Starting a new project is the best feeling in the world. Many writers will agree that tearing through the pages, writing never before imagined scenes, full of great new characters, is the fun part of writing a novel. Revision and editing are often painful and slow, by comparison. Yet, it must be done and done well.
I use Microsoft Word or Google Docs to write. I write with Spell Check turned on, though the squiggly red lines beneath fictional names can be annoying until I add them to the document's dictionary. After completing the first draft, I read it once or twice doing minor revision and editing and taking notes. Then I take a break, as described in my Project Rotation blog. I return and edit once on paper, once using the Track Changes in Word, and another time after accepting or rejecting the changes. Then, sometimes after a few days to clear my head, I use Serenity Editor, an advanced editing program that goes beyond what the grammar and spell-check available in word processors. Serenity Software: Editor (I just call it Serenity Editor) helps with spelling, grammar, and style recommendations. I found it particularly useful for warning me of homonyms (are / our, their / there).
When I finish writing a book, I set it aside and move to a new project. That way I am always fresh for revision and editing. I have completed first drafts in as little as forty days or as long as eighteen months. Either way, by the time the final scene flows across the page, I am excited, but drained. Stephen King suggested in his book, On Writing, to take a break at this stage and I have followed his advice.
I worked on several projects after publishing Dragon Badge, but spent a lot of time learning about the self-publishing industry, marketing and promoting, and social media. I already had a draft of the second book in the series. After reading what I had a couple of times, I decided to start from scratch, salvaging a few scenes I liked, but planning the second book to answer questions from the first and further develop the fantasy elements.
At the same time, I was eager to publish a second book, so once I finished the rewrite of what was called Machine Gun Knight and later The Darklord’s Boys, I put it away and edited a science-fiction book I wrote years ago called Wormbright and shared it with critique readers. In the end, I decided I liked Wormbright, but it did not blow me away. What can a writer do with such a revelation? The answer, as painful as it seems, is to start completely over. So I wrote an outline from scratch, changed the title and some names my critique readers did not care for, and went to work. The result became Enemy of Man: Book One in the Chronicles of Kin Roland.
Now I return to the sequel of Dragon Badge. Why am I changing the title? Feedback on the book title(s) was decidedly negative. I decided it was time to put my ego and preferences aside. So what is the name of the second Dragon Badge book? I am still working on it, but it will be revealed in the Dragon Badge Newsletter.
Life is an adventure. I read to expand my horizons and write because I must.
- The Craft of Writing: 7 Magnificent Books
- Use of Force Myths
- A Really Useful Tool
- Project Rotation