STANDING IN THE STORM, The Many Worlds of William Alan Webb

We Sleep At Night Because America's Armed Forces, Police and Fire Fighters Never Do

Category: Writing (Page 1 of 5)

Editing decisions, they all count

I’m in the middle of editing Standing At The Edge, The Last Brigade Book 3, and I realized how many thousands of little decisions go into the making of just one book. Let me give you a few examples.

First is the timeline. I’m a pantser, which means I write by the seat of my pants, making it up as I go. That’s not to say I haven’t outlined things in my head, only that I haven’t written them down and don’t follow a set script when I write. And here’s a confession for you: I wish that I could write that way. It would make the editing so much easier. But I can’t. I’ve tried and failed. I’m going to try again with book 4. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Anyway, the timeline is tricky. This book jumps to different locales and as the author I want to stay with characters long enough for the reader to connect with them. But what if others things are happening at the same time? Do I adhere to a strict chronological timeline at the expense of following a subplot until it reaches a logical breakpoint, and then go back in time when I switch to another subplot? It’s not as easy as it sounds. Some people prefer it one way, some the other.

You also have to make sure that all of the facts and revelations line up with one another. For example, does an action early in the book have repercussions later? Does someone make a reference that hasn’t happened yet? You’ve got to think about all of this.

Then comes the content edit. Anything that doesn’t advance the narrative has to go. In Standing At The Edge I’ve already moved two plot lines to book 4, which is awesome because I haven’t even started writing that book and it’s already close to 20k words.

But the hardest part for me is the line edit. I read every single word in the book at least three times. I agonize over every visual, every description, every phrase. I speak every word of dialogue out loud to ensure that it sounds natural for that character. It’s a long, hard and grinding process.

And the whole time I’m doing it the next book on my schedule is running through my mind like a movie in the background. It’s  distracting!

But I’m lucky. I have a publisher who happens to be the editor’s equivalent of Lebron James. I don’t have to make my book perfect because, after putting three of my books on the market, I know she will put on that final polish that makes it special.

If you self publish I strongly suggest that you interview editors until you find one that works for you, then pay them whatever they charge to make your books awesome.

 

 

 

How to be a writer and #6, #7 and #15 done

One of the most common questions young or new writers have for me is what all is involved in becoming a writer. The process itself seems arcane to many people, as if there’s a sorcerous incantation only known to initiates of a secret order of writers. They all want admittance into this secret society.

The incantation itself does exist. Instead of a chant, however, it’s accompanied by a different sound. Namely, the clacking of a keyboard as you’re typing words.

If you’re gonna be a writer you have to write. It really is that simple.

Here’s an update on me plugging away at the to-do list.

#6 involved attending my scheduled cons and I did. Imaginarium in Louisville was a blast.

#7 was finishing book 3 of The Last Brigade. This is done, in line-by-line edits now and the cover is finished. Waiting for the final analysis by two more beta readers.

#15 is pulling out the novel previously titled Hard Time and starting it back up. That’s now done, I’ve added about 5k words to it.

 

Non-fiction World War 2 book coming in 2019!

It is with incredible pride (and more than a little astonishment) that I announce having signed with Helion Books to write a book on a long-ignored campaign of World War 2! The book is due for the market in 2019.

More details will be coming later, but for now here’s a link to their website: http://www.helion.co.uk/

But be careful! They have so many amazing books you’ll end up buying something!

 

 

Unsuck your book test

This is a test for me reading my own audio books. I’m looking for input here.

 

 

Cross off 3 more

Working hard. #3, #19 and #22 are off the list now.

 

#13 out again, and #28 done

Tail Gunner Joe is back out again, so that’s #13. And I added #28, which is a flash fiction piece I wrote a while back titled It’s a Job, which is now edited, re-written, formatted and out for submission for the first time.

Labor Day is for doing labor, right?

 

Check off #12 Again

Taking the suggestions of 4 beta readers I re-wrote and edited LifeEnders again, and now I’ve got a problem. It’s the best short story I’ve ever written.

The problem? What now? This story is great…I mean, it really turned out well. I can’t believe that I wrote it. How do I top it?

All that’s left now if formatting and then it’s off to one of the best SF markets out there.

Wish me luck.

 

Check off #10

If anybody is following my writer’s checklist that I posted last week, I can now check off item #10, the book proposal for my World War Two book.

I finished it today when a friend on facebook gave me the winning formula to put the page numbers where I wanted them using Word 2007. All of the procedures on google were wrong, including those by Microsoft themselves.

Sheesh.

So the book proposal is off to Helion Books, a publisher who has supported my research over the years with encouragement. I don’t honestly think it’s the sort of book they would like, but I owed it to start with them.

So now that #10 is finished, it’s on to the next one! As Stan Lee would say, Excelsior!

 

Check off #12

If you look at the list I posted the other day, I checked off item #12, rewriting LifeEnders, Inc. Done, and I’m very happy with how it turned out. Now I’m waiting on beta readers to volunteer and give me some feedback.

I’ve also made good progress on #10, writing a book proposal for my WW2 book, non-fiction.

And just so certain people don’t get mad, I made good progress on The Last Brigade, Book 3, so far untitled.

Go me!

 

TWO MOONS WANING is out!

Book #1 in Sharp Steel and High Adventure is out, and I couldn’t be prouder! It turned out better than even I hoped it would!

Buy it here for a measly .99 cents, or read for free with Kindle Unlimited.

https://www.amazon.com/Moons-Waning-Sharp-Steel-Adventure-ebook/dp/B07543MQ63/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_img_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=SGS1BQFXGR37VBA1N0F1

To whet your appetite, here’s the first paragraph:

The shouts of battle faded as the men who made them cried and died. Echoes of steel on steel disappeared into the murky depths of the deep valley, below steep slopes, and the carnage of war lay scattered across snow-clad fields. The copper scent of blood tainted the wind. Here and there frozen hands reached skyward, as if in supplication to their gods.

My homage to Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber and Karl Edward Wagner could not have been better!

 

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