So, as mentioned in my previous post, I did finally get my web site moved. If you’re reading this, then you can see the result (so far). You probably won’t see too much of a change, as I tried my best to keep as close to the original blog style and feel as possible. What you don’t see is the new site’s potential. I now have unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, the ability to post audio, an SSL certificate so I can participate in e-commerce if I decide to go that route, and several other bells and whistles that I didn’t have before. For now though, I’m likely going to let it sit as is. I lost enough sleep and gained too many gray hairs just getting to this point. I think I’ll leave it alone for a while, and get some work done on other projects…
Editing, for instance. You may have noticed the little progress meter in the side bar to the right. If you watch, that guy moves a little every day. It indicates the amount of work I’m getting done in editing Half Past Midnight. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I have gotten my first edit back from Lynn O’Dell, the wonderful lady who is helping me straighten out my novel (thanks Lynn!). I received her edit back on June 8th, and had a great conversation with her on the problems I have with the novel. She has done a fantastic job of helping me see the thing with a fresh perspective, and I have pages of notes on things that I either overlooked, or simply got flat-out wrong. Unfortunately, that was just before my birthday weekend, and my family had other plans than letting me hide in my study to work. This next weekend is Father’s Day, and I’ve been informed that there are plans in the works there, as well.
So I’ve been working on the edits in the evenings, and in the early morning before work, and tracking my progress with the little meter on my site. You will notice that the meter currently says it’s on the “2nd edit”. That’s not entirely accurate. I’ve edited it and rewritten it a few times, but I’m counting all the earlier edits and re-writes previous to my hiring Lynn as a first edit. Lynn’s professional edit is the second, and I’m tracking my progress through it (using MS Word’s Track Changes feature) on the meter.
I’ve decided to tackle Lynn’s edits in two stages. First is the basic spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG) edit, wherein I either accept or reject her changes to the manuscript with regards to (you guessed it) SPAG.
That’s the easy part; the part I’m currently working on. I’ve found that it’s actually a little embarrassing how many basic mistakes I made in this manuscript. The mistakes she has caught are quite often things that I know better than to do. There are admittedly several things that I thought I knew, as well, but when I look them up I find I was wrong. And there are also those items that are more stylistic issues, things that may not be entirely proper, but I use them to emphasize some little quirkiness of a character. When I run across one of these, I have to examine it especially carefully to figure out why the characteristic didn’t come through. What did I do wrong, that doesn’t properly convey my intention to the reader? Those are the tricky ones.
When I finish this editing pass, I will restart the meter for the “3rd edit”. This will be the more difficult one, where I tackle the more serious problems that Lynn found. The plot flaws and shallow characterizations that I let pass. Once she pointed them out, they were obvious. Yet, I completely missed them up to this point.
Admittedly, I find a lot of my mistakes are instances where I am so familiar with the story I’m telling that my eyes see what my mind intends to say, rather than what is truly on the page. But that’s no excuse – and why I obviously need an editor. I’ve been told by some writers that they don’t need an editor, and by others that every writer does. Based on what I’ve seen in self / indie published books (traditionally published books automatically get edited), and on what I’ve seen from Lynn’s work on my manuscript, I know I’ll likely never again consider publishing a novel without first hiring one.
And I did consider it. I considered it pretty seriously at one point, especially since the nature of electronic publishing is such that anyone can publish their work and then come back and change it later. I thought I might publish my novel as a “first edition”, then when/if I made enough money off its sales I could afford to hire an editor to refine the novel and publish a “second edition”. I mean, hiring an editor for a 100k word novel isn’t enough to break the bank, but neither is it an inconsequential expense. After thinking about it and discussing it with my better half though, I decided that if my writing was ever going to exceed the status of a hobby, then I had better begin treating it like a business. And if I’m going to run a business, then I want to put out the best product I can. That means working with good “vendors” who have the skills to help me out. I therefore need an editor, just as I will need someone to handle the e-book formatting.
So yes, I’m busy. I’m writing on Streets of Payne. I’m editing Half Past Midnight. I’m recording and producing the podcast version of Half Past Midnight. I’m learning a lot of this process by trial and error.
And I’m having the time of my life.