Tag: Editing

The Emperor of Mars: ARCs and First Pass Pages

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The Emperor of Mars is on his way. He’s been planning this for a long time, plotting, scheming. And now he is one step closer.

Yes, he has made it to Advance Reader Copy (ARC) status and First Pass Pages.

Here are *my* ARCs looking excessively handsome.

And here is our new cat, Pebbles, tolerating (just) being put in charge of a copy.

So what does it look like inside? Well, I’m glad you asked! Here it is. This is the first page, along with a new character, George Rackham.

If you can’t read that first page, this is what it says:

Chapter 1: The Trouble with Vine-Mining

I was twenty feet underground, surrounded by glowing blue sandfish crystals, with my head jammed in a beetle-vine warren, when I realized that vine-mining wasn’t for me.

I had seen the notice pinned up outside the local office of the Imperial Martian Airship Company:

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!
ROOT OUT BEETLE-VINES!
SAVE LUNAE CITY!
SIGN UP TODAY!
BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

Perfect, I’d thought. What a great idea.

I had never been so wrong.

You might have thought that living in the middle of Mars’s biggest desert would mean that you never got wet…

* * *

I’ll post the rest of the first chapter closer to publication day (which is on July 18, 2017, since you asked).

I’ve been working on the First Pass Pages (basically, a printout of the ARC), fixing up any last errors, tweaking the odd bit, smoothing things a little, but the ARC is pretty close to what the published book will be. There are typos and a few other minor errors, but the story is the same.

While we’re all waiting for the final, finished book, if you want a chance to win a signed ARC, keep an eye open. I’ll be posting a giveaway in a few weeks time.

Until then!

(Note: cover and the internal illustration above are by Jeremy Holmes.)

My Writing / Editing Process

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I’m in the middle of revising my second book, THE EMPEROR OF MARS, which is the sequel to SECRETS OF THE DRAGON TOMB. Because this is my second time through the process of getting an editorial letter and having to work to it, I’m starting to get a pretty good idea of what my writing and editing process is like.

I’ve come to the conclusion that my first drafts have:

  • Too many words
  • Too many characters
  • Too many plot strands
  • Too much detail and worldbuilding
  • Too much description

Basically, I put in far too much of everything in my first drafts. And I’ve decided I’m okay with this.

Yeah, it makes the editing process difficult. Right now I’m having to unpick a whole bunch of interweaving plot and character strands, remove some of them, and reweave it all into a tighter book.

This is often not easy. I work pretty hard to make everything depend on everything else, and then I have to take huge chunks out, and it all has to still work.

But that’s how I work, apparently. I think in complicated stories. I write too much in a book. That’s just the way my mind works.

And I need an editor. Readers don’t think much about editors. (I don’t when I’m reading a book.) But I would be terrible at this without an editor.

I don’t actually need an editor to tell me *what* to do. I generally know what I need to do. But I need an editor to tell me that I *have* to do it.

I’ve just read a self-published book (I won’t tell you which one) which sounded interesting. And it was interesting. But it needed an editor. It needed to have someone who could tell the author that what they had written wasn’t good enough, that they could do better (and I genuinely believe they could do better), and they’d better get on with *doing better* before they hit “publish”.

My writing process is likely to stay the same for a while, I think, with me writing much too much and then having to cut great chunks of it, but that works for me, so that’s the way I’m going to keep doing it.

Wish me luck.

(By the way, THE EMPEROR OF MARS will be published on January 10th, 2017. Put the date in your diary. You’re going to want to book the week off. ;) )

First Pass Pages

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Things move on. The first pass pages of SECRETS OF THE DRAGON TOMB have arrived!

A sabre tooth is an essential part of any editing process. For those deep cuts.

For those of you who don’t know what they are, the first pass pages are the pages of your manuscript laid out exactly the way they will appear in the final book. Now is the chance to go through and pick out any errors that might have been missed in the so many times you’ve gone through the manuscript before or which have been introduced at recent stages.

When you hold a book in your hand, it has been through SO MANY rounds of editing and checking. For example, once I’d finished editing and revising SECRETS OF THE DRAGON TOMB (which involved at least seven major drafts), it went through:

  • One round of revisions based on my agent’s feedback
  • Two major rounds of revisions based on my editor’s feedback
  • One round of copyedits
  • And now this set of first pass pages.

It’s possible (probable) that there will be more rounds to come (I assume that that is why it’s called FIRST pass pages).

Apparently, at some point in between all of this, writers are supposed to write other books too. :)

First pass pages are where you go through and check every word, every comma, every spelling and have the last chance to pick up anything important that has slipped through the net. You can’t blink or you can miss something. It’s kind of brain-intense.

Now, time to get back to work.