How to Write a Good Book – Post 6. Editing

pen6At last your manuscript about Rudolph and Santa is complete and has  gone to your beta readers for one round of testing. What next?
This is where the hard work begins. Most writers don’t enjoy it, but editing is the stage that will lift your work from just a rough story to a world-class bestseller. Well, okay, we hope it will. Seriously though, without good editing, you book will not stand a chance in an increasingly competitive market.
If you can possibly afford the cost, I recommend you get another writer or professional editor to do the final edit on your work. You can always swap books for editing with other readers, if you are short of money. Why do I tell you this? A writer reads what he thought he wrote, not what he actually wrote, when he reads it back. He or she will read the same paragraph 20 times and not see the typo. It has has happened to me in a very embarrassing situation; a submission to a pubisher had an error in the first line of the query letter. Two other people close to me checked it and didn’t spot it. I read it at least 20 times and missed it. Once the tension of submission was over and I received their rejection, I saw the error and it was blindingly obvious!
But whether you are editing somebody else’s work, or your own, the editing process is the same. Do it in this order:
  1. Development editing
  2. Copy-editing
  3. Proof reading
Development editing
Development editing is looking for ways to organise and rearrange the text to tell the story better. A good example is for Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate, as mentioned in lesson 4. Structure. I took the few pages just before the climax and inserted one paragraph at the beginning of each chapter of the book in italics. I could do this because the Main Character (MC) used a tape recorder, so we don’t lose tension by revealing whether the MC lives or dies.Copy-editing
Copy-editing is basically getting the gammar right. It is done to improve the flow of ideas for the reader, clarify what you are saying and sometimes to reduce the length of text. You will probaby find that you also correct some typos, thus saving yourself work during the last stage; proof reading.
Read this sentence:
After that, the conversation went on but I left to find the dormitory
There is a lot of ambiguity here and at least 2 typos; there should be a comma before the conjunction ‘but’ and there is no full-stop (or period, if you are American). Some writers will not use a comma after a preposition of less than five or six words. This practise is becoming more common. So the comma before ‘the conversation’ could probably be removed.
But the sentence is very ambiguous. Did the person leave before the conversation, during the conversation or after. As it stands, it suggests that the person probably left before the conversation. But think hard. Is that what you intended to say? If you wanted to say that they left after the conversation, you would want to use this form:
The conversation went on, but I left to find the dormitory after that.
And if you want to say that they left during the conversation, you would write:
The conversation went on, but I left to find the dormitory.
Notice how this is also much shorter. If you want to reduce the length of text and it really doesn’t matter whether the person left before, during or after the conversation, then use this form.
Hemmingway is a great writer for economy of prose. He never uses a word when none is required. This is the typical approach of journalists, because each word would cost money to print.
Proof reading
Now you are simply looking for typos. These are not always picked up by your wordprocessing software’s spell-checker. For instance, look at this sentence:
The convection went on, but I left to find the dormitory.
If you have your auto-correct feature turned on, you are more likely to have the wrong word in a sentence. Here, ‘convection’s is not the word we want, but it is spelled correctly, so spell-checker will probably not highlight it. Beware of misplaced words!
I would recommend turning on the grammar checker in Microsoft Word. This will put a blue underline under a word, phrase or sentence that seems incorrrect, according to common grammar rules. If you see a blue underline, take a close look at the phrase. Here is a good example:
In fact I didn’t know what was wrong.
Word will underline ‘In fact,’ because that particular type of preposition is always followed by a comma. You will learn a lot about grammar by checking phrases that are underlined in blue. But don’t feel you MUST make the change. Sometimes word simply doesn’t understand the specific situation.
Here are my top tips for proof-reading:
  1. Do it twice. Once reading forward, to improve the flow, and once as in 2.
  2. Start at the end of your story and work back, reading once sentence at a time. This way, you are less likely to expect what you read and miss the typos
  3. Use a macro to check for unmatched speech marks. I doubt there is a writer on the planet who can write a book without leaving out some or putting them in the wrong place.
  4. If something feels awkward, it is. Try rewriting it in as many different ways as you can think of. Eventually you will get it right. You might even improve the story.
DRthicknessLastly, if you think editing is a waste of time, take a look at these pictures of December Radio. The copy on the left is before editing, the one on the right after. See how much the text was reduced. In my opinion, the story improved greatly as a result. The cover on the left was my visual. And as a bonus editing tip, pick your best scene and send that to your cover designer.
DRcoversThat is the end of my series of tutorials on How to Write a Good Book. I hope you have enjoyed and learned something from it. You can find all my books online. December Radio is in bookshops in the UK and USA. And there is a special deal:
Get 4 eBooks and the December Radio Paperback for $16!  lazloferran.com
If you find any errors in my books, email me!

Free Occult Thriller for Xmas: Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate

Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate

Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate

To celebrate what I hope will be a wonderful Christmas for my readers, Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate – Second Edition, featuring shifter mythology (vampires and werewolves) will be free from 23-27 December on Amazon: http://bit.ly/1gWteFq

Hope you enjoy it! Tell your friends.

