Done

Done | Guy L. PaceDone.

Nothing is ever–really–done. Especially writing.

I see places in Sudden Mission and Nasty Leftovers where maybe I could have written them a little better. Why? because I keep going back and re-reading parts. I read parts for events. Nothing brings a rough passage, a poor choice of words or phrase to the front like reading it aloud in front of an audience.

As I work through the first round of edits on Carolina Dawn from my editor and my “first reader” (wife) I find little phrases to improve and events to make more exciting. That means the editor will need to see these. And, I’ll have to go through it to review and accept the editor’s changes when it comes back.

You have to have the will and determination to stop. You must put the work down and move on to production. The whole point is to get it to readers. But, you want to get the very best possible story to your readers. So you give it one more pass through.

The problem with this is that every time you make changes, you have to run those changes before another set of eyeballs. You need that third party to look it over to make sure you haven’t made a horrible mistake, misspelled something, or made hash of a paragraph.

At some point in the process of writing, editing, rewriting, revising, and editing some more … you have to stop. Accept the editor’s changes, save the file and start formatting it for e-book and print. If you don’t, you’ll be stuck in this cycle forever.

Keep writing.

(Note: If you haven’t read the first two books, it might be a good time to do so. That way, you’ll be ready for Carolina Dawn when launchsd.)

 

Scrivener

Scrivener

Scrivener LogoI use Scrivener for all my writing.

My first experience with Scrivener was back in 2012, when I was getting ready to NaNoWriMo my first novel, Sudden Mission. I had recently moved from Windows to Mac and needed a solid writing tool. I didn’t want to spend the cash to get Microsoft Office for the Mac and I did just retire from more than 20 years of supporting, teaching, and hating MS Word. Yes, I hate MS Word. Sorry.

I digress. So, I’ll digress a bit more.

You see, I started playing around with word processors back in the early 1980’s. I had access at the time to a KayPro CP/M machine and learned to use Perfect Writer and WordStar. When I got my KayPro, I became an expert on WordStar, using the WordStar codes, and hacking the application to make it perform better. Back then, there were no spelling or grammar checkers, until some creative types figured out how to add those tools to  WordStar.

WordStar

That was just about the time I moved to a DOS-based Personal Computer (PC). WordStar tried to hang on but the company died. Then, WordPerfect showed up. A company out of Utah created it and it was a very decent word processor. Add-on grammar and spelling checkers started to show up in droves. I messed with a bunch of them and learned a lot in the process.

Then Microsoft created Word. By this point, many places had invested a lot of time and money into WordPerfect and scripting processes in that application. Legal shops led the charge here. I learned to script in WordPefect and created some pretty impressive tools this way. But, Microsoft owned the operating system (DOS at the time). Keep in mind that at this time, a hard drive was not a standard item on PCs. Most PCs in offices were dual floppy disk. So, you booted your PC and ran your programs with the disk in the A: drive, and saved you work on the B: drive floppy. WordPerfect did this for a couple of years when Word showed up. I rarely had to support anyone who lost all their work using WordPerfect. When Word showed up, disasters happened. Word would, arbitrarily hang or quit in the middle of a session. All the work to that point would be gone. Even, in some early versions and when someone saved often (that was like a six-keystroke operation then), the save file on the B: floppy would disappear. Microsoft did nothing about this issue until after about version 4.0.

Word

Somehow, Word began to dominate business word processing. Not because it was the best. WordPerfect was a better, more capable word processor. Then Windows showed up. Now, Microsoft owned Windows and Office. So, they made sure that all the support routines for Office products loaded into memory in Windows, so it seemed that Word and its fellow programs ran faster. But, Windows was slower because of it. Without office, Windows ran great and WordPerfect ran great. There were still times when Word would die in the middle of your work and your file would go away and that was a risk until Windows 95 and WordPerfect was seeing its last days.

We got networked and WordPerfect got sold to a couple different companies and then died out. So, now we have MS Office with Word as the sole word processor. Others tried to take the thunder, but failed. I converted most of my training and scripting processes to Word and that worked until a new version of Word came out and I had to change everything again. Nothing in Word ever seemed to stay put. In one version, Microsoft had the mail merge function flawless. In the next, it was a complete disaster. Things got moved around and much of the update training I did focused on showing users where Microsoft hid their favorite functions.

And, it never got better. For me, anyway.

Move to Mac

When I moved to the Mac after I retired, things changed for me. I used Pages. Gosh, is a very nice little word processor. A lot like the old Word Perfect, but with more page layout capability. I use Pages for letters and short documents. But, getting a large, complex document done in Pages wasn’t really practical. So, I went looking.

Scrivener was the best $50 I ever spent. I can import old projects into it and (with a little preparation) it will break it into chapters, scenes, and have it ready for work. For a new project, it makes me structure it and work in scenes. I really like this. When I want to work on a specific part of a project, I just go to that part. The work on that part does not affect the rest of the project. I can move things around. And best of all, I can compile the resulting project into a Word document or a PDF, or compile for upload to Kindle, Kobo, Nook, or print on demand. Compiling, especially for e-book or print publication, is probably the most complex part of using Scrivener. I spent days on Sudden Mission and Nasty Leftovers getting things just right.

