Tag Archive: editing



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


As most of you probably know, my beloved laptop died a few weeks ago and I have yet to replace it.  I will be getting a desktop computer towards the end of the month luckily.  But in the meantime, it’s been hard not being able to access my novels and work on them.  At least, that was the case until yesterday.  I am now able to continue work on book #2 “The Ship” and am in no danger of losing any changes I make to it (at least as far as I know).  And it’s all thanks to my G-mail account.

Now a lot of you are probably thinking, “Well duh, you simply mail what you wrote each day to yourself and it will be safe in your e-mail.”  That is definitely a method that a lot of people use, but I have a tendency of deleting or accidentally deleting e-mails due to clumsy fingers or a computer acting strange.
What I’m going to talk about today is Google Drive (aka Google Docs).  Now I know Google had provided a  “Cloud”-like service for all who use Google but I didn’t know a lot about it.  It is very similar to Amazon’s Cloud system, where you have a huge amount of storage in cyberspace to save photos, documents, etc.  But I’m one of those who does not jump on the new-tech bandwagon right away.  I always hang back and let time pass for others to give these services a test run and see if there are any bugs that need working out first. After I’ve heard more about the new technologies, then I’ll give it a whirl.  I hate to try things and lose stuff because there were issues that needed to be fixed.  Especially where my writing is concerned.
So, when my laptop started acting strangely I backed up all my writing files onto memory sticks (flash drives).  My wife then urged me to transfer some of the docs from the sticks onto Google Docs, informing me that I already had an account with Google because of my e-mail.  So I proceeded to do as she instructed.  I uploaded my writing files and could access the novels that way thinking I could access the novels on any other computer I could get my hands on.  Right?  Wrong!  Because I uploaded the novels in MS Word, I could not bring up the novels on computers that did not have MS Word.  Our new laptop, which is primarily for my wife’s university schoolwork does not have MS Office or Word on it.
I told my wife about this and she informed me that the files she’d put on Google Drive were easy to access and she could make changes to them.  Long story short, she finally realized how I’d uploaded the actual files in their original program.  Whereas she had simply copied her files and pasted them into a Untitled Google Doc, which is the first option that comes up when you enter Google Drive.  That Google Doc is always accessible from ANY computer and you can make changes, edit, or add to a doc.  So yesterday I got onto a computer that had MS Word, opened my original document and then copied the entire book into a Google Doc.  Then I went home and tried to access it and make changes on the new laptop at home that did not have MS Word.  It worked.  I can now access the novel, make changes and continue to finish writing the first draft while I wait to get the desktop at the end of the month.
I’m back in business and it feels great.  So check out Google Drive (aka Google Docs) and start saving your files over there gang.  Remember, if you want to be able to make adjustments to your doc, copy and paste the file into a Google Doc template.  If you simply want to have a back up copy, then upload the file in its original format.
This is a great tool and I’m so glad it’s available.  You can also make certain files accessible to others like Beta-Readers or your editor through Google Drive.  PLUS… you can make it that no one can tamper with the document while it’s on Google Drive.  They can read but not touch it.
Check it out, it’s really worth it folks.  If any of you have other advice about Google Drive or other similar services please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.  That’s all for now.  Take care and keep writing.

THE SHIP - COVER Final

Due to the painful situation my family is facing (my father-in-law is dying of cancer), I’ve decided to push back the release of my second novel “The Ship” until December of this year.

 

Originally, I planned on releasing it in October.  And I will be making sure the book is available in Trade Paperback as well as all e-book formats such as Kindle, Nook, Apple, Sony, etc. at that time.  I want everyone who wants a copy to be able to get one in the format they need.

 

I will also be taking great care to make sure the book is properly formatted and professionally edited.  Most of my readers did not mind, but I want to make sure I’m delivering a great product as well as a really good story.

 

I apologize to any fans who are waiting to get their hands on this new book, which follows the events of my first paranormal/mystery “The Bridge”.  I will release samples from the second book in the Para-Earth Series to help tide you all over.

 

Thanks for your patience and support.  Take care and keep writing.

