Friday, January 31, 2014

The Red Pen of Life

I’ve spent the last couple of days sitting in front of my computer screen, cursing it. Writer's block, you say. No, no...Well not exactly.  

A little less than a week ago I thought I had a completed story.  The original idea hit me last year some time, and I threw it together in about 3 hours for the Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition, which limited the length to no more than 1500 words.  I didn’t win anything. I’ve tweaked it here and there over the last year, and when I found it again last week, it sat at about 3500 words. The style of this short story is something I haven’t seen done before and really only come up with it as an experiment for the short short, but it like it, so I decided to flesh it out a little bit and publish it on Amazon. Why not?  People weren’t reading it, just sitting on my computer, so why not put it out there so people could. I labored for a few hours and was able to add almost 1300 words to the total length. 

I normally do all my writing on Scrivener, but Word 2013 does a great job of finding all the little things that Scrivener’s not designed to find. Fixed all the errors, formatted it, imported back to Scrivener and compiled my first eBook.  Bam, published. Then I found Amazon Kindle Singles, a program specifically designed for short works of fiction. A place were writers can submit their works and if selected Amazon will promote and sell the work.  I decided that this would be the best place to get publicity, instead of being a small piece of fiction that no one would ever find.

So I unpublished and went back to work.

This week marks the first time I have ever sent my work of to be professional edited and it has been an enormous learning experience.  My friend and writing buddy Scott Moon recommended Samantha LaFantasie to edit the project and said would be “honest and brutal”. This sounded like exactly what I needed. After a couple introductory emails, one of the first things she said to me was, "If I'm pulled into the story it'll make the editing process go that much faster."  I also knew that she was extremely busy working on other projects, including her own manuscripts and I thought, well, I'll get this back sometime around summer. Boy was I surprised when I received an email from her not a day later saying that she’d have my edits back to me the next day. I could barely sleep.

So I woke up the next day, and while I waited for the manuscript to pop into my inbox, I threw down almost 3k words on another project “H”. Sometime around 1 o’clock my phone chimed – you have mail! I opened up the file and scrolled down through the text and wow…talk about red. I mean red was everywhere; I hear I was thinking I’d done a decent job of catching all the mistakes before I sent it out. After the initial shock of “I’m a horrible writer” wore off and I began to see what she’d done, I learned a lot and two days later, I’m still plugging away on it. I think that by the end of next week I’ll have a final, polished project that I can then submit to Amazon Singles, my ultimate goal right now.

Samantha did a phenomenal job editing, and documenting not only the things she didn’t like but also the things that she liked about the project. She was also very quick to respond to any questions I hard regarding changes and additions to the story.

In short, I would recommend anyone who is thinking about looking for an editor to a.) Get one and b.) Consider Samantha LaFantasie, she does fantastic work.

And look for “The Watch” on Amazon! Give it a read and let me know what you think.


1 comment:

  1. Getting edited by a pro is one of the best ways to improve. I feel your pain, but also your elation. It's a big step forward for anyone who is serious about the art.

    Congrats, and keep up the good work! (I enjoyed the first draft of the story.)