Tag Archives: editing

Boone’s second is in full release!

TBP225x337DS

Boone’s return in her second novel, The Bonus Pool, sets her in an adventure capturing the same second-in-series energy of developed characters and synergistic story line as did Jon Anthony’s return in The Britteridge Heresy. In addition, the rich content, international settings, high-voltage action, and substantive themes made the title a true pleasure to produce and, as I’m sure her fans will agree, an experience to be relished.

Here is the blurb:

“A Chinese dissident, targeted by his government for assassination, flees to asylum in Paris through a joint effort of the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Peter McAllen’s InterLynk. A rogue intelligence agent, now freelancing, accepts Beijing’s contract to eliminate the man as a threat to Communist regional control. It is an opportunity to damage McAllen’s organization in the process.

A pool of InterLynk contributors is exposed, and the life of a man capable of changing the spiritual direction of the world’s largest authoritarian regime is on the table. His guardian and her allies in InterLynk must match wits with a ruthless adversary.

The challenge before Boone Hildebrandt and InterLynk Field Operations: find and neutralize a deadly assassin. At risk with a spiritual leader for a movement numbering in the tens of millions is ongoing contributor confidence vital to the existence of the West’s preeminent private intelligence firm.

Approx. 87,000 words / 298 pp.”

As promised previously, here is her Big List of Links to the various retail venues hosting TBP, now that the title has achieved full release:

Kindle Paperback  iTunes Nook Kobo Smashwords Scribd

As always, remember the motto of the Dale Amidei reader: Read. Rock. Review. Recruit. Repeat. To this we now add Ready Yourself. Boone will, God willing, be back this winter in One Last Scent of Jasmine.

Choose to Love, -DA

A word from the Editress / Boone June

And now let me diverge from my usual blog format to feature a few words from the woman who contributes an equal number of hours to each Dale Amidei novel. Take it away, She Who Must Be Obeyed:

As Single Candle Press releases The Bonus Pool, I am reminded of when we first began. After agreeing to edit The Anvil of the Craftsman, I really did not know what to expect. I thought the novel would be filled with weaponry specs and other references that would leave me confused. I was wrong, in fact, very wrong. What I found instead were many well-developed characters set in an intricate, well-managed, thoughtful story line.

When I finally finished my part of preproduction, I was impressed. Knowing by that point reviews, particularly good reviews from readers, were extremely important to the independent author, I wanted to post my opinion on Anvil as soon as it made its debut. Instead, I found that I was prohibited from reviewing SCP’s maiden offering because I had been personally involved in its making. My options were to either keep my thoughts to myself or to impersonate someone else and post them anyway. The latter choice was clearly wrong, and the former seemed unfair since I had not been required by the author to like The Anvil of the Craftsman—I truly did enjoy it.

So as difficult as it was, I refrained from reviewing it and left others to provide the commentary. In the few years since that time, the vast majority of Dale’s reviewers have come to see what I saw in the very beginning with the very first novel:  a real talent for writing. More than once I have reminded him that no amount of editing can fix crap. And it’s true—I merely provide some polish. I’m the Monday-morning quarterback of the literary world. I can suggest a more accurate word to use to better convey meaning, and I can check that we are following our grammar conventions. But I don’t do the heavy lifting. I cannot create in my mind a multitude of solid characters, motivations and settings and then intertwine them all into a meaningful whole that magically comes together by the end. Anyone who thinks writing a good novel is easy has obviously never tried it.

With Boone’s latest installment, I think readers will find a continuation of what they have come to expect from Dale Amidei: great characters, flinch-worthy action, light-hearted humor, a roller coaster of emotion and an important message underlying it all. The Bonus Pool begins shortly before  Absinthe and Chocolate ends. Familiar characters return for further development alongside new ones. Boone’s prowess gives way once more to her poetry. Varying tactics of conflict management provide even more business for building contractors, auto body shops, emergency rooms and morgues around the globe. There are the twists and turns to keep readers guessing. And, just as in life, there is a point to it all. No, this isn’t the same old same old. It’s the best one yet. I hope you all will enjoy reading The Bonus Pool as much as I have enjoyed helping to produce it.

~ The Editress

*****

In production news, our sixth novel and Boone’s second, “The Bonus Pool,” is publishing as I write this. Later this week, an update will feature the retail links once they go live.

Choose to Love, -DA

The Joy of Text

As I write this, Novel5/Boone1 “Absinthe and Chocolate” is 37 percent complete in primary editing. Other than conceiving, constructing and actually writing the thing, this is the most difficult work and the greatest investment of time in producing a title for Single Candle Press. Main edit is also the most trying to wait out, as it proceeds at a part-time pace during whatever time the Editress manages to allocate.

She and I have ever been complementary opposites making up the yin and yang of our relationship. In revision as elsewhere, where I am creative, she is conventional. Where I am sometimes impulsive, she maintains our true horizon. When one doubts, the other is strong. So it is that we maintain a cohesive and balanced forward momentum.

