Tag Archive: editing



Okay, so getting ready to record in the privacy of your own home. Sadly, this will not always be easy. Finding a quiet spot to set up is always tricky at best. But here are a few do’s and don’t’s:

1 – DON’T use your bathroom! It may have great acoustics for singing, but for recording an audio book, not a great choice. Too much echo, unless of course you want that effect for a particular scene where the character is in a cave/tunnel.  But not ideal for an entire book. You’ll drive your listeners crazy.

2 – Do not have any laundry, dishwasher, or loud fans going anywhere nearby. If you’ve got a really good microphone, guess what it will be picked up in the background. Not acceptable to ACX requirements.

3 – Make sure the windows are closed so you don’t pick up outside noises, like traffic or kids playing.

4 – Be prepared to start over… repeatedly! Things happen. You accidentally step on something, or your clothing is crinkly, etc. Where something comfortable and quiet.

5 – Have some water/drink on hand to take a swig between takes (or even sentences). Remember, with Audacity you’ll have the capability to delete sections where something happened you didn’t realize got picked up by the mic.

Some of you are probably wondering, “How do I delete a section in Audacity?” It’s very simple. When you record Audacity not only records but gives you a visual on your computer screen as depicted in the shot below.

You’ll notice how one section of the narration is already hi-lighted. For this discussion let’s say that’s the are you want to delete. Well once you have the area you want to go, simply select it and hit your delete button. It’s that simple. Just be careful you’re selecting just the section you want gone. If you delete too much, you do have the option of “Undoing” the delete by simply moving your cursor over to the Edit on the toolbar line and selecting Undo. Then you can go back and select just the area you had intended to delete. Audacity can be very forgiving. But this only works if you haven’t done another delete already. The Undo is only good for undoing what you just got rid of, not something you removed several deletes back.

The same holds true while you’re recording. If you make a major goof one trick I’ve learned is to snap my fingers near the microphone. This will create a big spike on your Audacity recording so you have a visual which makes it easy to go back and figure out where the error occurred and delete it later on. I will also snap my fingers again when I’m restarting so I can find the dead area between the snaps to delete.

As a rule I DO NOT stop the recording when I make a mistake. I use those snaps and keep recording. I’ll even do this when I’ve recorded a section but wasn’t happy with how it sounded to me. *Remember how I said in the last post that the headphones plug into the Blue Yeti microphone so I hear exactly what the mic is picking up*. Well if I feel I didn’t do a good job on that last section, I’ll snap and redo it. Believe me, those snapping fingers will become your best friend when it comes to editing your recording on Audacity. It makes it so easy to find those sections and delete them and it will save you a lot of time.

Okay, let’s say you’ve finished your recording and have gone through the process of deleting the sections you wanted removed. What comes next?  You’ll probably wind up with a raw version that sounds like this:

You can hear me taking breaths as well as a few noises that the mic still picked up in the background in spite of all my efforts to make things quiet in the room. Furthermore, the decibel levels in some areas will not meet ACX’s requirements. What do we do about those? Well, for sake of length I’m going to cover all of that in our next installment. Sorry if this leaves some of you hanging, but to cover the material properly it will probably be a lengthy entry complete with examples and YouTube links to videos where I learned a lot of what I will be covering.

So stay tuned and keep writing and practice reading aloud my friends.


In spite of all the excitement of “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” being released this October, I keep hearing people ask “Whatever happened to “The Door”?  Are you going to finish that storyline with Alex, Veronica, Julie and Cassandra?”  Of course I’m pleased to tell you all the answer is a resounding YES!  I am working on it as we speak in fact.  In fact I’ve been working on it for quite a while… a really long while… like over two years…. (groan)
SMLXL

“What happened?” I hear you ask.  Well it’s quite simple.  I’ve spent the last 24 months with a serious case of too many ideas.  What does that look like you ask?  Here, let me show you.
SMXLL

