Editing, Scrivner and Backing Up Your Work

The word for today is edit. I’m in the midst of the first of two editing passes I have to make. This one is for mechanics like spelling, punctuation, grammar and the like. This one is difficult because I have to focus on the details and try not to read the story so I don’t miss something by reading what should be there instead of what is there. It is a task that requires discipline because it is not part of the creative process which I enjoy so much. It is, in a word, tedious.

The next editing pass is much more enjoyable because this is the one during which I actually read the book and make changes based upon story flow, word choice and continuity. This is fun because I can never read something I’ve written without tweaking it a bit. Also I haven’t even looked at parts of this manuscript in months. That gives me a fresh take on things because they’ve been out of my mind for a while.

At the end of the day I had gotten eight chapters edited for mechanics and a couple of little content edits because I couldn’t help myself. I’m using an awesome software package called Scrivner from the fine folks at Literature and Latte to do my work. It’s not that pricy and it’s fantastic for writing. I did have one small issue of my own making while editing yesterday. I accidentally moved a chapter. I was looking at a layout of the chapters and I’m using a laptop and the buttons are always jumpy on laptops it seems. This moved a chapter. I had a moment of panic then I realized how easy it is to reorganize a book in Scrivner. It took me a couple minutes to double check the proper order for all of the chapters, then no time at all to make it right. Thankfully I had a saved copy in a word document to check against.

I cannot stress it enough to have a back up of your work, preferably on another computer or flash drive or the Cloud, somewhere. As you may know my laptop died, like really gave it up just after Christmas. It would have been a disaster except I had backed up my manuscript just the day before that happened.

In The Flesh: Details and Delays

Alas, the publish date for In The Flesh has been pushed back.  I’ve run into several problems.  Firstly I’m having trouble writing the final few chapters.  I know the major plot points but the bridging is tasking me.  A lot of exciting character development is happening and it takes quite a bit of time and usually several passes through the chapter to get dialogue even close to right.  This slows me down considerably.  Then I need to research quite a bit to set the landscape properly.  I’m pretty sure the end result will be worth it but the delay is a bit disappointing and I have no one to blame but myself.

There is also the matter of cover art, which I don’t have yet but that’s minor.  It would set my mind at ease to have it but it’s not actually holding up the book at this time.  The artist I’ve selected is fantastic so I know the art will be totally worth the wait.

I’ve been using a word processing software called Scrivner by Literature and Latte and I have been pleased to discover new features as I write.  It’s fantastic software for fiction writers.  It’s quite cumbersome for non-fiction as formatting in that it can be a struggle if you want to mix unlikely formats.  For example I wanted to do a memoir with a cited research sort of scientific notation flavor since there were some facts I had sources for.  Also I wanted distinct sections of the book and that was a chore to figure out how to do.  I’m not entirely certain I’m completely happy with it yet but there is considerable flexibility in the software so I might yet figure out a way.   If you want to keep the same format throughout that’s fairly easy.  I’m going to play with it and see if I can get the headers to be different for each chapter but if not the book title is sufficient and traditional.

Otherwise everything is still moving forward and it is very exciting.  My hopes for In The Flesh are that it’s an easy read, meaning well written with likable characters, an enjoyable read, meaning lots of exciting adventure and plenty of forays into science details, and a classic style science fiction book.  If I succeed in those areas I will be satisfied and I hope readers will love it.