Following her idiom, every premise stands examined; every statement of fact was researched, and any issues discovered were raised in content edit prior to this point. Now—sentence by paragraph by scene by chapter—the language and presentation of a novel I envisioned is being perfected. The goal is what I term a “snag-free” read, one that achieves immersion without the distraction of inelegant execution or an implausible scenario. It’s what we do, to whatever end.

We have been together for the majority of our lives. Coalescing out of that span, a true sense of purpose seems to have appeared in Single Candle Press. It is embodied in our mission statement: “To present faith and traditional values in mainstream fiction.”

With no television here inside the Perimeter, cats are the most likely source of spontaneous entertainment. When the Editress is not working, eating, at exercise or sleeping, she undertakes the polish of eighty-three thousand words with a dedication and enthusiasm heartening in ways difficult for even an author to describe.

Today marks twenty-four months since the Year in the Chair—my time dedicated to the production of fiction—began. What followed is seen in retrospect as the Year of Dark and Cold. In that interval, we were re-purposed to return here to the place we always called home, and resettle in a turn of events neither of us expected. My own resumption of external employment is finalizing, and with it I expect the slow climb back up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to that summit where self-actualizing creativity can produce a tenth novel.

All of these things, rather than being done by one of us or the other, instead have been and are being done together. SCP is a partnership that grew out of another we have enjoyed for more than thirty years. With a finish line nowhere in sight, the efforts of the moment yet consume our passion and attention. Faith holds forth the promise that it will be so always, and in that hope we amass the true treasure of this house.

Choose to Love, -DA

SCP Editing Revisited

Process improvement should be the goal of any organization concentrating on excellence. In endeavoring to produce quality content, we have naturally learned some things since the dark days of 2011. Then, my first novel went to beta reading with a number of embarrassing errors. Worse, some of those survived to publication.

Why did those initial stumbles happen? Insufficient proofreading was one reason, certainly. I once utilized an editing plug-in for MS Word whose interface sometimes introduced separate mistakes when used to correct the initial problems. Currently, edits are applied manually, sans visual interference from any busy-looking overlays. They are backed up with additional procedures which, for my third novel Killing Doctor Jon, finally produced a nearly perfect release candidate draft.

The following is a revised summary of the quality control procedures here at Single Candle Press. These processes take place in collaboration between the SCP Lead Editress, any outsourced contractors we might utilize, and myself:

A. Write a great novel. This seems self-evident advice, but frankly is ignored far too often Not everyone has the talent, the vision, or the diligence to produce an adequate result. Be honest with yourself, and listen to the opinions of others. What follows is too much effort to waste on substandard prose. Refuse to be part of the Tsunami of Crap.

B. Seek help. You cannot accomplish as good a result solo as you will achieve with multiple sets of eyes and an editor whose experience and interpretations differ from your own.

C. The content edit: An initial evaluation is made at a normal reading pace through the draft one chapter at a time, evaluating the plot and identifying any areas needing clarification or rewrites before more detailed attention is applied to the manuscript.

D. Research: This involves the confirmation of anything (fact, name, event, date, likelihood etc.). Continuity and time synchronization issues are resolved. Any potential snags that remain unresolved are diagnosed. Following the first two phases, any deficiencies identified are addressed before the heavy lifting begins in the following stage.

E. Primary editing or the main edit is undertaken chapter-by-chapter and one scene at a time. Focus is on grammar, paragraph structure and achieving a varied sentence structure. Before starting, the scene is scanned for paragraph structural variety. Changes are applied in economical fashion. Within a paragraph, sentence structure also scanned in similar fashion to assure structural variety. Grammar is edited following standards from the Purdue OWL, then grammarbook.com, then the Chicago Manual of Style. When in doubt, avoiding reader confusion wins out.

Initially, this took place on double-spaced hard copy. That technique allows the pass-through of too many errors—particularly when it comes to proper comma usage—thereby slowing progress in later proofreading stages. The reason for this is that the red ink of the markups makes the final read-through much more difficult, as discovered once we transitioned to MS Word’s Track Changes feature. Track Changes also doubles the page-per-hour output of the editor.

F. Word checks are completed scene by scene. Word use, compound words, and word combinations involving hyphen or comma use are confirmed. Definitions and spelling are checked if necessary.

G. Evaluation and read-through is done in one sitting of the entire chapter at normal reading speed. A scan is conducted for repeated words or ideas. Final edits are marked and addressed. As with each draft and stage, a properly titled copy of the manuscript is retained as is and marked DO NOT MODIFY to act as a backup. Entire scenes can be and have been selected and deleted accidentally here while conducting word counts.

H. The title is then given an audio proofread in text-to-speech software. This technique is excellent for exposing any need to substitute words to avoid repetition or to smooth presentation. And, yes, it also catches errors that “brain fill” has let slip past previous efforts.

