Skip to content

MWMcCabe Posts

Eight-Pass Editing Marathon

It was Mr. Smarty-pants himself, Albert Einstein, who said it:

“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.”
-Albert Einstein

This is true of many, many things. The more I know, the more things this applies to.

It is for this reason that I try to keep an open mind about almost everything. If I learn about a better way to do things, I change up my behavior.

This is true of editing. I self-edit all of my manuscripts, along with a little help from my friends (Beta Readers and Team Typo).

This is in EIGHT passes. I am documenting my passes here for any writers who want some learnin’ on editing. Take it or leave it.

  1. Clean-up. This is my first pass after my rough draft is finished. Since I dictate my manuscript (using Dragon), there are lots of silly mistakes that make it through. I also notice other silly mistakes when my words are in print. This is a shallow edit. This is an edit that a developmental editor would create. I can change character identities, plot points, or muck about with story. If my book were a clay sculpture, I would have lots of mud under my nails at this point.
  2. JK Rowling. An early reviewer said that I was a combination of JK Rowling, HG Wells, and CS Lewis. This is very high praise. I have embraced this review as an easy way to describe what my writing is like. Additionally, I have seized upon these authors as phases in my editing. In my JK Rowling pass, I am concentrating on adding magic, adventure, and wonder.
  3. HG Wells. In this pass, I am focused on adding high-technology.
  4. CS Lewis. During this edit, I am adding religious themes and symbolism.
  5. Hemingway. I was recently directed to the Hemingway application
    online. Although there is a paid version, I currently use the free version. That might change when I start making some real money with my writing. This app makes sure you are using short sentences and active writing. These keeps you from being too wordy or using big words.
  6. Grammarly. My next destination is the Grammarly application. This looks at spelling and grammar (as the name implies). This performs better than what you will find in Word or other word-processors. You could use this app earlier in the editing process, but the other steps might call for major changes to the manuscript.
  7. Beta Readers, Reviewers, and Team Typo. At this point, the manuscript is pretty close to launch. It can be distributed to Beta Readers, Team Typo, and Review Ravagers. If I get important feedback at this stage, I put it into the manuscript.
  8. Tombstone Edit. I have been away from the story for a couple weeks now. I can go back into it with fresh eyes. This is my last pass before prime time. At this point, I will see if the submitted changes are working with the manuscript as a whole.

Team Typo

Consider joining Team Typo. I have a special soft place in my heart for our legion of elves. These folks receive a free early edition of my next book in exchange for a Typo Report. This can be a marked-up paper copy (I’ll pay the postage!). For those reading on Kindle, the easiest way to mark typos is to bookmark each location and highlight the typo.

More information can be found on the Team Typo page!

And a Little Bit Closer

The new version of Photoshop infuriates me, but there is no need to grumble.

I made the 3D version of my cover and then I lost it. I went to my old saved versions of my cover and found that I had flattened them. They were no longer editable. So, I just spent a couple hours recreating a cover image that I can edit. Now that I see it very small, I don’t like the font I used. Oh, well. At least it will be easy for me to edit.

Progress report. I am now on page 335 of 529. I’m now over halfway done with my edit. Huzzah!

Back to work…

Editing Continues

I stopped posting every day. I went on a two-week vacation to visit family. Somebody showed me a piano and then I was all jazzed about finding time to practice…

Hold on… slow down there, buddy. What you really want to do is finish your novel. Everything else is a distraction. Posting on your blog every day is a distraction. Posting a video every day is a distraction. Practicing piano is a distraction.

The only reason I’m posting this is to say that I won’t be posting every day.

While we’re here, I decided to change the names of the books in the series. I realized that the word “sorcery” might put off my target audience: Christians. If my books are one part CS Lewis, then the names shouldn’t be off-putting. Here’s the names of the books in my series:

Time of Faith: The Sinner
Test of Faith: The Forgiven
Born of Faith: The Redeemed

As far as editing is concerned, I am currently on chapter four. A lot of the previous chapters were combined as I went along. I didn’t want to say, “I’m still on chapter two,” because I’ve actually covered a lot of ground. I am on page 82 right now. I have the first chapter sent off to a magazine editor to see if I’m making any major errors. That will likely require another restart of my edit from page one. At least I’m doing it right this time, eh?

With my new focus of doing this writing thing full-on, I edited for five hours straight. It’s not a full-time job, but I should finish this soon.

Accountability and JK Rowling

Howdy brothers and sisters,

I am recording from my laptop this morning.