Do we have a future?

nuclear bomb mushroom cloudIf we don’t stop destroying the planet and making wars, we have no future.

Read my latest treatise on war, December Radio, when it is published by A-Argus in January 2015:

Based on real events.

February 1945: despite the Allies turning the tide of war, the Nazi’s are almost ready to test their ultimate weapon off the coast of America. A weapon which could win them the War.

Two Dutch brothers are thrown into a chaotic world of spies, traitors and scientists when Arnaud is incarcerated in a concentration camp as a dissident and forced to work on the secret weapon project. Their mother begs his older brother, Carl, to find him and bring him home.

A fascist who loves only smart clothes, jazz and women, Carl disowns his brother. But after witnessing a murder, he is forced to hold a mirror up to himself.

Arnaud is desperate to stop the project. But he is dying, hanging on, hoping his brother will come…

Bargain offers!
The third book in the Ordo Lupus series, The Synchronicity Code, is out on 5 November. To celebrate this the Halloween classic, Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate – Second Edition (the on with the original Secret Codes), will be only 99 cents on 30 October.

And don’t forget that with the release of The Synchronicity Code, you will have all the clues you need to win the $500 Prize offered with the free book Vampire -Find my Grave

Want to hear Lazlo Ferran Interviewed Today?

Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate

Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate

Here’s the my interview, during which I discuss my writing and the Ordo Lupus series in particular.

[UPDATE: CLICK ON POST ABOVE OR ‘INTERVIEW’ IF YOU WANT TO HEAR MY INTERVIEW. IT WAS ONLY UP ON THE AUTHORS SHOW WEBSITE FOR ONE DAY. THIS POST IS LEFT IN ITS ORIGINAL STATE FOR HISTORIC REASONS]

It should just start playing.

Please let me know what you think and share it around. Hop on over there. It’s only up today! http://www.wnbnetworkwest.com/WnbAuthorsShow1.html

If the link above doesn’t work, go here:
http://www.wnbnetworkwest.com/WnbAuthorsShow.html

Click on the underlined text next to my name in the short list (5-6) of inrterviews underneath the subtitle Broadcast Schedule.

Then on the subsequent page you will need to click on the correct interview in the grey box near the top (under the list of featured authors), which has forward and back and play buttons, much like a cassette tape deck.

Lotus Free and Attack Hitler’s Bunker down to 99 cents for Independence Day weekend!!

Short post this weekend because I am hard at work on the June Newsletter. This month: no less than 3 chances to win free books and one of those gives you the chance to spend an hour with me onlie for an interview and keep a copy of the interview to share with your friends! There is still time to sign up for the Newsletter here – If you sign up before Friday 10 July, I will send you a copy of this month’s Newsletter. After that, no dice!

Two other things to mention for this Independence Day in the USA:

Lotus: (Enter the Labyrinth - Satan's Fatal Puzzle)

Lotus: (Enter the Labyrinth – Satan’s Fatal Puzzle)

Lotus
Lotus is Free from today 3 July until 7 July at 8am EST.
Lotus is an encounter between a soul and Satan. Satan uses every trick possible to torture the soul, who is reincarnated at Satan’s whim but eventually Game Theory proves the undoing of one of them! Click here to get the deal!

 

 

 

 

Attack Hitler's Bunker!

Attack Hitler’s Bunker!

Attack Hitler’s Bunker!
This wartime thriller has just been accepted for translation and distribution in China so to celebrate, I am offering it in an Amazon Countdown Deal. This means it will drop to 99 cents from 8am on 4 July and gradually climb back up to its usual price of $2.99 by 11 July 12am PST. So hurry because it will only be at 99 cents for a day or two! Click here to get the deal!

Want Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate – Extended Edition FREE?

Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate - Extended Edition cover

Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate – Extended Edition cover

This weekend you will get the unique opportunity to download the 5-star Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate FREE on Amazon. From 10-14 October, you can click on the link below and get it absolutely free. This eBook has 15,000 words not included in the standard edition and normally retails for $4.39 so this is a great bargain! Make the most of the opportunity and grab a copy! Click here to see the book on Amazon.

The extra material is mostly about the main character’s early life; service in the RAF as a Blenheim pilot and his life as an MI-6 agent in Bulgaria, where he met Rose. The RAF section includes a nail-biting account of the attack on Holland which decimated the Squadron. There is much more detail about Rose’s early encounters with John, including a shower and lovemaking scene. None of these are in the standard edition. If you have read the standard edition, download the book to read these scenes!

Free: Ordo Lupus II: The Devil’s Own Dice in exchange for review!

Two weeks left for this unique chance to get a free copy in exchange for a review of epic occult thriller Фѓↁо Lцрцѕ ІІ: ГЂэ ↁэvіl’ѕ Фши ↁісэ. Just go here, sign up and review: http://ow.ly/yawB3 Offer ends 9 July. Grab yours now.

“Richly satisfying”
“An Amazing Tale”
“The description of knights preparing and then engaging in a battle is the most realistic I have ever come across.”