I. Electronic formatting follows, allowing a device emulator proofread. This stage was initially omitted and resulted in the embarrassment mentioned in regard to my first title. DEP allows us to review the manuscript in a different font and page layout, and that will sometimes highlight a needed change unnoticed in word processing screens.

J. Paperback formatting follows, with a review of the entire hard copy proof. Think all errors are gone by this stage? Guess again. Differing the layout can again show one new areas to address.

K. Beta reading emphasizes error reporting via [anomaly] near [searchable phrase] and includes the return of a feedback form. Here, we can hope for a clean read.

L. The final, most intolerable phase of editing is correcting discovered post-publication errors. I’m proud to report that, in the months since the release of Killing Doctor Jon, this step has so far proven unnecessary. Should an error be found in the future, past experience tells me that I can have it corrected and the new version uploaded to all major distributors within an hour. Let’s see the Big Six pull that off.

Three titles and forty-nine five-star reviews later, I am beginning to think that we are on to something. Jon’s Trilogy has amassed 98% of the Amazon stars available in customer ratings, and I know that quality assurance is part of the reason why. My readers have said as much.

Choose to Love. -DA

SCP Editing

The following is an interesting summary of the quality control procedures here at Single Candle Press. These processes are a collaboration between the SCP Editress and myself:

Editing covers one chapter at a time in order to replicate as closely as possible the reader experience. No reading ahead is allowed.

A. The initial read-through establishes the feel of the chapter. No markups occur at this point.

B. The second read-through moves slowly to absorb details and to better understand plot points that may have been unclear the first time through. No markups occur, but mental notes are made concerning passages that may need more attention.

C. Primary editing is undertaken one scene at a time. Focus is on grammar, paragraph structure and achieving a varied sentence structure. Before starting, the scene is scanned for paragraph structural variety. Changes are applied in economical fashion. Within a paragraph, sentence structure also scanned in similar fashion to assure structural variety. Grammar is edited following standards from the Purdue OWL, then grammarbook.com, then the Chicago Manual of Style. When in doubt, avoiding reader confusion wins out.

D. Word checks are completed scene by scene. Word use, compound words, and word combinations involving hyphen or comma use are confirmed. Definitions and spelling are checked if necessary.

E. Research. This involves the confirmation of anything (name, event, date, etc.) Continuity and time synchronization issues are resolved. Any potential edits that remain unresolved are finalized.

F. Final read-through is done in one sitting of the entire chapter at normal reading speed. A scan is conducted for repeated words or ideas. Final edits are marked. The chapter is initialed and dated.

G. The title is then given an audio proofread.

H. Electronic formatting follows, allowing a device emulator proofread.

I. Paperback formatting follows, with a review of the entire hard copy proof.

J. Beta reading emphasizes error reporting via [anomaly] near [searchable phrase] and includes the return of a feedback form.

K. Correcting discovered post-publication errors. Some day—I swear—this step will be unnecessary.

Two titles and twenty-seven five-star reviews in a row later, I am beginning to think that we are on to something. “Killing Doctor Jon” is due out in March, God willing, and we will see.

Choose to Love. -DA

Mine

“You have created a wonderful piece of literature.”

“How is your book doing?”

“You wrote a novel? How cool!”

I get a certain amount of that. People who have read The Anvil of the Craftsman seem to like it, and are eager to share their feedback. It is great to hear, and I treasure every comment. To have written something that pleases others is rewarding. Most of the opinions include the words “you” or “yours” or “Dale’s.” I have a guilty secret.

AOTC is not really mine, though certainly I have written every word. To claim it as mine alone would be to ignore the contributions of a great many others that made the title what it is. My long-suffering Single Candle Press editress, under whose pen my prose bleeds red, has at least as much a claim to the quality of the work as I do. It is fitting then, that we are equal partners in the enterprise. The contributions, however, do not stop there.

I have a network of beta readers I did not intend to use as proofreaders. I assumed—because I had not produced a novel yet—that I could provide them an error-free read. I read and reread the drafts of AOTC until my eyes were bleeding, and I was not the only one. It went out in beta with at least twenty errors caught at various times since then. It was a harsh lesson, and led to process improvements that we are implementing in working on the sequel.

There are people who have not even read the work yet, and still provide their encouragement and their praise. That is another component of the fuel that keeps a writer going through the long process of becoming an author, and the result belongs, at least in part, to them as well.

Most importantly, there are the readers, the ones who I yearn to please. They are perfect strangers who, for whatever reason drew them, paid their money and digested a novel that I love so much. I hear from them as well, and their words make me determined to make the sequel and the third title of the Jon Anthony trilogy worthy of their expectations. To disappoint them would devastate me.

Having said all that, I cannot escape the thought that these words are something more. Had another pair of eyes not seen them, could I really claim them as mine? There is a magic in the storyline, the lessons, and the truths there inside those pages. All of those always existed, and perhaps my part was only to organize and present them for the sake of others. That is a humbling thought.

I love these words, but they are not really mine. I was merely the first one to see them come into the world. I can count that as the blessing it is.

Choose to love, -DA