 


Okay fellow writers, here’s a question for you all.  How many of  you find yourselves working and reworking a scene because something just isn’t right?  In your mind, you know what you’d like to happen, but something just doesn’t seem to be working right.  You make a change here, then a slight a tweek there and suddenly everything goes KAFLOOEY!    You suddenly hit a dead end, or the entire plot has taken a detour to No-wheres-ville.  When this happens to me, I get the same feelings I had whenever I tried to solve a Rubik’s Cube.  I know all the parts and where I think they should go, but they’re just not in the right spot.  And trying to get them in their proper place can be a nightmare some days.

Now this has happened to me on a number of occasions.  Some people tell me to have an outline, but that never works for me.  Why?  Because my characters start going in other directions by saying or doing things I hadn’t originally planned.  Admittedly I let them get away with it, but only if what they’re doing seems to be working better than what I originally planned.  Sometimes this works, but not always.  When it doesn’t I do one of two things:  I’ll delete it completely and try again OR  I’ll save the scene in a separate folder on my computer.  You never know when an unused scene can be useful later in your present story, or could wind up being perfect for another book entirely.

Personally, I kind of like it when I can just delete the scene because then I get to point and laugh at my characters saying, “See?  I told you this wasn’t going to work… NEENER-NEENER.”   Unfortunately, I tend to do this out loud and get some really strange looks from anyone within a 30 foot radius.    It’s at this point my unseen characters got to point and laugh right back at me, which is really annoying because they know I still need them and can’t kill them off.  Damn, my creations can be annoying at times.

Anyway, getting back to my original point.  Writing a scene can be quite frustrating and difficult at times.  But, there are many ways   of tackling this problem:

-You might change who’s in the scene, keep the ones who are most poignant and add someone else from the cast.  This can change the tension levels and the entire feel of the moment.

-Change the location where the action is happening.  Maybe the setting is the problem and you can get more out of a different location.

-Is a major piece of information about to be revealed in this scene?   If so how much of it do you really have to unveil at this moment?  Maybe you should only reveal a portion of the information.  You can whet the appetite of both the characters and the audience with this method.  By doing this your characters can go off half-cocked, which can make for some very interesting scenes as they make any number of mistakes or jump to wrong conclusions.  I personally like this because the character who isn’t perfect, and learns from their mistakes, is someone the audience can really relate to sometimes.  On the other hand the characters can aware that something is still missing and we can follow their efforts to learn more which can lead to some very tense and exciting scenes as well.

So, don’t be afraid to tear apart a scene that’s frustrating you.   Try some really different ways of reworking it.  And if you find yourself still hitting a wall, ask yourself  if the scene is truly relevant in that particular point of the story.  Maybe it can be replaced by an entirely different scene that can serve a similar purpose.    Who knows, you may wind up with something that opens new avenues for your plot that are even more interesting than what you originally had in mind.

What other methods or tricks have you come up with?  I’m sure everyone reading this would be  interested because we’re all trying learn from one another when it comes to writing.  So please leave your experiences and suggestions down in the comments section below.

And for the record,I did finally defeat the dreaded Rubik’s Cube.  Mind you I did not remove the decals and change them around (which is something my wife did when she was kid).  Nor did I take the cube apart and reassemble it so the colors matched up.  What did I do?  Simple, I spray painted the entire thing silver and used it for a paperweight.  A very creative solution, don’t you think?


As you all know I’ve been working on my second and third novels for a while now.  Mostly the second one which has been taking longer than I had anticipated.  At first I wondered why this was so?  I was much more experienced since my first go-round with completing a book.  I’ve learned a lot of the pitfalls and mistakes that can be made by now.  So I should be able to crank this puppy out in no time right?  WRONG!

Now before I proceed, remember I’m only speaking for myself and what I’m experiencing in this process.  I’m still very much on the learning curve and I would love to hear some of your experiences down in the comments section below.  You may very well wind up giving insight to other issues I haven’t thought about yet, which could be very helpful.

Anyway, as I said before the process is taking longer than I’d hoped.  I originally figured I’d be laying down the plot for book four by now, while having book three 2/3’s of the way done.  So what’s been happening?  Why am I working so slowly?  I think it’s several things.

First, folks who’ve read “The Bridge” really loved it even with the imperfect editing job I’d done on my own since I couldn’t afford a professional editor.   Yet the readers were willing to overlook any issues on that front because they were swept up on the story.  Plus they fell in love with the characters and how they interacted (especially with Alex and Veronica).  So, there are high expectations for “The Ship”.  However, I’ve shifted the focus to the second lead couple Julie and Cassandra, and relegated Alex and Veronica to a few brief chapters in the new book.  But what happens to them is still connected to the new story and has major implications for book #3.