I keep getting new scenes going that help move the story along but after a while these new ideas wind up derailing the main plot of the story and I have to pull them out again.  And when that happens I end up hitting the infamous “Writer’s Block” and find myself unable to move the story forward.  This has happened a number of times.  Of course, some people will suggest that you have an outline to follow and stick to it.  This is a great idea, but unfortunately in my case, a number of my characters wind up with ideas of their own that are often way better than what I had planned in my outline and things end up going in a completely different direction.  And quite often those new directions are way better than what I had originally had in mind.  So I mainly work with a ‘loose’ outline.  There are some scenes and ideas that I have nailed down for sure, and then areas where I’m still finding a direction to head in.
However, in the case of “The Door” I had a number of scenes that were so solid there was nothing that could make me budge from using them…  and I wound up hitting wall after wall.  I’d go as far as to introduce new characters such as my vampyre Nathan, who makes his debut in “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”, at one point.  By adding him I created a bunch of new scenes that really helped the plot along, but also wound up sending the word count skyrocketing.  How did this happen?  By adding Nathan I had to introduce him to the audience, then the other characters, blah-blah-blah… too many words.  But by keeping certain scenes he inspired and giving those scenes to existing characters, I moved the story along much quicker and made those characters more interesting.
Furthermore, when I write a story keeps evolving.  I have a good idea where it begins and ends, but the in between stuff gets fuzzy sometimes.  As I mentioned earlier, my characters sometimes go off in better directions than what I had planned which leads to other problems.  Remember how I mentioned I had certain scenes planned for the story that I was going to use no matter what?  Well, some of those became stumbling blocks and it took me the longest time to come to terms with the fact that they no longer fit the story as it was developing and I had to edit them out…
SLXLM

For me this was hard, because I really fell in love with those planned scenes.  However, as I’ve told many other writers, those scenes will not go to waste.  Instead, I saved them in another file folder on my computer where they will one day see the light of day in another book, where they will fit in just perfectly.
So what shape is “The Door” in now?  Much trimmer and faster-paced than in its previous incarnations.  The story is tense, exciting, full of mystery, with a growing sense of menace that I hope will keep you all on the edge of your seats to the very end.  Certain friends you’ve met before are starting to have an air of menace about them, and will make you wonder if they can still be trusted.  While newer characters will keep you guessing about their allegiances until the very end.
At this point the story is sitting at 50,000 words, and will probably wind up at about 110,000 or less by the time I’m finished.  Many unanswered questions from the first two books “The Bridge” and “The Ship” will be answered.  Furthermore, the fallout from the battle scene with the police at the end of “The Bridge” will be playing a key part in this novel.  I hope to have a completed first draft before the end of the year.
Finally, I’m also working on two collaborations as well.  One is with my wife Helen who co-authored “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.  The other is “The Pass” with one of my best friends from high school Richard Caminiti.   He and I hope to have a completed first draft by the end of this year or early next year.
I’m also hoping to have each of them do some blog entries here so you can find out their thoughts on writing and having to put up with me.
Until next time, take care and keep writing my friends.

Don’t trash that crappy first draft!

Oh it may be full of grammatical errors that would send your high school English teachers into hysterics but that’s not reason enough to throw it away.  And maybe the plot line may move like a 1920’s Model T going backwards up the crooked mile, still is it truly worth destroying?  And perhaps most of the characters may be as shallow as a puddle, and probably deserve to be drowned in one, but do not throw that draft away!

Instead I want you read every last word, even if it’s hard as hell to get past the first few pages, keep reading!  Do not stop until you’ve read the entire thing.

Why? I hear you ask.

Because, that shitty first draft may be the most important one you ever write.

I’m being serious here folks.  And no I’m not going to be going on about how every journey in writing starts with a first draft, or something like that.  What I am going to tell you is that first drafts, even the lamest ones, have value.

When I first started writing “The Door”, it was going to be the second book in my Para-Earth series.  Mainly because it was going take up exactly where the first book “The Bridge” left off.  I thought there was no way I could possibly put another story in between the two, even though I really wanted to focus on the second lead couple (Cassandra Elliott, and Julie Cloudfoot) and their blossoming relationship.  My original plan was to develop their growing love in the second book, but things were getting too complicated.  Too many characters, too many subplots, I had to scale back.  So after writing almost 70,000 words in “The Door”, I said enough and set it aside.  Instead, I followed some “bread crumbs” I’d left myself (see my blog entry from January 31st https://akrummenacker.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/follow-the-breadcrumbs/) back in “The Bridge” and found an opening.

I had clearly stated that a month had passed between the climactic battle and the events that happened in the epilogue.  I had also sent Julie and Cassie over to the west coast.  I had plenty of room for a story in between that would involve just the two of them, as well as leading them back to witness the events that took place during the epilogue of “The Bridge”.  Thus, “The Ship” was born.

