Some of you were wonderful enough to come to my aid last check in, offering your support and kind advice. Firstly, I must say a huge thank you to all who did. It helped me enormously and is exactly why I adore ROW80. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, last check-in I shared my humiliation when a good buddy of mine pointed out certain chapters of Finding Esta had somehow swapped around. Not only that, but there were typos. This wouldn’t have been so bad. I could always make the necessary changes. Unless of course I’d published that messy MS on Amazon and Smashwords *cue glass shattering scream!* That’s exactly what I’d done!
For more information on that crisis, and what happened directly afterwards, click here.
Here’s what I learned:
1) Even after you’ve had your MS beta read, edited and proofed, please don’t read through one more time, decide everything is great and publish it straight away. IGNORE DEADLINES! Somehow, incredibly, I not only suffered severe MS-weariness, but also lost all ability to see any of the glaringly obvious errors. How? I don’t know, so I looked it up. Call me a geek if you will, but I need to understand it. Understanding things helps me to remember them. Of course, I couldn’t find anything, not a jot! *So if you know, please leave your knowledge in the comments section for us. Thanks!
2) Be very careful when writing with the otherwise wonderful Scrivener. It somehow moved chapters – I mean it swapped whole chapters around without my knowledge. This must have been after my last re-through too as error-blindness or not, I’d know if my story was reading wrong, even if I missed a few homophones. Be careful! *If you know why this happened and would like to share, or know how to prevent this from EVER happening again, please comment. Thanks!
3) My major demon: Here’s a brain teaser stolen (to use as an example) from HERE. There are many others there to drive you insane.
The blanks in the following sentences will be filled in with three different homonyms (words that are spelled differently but sound alike) to make valid sentences. The dashes indicate the number of letters in the words. Can you fill in the blanks?
1. The cut on his _ _ _ _ won’t _ _ _ _ in time for the race, so _ _ ‘_ _ have to drop out.
2. The man was so upset about being _ _ _ _ that he regularly _ _ _ _ _ _ himself up on the bed and _ _ _ _ _ _ his eyes out.
3. I couldn’t _ _ _ _ _ any of the _ _ _ _ _ _ in the flower shop, because for some strange reason I had 50 _ _ _ _ _ crammed up my nose.
4. A bloodthirsty pirate will wander the _ _ _ _ and essentially _ _ _ _ _ everything he _ _ _ _.
1. The cut on his HEEL won’t HEAL in time for the race, so HE’LL have to drop out.
2. The man was so upset about being BALD that he regularly BALLED himself up on the bed and BAWLED his eyes out.
3. I couldn’t SENSE any of the SCENTS in the flower shop, because for some strange reason I had 50 CENTS crammed up my nose.
4. A bloodthirsty pirate will wander the SEAS and essentially SEIZE everything he SEES.
5) Tips for improving the MS edit:”
1. Keep a list of the most commonly misspelled words by you while editing/writing. Esp if you know you have a tendency to misspell the same words.
2. Avoid using commas to separate two independent phrases. This is comma splicing and is another pain in my bottom!
3. Avoid using the verb to be. This signifies passive voice, which although not always inappropriate, is clunky if used throughout your MS. Try to stick to active voice for a majority of the text. I really have to work at this.
4. Clarity is key, so unless dialogue requires it, avoid over-complicated words. You don’t want readers frowning while they try to follow your story. They may pick up a dictionary and get distracted (unless they’re reading on a Kindle where they can use the online dictionary).
5. Vary sentence length, otherwise it’s just alarmingly boring to read. I’m quite good at this one – I naturally have good rhythm :D
6. Remember a paragraph should discuss only one idea.
7. When possible, let someone else read your work aloud to you, and comment on your work.
8. Scour the MS for basic errors such as spelling mistakes, improper punctuation, missing letters, letter capitalization, spacing etc. But instead of doing this via a read-through (where you’ll miss things) try doing it from bottom to top of your pages, or attempt to correct each paragraph out of order. This should prevent the brain from filling in the gaps.
*Want to add anything else? Please feel free in the comments section below. Everyone can benefit from any wisdoms you bring to the table on this subject. Editing is a necessary evil in my view. Without it my stories and characters flounder beneath the manure that is illegibility. I can’t have that now can I?
Shah the Writer
I’ve still had no creative time (or the mind-set) to write. I’m not kicking myself though, at least until I’ve sorted all this out. The first draft (of Finding Luna #2 The Supes Series) is still waiting for me (one the dreaded Scrivener). It’s not going anywhere and I don’t want to give it my complete attention. I’ll try to get to it next week.
Shah the Marketing Wizz
I have desisted on all marketing efforts for now. I’m still dreading the awful reviews from anyone who was unlucky enough to read my messy MS. As I said last update, I did ask anyone who received a copy to contact me. I replace it with the newest file. No one contacted me. The one review I have is good? So far so good, so we’ll see. The review copies which went out for the looming book tour (see my side-bar) were replaced, although I’m unsure if those readers had read the original copy first, or not. *Sigh* I told my tour rep to explain to them what happened for me, to offer them the updated file, and to tell them they were no longer required to review it. So I suppose we’ll see. Still pretty gutted about all the wasted opportunities regarding this mess, buy I’m griped enough. Back to the grindstone.
Shah the Publisher
I decided not to bother with getting my latest file re-formatted for Smashwords (I paid for it to be done before and now, of course, it would need doing again). Instead, I looked into the superb suggestion of Ruth, because Draft2Digital do all the formatting for you, free! It’s a beta service, but I’m going to upload there once all the errors are quashed from this MS. I still need a pesky tax code to become exempt from the default 30% US taxes however. Not sure what to do about that apart from knowing I need a W8 form. These guys keep hold of my US earnings until tax kicks in, then continue to do so until I give them my tax forms. Good, because I won’t have to claim it back from the IRS. Bad because I won’t get my money till it’s all processed. Nothing new to many (most) of you of course. *Any pointers on this would be gratefully received, too!
Shah the Blogger
Still reading this book. But also this one for review on Friday!
I have made all sponsor visits, twice weekly, plus more besides. You’re all doing so well! I’ve spent stupid time on Fiverr (wow, there are deals to be had) and written more tour posts. I need to do more on the blogging side of things. I found a great blogger/author blog in Jade Kerrion. She has written some brilliantly helpful articles on publishing and writing for us all to learn from. Check out her Author’s Journey posts for tips, highlights and links you need to see.
Please click the link to find fabulous #Row80 participants HERE
Those questions again:
1) *So if you know, please leave your knowledge in the comments section for us. Thanks!
4) *If you know why this happened and would like to share, or know how to prevent this from EVER happening again, please comment. Thanks!
5) *Want to add anything else (about editing ideas)? Please feel free in the comments section below. Everyone can benefit from any wisdom’s you bring to the table on this subject. Editing is a necessary evil in my view. Without it my stories and characters flounder beneath the manure that is illegibility. I can’t have that now can I?
Shah The Publisher: *Any pointers on this (tax codes and what-not) would be gratefully received, too!