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2014-08-17

PK2 - Editing continues

I was so focused on continuing to edit Peacekeeper 2 this morning that I nearly forgot it was time to put out a new post. This one will be relatively short as I'm anxious to get back to editing.

The initial draft used a large number of scene separators within chapters, especially to indicate a switch to another location. The switches were so dramatic I decided to make them into chapters instead. So, my chapter count is changing. Instead of removing material (which is common during editing) I've been adding large chunks of stuff. Word count is now over 82,000 and climbing. Feedback from my fan turned copy-editor is that the book is greatly improved following editing. My proof reader (my wife and grammarian) also agrees. I'm getting a very good feeling about the quality of this book.

I will not rush getting this out for publication. If it takes another 2 months then so be it. I'm a self-published author and I don't have to rush to meet a deadline. But I know people are waiting for this book so I am going to continue editing as often as I can. I am over 1/4 of the way through and moving along at a good pace.

I received a question from a reader in Germany the other day (yes I'm talking about you Ekkehard). He's an engineer and asked a very relevant question. I mention that Tom's new cybernetic limbs are significantly heavier than his original biological limbs. This leads to a question of whether or not the limbs would pose a problem at the connection site until the full cybernetic conversion process is complete. He suggested cybernetic 'training limbs' made of lighter components. That's the level of detail that science fiction readers are capable of and known for. This is also the kind of feedback I love! He's right too - if I ever go back and make some changes to Peacekeeper I will address this problem. Thanks and great job Ekkehard!

Oh, that wasn't the only question he had either. We had a nice back and forth discussion concerning his other questions as well. If you feel inclined to write me about something in one of my books, I will write you back. I will keep this practice as long as I can. Some authors have had to stop doing personal feedbacks because their inbox becomes too overwhelming. I'm not even close to that yet.

I did sort of want to talk about my programming job (another passion of mine) but I will leave that for a later day. Now - it's back to editing.

2014-08-10

PK 2 - Editing

After receiving some very good feedback from my new copy-editor as well as some from my writers group, I've decided to go back to chapter 1 and revise. This will mean another delay but I think you will be pleased with the results once the book is released. I will be working hard at finding at least an hour each day for editing to speed the process up.

My big problem with the Galactic Alliance series - especially PK2 - is my familiarity with the GA universe. I've been living with GA technology (in my head of course) since the early '70s. It's so familiar with me that I just let some things pass in the books without describing them. Now, many writer books say that in science fiction the tech should just be there. The books should show the tech without having to explain it. The reason they say is because explaining the technology detracts from the story you're trying to tell. This might be okay for some things and for some types of science fiction, but I have to disagree when it comes to the GA series.

There are some things that will never be explained, like how a shield works. But other things need some explanation or at least some further details added. For instance, the Peacekeeper's biolink is a marvel of engineering but it has its limitations. It cannot allow a PK to control his entire ship by his mind alone. The biolink can sense thoughts and it can--on a simple level--send them, as well. But it cannot immerse the PK into a virtual reality world. If you've read Peacekeeper then you know I've used a total virtual reality world before. This is easy for a PK because the ship's AI simply has to take over control of the PKs cybernetic systems and use the existing connections from these devices to trick the PK into thinking he's in a virtual world. Did I explain this in sufficient detail in Peacekeeper? I'm not sure.

The point is - PK2 is going to be delayed by a few weeks and it's going to be a far better product for it. I will be sending my wife individual chapters to proof as I finish them so the re-write/editing/proofing process will continue in parallel.

Thank you for your patience. I'll let you know how I'm doing with this blog.

2014-08-03

Peacekeeper 2 editing

The editing of Peacekeeper 2 is continuing and will move even further along as soon as I post this blog entry. Right now, I am on page 59 of 151 pages. Lee Dilkie (fan turned copy-editor) suggests I write a prologue. After talking around with others, I've decided he's right. That means I will need to write a short introduction to Peacekeeper 2. The ebook version will include a hyperlink to skip the prologue if the reader is familiar with the series.

I've usually had a couple of people read my novels before publication and in recent years I've had my wife check out the book for grammatical mistakes. Most of the comments I get back are similar to: "good book", "I liked it", and "great job". These are 'feel good' comments and are not what I'm looking for from a beta reader. The reviews I get on Amazon and other sites also fall short. If someone reads one of my books I like to hear suggestions for improvement. When I collect enough of these I will even go back and revise previously published works.

What Lee is doing for me is far different and it's the sort of feedback I've needed for some time. A copy-editor does much more than read a manuscript and generate a short review. A copy-editor looks for inconsistencies, identifies sections where improvements can be made, and ensures the overall story structure is intact and holds the reader's interest. A copy-editor is usually not concerned with grammar although there's no reason why that level of detail can't be done at the same time. I told Lee he was working off a second draft and not to worry about grammar - that's my wife's territory.

The result was a document with helpful comments and suggestions. I began Peacekeeper 2 with one goal in mind - to write a novel that allowed a reader to learn about an alien culture. I've found that's not such an easy task. It is very difficult to create an alien culture because we humans know only our own and it's a very narrow slice of what exists elsewhere on our own planet. There are cultural differences between different areas of the United States as well as different countries. Many people are completely unaware of these differences and even subtle nuances can create friction between two people. If we have this sort of problem among humans, imagine what it's going to be like when we encounter an alien species.

I would like to add a polite reminder. If you know of anyone who would be interested in reading this blog please ask them to sign up for my mailing list. The sign-up form can be accessed by clicking here.

I hope to have Peacekeeper 2 ready for publication in about a month. A lot of it rests on finding the time to do my final editing as well as my wife's grammatical checks. Her mom is currently in the hospital and time to proof my book will be hard to find. I will keep you informed through this blog.