But even after I finished “The Ship” and published it, I was not ready to back to “The Door”.  Instead,  a new character had captured my imagination and I began work on “The Vampyre Blogs”, hoping to release it next, before returning to “The Door”.

However, after finishing the first draft of “The Vampyre Blogs” I realized I wanted to release it around Halloween and the time had passed.  So I sent it off to my editor for corrections, even though it was a first draft.  I know it will go through many more changes, but in the meantime, I needed to get back to “The Door” because it had to come before my vampyre’s first tale.  I needed to finish the underlying story arc that was running through my first two books.  It’s turn had come and I needed to finish it.

By this time it had been over two years since I last looked at it, so it was with experienced eyes that I pulled it out and started to look at the first few pages.  Originally, I thought it would be easy to insert just a few scenes and continue the flow I had started, but it didn’t work out that way.

Thanks to “The Ship” so many plans and ideas had to be scrapped.  And my writing style had changed.  A number of people told me how much my writing had ‘matured’ and now I could clearly see it for myself.  So much had to be changed and rewritten.  At times it almost seemed too much.

I began to doubt myself and wondered if I was really up to the challenge.  Could I really make this story work?  Time and again, I kept running up against ideas that no longer fit, and characters who needed to be removed from the story entirely.  I began to question myself and ask, “Should I just trash this and start over from scratch?”  But then I’d run across scenes that were perfectly fine and still flowed beautifully with the new stuff I was creating.   In fact, it felt like what was I creating now was way better than what I’d originally done.  And at the same time, the overall storyline was still following what I had wanted all along.  In fact, I’d found ways to improve it.

But I was still running up against obstacles and areas where I just wasn’t sure what to do.

Then by sheer chance, I was scrolling through the new draft which was being built on top of a duplicate file of the original first draft.  But I overshot where I had left off and found a scene I had completely forgotten about.  Pausing I re-read my words and was taken aback by the power of the scene and the beauty I’d created.  This scene HAD to stay, I told myself.  Then I began thinking, ‘Are there other scenes like this one I’ve forgotten?’

So I did the unthinkable…

I stopped work on “The Door” and took a few steps back.  Instead of writing, I decided to read every word and every page of the original first draft.

It hasn’t been easy at times, but I’ve been unearthing scenes that to me are absolute treasures.  I’ve also been cutting and removing other scenes and characters who no longer have any place in this book, but might be good for another story down the road.  I’ve saved those sections and preserved them in a separate file folder.  Those who’ve been following this blog know I always urge writers to do this.  What may not be working in your current book, might be just the thing you need in another one down the road.

As for the scenes I’m keeping, I am breathing a sigh of relief.  Some of them are better than I anything I might have tried to replace them with.  New ideas and ways to move the story forward are opening up to me.  But I still have to finish re-reading that ‘shitty first draft’ before I start writing new scenes.

There are more scenes and ideas I’ve forgotten about, of that I’m sure.  I may not want to keep all of them, but I suspect even if I don’t keep any of it, they will give me knew ideas.  So don’t give up completely on that first draft.  Save it, learn from it, and build from it.  You might even want to preserve certain scenes from it.

All stories start with a first draft that can be more than a little rough around the edges.  But without a first draft, you can’t begin your story.

Until next time, take care of yourselves my friends, and keep writing.


Hello everyone, today I want to give you all a little insight into how things are going with my latest novel.

Some of you may know that I had started working on “The Door” some time back, but then set it aside to work on “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.  I did this originally, because I’d hoped to get the vampyre book out last October, but of course that didn’t happen.  My classes at CSU Monterey Bay got crazy with the workload so I couldn’t finish in time.

Now, the vampyre book is set around October so I wanted to keep with the whole Halloween timing, so after finishing the 1st draft I’ve set it aside and gone back to “The Door”.  This is actually beneficial since “The Door” will temporarily wrap things up for the heroes of my first two novels “The Bridge” and “The Ship”.  So by going back to “The Door” I can have a sort of trilogy to put out as a box set come Christmastime.

With this in mind I dove back into my first draft of “The Door” which was about 2/3’s done.  And below you’ll see how I felt about this at first…

But then something happened.  I’d forgotten where I started that book out and who was where when I completed my second novel “The Ship”.  Originally I just had Alex and Veronica in the scene at the end of “The Bridge”, but at the end of my second novel “The Ship” I had my other two major characters Julie and Cassandra showing up on the scene seconds later.