So with the shift in attention to Julie and Cassie I’m dealing with a whole new situation.  They have a much different relationship and chemistry.  Alex and Veronica already had long term relationship when we met them.  But Cassie and Julie are just beginning a romantic relationship.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with their story, Julie and Cassie are lesbians.  So right there the dynamics of their interactions are going to be a bit different, and not just because they are both women.  I’m approaching their situation like I would any two people who have just become a couple, but I’m also keeping in mind the added pressure and worries of being gay.  They know there will be those who disapprove of their being together, including some members of their own families.  And I’m trying to make their developing relationship both tender and realistic, rather than a male fantasy where they are just eager to jump into bed with each other.  I want to the audience to see them as real people, not just stereotypes or caricatures.

But I also have to keep the reader engaged by getting them to care about these two young ladies.  So I have to juggle events and scenes in such a way to keep the audience laughing, intrigued and rooting for them while slowly building threat of the approaching danger and mystery that Julie and Cassie are about to become enmeshed in.

Now another issue is the pacing of the story.  People loved how I did it in the first book.  It wasn’t too fast, nor too slow.  And I kept breaking off scenes in such a way as to make the reader eager to turn the page so they could start on the next chapter.   Not as easy as it sounds, at least for me.  But I believe I’m succeeding in keeping this up with the new book.

Another problem is too many details or unnecessary scenes.  This is something I encountered with the first book.  But in that case I didn’t realize how much of a problem it was until after I finished the first draft and then re-read everything.  This time I keep catching the problem as I’m still working on the first draft, which means I go back edit and rewrite as I’m going along.  Or, I’ll find a scene I wrote earlier works better in a section I’m currently working on, so I have to pull it out and move it.  Then I have to go back to where I had it and fix any issues the change made to that area.

Plus there are other issues as well, which I may cover in another entry.  But this gives you a good insight to what’s going on for me as the author.  Again I’d love to hear from some of you about what you’ve encountered with your writing.  I am using a ‘mental’ outline in my head.  I tried writing one out but kept changing it over and over as I went along that it looked more like a bad set of directions that could get the most experienced cartographer to throw up his/her hands in surrender.  Everyone has their own style.  Plus, my characters have a tendency to change the plan as I go along by coming up with alternative ideas that were better than the ones I’d had in mind.

So again I’m making progress, just a bit slower than I’d planned.  How is/was the writing process for you on your 2nd, 3rd or even 7th book?  I’m sure both me and the other readers would love to hear about it.  Please tell us about your experiences in the comments below.  Thanks to tuning in and I’m looking forward to hearing what you all have to say.  Take care and thanks for reading.


I was hoping to avoid this issue, but there is something I wish to address.

Now, with the release of my first novel I’ve gotten good reviews… really good ones.  But there has been one recurring issue namely “errors”.  Now first off, I am not afraid to admit they exist.  There are grammatical errors and whatnot in the book and I’ve done 3 corrections of the entire novel already to eliminate as many as possible.  In the new 2nd edition, there are still some, but from what I’ve been told they are not a lot… thank the heavens.

On the other hand, on FB and elsewhere I’ve had well-meaning people suggest or offer their ‘professional editing’ services.  They bring up the importance of putting out a good product, that it’s my introduction to the audience and world, and how you should never put out a book that isn’t polished to perfection.    And I agree.  It IS important to make sure the story/book you put out is as polished as you can get it.  And I thought I had at first.  I’d had English teachers and people with good eyes catch a good 90% of things I’d overlooked.  But there were still errors that got past all of us.

Yet the words… “A professional editor would’ve caught all of that” comes up fairly often.  So why didn’t I get one.  The answer is simple.  I’m living in poverty.  Every dime my wife and I get goes to keeping a roof over our heads, paying for expensive medicines for our asthma and other chronic health issues, and putting food on the table.  We’ve been surviving on loans and help from family for the last few years, while Helen (my wife) tries to get her B. A. Degree.  I got a A. S. degree a year ago, but that hasn’t helped me on the job front. Most places now want a B. A. for even lower level office work.

