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Thoughts on Publishing – Infinitas Publishing Status Report

Wow, time flies. O_O

It’s time for another Infinitas Publishing status report!

The Wishing Blade: Magic’s Stealing (Book One) – I’ve just about got the print version ready. I’ve gone through the first proof and searched for typos, and one of my beta readers graciously agreed to look through it a (third? fourth?) time, and they pointed out a few grammatical suggestions here and there. I’ve made notes about which changes I plan to implement, and my next step is to apply those changes across the three files (print edition, Kindle edition, and Smashwords edition), then order a proof copy to make sure my formatting is still correct. Shouldn’t take too long, but I don’t want to rush and accidentally botch something.

Also, at the suggestion of my beta reader (and the encouragement of Isaac), I went ahead and polished up the Cirena map. So the print edition should have this map, and once I release the print edition, I’ll also update the ebook editions with it, as well. 🙂

SBibb - Cirena Map

(Read about my earlier map-making process here.)

The Wishing Blade: The Shadow War (Book Two)- I’m about where I was last time I wrote one of these reports (*Cringe*). However, my NaNoWriMo goal is not to complete 50,000 words, but to revise the first portion of this book, then finish writing the rest of it so that I can hand this over to beta readers. Let’s see if we can get this story on track.

The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel – I’ve given the first thirteen episodes their basic revisions, and I’m currently polishing episode five, including the end scene. In addition, I’ve been sending these off as I finish them to our beta reader for this series, and she’s been giving us good notes that I intend to implement. Then Isaac will go over them one more time to make sure any revisions I made fit with his vision, and afterwards, we’ll start releasing them. The goal is to release the first six episodes at one time, with one episode a week following that. We still need to make tweaks to the Multiverse blog site, and the release has been put on hold until we have our Battle Decks game ready.

In the meantime, Isaac’s NaNoWriMo goal involves writing the rough draft for season two of The Multiverse Chronicles. 🙂

Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel -We’re off schedule on this project. Got the latest proof in, found a few minor edits to tweak, but then we had a friend come over who pointed out a lot of things that could help make the game stronger. As such, Isaac adjusted one hero character card into a basic reinforcement card, brought in a new hero card (he already had the sketch completed, but I need to clean it up in Photoshop and color it). Plus, Isaac’s changed a few stats and abilities on the other cards, and changed what certain abilities actually do. As such, this game is going to be released later than planned. Hopefully next month, if we’re able to get a new proof ordered in the next couple weeks. Not only that, but we’re currently considering offering two editions–one that has dice and tokens and a full, easy-to-read set of rules, and one version which only has the cards and a single sheet of rules (harder to read, but we’ll have the rules available for free online), which should also be a bit easier on players’ pocketbooks.

Phalanx – Won’t be released for a while, but this is a board game Isaac put together based on a game that’s mentioned in one of the Multiverse episodes. Something like a cross between Chess and Tetris. Look for more details in the upcoming months. 🙂

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration – Working through book covers, per usual. Finalizing a couple and working on the proof of another.

Lesson to be learned?

Give yourself plenty of time to complete projects. Count on needing to make more revisions than planned. Come out with a stronger product in the end…

And try not to pull out your hair in the meantime.

I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂

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Thoughts on Writing – Proofreading as a Reader

If you read my previous post, you know that I recently got in my paperback proof copy of Magic’s Stealing in the mail. My main goal was to make sure the formatting was correct, so I debated whether or not to correct typos, and then order a new proof (the answer is now ‘yes’), or to leave it be and not risk messing up the formatting.

But my concern was that trying to save money by not ordering a second proof would cost sales in the long run. (Read this BookBaby blog post for more about saving now costing more in the long run… though my main take from this was not to order a bunch of books before you’ve had someone else look at it).

Having found a couple of particularly stubborn errors in the paperback copy, I’ve decided that fixing those typos now, and then ordering a new copy, would be my best bet. That way I can put my best work forward (I’ll update the ebook versions once this is finalized) before purchasing a large number of books to hand-sell or giveaway. By ordering a new proof once I make the changes, I can also make sure I didn’t mess up the formatting.

The question is, what types of changes should I make?

There are two sorts of “errors” I’ve caught thus far: typos (for example, ones’ self instead of oneself, or “That’s the only string magic visible to a ribbon mages…” plural vs singular issue), and style choices (for example, whether or not to combine two paragraphs instead of leaving them separate).

For the most part, style issues will remain the same. Grammatically, they are correct, and that’s just me being picky. (Read this Fiction University blog post for ideas about when to stop revising).

However, typos will be corrected (the ones I find, anyway).

But why is it that, when we read our work with a fine-tooth proofer’s eye, we still miss things?

Why is it that even traditionally published books, with a lot of backing to their names, still have typos, when they have the funding to hire professional editors?

Part of the problem is that we know our work, so we know what it should say.

Even when reading aloud, or printing off a manuscript and scrutinizing it sentence-by-sentence, we’re going to miss some of these typos. We automatically correct them. Even proofers and editors will occasionally lapse and miss something, especially if they’ve been looking at the manuscript for a while (one editor I know said they limit the number of words they’ll read in a manuscript per day in order to avoid this problem).

Inevitably, however, we get our books printed, read through them later, and there it is… a giant, glaring typo.