I edited again yesterday and I wanted to give you an update. I realized that I didn’t ever tell you about my story. This book is over ten years in the making…. wow. I started in High School, and my 25 year reunion is coming up. This thing is TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OLD! There’s nothing like time to make you feel old.

That reminds me of that song by They Might Be Giants:

“You’re older than you’ve ever been and now you’re even older
And now you’re even older
And now you’re even older”

I guess it’s high time I got this thing finished. I don’t want to be looking back on this when I’m on my deathbed and wished I had finished it. Anything worth starting is worth finishing. Somebody famous said that once. I like this quote. This gives you a very special kind of responsibility. You need to be choosy about what projects you start, because we are tenacious. Anything we start is gonna be finished, gosh darn it!

I also wax on a little bit about JK Rowling. It’s something that has been kicking around my mind as of late. It inspired me, at least.

Cheers, and Happy Writing!



Editing Success

Yesterday I said that I was going to start editing. That was one part to keep me honest and one part wishful thinking. I’m happy to report that I was successful. I edited chapter one and part of chapter two. Now the train has left the station, and I will have the novel edited in about a month (hopefully).

A month? Well, 42 days. A month and twelve days. That is August 17th, 2017. Here let it be said. Then I’ll pass it to my alpha-reader for reading notes. Then I’ll take yet another pass at it. THEN I’ll start working on book two. Let’s call it October. Shall we pick a date? How about October 25th, 2017.

Here’s a silly thing I did on my last revision. I thought my chapters were too long. I thought it would pick up the pace of the novel if the first few parts were divided into smaller units.

The problem is that each longer chapter had about one main point. If that chapter were then broken into three chapters, only one of them would be left with a point. So, as part of this edit, I’m bringing the parts of the baby together. At the same time, I’m looking hard at the orphans without a point. Are they really necessary? They are prime candidates for deletion.

That all means that chapter one is not “finished” until all the orphans are brought back.

In chapter one, we are introduced to Kerr, some soldiers, and time travel. When I come upon the action in another chapter, I’ll drag it back, kicking and screaming.

Every Journey has a Beginning

I spent my writing time yesterday preparing to write. I told myself that the work was necessary to move forward.

Well now we see if I can put my money where my mouth is. I have felt resistant all morning to write. But then if I don’t get around to writing, the work I put in yesterday WAS procrastination. I don’t want that to happen.

Thanks for keeping me honest, internet. I’ll dive into it now and let you know how it went tomorrow.

New Writing Vlog

Howdy, Internet! I’ve been recording my vlog for a few days without a focus. I realized this would be of most use to you if I talk about writing.

I worked a lot on writing today… not the actual writing, but some admin work. I have already written a rough draft of my novel. No one told me that the first draft of a novel is not very good. So, rather than start working on my second in the series, I am going back through my first novel and editing. Of course, I could really use a professional editor. That would get the job done faster. It would likely be better, too. But, then, editors are expensive. Unless somebody wants to do an edit for the share of the profits… yeah, it’s all me for now.

I heard an interview with a writer who said that if she could tell her young self something, it would be to write and release the whole series at once. We live in a culture that likes to devour entire seasons at one time. As soon as they are done with book one, they want book two. If book two takes a year to complete, those fans will either be angry or find another bright, shiny–Hey! A squirrel! I love squirrels.

My book was intended to be a trilogy, and it has a pretty major cliff-hanger at the end of book one. It might take me three years, but I plan on working on it every day. We’ll see how fast it goes.

I created an editing spreadsheet. This is not procrastination! I really think this will help me on the edit.

  1. Chapter. With 42 chapters, I need to keep track of what I’m working on.
  2. Main Point. Each chapter should have a least one “thing” that happens. That “thing” cannot be flashback (those don’t move a story forward). If a chapter does not have a “thing,” then it has no point. It can be cut. OFF WITH IT’S HEAD! (I always wanted to say that).
  3. Too Short? I want to find chapters that are too short. Since I am going to be adding some new scenes, I would like to find places they would fit. I can also combine short chapters. My end goal is to have one average length for each chapter.
  4. Edited. This is just a reference row to see if something is done or not. Move along. Nothing more to see here.
  5. Addition. If I find a perfect place to add scene Q, I want to mark it.

That’s about it. Of course, I will let you know how the editing goes.

I also started to set up MailChimp for my newsletter.

I’m outtie (actually, I’m an innie… sorry for the TMI).

Daily Devotional and Recharging

As promised yesterday, here is my devotional. I stayed up too late last night and that makes me unproductive today. I’ll get a good night’s sleep and try again tomorrow.