Oct 22 2012

For Me, Final Edit Did Not Mean FINAL edit

Posted by Mathias

Ok, so more than one person is apparently confused about my editing process.  Since announcing that I was now moving into compiling my manuscript edit of Under the Darkened Moon, people have been saying to me things like, “But I thought you already did your ‘final’ edit?”

It’s true, I did do something that I did refer to as my “FINAL” (capital letters and all) edit.  But it didn’t mean that is was my “final” edit.
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Oct 20 2012

Finally There – Under the Darkened Moon Manuscript Phase

Posted by Mathias

With FINAL edits done, I am now on to the manuscript compilation phase for Under the Darkened Moon.  Ok, so “FINAL” edit is probably a misnomer because compiling the manuscript does entail some minor editing.  I’m still looking for errors, but mostly it will consist mostly of formatting.

However, I do read each chapter one, final time.  In the process, I am looking for: (more…)

Oct 10 2012

Second Chances Doesn’t Make The Preliminary Cut

Posted by Mathias

With the Long List for the Fantasy-Faction Anthology released, you will notice that Second Chances did not make the cut.  Since the six stories to be published will be selected from the long list, Second Chances is now free as the proverbial bird.
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Aug 18 2012

Final Edit Underway for Under the Darkened Moon

Posted by Mathias

With the live read edit getting bogged down. I’m starting to go and insert the changes from chapters that have already been completed and adding a few more with a final read through myself.  Thus the final edit is going to begin now rather than after the live read edit ends as was originally planned.

You would think, after more than a dozen and a half edits, that there wouldn’t be many more changes to make.  But there are.  In fact, here is what the first two pages looked like after the live read.  Note all the yellow which are changes: (more…)

Jul 09 2012

Here I Am … Under the Darkened Moon Update

Posted by Mathias

So, I have, I admit, been spending too much time on Twitter as of late and not doing enough editing on my novel, Under the Darkened Moon. I have been editing, just not as much as I should be. I’m nearly 75% complete with my polishing edit and, of course, after a year is when I now decide to make the main character 23 years old for the bulk of the story rather than 28. That of course means some timeline editing, etc. but nothing major.

I weighed the pros and cons and decided to make the change I have been batting around in my brain for the better part of the last six months. I give up some of the maturity aspect that the character would have had, but that is about it. Plus it makes some of my possible sequels work better by shifting the entire story ahead five years. This allows me to keep certain characters alive more plausibly than having passed to the ravages of time or being 70 years old at best. (more…)

Jul 02 2012

A Million Ways To Write A Single Thought – And How To Go CRAZY Over It!

Posted by Mathias

If you are a writer, you have no doubt stared down a sentence or two while trying to wrangle out the perfect way to say what you want to say.  And, no doubt, you have engaged in pitched battle with said sentence, at times feeling like you would loose to it.

Sadly, we authors are a fickle lot.  Most of us strive for what we perceive as perfection rather than just what works.  That’s not always a bad thing, except when good enough is already staring us straight in the face and we just won’t accept it.  Then we spend hours, perhaps even days trying to improve on what is already good.

I recently had this experience while editing my novel, Under the Darkened Moon.  In once scene, the main character, Kyel, is in pitched combat of his own and I just didn’t like this one sentence: (more…)

Jun 16 2012

Update: Under the Darkened Moon (Novel)

Posted by Mathias

Just finished up what I consider to by my first polishing edit for Under the Darkened Moon, my first actually completed novel.  Things went well.

To say that I am 100% pleased with it would be saying too much.  I’m 98% pleased though and I think that is pretty good for someone that is as big a perfectionist as I am.

As one of my friends told me, no novel is ever 100% perfect so don’t fret the last few percents.

Next up is going to be a live read edit.  My wife is going to actually read aloud the words so I can hear them from someone else’s mouth rather than my own.  This will hopefully help catch any final awkward sentences, missed commas, etc that my brain is simply auto correcting for when I read aloud because I know what is supposed to be there even if it is not there.

Hopefully, this edit will commence in the next few weeks.  If we do one chapter a day it will take slightly more than a month to complete.

It was July 18th of last year that I embarked on the ambitious project to write a novel.  Looks like it will be a little more than a year from then that it will be ready to be submitted, and likely rejected many times, to publishers and literary agents.  Keeping my fingers crossed that it isn’t too painful.  My review groups have all given it high praise, sometimes too high of praise if you ask me, but high praise none-the-less.  I guess it is almost time to find out whether or not people with the power to get books published feel the same way.