Why do we see them now?

Well, one factor is time. With more distance from our work, we’re more likely to forget what we intended, so it’s “new” again. (This is why you see all those suggestions about waiting a few weeks or months between major edits).

Another factor is that you may have made an edit in the previous version of the book to correct a different typo, but in doing so, you accidentally hit a backspace key or inserted an extra letter, or you didn’t read the sentence fully after making adjustments. Whatever the problem, the previous edit created a new typo, which then was not proofed.

The final factor that I’ve been considering is perspective.

I went in trying to read the paperback proof of Magic’s Stealing as a reader–that is, I had no intentions of making edits. I wanted to try to enjoy the book as a reader, only noting typos if I saw them. I mean, that’s part of the reason we want to write, isn’t it? So that we can one day enjoy the fruits of our labor and read the book like a reader would? (Or maybe that’s just me).

Point is, when you read your manuscript in a format that is  the final format, and you read it as a reader, with no intention to edit, you’re likely to catch new typos. Your eye lingers just a bit longer on that odd word, because something threw you out of the story, which you were enjoying for story’s sake.

But that’s just a theory. A I’ve-been-watching-too-much-Game Theorists-theory (If you want to see video and computer game plots picked apart, this is a pretty good Youtube series. So is Film Theorists, but for movies and TV shows.)

Now, I’ve got to get back to editing The Multiverse Chronicles and proofreading Magic’s Stealing for typos.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. 🙂 Have you found any tricks for catching typos before you release your stories or send them to an agent?

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Thoughts on Writing – To Time Travel or not to Time Travel

In my current manuscript, The Wishing Blade, I’ve been streamlining the original story while striving to maintain the overall tone. I started the original draft in 2003, and I set it aside for several years before pulling it out again this year to revise it into a workable manuscript. While some plot points have been easy to keep or discard, there’s one point I’ve been going back and forth on… whether or not to keep the time travel incident in the novel or whether to remove it all together.

Now you get to have a first hand look at my thinking process regarding revisions… all while I try to work this out for myself.

First, let’s look at reasons to remove this incident:

1. Potential Confusion: I have a tendency to confuse people once I start talking about time and dimensional travel in my stories, and I’ve seen agents list ‘no time travel’ in what queries they accept. (However, the last point is negated since I intend to self-publish this particular story. And technically, while some agents might not want time travel, others might. So this bullet revolves entirely on whether or not the incident is confusing to readers and pulls them out of the story.)

2. Potential Loss of Tension: One of the main characters must ‘die’ if the time travel incident remains. The other character goes back in time with the aid of the gods, and they prevent the death of the other character. There are complications that arise once the character returns to the present, but those complications are minimal. Worse, by showing readers that there’s an object that does allow time travel in this particular universe, any future sequences threatening the main characters’ lives is moot, because readers may then wonder why the characters don’t just go back in time and fix it?

3. Unnecessary Plot Point: At this point, the time travel device only allows time travel once in the story. It does do other things, but I could pretty easily remove the time travel incident and chalk up its bizarre powers to other magic.

Possible solutions:

1. Streamline the sequence: Make sure what happens is clear to readers (or is as clear to the readers as it is to the main characters…).

2. Consequences: To avoid loss of tension, I could make sure there are consequences to going back in time. (In this case, I need to make sure those consequences are clear to both character and reader). Also, I could make the complications that arise from time travel a little more immediate. This was actually the case in the original draft, but was removed when I didn’t find a reasonable place to reinsert the point. (And this is a good example of where having fresh eyes to look at a manuscript can be useful, because you might remove an important tidbit without noticing the resulting effects).

3. Increase Relevance: Similar to the point about consequences, if I can better tie in the time travel incident to the main plot, along with making the incident crucial with what’s to follow (along with the irony of the incident regarding the antagonist), the incident shouldn’t feel out of place. Linking the antagonist further into this scene could also improve the overall story.

Besides the reasons I might remove the incident, I’m also considering reasons to keep the incident:

1. Character Development and Increased Tension: We get to see the antagonist step forward to protect one of the main characters– and get a hint as to why, and what she’s willing to do if that character dies (and remains dead). The goal? Tension rises as the character she’s trying to protect risks their life time and time again, because if the antagonist loses said character, all bets are off in regards to what she’s willing to do to achieve her larger goal, and what she isn’t.

2. Magical World Building: We have an explanation of why the ‘time travel device’ reacts a certain way to the bad guys later. Cause and effect comes into play, and the world gets a little more exploration. And we get to see more of the various character relationships.

3. Time Travel Is Cool: I like time travel and dimensional world travel. I know, that’s not a good excuse. But really… we’ll get to see the effects of time travel first-hand in the story. We don’t just hear about it from a side character.

4. Paradoxes! Or so the characters think…: The incident sets up tension between the antagonist and protagonist, because the protagonist knows who the antagonist is but doesn’t know how they got there…

This is a case where beta readers will come in handy. They’ll help decide if the time travel plot point should be removed altogether (requiring a light restructuring of the plot), or whether the plot point works. For now, (thanks in part to having a friend enthralled by the backstory of the antagonist), I’m going to keep the incident.

So… onward to editing, and I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know what you think, and please let me know if there’s any topics you’d like me to cover. 🙂


Filed under Personal Work, Writing