I started writing partly to keep my spirits up when everything fell apart  while I was doing estate, which led us to this situation.  And when I finished my novel, I tried my damnedest to get it edited through the avenues available to me.  But I could not, and still cannot, afford to get it redone “professionally”.    And for that, I apologize.  But luckily according to the latest reviewer who gave me the 5 stars, she had the new improved 2nd edition, there aren’t that many errors any more.  And it doesn’t disrupt the flow of the story or the enjoyment of it.  And the fact that all the earlier reviewers still gave it 4 and even a 5 star rating, means I did something right.

I hope by the time my 2nd novel “The Ship” is ready, I can get some more professional editing done.  But if I can’t I’m just going to work twice as hard to make sure the final product is in even better shape than my first book.   It sucks to be in my position and we’re doing what we can.  In time, things will improve.

So I ask everyone who picks up the book, to please forgive its shortcomings.  And for those who are professional editors, please don’t keep offering services I cannot afford or saying how much better the piece could be.  I’m fully aware of it and reminders don’t always help.  Because they don’t just let me know it’s not perfect, it reminds me even more where I’m still at.

How J. K. Rowling managed to get Harry Potter and his friends professionally edited when she was struggling just as badly, I don’t know.  Maybe her publisher helped.  I don’t have one, just myself Createspace and Smashwords.  And they charge a pretty penny as well.

Sorry if this entry is a little bit of a downer, I just wanted everyone to understand why’s and wherefore’s of what I’ve created.  I will try and to better in the future.  And when I can afford it, my work will get the professional treatment.  Until then, bear with me and thanks for all the continuing support.  Please help spread the word that “THE BRIDGE” is out there.  The fact that this book has earned 4 and 5 star ratings, even with its ‘warts’ tells me I’ve created something special.  And I’d like to see it flourish.

If you wish, here is my website where folks can find links to all the different formats of the book, as well as news and updates on the sequels under way:

http://allankrummenacker.wix.com/allan-krummenacker

Thanks again all of you for coming and reading this blog.  And for all the support you’ve given me.  I’ll try to make the next entry more upbeat.  Take care and happy reading everyone.


Hello Everyone.  Sorry for the long delays between posts.  I’m still sharing my laptop with my wife, plus my new job has been keeping me very busy.  I was supposed to have 2 days off in a row this week, then I was told that I had to come in on one of those 2 days to get more training.  Wasn’t happy about it, but I understand the reason.  The trainer is going to be leaving shortly and our time together is drawing to a close very quickly.  HOPEFULLY… things will become a little more steady and regular in a couple of weeks and I can schedule myself to work on my blogging.  So please be patient.

 
In the meantime, I have been able to get some work in on novel #2 “THE SHIP”.  Currently it is sitting at about 65,000 words still, but that’s because I had to go back and look over some earlier portions of the book and do some serious cutting and re-editing.  I’m trying to aim for about 120-140,000 words for the first draft.  The final draft will come in under 100,000 words.  So why the high count you say for the first draft?  Simple, the way I write I want to get the main story down and all the characters on board, as well as all the most interesting actions sequences.  Then when I go to work on the 2nd draft, it’s to start cutting down the word count to something more manageable and acceptable to any potential agents/publishers.  For new authors you have to keep it below 100,000 or even 80-90,000 words to even get considered.  You don’t have a track record of proven sales behind you to get them to cut you some slack on the length.  Look at the length of the first Harry Potter book compared to the later ones and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

 

Also, I love editing my work to see how many times I repeated the same idea since it takes me weeks and months to complete a story.  I have a nasty habit of coming up with the same idea or concept in several different places of the book.  So then I have to decide where does it work the best or at all.  So keeping the draft down to 120-140,000 words is much more manageable to edit for me.  My first novel “THE BRIDGE” was a real monster when I completed the 1st draft.  That one weighed in at 198,000 words.  Then I went and did my research and found out about the length it should be.  If I recall correctly I found a quiet corner in the closet and sobbed hysterically for 2 hours.  Cutting 100,000 words was not easy but I did it.  AND it was worth it.  The final draft that I sent to the agent was much leaner and better paced than the 1st one.  Plus it’s gotten their attention and I’m just waiting for further word on it and what happens next.

 

Oh, I also just recently found out on another front that we’ll be moving soon.  Probably towards the end of July so packing has also been keeping me occupied as well.  I hope to post  here again in a week or so and I’ll give you all another sample of novel #2 “THE SHIP”.  Until then, take care everyone and thanks for reading.

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