors through a number of online services, and will hopefully be able to nail that down before I’m done with the actual first draft.

The whole process is taking quite a bit longer than I anticipated and I still have quite a bit of work to go.  But I’ll get there.  Seeing as how I don’t have a deadline or a publisher to report to, there’s no immediate rush on getting everything done at a specific date or time.  Being my own “boss” has its rewards.

Will editing ever end?!

The longer and longer the editing process takes, the more and more I feel like it’s never going to end.  It seems like we’ve been editing for months.  In some aspects, we have, but it feels like a lot longer than it actually has taken.

My buddy Austin, you know him — the one that’s doing the editing — has been finishing up his Master’s Degree, which is why he hasn’t had a lot of time to finish reading and putting together his edits.  I think he finishes up this week, which should allow him some more time to get things done.

I’ve been reading through some chapters in random order myself from time to time.  Reading the chapters on their own, and not chronologically, has given me some good insight into each chapter on its own.  It’s allowed me to see whether or not the story in that chapter is written well enough to stand on its own.

I haven’t officially written any edits on those chapters myself.  My plan is to wait until Austin’s edits are done and then read through the whole thing on my own again.  That’ll give me some more insight into the story as a whole, to make sure that I’m comfortable with it before I send it off to a select handful of people I know to read and give their feedback on.

Hopefully I’ll have that process done by the end of June.  I’ll gather their feedback in July, incorporate that by mid-July, get it off to a story editor and get it back to finish the last draft by September.

I’ll record the audio book version in early September, and get it all for sale.

All in all, not a bad project for 2013.  Keep myself busy, put out a book, and check off something on my bucket list all at once.  Not a bad 2013 at all.

Even more editing!

Despite going through his last few weeks of his Masters program, Austin’s been awesome at doing this editing project.  I imagine that when all is said and done, he’s probably going to hate me a little bit.  I don’t think he realized how much work this would be when I asked him to do it. In fairness, I am paying him, so there’s that.

I did the addition on word count of what we’ve edited so far, and we’re roughly a third done with the first draft’s edit.  Making good progress, but I think it’s definitely taking longer than either of us expected it to.

Remind me to never think writing a book is easy ever again.  The initial draft was an easier process and took less time than editing it.  It’s kind of surprising, when you think about it.

On the upside — once the first draft is edited, all of the spelling and grammatical mistakes should be caught, and I can focus on the content of what it all says in the second draft.

My plan is still to hire a professional story editor once the second draft is done, to make sure that the story works.  I may also solicit some friends to read it and just let me know what they think of it.  I’m still not positive that the story itself is even any good.  Hopefully it is. I’ll be able to solicit Austin’s opinion on the story once he’s done reading everything.

The process has been slow, but rewarding.  Having someone else make comments on the work, chapter by chapter, has been great.  Though there have been chapters that have comments that make me discouraged, overall the editing process is going quite well.

My goal is to be done with the first draft’s edit by the end of May, and then work on the second draft through June.  I’m shooting to have everything done and self-published by the end of September.  That includes recording the audio book, which I obviously can’t do until the story is done and completely edited.

That’d make the total turnaround time for this whole project about seven(ish) months, as I started in early March.  If I sell 1000 copies, I’ll be happy.  That’s my goal.  For something I just decided to do, have no backing on, and am financing myself, I think that’s a completely realistic goal.  Anything more than that will be cake.

Plus, at 1000 copies, I’ll have made my money back on what I’m spending out of pocket to have the book edited, published, the audio book recorded, and the various other costs associated with this whole thing.

Fingers crossed!

Editing Continues

I’ve been hard at work with my editor buddy chugging our way through the first draft edit that we’re doing.  It’s been a pretty slow and grueling process, but on the bright side, we’re making good headway.

Based on the progress we’re making, I’m guessing this will take another 6-8 weeks.

Once that’s done, I’m going to do a whole read-through myself, to see if there’s anything that I want or need to change for myself.

Once that’s done, I’ll hopefully have found a professional story editor to go through the whole thing.  That’s assuming of course that Austin and Jen (my friend I’ve mentioned many times) think the story is worth moving forward with. Like I’ve said, I think the story’s good, but others may not like it.

I think I also decided this week that I’d like to do an audio book version too. Not because I think it’ll sell any better than anything else, but because I think it’ll be fun to record and produce an audio book!

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