Now, I figured adding Cassie and Julie would be easy and I wouldn’t have to change too much of the scene I’d written for “The Door”.  Oh there might be a few details here and there, but nothing too major, right?  That’s what I kept telling myself two weeks ago…

This is how I feel now…

I swear it feels like I’m rewriting just about every sentence, every word, even the commas and periods!  Why?  Because I wanted to have my four main characters back together right away and so did my audience.  In doing this, I changed the entire dynamics and course of events that followed.  The main story is following close to the original plan, but the dialogue and actions changed dramatically.

Furthermore, I’ve also had to remove other characters and events I had planned from later parts of the book as well, because they don’t fit anymore.  Yet, I’m not disappointed or sorry to see them go.  The story I has had it going originally was becoming too complicated.  I needed to simplify things a bit.  Plus, thanks to “The Ship” I was able to introduce certain new characters there who would be appearing in this third installment, thus simplifying some of the upcoming scenes.

There’s still plenty of intrigue and mystery in store for my readers with “The Door”.  But it’s taking a slightly different form than what I’d originally envisioned, which in my opinion is for the better.  There’s still a long haul ahead, but sometimes you need to walk away from a book you’re working on in order to get new ideas and a fresh perspective.

But if you do this, be prepared to be flexible and ready to jettison parts or even entire ideas, chapters, or characters from the story.  DO NOT DELETE them though.  Save those fragments and put them in  special file on your computer.  Just because they’re no longer useful for this story, you might find they have a life of their own that may give birth to a whole new idea down the road.

Rewriting may not always be fun, in fact it can be downright infuriating at times.  However, it can be a very effective tool to help you create a much better product for your audience.

Until next time, take care and keep writing.


 In case you hadn’t heard, I started attending the California State University at Monterey Bay in August and the workload had been fairly manageable, until recently.  Things are heating up and I have less and less time to work on my novels, including “The Vampyre Blogs”.  I had planned on getting the latest draft finished, edited, beta-read, etc. so I could have it out in time for Christmas.

Unfortunately, that is not going to happen.  I’ve said before I will not release a book until it’s had all those things done to it.  Currently, I’m still trying to finish the 2nd draft and I’m still not entirely happy with the piece.  Plus I haven’t even started on a cover for the book.  I have one that I made with the computer.

However, I’m not totally sold on this version really.  I’d prefer to try and do a soft pastel piece and then super-impose this image on top of the scene I create with the pastel.
Furthermore, with the holidays getting closer and closer, there’s not way I could expect any of my beta-readers to go over the book and give me their feedback on the eve of major cooking and shopping.
So I’m putting things off until next year.  Mind you, I’m still going to be posting more mini-stories of my vampyre Nathaniel and his friends over at The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition.  If you haven’t checked them out yet here’s the link:
At this point I want to let you all know you won’t be without anything new from me this holiday season.  I’ll be putting together a short story that I’ll release through Smashwords just in time for Christmas.  Smashwords carries e-books for Nook, Kindle, Sony, Apple, or even PDF for those who don’t have an e-reader so you can enjoy it on your regular computer, laptop, or even your phone.  This will be a holiday tale that will involve a crossover of sorts.  My vampyre Nathaniel will be interacting with several characters from “The Bridge”.  Who will appear, I won’t say at this time.  Just be assured you’ll be seeing some familiar faces within the pages of that story.
Finally, I want to also let you all know that you won’t have to wait until October or December of next year for my next novel.  As soon as I get a break from university, I’ll be getting back to work on “The Door”, which will star Alex, Veronica, Julie and Cassandra.  The story will take up where both “The Bridge” and “The Ship” ended and will answer a number of questions that have been hanging over both novels, including the secret of Brandon and his white-haired nemesis.
Where will I go with my Para-Earth Series after that?  Well here’s a list for the next 2-3 years and what they will involve:

Mid-2015 “The Door”

Alex, Veronica, Julie and Cassandra face a new threat which is connected directly to Cassandra’s family dating back over three hundred and fifty years.

October/December 2015 “The Vampyre Blogs – Homecoming”

  In 1862 Nathaniel Steward was only sixteen years old.  He left home to fight in the Union Army, knowing the experience might change him.  He had no idea how much it would.  Now, 150 years later, he’s finally coming back to what he thinks is an empty manor.  What he doesn’t know is someone has been waiting, and some ‘thing’ is following him, a being that does no belong in this world.

