Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought, where they write about ideas and creativity. Diane posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome as it turns an article into a discussion. They must, however, be in English to avoid spam getting in here.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

the 'nots'

by Rain Trueax

When I put out a book, I am convinced it is without errors and written to the best of my capabilities (at that time). I believe the story is solid and has a reason for being, that the characters are exciting with depth, and that what happens in the plot makes sense for those protagonists. 

Before the word publish is clicked, I will have written a rough draft, done two or three word-for-word edits, not to mention scanning over multiple times for context. Two or three beta readers will have sent me notes on errors they found, which I have corrected. My editor will have also done one or two word-for-word edits. When he gets the final version, he will look again before hitting publish.

From experience, I know that won't have caught everything. It's the unfortunate nature of writing, where it isn't all done the same day and where typing is often done, while thinking ahead of the keys. There will be typos. There will be commas missed because of wanting to get down the action. There will be misused words, even when I know well the correct ones-- i.e. hear and here. Argh!

What there should not be are secondary characters' names changing during the book. There should not be dialogue that makes no sense. There should not be timing confusion. There should not be saying the same thing three paragraphs after it had just been said. 

In June, the month of editing hell, when I came back to Enchantress' Secret, I expected to find places I could say something better.  

IF a writer writes a lot, they will always be getting better at the craft. In that sense, it's frustrating to return to edit any book, even one without 'not' errors, because a writer wants to feel that they finally got to the peak of their skills.
Maybe that just does not happen. 

The reason for this edit was because I recognized after writing the third Hemstreet Witches book that I had a much firmer grasp on the family. The first one hadn't had that advantage. As each sister got her story, I learned more about them all. In a series, writing can be complicated even when having worked out timelines and character sheets. Events get mixed up; and if writing a lot of words in a day, that can happen from the morning's first sentence to the last one at night. I figured I'd have a few things to change. 

I was not expecting to find nots, and I apologize to the readers who bought this book last year. Give it another try if you gave up then. If you bought it a year ago, please ask Amazon to refresh your version to get the corrections.

The good part of the edit was that when I finished, I felt strongly about the plot, the characters, the theme, and the flow of the story. It's a shame that those nots might have ruined someone's enjoyment of the read-- and I know that does happen. It's a good book, and I didn't do right by it. I believe I have now.

I went straight from that edit to book two, To Speak of Things Unseen. Although even there, I found a few rough places, they were not the kind that had me wanting to tear my hair out. Both are now out and updated.

What I learned with this series is-- don't be in a hurry no matter what the wisdom of the day says. Some of those a-book-every-month writers may be writing 20,000+ word books, turning out a perfect rough draft, benefiting from an editor friend, who is on the level of a pro, or are able to sell enough books to afford a $1500 editor. I have to do the best I can with what I have. 

I could have done better if I'd followed my own wisdom-- i.e. have more than a month between rough draft and first edit. It takes a while to get some distance from a book after having written it. I did though learn from my mistake, and now I believe the book is out with no nots. It's written better also (thanks to a year of writing).

No comments: