Try Hard, but know when to stop

Date posted: June 18, 2018

Howdy folks. I’ve returned.

This last week went by in a blur, but I was able to edit a decent chunk in that time. I’m almost done with my second pass through of the book. Things are looking really good, and the co-author keeps adding to it as well. So while I cut away, or change things, the story still grows.

There’s a bit that one of us needs to add, but it’s been difficult to find an appropriate place to put it. We both know where it belongs, but it’ll involve a bit of work. It will change the pacing of this certain part of the book, and we’ll have to expand on things later to show consistency. It almost might be better to write it as a separate piece, then paste it in and work around it. We both agree that it should be there, and I’ve already added a bit to this section to make way for it, but somehow I didn’t feel the fit for the expanded narrative that we want there. Perhaps I’ll have to wait until they catch up with me.

They are taking their time, being very thorough, as is needed. Since I have more time to work on the book I just run through it rather quickly because I know I’ll be back through it again and again. They on the other hand may only have enough time to see it a couple of times through. As I have more time, this is as it should be. I’ll be doing my best, and I’m grateful they have any time to spare on this part. Two sets of eyes are better than one, and since our strengths are in different things, I’m very lucky to have them.

This particular run through for me has found little things I apparently missed the first time. A space that needn’t be here, or a word that while spelled correctly was the wrong one to be used. I supposed I rushed a little on that first read through. But since I’m catching more this time perhaps I’ve found the correct pacing. Then again we’ll see when I start at the beginning again.

It’s always surprising finding things you’ve missed. You think you have it perfect, or at least readable, then suddenly you see so many things that need correcting. I suppose that’s the way of things. If you don’t take a little time away from your book you’ll just see it as you meant it, and not as it was written.

Then again if you never finish editing because you aren’t satisfied, even if everything looks right, and you strive for perfection, you’ll never put out a book. No book is perfect, though some come close. There’s always a word missing or misused. A space that doesn’t belong, or a sentence that doesn’t make sense to anyone but you. Of course you try your best to look out for such things, and hopefully have multiple people help, but we’re all human. Mistakes will happen. But to limit such things, having people review your work that aren’t in your clique can help.

Imagine that the only people that look at your book before you publish are people who share your way of speaking or writing. They won’t notice that perhaps that what you put to page was a way to express something that only your group of friends understands. Sure they’ll get it, but what of those that don’t? What are they suppose to do? Perhaps they’ll understand via context clues, but it’ll puzzle them more than necessary. Especially if it is a very obscure reference, or way of speaking. Hence why some people tell you not to publish a book that was written for the American market for say the UK’s.

Spelling is different for them, as are way of expressing. Then again I’ve enjoyed books marketed for the UK as an American. But perhaps that is because I grew used to such things watching their television, and reading their books when I was younger. That and I have friends from around the world. We’ve found we can communicate well enough, though now and again a word confuses one of us. But luckily we tend to have the Internet these days. As such we can look things up that puzzle us. Not that I think that’ll be necessary, especially with this latest book. But one can never tell. I’ll just try to make the story as clear as I can.

In the end, work hard to be clear. But don’t become overly obsessed with perfection. Nothing is perfect, not in this world. Try hard, but don’t fall into the trap of never finishing. You have to let go at some point. Like children, you have to let them go to make their own mistakes at some point. Otherwise you’ll never publish.

So with that, I’ll be finished today. I wish you all well, and may you have a good week.

 

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: An estimated 45% into editing

Steven Oaks

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Reading Renewed

Date posted: June 11, 2018

Hello all, I’ve returned.

So what shall I talk about this week? I’m not sure I’ve much to say. The only thing I’ve done is edit and read books.

It has been said if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write. I’ve taken that to heart, though I did drift away from traditional books for a few years. Mostly I was reading manga; Japanese comics. However I started noticing myself loosing interest after a few months of that. But then I’d read a book, and find I didn’t have much time for the long form written word. I should have gone on to short stories, but I’ve never been a huge fan, though I like the big ideas that can be implemented rapidly.

I drifted from book to book, not really fully invested. Only having a few minutes here and there didn’t help. So I’d bounce back to manga. Even they started to lose my interest. Eventually I just forced myself to read books. At first it was slowly, but now I’m back to near full strength. I’ll finish a book in a week or two now instead of one taking nearly a month.

The only downside to that is I’m never sure what to read next. I’ve been looking to award winners, and for the most part I’ve enjoyed those. Though to be sure I think some of them win either because the author is already famous for something else, or the ideas in them are so interesting they can’t be ignored. Even if they aren’t as well written as they could be. But hey, I’ll like what I like, and other people can like things differently.

