Tag Archives: historical

Editing the “Final” Draft

10 Jul

This month, I’m covering my editing process. If you haven’t read the first two steps—My Editing Process Starts in My Writing Process and Editing (Rewriting) the First Draft—then check those out now. Today is the last post about editing, but, as always, feel free to ask questions! We are discussing the “final” draft.

The “Final” Draft

So you have a solid manuscript. This means you have written, rewritten, and revised everything a couple of times. You’ve checked your weak spots and tightened your prose and wrote the best damn thing you could write. Awesome! But the editing process is not over. This part of my editing process focuses more on grammar than anything else, but as usual, I almost always continue to edit my prose. I might find weak sentences or (gasp) a contradiction in my story. That’s okay. It’s important to not get deterred, but there’s a few things you can do to help yourself out in this stage.

Here’s some photos from my editing process! (Cats are necessary.)

Print it Out

There’s only so much you can accomplish on the computer. You might think you can see all of your errors on your laptop, but trust me, reading your work through a different medium will show you new mistakes. On a side note, you can also try to read your book in a different font or color before you print it out. I tend to print it out when I know I still have a lot of editing to do, including rewrites. Why? Because I love to physically cut up my manuscript and shift things around. (This might be a result of passive-aggressive behavior, also known as rage writing, but it helps.) I’m also obsessed with different colored pens. I’ll use one for grammar, another for story issues, and another one that has authority over my other pens. (Like if I change my mind about a particular edit.) Other office supplies that come in handy include binder clips, paperclips, and Sticky Notes. But—basically—get physical with your “final” copy. Feeling it in your hands might help you feel better, too. The weight of all those pages can be a little overwhelming, but think of all you’ve accomplished! You. Are. Awesome.

Read Out Loud

I cannot stress how important this is…Though, I also want to admit that I used to NEVER do this. I thought it was one of those writing tips that could be skipped over. I mean, reading it out loud seems like it would take a long time. And it does. I won’t lie to you. Reading my manuscript out loud is probably the most time-consuming task in my editing process, but I also learn more than ever when I read out loud. I stumble over awkward sentences. I hear unrealistic dialogue. And I reread the same sentences over and over again, just to check the flow of the overall section or piece. Reading out loud, or listening to your book out loud, will help you discover more than you realize.

Check Back In With Those Notes

Remember all those notes that you took in the first two steps? Read through them again. Get to know every inch of your manuscript and make sure each thread is carried out consistently and accurately. In regards to grammar, keep a list of issues you know you struggle with. If you’re constantly switching then and than around, check every single one of them, and then check again. I am super bad about soldier, for instance, though I think my computer is the one autocorrecting my typing to solider. Knowing yourself—and your technology—will help you find mistakes faster…which means you get to that final draft quicker, too. Though, don’t forget, editing is NOT a race. Do not rush it. Take your time. Breathe. Ask for help. And keep going until you have that final draft you love.

Finally, Why Final is “Final”

No matter how many times you edit your own work, you will have to edit it again. Take publishing as an example. When you complete a manuscript and submit it to an agent, they might request a Revise & Resubmit. Even if they offer representation, chances are they are going to go through some edits with you before they submit to editors…and when you’re chosen by an editor, chances are they will have additional editing notes for you to work with…and then, it’ll be out in the world and there will still (inevitably) be mistakes. So new editions will have corrections. And editions after that will have even more corrections. (They were finding mistakes in the fifth edition of Harry Potter, for instance.)

Your work will never be perfect, and while you should always strive to create the best product possible, you should strive to embrace the editing process more…because you’re going to be editing often. 

I try to think of editing as another writing process. That way, it feels more fun and less overwhelming. Taking breaks between edits has helped me immensely and so has falling in love with new office supplies.

Create rituals, take care of yourself, and keep writing.

Editing is just another part of your publishing journey.

Embrace it.

~SAT

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My Editing Process Starts in My Writing Process

26 Jun

The other day I asked you all what topic you would most like me to cover, and editing rose to the top, so…I decided to post a month-long series on this topic—mainly because my editing process is as complicated as my writing process, and I want to get as in-depth as possible. So you can expect two more posts after this one.

