Sunday, December 23, 2012

On Moving Ahead This Season

JP is cooking with gas. Simple as that. She is full throttle on my book which is a good thing. Vlad is working on my webpage, and he is doing a good job too. I've never been so pleased during this Christmas season. It's almost as if I got a Christmas present early this year. I'm also working on my other manuscripts, editing and re-editing them to try to make them the best I can befrore handing them over to JP to comb through. She's amazing how she finds even the smallest point or error.

As an author, you have to get used to your editor. Some editors breeze over your pages and don't catch much but grammatical mistakes. Some editors work with the story to keep the flow going and the images crisp in the mind of the reader. Some editors will re-write your work until your voice is forever gone. There are different degrees of an editors skill and how much work they're willing to do. You have to find one that suits you.

Maybe you don't like your voice and would rather stick to story development and a full reworking of your manuscript is what you want. Maybe you are more interested in the pace and imagery of your story, and to have someone polish your vision is your goal. Or maybe you think you're the man (or woman) and you don't want anyone touching your prose unless there is a solid, legitimate reason that suits you. There is an editor out there for everyone.

JP was made for me. I feel it. At first, I have to say, I had some serious apprehensions because I just could not believe that my grammar was so appalling. It looked as if I was writing on a grammar school level and poorly at that. There was never a single page that was not hemorrhaging red. I was crestfallen and defensive all at the same time. Every correction I balked against, every refinement I questioned critically. But I decided to just read through the changes and see what everything looked like when a sample of the editing was allowed to pass through. So I did just that.

What I got was light, airy prose, that flowed smoothly from one idea to the next. They were my words, just refined. It was still my voice, just made prettier. I was pleased with the three or four pages that I fully reviewed her corrections. Now we are churning out pages and I've never been so proud of something that I've breathed life into.

Now I have even more time to concentrate on the evolving story as it covers a series of books. This is much harder than it looks. The span of time from one idea to the other, from one character's motivation in one book to the other, from even descriptions of people, places, and things are delicate to say the least. As your book turns into books, your characters multiply, growing exponentially almost. These charaters change and develop, and you have to keep track with their facial features, their understanding of the world around them and how they affect it.

I keep track of facial features by making a Word document with images that I pull off the Internet. I pull faces off of web pages and modeling agencies and don't panic, they are for my own use. But these varied faces keep my characters firm in my stories, as well as provide a place for other pertinent information and motivations with each page of the Word document.

I also bought a program that I'm using and I have to say that I'm still ambivalent about it. I haven't yet unleashed the power of it, and it will take a little getting used to before I can. The program is called SCRIVENER and it's supposed to be a tremendous aid to writers in dealing with book spanning stories and I have to say, from what little I can get out of it now, it does a pretty good job. It allows you to be flexible with your scenes, track information either across the project or just in a certain scene, or search your document and save the search for easy retrieval. The manipulation of your work is possible to an amazing degree.

But what I like the best about SCRIVENER is that it allows you to pull photos and documents from the web or other programs directly into your project for later reference. When you cover a lot of ground on the Internet, picking up documents to educate yourself on unclear matters, you end up with a lot of incidental material all over the place. In PDF files, in web page links, in Word documents, they vary and they multiply. With SCRIVENER you can pull all of these documents in one place, a collection of documents under the label RESEARCH where you can then name them individually so that you will remember what's in the file and store it in any order you wish. Then, when you are working on your project and you need to take an aside to review or refresh yourself on the information that you have gleaned, it's an easy matter of retrieval.

I'm not giving SCRIVENER a glowing recommendation simply because I have not gone though all of it's abilities yet, or its faults. But I do appreciate it greatly now and I have to say I am pleased with it.

Well, that's my overview of what's going on with me. My publication date now looks like it's fast approaching, and I know there will be a pause over the Christmas season, as well as no doubt another pause during the New Years celebrations, so I expect my book to be completed sometime in February, but the good thing is that my author platform is shaping up nicely and at some later date I would like to talk about that some.

Till then, have a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.