Mid-2016 “In The Shadow Of The Door”

Cassandra’s ghostly protector Brandon has always been an enigma to many.  Now, we get to hear his story which will lead directly up to the events that took place in my third book, “The Door”.

December 2016, “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties”

Nathaniel is back and he’s not alone.  A mystery involving a member of his family has arisen, but so has an old enemy.  New dangers arise that threaten not only those he loves, but his entire hometown.  Like any soldier he will fight to protect his place of birth, but it may cost him his very existence.

Mid-2017 – No Title Yet

Brandon’s story continues as he and his uncle continue to struggle with the family curse that everyone believed was over.  The threat has been thwarted but not ended and time is running out.  Soon the door will be reopened and nothing will be able to stop what will come out of it if they don’t seal it for good first.

December 2017, “Harlequin House”

When Alex was only twelve he entered inside the most haunted place on the planet with a team of paranormal investigators.  Most of the team died before his very eyes and he barely got out with his sanity intact.  Now, twenty years later, he’s going back.  Will he be as fortunate this time?

So there you have it folks.  That’s my plans for the next couple of years.  Most of this will depend on how much time I have to write in between my studies of course, but I’m going to do my best to keep to this schedule.  I hope you like what you’ve seen here and look forward to the books as they come out.
That’s all for now.  Thanks for reading and take care of yourselves.  And as always, keep writing.

A Quick Update…


NOTE: I already shared this post on “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition”, but it seemed appropriate to share here as well, since I talk about what’s been going on with me for the past 2 weeks.  There will be new posts about writing shortly.  Consider this one, a quick update about me… 

Hello everyone, sorry for the slow updates recently.  I had planned on another post today, but life has a way of kind of being really getting in the way sometimes.  Especially when you’re going back to college.  I started attending my first university this week.  Prior to that the past few weeks have been chaotic with my wife getting a new job.

She got her Bachelors Degree last spring at the same university where I’m going now.  She studied to become a high school math teacher.  This summer had been a rough one for us for several other reasons as well, including her taking special summer courses for her credential to be come a teacher.  I had to drive her around a number of places including a couple of schools where she was interning.  A lot of that driving meant time away from the keyboard both for this blog and the novel itself.    There were a lot of things to be done around the house that only I was available to do (cleaning, laundry, errands, etc.)

I also had to go through some skin cancer surgery, which didn’t always leave me in the best of shape to be working on things.

However…

These last two weeks, I was spending a lot of time on the novel itself thanks to my wife’s new job.  She had to go through the interview process, be offered the job, accept it, and went through a couple of weeks of training at the new school so she could settle in.  Now the location of her job was in another town about 1/2 an hour away from where we currently live, which is actually quite a nice drive.

But even better, the town where she’s working has the most beautiful library, where I parked myself for hours working on the book.  I’m happy to announce that the 1st draft is almost finished.  I’m within pages of finishing it off.  Once that’s done, I’ll be doing a second draft to iron out certain issues such as clarity of thought, spelling, making sure the story flows, and finally getting to work on the actual cover.

After the 2nd draft is completed it will be going to my proofreader/editor.  Then I will do the 3rd draft at which point it will be unleashed on some willing Beta-Readers.  Once I hear back from them, a final draft will be completed and the book will be released.

How long will all that take?  I don’t have a clear idea yet, but the release will happen between late October and early December.  That much I can tell you.  It will all depend on how long it takes for others to get back to me (editing, beta-reading, etc.)  Once the 1st draft is completed the second one will come fairly quickly.

So hang in there, the actual novel is coming.  I will be posting more blog entries by the various characters you’ll be meeting in the book very soon.  Some will be funny, others interesting, a few tearful, but I’ll try not to leave you bored.

A new post will be here in a week.  From what the characters are telling me, we’ll be hearing either from Nathaniel, Lisa, or Marisa.  Or someone completely new.  Some characters can get kind of pushy.

For now I bid you a pleasant week.  Come freely, visit frequently, but always leave a bit of the happiness you bring to this blog.  (paraphrased from Bram Stoker’s Dracula).  This is my copy.  As you can see, I’ve read it a ‘few’ times, give or take…


What is a Proof Copy?

On the surface it seems to simply be a regular printed copy of your book.  Nothing more, nothing less.  But when you look at the final page…

Okay?  So it has “PROOF” printed on the very last page, so what?

