Tag Archives: Editing

So It Begins – Return of the Author!

Hi everyone!

I’m back!  …….I know, I know, it’s been a long time.  I’m so sorry!  I don’t usually like making excuses, but I feel like I owe at least a quick explanation.

It boils down to life being busy and the need to work on writing, or more to the point, proofreading and editing.  I know that writing a blog doesn’t take a long, long time out of each week, but given how little time I’ve had to work on anything writing related, those extra minutes or couple of hours have been precious.

Rise of the Forgotten

But it was well worth it.  Because three novels will be available very soon!  I’ve finished all proofreading and editing on all three novels, gotten two proof copies (and found changes needed on the covers,)  and now ordered what I hope will be the final proof copies of all three novels!

What that means is cover reveals may finally be coming!  Hopefully as soon as next weekend!!!!

Having said all of that, I wanted to get back a little bit to this blog’s roots and talk about some of what I’ve learned these past few months about my writing style, and the changes I’ve noticed.

Editing Through The Years

Cover by Christian Michael

Editing these three books has been a unique and eye-opening experience, because each of these three were written several years apart!  Rise of the Forgotten was written over the course of several, several years, and I believe the first ‘final’ draft was completed in 2013 or so.  Burning Skies was finished I think around 2014, and then Orc War Campaigns in 2016.

Going through and doing a renewed proofread on all three in a row, I’ve discovered just how much my writing has evolved and improved over the years.  Why do I say that?  Well, let me put it this way.  As I went through and proofread each one, I dog-eared every page that needed work.  And as you can see in the picture below…Rise of the Forgotten needed a TON of work, Burning Skies far less, and Orc War Campaigns very, very little (click the picture to see it larger)

From Top to Bottom: Rise of the Forgotten, Burning Skies, The Orc War Campaigns

And most of it had to do with resolving writing style issues, word choice, sentence structure…some of the choices I made in books 1 and even 2, I read and go “What the hell was I thinking back then??  That’s a terrible way to write that scene!”

I also cut a lot back.  In fact, in both books 1 and 2, I completely cut out entire paragraphs, because they were completely useless paragraphs and they only slowed the story down!

And I, erm, “began to notice” a common issue in my earlier writing…

So It Began

“Cardin Began to move…”

“Sira started to look around.”

“Reis began to sit up.”

“Kailar began to draw her sword.”

Just a small sample of what I found.  Everyone ‘began’ to do things, no one actually did anything.  And I spent a lot of time and effort fixing this issue in each manuscript (but far more often in books 1 and 2, almost no instances of that in Orc War Campaigns.)

Changing “Cardin began to move” to something as simple as “Cardin moved” or even better, “Cardin ambled over.”  Word choice that moves the story forward actively rather than ‘starts to’ move the story forward  but doesn’t actually do it.

That was perhaps the single-most annoying aspect of my older writing style that I found.  Hopefully I caught all examples of it and fixed them all :)

That’s all I have for today, folks!  Check back next weekend for news on the new books, including hopefully cover reveals and, if all goes well, release  dates!

-Jon Wasik

Self-Publishing and the Importance of Editing

Hey everyone!

As I’ve read a few self-published books in-between traditionally-published books over the past year and a half, I’ve learned something that greatly surprises me.  Many of the self-published authors I’ve read have done a better job with editing than traditionally published novels.

spock-skepticalWhaaaaaat?!  No, that can’t be.  Publishing houses have teams of editors at their disposal!  How could they possibly have missed obvious mistakes??

Honestly, I’m not entirely sure how or why that happens.  And it is very true, not all books are edited/created equally.  I’ve read some traditionally published novels that were near-flawless in their editing, and others that had handfuls of mistakes.

riders-revengeHowever, that divide is pretty narrow.  With very few exceptions, traditionally published novels usually aren’t all that bad.  However, self-published novels are another story…

I’ve read some that are almost flawless in their editing (Alessandra Clarke’s novel Rider’s Revenge had maybe one or two mistakes, and none of them were glaring) and then I’ve read some where it seemed like the author hadn’t even tried to edit their own book, let alone get anyone else to edit them…

Why It Matters So Much

To all of my fellow self-published authors out there, I cannot stress enough how important it is to get the editing part right.  For more than one reason.

Firstly, and this is a personal observation that has no statistics to back it up, people generally seem to be more critical of mistakes in self-published novels.  Even a couple of mistakes in a self-published novel, and the people I’ve talked to tend to say something like, “This is why I only read professional writers!”  No joke, I’ve heard someone say that.

Take your work seriously, or others won’t take you seriously.  Go through multiple edits, and if you can, get someone else to edit as well.  Get a friend or family member who’s good with English to edit.  Or better yet, if you can afford it, hire someone!  (I’m strongly considering offering my services as a freelance editor…)

In fact, getting someone else to edit your work is probably your best bet as the highest quality, because I’ve noticed too often that if it’s your own work, it’s much, much easier to miss mistakes.  Just look at the mistakes in my blog articles for evidence of that ;)

What it ultimately comes down to is this: glaring errors in your novel will stop the reader flat in their tracks.

Image source - http://il9.picdn.net/shutterstock/videos/10259909/thumb/1.jpg
Image source – http://il9.picdn.net/shutterstock/videos/10259909/thumb/1.jpg

To give an analogy, imagine you’re out on a romantic sunset walk with your significant other.  The trail you’re on is beautiful, the sky is alight with oranges and reds and purples.  Hand in hand with your love, you are enjoying the journey that is so perfect and so…

And then you come across a dead body on the trail.

….Well, that certainly made you stop, and go “Wait, what?!”  Suddenly the romance is gone, the walk is over, and how do you move on from there?  This is the sort of jarring effect a typo or misspelled word has on many, many readers.  We’re yanked out of the story, and it becomes very, very difficult to recapture the mood.

Ultimately, I’ve never found a single novel, traditionally published or self published, that had zero errors, so don’t stress so much over it that you never publish your work.  But please do take editing seriously, for your benefit and the benefit of your readers.

And for the record, editing can save lives.  Commas can save lives.  Because the difference between, “Let’s eat Grandma!” and “Let’s eat, Grandma!” is huge!!  ;)

Image Source - www.dailytelegraph.com.au
Image Source – http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik