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05-25-2013: Editing

I have read in a number of books on writing that it's usually a good idea to set aside a draft for 6 weeks before going back and editing it. I always thought such advice didn't make much sense. I'm beginning to wonder if I was wrong. I finished all but the last few chapters of Peacekeeper back in mid-March and then was forced to set it aside during the recent refueling outage at the power plant where I work. During that forced hiatus I thought of many things that needed enhanced and changed. When the editing started, the changes began to flow. I will most likely follow this practice from now on even though it's very hard to do.

I am now back to normal work hours and editing of Peacekeeper is well under way. I added quite a bit of new material to chapter nine - so much so that I was forced to split it into two separate chapters to keep it from becoming too large. I like to keep my chapters at around 2,500 words. The new material significantly enhances the main character's interactions with a member of an alien species. It also brings out a problem that the main character must deal with regarding his family. This makes for a much better story as the reader is able to connect with the main character on a more intimate level. It also accomplishes one of the goals of this book - delving into greater detail into the culture of an alien society. So far I am quite pleased with the results.

I will be working 12-hour nights starting Monday night. Usually, things are rather slow on a holiday night and I should be able to get some additional editing done. I'm also working on a computer program at work - something I haven't done in several years. It's an Access database program that will read a text version of something we call the Plant Data Book. Once I have the code tested and the sections of the Plant Data Book I want, loaded into a database, I can make things significantly easier on the technicians next outage. I think engineering and planning might also want a copy of this database once it's done. I love programming and this sort of programming was once my forte when I was in CMIT (Computer Maintenance & Information Technology). Unfortunately, those days are gone.

I did play hooky from editing today. I spent the entire day doing yard work. It needed done and I had the time. I will be doing editing tonight after my wife goes to bed. I'll be staying up in preparation for 12-hour nights. If all goes well, I hope to have Peacekeeper ready for my wife's proofing in about 2 months.

In other news (quickly) I will be going to Launch Pad again this year. I've cancelled the trip to Convergence in Minnesota. I am reading "17 And Gone" by Nova Ren Suma whom I met at Launch Pad last year. It's a YA novel and most definitely not something I would normally read. But, I know the author and sometimes it's good to read something different. And, finally, book sales are slow but steady. I continue to get very good reviews. I don't understand why sales have not picked up. I certainly don't understand why sales went nuts last year sending my Galactic Alliance series almost into the top 100 books on Amazon. If anyone understands why things like that happen, please enlighten me.


05-13-2013: The editing has begun!

Just thought I would let everyone know - I've started editing Peacekeeper. I've moved chapter 1 and it is now a re-written chapter 2. The new chapter 1 introduces the main character and sets the story rolling better. I had to do the re-write to make the actions of the 'bad guys' consistent. I guess it really does help to set a manuscript aside for 6 weeks.

It's late and I'm going to keep this entry very short - until next time...


05-07-2013: The numbers just didn't add up

My forced absence from Peacekeeper may have resulted in some benefits. Even though I'm not writing or editing I've been constantly going over the entire story line in my head nearly every day. A few days ago, I woke up to find that my subconscious had uncovered a rather major flaw that will require some significant rewriting of the last half of the book. To me, the numbers have to be believable and if anyone bothered to think about it they would have found the error. It must be corrected.

I don't want to give away too many of the details but here is the gist of what happened: A group of humans have left Earth to form a colony of their own. Starting population was set at around 45,000. Zoom ahead 50 years where Peacekeeper takes place and this small population has somehow managed to build a fleet of warships. Now here's where the numbers don't add up. If you take the number of supposed warships and multiply it by the assumed crew-size of each ship and add the number of people required for support you quickly discover that the population must have been rising at an incredible rate. Everything about this from the starting population to the size of the fleet to the conditions on their new planet has to be revised.  I've got it worked out and doing the editing shouldn't be too hard.

I will also be altering some of the books events to bring everything into focus. So when can I start editing? Soon! The nuclear plant I work at has experienced a minor setback that will take about 4 days to correct. If all goes well, I will be back to a normal work schedule starting May 13. I won't be able to start editing though until May 17 when I have my first of three days off in a row. If you're an author with a full-time day-job you might be wondering why I don't steal a few minutes here and there at work to work on the book. Several reasons: I barely have enough time to eat my lunch and many times while eating I'm reviewing my next job; What little free time I do have usually happens in the morning and since I eat breakfast these days at the plant I can't eat and type at the same time - so I read; I use Scrivener and running it from a portable hard drive would violate my company's cyber-security rules.

What about editing on my one day off? Sorry, that day belongs to my wife. I could try editing in the morning but that would mean 6 days between editing sessions. Won't do it because the continuity of thought would not be there and it would show in the manuscript. I tried that when writing and you could almost see when each day's writing session began. A break of a few days is okay after 3 or 4 days of writing each day but not one day on, six days off. Peacekeeper will be my priority once I can start editing again and I will stick to it until it's complete and ready for publication.

Thanks for waiting.