Writing

Discoveries about Editing

I’ve recently been throwing myself headlong into editing the second edition of Colonisation and in the course of this undertaking had a bit of a writer’s epiphany.

Before I go on, this is how Colonisation looks right now on my desk:

Colonisation editing

Editing my book by hand, with a red pen and a printed copy has been an extremely cathartic experience and it’s proving to be a great way to reconnect with my work at a very base level. I’m already identifying errors and passages for improvement; heck, I’m even making notations of the improvements to add as I go along! I’m also identifying stupid errors in grammar and spelling that I’m both a bit surprised and ashamed got through.

Reading my work and adding notes in this form has a totally different “feel” to the digital version I toiled over (maybe too  hastily) before. I can disconnect much easier and look at my work in a more critical light, mainly because of the drastic format change and the stark absence of “by Richard Holliday” anywhere on the printout. It’s just Colonisation the book, with space to add notes and scribblings for ideas, identifying plot holes and more

Another epic feeling is progress; with the digital copy, it just felt like and endless stream of words… that just ended. With my printout… I don’t know… I just feel I’m making more “progress” when I can turn a page and get scribbling on it afresh.

I really don’t know how I edited before, but for certain going forward, editing large projects without a stage involving a printed copy is not going to happen. It may cost me a bomb in paper, box files, red pens and toner cartridges but it’s already feeling like time well spent!

Though one thing I’m steering clear of: highlighting passages and simply noting “improve” or “redo”; Future Me cannot remember everything Current Me is thinking, so a few pointers are going in!

As Colonisation remains my first project, I’m as yet undecided as to whether to send it to professional editing. I’m of the opinion that as it’s a pretty narrow-scope book and not too ambitious I can tighten it up myself (after a few passes here) and release it as is, and move on. Rest assured, my next project, the grand space opera The World Eaters will be edited professionally as a project of it’s complex scope will require. Colonisation is more a learning experience than anything else; I’m proud of it as my first book but the best really is yet to come!

Got any editing tips or thoughts on my new workflow? Or are you interested in finding out more about Colonisation? By all means, leave me a comment; I love reading them! :-)

Announcements, Miscellaneous

Getting My House In Order

After a longer-than-expected delay, I’m pleased to say I’m back to blogging, and normal service here is to resume. It’s been a bit challenging, moving house, getting reconnected and with real life well and truly in the way it’s left little time for serious writing activity.

That said, I’m pleased to say that I’ve made an earnest start on the new (and final) edit of Colonisation and a new short story is in the works! I hope to bring a few non-writing topics to bear on my site (but with a serious geek/sci-fi skew to them, to fit my current remit) and also keep up with reviews of content I’m currently enjoying.

I’ll be updating the “currently reading” and “reading list” pages presently! I’ve missed my site rather a lot and having the environment and ideas to compel me to blog again are great!

Miscellaneous, Writing

“The World Eaters” – Name A Star System!

I’m currently on the precipice of commencing editing work on my grand space opera book The World Eaters as the first read through of the draft (simply to refresh my memory) has been an absolute blast and really got me thinking about it and how I can involve more people in the shaping of the work.

I’m not really the most interactive of writers but I have been thinking over the last few days that there is scope for interaction with my audience as I start the process of editing this book. Anyway, as The World Eaters takes place in a ruined yet vast galaxy where two distinctly different factions of surviving humanity jostle for control, I thought it would be fun to get suggestions for the names of star systems that characters and events travel to and take place in.

If you’ve ever played, say, Mass Effect you’ll easily note the abundance of discrete systems on the galaxy map that each have names and histories. I really applaud the writers as I really struggle with names; I have to resort quite often to generators and lucking the draw. Pulling mysterious, somewhat archaic-sounding names for planets, systems, ships etc seemingly out of a hat is really quite tough – and frustrating!

It’s been hard to really pin down the sorts of names I want, but here’s a quick criteria of what I’m looking for if you’ve some ideas rattling around:

  • Classical (Greek, Roman etc) – eg the Herculaneum system
  • Mythological – eg the Hydra system, the Wyvern system
  • Whimsical/random – eg the Hexagon system, the Mezzanine system
  • Unusual Names – eg the Amadeus system

If you’ve any random words rattling about, send them in too!

So how can you participate and possibly have a small hand in the shaping of a sci-fi epic? Either fill out the form below or send a Tweet with the hashtag  (click to send a tweet!)

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