Tag Archives: editing

I’ve been thinking… Scary, I know.

Over the last few months I have found I’ve been questioning my future in the writing world. That’s why my posts have slacked off and I’ve backed away from Friday Fictioneers and my writing challenges.

I like writing. I really do. That isn’t the problem.

It’s the editing and marketing that get me down. I hate both of them (with a fiery passion one might say). I always have and I always will.

Editing in small chunks isn’t too bad, but over the course of a novella or novel I find it to be mind numbing and painful–a headache inducing clusterfuck if you will. I don’t like doing it, but I can’t afford to hire a professional so I’m stuck doing it myself. Last time I checked, the point of life wasn’t to spend countless hours doing things you hate. It’s been awhile since I’ve checked though so that could have changed.

Marketing is a beast of a different color. I hate it because I’m not a people person. I’m shy and awkward and don’t enjoy putting myself out there or shoving my writing down the throats of people. That’s not who I am and I won’t do it. If my books don’t sell because of that then so be it. That’s the way it is. But that also begs the question of whether or not I should even put my writing out there in the world if I’m not going to promote it full force. Currently I don’t know the answer to that so I’m going to keep putting some stuff out there in the ether for all six of you to read. Someday I could change my mind. I really don’t know if or when that will happen, but it might. That’s a warning that someday I might just up and disappear. I’m not saying it will happen, but it’s a possibility.

All of this thinking has led me to a decision, for now anyway.

I’m going to finish the final run through of the Sins of a Father novella, which I’m pushing back to a new tentative release date of October 15th. It was supposed to be Sept 15th, but it isn’t ready yet.  I really like the story, but it has been an unbearable bitch to edit. Every time I think I’ve got things in order more problems pop up that require tweaking. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve run through it or how many hours I’ve invested in those 25,000-ish words. I hope the time and effort I put into it shows, but I’m nervous about it. What if it’s not enough? What if you guys don’t feel the same as I do? What if I put all this time into it and no one even bothers to read it (which would technically be my fault because I don’t like marketing, but it’s still a concern)? Also, just so you’re aware. It’s not horror in the traditional sense, but I don’t know what else to call it. Nothing else seems to fit any better. There are no monsters, just a man whose world is unraveling as he travels down a rabbit hole he can’t escape.

After that my primary focus will be on shorter stories. I’m done with novels/novellas for awhile. I’ll be working on a new project similar to 100 Tiny Tales of Terror. It doesn’t have a name yet, but it’ll be either 300 or 500 word stories, the number of which is also as yet undefined, probably somewhere between 30 and 50. After that I’m thinking 15 or 20 1000 worders, but that’s getting ahead of myself. I plan on finding a few anthologies to hopefully get some stories into as well.

After I finish those things I might revisit a longer project, but I’m not making any promises. In fact, I wouldn’t count on it if I were you. I am a man of few words, both in life and in writing. I feel more at home in the world of short stories than I ever felt with the longer ones. They’re almost always better (not to mention way, way, way easier to edit) than anything longer that I’ve written to date.

Advertisements

Editing with a side of Raspberry Pi

Let me warn you. This post is less about writing and more about me being a geek. Sure, it starts out writing related, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

So I sat down last night to start editing the first draft my novel, which I actually finished a couple years ago. I printed out the first two chapters and started marking them up with a red pen. When I got to the top of the third page I realized that editing that page was pointless because that part of the story had no business being there are all. It was pointless and boring. I ended up completely removing the first seven pages (except the first sentence) and replacing them with a single paragraph. After that I had to stop editing for the night. Do you have any idea how draining it is to sit down to edit only to completely remove the first seven pages of your manuscript. I credit that to being a better writer now than I was when I originally wrote it, but it’s still a bit unsettling to remove such a large chunk at the very beginning. Overall I like the story, but getting it presentable is going to take a lot of work. Although if I keep this rate up of hacking bits out, the 76000 words I previously wrote will turn into a short story by the time I’m done, but if it needs to come out it’s going to come out.

After I sacrificed those first seven pages to the gods I was emotionally drained so I had to quit editing for the night. That’s when I turned my attention to one of my non-writing projects.

I call it my Holiday Pi. I call it that because the brain of the thing is a Raspberry Pi (a mini computer, about the size of a computer mouse) and it will be used to augment my holiday decorating, namely Christmas and Halloween.

This is what a Raspberry Pi looks like. I would have taken a photo of mine but I didn't feel like unhooking all of the wires.