Editing and Revisions

After you complete the first draft, Scrivener helps with spelling and grammar, if you want. But I find Scrivener makes the revision and editing process better because you don’t have to wade through the entire document to find a certain scene. You select the scene you want to work in and go for it. If you use the synopsis feature, you can quickly find a scene by checking the brief description in the synopsis.

Novel templates for Scrivener have reformatted scene and character sketch templates you can use. I find the character sketches are handy when I need to check my notes on a character to make sure he/she is behaving consistent to my description. The novel templates also automatically set up the front matter, cover and other folders so all you need to do is enter the information.

Other templates pre-format for short story/fiction, or even academic research papers. I wish I had Scrivener when I was in college.

So, now I use Scrivener for just about all my writing, except maybe a letter or something like that. It was well worth the time to learn and well worth the price. If you are serious about writing, you should check it out.

Keep writing.

 

Hi, 2017!

2017

Our gift from 2017 is snow.

Deep SnowLots and lots of snow. And cold. Yeah, we got some cold here. Both the weather cold and the virus cold. Not fun together. But, we’re getting past the virus cold.

I’ve cleared the drive and sidewalk on an almost daily basis. The back yard is about knee-deep in the white stuff. There are days I sit in the sun room and look out over the snow and see the beauty. Especially when there is a sun break and it glistens. As I’m writing this (Monday, Jan. 9, 2017), it is snowing again–okay, it was. it stopped again. But, I’ve already cleared the drive and walk twice. We got about four to five inches overnight, and a couple more during the day. The forecast calls for a bit more snow this afternoon and into tomorrow.

The picture on the right shows that our Santa and Baby Jesus decoration is about buried. I shot this photo a few days ago. This morning, the snow completely buried Baby Jesus and you can just see Santa’s hands.

If you followed this blog through the fall, you know I completed a first draft of the third novel in the Spirit Missions series during November. Sudden Mission and Nasty Leftovers are doing well. I’ll dive into this first draft now and do some rewriting. I know I left some things out in the mad rush of NaNoWriMo to hit the 50,000 word mark, and I know I need to work more on the main character’s internal dialog. So, I have my work cut out for me for the next month or so.

Then there is the ending. That’s the part I need to clean up between where I left off at the end of November, and the Epilogue I wrote to kind of wrap up the series. If you read Amy’s Lesson or The Gift, the related short stories I posted here, you’ll get some hints about some of the things that happen in this third installment.

So, here’s hoping for a productive 2017. Let’s all stay healthy, happy, and warm.

Keep writing.

(PS: Yeah, it snowed last night. Two more inches. I gotta have faith that it will stop sometime soon. 😉

Revisions

Revisions

My editor, Brandi, and I are most of the way through the edits and revisions of my draft of Nasty Leftovers (sequel to Sudden Mission).  The working title seems to have stuck and the team hasn’t come up with another title. Oh, well.

So we are on track and may even be ahead a little. I’m thankful for my editor. She has a unique view on my work and brings the hard edge of critique to her edits and suggestions. In all cases, her work has made my work sharper, cleaner, more exciting, and stronger.

We’re in the second novel working together and she now will often just provide a comment at a point in the manuscript where she thinks we should do something different, add a character, add some emotional language. Then she turns me loose to make the changes or additions as I see fit and we smooth things out from there.

I hope and pray that I get to keep Brandi for the third volume, and any other projects I submit to Booktrope and Vox Dei.

As I dreamed of being a published author all those years before, I had no idea what it would be like to work with an editor. During the early revisions of Sudden Mission, I was almost terrified what the editor would think of my approach to some of the changes she suggested. I discovered that an editor is the most important person for an author in a writing project. Sudden Mission became a stronger, more powerful story thanks to her efforts.

Now, when I bring revisions and rewrites to Brandi, I make an effort to use the Oxford Comma, allow my characters to feel and express more, and shake off some of my old lazy-writer habits. I think she makes me a better writer. That’s a good thing.

If you are an aspiring author–still unpublished–this is a relationship to look forward to. You do have to kick your ego to the side and let the editor bring his or her ideas forward. You will be glad you did.

Keep writing.

P.S. I’m still undisciplined and a procrastinator. But, I’m working on that.

 

2016

2016

It is a new year. With it comes new challenges, new opportunities, and new adventures.

Christmas Harley

Happy New Year, 2016!

For me, this year will see the publication of the second novel in the Sudden Mission chronicles of Paul and Amy. I’m really looking forward to getting Nasty Leftovers out to readers. Stay tuned and be prepared for a late March launch from Vox Dei Publishing.

I’m still working on the third novel. So far, it’s an exciting and educational adventure to write. I plan to write it from Amy’s point of view. She’s turned into a powerful young woman and is going to turn things on their head.

I’m planning some library visits, readings, and talks, as well as some other reading/signing events in coffee shops and bookstores. Keep checking back for updates in the Events page. If something is happening in your neighborhood, please come by. Get a book signed, visit, ask questions. You might be surprised at where I’ll show up!

I plan to fill this year with writing, editing, rewriting, more editing, revisions, proofreading–and some motorcycle riding. I look forward to it. I hope you join me on the journey when you can.

Keep writing.