I want to start off by saying that my editing process varies per project, just like my writing does, but I will try to cover various types to hopefully give you all some ideas. But editing is a lot like writing. We all have different paths, and you have to find what works for you.

Today, I’m concentrating on how my editing process starts during my writing process.

That’s right.

I’m already editing—or at least prepping my editing—while writing the first draft.

Why? Because writing and editing go hand in hand, and if you keep them in mind as you go, it will save you time and energy and pain in the long run.

1. Try to Finish First, Edit Later

You might have an outline, you might not. That’s okay! Either way, try to finish as much of your first draft as possible before you begin editing. Why? Because you will learn unexpected aspects about your story as you write, and those little surprises—as awesome as they are—can change a lot about your novel as a whole. It’s better to know as much as possible before you start changing things. That way, you won’t get lost in various drafts or ideas or shifts in plans. Just jot down a note and move on. That being said, I used to be one of those writers who would immediately go back and edit previous chapters if a huge twist surprised me (and changed the first few chapters). Honestly, I still do this to some extent, but I’ve tried to hold myself back from doing it too much. Why? Because that issue might change again and again and again. Why waste time rewriting sections when you might have to rewrite them again after that? Recently, for instance, one of my characters began as a five-year-old but then morphed to an eight-year-old later on in the story. Instead of going back and rewriting everything now, I jotted down a note, because, let’s be real, his age could change again. This brings me to my notes…

If you really want to get fancy, create checklists. Checklists might include scenes, world building, character facts, etc. Check them off when they’re mentioned. Take a note of where, too.

2. Take Notes – and I mean a lot of notes

Before you ever start your novel, even if you’re a panster, take notes on what you know, and continue to take notes as you learn more. This is one of the reasons I love Scrivener. I can update individual chapter notes, settings, and character profiles while I write. Here is a basic list of editing notes I keep while writing the first draft:

  • Overall Editing Notes: This can be large-scale edits or simple facts, like my character’s age changing. This is also where I include notes that I feel like I will forget. In my latest manuscript, for instance, my top editing note is “Make sure Meri doesn’t call herself a princess.” Why? Because her language doesn’t have a word for it, but English obviously does, so I keep slipping on that description. These are notes that tend to affect the story as a whole.
  • World Building Notes: Right now, I’m working on my first historical novel, but I find historical novels need just as much note taking as my science fiction and fantasy. Your world building doesn’t necessarily need to make sense in your first draft, but jot down what you figure out as you go. That way, you can adjust these rules and details after you finish your first draft, and you have a clear list to work off of. This will help you make sure that it makes sense.
  • Chapter Notes: As I write, I might realize that Chapter Two needs to be Chapter Ten, so I will go to that chapter and write down notes regarding that decision. This will help me restructure my outline later on. Chapter Notes might also includes notes for that particular chapter. For example, on Chapter Three in my WIP I put a note at the top to mention the goddess of war and disease, because I realized later on that Chapter Three was the perfect opportunity to explain this aspect of the world building, but I didn’t know that at the time of writing Chapter Three and I currently don’t have time to find the exact placement right now. I will find it later on or decide to move it again as I continue to write. Having that note, either way, will remind me that it is both missing from the story and could be placed there.
  • Character Notes: As I learn about my characters, I write down facts, especially ones that surprise me. This can be anything, including what clothes they’re wearing or how they’ve grown emotionally over their lifespan. I write down almost everything, including obvious notes (like hair and eye color) and specific notes (like they broke their arm when they were three).

I know this might seem like a lot of notes, but you never know how long it will take you to write a book…and you might be close to it now, but you will forget things. Having a reference guide to your story will help you transition into editing faster and more efficiently. You can also use it for sequels! You will love having that reference guide, and it will save you a lot of searching time later.

3. Once You Complete Your First Draft

Organize all of your notes. This means writing down the current outline you have and what outline you’re planning for your second draft. I tend to start with my Overall Editing Notes and then go through my Chapter Notes, then my Character Notes, and make a plan. At this point, I probably have a solid idea of where I want to go and what I need to change, but put some distance between your first draft and the editing stage. You’d be amazed at how much clearer your issues will become when you let the project go for a week or two (or a month or two). Go draft up a different project while you wait, but don’t jump into editing immediately. Breathe. Celebrate that first draft. You deserve it.