This is what a Raspberry Pi looks like. I would have taken a photo of mine but I didn’t feel like unhooking all of the wires.

What is this Holiday Pi, you ask? Well, it’s a box. Oh, you wanted more than that? Ok, allow me to explain.

I built this box. Then I cut a couple holes in it and put a few power receptacles in the side of it. I then hooked the RPi up to an 8 channel solid state relay board that switches the power outlets on/off on an individual basis when the RPi sends the necessary signal. I know I probably lost you already, but stay with me. It’ll make enough sense to understand what it’s for after I finish explaining… I hope.

Okay, so we’ve got a Raspberry Pi, a solid state relay board, and some power receptacles. The programming in the Rpi turns the receptacles on and off. You’re probably asking yourself, “what is the purpose of this whole setup?” I’ll get to that.

The infamous black box that houses all sorts of strange and unusual things. It's twice as big as it needed to be because half of it is for storage of various other unstrange and usual things used in conjunction.

The infamous black box that houses all sorts of strange and unusual things. It’s twice as big as it needed to be because half of it is for storage of various other unstrange and usual things used in conjunction.

Well I then hooked up a mini amplifier and a set of outdoor speakers. This is where the programming of the RPi comes in. When I send a song through the speakers, it also sends that song through a special program (I didn’t write the original program, but I did some modifications on it to suit my needs) that switches the receptacles on and off, effectively synching them to the song. This means that anything plugged in will turn on and off. If you don’t see where I’m going with this, let me spell it out for you: next year’s Christmas lights will be synced to music, thus making me king of the neighborhood.

As for Halloween I have a couple other programs I wrote: Flicker, Lightning, and Howloween.

I know it's not the prettiest thing in the world with all those wires running about, but I assure you it's perfectly safe. Amp is at the top, Relay board is at the bottom. RPi is on the right.

I know it’s not the prettiest thing in the world with all those wires running about, but I assure you it’s perfectly safe. Amp is at the top, Relay board is at the bottom. RPi is on the right.

Flicker just sets one of the receptacles to be always on, but randomly flicker. This will be used to add lighting to my graveyard setup, lighting that flickers (obviously). Specifically, the plan is to use it with a couple colored lights buried in a bed of fog.

Lightning flickers another receptacle, but starts and ends in the off position and sends a thunder sound clip through the speakers. The combination of the two should produce a decent lightning effect. Good enough for the graveyard in my front yard anyway.

Howloween plays a random sound effect at a random interval. It has nothing to do with the receptacles.

I’m still trying to think of uses for the 6 other receptacles available with the current Halloween setup. If you have any ideas, give them to me in the comments below. I have a plan to make “dancing graves”, which in essence is just like the Christmas display except with lighted tombstones synced to the music, but I’d have to build the tombstones for that one and I’m not sure I want to take on that project quite yet. I’ve got a lot of time until Halloween though, so it might happen.

All 8 are used with the Christmas synchronization so I’d have to expand my box to add anything to that one, and I don’t plan on doing that anytime soon.

Now, I just have to finish my testing and find some music worthy of syncing to lights.

If you’re interested in building your own:
Basics of building the box can be found here.
My program files can be found here.

I tried to warn you…


I’m seeing red…

Sins of a Father draft being edited

This is what my editing looks like. Look how much red there is! And this is a part that doesn’t even have a whole lot wrong with it. What? You didn’t think I was serious about breaking out the red pen? Well I was, and I did.

My goal is to work through a chapter a day with pen and paper to the end before I even think of making any changes to the file on my PC. And once I make it the whole way through all 22 chapters, I’ll be starting back from the beginning and doing it all over again for a second pass to make sure I didn’t miss anything. The upside? The chapters only average about four and a quarter pages each since this is a novella, so tackling one every day is an easily accomplished task.

For those of you who a writers and hate editing your work, I find it’s so much easier to edit with a printed copy and a pen than on a computer screen. It makes me despise the process a bit less anyway, and that’s a good thing. For me personally, the biggest problem with doing it on the computer is that I have a short attention span, so I have trouble focusing on the task at hand when so many other distractions are readily available (internet, email, etc.). I find this is especially true on longer works. Longer works just seem so daunting a task that removing the computer from the equation makes it a bit more enjoyable. Give it a shot next time you find yourself avoiding editing. Just make sure the pen is red so you can easily find your edits when it comes time to transfer them to the computer.