Also I’ve implemented a fix for being bored. At least for me. I’ll read science-fiction, and if I feel bored of that style I’ll switch to fantasy. Those being my two favorite genres. Mostly I like science-fiction, so I tend to read more of that these days, but it’s nice to relax in fantasy for a bit. Maybe to get the feeling of wish fulfillment, before treading the waters of possible futures. Fantasy also seeming to be better suited for comedic writing, though I’ve read a few sci-fi that were more humor than science.

Then again that may just be my own preference when it comes to sci-fi. I like it more realistic, and serious, though I’m not opposed to funny quips here and there. But again, fantasy can be serious as well, like Wheel of Time, or Song of Ice and Fire. But after those I’d try to read something more humorous. Again, that’d be mostly fantasy, and usually written for a younger audience, though not always.

As it is, I hope if you are having a difficult time plodding through a book, maybe take a break and read something else. Something different and fun. Or if you are tired of comedy, try something serious. I find bouncing back and forth alleviates the boredom, and things seem more original.

Until next time, go out and read something. Anything really. Just don’t stop. A book is a portal to another world, and a different perspective. The more you read, the better you are at finding things to think about.

 

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: An estimated 40% into editing

Steven Oaks

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Walk Your Own Path

Date posted: June 4, 2018

With a sudden crash of air, I have returned.

So what have I been up to since the last post? Well, I’ve gone ahead and had a few more day’s worth of editing. This time around it seems to be going rather smoothly. While I didn’t find too much out of place last time, what is really consuming the time now is getting formating in place. That and deciding on what little tweaks I might want to do.

There are so many ways to explain or say something. And there is a certain style that I’m trying to match throughout. Having two people writing different scenes, and then going through and editing each other seems to be the key. However, at least to me, I can sometimes tell which one of us wrote certain parts.

The other thing to be aware of is how the characters are different and should be consistent in how they speak or present themselves. So far there hasn’t been much to change on that front as I think we both know them fairly well. And we know any hidden thoughts they might have that have led them to this time in their lives.

The funny thing is, while we may know why they are they and how they got there, there isn’t a place in the story for it. I kind of look forward to any questions people might ask about their backstory. Some of it is rather hilarious, in the cosmic sense. At least to me, and likely the co-author.

Motivations and why people are where they are have a place in world building, but it isn’t the same thing as writing their entire life story. Otherwise why start anywhere except when a character is born? You can start there if you want, but then it better serve the cause of the story as a whole. But then again, it’s your story. You can do what you want. I’m not your father.

The co-author, by the way, has been working their way through the book as well. They are making changes now and again, and I’ve gone through what they’ve done. So I’m sort of doubling up on editing when they do that. I’ll do my few chapters or whatever page count I set for myself, then go look at what they’ve done. This isn’t a matter of trust or anything, it’s mostly that I’m curious about what they’ve done. I haven’t changed much from their modifications, just the random word here and there that I think might fit better.

It’d be funny though if it turns out I’m changing things back to what they were, and then they come in and change it again. A never-ending battle of edits. But I don’t think that’s happening. If I wanted to I could look at the unmodified first draft. However I’ll only do that if we wind up clashing. Though I don’t think that is likely. We generally talk through any major changes, and for the most part agree. It’s not just my story, it’s theirs as well.

Now, I just wanted to clarify some things. When I talk about writing, and how to do it, I’m not saying my way is the only way. Mostly I’m noting what I do, and if it helps you, great. If you completely disagree with me, hey, that’s fine too. I’m not some oracle with all the knowledge of the world. I don’t know how you think. I don’t know how you work. If something is working for you, stick with it. Whether you’re a writer or an artist of any type, don’t let other people tell you how to do things.

Then again I’ve found it useful to listen to other people. I may not act on what they say, but it motivates me as well as gives me something to think about. That’s what I’m trying to do here. Motivate you, and hopefully give some insight into my own method of creating. That and I think it’s fun to go back and read about what I was doing at certain times of my life.

I’ll probably change what I think is important in the future, but maybe I won’t. It’ll be interesting to go back and look at what I was doing in writing when I’m working on other books. Who knows, one of these posts might highlight where I started thinking differently, and from then on each of my books will follow a pattern I set here. Then again, so far, I like to change things up each time. Though I think my dialogue has been fairly consistent.

So with that, I’ll leave you until next time. I hope your week is filled with many ideas and joy.

 

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: An estimated 35% into editing

Steven Oaks

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Patience in Editing

Date posted: May 29, 2018

Greetings all. I’ve returned, albeit a day late.

I had to work yesterday, and a day shift at that. So I didn’t get a chance to sit down and do anything but that. It was a twelve-hour shift, because of the holiday, so when I did finally get home I was wiped.