Now you’re ready to continue!

Next Monday, I’ll cover what editing my first draft is like, along with some tips to help you during your writing journey.

~SAT

#SATurdate: The Lobster, My 25th Birthday, Spotlight, and Outrun The Moon

25 Jun

What I’m Writing:

I’m officially writing in the mysterious book I call “S.” It’s unrelated to The Tomo Trilogy and Dreammare, believe it or not, but I love it all the same. Right now, I only have the first two chapters written, mainly because I’m still world-building, and I imagine this novel is going to take a LONG time. That being said, I drew the official “map” this week—a modern map and a historical one—so you might guess this is a fantasy book. It’s also a very musical book, especially in regards to the protagonist, so I held a little dance party with her this week. She rejoiced. (And we argued about Elvis…Something we disagreed on severely. I mean…he’s my hero. My HERO. And she hated him. #Fail)

What I’m Publishing:

My monthly newsletter went out this week! There are a million ways to win prizes—including signed paperbacks of Bad Bloods—so check out the newsletter by clicking here. I’m looking for bloggers to help with release day! So, let me know if you’re interested at shannonathompson@aol.com. (Also, if you want to review Bad Bloods on your book blog, feel free to mention it!)

Babbling Books Bookstagram

Babbling Books Bookstagram

Specials thanks goes out to my latest reviewers. What did they think of Bad Bloods: November Rain? “Fresh and alluring. November Rain is an amazing treat. I loved it and can’t wait to be an avid fan of the series. The series is definitely going to be worth drooling over.”Read, Watch, and Think

“A fast paced fantasy and sci-fi story full of exciting characters with their own fascinating abilities and background stories. Didn’t disappoint one bit! For fans of Red Queen and Shatter Me: this one is definitely something you should check out!” Book Prints

Book Prints and Babbling Books also shared photos on Instagram! So, check them out. Babbling Books review of November Rain said, “I’m looking forward to delving into the next book to see what unfolds for the characters as I get deeper into the story.”

Other news? There’s a new Goodreads Giveaway going on for November Rain! Enter below.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

November Rain by Shannon A. Thompson

November Rain

by Shannon A. Thompson

Giveaway ends July 16, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Clean Teen Publishing is also throwing a Facebook party on July 8 from 6-8 PM (EST), where—you guessed it—there will be MORE prizes. Click here to join.

CTP's Sizzling Summer Reads FB Party

CTP’s Sizzling Summer Reads FB Party

This week’s Teaser Tuesday is honestly my favorite one, so I hope you enjoyed it. If you didn’t see it, check out my right side tool bar. Why is this my favorite one? Well, other than me being a sucker for love, Bad Bloods takes place in one month, so a lack of time is a huge factor in all of my characters’ lives. I feel like this line encompasses all of the feelings between the characters, down to the impending doom to the hope they have for their future. I hope you’ll fall in love with Serena and Daniel as much as I did.

The #1lineWed theme was “line” so here is your weekly preview:

Pre-Order Bad Bloods

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, Goodreads

Visit the Pinterest and Facebook Pages.

Preorder Bad Bloods

Preorder Bad Bloods

What I’m Reading:

Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee

Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee

I finished Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee this week, and let me tell you, it’s perfection. Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee is brilliant, terrifying, unifying, and brave. If you aren’t familiar with this novel, Outrun the Moon is about a very intelligent young woman from Chinatown in San Francisco following her studious, entrepreneurial dreams in 1906. This means the story takes place during the historic earthquake, and the disaster definitely changes everything and everyone. If you’re looking for a culturally rich and historically moving piece, this book is for you. Read my full five-star review here. Favorite Quote: “When a law isn’t just, I believe it’s okay to disobey it. In fact, I believe we are morally obligated to disobey it.”