That one word let’s you know that you are holding an uncorrected, unedited version of a book. These are what come before even a 1st Edition of a book is created.  Before electronic books, Proof Copies (also known as Galley Copies) were what publishers would create and send out to the editing staff for corrections and proofreading.

These copies were also referred to as “Advanced Copies” and would be sent out to critics and advertisers in advance to get them fired up about the upcoming final version of a book.  The critics and company would build hype for the novel before it was released thus getting the readers anxious for the release date.

However, with Indie Publishers like Smashwords, Createspace and others, are Proof Copies even worthwhile anymore?  Do they serve any purpose?

In my opinion the answer is a resounding “YES!”

Sorry for the shout there, but this is a subject I feel is important.  First off, I will tell you right now that if you work with Kindle, Smashwords, or Createspace you will have a chance to look over your entire book right there on your computer so you can look for issues.  Basically you have an e-proof copy available.

So shouldn’t that be enough?  I cannot speak for everyone else, only myself.  But in my case I would much rather have both the E-Proof AND the printed Proof Copy to look over.  Why?  Simply because, even when reading one word at a time on the computer, errors still slip past me.  I only found them when I was actually reading the printed book.  My eyes tend to fill in or glance over problems when I’m looking at a computer screen.  These errors even got past half a dozen Beta-Readers who had the electronic version of the book.

So, for me, having a printed Proof Copy is simply another extra tool in my arsenal.  It only costs a few dollars to get one done on Createspace and to me it was totally worth it.

In the end it’s up to the individual author what they want to do.  I’ve simply shared my experience and why I find them useful.  What are some of your experiences?  I’m sure me and the other readers will find various points of view quite useful.  Leave your thoughts in the comments below and thanks for reading.

Until next time, take care everyone and keep writing.


As of today I’m already a third of the way through the 2nd draft of “The Ship”.  Progress has been good and I’ve been pleased with how things are going.  There will probably be a 3rd draft as well.  What happens after that?  Well, that’s a tale for another entry.

Today I wish to discuss how I deal with a 2nd drafts.  I handle 3rd and 4th drafts the same way, so don’t expect any blog entries on those.  It’s the same process all over again to try catch whatever I missed on the previous draft.

Like many authors, I’ve been learning a lot of things on my own.  There’s no exact set of rules for how to do  write and create a book, though many people have tried to explain it.  Every author is going to handle things differently, whether its how they create a story (with an outline, flying by the seat of your pants, etc.) to editing, proofreading, whatever.  Different things work for different people.

In my case how I handle dealing with 2nd drafts is pretty straightforward.  After I complete the first draft on my computer and save it.  I will then save it again using the “Save As” function and labeling it differently.  In this case “The Ship 2nd Draft”.  From there I will begin going over the entire story, page by page.  I already know what the current word count is (139,806 in this case).  I know this is one of the things I want to change about the book.  I also want to keep track of the pacing of the story, as well as watch out for ideas or concepts being repeated unnecessarily.

I proceed to go over the story line by line.  As I go along I try to keep an eye out for excess verbage such as “he/she said” because it’s usually pretty easy to tell who was speaking.  Another thing I watch out for are sentences beginning with “now” or “but”.  Sometimes I’ll use them unnecessarily, and also, if used too often they can be a little jarring to the eyes of the reader.

Another thing I’ll be looking for as I go along is how well I phrased certain ideas.  Does it read smoothly or is there something not quite right.  I may rewrite a paragraph or line and make it more easy to understand and pleasing to the eye.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ll also be keeping an eye out for plot points or ideas being repeated in two or more areas of the novel.  I don’t know about you, but I spend weeks or even months writing a novel.  So I sometimes I forget what I wrote a few weeks back and wind up repeating myself later in the story.  This happened a lot in my first novel “The Bridge”.  However, I seem to have gotten better about it, because I haven’t been finding that happening as often in “The Ship”.

Finally, one other thing I’ll do as I go along is see if every scene, or even characters, are really relevant to the story.  I have removed characters, or even entire scenes, more than once from my stories.  I’ll do this because either the character or subplot is not really needed, or they feel really out of place and don’t belong in this particular story.

I’ve also removed lengthy scenes and simplified them because I plan on using the much longer version as the basis for a follow up short story, or another novel entirely.  Certain references that appear in “The Ship” will be expanded upon in a collection of short stories I’m planning on doing down the road.