I’ll say this though, the editing is progressing well. The co-author has begun formatting chapter titles and the like. Seeing that, I’ve been implementing the formating as I go along as well. Already I’ve gotten up to chapter eight again, though I didn’t number them the first pass through. I didn’t even name them last time. I wanted to get them read through first. Now that I can look at them as a whole, titles are coming to me. Though admittedly the co-author began titling when they began their pass through first.

They’ve changed a few things, nothing huge. I went and read through what they’ve done before I went forward with where I left off. I did a bit of editing there, but didn’t change much. I know I’ll be seeing those chapters a few times more when I go back again, and it helps to have some distance from the previous read anyway.

That’s another thing about editing. You need some distance. If you simple editing a chapter the next day or week you’ll miss things. You’ll read it like you meant it, but not see the missing words you needed to put in. Now I usually edit the previous writing session before I begin the next section, but that is really me getting myself up to speed with where I am in the story. That helps to limit those missing words that might be forgotten, but it’s no substitute for real editing.

So don’t be impatient. If you really want to have something polished, take your time. Time is the friend of a good book. While some people might be able to read their own words and find mistakes easily, I say they are more likely than not to miss things. But you’ll miss less if you’ve taken time to do other things. Or like in my case, don’t work on the same section of writing over and over, back to back.

It also helps to have other people edit. I’m very lucky to have a co-author this time, and I was lucky before to have a few editors. I’m excited to see what we finally end up with, though currently I’m quite happy with what we have. Of course it’ll need that polishing I’m talking about. That’s why I tend to thoroughly read, and re-read, edit, and re-edit. At the very least I want to go through this book four times before handing it off for perhaps more thorough editing. But we’ll see what the future holds.

I’ve already added around a thousands words. I mentioned that there was a bit missing in a section, so I put in a little something more. This is likely to happen at least one more time, so that’ll add in more passes that I’ll need to do. However the story is flowing well, and I want to make sure that continues.

So with that, I’ll leave you. I hope perhaps some of my words encourage your own work, whatever that is. I’ll talk to you again next time. Have a great week.

 

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: An estimated 30% into editing

Steven Oaks

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Editing First Drafts

Date posted: May 21, 2018

Hello all. I’m back again.

Do you know that I love the act of writing? I love creating something new. I suppose I like it most when I think it’s good, but in the end it’s the act of creating that motivates me.

There’s nothing like staring at a screen for several minutes while your mind tries to discover where you want to start. Then all of a sudden inspiration hits you, and you’re off. It’s those times before you begin that are the hardest. It’s like staring at clay, and then suddenly seeing the sculpture underneath.

It of course helps if you have an idea of a story first. But where should you start? I’ve heard “At the beginning of course”. But what is the beginning? Is it the birth of your character? Is it the first time they have a problem related to the story you want to tell? Is it their call to action?

In the end it doesn’t matter. It only matters that you start. It’s your first draft at that point. If you feel it needs additional material you can always put that in later. Be it after you’ve finished the draft, or if you realize there’s another way to begin your story.

The reason I mention this is not because I don’t have a good beginning to this book. I happen to be very happy with it, and it has the tone I want. But because there may be additional chapters or parts I want to fill this book with. There’s a bit missing now. It could be resolved by deleting a character all together, but that would also lessen some of the impact in the motivation they bring to the main character.

I’ve recently finished my first pass through the draft, and the co-author has done work with the first chapter. Not much was changed, but it did lead us to discuss certain motivations and world building that needs to be polished. Now when I say not much has been changed, you can take that perhaps I added or subtracted whole paragraphs, but the narrative has remained the same. A single sentence or word can make the difference in the enjoyability in reading, so I’ve been working on that mostly.

Right now it’s all about making the world feel relatable. That motivations are clear and reasonable, or at least understandable. That might not sound difficult, but when you are telling a story that you don’t necessarily want to turn into thousands of pages it can be easy to just gloss over certain aspects and expect the reader to accept things. But that’s a first draft. It’s almost short hand, or can be. Now it’s time to fill in the blanks that might have been left, and make it whole.

If I hadn’t found any flaw, I wasn’t doing my job. You need to be hard on yourself. It makes it easier when you have a co-author, or an editor that’ll take you to task. But in the end you need to be willing to accept that you’ll make mistakes, and be willing to re-write whole parts. You won’t be perfect your first time. Even after years of writing you’ll make mistakes. And that is okay. It could even lead to making something even better when you find them. I hope to do so, now and in the future.

As it is, I’m happy with what we have, but not yet satisfied. I’ll be working towards that this next pass through.

I hope you have a good week. Until next we meet.

 

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: An estimated 27% into editing

Steven Oaks

Follow me on the things below.

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