What I’m Listening To:

What I’m Watching:

The Lobster Movie: Swan Poster

The Lobster Movie: Swan Poster

I saw The Lobster, which is an independent British film set in the near dystopian future where single people are forced to fall in love in 45 days or turn into an animal of their choosing. It’s being marketed as a dark comedy, which is…sort of…accurate? I laughed. But I have a really twisted sense of humor, and I’m 99% sure most viewers who like the word “comedy” would not see this as a comedy (especially American viewers). It’s very dark and dry. It’s super twisted. It’s very in-your-face about the patriarchal expectations of dating (and being single) in modern society. And there’s one particular post-violent scene that even made me cringe (and I don’t normally cringe…but I LOVE animals). I’m not sure who I would recommend this to. It’s just one of those films you have to see for yourself. The acting was brilliant. The script, insane. The music, fitting (often in an awkward, lovable way). Colin Farrell was a genius, and I think my favorite part was the scene between the two best friends and the monologue about prom and all that. Hilarious! Oh, and the camel walking through the forest. Oh, and…okay…so maybe I liked this movie more than I thought. I also took a “Which animal would you be alone?” personality quiz, and I was a SWAN. A SWAN. Which, btw, means I would die if my partner dies. (Told you this movie was dark.) Check it out, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!

I also checked out the pilot episode for The Last Tycoon, because of Lily Collins. I’m a bit obsessed with her. I thought it was great. If you like that Great Gatsby era, you’ll enjoy the show. (Be sure to vote via Amazon Prime, too!) I also died during the finale of Penny Dreadful. I mean….WHAT. WHAAAAAAT the hell was that? No spoilers. But I wasn’t very satisfied. In fact, I was pretty put off. I think they let Vanessa’s character get dragged down by men too much in the end (rather than her strength found in the concentration of her faith, which is what I think they were going for). But, honestly, it ended up coming across as “women are sin and evil, no matter how hard they try to be good.” Also, considering the new characters introduced (who had little to no arc, but were freakin’ awesome), it felt very abrupt for an ultimate ending. But I still love that show and recommend it. Everyone I know who watches it loved the ending. Maybe I am just too in love to let it go. But while I liked the idea of the ending, it felt too rushed to be satisfying.

Spotlight is on Netflix, so I was finally able to see it, and it absolutely crushed me. For those of you unfamiliar with this Oscar-winning film, Spotlight is about reporters coming together to expose the church’s cover up over decades of molestation. Definitely not for the light-hearted, but it’s a brilliant film based on true events, and I highly recommend it.

Spotlight Movie Poster

Spotlight Movie Poster

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

Writer's Coffee Mug

Writer’s Coffee Mug

I’m drinking coffee out of my new, fancy-smancy coffee mug. I know. Someone obviously gets my humor.

Motto: Please do not annoy the writer. She may put you in a book and kill you.

(But, really, I might kill you in a book.)

What I’m Wearing:

I have a photo shoot coming up next week, so I’ve been trying to figure out what clothes should be in my next author photos. We shall see. 

What I’m Wanting:

The Selection Series FINALLY got a new director, so I’m crossing my fingers that it works out this time (since it didn’t the last three times).

What I’m Dreaming Of:

So, I had magical powers, and I managed a magical fortress, but magic is super illegal, and I enjoyed shoving my successful magic endeavor into the government’s faces by hiring a social media manager to share all my awesome magic-ness online. (Guys, I’ve been working too hard.) Well, then, my social media manager was killed in a magic shootout—Okay. So I killed the social media manager out of anger. But still—and so, an apprentice of mine called a company to hire a new one, which of course tipped off the local police where we were hiding. (In a beautiful log cabin, by the way.) But I ran out to escape, and THERE WAS A DINOSAUR. (For those of you just reading my blog for the first time, I am LEGIT terrified of dinosaurs. Like, I have nightmares when I see Jurassic Park movie trailers. I blame my older brother for scarring me in the 90s.) But, yes, there was a T-Rex walking through the woods, trying to find me, that the government sent to keep me in place. And I stayed (because…dinosaur). In the end, they arrested me and all my magical criminal friends, and I woke up, kind of glad that the dream didn’t end with the T-Rex chomping my head off. (Because we all know that’s happened before.)

What Else Is Going On:

s'mores

s’mores

So, I turned 25 on June 23, which means I’m officially a quarter of a century old. I celebrated by making s’mores in the middle of the night, and then working all day long. (Who gets to relax nowadays?) But really, it was a great birthday, and I really enjoyed hearing from so many of you. Thank you for being awesome. Here’s to the next 25 years.

~SAT

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