So that’s an overview of how I handle 2nd, 3rd and 4th drafts.  All of these things help to cut down the word count as well as allow me to tighten the story up and improve the overall piece.  Mind you, I still plan on getting the book edited by others.  I’m just particular about getting the entire story down and told in a certain way before I let anyone else even get a glimpse of it.

As I said at the beginning, how I handle drafts and rewrites may not be the same as other people.  What’s your way of dealing with 2nd drafts and rewrites?  Enquiring writing minds would like to know, so please share your thoughts in the comments section below, this way we can all benefit and learn from each other.

Until next time, take care and keep writing.


     Yesterday I finished the 1st draft of my second novel “The Ship”.  The word count came in at 139, 345.  A bit high I admit, but a damn sight better than what my first novel “The Bridge” came in at.  That sucker wound up in 195,000 words.  Man did that puppy need some serious editing and rewriting.  I finally got it down to 102,000 words before I finally released it.  Yeah, I practically took a chainsaw to that sucker.

      So what’s my next step?
      First up is PROOFREADING!  I’ve been lucky enough to have a trusted beta-reader who has been checking my spelling, punctuation, etc. the entire time that I’ve been writing “The Ship”.  I kept all the corrected pages she sent back and am going through them and making the corrections already.   So far, 166 of the 525 pages have been fixed on that front.  It’s been going pretty fast, but she told me a while back that she was finding a lot fewer mistakes in my writing this time around and that my style had matured.  I was very glad to hear this.  I have been trying very hard to do a better job this time around, so it’s good to hear my efforts are showing.
 After the proofreading, I intend to start a second draft.  How will this be different than the proofreading? Simple, once the grammatical errors are fixed I can re-read the story myself and start looking for unnecessary repetition of ideas/concepts, simplifying concepts, expanding on thoughts where it might help the reader, eliminating scenes or characters who do not really make a serious impact on the plot, etc.
      When I write a first draft, it’s simply to get the entire story told.  Only then can I go back and look at it from a reader’s perspective and see if it’s all making sense.  I’ll also study the pacing, the details, are the characters actions logical and  if not is there a reason, etc.  Automatically, a lot of the repairs and adjustments I make will start cutting down the word count.
      After I’ve completed the 2nd draft, I may unleash it on a few ‘trustworthy’ beta-readers to get their impressions.and feedback.  From there a 3rd draft will be made incorporating some, but not necessarily all, their ideas. Why won’t I use all of it, because I’m already plotting the next story in the series.  Some of what they talk about, might be things needed to help set the stage for the next book.  They will have no idea of this, but I do and I’m not sharing that info just yet.  I don’t want to spoil the next book in the series for them.
     As you can see, finishing a first draft is a huge accomplishment, but the work is just beginning.  There’s so much more to be done, before I release the book in its final form to the public.  There is a lot to think about in creating your novel.  NEVER publish your first draft and say “It’s perfect as it is!”  You will regret it.  Take the time to go over it and have others add their input.  But choose those editors, beta-readers, and proofreaders carefully.  You could wind up with a bunch of “Yes-Men” who offer only praise and no solid advice.
     Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have more proofreading to do.  Until next time… keep writing.


Well, with 2 weeks left, it looks like my Kickstarter is going to fail. Really bad timing on my part I’m afraid. I’ve gotten a number of compliments on the video I did for it. But, it just wasn’t the right time to do something like this.

So what’s going to happen if it fails? Simple, I’ve assembled some more people I can trust to help me edit the upcoming book ourselves. My current Beta-readers are telling me they’ve seen a big improvement in my writing style compared to my first novel. They say I’ve matured and the editing problems they’ve seen are much fewer. I seemed to have learned a lot from my first go and they are still reading the first draft. So, that says a lot I think.

One of them is a published author and is going to come and stay with us in January and we’re really going to go over the entire 2nd book and do some serious editing together. I hope the final result will be really pleasing to all.

To the editor I had lined up, all I can say is. We’ll see what happens on the next one. I still want to work with you, but finances are just not going to let it happen just yet. Fingers crossed that the efforts me and my team put in help to make “The Ship” a big success.

In the meantime, here’s the link for the Kickstarter. After all there’s still 2 weeks left. If it happens great, if it doesn’t, at least you all know I have a back up plan. Enjoy the holiday season everyone.

THE SHIP - COVER Final

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