Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Importance of Being Edited

Today’s my last day as Inside a Dog’s Resident Author. You can read my final post here. It’s been a lot of fun waffling on about storytelling and any topic that crosses my mind, and has convinced me that I need to write a few more posts here about the world of publishing.

There were a few times over the past month that posting a new entry proved to be a challenge, mostly because I’ve also been in the process of editing Vanguard Prime: Wild Card.

The process starts like this; Katrina, my editor, reads through the manuscript and makes notes as she goes, using Track Changes to suggest changes, ask questions, and point out any potential plot holes or inconsistencies.

When she’s finished, she emails me the marked-up Word document. I then go through, accepting or rejecting her suggestions, answering her questions and posing any of my own. By the time it’s done, the Track Changes document is a multi-coloured mass of deleted text, added text, and comment boxes.

The coloured boxes on the right are the notes between the editor and me.

I email the marked-up manuscript back to Katrina. She goes through, making the changes that I’ve approved and editing any new text that’s been added between drafts. This is incredibly helpful as my syntax can be unfocused and couched in far too many qualifiers. Katrina takes a machette to my puffed-up narration, cutting to the core of the idea I’m getting at. If there are any self-publishers reading this, I strongly recommend paying for a top-notch editorial service. It won’t be cheap, but publishing a book without an editor’s input is like walking outside with your fly undone and spinach in your teeth.

The manuscript is emailed back to me once again, looking far more tidy than it did the first time. I read through the whole thing a second time (well, I skim through it at this stage), making sure I’m happy with all the changes, and when I’m done I email it back to Katrina. At this point, the designer steps in to put together the page layout, adding fonts and dinkuses (dinkae? What’s the plural of dinkus?) and making sure everything fits and looks neat.

Katrina prints the pages off on A3 paper, with two book pages to every printed page, and posts it to me. We both read it through, as does a proofreader, and this is my last chance to make any changes. Generally these changes are about sentence structure, as things are too advanced at this stage to focus on structural issues (though if you spot a plothole that needs a line of dialogue added to address it, that’s still fine).

I use a highlighter and a red pen to mark down problem sentences and changes I want to make, marking every page where a change has been noted with a red X at the top right, so I know what pages to jump to when it comes time to email Katrina again.

As we’re now working off hardcopy, I type up an email where I outline each of the changes I’d like to make, a sample of which reads like this;

Page 4.
Original line: He’s been playing the cello ever since he was a kid
Change to: He’s been playing the cello all his life

Every step of the process has a two-week turnaround time, so the deadlines can get tight. I’m currently writing up the email with all the changes to make, which is due Monday (thankfully, I’m on target to get it in on time). After that, my publisher might also make suggestions about any possible changes to make, but otherwise this is the final text, which is put together by the designer and sent off to the printer to be published as a book.

So that’s what I’ve been doing at the same time as my Inside a Dog residency.

But in addition to that, my fiance and I are set to move house on Friday, which is always a much more involved process than you remember it being. Oh, and we’re getting married at the end of December, so we’ve had a few things to do on that front as well. And I also work full-time.

…….Just typing all that makes me feel exhausted!

“Vanguard Prime: Wild Card” Cover Revealed

For those of you who missed it, the cover for Vanguard Prime: Wild Card (aka Vanguard Prime Book 2) was revealed at Inside a Dog, including a behind-the-scenes peek at what goes into producing the artwork for a book jacket. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get Inside a Dog’s blog system to link to a high-res version of the image, so I thought I’d post it here for you to see in all its glory (click for high-res).

Click for high-res version.

You can see a few new characters surrounding the Knight of Wands and Goldrush, but I’ll save details about them for the future. In the meantime, head over to Inside a Dog to see the creation of this image step-by-step!

Can’t Keep a Good Dog Down

It feels like these days I’m simply posting updates on what I’ve been writing about on Inside a Dog. Probably because that’s all I’ve been doing. My residency there will be wrapping up this week, with the very next post to be of great interest to Vanguard Prime readers…especially those who want to learn more about Wild Card (aka Vanguard Prime Book 2, for those people out there googling those terms!).

In the meantime, you can read my argument on how Boredom = Excitement, get some tips on writing dialogue, learn what a Tomato Surprise is and find out what music to listen to when looking for inspiration.

‘Til next time.

Shark Bait

Readers of Vanguard Prime: Goldrush and anyone interested in the manuscript submission process may want to check out my latest Inside a Dog blog post where I go through the cover letter and the plot synopsis that was included in my submission to Penguin. If I’d known about Query Shark at the time, I would no doubt have worded things completely differently. But everything worked out, so why fuss over it now?

We’ll be getting the keys to our new home next week. Right now, our house looks more like a warehouse full of half-packed boxes than a place that people live in. And at least half of those boxes are full of books. There’s definitely something to be said for e-books.

Dogs and Solitaire

I’m still blogging at Inside a Dog, and covering topics that I’ve been wanting to write about for ages. One is a list of links that includes Ian Irvine’s post on The Truth About Publishing. As I mention in my post, the article pulls no punches but the comprehensive information it offers was invaluable to me when I was looking to get published.

I’ve also explained what a Chekhov’s Gun is and extolled the virtues of mining old material for new ideas. Hopefully I’m not getting too preachy. I like to think I’m simply passing on some of the things I’ve learned along the way.


The last two weeks I’ve been busily working away on the edit for Vanguard Prime: Wild Card. My editor and I are scrutinizing every sentence to make sure that each one works, and that they add up to make a satisfying (and logical) story. Of all the new characters in it, I’m most excited to introduce you guys to Solitaire. I can’t wait ’til you get the chance to meet her.

And with that tease of what’s to come, I’ll sign off for now.