Friday, 6 January 2017

Writing Life: The Editing

I have over twenty years of editing—yes, many of those were for pay, and not just recognition—under my belt. I’ve worked mostly in roleplaying, and for small publishing companies, but have also exchanged edits with other writers. I have degrees in literature, writing and editing, and I’ve been an English teacher on top of that.

However, I prefer to have someone else look over my work before I go to publish it. This is important, because they will pick up things you miss, point out story inconsistencies, and sometimes suggest a comma, or spot a spelling error. All things you are likely to miss on your final draft.

Find a beta reader. Better yet, find two, or, if you can afford one, a professional editor. And listen to them. That was ‘listen’; you should still use your own judgement on accepting their suggestions and corrections, because you are still the one responsibility for the finished condition of your work.

There are times, however, when your beta readers aren’t available, when you can’t afford an editor, and when you feel tempted to edit on your own. Those are to be avoided, but, if you insist, then there are some ways to avoid the page-blindness authors suffer:

  1. Set your finished project aside and don’t look at it for a minimum of four weeks—and six is better;
  2. Work on something else during this time, preferably something different. This gets the project out of your head to a large degree meaning you come back to it in a more detached state;
  3. Save the project as draft. When you open it to do the first edit, save it as Title-Edit1, or something similar. This means you have a copy of the original finished work in case something goes wrong. Turn on Track Changes, and begin your edit.
  4. When you’re done, leave it a day and do some writing on whatever your current project is. Do a second edit the next day.
  5. I find it helpful to produce a print version in CreateSpace, since that program has a layout for checking how your finished book will look, and you can check through it in that format, going back to the CreateSpace document you’ve created to correct errors as you find them. I do this until I can’t find any more.
  6. Split the editing up with writing. Do not stop writing during this process. Keep a fresh document open for ideas that crop up, or a notepad and pen, if that works better for you. It’s amazing what will pop into your head when you’re supposed to be editing.
  7. When you’re happy that you have produced the cleanest manuscript possible, copy it all and paste it into a text document, before copying the text document and pasting it into a clean Word document. This removes an underlying errors that could ruin your uploaded document.
  8. Go through the clean document, formatting it, and keeping an eye out for more edits that you might have missed.
  9. If you find none, you can probably progress safely to the publishing stage.

NOTE: I do not recommend this. I strongly recommend you have an editor. If you can’t afford one, at least one beta reader, if not two or three look over the document after you’ve made at least three editing passes. Don’t have them do this at the same time; have them do it one after the other, making any necessary changes in between. After that, work through your publishing process, keeping an eye out for any edits that might have been missed.


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

First Cover of the Year - Cloud Door

The first cover of the year is one for a short story to be released November 3, 2017. It's a science fiction story set in the universe of Mack and Me, which may or may not yet be connected to the universe of Miss Delight and Odyssey.

So, we’ve done this job, and I’m checking our tails are clear, and I find they’re not—and then I find the only way to kick clear is to find the Cloud Door. Only trouble is the Cloud Door’s a legend, and Mack? Well, he’s not too fond of chasing legends. Fortunately, this one’s a no-brainer: we want to live, and that’s got to be enough to make anyone chase a legend, right?

Monday, 2 January 2017

Releases as Carlie Simonsen in 2016

This year, I chose to focus on writing as Carlie Simonsen, and to get my short stories as C.M. Simpson up to speed. As Carlie Simonsen, I released the following titles in 2016:


Rocky and the Spacefarers' Christmas EBook Cover
Rocky and the Spacefarers' Christmas PoD Cover

Rocky is on a starship to another world, and it’s boring. He misses Earth. He misses his farm. He misses his pony. Worst of all, it looks like he’s going to miss Christmas, too. And then he meets Elita, an alien girl missing her own end-of-year celebration—Hajranath. The two of them get to talking, and decide that a party is just what everybody needs, but how are they ever going to convince the grown-ups?

  Rocky and the Spacefarers’ Christmas is the second book in the Otherworld Adventures series, which is set on Rocky’s journey to the new world where his parents will farm alongside the aliens.


Rocky and the Great Teddybear Rescue PoD Cover
Rocky and the Great Teddybear Rescue EBook Cover

Rocky wakes up from stasis, and realises he’s nearly home, but he hasn’t been awake for five minutes when things start to go wrong. His little sister’s teddybear is missing, and it’s not the only thing. A cat has gone missing from the animals’ deck. And then his sister goes missing, too. Can Rocky find her, and maybe Teddy and the cat, before the ship arrives and all three are lost forever?

Rocky and the Great Teddybear Rescue is the third book in the Otherworld Adventures series, which is set on Rocky’s journey to the new world, where his parents will farm alongside the aliens who have asked them to help.

MARCH 2016

Rocky Rides the Space Range Ebook Cover
Rocky Rides the Space Range PoD Cover

When Rocky’s ship stops to resupply at Tallona’s First Moon, Rocky and his classmates head down to the surface. Seeing moon dragons, ice beetles, dangerous butterflies and flowers that grow on the moon’s surface seem like a good way to spend a day. Rocky never expects to have to deal with moon raiders as well. When his little sister runs away to protect the dragon eggs, Rocky’s troubles really begin. Can he sneak out of the base, find his sister, and bring her back without the pirates or moon base security ever finding out? All he knows is that he has to try.

Rocky Rides the Space Range is the fourth book in the Otherworld Adventures series, which is set on Rocky’s journey to the world of Tallona, where his parents will farm alongside the aliens who have asked them for help.

JUNE 2016

Legacy of Hearts Ebook Cover
Legacy of Hearts PoD Cover

Dumped by her boyfriend, Tomas, because she ended up in a wheelchair, Stella has to rebuild her life. If she hadn’t met Ambrose in hospital, she might never have thought of playing basketball again, but he was just a friend. She never expected to see him when she got out. It comes as a total surprise, when Ambrose meets Stella after her first basketball game in a chair. More surprising is his request to see her again. Can Stella afford to let him keep visiting, or will he end up being just as much of a disaster as Tomas had been?

Legacy of Hearts is the third book in the Wheelchair Adventures series, which is based around young people getting their wheels underneath them, after they find themselves in wheelchairs.

Sean is finally home, but everything he hoped for is gone. As far as he can tell, his life is over. His dreams of becoming a garden designer seem done, because he can’t dig or weed. He can’t see how he can be of any use in the School Gardens Program, he used to help to run. And he can’t kick a ball, or ride a skateboard, so how can he continue to be the buddy of a boy who loves to do both? And as for his girlfriend, Angelica… well, Sean feels he has no choice but to send her away. After all, she’ll be better off with a guy who can walk, won’t she? Unfortunately, Angelica and his little buddy Brian have other plans. They just need to get Sean to see that he’s not so useless after all…
Legacy of Hope is a teen to young adult story about how Sean learns to cope with losing his ability to walk, and to see that there is still might be a way to do the things he loves. But even the strongest person needs a little help to learn to hope again.
Legacy of Hope is the second book in the Wheelchair Adventures series, which is based around young people getting their wheels underneath them, after they find themselves in wheelchairs.