Jun 03 2012

Nearing The Halfway Point Of Latest Edit

Posted by Mathias

Well, I’m on page 208 of my latest edit for Under the Darkened Moon.  A lot of words got taken out in the first 100 pages, 3,508 in total.  But in the second 100 pages, 1,000 words have been added to help out the story.  I was trying to see if I could drop the word count from 150,000 down to around 140,000.  Doesn’t seem likely at this point, but who knows.  Maybe I can hit 145,000.  I’m not going to force it.  The story is as long as the story is.

After this edit I am planning on having live read sessions and edits.  My wife will read the story exactly as written and I will listen to see how it flows.  We’ll be doing one chapter a night to keep from getting burned out on the reading/editing process.  Once that edit is done, I am going to find six people to read and critique the latest draft before beginning the submission process.

This is now, officially, my 1oth edit of Under the Darkened Moon, my debut writing project which I started on July 18th, of last year.  The live read edit will be my 11th and, hopefully, completed by the end sometime around the 1 year anniversary of my attempt at writing a novel to be published.  Lots of hours put in so far and hopefully it will pay off.  I’ve been keeping track and so far the project has consumed right around 1,550 hours.

Well, back to editing.

May 28 2012

Actually, I Get Really Scared When People Say Things Like This About My Work

Posted by Mathias

Megan, one of my reviewers, has sent me a response to questions I asked of her after she finishing reading the last draft of my novel. She has been one of my best sources for critique, giving both praise and scorn when necessary. She’s been reviewing my drafts for some time now and she has seen both the original, very rough draft and the most recent one. I was very pleased when she opted to rank where my book in comparison to other novels she has read.

Megan writes:

Ok, I’ve read about 20 books in the fiction/fantasy genres over the last two years. Here is how I would the top fifteen in my opinion:

1. The Dark Tower (The Dark Tower Vol 7)
2. The Hunger Games
3. The Mistborn Trilogy
4. Under the Darkened Moon
5. Theft of Swords (Riyria Revelations Vol 1)
6. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
7. Paladin of Souls
8. The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Day 1)
9. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
10. The Girl Who Played with Fire
11. Catching Fire
12. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
13. Towers of Midnight (The Wheel of Time)
14. A Game of Thrones (A Song Of Fire And Ice Vol 1)
15. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest

I think with a little bit of polishing you have a great story here!  The story might be a little weak in places, but honestly what novel isn’t? However, in terms of the genre that it is in I found it rather well contrived and sufficient unique and pleasing. I think you did something that few authors can do these days and that is tell a story, a complete story in a single book.  Frankly I am so sick of everything being a trilogy!  Good luck over coming the stigma of being an unpublished author which I think is going to be your biggest hurdle with this book.

I appreciate this reviewer’s high marks for my story. I was kind of taken aback by it. I mean, most people who have been reviewing the book have a lot of positive things to say about it, but for it to be ranked in someone’s mind with some widely acclaimed and read novels really gives me hope that I have actually done a good job.

Thanks Megan for the praise.  But it still scares the crap out of me when you say things like this.  Someone once warned me that what literary agents and publishers like is often not the same as what people who read like.

May 17 2012

My 12,000 Word Rule

Posted by Mathias

I tend to find that when I am working on a novel project it generally takes about 50 pages or 12,000 words before the real basis of the story itself is charted.  Usually by about page 50, about three quarters of what I had originally mapped out as the course of the story has gone into the scrap heap.  Or at least that stuff is stashed away for a possible future story.  Under the Darkened Moon followed this rule which I did not even consider a rule when I started writing it as it was my first project.  However over time the law seems to be holding true.  I have at least 50 pages completed in several other novels and each of them have resulted in 75% of the planned course being discarded or seriously revised.  Be it The Half-Orc Princess, Cry of the Golden Wyvern or Her Lovely Blood, the 12,000 word rule has been a nemesis to the finest laid plans for each of them.  Even a project I just started today as a sort of test story, The Arrow, completely went off in another direction by the 1,500 word mark and is, honestly, better than what I had sketched for it.

I attribute this to the fact that I seem to work better when actually writing than postulating and sketching things out.  I just cannot see how everything fits together until I start actually writing the actual text.  Maybe some other writers can.  But I cannot.  So I am just accepting this and embracing.